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Audio Accessory Reviews

Pioneer Elite N-50 Network Audio Player

Pioneer Elite N-50 Network Audio Player

Pioneer currently offers two network audio players in their Elite product line. Both models are best described as media streamers since they do not store music within the player's chassis but rather acquire music from external music servers or devices. The first model is the N-30, which offers the ability to stream high-resolution digital music via Apple's AirPlay or from DLNA-compatible servers. The second model and subject of this review is the N-50 that builds upon the functionality of the N-30 by adding an asynchronous USB DAC as well as optical and coaxial digital inputs so the N-50 can be used as an outboard D/A converter.

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Anthem Room Correction (ARC) System - Part 2 - Including a Subwoofer

Anthem Room Correction ARC Part 2 - Including a SubwooferIn Part 1 of this series, we discussed the Anthem ARC (Anthem Room Correction) firmware that is present in their SSPs as well as the AVRs which have a  reduced filter bank size. By far, the most significant sonic issue for acoustic music when a subwoofer is deployed occurs around the crossover from the subwoofer to the main speaker. In Part 2 of this series, we take a look at Anthem's ARC (Anthem Room Correction) when adding a subwoofer to the system.

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MartinLogan Mikros 90 On-Ear Headphones

MartinLogan Mikros 90 HeadphonesNot wanting to be left out of the lucrative headphone market, MartinLogan has released the noise isolating Mikros 90. Instead of going the exotic, high-end route of designing a pair of electrostatic headphones to mimic their famous loudspeakers, MartinLogan has created a pair of lightweight, portable headphones called the Mikros 90 that at only $299, fall directly into the low-priced high-end headphone sector.

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Bryston BDA-2 DAC

Bryston BDA-2Following on the highly successful BDA-1 DAC, Bryston has raised the bar with the addition of an asynchronous USB input and reduced distortion in their new BDA-2 DAC. Take a look at what I found. The performance is quite a surprise.

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Meridian Explorer USB DAC

Meridian Explorer USB DACComputer audio is all the rage now, with many people moving their entire digital collections to music servers, and the laptop taking the place of the CD player in many systems. The technologies behind USB DACs have evolved rapidly to where the interface is now on the same level as Coaxial or Optical interfaces. One area that hasn't been addressed as well is the portable audio market, as most USB DACs are rack-sized components that require a wall power supply. This is certainly not a convenient option for those of us that want high-resolution audio on the go.

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Anthem Room Correction (ARC) System - Part 1

Anthem Room Correction ARC System-Part 1Among the numerous room correction systems I have tested, the Anthem ARC currently stands out as the best for consumers. In this mulit-part review, I take you through how room correction works, and give you some results I obtained in several rooms of my home.

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Audeze LCD3 Planar Magnetic Headphones

Audeze LCD3 Planar Magnetic HeadphonesAt $1,995 MSRP, Audeze has produced an elite set of headhphones called the LCD3 that most would consider out of their financial reach. However, think about how much would it cost to build a two-channel full size speaker system capable of the performance of the LCD3? Maybe $4K?

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HiFiMAN HE-300 Over-the-Ear Headphones

HiFiMAN HE-300 headphones

HifiMAN headphones are well known around these parts in the Secrets community. A Headphone of the Year award will do that for you. In a possible effort to "spread the wealth" and grant access to their awesome headphones without breaking the bank, they've introduced the HE-300 over the ear headphones.

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iRule Home Automation System Review - Controller Application

iRule Home Automation System Review - Controller Application

Ever since I built my first AV system, I have wanted a slick touch-screen remote to control it all. Let's face it; once you have more than just a TV in your media room, you need a way to integrate that pile of remotes into an...

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XTZ Room Analyzer II Pro Room Acoustics Analyzer Kit

XTZ Room Analyzer II ProWe've all heard the adage a dozen times: your room is far more important to the sound that you get out of your system than the system itself. While this statement may very well be true, the process of tackling "your room" is far more difficult than deciding what type of receiver or speaker wire you should buy. Welcome to the world of acoustics: incredibly complicated and undoubtedly intimidating. The XTZ Room Analyzer may just be the thing to help get you into this world a little easier.

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Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint® Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Audio Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint® Active Noise-Cancelling HeadphonesAudio Technica's ATH-ANC9 Over-the-Ear Headphones don't have an overly heavy duty look to them, which makes them unassuming and clean looking. But, of course, headphones are about functionality. Read our review to see how they functioned.

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