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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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=

 

Sony PS-HX500 Review

Want to rip vinyl to hi-res? This entertaining turntable has that unique ability…

Reviewed on 17th May 2016 by What Hi*Fi?

Our Verdict

An entertaining turntable unique in its ability to rip vinyl to hi-res files

For…

Rips vinyl to hi-res WAV or DSD file

Simple set-up

Lively and transparent sound

Big, spacious soundstage

Against

Doesn’t look all that special

No one loves the vinyl revival more than us – well, perhaps other than Sainsbury’s, which is probably raking it in after recently becoming the biggest vinyl retailer on the high street.

But the good ol’ record wasn’t brought back from the dead through discovery of a newfound convenience. An afternoon vinyl session still requires you to get up from your seat more than a 10-year-old who’s made the final round of musical chairs.

And of course you have to be in the same room as your turntable to enjoy it. There’s no way round that – or is there? What if vinyl could be pocketable?

Video preview

Features

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No, we aren’t talking about a portable turntable of sorts – even the physical burden of a personal CD player would be sneered at nowadays – but how about one that can rip your records to digital files so you can carry them around in your pocket?

Record-ripping turntables have been around for a while, but the Sony PS-HX500 can record up to DSD 5.6. Ergo, Sony calls it a ‘hi-res turntable’, so it’s not surprising that one of the first things we notice when lifting the Sony from its box is the hi-res audio logo sitting loud and proud on the plinth’s front-facing edge.

While the ripping feature hardly seems necessary to keep the resurgence in full swing, it does mean that those buying their favourite LPs won’t also have to head to a download site to get it in glorious high-resolution for their smartphone or portable music player.

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So how does it work? Equipped with an internal analogue-to-digital converter and USB type-B output, the PS-HX500 simply hooks up to your laptop or computer’s USB input and, via Sony’s Mac- and Windows-friendly High Res Audio Recorder software, records the vinyl either as a WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz) or DSD (5.6MHz) file.

The process is simple enough too: just choose your desired format, hit ‘record’ when the vinyl starts playing, ‘stop’ when it’s finished and hey presto! You have a hi-res song. And of course, you can split recordings into individual tracks too.

Invariably, some will jump at the chance to digitise their collection while others will be less bothered. If you belong to the second group, you’ll be interested to know that elsewhere the PS-HX500 behaves and looks very much like a typical turntable.

Build

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On the design front, this turntable hasn’t followed in the fashionable footsteps of Sony’s colourful Walkmans, instead apeing the minimalist approach of rival decks around this price. The straight-edged, angle-cornered rectangular plinth is an understated, all-black affair that leaves nothing to the designer-in-you’s imagination.

The plinth is largely unadorned, save for a dial tucked in the bottom left-hand corner where you can switch speed from 33 1/3rpm to 45rpm, and the low-sitting platter adds to that simplistic aesthetic. While we prefer the more substantial, towering construction of the Audio Technica AT-LP5 (£330), the quality of Sony’s slender, vertically challenged build is fine.

It means you have to bend down a little further to put on a record than you do with the Audio Technica, but the four feet, which are fixed to the plinth, can be screwed to raise the overall height.

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Assembling a turntable can be finicky business, but all the Sony asks of you is to plonk (with care) the die-cast aluminium platter and 5mm-thick rubber mat onto the 30mm-thick MDF plinth, hook up the belt drive, and balance the tonearm using the counter and anti-skating weights.

Sony is shouting about its new one-piece tonearm with an integrated head shell, claiming that by locating the stylus point in the centre of its axis and limiting rotational movement it can produce a more precise, stable trace.

To save you flicking through the supplied literature, the recommended tracking weight for the Sony’s moving-magnet cartridge is 3g, although we recommend any newcomers to turntables take guidance from the manual, which is thankfully as intuitive as instructions for the average piece of flat-pack furniture are complex.

Sound

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Of course, there’s little advantage in ripping your vinyl to hi-res – or even playing it straight off the deck – if the PS-HX500’s sound quality is poor. But we aren’t about to rain on its so far promising parade. In fact, we are full of compliments for the Sony deck.

We settle Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms down on the spindle and there’s no mistaking the Sony’s penchant for detail as the synthesized pan flute and African-influenced drums in Ride Across the River come through with clarity and texture.

It’s articulate with the track’s offbeat rhythmic pattern, tying the multiple strands together for a coherent and layered delivery, and has the dynamic dexterity to bring fairly tenuous sonic shifts to our attention.

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The sprightly Sony is quick off the bench too, springing into action with the upbeat opening of One World. It thrusts the drumbeat forward and, with a real sense of gusto and agility, puts its foot through the melodic guitar riffs that cut through the track.

It’s with the more sanguine tunes that the PS-HX500’s slight tonal inclination to the light side of neutral reveals itself, the presentation favouring a crisp consistency over the full-bodied solidity of some of its rivals. It’s not something to penalise the Sony for, but is noticeable when listening to it next to the Audio Technica AT-LP5, and perhaps something to bear in mind when it comes to system pairing.

Elsewhere, The Sony’s big, open sound lends itself to the lamenting guitar lines and aching organs in the album’s eponymous finale too, and there’s the space and insight to keep a hand on both as they weave around each other.

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There’s a delicate naturalness to Knopfler’s pensive vocals too, which are confidently presented in the soundstage and demonstrate the Sony’s pleasing midrange insight. Furthermore, the sundry piano notes in Miles Davis’s So What and the trumpet-playing that wheels over the top, are both engaging, informative and staged with convincing stereo imaging.

We feel confident bestowing praise on the treble too; the intricate cymbal-brushing that fills the right-hand channel is clear and subtle, the Sony balancing detail with refinement admirably.

As expected, big gains in clarity and detail are made when we switch to our reference Cyrus Phono Signature phono stage (£1200); vocals are fleshed out and instruments are subtler and more sure-footed. Within its own price-bracket, though, the Sony’s own is very capable indeed.

And, if you plan to use it, the phono stage would pair well with a quality midrange amp such as the Cambridge CXA60 (£500) and a pair of speakers such as the Dynaudio Emit 10s (£500).

Verdict

Anything that keeps vinyl fresh and appealing is gold in our eyes, and the PS-HX500 is a good example of that. It’s a best-of-both turntable that caters for record spinning and hi-res ripping, and to anyone torn between their affection for the nostalgia and tangibility of vinyl, and the convenience and practicality of digital.

As always, performance is king, though, and in this instance that only furthers the Sony’s likeability; while it’s not the classiest-looking turntable on the market, it has all the class in the sound suite instead. A very good buy.

Read more at http://www.whathifi.com/sony/ps-hx500/review#B4yY8QlTaKPQ5vkF.99

V 4 & Rotary SPL & Sounds Alive Sound Off Auckland Nationals January 2017

What a HUGE day!!!

We hit the road early to get to the showgrounds before 7:30am, (arrive around 7:45 go figure!), and who was there already to greet us? The one competitor that travelled the furthest to get there, Jody Green from Taupo in the infamous Yellow Honda City.

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This year saw a Lighter turnout than previous years, but oh what a turnout of amazing people!!! Although lighter on numbers this year, we still had an action packed and fun filled day.

The day started off strong with 2 big hitters in the SPL scene in Joseph George, and Anthony Latu, managing in their opening rounds seriously respectable scores of 154.8dB and 153.0dB respectively. As the day started, so did it continue to go from awesome score to awesome score!.

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A little on in the competition saw a VERY close couple of runs between seasoned competitor Sam Ta’alili and new comer Kyle Holtman, in Sams first 2 runs he managed back to back 139.6dB, surely assuring him of 1st place in the Kiwi Class…. Until that is, later in the day Kyle Holtman appeared in his VW Golf R32, his first run netting him a 139.6 to MATCH Sams score (Are we going to see a play-off later in the day for 1st?)…. With the 1st 30second run complete and realising how close the scores were they opted for a second run starting out again with a 139.6dB, then in the last 10seconds managing to JUST pip ahead with a 139.7dB winning the class with a .1dB difference! And seeing Sam graciously taking 2nd place this year.

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With more classes run, and Sounds Alive again testing the competitors nerves and gear, we moved onto the Extreme Bass Battle Class where again we saw the emergence of a VERY close 1st and 2nd, at the beginning of this class we saw Joseph George belt out a whopping 156.3dB.  Knowing there are a few solid competitors in this class he, and we, waited with bated breath to see if anyone could challenge that number… Not 10 minutes later, the Nissan Stagea of Alex Samuel rolled into the lanes, his 30 seconds started, silence for a moment wondering if there was a problem in his system then with 15seconds on the clock the bass hit! And the meter did its job, displaying an amazing 156.2dB…. ANOTHER class decided by .1dB!!

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2 MAJOR standouts of the day for me:

Jody Green, rolling his bright yet seemingly unassuming (to the unknowing eye) Honda City into the lanes and on his very first run of the day cranking out an ear shattering, heart thumping score of 159.5dB, equalling his pb, and cementing the top spot this year so far of the loudest car in the country for NZ dB Drag!

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Jason Sanders, and his ever-lasting quest to have the 4nr crew shut him down (it happened TWICE on competition day!!!)…
I have to say, after sitting in this car, it is the FIRST car to make me cough spontaneously due to vibrating my throat so much! This car is a serious pounder and air mover!! Don’t take my word for it, those else that had demos will surely also attest!

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Please allow me now to take this time to thank all of the people that work together to bring this event to life each and every year!
4 N Rotary Promotions first of all, for without you, we would not have the amazing event we have aligned our National Soundoffs to, and for also putting up with all of the noise complaints you receive courtesy of our motley lot! J.

Ashley Burrell, and Abtec Audio Lounge, for your continued dedication, support, and mentoring of the events these past years, without your input, hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, we simply would not have an NZ dB Drags!! A simply Thank you pales to the support and dedication you have and continue to show to the SPL scene in NZ.

Deirdere, I cannot say enough thankyous to say just how thankful I am to have such an amazing Fiancée that supports my passion, and has helped in so many competitions over these past few years!

The helpers on the day, (my most heartfelt apology if I forget someone),
Jody Green                  Termlab Mic man, and all round HUGE help through the day
Joseph George             All round help through the day
Tina Burrell                 Photographer
Jeremy Burrell             All round help through the day
Ryan Law                   All round help through the day
Ashley Killip               All the awesome Vids I have seen popping up on Facebook

Aaron Bublitz (ME!)  MC

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HUGE thank you goes out to ALL of the competitors that attended today, for without your hard work, dedication to your systems, and the many, many thousands of dollars you invest to chase the ever louder heights of car audio, we would simply not have an SPL scene to hold these competitions, thank you all so very much!

Links of interest:

Major Sponsor:

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

Show Gallery

http://carshows.co.nz/gallery/V4-Rotary-Nationals-Auckland-28-Jan-2017/17

One last time, thank you ALL!!

Peace out! Until we meet again around the lanes of SPL

Aaron [OUTLWD]  Bublitz