Audio News for May 19, 2015

Blues Star B.B. King Dies – The 89-year-old performer died last week at his home in Las Vegas. He was an American Hall of Fame blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, ranked No. 6 by Rolling Stone on its 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. He performed tirelessly thruout his musical career, appearing at more than 200 concerts per year into his 70s. He is widely regarded as one of the influential blues guitarists of all time and has inspired countless other electric blues and blues-rock guitarists.

The End of Brick-and-Mortar Retail Stores? – Across the U.S. AV showrooms are belying prognostications of the end of the brick-and-mortar retail. Online-only selling has become a serious threat to storefont sales, but savvy merchants have managed to tap into consumers’ curiosity, social instincts and love of entertaiment to create traffic-driving destinations. One store’s sales floor is something like an amusement park, with a Las Vegas-like atrium and attractions like a 7500-gallon salt-water aquarium, indoor windmill, giant bubble machine, interactive butterfly generator and fresh-baked cookie kitchen. Best Buy has created branded zones across the sales floor, using displays and demos to help draw people in. With their cool guitar walls, they have turned into toy stores for adults. Costco has rapid product rotation and provides an element of surprise, contributing to the “treasure hunt” shopping experience. Starpower in North Dallas has added premium appliances, furniture and flooring to the CE matrix and assemed a lifestyle approach. Their showroom is a paean to technology, aesthetics, creature comforts and the senses. The Apple stores encourage visitors to play with their toys, and with the sleek, minimalist devices to back them up, Apple’s formula, with its industry-leading sales-per-square-foot metric, simply can’t be replicated by anyone else.

Sennheiser’s Latest Headphones Let You Dial Up the Bass –  Sennheiser’s newest HD 630VB headphones boast a rotary dial lettig users customize the amoung of bass they want. They feature aluminum ear cups with on-ear controls and removeable ear pads, foldable construction, an in-line omnidirectional mic, and a $549 retail price tag. Frequency response is listed at 10Hz to 42,000I while the bass boost is +- 5dB at 50Hz.

Denon Upgrades Its Heos Technology for Multiroom Audio –   Its $2499 Heos Drive is a component-sized rack-mountable four-zone preamp/amp incorporating Heos technology to distribute network-music sources and cloud sources around the house. The Drive can be controlled from Denon’s Heos app on smartphones and tablets. It is not wireless, but distributes music via speaker cables to in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, and connects to the home network via Ethernet cable. The Drive will only a available thru custom-install channels, not in retail sales or online.

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