Friday, February 24, 2017

Metra T-Spec Car Stereo Installation Components Review


Spring will soon be upon us. And that is when many of us will start working on our cars. And that includes our car stereos. Car stereo manufacturers are continually coming out with better models. If you are looking to upgrade your radio, you will probably need a dash kit. And Metra makes some of the best, which is what they have been known for, for many years. But Metra does much more than that. Now you can turn to Metra for all of your car stereo installation needs.

Metra has multiple brands under their corporate umbrella to provide you the products you need. Their quality levels are easy to follow. Such as their T-Spec brand for speaker, ground, and power wire, as well as RCA cables, fuse holders, and distribution blocks. They start at V8, goes to V10, and finishes with V12. To test their quality, they sent multiple different install products, with some from different levels. What was provided was V8 in-line fuse holders, V12 distribution blocks, power and ground wire, and V12 RCA cables. And to protect your gear, these are the kinds of products you need.  After all, you don't want to create a potential fire hazard for using the wrong size wire for your amp.

Features and specs:

Fuse Holder:

·         > Lok-Nut style fasteners

·         > Solid brass construction

·         > Water resistant

Distribution blocks:

·         > Universal Screw Design works with many tools

·         > Mounting Options with screws or wire ties

·         > Small Footprint with compact brass design

·         > Solid brass construction for maximum conductivity

·         > Compact design for simpler installation

·         > Impact resistant polycarbonate cover

·         > Flat black finish

RCA Cables:

·         > Mini Metal RCA ends

·         > Full oxygen free copper

·         > Twisted pair construction for noise reduction

·         > Soft touch super flex-able jacket

·         > Packaged in High-End Retail Box

Power and Ground Wire:

·         > Exceeds CEA and ANSI specification for wire gauge

·         > Full virgin copper construction

·         > High strand count for maximum flexibility

·         > Ultra-flexible PVC blended jacket

·         > BC-5W2 marine compliant


Let’s start with the V8 in-line fuse holder. It’s a much needed part of your install to protect your amps. It had a clear plastic cover so that you can see the state of the fuse. Quality was good. The internal connections for the wire and fuse was also of good solid quality.

The V12 distribution blocks were even nicer. The internal blocks were a smoked solid brass. The connections have a tight fit. And there is a plastic cover that easily comes off to check the state of your fuses. It was put together very well, with a solid feel. Quality of materials is also very good.

Next up are the V12 RCA cables. They feature a twisted pair wire to guard against noise. The connectors are metal with a quad cut tip for a good signal connection. The metal connector also unscrews so you can see the quality of the solder. They appeared to be well made. I’d prefer to see a cloth cover on the cable, but that’s just personal taste.

Last but not least is the V12 I/O gauge power and ground wire. Not all wire is created equal. I’ve seen lower quality manufactures make what they may call a 4 gauge wire. It looks like the thickness of that size wire, when compared to the gauge wire of other high quality manufacturers. But when you cut off a piece of the jacket to use it, you see that the jacket is much thicker than usual, and the actual wire is much thinner then that size gauge wire. It was no surprise when comparing the I/O gauge V12 T-Spec to another high quality manufacturers wire, that I was able to see that T-Spec wasn’t skimping on the actual wire. You get what you are told you get. The wire also has a high strand count of pure oxygen free copper as well as a flexible jacket. This provides not only a strong current flow of your power, it also makes for a flexible wire for an easy installation.

Each Metra product I get is a good product. They are not the best in quality, but it's also not the most expensive.  The quality is still very good, especially for their price. They provide a very good bang for your buck. Based on what I have seen of their products, I would not hesitate to purchase any Metra Product. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, they have earned our Highly Recommended Award. For more info and specs, visit their website at www.metraonline.com.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Creative iRoar Go Review

Creative has been known for providing a high bang for the buck in their products. Their line of iRoar wireless speaker systems has also followed this trend. Now they have a new model added to the line and the iRoar Go. Now there is no need to worry about braving the elements, as it is water resistant!
 
Features and specs:
Features:
·         5 speaker design
·         bi-amplification
·         water resistant
·         Dual Orientation
·         Superwide Technology
·         Roar, TaraBass, and Equalizer
·         Speakerphone
·         FLAC/MP3 player
·         Voice Recorder
·         PA System
·         Dual purpose battery
Specs:
System Configuration
One-piece
Dimensions (H x W x D)
54 x 192 x 97 mm, USB Cable Length: Approx 0.7m
Weight
810g (28.5oz)
Bluetooth® Version
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profile
A2DP (Wireless Stereo Bluetooth), AVRCP (Bluetooth Remote Control), HFP (Hands-free Profile)
Supported Codecs
AAC, SBC
Connector Type
Bluetooth, AUX-in, USB
Color
Black
Near Field Communication (NFC)
Supports NFC
Design
Bi-amplified Design
Battery Type
Built-in Li-ion, 5200mAh
Battery Life
12 hours

The Creative iRoar Go came in a nice looking printed box with photos of the speaker, as well as it’s feature and specs. Opening the box revealed a well protected speaker. It had a great heft to it, and felt very well made. The buttons also worked well with good feedback. Also included was power adapter, micro USB cable, 3.5mm microphone adapter, and user manual.

The Creative iRoar line of speaker systems have proved to be a great performing line. They are made well, well designed, and the high quality sound is a confirmation of their excellent design. Now, with the iRoar Go, there is now a model that is water resistant. So it is safe to bring it outdoors. I’m hoping that it lives up to the high quality sound definition that the other models in the line had. Let’s see for ourselves.

Linking to my HTC One M9 smartphone was very simple.  And unlike many Bluetooth devices, I was able to pair the two together on the 1st try.  So it has a very good quality Bluetooth radio.  And to really put the radio quality to the test, I went all around our large 3700 square foot location.  All around the 1st floor where it was set up, and all around up the stairs, with at times up to 6 walls between my HTC One M9 smartphone and the iRoar Go.  Only a couple times was there a hickup in sound for a split second.  And in testing the distance, I was glad to see no problems at 25 feet, so I kept going.  At 50 feet I was even more impressed.  And I didn't lose connection until I was around 70 feet away. ..quit impressive!  I also love the fact that there are other connection options for listening to your music on the iRoar Go, such as microSD card, and flash drives.  No it's finally time to listen to how it sounds.

AC/DC Back in Black had very good dynamics in the percussion. Kick drum had very good impact and depth for the small subwoofer. Vocals had texture that was very natural. Earth, Wind and Fire had nice authority in the kickdrum, as well as good pitch definition in the midbass. Vocals had very good resolution and harmonics. The brass was smooth without being overly warm and brassy. Kansas, Carry on Wayward Son, had better than expected resolution and detail in the vocals that had very crisp and clean vocals. Kickdrum had again good impact and authority for the subwoofer size. Cymbals were crisp and dynamic, with definition to be able to hear the impact of the stick on the cymbal. The guitar was nice and raw.  I went thru multiple other songs as well from multiple different genre, and was pleased to hear the same quality sound.  Highs were crisp and clean, mids were smooth, and bass should not sound this good from such a small package.  For such a small device, the iRoar Go did throw a nice sized soundstage, and the imaging wasn't bad either.  They say nice things come in small packages, and this small iRoar Go gives some really nice sound!


The Creative iRoarGo proved to have the sound that the iRoar series has come to be known for. I was very pleased to see that same things didn’t charge. The iRoar series continues to go strong. Based on the design, features, quality, and performance, the iRoarGo has earned our Highly Recommended award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.us.creative.com.
 


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