Thursday, April 29, 2010

Patriot Launches Zephyr Solid-State Drives

Patriot Launches Zephyr Solid-State Drives

New family of SSDs designed around JMicron JMF612 controller to offer native Windows® 7 TRIM support along with aggressive pricing and performance

Fremont, California, USA, April 14, 2010 - Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer technology , today announced the addition of the Zephyr series to its family of solid-state-drives (SSDs). The Zephyr series of SSD offer improved system responsiveness with quicker boot times and shorter application loading times over traditional hard disk drive storage solutions.
Patriot’s Zephyr series, available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities, is designed around the latest generation controller from JMicron: JMF612. With a controller level cache of 64MB DDR2, the Zephyr series provide stutter-free performance and offer speeds of up to 240MB/s Read and 180MB/s Write. To maintain performance integrity over the life of the drive, the Zephyr series SSDs include native support for the TRIM command in Microsoft Windows® 7.
“As solid-state drive technology advances, it is becoming more affordable, allowing SSD solutions to reach an increasing segment of end users. Patriot’s objective is to offer the latest technology in our solutions which provide the best performance and price options”, states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. “Our Zephyr family of SSDs offer great performance, aggressive pricing and the inherent benefit of SSD technology over antiquated hard disk drives: quicker boot times and shorter application loading times. Including a Zephyr SSD in your desktop or notebook upgrade plans provides one of the best bang-for-the buck improvements you can make to your system.”
The Zephyr family of SSDs are durable and reliable, with an aluminum housing to minimize typical wear and tear and with NAND memory at their core, there are no moving parts to fail, or be damaged from daily use in portable computing solutions. Additionally, the Zephyr family of SSDs provide incredible performance, reliability and a 3-year warranty.

Model #
Read speed
Write speed
Jmicron JM612
3 years
Jmicron JM612
3 years
Jmicron JM612
3 years

For more information about Patriot’s products and solutions, please contact your Patriot Sales Representative or visit Patriot Memory:
Patriot Memory designs, manufactures and markets high performance, enthusiast memory modules, flash products, and computing technologies. Patriot products have become world renown for their extreme performance, reliability and innovation. Patriot Memory sells its products through original equipment manufacturers , retailers, e-tailers and distributors throughout the world with operations in North America, Asia and Europe. Patriot Memory’s parent company, PDP Systems, Inc., was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA.
All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thiel SCS4 Coherent Source High Resolution Loudspeaker Review

As the saying goes; if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. As summer approaches, many of you will be like me and get out of the heat. This could cause the dilemma of what to do now with our spare time. If you are anything like me, this question just prompts the answer of it being time to listen to some music.
This is also the typical time of some spending of some cash. With tax day gone, many of us that managed to get refunds either have the cash burning a hole in our pocket now or soon will be. Thiel Audio can help give you music lovers some ideas on how to spend it. With the passing of Jim Thiel last year, I am glad to see that Thiel Audio is alive and well. Their SCS4 could be a very good reason to burn some of your cash on a product that will give you years of enjoyment.

The speakers provided for review is their SCS4 Coherent Source High Resolution bookshelf speaker in a dark cherry finish. When I first learned they were headed my way for review, I was very intrigued at how they would sound. I was intrigued because of Jim Thiel’s use of a coaxial two way design of these unique speakers. This design is rarely used in home audio.

It does give benefits to these speakers. They are fairly large bookshelf speakers, measuring 8.4" wide by 11.7 inches deep by 17.6 inches tall, with a frequency response of 47Hz-20kHz. The single coaxial speaker was placed in the middle of the cabinet with front ports both below and above it. This allows the speaker which was designed for both music and movies, to be mounted either vertically or horizontally so it can be used as front, center, or surround speakers.
Construction quality, materials, and finish is quite high. The dark cherry finish turned out very well. The cabinet features double laminated sides and heavy internal bracing. The rear has a pair of heavy duty binging posts. And the front features an aluminum baffle and a metal grill held in place with magnets. As previously mentioned the speaker is a coaxial design with a 6 ½“ aluminum driver and 1” aluminum dome tweeter.

We all know that looks and design are only part of the reason we purchase speakers. After all, speakers are made to produce sound. So how does the Thiel SCS4 do its job? My answer would be- very well! I was expecting an overall solid performer at their price point. But with their coaxial design, I was expecting some limitations. Two way designs for example, traditionally do not have the dynamics found in a 3-way design. The Thiel SCS4’s seemed to overcome this trend mysteriously.

To start I put in The Very Best of Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops: Top 20. Track 6 Puccini: “Nessun dorma!” from Turandot. The imaging was great, with the tenor Soloist Richard Leech. You could hear the slight differentiation in image placement as he apparently changed which section of the audience he faced and it’s effects on the microphone. The dynamics were impressive and showed no signs of vocal discoloration or distortion which especially can be common, singing with that kind of volume that close to the microphone. The tenor sounded very natural. Track 13 of the same album –Overture to the Phantom of the Opera provided a very smooth sounding organ with authority and sufficient extension.

Mancini: Theme From the Pink Panther was a pleasant surprise ( I am not a big Pink Panther fan). The triangle while just a tad edgy was very crisp, as was the snare drum. The sound stage was wide and deep with almost a 3-D effect. There was not quite the amount of air that I like around the instruments, but there was great transparency, definition and dynamics. This level of resolution is very difficult to produce.

In the orchestra performance of the theme song for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the level of dynamics and resolution brought a smile to my face and continued with each push of the button to go back to the beginning of the track. The sound stage was deep, and seemed to extend beyond the walls. The strings were natural with nice definition, the percussion had a good pitch definition as well. For a bookshelf monitor there was good low end extension. It was a track that screamed: play me loud!, and sounded good doing it!! I kept having to tell myself to stop just sitting here and enjoying the music - I am doing a review. Listen to the instruments. Great job Jim Thiel!!

Moving on to see how they performed with movies, I was not left wanting. Again they showed similar performance with movies as was shown with music. They provided a wide sound stage. Highs were crisp and clean, smooth mids, and adequate bass extension. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a good test environment. The Thiel SCS4 pleasantly immersed me in the experience, just as they had with the music listening. All in all, that’s one of the best compliments to be given.

The Thiel SCS4 bookshelf speakers proved to be a real gem of a speaker. Designed to deliver a high level of performance, they delivered in spades. They truly are a bargain for a reference grade monitor at their price point of $2,000 a pair. If you are in the market for bookshelf speakers, I would recommend them. For more information and complete specs, check out their website at:

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Integra Ships its First Nine-Channel, 150-Watt THX-Ultra2 Power Amplifier

Upper Saddle River, NJ (3/31/10) Integra, the industry's top brand of AV components specifically engineered for custom installation, is now shipping a powerful new nine-channel home theater power amplifier that is rated at 150-Watts per channel. It is believed to be the industry's first high-performance nine-channel home theater power amplifier. After being tested by THX, the Integra DTA-70.1 was awarded their top-level THX Ultra2 certification, indicating its ability to drive all of the speakers in a modern nine-channel home theater system to full THX output levels and beyond.

The Integra DTA-70.1 is designed as a companion product to the Integra DHC-80.1 9.2-channel AV processor for theater systems that use the new 'height' or 'stereo-wide' channels for enhanced three-dimensional ambience. The amplifier is also a highly versatile companion to seven-channel preamps such as the Integra DHC-40.1 with the extra channels dedicated to additional zones or for bi-amplified connections that double the power available to the main stereo loudspeakers.

The DTA-70.1 is an all-analog discrete-component power amplifier with a massive power supply and professional-style balance line inputs. Each channel has identical symmetric circuit layouts, configured in a push-pull topology utilizing high-performance three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry and powerful custom-designed output transistors. Like all Integra amplifiers and receivers, it uses the company's WRAT (wide range amplifier technology) with low negative feedback, closed ground-loop circuits, and HICC (high instantaneous-current capability) to achieve an extended frequency range, low noise, and high dynamics.

The large, 11.7-Amp power supply of the DTA-70.1 uses a massive toroidal power transformer with dual 22,000 µF capacitors. This gives the system excellent short-term transient power impact, with an FTC Dynamic Power specification of 180 Watts into 8 ohms, and 400 Watts into 3 ohms. The power bandwidth is 5 Hz to 100 kHz, +/-3dB, and the IHF A-weighted signal to noise ratio is an excellent 110 dB.

The amplifier's chassis has a thick, solid aluminum front panel and employs heavy-duty construction throughout for maximum rigidity and resistance to resonances. All the circuit boards employ thick 70µm copper foil for high current capability and low impedance, and the use of heavy copper bus plates eliminates grounding issues.

There are gold-plated XLR and machined solid brass RCA inputs for each channel. The color-coded speaker outputs use gold-plated banana-plug-compatible transparent binding posts. It has a 12-volt trigger input for remote turn on and off capabilities, and an automatic power-down capability.

The Integra DTA-70.1 power amplifier is now available with a suggested retail price of $1,800.

Integra designs and manufactures premium Home Theater receivers, processors, amplifiers, and DVD players that are specifically designed to meet the needs of custom audio/video systems installers. Systems integration and convergence technology protocols include RS-232, IR and on-board Ethernet for network connectivity and TCP/IP control. Integra has access to vast technical resources and bears a proud heritage of over 60 years of audio engineering excellence. For more information about Integra and its many fine products, visit or call 800 225-1946.

# # #

SPECIFICATIONS: Integra DTA-70.1 Power Amplifier

Power Output: All Channels: 150 W /Ch at 8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.05%, 2 channels driven
FTC Dynamic Power: 400 W (3 ohms, Front) 300 W (4 ohms, Front) 180 W (8 ohms, Front)
THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): 0.05% (Rated power)
Damping Factor: 60 (Front, 1 kHz, 8 ohms)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance: 1 V/47 kohms (Balanced) 2 V/22 kohms (Unbalanced)
Frequency Response: 5 Hz-100 kHz/+1 dB, -3 dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 110 dB (Unbalanced, IHF-A)
Speaker Impedance: 4 ohms-16 ohms or 6 ohms-16 ohms
Power Supply: AC 120 V~, 60 Hz
Power Consumption: 11.7 Amps
Dimensions: (W x H x D):17 1/8´´ x 7 13/16´´ x 17 1/2´´ (435 x 198.5 x 445 mm)
Weight: 50.7 lbs. (23.0 kg)

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Monday, April 19, 2010



New GZ-HM1 Full HD camera boasts gains in low light performance, image stabilization and still image quality.

WAYNE, NJ, April 6, 2010 - A new top-end JVC HD Everio video camera is now available, JVC announced today. The new GZ-HM1 HD Everio offers a full slate of technologies to optimize picture quality and an array of manual controls for creative flexibility. The GZ-HM1 offers performance improvements in three key areas ? low light performance, camera-shake compensation and digital still quality. As a result, the GZ-HM1, which offers 64GB of internal storage and an SD/SDHC card slot, is the ideal camera for video enthusiasts and semi-professionals.

In the area of low light performance, the GZ-HM1 provides superior results thanks to a new CMOS sensor that boosts sensitivity to four Lux (compared to nine Lux for the previous GZ-HM400) for brilliant recording of 1920 x 1080 Full HD video, with 1080/60p output through the HDMI connection. In camera shake compensation, JVC made improvements in wide angle performance, an area not typically addressed. While most stabilization efforts focus on effectiveness in high zoom ratios, camera shake also occurs at wide angle settings, especially when the camera user is moving along with the subject. In the new GZ-HM1, JVC uses prism technology to provide effective results at the wide angle end of the zoom range. And for better still image quality, the GZ-HM1 delivers real 10 megapixel stills for detailed images.

The GZ-HM1's 1/2.3-inch 10.62 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor dramatically increases sensitivity, enabling recording of high quality images even in low-light locations. Back-illumination technology moves the circuitry within the CMOS chip to a layer behind the photo diodes, avoiding loss of incoming light that occurs with conventional CMOS sensors. This efficient gathering of light increases the ability to obtain visual information, which translates into higher picture quality being available at the camera even in low light situations. The KONICA MINOLTA HD LENS is currently one of the world's smallest and slimmest HD lenses, and offers 10x optical zoom.

A new optical image stabilization system with Advanced Image Stabilizer provides effective camera-shake compensation in a variety of situations. The camera's optical image stabilization system uses two prisms within the lens housing to optically compensate for vertical and lateral camera shake. Together they are able to effectively reduce the effects of shake in any direction. This JVC system is enhanced by the company's Advanced Image Stabilizer that improves compensation, especially in the wide angle range, providing a stable image even if the user is walking while shooting.

The camera's 10.62 megapixel CMOS sensor allows the GZ-HM1 to shoot real 10 megapixel stills with ISO6400 sensitivity for pristine digital stills with high resolution, even if the lighting is less than ideal. The densely packed pixels of the CMOS sensor translate into smooth and realistic images without any sense of pixilation or gaps between pixels, for a look similar to film photography. ISO6400 high sensitivity is assurance that even in dark situations the image will look sharp and detailed. For further assistance in shooting in low light, the GZ-HM1 includes an automatic flash.

To meet the needs of the more demanding video enthusiast, the GZ-HM1 offers an array of manual controls. These include a manual adjustment dial that, among other functions, allows easy and precise manual focus. Other manual controls include selection of shutter or aperture priority shooting, and bracket shooting. In addition, there's a user-programmable button for storing frequently used settings.

To ensure the best possible audio recording, there's a microphone input, audio level control and headphone output. There's also a top-mounted accessory shoe.

The GZ-HM1 also offers creative shooting functions, including time-lapse recording, available in all 2010 Everio cameras, to easily record in intervals ranging from one to 80 seconds. When played back, hours-long segments are reduced to mere seconds. Also available is high-speed recording at up to 600 frames per second, allowing ultra-slow motion playback for observation and analysis, such as a golf swing.

Digital files created with this new Everio camera can be easily shared in a variety of popular formats with the enhanced Everio MediaBrowser software for Windows?, which now provides automatic conversion of HD videos for immediate sharing on YouTube? at HD or SD resolution. Files also can be directly exported to iTunes? and synced with an iPod? or iPhone?, or burned to DVD, all with just a few mouse clicks using the same Everio MediaBrowser application.

The JVC GZ-HM1 will be available in March for $1,199.95.

About JVC U.S.A.
JVC U.S.A., headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, is a division of JVC Americas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Victor Company of Japan Ltd. JVC distributes a complete line of video and audio equipment for the consumer and professional markets. For further product information, visit JVC's Web site at or call 1-800-526-5308. Follow JVC on Twitter:

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Headphone Shoot-out Part 2: The IEM's

It is now time for Part 2 of the Headphone Shoot-out. For those who read part 1, the shoot-out was divided into two parts, Part one was for the six over the ear headphones. Part two is for the final six that are IEM’s. The models being reviewed here are the Audio-Technica ATH-CKM50A for $99, the Rockford Fosgate Punch Plugs for $99, Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 for $169, Westone 2 for $249, Sennheiser IE7 for $369, and Westone 3 $399. Most of the models are close to the $200 range and up. But again, in the spirit of March Madness I included a couple in the lower brackets. The audio listening portion includes the same arsenal used in Part one. They include Bachbusters: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Eagles: Easy Peaceful Feeling, Blue Smith: Raindance, Fresh Aire I: Chocolate Fudge, Future Sex: SexyBack, Rip It Up: You Spin Me Round, Star Wars Trilogy: Throne Room and Finale, Very Best of Erich Kunzel: Sing, Sing, Sing, and Bass Meckanic: Sonic Overload for the test tones. And now, on with Part two of our big dance.
First off is Audio-Technica’s ATH-CKM50A. The fit and finish was on par for its price point. Materials and built quality is good, with extra tips and a leather carrying bag that has interior pockets for the accessories. I liked the off-angle design for a more secured fit in your ears. There was also an extension cable that proved very useful.
The Eagles showed natural vocals with ok resolution and depth. I also enjoyed to crisp guitar stringing. FutureSex had nice output with the bass extension being pretty clean. Vocals were good sounding with good pitch definition. Rip It Up was nice with tight bass extension that was also pretty clean, good resolution, and also good vocals. Erich Kunzel showcased nice sounding clarinet, crisp percussion, and nice dynamics on the trumpet solo, but the tympanis sounded a little muddy. Bass dropped off at around 23hz, and usable to around 18hz. All in all, they are good sounding IEM’s that are accurately priced.

Up next is Rockford Fosgate’s Punch Plugs. If you know anything about Rockford Fosgate, what first comes to mind is their high quality car audio Punch subwoofers and amplifiers. They wanted the Punch Plugs to have their Punch sonic signature, so they designed them from the ground up and designed a proprietary large 15mm dynamic driver. The design of the plugs, while large for the driver, also inserts at an angle for a better fit. The cable is a tangle free design and looks more like a narrow ribbon, as it is about twice as wide as a typical cable. The design works well. It also comes with a nice zippered hard case with an interior pocket to hold the extra tips. The build quality and materials used are also good. With the Punch Plugs, you get a lot for your money.
I was pleased to hear the attempt to include the Rockford Fosgate Punch Sonic Signature was a success. As a Rockford Fosgate user for approximately 20 years, I tend to like a lot of bass. Rain Dance had a nice rich sax tone, the drum sounded natural with nice harmonics and low level pitch definition. SexyBack had a wide sound stage, great bass extension with plenty of Punch. Natural sounding vocals had good pitch. Justin sounded pretty good. You Spin Me Round gave very clean bass beats with lots of punch, good vocals, and clean sounding. Sing, Sing, Sing threw a wide sound stage, crisp percussion and good pitch definition in the bass strings. The clarinet was clean sounding. There was nice imaging with the trumpet and was very controlled even when wailing. Drop off was around 23hz and usable to around 15hz. I was very impressed with these Punch Plugs, which sounded more like double their price point and closer to the Ultimate Ears.
Next in line is the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5’s. Construction quality and materials were good. Even though the monitors are not angled, they fit well. The cabling was nice with a gold plated tip. Also included were extra tips, wax loop and a plastic carrying case.

Bachbusters was very clean sounding. The bass did not seem to extend with quite as much authority as I like. The crescendo was just slightly muddy. The Eagles guitars were nice and crisp, and the natural vocals were a tad warm. There was nice resolution and they were fairly smooth sounding. On Blue Smith the sax was smooth sounding, had a wide soundstage, and nice harmonics. The sound was crisp, and the natural sounding drums had good resolution. Rip It Up had ok bass extension but was lacking in authority. It was clean sounding, provided crisp mid and upper harmonics and good resolution. There was lots of synthesizer work going on, and I could hear it all cleanly. Bass dropped off at around 28hz and usable to around 19hz.

The Westone 2’s are a true two-way design, with dual balanced armatures. Build quality and materials are excellent, and evidenced with a little quality control slip that was initialed and dated. Accessories include an in-line volume control, ¼” adapter, wax loop and brush, and a multitude of different sized and styled tips. The zippered hard case has an interior pocket, and even a metal S clip for convenience.
Blue Smith was very smooth sounding, had excellent detail and resolution in the drums. It gave a wide sound stage. The sax was very smooth sounding; the tambourine was very crisp and dynamic. Fresh Aire I sounded amazing, with lots of resolution. There were a lot of instruments at work and they all came forward loud and clear, crisp, clean and natural. The bass however was subdued, missing some oomph. With FutureSex the bass extension was ok, but lacked that punch. They were extremely dynamic, just a tad bright. There was good pitch resolution in the vocals and was quite transparent. Star Wars Trilogy had excellent imaging, large sound stage, tons of resolution, and smooth strings. They gave me goose bumps. Even the xylophone came through nice and clear. The dual balanced armature design does tend to give a cleaner, more accurate, more dynamic and more refined sound. But unlike a traditional dynamic driver design, the bass while does have depth lacks punch. The test tones supported it with drop off at around 30hz and usable to 18hz.

The Sennheiser IE7 proved to be an excellent product. The packaging was nothing short of first class, with molded foam inserts in a metal carrying case. The materials and quality of construction was also excellent. They feature a single dynamic driver with a ported design. Accessories include additional tips, loop, and ear clips.
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor showed a large soundstage, was very clean and fairly smooth sounding. Bass extension was nice with good authority. Rain Dance was very smooth sounding, with great resolution. The crisp sax sounded amazing and the drums showed great low level dynamics. SexyBack had good bass extension with nice authority in the beats. Vocals had excellent vocal transparency and harmonics. Sing, Sing, Sing had nice imaging and great tymphony pitch definition. The clarinet was very natural sounding and the trumpet was very crisp and clean sounding. Sonic overload test tones showed drop off around 24hz with useable output down to around 17hz. Overall, the sound was more refined. It had a smooth sound, but appeared to be so at the slight expense of resolution.
Last but not least is the Westone 3. Build quality and materials were identical to the Westone 2- very high. The included accessories are identical. The only difference between the two models is the true 3-way design of the Westone 3. Instead of a woofer and tweeter as in the Westone 2, the Westone 3 has a tweeter, midrange and woofer in its balanced armature drivers.
Bachbusters had the same amazing sound as the Westone 2’s, just elevated to a higher level. It showed cleaner midrange, and better bass output. Blue Smith had a very smooth sax; midrange seemed a touch cleaner and smoother then the Westone 2’s. There was a touch more resolution and increased dynamics. Star Wars Trilogy sounded amazing, with every instrument being able to be heard. The xylophone sounded extra sharp, with amazing resolution on the strings. Erich Kunzel had excellent dynamics and resolution. At times the highs showed just a hint of edginess. The sound stage was large; imaging was excellent, with great pitch definition with the drums. Bass drop off was at around 23hz and usable to around 16hz.
As in March Madness, the bracketing generally gives you an idea of how teams will compete. Product pricing can give you that general idea. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the Rockford Fosgate Punch Plugs. With their specially designed 15mm drivers to incorporate their signature Punch sound, they delivered in spades. All listening was done on my IPod Classic 120 GB with the songs in Lossless format for no compression and the EQ turned off. When turning the EQ on and set to Bass Booster and the volume cranked up, none of the other models handled extreme punch like the Punch Plugs. I expected that may be the case. But I was pleasantly surprised by how they sounded with everything else. They were not as smooth sounding, not as refined and not as much resolution as the Sennheiser IE7’s, which were also a single dynamic drive design. That being said, the IE7’s also impressed me with the sound accomplished with a dynamic driver. It lacked some of the dynamics and cleaner sound of a multiple driver system as the Westone products, but the difference was not dramatic. The Ultimate Ear SuperFi 5’s were also impressive in the sound they achieved in a single balanced armature design. It was close to the bass response of the Westone 3, which had a dedicated woofer. I would love to hear how something higher up their line sounds like, in a multiple driver monitor. And while I like my bass heavy, the Westone 2 and 3 when listening to one of my favorite tracks from the Star Wars Trilogy: Throne Room and Finale, they both gave me goose bumps. Kudos to you! I’d have to say the winner of these products would go to the Westone 3, and the punch Plugs being my second favorite. The rest are right close behind. All are excellent sounding. If only there was a Westone 4 that had the drivers of the Westone 3, with a dedicated dynamic driver design as a subwoofer. If you are in the market for a good quality IEM, all of these products deserve some attention. For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at:,,,, and

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Definitive Technology Announces World’s Thinnest

Definitive Technology Announces World’s Thinnest

High-Performance On-Wall Home Theater Loudspeaker

1.5-inch-thick Mythos® XTR®-50 speaker complements ultra-slim TVs

and delivers big-speaker performance

BALTIMORE – March 22, 2010 – Home audio company Definitive Technology announced it has developed the world’s thinnest high-performance on-wall home theater loudspeaker: the 1.5-inch-thick Mythos® XTR®-50. The new patent-pending product is today being offered through an exclusive online agreement with and In the coming weeks, Definitive plans to make the Mythos XTR-50 available online and in stores through additional retailers, including Magnolia Home Theater, Best Buy’s high-end store within a store; Sixth Avenue Electronics; Abt Electronics; OneCall; Ultimate Electronics; Vann’s; and elsewhere.

Conventional LCD and plasma televisions typically have an installed on-wall depth of 4 to 6 inches. The latest generation of premium, ultra-thin LCD flat-panel televisions uses LED-backlit technology for a better picture, with an installed on-wall depth of 1.75 inches or less.

Next to these super-slim televisions, yesterday’s “made for plasma” on-wall speakers, typically 4 to 5 inches deep, look thick and out of place. Definitive developed the Mythos XTR-50 to look great on a wall or shelf next to an ultra-thin television, with no sacrifice in sound quality. The Mythos XTR-50 offers the audio definition, detail, bass and dynamic range performance of traditional larger speakers.

“Ultra-thin TVs do a wonderful job displaying realistic, high-definition images, but they need external speakers to provide equally high-quality sound,” said Dave Peet, executive vice president of Definitive. “Previously, the only choices customers had were finding space in the room for full-sized speakers or cutting a hole in the wall to hide them, with only the grille showing.”

Shipments of LED-backlit LCD ultra-thin televisions in 2010 are expected to grow fivefold over 2009, according to figures released late last year by television maker Samsung. Definitive designed the Mythos XTR-50 to complement the demand for and aesthetic of today’s ultra-thin televisions.

The company accomplished the Mythos XTR-50’s thin profile through innovative engineering of a variety of materials, including naturally strong, but lightweight aluminum. This metal has the added advantage of quickly dissipating heat.

Speakers produce sound by moving air with a “diaphragm.” Most manufacturers form them into a cone shape from materials such as paper, plastic or woven fibers, but Definitive instead developed an aluminum dome that both produces sound and partly houses other components, such as a voice coil.

Voice coils typically contain lengths of wound copper wire, which is an excellent signal conductor but at the trade-off of being heavy. The Mythos XTR-50 uses lighter copper-clad aluminum-core wire to offer the advantages of both.

Another secret to the Mythos XTR-50’s thin profile and superior performance is its aluminum cabinet. By specially shaping the enclosure and incorporating stiffening ribs and channels, Definitive achieved a strong, rigid housing that produces no unwanted resonance. Additionally, magnets used for driving the speakers protrude through, but flush with, the rear wall of the cabinet, to minimize depth and conveniently dissipate heat throughout the enclosure.

Other product components are made from polyimide film, another strong, lightweight and heat-resistant material used in spacesuits and the Apollo Lunar Module.

The Mythos XTR-50 cabinet measures 27 inches high, 6 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick, the perfect size for televisions measuring 46 to 55 inches. The product comes supplied with a wall-mounting bracket that allows either vertical or horizontal orientation, with a total on-wall depth of only 1.6 inches. Also supplied are stands for vertical tabletop use and horizontal shelf placement.

In January 2010, a prototype of the product was selected as the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Design and Engineering Best of Innovations 2010 Awards winner in the High-Performance Audio category. Products entered in the program were judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and journalists, to honor outstanding developments within 36 product categories. There was only one Best of Innovations winner in each category.

More than 2,500 companies shared information about nearly 20,000 products at the 2010 CES in Las Vegas, Nev. Held each January, CES is one of the largest technology trade shows in the world.

Each Mythos XTR-50 is $699. High- and low-resolution images of the product are available at

About Definitive Technology

Definitive Technology has been committed to building superior-sounding home audio and home theater loudspeakers since 1990, when the company was founded by three lifelong audiophiles and experts in speaker design and acoustics. Definitive Technology® loudspeakers are among the most positively reviewed and honored high-performance loudspeakers on the market. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Definitive Technology is part of the DEI Holdings family of consumer-electronics brands. Audio/video specialty retailers throughout the U.S. and in over 30 countries around the world proudly sell Definitive Technology loudspeakers. For more information and the location of your nearest Definitive retailer, visit, or call us at (800) 228-7148 (U.S. and Canada). Outside of North America, call +1 (410) 363-7148.

Any trademarks, service marks and trade names appearing in this release are the property of their respective owners. Definitive has not independently verified any of the data from third-party sources contained in this press release.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Vincent Audio Debuts PHO-8 MC/MM Phono Preamplifier

Vincent Audio Debuts PHO-8 MC/MM Phono Preamplifier

Vincent PHO-8 Phono Preamplifer. High resolution photos avilable here.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (3/30/10) - Vincent Audio has introduced a high quality, affordably priced, two-piece phono preamplifier designed to extract the ultimate sound quality from high end moving coil (MC) and moving magnet (MM) phonograph cartridges. The Vincent Audio PHO-8 phono preamplifier consists of two matching, but separate components -- one a very high quality phono preamplifier section, and the other a physically isolated high performance, low-noise power supply.

When dealing with the vanishingly small signal levels generated by today's high performance moving coil phonograph cartridges, the high-gain signal preamplifier circuits can be extremely vulnerable to noise, especially from the power supply circuits, and this problem is solved by housing the power supply in separate chassis and carefully shield both the power supply and the preamplifier.

The Vincent PHO-8 power supply has a large transformer, large filter capacitors, and a precision voltage regulator that completely eliminate power line ripples. This carefully filtered DC is delivered to the phono preamplifier stage over a shielded cable and a five-pin DIN plug.

The precision phono stage preamplifier uses only the highest quality parts throughout in order to achieve extremely low noise operation. The MM section delivers a greater than 84 dB signal-to-noise ratio, while the MC section delivers greater than 71 dB ratio, with total harmonic distortion of less than 0.02 percent. The preamplifier chassis has two RCA inputs and a ground connection, and two RCA outputs. A two-way front panel switch is used to select MC or MM gain levels. It uses a detachable IEC-style power cord, and is offered in either black or silver finish.

The Vincent PHO-8 is currently available at a suggested retail price of $399.95.

Vincent Audio manufactures high-end audio components that use vacuum tube and hybrid tube/solid-state technology to produce sound that is powerful, accurate, and texturally satisfying. The brand's exclusive North American distributor is WS Distributing, LLC, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information about Vincent Audio, visit WS Distributing's web site at

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Vincent Audio PHO-8 Phono Preamplifier Specifications:

· Frequency Response: 10 Hz - 20 kHz +/- 0.5 dB
· T.H.D.: < 0.05 % (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
· Input Sensitivity: MM 58 mV; MC 6.8 mV
· S/N Ratio: MM > 83 dB; MC > 70 dB
· Input Impedance: MM 47 k Ohm; MC 100 Ohm
· Output Impedance: 250 Ohm
· Max. Voltage Output: 8 V (per channel)
· Amplifier Gain: MM 40 dB; MC 60 dB
· Power Consumption: 10 W
· Weight: 3.3 lbs (power supply); 2.6 lbs. (preamplifier)
· Dimensions: 4.5" wide, 2.3" high, 5.4" deep

WS Distributing, 3427 Kraft SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512 · Dealer Contact: Tom Myers 616.885.9809 · Fax: 616.885.9818 · Toll-Free/Alternate: 866.984.0677

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Headphone Shoot-out Part 1.

As many of us were enjoying the craziness of March Madness and working on our brackets, I thought I would do a little bit of the same. In the spirit of March Madness, it is time for a headphone shoot-out. I included a few lower brackets in the $100 range. The models include over the ear, IEM's, and active noise cancelling. To be more subjective, the shoot-out will be split into two parts. Part one will be for the over the head models. Part two will be for the IEM's.

The over the ear models shooting it out today will be six different models from Audio-Technica, Koss, Shure, and Sennheiser. Starting off is an Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC27 for $119.95, with active noise cancelling. Next is Shure's SRH840 for 199.95, Audio-Technica's ATH-M50 for $199.95, ATH-AD700 for $259.95, Koss QZ900 for $249.99 and finally, last but not least, is Sennheiser HD600 for $519.95. For testing, I threw an arsenal of different music types at them. The testing tracks included- Bachbusters: Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, Eagles: Easy Peaceful Feeling, Blue Smith: Raindance, Fresh Aire I: Chocolate Fudge, FutureSex: SexyBack, Dead or Alive's Album Rip It Up: You Spin Me Round, Star Wars Trilogy: Throne Room and Finale, Very Best of Erich Kunzel: Sing, Sing, Sing and Sonic Overload for their test tones. Now with all that said, it's time for the Shoot-out!

We will start off with Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC27. It is an over the ears closed back dynamic design active noise cancelling headphones. The fit and finish is of good quality overall. The ear cups had a soft leather pad that felt good. The cable was detachable and came with a nice semi-hard zippered case. The active noise cancelling circuitry was run off a single AAA battery. The battery door was conveniently designed on the exterior of the headphone, making it easy to change the battery which was good for up to 40 hours. I was surprised at the functionality. Without the noise cancelling turned on, the headphones sounded ok. Bachbusters sounded good, with nice base extension and output. The Eagles sounded slightly muffled, but fairly smooth. Blue Smith sounded clean and smooth with a good sound stage and natural sounding drums. It sounded about what I expected for active noise cancelling at that price point, remembering that alot of the cost goes toward that circuitry. But when you turn on the noise cancelling feature, to my pleasant surprise, the active noise cancelling did more than it's job as advertised. It also seemed to act a bit like an amplifier and yielded cleaner and crisper highs and mids. At the slight expense of a AAA battery, I would listen to them with the active noise cancelling always on.

To finish up the active noise cancelling headphones in the shoot-out, we go to the Koss QZ900 for $249.99. Doing the review also in the order of sound quality, the Koss QZ900 is next in line. While it has a higher cost than some of the other models, a large part of the cost is in the active noise cancelling design. So the end resulting sound quality is about where I expected it. The quality was good with nice leather cups that surrounded the ears, had a detachable cable with in-line volume control, and nice semi-hard zippered case for storage. One potential downside is the battery compartment design. In order to change the battery, which is good for up to 50 hours, you need to take off the ear pad. On Backbusters the crescendo is difficult to produce very well and was just a tad shaky very well. But it had a good sized sound stage, well articulated high frequency harmonics, with a nice extension and low end presence. Fresh Aire I showed a natural sounding piano with a very clean sound, nice bass extension, and good resolution and harmonics. FutureSex provided a nice low bass extension cleanly, a nice sound stage, and natural clean vocals. The test tones on Sonic Overload showed drop off around 35-30hz with usable output to around 18hz. The active noise cancelling did extremely well, and appeared to eliminate the noise around 90%, and had no degradation to the music. Kudos.

Shure produced a fine product in the SRH840. It also features a closed back dynamic design. It features a partly collapsing design for easier storage. Everything is of excellent quality, even the packaging which included a nice users manual, leather pouch, and even an extra set of leather ear cups. They even had a detachable cable. Impressed with the look and build quality, I was curious if it sounded just as good and I was not disappointed. Fresh Aire I: Chocolate Fudge provided a natural sounding piano, extremely crisp percussion, very nice upper range harmonics, but fairly flat bass. Justin Timberlake's: FutureSex had excellent mid and high details and vocal transparency, and subdued bass. The Star Wars Trilogy had a great sound stage and dynamics, lots of resolution, and was very natural sounding. Erich Kunzel: Sing, Sing, Sing, was light and airy, had a great sound stage, great resolution, and very clean sounding. I was impressed. For a closed back dynamic design, they sounded airy, and had great resolution. Sonic Overload's test tones showed what I seemed to hear. Base extension dropped off at around 35hz, and usable to around 28hz. I tend to like more bass. If you don't like a lot of bass these could be great for you. It did provide bass extension, it was just a little subdued compared to others.

Next up is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. They are another excellent quality in build and material set of headphones. Although at this price point, they all should be. A closed back dynamic circumaural design like the Shure's, and like the the Shure's the fit was very comfortable. I also liked the metal end with a screw on for the also metal 1/4" adapter. It also came with the traditional leather pouch. Blue Smith had a nice big sound stage, great resolution, natural sounding drums, and clean sax. Fresh Aire I showed very crisp percussion, very natural sounding piano, better bass extension and output, and good resolution. Rip It Up had nice bass output, nice sound stage, clean vocals, and good resolution. Star Wars Trilogy was very clean sounding, gave a big sound stage, lots of resolution, great dynamics and fairly smooth sounding. They weren't quite as light and airy sounding as the Shure's but had much more low end extension and output. It was supported by Sonic Overload's test tones, that showed drop off at around 26hz and usable output to around 20hz.

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 is an Open Air dynamic design. Again, the build quality is great, with soft velvet pads, high end cable with titanium sheathing and a nice metal connector. It also uses a unique 3D wing support that makes them feel light when you wear them. Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor did not have as much oomph in the low end. But it did have very crisp highs and nice big sound stage. It had great resolution but bass output was subdued. Rain Dance was nice and detailed with lots of resolution, very smooth sounding sax, and large sound stage. The tambourine was very crisp. Chocolate Fudge also provided very crisp percussion, excellent resolution, and an airy sound. The bass was again subdued in output, but the sound stage was large and the piano was very natural sounding. You Spin Me Round had crisp percussion, good bass extension however subdued, and great resolution. Sing, Sing, Sing provided excellent resolution and dynamics, a large sound stage, and was very clean sounding. These Audio-Technica's had a great sound. Bass output was subdued like the Shure's, but it did provide better extension. Test tones showed the same, with drop off around 34hz and usable to around 26hz. They had a more wide sound stage and airy sound than the Shure's, but the open air design also means you can hear more easily the environment around you. But if you like the design, the sound is great.

Last but not least is Sennheiser's HD600, which is another Open Air Dynamic Circumaural Design. Build quality is extremely good in a marble type finish, very comfortable velvet pads, and detachable cable which surprisingly are on both cups (most current headphones have the cable on only one side). Instead of a leather pouch the headphones are stored in a black vinyled fiberboard box with a cutout foam interior for a custom fit. Bachbusters had a big sound stage, very smooth and clean highs. They provided lots of resolution. I did notice that the drivers were not as efficient as there a noticable drop in volume output at the same volume setting of my player. When listening to Blue Smith there was a wide sound stage, crisp tambourine, great pitch definition and low level dynamics. The drums sounded natural. Rip It Up had excellent resolution, very crisp and clean sounding, nice bass extension, and clear vocals. Erich Kunzel shared excellent detail and resolution, was light and airy with excellent dynamics, provided very clean harmonics and good bass definition. The sound was amazing and took things to a whole new level. However, at it's price point, it was expected. Bass out put was just slightly subdued, but again I prefer a lot of bass. Everything else sounded amazing. Sonic Overload test tones showed dropoff around 30hz and usable down to 20hz.

All in all, part one of the sound-off would go to Sennheiser. But the two Audio-Technica's and the Shure would follow in a very close 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. And just like a lower tier team can pull an upset by a last second shot at the buzzer, we all have our personal preferences. Bottom line, all of these great products are a good value, especially when two of the models also include active noise cancellation. For more info and complete specs, please check out the manufacturer's website, listed below. If you are in the market for high quality headphones, you will want to give these some attention and a listening to. Enjoy. I sure did!,,,

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