Latest Home Automation Headlines
  • CEDIA 2011: SurgeX Demonstrates Why Your Current “Surge Protector” Probably Sucks

    Finding the booth you’re looking for on the crowded CEDIA floor can be a booger even with smart phone apps and interactive maps. There’s one company you never have to look for, though. Finding SurgeX is always more a matter of closing your eyes and listening for the little explosions. As much as I enjoy blowing stuff up for the sake of blowing stuff up (I am, after all, a disciple of Hunter S. Thompson’s),…

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More Home Automation Headlines

Oh Noes! Dirty Electricity is Coming to Get You! (Except, Not Really)

by Jeff Kleist on Aug 22, 2011 at 09:38 AM

Aging hippies are the bread and butter of the high end audio industry these days, so it’s not surprising that the market has its share of new age spooky voodoo. Like this, for example. David Wolfe’s grounding pads purport to protect you from the evil EM fields created by your… Continue Reading »

RedEye Now Supports Android

by Jeff Kleist on Aug 18, 2011 at 12:37 PM

WiFi enabled IR blaster RedEye has had a control app for iOS for a while now, and today the manufacturer announced support for Android users as well. Sadly, the app still has a little way to go due to some current limitations of the platform The RedEye app for Android… Continue Reading »

SurgeX Introduces XU315-DC Surge Eliminator

by Michael Riesenbeck on Aug 7, 2011 at 08:57 PM

If you’ve invested a considerable fortune in home theater components, you’ll want to make sure they’re protected from Mother Nature’s nastiest ka-booms and light shows. The new XU315-DC from SurgeX should do the trick. The 315-DC offers a regenerated sign wave output with no interruption that will keep your components… Continue Reading »

Robbed! Merely Having a Security DVR System is Not Nearly Enough

by John Sciacca on Aug 4, 2011 at 09:42 AM

You want to know the call that you don’t want to get at 7:56 in the morning on your day off? When you went to bed late after drinking that I-know-I-shouldn’t-but-I’m-going-to-anyhow second Devil’s Cut Bourbon Manhattan? It’s the one where your installer blurts into the phone, “Dude! We got robbed!… Continue Reading »

Done right, an Apple iTV could totally rule the world!

by John Sciacca on Jul 28, 2011 at 01:27 PM

After walking through a client’s house a few weeks ago and discussing the various this and thats of what he wanted us to do, we got into a discussion about his lighting control. This quickly segued into the topic of automation control and then user interface and he started talking… Continue Reading »

11 Benefits of a Broken Thermostat

by John Sciacca on Jul 27, 2011 at 02:26 PM

I performed an update on our store’s thermostat automation controller system last week that resulted in some rather unexpected consequences. Apparently one simple little checkbox that was heretofore unchecked and unnoticed became now checked in the new update. And while this little checkbox would possibly be helpful in many cases,… Continue Reading »

VooMote One Transforms Your iPhone or iPod Touch into a Universal Remote

by Dennis Burger on Jul 27, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Most of the major home automation companies have control apps for iOS these days, but what about the iFans of the world who don’t already have (or can’t afford) a full-blown Control4, URC, or Crestron system in the casa? has a cheap and easy alternative already on the market… Continue Reading »

Sky Mall Catalog: The Last Guaranteed Bastion of Awesomeness!

by John Sciacca on Jun 27, 2011 at 09:06 AM

If there is a silver lining from my US Air debacle from several weeks ago (besides the fact that I am probably the only one that got $100 from the deal; take that all you sheep! Hannibal was right about the silence of you lambs! Can you still hear them,… Continue Reading »

Griffin and Dijit Announce Beacon Universal Remote Control System

by Michael Riesenbeck on Jun 20, 2011 at 09:04 AM

Griffin Technology and Dijit Media have teamed up to bring home theater enthusiasts the Beacon Universal Remote Control System. I know what you’re thinking: not another universal remote. But this one’s a little different. Pair Griffin’s wireless controller with Dijit’s iOS App and you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or… Continue Reading »

Integra Introduces Four Upgraded Network Receivers for the Custom Install Market

by Dennis Burger on Jun 14, 2011 at 09:35 AM

Integra has announced new upgrades to its DTR-20, DTR-30, DTR-40, and DTR-50 series of THX-Certified home theater receivers, adding networking and USB capabilities to bring the entire line up to speed with last year’s DTR-40.2 and higher models. The networking capabilities enable internet radio functionality, DLNA music streaming over the… Continue Reading »

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Special Features

Was looking for a DVD/VCR recorder combo and had basically chosen this unit, the came across your article - question: are you still happy with it??



HBO requires a level of content protection that is not currently supported by Airplay/Apple TV. This is a capability that might be offered in the future as per HBO GO

kate on
HBO Debuts HBO GO App for iOS, and Android
September 12th 2011 9:42 AM

Way to go Aidan! Congratulations on your discovery and deserving award.

Is there anyone that has use this 3D adapter kit, How good or bad do this adapter do ?

Good points John.  For me it sort of helps to answer my question but for different reasons. That is: in those instances where i have a fully DDD recording on LP, the CD will probably serve me just as well.  I will note that many early CDs sounded bad because they were made from compressed-for-lp slave copies of master tapes or (in the case of some “twofers” (2 albums on one disc) a smaller size file was used to squeeze all the info on a single disc (zappa’s overnight sensation/apostrophe disc was way tinny sounding and fared much better—after complaints—breaking them out into two discs at fuller CD resolution

Regqrding the sound of vinyl vs CD and distortion “hidden” in the LP, more times than not I was amazed to find out that distortion I heard on vinyl—and which I attributed to my less than perfect condition pressings—were actually on the original recording. I was surprised hearing certain records by Zappa, The Velvet Underground, Dylan, The Moody Blues and others on CD for the first time and discovering that my LPs didnt sound so bad after all ... it was the way the recordings were made!

I do believe that analog masters contain more sonic info than 44.1/16-bit clones would be able to capture.  But I have to assume (unless someone explains otherwise) that for recordings made natively in the digital domain, then those recordings are what they are…. they’ll never be anything more than what the original was recorded at.

So there is probably no good reason to keep a digitally recorded LP if I can get it on CD these days… unless of course it contains a mix that was later changed/remixed

Hi Mark,

This has been my life’s work since about 1978.  We had some of the first digital multitrack recorders that 3M ever built, and a huge part of my life was supervising the cutting of analog (and later digital) tape masters into vinyl, following those lacquers through electroplating, and then the actual pressing into vinyl.  We had our own pressing plant, so I got to see it all happen every day, from trombonists coming through the front door to record jacket fabrication and excess vinyl re-grinding to make audiophile records.

The bigger point is not which sounds “better”—it’s what sounds most like what the mixer heard when he was working on it in the control room.  If you had the privilege, as I did for years, of sitting beside a mixer listening to control room monitors and watching as he went for a particular “sound”, often worrying himself about the accuracy of the speakers and the room acoustics, you would understand that the whole goal was to try to replicate what he heard. 

Analog tape was very good at that, but always lost a bit of transients, and increased the noise floor a bit, simply because of the limitations of tape.  Indeed it was often quite difficult to tell whether you were listening to the console output or the one-second-delayed playback head of the 2-track master.

When digital mastering came on the scene, first on videotape (we used black and white U-matics, which is why the weird sample rate of 44,100 came to be—it’s a multiple of the horizontal sync frequency of black and white videotape) we were all amazed at the transparency.  What we heard coming back from the digital deck was an identical sonic clone to the console itself, indeed showing the limitations of the console electronics.

Many consumers, however, had grown accustomed to the tracking and tracing errors and distortions that vinyl records inherently have.  No vinyl record truly sounded like what we were hearing on the mix console; it was several layers of distortion removed, with the distortions coming from the cutting angle of the cutterhead, the “de-horning” process which cut off the bottom of the grooves so that the vinyl would release from the stamper, and the inherent noise of the vinyl medum itself.

A CD is a much, much closer replica of what the original mixer heard on his board than an LP could ever be.  Now does that mean that you would rather experience what the mixer heard or experience what an LP listener of the era heard?  That’s actually a very serious question.  Almost no one who didn’t work in recording studios heard “clean” audio, and it was a very foreign sound to consumers, resulting in a lot of reluctance to accept digital media.  Consumers simply didn’t understand that they were, for the first time, hearing what we had heard in the production control rooms.  In many cases, the noise floor and distortion of the vinyl helped to cover up the limitations of the original master—making the CD sound “worse”.

I hope this helps, but I fear it may only add to the confusion.

NW. I bet a tactile transducer connected straight to the desk couldn’t even do that.

BB1 on
How Much Bass is Too Much Bass?
August 09th 2011 8:53 AM

I have the streaming-only service.  One thing that ticks me off is - I am using a web-based service, right - but there are no web-based methods of contact with Netflix - go ahead, try to find a “contact us” that isn’t a phone number!  No email, no chat, nothing!

I wanted to complain about how they had lured me into their service, only to start dropping some titles I had expected to be able to watch (such as all of the, admittedly limited, selection of James Bond flicks).

I also wanted to complain that for weeks, the “Recently Watched” listing was missing.

MikeG on
Netflix's Latest F-You Communiqué
August 02nd 2011 10:59 AM

Wow i would be pissed if i was a Netflix user pisssssed. Here is a secret people. Corporations only get away with what you let them get away with. Hit their pocket book and they will suddenly start whistling another tune.

Carmen on
Netflix's Latest F-You Communiqué
August 01st 2011 3:48 PM

I don’t work for Netflix and I think the author of this article is a huge baby-man with an entitlement complex.

Netflix's Latest F-You Communiqué
August 01st 2011 3:23 PM