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​Sonos One Review: The Smart Speaker

Posted on 14 December 2017

Making speakers that provide surround-sound isn’t a big deal for Sonos. Since the brand has excelled in this field, they are now all set to give a tough time to their rivals with Sonos One speaker. The company had announced an enhanced version of its trademark Play:1 speaker, which was considered as one of the best smart speakers in the market. It is worth mentioning that Amazon’s Alexa has built-in Sonos One that enables you to choose your favorite music from a whopping list of music applications (50 in total), for example, Deezer, Apply Music. Plus, it also includes Alexa’s specific applications including TuneIn Radio, Sirius XM, Spotify, Music Unlimited, etc.

Built-in Alexa app

If you are a true music lover, you will be delighted to know that Alexa will allow you to choose a particular artist or a song. It is also an excellent app that deciphers your request and turns it into an action. It means it can play music to your requests as well. You just need to make a request, for example “Play my hip-hop collection in the kitchen Alexa” and your smart Sonos One speaker will start from the top of the list or you can shuffle the music. The Sonos has made another smart move by pairing up with Pandora regarding full support to Pandora’s mobile application. All these music options are useless if the speaker does not provide quality sound but Sonos One is debuted to make a difference.

Sonos One sound quality

What is greater than listening to your favorite music and doing chores at the same time? With Sonos One speaker you can now enjoy a high-quality sound while performing multiple tasks. The sound quality is crispier and higher quality – however, you will feel as if you are listening to music on their previous model, which was the Sonos Play:1 speaker. But with the new and enhanced version, you can expect heavy bass – considering it is a tiny speaker. Also, you will notice how natural everything sounds, you will as if the singer is right in front of you, the midrange is uncongested, and the clear treble will make your music experience even amazing.

Photo by: Sonos

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​Focal Sib Evo Review

Posted on 10 November 2017

If you are looking for high-quality music experience, Focal Sib Evo has debuted with its sturdy sound and mind-boggling design. The makers are well-known for producing outstanding audio equipment. However, this time, the company has debuted brand new Sib Evo 5.1.2 sound system. The sound system will give you heavy metal concert-like-feel at home with an exceptional display that will enhance your living space. The system includes three small speakers, two large Atmos speakers, assorted documentation, power cables, the Cub Evo subwoofer and two speaker mounts.

Display and specifications

Not only does it provide an amazing audio experience, but it also has a visual appeal – the device has pretty flashy exterior! The stunning appearance of the speakers will make them the centerpiece of your house.

All the speakers carry five-inch Ployflex and are paired with ¾ inch mild dome tweeters. The two large upfront speakers have a four-inch upside-firing full-range element. This option will facilitate die-hard cinephiles, exclusively. And you can hang the speakers as well.

How to connect?

Connecting or setting up Focal Sib Evo is not a tough task if you own a receiver that handles Atmos processing. You may need a 12 gauge speaker wire (AWG), then just press the button given at the back to activate its wire sockets, then just connect your speakers to the receiver and voila, you are done! Place the subwoofer in the corner of the room facing to the front and place Atmos speakers 3m away and 2m apart from you. The two small speakers will be placed behind you while one working as the front center channel.

Sound quality

The sound quality surpasses that of any home sound system you have used before. The speakers are sturdy and can get pretty loud. The fun fact is you will be surprised with the sound quality using just 2 speakers instead of 3. If you like sound mixing – go ahead. This sound system is made to enable to create your own distinctive music experience.

Photo by: Focal

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​Yamaha MusicCast WX-010 Review

Posted on 30 October 2017

Untangling earphones is a frustratingly daunting experience. Not to mention, it happens all the time, there is just no solution to the problem. Or is there? With the Yamaha MusicCast WX-010, you won’t ever have to spend hours looking for earphones or bang your skull against the wall when you need to untangle them. The MusicCast is a cordless speaker system – designed with the sole reason to help you enjoy your music without any disruptions.

Attractive Design

The body of the WX-010 is made with black saran net, which makes the product virtually dustproof. The product is very compact and portable – you can take carry it with you or place it anywhere your house. The speaker’s big rounded corners give it a funky touch. The MusicCast WX-010 is 160mm high, robust and self-contained cuboid, which can be hanged anywhere or can be placed virtually anywhere.

The speaker system comes in two colors, black and white. Along with being compact, the product is a tiny bit heavy, but that is a good thing because you won’t be accidentally tipping it over. The speaker has USB and Ethernet ports for firmware updates, but no analogue jack is available for non-wireless gadgets.

The control panel is glossy black with a touch control system integrated on it.

Features

Downloading Yamaha’s MusicCast app can give you access to Napster, Qobuz, Juke, Spotify, and vTuner internet radio. You can also play music via DLNA, which is saved in PCs and NAS drives. The app also supports playback of AIFF, WAV and Hi-Res up to 192kHz and around 96kHz for ALAC. Plus, by connecting various MusicCast speakers, you will be able to send music/tunes to individual speakers or can play it in the entire system.

MusicCast App

The home page display tiles, each tile has a logo or an icon. Select ‘server’ for further action and explore PCs and NAS drives. You can access the Play Screen and test various playback control, access the volume slider and adjust the cover art of each music tile.

Plus you can also share your music on social media if you wish to or just head to the Rooms menu. It is easy and quick to group speakers together. But this app will not allow speakers to drop or drag as you might do in Panasonic’s superior multi-room app. Finally, click on the link icon in the Rooms menu then choose a master speaker and connect more speakers by clicking on the link.

Photo by: Yamaha

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​Zvox SB380 Review: Sound Bar with AccuVoice

Posted on 27 October 2017

Zvox’s specialty is in manufacturing devices that do marvelously well when it comes to dialogues. It enhances, smoothes and really makes it clear to hear the actor’s voice.

Features

The SB380 is a sound bar with a 3.1 channel system, 2-inch drivers, and a 4-inch bass woofer. Made with brushed aluminum, the build quality is good but unfortunately, it lacks Bluetooth. You will find controls on one end and bass port on another. The front is covered in a metal grill, which gives an orange four-character display. It displays information about volume or input selection. With Zvox’s intellivoice feature, it produces better quality dialogues and its bass-limiting circuit gives full bass with less distortion at high volumes.

We are really not happy about the lack of Bluetooth technology, but the product does have a decent number of inputs. It includes two optical connections and a stereo RCA. It comes with remote control, which makes tweaking the bass and treble an easy task. The remote also AccuVoice dialogue boasting feature, Output leveling, and variable surround features that you can control with your fingertips.

The sound department of Zvox is a mixture of love & hate. We loved the clarity of dialogues and voices when we played the movie. However, when we turned on the AccuVoice boasting feature, we found out the dialogues started losing its natural feel. We preferred to keep this feature off because SB380 itself can produce clear and sharp sounds from dialogues.

Verdict

We feel that Zvox SB380 can be a really good sound bar for someone who has not used or compared it with other brands on the market. While you can find other, less pricey alternatives, the Zvox SB380 does well when it comes to watching movies and shows. If you plan on watching quieter films and dramas with fewer sound effects, go for this sound bar.

Photo by: Zvox

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​Riva Audio Arena Review: Compact Multi-Room Speaker

Posted on 25 October 2017

Riva is hailed as a reputable Bluetooth speaker manufacturer, and with the Riva Audio Arena, the company has really transcended expectations, introducing multi-room wireless speaker technology in their latest product.

Features

The Riva Audio Arena is a tower speaker with button panels on top. The bottom of the speaker is equipped with a cover for port making and is somewhat splash proof. With an optional battery feature, the speakers can give you a playback of up to 20 hours. You can connect this in numerous ways, you can connect it with Bluetooth, with a 3.5mm audio jack, through Wi-Fi and with Wi-Fi direct. It can also connect with Spotify Connect and Google Home Platform.

The Riva Audio Arena has excellent sound quality something which is not common for small wireless speakers. The accuracy of sound is actually really good. We played a movie to test the audio quality and we were really surprised to find out that the dialogues were sharp, clean and loud enough without losing its quality. The “one note” bass is above-average and produces good quality sounds as well.

However, there is one thing which we found out that if pushed or if the sounds being played have busy arrangements, the speakers starts losing its charm, this is may be due to its small size, its best to play in surroundings like your bedroom or a small study room.

Verdict

Riva always has something best to offer and Riva Audio Arena is one of them. It does not make any comprises in sound quality and bass note frequencies for its size. They are extremely portable with a long lasting battery and there are multiple ways to connect it. If you really want to buy them, go ahead, you won’t be disappointed, but make sure that you are buying this with the intention of playing in a small room.

Photo by: Riva Audio

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​Apple TV 4K (32GB) Review: Stunning Picture Quality

Posted on 13 October 2017

Apple always comes with gadgets that are revolutionary and have a premium feel. With Amazon TV and Roku dominating the market for 4k/HDR stream boxes, Apple has released its own streaming device that can finally play movies and TV shows in 4k and HDR.

Features

Apple hasn’t really deviated from its original TV design, the new 4K TV looks similar to its predecessor, however, there are slight differences. This model is designed and raised up a bit to expose the air vents, which is what essentially keeps the Apple TV processor cool. It doesn’t come with a USB C port, but instead, Apple chose to go for an HDMI port, an upgraded gigabyte Ethernet jack, and a power outlet. The remote remains similar as well with Siri voice controls, volume controls, play/pause and same motion control capabilities. The only new addition to remote is a ring around menu button, which glows in the dark.

Powered by A10X fusion chips, it makes Apple 4k TV a lot faster and more capable of running huge files. It runs on Apple TV OS, which is far better than what others are offering. The interference is nice and user-friendly however, Apple could have done much better. It comes with 32Gb and 64gb of storage.

Apple now plays movies on HDR and 4k, which offers four times more pixel than 1080p. You can easily see very fine details in movies and TV shows. It supports Dolby Vision and HDR10. Things we loved in Apple 4k TV (32GB) are of course the quality. The colors are much richer now with the good level of depth and clarity. You can point out even the smallest details like hair strands of actors. However, what we didn’t like about Apple 4k content is that it can only be streamed, you can’t download any show or movie and for that.

Verdict

Is it worth updating to Apple 4k (32GB)? Yes because if you have files downloaded in HD quality, the TV will convert the content to 4K, absolutely free. The processor is powerful to handle large video files, the presentation is smooth and the colors are vibrant. For us, it is must-have upgrade.

Photo by: Apple

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​Yamaha YAS-207 Sound Bar Review

Posted on 04 October 2017

Yamaha mostly known for AV receivers and speakers has come up with the YAS-207 sound bar, which is mid-priced, but can live up to your expectations.

Features

The Yamaha YAS-207 comes with compelling, class-leading performance in a much practical and easy to use package. It’s a sound bar with rectangular woofers, which gives it a slightly modern look. On the front it has touch controls for power, you can use switch inputs and volume control using the panel. It has HDMI ports with HMDI-out (ARC) and HDM-in, and a standard 3.5 audio jack. It also has a USB port to update the firmware. The speaker’s configuration is 5.1 while the dimensions are 36.62 x 2.37 x 4.25 inches (W x H x D).

What makes Yamaha YAS-207 truly special is sound quality. It’s crisp, sharp and clear. The music and dialogues in movies and TV shows are loud enough with deep bass effects. You can further adjust the sound of dialogues by selecting the preset sound profile “clear voice”. This feature comes in handy when you are entertaining a larger number of guests.

The Yamaha YAS-207 produces an impressive virtual sound by using latest codes knows as DTS Virtual X. The idea of this new codec is that people can enjoy surround sound no matter where you install the device, and you will also be able to enjoy the surround-sound effect at any volume. If that’s not enough, the product also comes with 4k sound capability although the tech is not revolutionary, with this price tag it can really shame several of its expensive rivals. We tested the sound by watching a soccer match in ultra HD settings, we are happy to announce that we were impressed. The sound of the crowd and commentary did, in fact, feel as if I watching the match live. While playing a movie we noticed that background music and crowd chatting can be clearly heard.

Verdict

With its price tag, the Yamaha YAS-207 totally takes the lead; those who are short on budget, but want the experience of surround sound don’t have to look any further. This is definitely the system for you. Setting it up is very simple, balanced sound and excellent value for money totally makes it a wonderful option.

Photo by: Yamaha

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