Boston Acoustics Colorizes Its Speaker Line – The new Boston Acoustics speaker line is built around the slogan “Play Smart,” and attempts to offer more design variety in their speakers. A spokesperson said they decided to make the grille – the least expensive part of the product – the part you can change, versus the most expensive part – the finish on the box. Thus they will offer 16 different grille color choices. One observer pointed out that the big speaker makers are focusing on looks, price and marketing.
No Substitute For Wires – With the current emphasis on wireless everything, many technicians, experts and dealers agree that “wires are still the way to go.” Hearing sounds demands some sort of hookup, even in this Wi-Fi age. Wireless speakers are plugged in somewhere. Their transmitter has to be plugged in. A speaker has to have power from somewhere – only the tiniest can run on batteries. Home digital entertainment centers have to draw power from a source, even if their sounds are distributed wirelessly. The general feeling is that the sound is inferior from all wireless speakers. That also goes for wireless headphones vs. wired models of similar price range. Of course, retrofitting a house for an all-house AV system is made easier with wireless, but the best product for whole-house AV is still felt to be wires.
Philips’ Advanced iPod Dock & Samsung iPod Competitor – Philips’ BTM630 is a Bluetooth-enabled desktop audio system with not only the usual iPod dock/charger but also an SD card clot and USB port plus a CD drive. You can rip audio files from a CD-ROM to a USB drive without needing a PC. Any other Bluetooth device – including cell phones – can play music over it. (There’s your answer as to whether the degradation of good sound can get any worse…) It’s $199. Samsung has come up with a strong competitor to Apple’s iPod at a lower price. It’s the K3 Music Player – sleek and virtually identical to the iPod Nano except that it includes an FM tuner and it doesn’t limit you to downloading music files just from iTunes as do iPods. It can’t play videos and the color on stills is a bit off, but it has 4GB of memory for MP3 & WMA music files and it’s $170.