Yamaha MusicCast CD-NT670D Review

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the yamaha CD-NT670D was nothing more than a typical hi-fi CD player, albeit one with a rather slim profile and compact dimensions. But looks can deceive, as is the case here. Packed inside that tiny (314 x 70 x 338 mm) chassis is not only a highly specified CD player, but also a fully fledged music streamer and a DAB/FM tuner, with support for Yamaha’s MusicCast multi-room audio system.

It comes as part of the MCR-N670D and MCR-N870D mini hi-fi systems, but it can also be purchased separately and connected to any hi-fi system with an analogue input. It comes in 2 versions, the CD-NT670 being the model below it in the range. The only apparent difference between the 2 models is the omission of a DAB tuner in the lower model, but the two are otherwise identical. Only the DAB-equipped CD-NT670D model is available in the UK, however.

Purchase an MCR-N670, and you’ll get the A-670 amplifier and NS-BP301 speakers as part of the package. The MCR-N870 system gives you an upgrade to the A-U670 amplifier with its DSD-capable USB DAC, and the larger NS-BP401 speakers. Those models are equipped with a CD-NT670 network CD player, but if you purchase the model of either system with an appending D you’ll receive the CD-NT670D which includes the DAB tuner. The model on review here is the CD-NT670D, which we’ll simply refer too as the 670D from here on out.

Features

Naturally, the main selling point of the 670D is its compatibility with Yamaha’s MusicCast multi-room audio system. At first glance you’d possibly be forgiven for thinking that musicCast was simply another competitor to the likes of Sonos, but the MusicCast system is far more versatile, bridging the gap between traditional hi-fi and lifestyle audio products. It’s also one of the largest systems, boasting a portfolio of more than 30 products including traditional hi-fi components, small speaker systems and even a piano.

All MusicCast products are designed to be used individually or in conjunction with one another. For example, if you purchase a MusicCast speaker such as the WX-030 as your first MusicCast product, you’re able to use it both as a traditional Bluetooth or AirPlay speaker, and even control it via the MusicCast app. There’s no central hub controlling the system, no complicated wiring required, and the flexibility of the system means it can grow piece by piece. It’s also possible to use the system with non MusicCast products, as the Bluetooth-compatible MusicCast products can also transmit audio to other Bluetooth devices such as Bluetooth speakers or wireless headphones.

The 670D provides a wealth of digital connectivity. Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth (2.1+EDR) are onboard, as well as support for the vTuner internet radio service and a host of streaming services including Juke, Spotify Connect and Napster, depending on your country of residence. Media can be streamed via a DLNA media server, USB devices connected to the front panel USB jack and via a smartphone using the free MusicCast control app available for iOS and Android. The unit connects to your network via Wi-Fi or via a 10/100base-TX ethernet jack on the back.

The 670D supports all common file formats, including FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3, WMA, M4A and AAC. Resolutions of up to 24-bit, 192KHZ are supported, though ALAC is limited to a sampling rate of 96KHZ. The unit does support gapless playback.

On the tuner side, both DAB (174 MHz to 240 MHz Band III) and FM (87.5 MHz to 108.0 MHz) with RDS are supported. There are 30 presets for each, which can be entered manually or filled automatically. The CD player will happily play just about any disc that’ll fit in the tray, including standard red book CDs and writable CD-R and CD-RW discs. MP3 and WMA discs are also supported.

The player is designed to be eco friendly, consuming a maximum of 16W when in use. By default, that drops to just 1.8W in standby, as the unit will keep its network circuits active so as to enable the system to be powered on via the app. This feature can be disabled by enabling the eco mode, at which point the unit will draw just 0.1W in standby, but you will lose the ability to power up the system via the control app or an AirPlay or Bluetooth device.

First Impressions

In the box, you’ll find the 670D itself wrapped in a cotton cloth bag, along with a remote control and batteries, some documentation and a run of the mill RCA interconnect cable. You also get a wire antenna for the tuner section and a combined wifi and bluetooth antenna which comes preinstalled on the back of the unit.

Looking at the player itself, its front panel is deceptively simple. An alpha-numeric display takes up most of the panel, above which sits Yamaha’s traditional slim disc tray with an eject button. The display offers 3 brightness levels which can be adjusted using the units remote control, and indicators for Bluetooth, sleep, shuffle/repeat, Mute, FM stereo and tuning.

To the left sits a power button and a USB jack used to connect an iOS device or a USB storage device. On the right, a rotary source selector is joined by a set of transport controls including previous, next, play/pause and stop. The latter control doubles up as the connect button when setting up the yamaha MusicCast system.

On the back you’ll find the permanently attached power cable, along with the combined wifi and bluetooth antenna preinstalled in its screw terminal. The unit supports the 802.11 A/B/G/N wi-fi protocols at 2.4GHZ, and the bluetooth connection has a maximum communication range of 10 m (32.8FT). The analogue outputs are via a pair of standard RCA jacks, and there’s a single digital input in the form of an optical connection. I’d have preferred to see a coaxial digital input as opposed too or in conjunction with that of the optical variety, and perhaps a digital output or 2 so as to enable the 670D to interface with an external DAC.

There’s an analogue input via a second pair of RCA terminals, intended to allow analogue devices to be connected to the unit when it’s being used with the matching A-U670 amplifier, and also allowing an analogue device such as a turntable to form part of the MusicCast system. Finally, a 3.5MM control jack connects to compatible Yamaha products, such as one of the matching amplifiers to allow them to be controlled by the unit.

At 2.9KG, the 670D feels weighty for its size with a high level of fit and finish throughout. I was particularly pleased to note that the wifi controller has now been internalised, previous Yamaha machines required a wifi bridge or access point be connected up via the ethernet jack to get them online wirelessly. The CD tray is smooth and quiet, as is the transport mechanism itself. Variable-speed buffering technology stabilises the rotation rate of the disk, reducing vibration and mechanical noise during playback, meaning the transport is virtually inaudible when a disc is playing. The controls also have a solid tactile feel to them, particularly the input dial which offers a well defined click as you navigate between the sources.

I do find those front panel transport controls to be a little redundant, however. They’re great for controlling CD, server, AirPlay or USB playback, but they won’t allow you to skip through tracks when you’re streaming via a mobile device, nor can you use them to control the tuner. Use of such functions will require the remote or the control app. You also can’t access the settings menu without the remote control. I can’t help thinking those controls could’ve been put to better use, for example, allowing the previous and next controls to scroll through tuner stations, and holding the play/pause control to change the tuner band. Pressing the previous and next buttons simultaneously for 3 seconds could take you into the settings, at which point the 4 controls could be used to enter settings in the menu.

The Remote

The remote is identical to that supplied by Yamaha with previous generations of their hi-fi component range. It’s not the best remote I’ve experienced, but it’s far from the worst. The controls are a little small, but they’re well spaced and laid out in a logical fashion. Power is provided by a pair of included AA batteries which install into a solid compartment at the back. The remote control also provides a favourites button which, when pressed, can automatically power up the system and play back a preset music source be that an internet, FM or DAB radio station or any of the other supported music sources.

Setup

Once connected to the matching amp and speakers also supplied for review, I fired up the MusicCast app and was presented with a screen offering the option to setup new MusicCast device or to enter the app’s demo mode, which provides a selection of preset rooms as an indication of the capabilities of the system to a prospective buyer. Tapping the setup button guides you through the setup of your MusicCast device.

The procedure is hassle-free, and within moments of holding down the stop/connect button on the front of the 670D to enable the app to detect its presence, I had the player up and running on the wireless network, and a room name assigned. You can also personalise your room with a photo.

In Use

Throughout this review, the 670D was controlled almost exclusively via the control app. Upon completing the setup, the app immediately alerted me to the availability of a firmware update which I was able to initialise at the tap of a button, a progress bar on my iPhone detailing the update process. yamaha’s previous control apps lacked the ability to initiate a software update via the app and I’m pleased to see that this has now been rectified.

With the firmware updated, the player started up by default in CD mode. The app first presents a screen in which to select one of the rooms on your MusicCast network.

After selecting a room, the app presents a list of sources, along with access to your favourites and a search control which can search both the internet radio stations and your local on-device library. I’d like to see the ability to search local USB storage media and perhaps a connected DLNA media server.

Searching the on-device library provides instantaneous results, presenting both artist and album suggestions. Selecting a suggestion displays the track list, as you would expect.

Selecting a song brings up the now playing screen which includes volume and mute controls, a set of transport controls, and a link control to send the audio to multiple MusicCast products at once. The example here shows the 670D playing a Wolf Alice CD and displaying the CD text including the track name, artist and album. Here is also where you can alter any sound settings for a given device, the example here showing the equaliser of a WX-030 speaker.

In link mode, you can see all of your available devices and select those that you wish to have form a group. Once linked, any audio selected will transmit to all of those devices simultaneously. The now playing screen allows you to alter the volume of individual units, or control the group volume of the system via a single slider.

Closing the now playing screen takes you back to the previous screen, be that your track list or list of input sources. As you navigate the app for the first time, it’ll display a selection of handy help hints to show you how to find your way around. They’ll only display once, but if you forget something you can re-enable the messages in the settings.

Accessing the internet radio section allows you to browse through the entire vTuner station library of more than 35,000 stations. Stations can be browsed by location or genre, and there’s a separate library for podcasts.

The app lacks the ability to save and manage vTuner internet radio presets. Doing so requires that you register on the vTuner website and provide them your system ID, at which point you can manage your presets via their web interface. This limitation was present in previous Yamaha apps and I suspect it’s a limitation of the vTuner service itself.

The room select screen also offers access to a settings page, giving access to both app and device settings as well as the ability to add a new MusicCast device to the system. Tapping on one of your existing rooms allows you to edit the names of the input sources, as well as hide those you don’t use.

You can control the auto standby mode which will switch the system off after a period of inactivity, sign into your Juke and Napster accounts, and change the room name and photo. You can also view information about the device, including its network information, firmware version, current volume and system UDID, which is used to register the system on the vTuner internet radio website.

The app settings portion gives access to a few appearance settings, along with the ability to automatically disable the auto locking feature of your device when the app is running. You can also change the location name and clear all app data from your device.

Other settings can be accessed using the menus on the device, or via the configuration page found by typing the unit’s IP address into a web browser. The configuration page allows you to alter the room name, network connection settings, mac address filtering, initiate a firmware update, set an AirPlay password or enable / disable the network standby function.

Sound

Sound wise, the CD-NT670 offers up a sound that is packed with detail. It’s a very neutral presentation with no apparent exaggeration of any particular band of the frequency spectrum. Its ability to portray a convincing stereo image is particularly evident, though it’s not a player to over emphasise in that regard either. What goes in is, for the most part, what comes out.

Summary

In summary, I find it hard to fault Yamaha’s CD-NT670D. Ordinarily a CD player of this caliber would set you back a substantial amount of your hard-earned cash, and that’s not to mention the DAB+ tuner, the prices of which have been steadily increasing as internet radio continues to take precedence.

But when that CD player not only includes the tuner but a fully fledged high-resolution network streamer, not to mention full multi-room audio support, you’re looking at a product that offers serious value for money. The CD-NT670 is as good as any stand-alone CD player, streamer or tuner at this price and beyond. An outstanding product, Highly recommended.

Read more at: http://www.audioappraisal.com/yamaha-musiccast-cd-nt670d-review/

Where to buy Yamaha: https://www.abtec.co.nz/product-search.php?keyword=nt670&category=&brand=&search=

Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless Review

B&W’s P7 over-ear headphones go wireless, with spectacular results…

“2016 Award Winner”

Our Verdict 

B&W’s wireless headphones meet the high standard that we’ve come to expect from the company

For:

Stylish design

Good audio quality

Easy usability

Against:

Nothing of note
Reviewed on 13th September 2016

If you’re looking for over-ear Bluetooth headphones, you’re probably going to be making your selection based on four main factors: their sound quality, their aesthetics, their comfort and their price.

These B&Ws have the same design as the stylish, wired P7s that won the What Hi-Fi? Award for ‘Best portable on-ear’ headphones in 2013. A case, it would seem, of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” from B&W.

Comfort and build

These wireless equivalents have all the best initial qualities of their wired siblings: the earpads are very comfortable and can be worn all day.

They have the same 17-hour lithium battery as the wireless P5s, charged via USB, so it’s unlikely you’re ever going to run out of power during the day as long as you start fully charged.

Features

The P7’s aptX Bluetooth connectivity is controlled via the power button: slide it across to turn on and off, and push it inwards to make the headphones discoverable to new devices.

Once paired with a device, these cans don’t need to be made discoverable again to connect.

The headphones provide audio feedback too, by playing a different sound when they are being turned on, made discoverable, or turned off, in case you’re connecting the P7s while still wearing them.

On the right earpad lie the controls for volume and playback, each of which are clearly distinguished from the other by the raised design of the middle button that toggles playback.

As we would expect, the middle button is able to play and pause any media via Apple MusicNetflix and Amazon Prime Video across laptops, smartphones and tablets, and can be used to trigger voice-controlled assistants like Apple’s Siri.

Sound

We start with Where Is My Mind by The Pixies – the test here being whether the P7s can keep the contrast between the quiet background echoes and the distortion in the guitar balanced and organised.

Turns out they manage to do both, keeping the high-pitched wailing under control without ever overcooking the treble.

The midrange is clear and Black Francis’ haunting rhetorical questions are given the space to linger in the air before diving down into the lower octaves. And they do so without any noticeable peaks and dips that would take away the eerie essence of the song.

Changing to something more pop, Pitbull and Ke$ha’s collaboration Timber stays upbeat and fun with a lot of emotion in both the artists’ vocals.

These headphones do a good job of conveying the deep growl in Pitbull’s voice and revealing a harsh edge to it, making you believe that he could be singing this having just come out of a club.

Great headphones should be able to point your attention towards new details in songs, even those that you’ve heard a number of times. Sure enough, we find the P7s expose undiscovered facets in tracks we know backwards via lesser media.

The P7s have a good control of the dynamics too; able to smoothly build from the harmonica at the start of Timber to the crescendo of the loud club. The message is these headphones can effectively recreate the atmosphere of a range of music with ease.

The deep bass beats are generous, perhaps a touch overly so, yet are managed particularly well in the way they keep the sound taut and tuneful while sustaining plenty of attack. At the other end of the spectrum, the high notes have a rich texture to them without erring on the bright side and on the whole, the P7s deliver a comfortably full-bodied sound.

Should you need to, you have the option of connecting the wireless P7s to your device via a supplied lead. As we would expect, this results in improved transparency and detail – in exchange for the freedom of Bluetooth connectivity.

Verdict

We can’t say we’re surprised, but the fact is the P7 Wireless headphones set a high standard for other competitors in this price range to reach. B&W has built a very impressive pair of Bluetooth headphones that we’d certainly recommend for their sound quality, stylish design, and user-friendly Bluetooth controls.

Breakdown

Sound: 5 Stars

Build: 5 Stars

Comfort: 5 Stars

Features: 5 Stars

Read more at: https://www.whathifi.com/bw/p7-wireless/review#IgvWvQEwXck1Gqq3.99

Where to buy B&W:  https://www.abtec.co.nz/product-search.php?keyword=Bowers+%26+Wilkins+P7+Wireless&category=&brand=&search=

Yamaha BD-S681 Blu-ray Disc Player Review

The Yamaha BD-S681 is a blu-ray disc player that comes with a variety of modern features, including the built-in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also 4K Ultra HD video upscaling, so it is fully compatible with 4K televisions. This Blu-ray player supports a number of different disc formats as well as high-resolution audio reproduction. The rigid overall construction of this blu-ray player makes it incredibly stable and reliable.

Yamaha is definitely a major, trusted brand name when it comes to electronics, so you can trust that it is certainly not just another cheap knockoff. The high-quality circuitry that was used to build this player allows for audio precision. With Miracast compatibility as well as integrated wireless, those who purchase it will be able to connect wirelessly throughout their household with a router. If you don’t happen to have a Wi-Fi router in your home, the Wi-Fi Direct feature will allow you to stream music and movies directly from your mobile device. Reviews online by customers that own this Yamaha Blu-ray Player are positive even though the product hasn’t been on the market for a long time- it is a hot new release. One of the most common comments on it is that it is very easy to setup, and that it plays a variety of discs smoothly and without any issues whatsoever. The exceptional picture and audio quality is something else that many people who have purchased this product appreciate.

Those who are in the process of trying to find the ideal blu-ray player out there will definitely want to pay close attention to this one. Although it is a little on the pricier side, this Yamaha is definitely one of the better models you will be able to find. With HDMI output, an AV controller app, and support for Wi-Fi among other modern features, it is no wonder why so many people have given this device positive overall reviews online. As a whole, the Yamaha BD-S681 Blu-ray Player can make for an excellent addition to any home theater setup. While its fairly high price tag might be a little intimidating for some, it is well worth it when you consider everything you get for the money you spend. With the ability to use this device to watch Netflix, stream videos off a mobile device, watch videos on YouTube and a number of other things, is a great investment to make. This Yamaha is head and shoulders above most others on the

Read more at: http://www.electronicscritique.com/yamaha-bd-s681-blu-ray-disc-player-review/

Where to buy Yamaha: https://www.abtec.co.nz/Yamaha_BD_S681_

 

B&W P9 Signature Review

Our Verdict: 5 Stars

Their price tag will be a consideration, but the B&W P9s wholly make up for it in the way they sound

For:

Stunning midrange clarity

Superb detail levels

Weighty, agile bass

Precise but exciting character

Comfortable and sturdy build

Against:

Bass a touch on the rich side for neutral ears

Fifty years is a milestone that deserves celebrating. A time to reflect on what has been, and what’s yet to come.

While most do that with cake and a glass or two, Bowers & Wilkins has done it with a brand new pair of headphones. And a pretty special pair at that.

The B&W P9 Signature headphones are B&W’s new flagship over-ears, and they mark the company’s 50th anniversary by donning the Signature branding, like the Signature Diamond and the Signature 30 speakers before them.

They also take on board everything the company has learnt about headphones in the past seven years, since the launch of the first B&W P5s, with every part of the P9’s custom made and built from scratch.

That’s not to say they haven’t been inspired by elsewhere in B&W’s long history though.

In fact, engineered by the same team responsible for the high-end 800 Series D3 loudspeaker, they are a pretty strong nod to their heritage.

Build and comfort:

Before we get to that though, let’s start with their colour.

To make them stand out from the more modern black and chrome of the P range past and present, B&W has opted for a rather retro brown for the P9s. Very 1970s hi-fi.

The leather is slightly different too. There’s sturdier Saffiano leather on the outer earcups and headband, alongside softer leather on the earpads and headband cushion. The headband sits on top of memory foam, much like the P7 Wireless.

They’re fairly comfortable, though those with smaller heads may find the ear cups don’t have the range of movement to allow the earpads to seal properly.

Also, they do have a tendency to make your ears a little warm over long periods of listening.

The chrome accents on the arms and headband have also been replaced with thicker, sturdier brushed aluminium, decoupled from the earcups to prevent unwanted vibrations affecting the sound – thinking the P9s borrowed from B&W’s speakers.

Inside, the brand new 40mm drive units have been angled inwards slightly to create a more direct and natural listening experience.

The driver suspension is also more like that in a traditional speaker than a pair of headphones, allowing for freer driver movement in an effort to deliver better frequency response.

Despite their more premium price tag usually being associated with at home headphones, the P9 Signatures feel like they’ve been built with out-and-about in mind.

For a start, the arms fold in for a more portable shape, and their closed back design means they won’t leak sound to nearby commuters or colleagues.

Similarly, their memory foam earpads do a great job of muffling outside noise as well, without the need for noise cancelling, and they’re sensitive enough that you don’t need to have your phone volume at full whack in order to hear them.

More of a hint is the cables they come with. The one that comes fitted is the inline remote and microphone cable for use with phones. But you’ll also find a plain cable and a 5m option for using at home with the included 6.3mm adapter.

Lacking a headphone jack on your device? Apple iPhone 7 users will be able to request a Lightning cable for free from early next year, with later batches including a Lightning cable in the box.

A pretty flexible pair of headphones then, but it’s in the performance that you’ll really hear where your money has been spent.

Sound:

 You’ll want to give these a good run in to get the best from them. Ours were still improving 50 hours in – before that you certainly won’t be hearing what they’re really capable of dynamically and rhythmically.

Give them time to stretch their legs, and the wait is worth it. They’re head and shoulders above what B&W has produced from its headphone range to date. And that’s from a range we’ve given five stars to across the board.

Of course, their price tag is more than double that of the previous flagship cans, so it’s to be expected that these deliver the improvements that they do.

There’s a real sense of space here, with vocals and instruments layered on top of one another with room to breathe.

They don’t place sounds quite as accurately as something like the open back Beyerdynamic T1s, but it’s a really airy performance for closed back cans.

They don’t mess around when served a complicated track either. Play Bergschrund by DJ Shadow, and the P9 Signatures show just how capable they are at grabbing onto a rhythm and holding on tightly, no matter what’s going on around it.

The track’s choppy beat is delivered with precision and punch while the various elements of the busy track build around it, making sense of every electronic interlude and offbeat note that DJ Shadow can throw at the mix.

Precise then, but not so much that they’re uptight – these headphones know how to let loose.

Feed them Chance the Rapper’s jovial Angels, and they’ll jump behind the steel drum melody with bounce and enthusiasm, their talent with dynamics moving the song along with a good balance of pace and attack.

Like other B&W headphones, the P9 Signature’s balance leans towards a slightly richer, more prominent bass, but as weighty as it is, it’s also full of detail and impressively agile.

It lends solidity and authority to the overall character, and manages to underpin the whole sound rather than impress itself upon any other part of the frequency range.

This ensures there’s real transparency through the midrange, delivering huge insight into vocals and telling the whole story of every strum, pluck and plonk of an instrumental.

The treble is never an issue either, offering an open and natural sound in the top end that’s never squeezed or limited.

Never is this clearer than with a piece of orchestral music, like Mozart’s Don Giovanni Suite KV 527 – Madamina (Leporello). Violins are crisp and textured, with depth in every bow, while flutes flutter and soar without constraint.

There’s never any harshness or hardness that you might hear on lesser headphones, and everything sounds as it should, as if it were being played right in front of you. Not always easy with sounds like this.

Dynamics are put to good test here too, and to great success.

The quieter sections are delivered with an effective calm and consideration, but the P9s are equally happy to pick up the pace at the drop of a hat, building to a big crescendo with all the drama and showiness that a big orchestral finish requires.

Verdict:

 There’s no doubt that the P9 Signatures are a very talented pair of headphones. No matter what you feed them, they find themselves right at home, delivering a sound that’s not just accurate, but that’s enjoyable too.

Their price tag won’t be easy to swallow for many, but the detail, dynamic and organisational improvements these offer over the rest of the B&W headphones range, makes them worthy of their price, not to mention their flagship status.

And hey, if you can’t go all out on your birthday, then when can you?

Read more at: http://www.whathifi.com/bw/p9-signature/review

Where to buy B&W: https://www.abtec.co.nz/Bowers_and_Wilkins_P9_

 

Klipsch The One & Klipsch The Three Review

We’ve recently tested Klipsch’s The One and The Three Bluetooth and WiFi speakers, the latest additions to the American manufacturer’s Heritage range. It thus comes as no surprise that the compact, portable Bluetooth speaker The One and its WiFi-enabled big sister The Three have inherited their esthetic codes from the Klipsch Heresy III speakers.

Klipsch The One: presentation

Klipsch’s The One speaker is equipped with a Bluetooth 4.0 receiver as well a line-level input to enable wireless playback (audio files, online radio programs, Deezer, Spotify, etc.) once paired with a smartphone, tablet, portable computer or even certain DAPs. According to the manufacturer, its integrated battery will provide 8 hours of musical enjoyment far from all sources of mains power on a single charge. So far, nothing out of the ordinary for a Bluetooth speaker.

At the heart of the speaker, meanwhile, a very unique set of components has been assembled. Klipsch has fitted this small speaker with two of its own full range drivers (2.25”), along with a 4.5” woofer and two passive drivers of similar dimensions. As a reminder, the passive drivers (installed along the sides of the speaker) act as resonators to naturally amplify the bass register (around 56 Hz). The speakers’ amplifier delivers 30 Watts RMS and can handle peaks of 50 Watts. Thus equipped, the Klipsch The One can produce a maximum sound level of 103 dB (at a distance of 1 m), from approximately 56 Hz to 20 Hz.

For a speaker measuring 32 cm wide, 15 cm high and 13 cm deep, the ability to reproduce such generous bass is extraordinary.

The Klipsch The One’s copper-plated control panel

The Klipsch The One and Klipsch The Three speakers proudly sport a vintage Klipsch logo bearing the initials of the brand’s founder, Paul Wilbur Klipsch.

Originating from the Heritage range, the Klipsch The One speaker’s enclosure is composed of MDF and its bottom and top panels are made of solid wood. Its remaining four panels are covered with black nylon acoustic cloth. A copper-colored metal plaque with two potentiometers (source selector and volume) and a power switch, all of which are also composed of metal, has been embedded into the speaker’s top panel. The Klipsch The One speaker handsomely shows that it means business.

Sparing no expense, the bottom panel of the Klipsch the One speaker is made of solid wood.

The Klipsch The Three on the left and the Klipsch The One on the right, both viewed from the side

Klipsch The Three: presentation

The WiFi-enabled Klipsch The Three speaker benefits from the same esthetic codes as its little sister, but to the wireless Bluetooth receiver it adds a WiFi controller, a phono preamp (for connection to a turntable with an MM cartridge) and a USB DAC (for computers). Without a battery, the Klipsch The Three has been designed for home use only. As it handles the DTS Play-Fi multiroom streaming technology, a smartphone or tablet with the Klipsch Stream app for iOS/Android may be used to listen to audio files and online music streaming services. Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal and online radio stations may thus be directly accessed. Spotify is also handled, but on the condition that the online streaming service’s native app be used, and its Spotify Connect function enabled.

Larger in size, the Klipsch The Three integrates two 2.25” full range drivers, a 5.25” woofer and two passive drivers of similar dimensions. Its amplification system provides 60 Watts RMS (80 W in peaks), thus ensuring a maximum sound level of 106 dB (twice as intense as the Klipsch The One) along with a more extensive frequency response in the lows (45 Hz). The speaker’s structure remains the same, with the addition of a wider connection panel at the back.

The Klipsch The Three’s USB type B connector allows for connection to a computer (Mac, PC) and handles 24 bits/96 kHz audio stream

Klipsch The One & The Three: test conditions

We listened to the Klipsch The One speaker in our listening room (operating on mains power) and outside (operating on battery power), with Bluetooth connectivity enabled in both cases. As for the Klipsch The Three speaker, we also enabled its Bluetooth mode, but above all we used its WiFi function to listen to CD-quality as well as studio-quality FLAC files. The Klipsch The Three had no trouble with 24 bit/192 kHz audio stream. We used the Klipsch Stream app just as often as our Meizu smartphone’s built-in music player (DLNA playback).

The Klipsch Stream app, available for iOS and Android. Every DLNA-compatible audio player can stream music to the speaker.

Klipsch The One: listening impressions

As we had formerly been able to listen to one of the original Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 packs, we were well versed in the American brand’s approach, and while horn-loaded drivers weren’t on the agenda for these compact models, Klipsch has nonetheless outfitted its The One speaker with some perfectly serious, very well filtered drivers. The sound output and high-octane energy seemed like an anomaly for a speaker of this size. Its sonic profile combines robust and well-articulated bass frequencies with smooth and well-defined mids and highs. The Klipsch The One is a little firecracker which packs a lot more punch than the competition.

The Klipsch The Three’s control panel includes a power switch and 5 inputs to choose from

Klipsch The Three: listening impressions

The innate charm of the Klipsch The Three is difficult to resist, as this speaker delivers crystal-clear high-mids and outstandingly deep bass. It dives deep, gives justice where justice is due, and never gets muddy–in short, it’s simply full of life. The highs are brought farther forward than with the Klipsch The One, but we can’t complain, as the result is rewarding. The listening experience is delightfully enhanced with extra character and breadth. In our listening room, the Klipsch The Three produced more bass than the majority of speakers we’ve tested as of late. Which goes to say that it is capable of providing endless hours of enjoyment!

Klipsch The One & The Three: conclusions

What we liked: the vintage design, the finish quality, the solid bass delivery, the energy

What we would have liked: a WiFi controller for the Klipsch The One, an optical input for the Klipsch The Three

Two excellent WiFi and Bluetooth speakers, one capable of churning out high-quality sound on the terrace and the other able to fill a 50m2 living room, with both being as enjoyable at low volume as they are at maximum volume. The Klipsch The One stays more neutral, but it’s the Klipsch The Three which is the most attractive offer, thanks to its joyful and authoritative performance in Bluetooth or WiFi mode or via the line-level input. Indeed, the Klipsch The Three outperforms models sold for twice its price.

Read more at: http://blog.son-video.com/en/2016/12/review-klipsch-the-one-klipsch-the-three/

Where to buy Klipsch: https://www.abtec.co.nz/product-search.php?keyword=Klipsch+Heritage&category=&brand=&search=

 

Sony MDR-1000X review

OUR SCORE: 5 Stars

PROS:

Light and comfortable

Excellent noise-cancellation

Superb sound quality

Adjustable ANC level

Excellent mic for calls

Long battery life

Cons:

There’s a knack to the touch controls

KEY FEATURES:

Active Noise-Cancellation

Bluetooth

Capacitive touch controls

Personal Optimizer mode

Quick Listen mode

Backup 3.5mm wired connection

Hard carry case and airplane adaptor

Manufacturer: Sony

Review Price: £330.00

WHAT ARE THE SONY MDR-1000X?

Wireless over-ear headphones with active noise cancellation. This is hardly a new territory for a company of Sony’s stature, but nonetheless this is a decided move to dominate this end of the market. The Sony MDR-1000X is here to take down the ubiquitous Bose, whose headphones are a common sight on every plane and train.

It’s pretty good timing, too. The iPhone 7 has done away with the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, and those who don’t want to faff about with adaptors will be needing a good cord-cutting alternative. The demand for good wireless headphones has never been higher.

Sony’s biggest obstacle is the Bose QuietComfort 35, which have all but claimed this turf. But Sony isn’t simply offering silence and freedom of movement: it also has some clever tricks to give you greater control over playback and isolation. These skills make Sony a formidable challenger to the throne. Sorry Bose, the Sony MDR-1000X are the new headphones to beat.

SONY MDR-1000X – DESIGN

These are smart-looking headphones, with minimal branding and a streamlined silhouette. They look a little plain from afar, but get closer and you’ll see Sony has made a firm gesture towards luxury. The construction is primarily plastic but it feels tough rather than tacky. There’s polished metal in the headband, and the ear cups and ear pads are wrapped in a very believable synthetic leather that feels lovely.

They don’t just look great: these headphones feel good, too. The polyurethane foam stuffed in the ear pads is very squishy and conforms to the shape of your head. The headband uses just the right amount of pressure to stay put, gripping rather than squeezing. They’re also light enough to sit on your head for hours. I wore them on a flight and managed to fall asleep.

Build quality is strong; there’s no creaking and the headband expands with decisive clicks. Compared to the Bose QC35’s basic plastic construction, the Sony MDR-1000X look and feel far more luxurious. Look after them – there’s a hard case included – and they should last you a while.

SONY MDR-1000X – FEATURES

Despite the subdued appearance, there’s plenty going on here. The left ear cup has an NFC chip for speedy Bluetooth pairing. The right ear cup offers touch-sensitive controls.

Swiping forwards and backwards to change tracks is easy enough, as is swiping up and down for volume. The double-tap pause/play command takes some practice (you need to hit the right spot) but I got used to it quickly enough.

Tucked away on the edges of the ear cups are a micro USB port for charging and a 3.5mm connection for cabling up when your 20-hour battery runs out. The fact that it’s a 3.5mm jack on the MDR-1000X means finding a replacement is much easier than the Bose QuietComfort range, which use 2.5mm to 3.5mm cables.

The physical buttons are here, too, with raised edges so you can press them without looking. So far so normal, but here’s what separates the Sony MDR-1000X from its rivals: there are some clever modes accessible from these buttons that give you an unprecedented amount of control over how you listen. A clear voice prompt is piped through the headphones so you know what mode you’ve engaged.

The Personal NC Optimizer analyses the shape of your head and tailors the sound to each listener. The Ambient Sound mode lets you choose to let some sound through, for when you don’t want total isolation. The Quick Listen mode temporarily lets you hear everything without taking off the headphones.

Internally, DSEE HX processing promises to upscale low-quality compressed music files. These headphones are compatible with aptX Bluetooth for higher quality streaming, but you also get Sony’s own LDAC codec. Sony claims it transmits up to three times more data than conventional Bluetooth, but it only works with certain devices, such as its Xperia smartphones and Walkman digital audio players.

SONY MDR-1000X – NOISE CANCELLATION

Until now, Bose has been the undisputed king of noise cancellation. Well, consider that claim disputed. I’ve used the Sony MDR-1000X for nearly two weeks and I reckon they’re just as good at blocking the outside world.

Like all ANC headphones, the Sony MDR-1000X are better at handling constant noise at low frequencies, but they’re also great at turning everything else down a few notches. I tried them on a plane, and they reduced the roaring engines to a whimper. I got even better results on my daily train commute.

The general hubbub of London streets was no match, either. I’ve walked right next to road works and moving buses and my music was never interrupted. These headphones only struggled with wind noise, which seems to confuse the microphones. To be fair, I’ve not found a single pair of ANC headphones immune to this.

There’s none of the hiss and whine that often afflict wireless and noise-cancelling headphones. Like the Bose QC35, the Sony’s ANC tech is so effective that it feels like the headphones are actively pushing silence into your head. You’ll feel a change in pressure, which feels a little odd at first, but you’ll get used to it and the sensation goes away when you play music.

The effective noise cancellation also makes these headphones ideal for conversation. I made a phone call by a busy road, but the headphones managed to isolate my voice from the racket of buses, leaving the conversation clear.

SONY MDR-1000X – EXTRA MODES

The Personal NC Optimizer feature I mentioned earlier is a weird and wonderful way of calibrating the sound to the listener. It takes into account the shape of your head, and whether you have big hair or wear glasses. You trigger it from the headphones themselves by holding the NC button and it takes a few seconds. It means you can easily change the profile to take into account wearing a pair of glasses on the fly without having to deal with the faff of a separate app.

The headphones pump out a series of test tones, in the same way that AV receivers do to calibrate surround sound speakers. The tones bounce around on the side of your head before being received by internal microphones. The headphones analyse this data and adjust the sound accordingly. It really works. When I wear glasses, I’m not able to get a good seal around my ears and the sound is affected. The calibration takes this into account and tweaks the tonal balance.

Ambient Sound mode is useful too, for when you’re walking through town and want to keep half an ear out for passing cyclists. In my case, it was an irritable gentleman pushing a heavy trolley, swearing at me for being in his way. You can even choose to block out everything but voices – perfect for crying babies or airport announcements.

Quick Listen mode is my favourite. Hold your hand to the right ear cup and the music will drop away, letting in the outside world until you let go. It’s ideal for when a plane stewardess asks you what you want to drink, or when your colleague comes by your desk. Now you can have a quick word without taking off your headphones. It’s a genuinely useful feature, one that I found myself using a lot more than I had anticipated.

SONY MDR-1000X – SOUND QUALITY

The Sony MDR-1000X are easily the best noise-cancelling headphones I’ve heard.

They are an immensely entertaining listen, thanks to a combination of rhythmic precision and hard-hitting dynamism. That agility and impact is something you just don’t get with the Bose QC35, which are a little too polite. Sony, meanwhile, offers the sort of fun and energy that might have you get up and dance about when you think nobody is looking.

The MDR-1000X are articulate, too. Detail separation is impressive, with firm leading edges that leave you in no doubt as to what’s happening to those instruments. What’s more, those instruments are given plenty of space. These headphones sound surprisingly spacious given their closed-back design.

Tonal balance is good. These headphones don’t favour any particular part of the frequency range, which makes them very versatile. The treble is crisp without grating or hardening up. The midrange is direct and expressive, with plenty of emotion in vocals. The bass is plentiful and low without ever losing its definition or manoeuvrability, nor ever threatening to overpower the rest. That’s something that even the more expensive Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless struggle with, sometimes coming across as overly rich.

I put these headphones through my usual gauntlet of test tracks (from John Williams to Hans Zimmer, via Daft Punk, AC/DC, Taylor Swift and Buena Vista Social Club) and I’ve come to the conclusion that these are seriously talented performers for the money, with no obvious shortcomings. That Sony has managed to make such well-rounded headphones – despite loading them with extraneous tech – is very impressive.

And that’s just the wireless performance. Plug in the cable and the performance is even better, benefiting from a more full-bodied sound and more subtlety in the textures. You don’t get the controls, though, as the touch-sensitive pad only works with Bluetooth.

You can carry on listening when you run out of power through the 3.5mm headphone cable, albeit without amplification or noise-cancellation. Sound quality dips – clarity and energy take a hit – but the overall character remains. Compared to the Bose QC35 in no-power mode, the Sony MDR-1000X sound fuller and better defined.

SHOULD I BUY THE SONY MDR-1000X?

Yes. Absolutely. The Sony MDR-1000X have managed to dethrone the legendary Bose when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, which is a remarkable feat in itself.

But Sony not only provides noise-cancellation that challenges the best in the field, it has done so with intelligence. The Ambient Sound and Quick Listen modes are genuinely useful features, which give listeners a level of flexibility that headphones are not known for.

Then there’s the sound quality, which is traditionally a secondary concern for noise-cancelling headphones. It’s clear that a lot of work has gone into the audio-only aspect of the Sony MDR-1000X, because they sound superb. Yes, these cost about £40 more than the Bose QuietComfort 35 but it’s worth it.

Put it together and you have a personal bubble of high-quality music. That’s the commuter’s dream.

VERDICT

Hands-down the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market – and they’re wireless, too.

OVERALL SCORE: 5 Stars

Read more at: http://www.trustedreviews.com/sony-mdr-1000x-review

Where to buy Sony: https://www.abtec.co.nz/Sony_MDR_1000X

One News – Retailers struggle with increasing violent crime March 2017

“No one to ring, no one to talk to – Retailers struggle with increasing violent crime…

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/no-one-ring-talk-retailers-struggle-increasing-violent-crime

The industry says they’re losing more than a billion dollars to offending ranging from petty theft to smash and grabs.

Source: 1 NEWS

Other links:

Abtec Petone gets robbed again 29 MAY 2015

Abtec Petone Robbery Makes News 28 November 2014

 

V 4 & Rotary Jamboree Sounds Alive & Extreme Bass Battle Sound Off March 2017

Well it’s that time again, time for the V 4 & Rotary Jamboree Sounds Alive & Extreme Bass Battle Sound Off March 2017! Well it was great day and a big thank you to for everyone supporting us at V 4 & Rotary Jamboree Sounds Alive & Extreme Bass Battle Sound Off event!

This years round up it was good to see more newcomers entering the events and taking part of the fun that is dB Drag. In the end of the day it is about two things, having fun and seeing how many dB’s you can squeeze out of your Car Audio Setup!

The highlights of the day were Tom Mangu getting a modest 156.4db and not far behind,  Angie Hay getting a 145.6db and also Shane Snow a 147.5db, but the biggest highlight of the day was the massive support from all the locals in Palmerston North turning up to take part in the Sound Off!

Matt getting ready to have some fun at his first soundoff…

Wow!! Some big port…

And a shotgun port…

Here’s the results of the day…

Kiwi Pro Class

Keith Millner                            144.6db

Max Dixn                                143.8db

Kiwi Expert Class

Austin Roberts                        149.3db

Stephen Andersen                  145.2db

Shane Snow                           145.2db

Kiwi Extreme Class

Angie Hay                               150.7db

Kiwi Extreme Wall Class

Tom Mangu                             145.0db

Kiwi Show Class

Tom Mangu                             145.0db

Sounds Alive Class

Tom Mangu                              144.7db

Shane Snow                            138.8db

Angie Hay                               138.1db

Austin Roberts                        137.6db

Stephen Andersen                  137.3db

Keith Millner                             133.3db

Matt Dixon                               130.7db

Vaughan Clark                         129.1db

Extreme Bass Battle NZ Class

Tom Mangu                             156.4db

Angie Hay                               151.7db

Shane Snow                           147.5db

Stephen Andersen                 143.8db

Matt Dixon                              137.6db

Austin Roberts                       137.5db

Vaughan Clark                       134.6db

Keith Millner                            133.0db

Extreme Bassheads NZ Class

Tom Mangu                            149.6db

Angie Hay                              145.8db

Shane Snow                           140.1db

Austin Roberts                       139.8db

Vaughan Clark                        139.4db

Keith Millner                            133.8db

Stephen Andersen                  132.0db

Matt Dixon                               102.4db

A big congratulations to all the winners and all the competitors who entered on the day and hope to see you all again next year…

Major Sponsor:

Abtec Audio Lounge – Petone

http://www.abtec.co.nz/

The home of dBDrag NZ

http://www.dbdrag.co.nz

National dBDrag NZ Results

http://www.dbdrag.co.nz/national_results.html

National Top 10

http://www.dbdrag.co.nz/top10_results.html

Event Photos

http://carshows.co.nz/gallery/V4-Rotary-North-Island-Jamboree-Fielding-26-Mar-2017/17

Also a big thank you to for all who helped me run the event and V4 & Rotary Promotions for continuing to support the scene.

Ashley Madd Bass Burrell

Klipsch Heresy III speakers Review

At less than 24 inches tall, the Klipsch Heresy III is the shortest floor-standing speaker I’ve ever tested. Don’t let its diminutive stature fool you. This speaker can outrun many a tower speaker — and outlast them. In an age of disposable tech, any speaker that sticks around for five years or more is noteworthy, but Klipsch’s Heresy has been in continuous production since 1957. And the Heresy III outshines most contemporary high-end speakers in a few key performance areas.

Dynamic impact and bass “slam,” courtesy of the Heresy III’s 12-inch woofer, are extraordinary. Vocals have more “body” and fullness than those from most large speakers. The Heresy III sounds like a blast from the past; it’s the speaker equivalent of a 1960s muscle car — like a Pontiac GTO or Dodge Charger. The Heresy III lacks finesse, but it’s a lot of fun to listen to.

Speaking of power, the Heresy III doesn’t need a lot of it to make a big sound; it’s remarkably efficient, so it can play loud with as little as 10 watts, but it still handles up to 400 watts on “peaks.” I used a 40-watt-per-channel NAD C 316BEE integrated amp ($380) for all of my listening tests. The Heresy III’s 12-inch fiber-composite woofer is mounted in a sealed, non-ported cabinet. The ultrahigh efficiency of the design must be credited to the Heresy III’s horn-loaded midrange and tweeter drivers — more specifically, the 1-inch compression tweeter and 1.75-inch compression midrange driver. Horns are an essential part of the company’s DNA, starting with its very first speaker, the Klipschorn, and that one debuted in 1946! Like the Heresy, Klipschorn has never gone out of production, and is still built in Klipsch’s Arkansas factory.

The Heresy III measures 23.8×15.5×13.25 inches. My samples were beautifully finished in real cherry wood. Walnut and black finishes also are available.

Played at near-live concert volume, Wilco’s “Kicking Television” CD knocked me over and straightened me right up. The sound in my listening room was closer to a live rock concert sound system than I’ve heard from a lot of much more expensive and bigger speakers. That’s what the Heresy IIIs do so well, and once you experience that sort of sound at home, a set of Sonos wireless speakers won’t cut it anymore.

Duke Ellington’s “Jazz Party” LP sounded remarkably vivid over the Heresy IIIs; the energy of a big band isn’t easy to reproduce. Most speakers clamp down on the horns’ power and presence, miniaturizing their sound. Not this time — turn up the volume, and you’ll feel a large dose of Ellington’s music coming through the Heresy IIIs.

Bass “kick” and definition are exceptional; you’ll feel the bass. True, bass extension isn’t subwoofer deep — it reaches down to 50 hertz in my large room, and I would have expected more from a speaker with a 12-inch woofer. Still, acoustic and electric bass instruments are well-served by the Heresy IIIs. You’d have to spend a lot more on speakers to outdo the combination of low-down clarity and punch.

Play any well-recorded piece of music, turn up the volume, and you’ll be treated to something rare, the full dynamic jolts that no small speaker can ever approach. Heck, a lot of big speakers can’t reproduce the crack of a snare drum like the Heresy IIIs can. It’s similar to what I get from Zu speakers, but the Heresy III’s bass definition exceeds the Zu’s. On the other hand, the Zu speakers sound clearer and more detailed overall. No speaker gets everything just right — the Heresy IIIs come up short on resolution and detail. I sometimes wished for more clarity.

The Heresy III’s strengths really came to the fore in my two-channel home theater. They reproduce movies’ dynamics with ease, and dialogue was natural and highly articulate. I also found myself listening to a lot of vinyl over the Heresy IIIs, because these speakers emphasized all the things I like about the sound of records. I noticed it was impossible to read while playing LPs via the Heresy IIIs — the sound was that good! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these speakers.

The Heresy III is sold through Klipsch’s brick-and-mortar and online dealers.

Read more at: https://www.cnet.com/news/dont-back-down-klipsch-heresy-iii-speakers/

Where to buy Klipsch: https://www.abtec.co.nz/product-search.php?keyword=Klipsch+Heresy+III&category=&brand=&search=

B&W ASW610 Powered Subwoofer Review

Best subwoofer up to £700, Awards 2011. The B&W ASW610 sounds bigger than it looks and more expensive than its price-tag

ASW-610_Black-Ash_OFF[1]

Our Verdict – 5 Stars

Best subwoofer up to £700, Awards 2011. Neat, well made and sounds great for the money.

For:

Fabulously agile and well-extended bass for its size

good finish

small and well-equipped

Against:

Nothing

ASW610_Black_OFF

As reigning best Buy within its price class, the B&W ASW610 is the target its rivals have to aim for, but as we’ve seen in several tests of late, it’ s a difficult target to hit.

That’s partially because it’s surprisingly small, at just 31cm high – but it’s also because its diminutive form disguises a formidably powerful and terrifically dynamic design, its 200w amplifier controlling the excursions of its 25cm Kevlar/paper drive unit with a martinet’s fervour.

Spin a movie, and depth and drive are never in doubt, the B&W thundering through The Dark Knight with an absolute authority that belies its modest size.

However, most of its rivals can go loud and deep: the ASW610’s edge lies its lethally effective blend of power and poise, muscle and musicality.

bowers_wilkins_600_series_asw610_subwoofer_041658011390_640x360

It can deliver bass with subtlety and expression, its speed on the attack and its tonal differentiation ensuring Santogold’s L.E.S Artistes fairly zips along.

gallery_7356

Read more at: http://www.whathifi.com/bw/asw610/review#Gtt0JPhGxUJi3JYR.99

Where to buy B&W: http://abtec.co.nz/product-search.php?keyword=610&category=&brand=&search=