Audio News for July 31, 2009

by | Jul 31, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Luxury Line of Wireless Home Audio Systems – The David Wiener Collection (DWC) has launched a line of home and office music systems equipped with wireless transmission software. The DW Collection fuses technology and art to achieve new levels of performance and style. They include the DWC Ferrari Art.Engine-powered speaker system, the Art.Suono wireless music transmission system, and the Art.Solista USB wireless transmission system. The systems were developed in collaboration with Aphex Systems Ltd., a world leader in the pro audio field. The DWC-Aphex circuitry restores musical harmonics, renders vocals, drums, pianos, guitars, and all instruments more distinctly and with more detail, increasing stereo imaging to create a more spacious performance. Bass frequencies are richer and deeper.  The technology enhances both low-fidelity audio systems and the finest high end products.

The Ferrari Art.Engine System is a bi-amped stereo system in a single floorstanding aluminum tower with twin line-source speakers, four 200w discrete digital amp modules, DSP signal management, and a digital wireless receiver. The Art.Engine system is two-piece, including a transmission dock plus the DWC-Aphex music enhancement circuitry. The wireless technology enables users to beam music from an iPod or iPhone, a PC/Mac, CD player, satellite radio or any other audio source directly to the Art.Engine tower. The system has a SRP of $20,000. The Art.Suono wireless music transmission system is the only audio-enhancing, two-way wireless system on the market. It has inputs for any audio source to communicate with any stereo or powered speaker system, while enhancing data-compressed music audio files. Its transmission dock is an elegant sculpture of machined aluminum with carbon fiber accents. The SRP is $1,399. The compact Art.Solista system simplifies wireless audio transmissions from computers, being equipped with a USB output. Audio can be streamed to any stereo or home theater system, at the same time improving the sound of digital audio files. SRP is $999.

Three HDMI Questions Answered – CE Pro magazine recently covered three frequent concerns about pesky HDMI cables.  The first concerned problems when required to run long cables. Screen resolution is inversely proportional to cable length, so be sure to use active extension devices with their own power supplies if you must run extra-long cables.  Do not use passive extenders.  The big bugaboo of HDMI cables falling out of the backs of components has been addressed by several makers of so-called “locking” connectors. They don’t work very well; the basic design of HDMI connectors is terrible to begin with. (I’ve settled on a cheap and messy solution that works: duct tape.) Lastly, the cable manufacturers are trying to confuse consumers with needless specs and outrageous prices. The HDMI specs identify only two types of cable: Standard and High Speed – the latter for 1080p60 resolution and above. That’s all you need.  Check for HDMI cables online (I paid $5 for a short one that works fine.)

Connecting Via HDMI – Continuing on the above theme: if your HDTV and DVD/Blu-ray player have HDMI ports, by all means use them. You may need to use a DVI connection for the video only on older components, and run the audio separately. Many of us into surround sound for music still prefer the sonics achieved with a good analog six-channel cable for audio, provided your multichannel disc player has six-channel analog output jacks.  If your HDTV has only one or not enough HDMI inputs, you will need an external HDMI switch box from OPPO, Iogear or Gefen. There’s yet another Profile coming out in HDMI later this year: 1.4 – wish they had thought it out better before launching originally. Don’t concern yourself about 1.4 – it includes things we don’t have yet, like 4Kx2K resolution and 3D; 1.3 is fine.  When you buy analog cables, check out the lower online prices such as at MonoPrice.com.  You might want to spend a bit more on speaker cables, depending on your components and speakers.  Don’t bind all the cables together in parallel, and keep them up off the carpet if its made of artificial material.  

You don’t always have to make holes in walls or floors to wire up speakers. Check out paintable wire products which attach flat to the wall with adhesive and can blend into your decor.  Label that mass of wires behind your AV system with file-folder or Dymo labels, and don’t forget to do both ends of each cable.  It will save you much frustration in the future.  Hook up your Ethernet-ported components to the Internet with the proper Ethernet cabling with connectors at both ends.  Wired connections usually work better than wireless.  There are also flat wall-mount Ethernet cables.  Finally, see if you can program the universal-type remote that came with your HDTV to also operate the basic functions of your disc players.  Most are quite flexible now in accepting learned commands from the original remotes and you can keep the originals for more arcane adjustments not frequently used.  (I used to struggle with programming all my various legacy components into a fancy universal remote system, but now I just keep the original remotes near each of the old components that I seldom use.) 

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