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Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Smoothing the sound waves Martin Pipe lets this Finnish bass 'doctor' tame his sub’s room modes

It’s a sad truth, but the average living room isn’t suited to sub-bass. Room modes (aka standing waves) can create havoc with the lower frequencies, and can contribute to a response that is often far from smooth. However, insert this useful device between the amp’s LFE output and your sub’s line-level input, calibrate the listening area with the supplied mic, and a series of test tones will allow the 8033 to analyse the response and apply correction, so that the overall LFE response is as flat as possible.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Discretely off the wall An in-wall module solved Martin Pipe’s Zone 2 audio issues

This ingenious stereo tuner-amplifier module is the same size as a double mains socket and is designed to fit into a surface or flush-mounted wall box. The KLAB20D includes a FM-only tuner with 10 presets, auxiliary inputs and an efficient 20W per channel Class ‘D’ amp. One of the auxiliary inputs is a 3.5mm socket, accessible from the unit’s front panel and thus ideal for plugging in iPods, personal CD players and so on.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Pride of the mounties Chris Jenkins hangs out with a super-thin wallmount

There’s little point in wall-mounting an ultra-thin flatscreen TV if the bracket is so bulky it makes the set stand out from the wall; hence the demand for thin and flat wallmounts.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Tiny TV terrier just wants to play Chris Jenkins checks out the latest and dinkiest media player

As the baby in the WD TV lineup, the Mini is perhaps best connected to your SD bedroom TV, rather than to your HD living room set.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Get HD on the go Kevin Gallucci catches up with TV remotely thanks to Sling Media

Sling Media’s Slingbox PRO-HD is finally available in the UK, after being on sale in the US for over a year. Its key advantage over the original Slingbox Solo is HD support; where the original model was restricted to only streaming standard-definition, the PRO-HD is capable of streaming 1080i hi-def via component. In addition, Sling Media has added a Freeview tuner to enable users to stream over-the-air broadcasts as well. This is a handy feature that allows those who don’t have a set-top box to still enjoy the convenience the Slingbox provides.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Nero plays while video burns Martin Pipe explores a comprehensive software suite

Many PC owners will be familiar with Nero’s ‘Burning ROM’ – this disc-writing software is, after all, bundled with many drives and PCs. The Nero Multimedia Suite 10 now takes matters on a step further by enabling users to create and organise content as well as commit it to disc. When the software is installed, you’ll find a collection of applications that cover a wide range of tasks including video/photo editing, soundtrack mixing, DVD authoring, video (re)compression, disc-burning and even the backup or recovery of important computer data. Some of these programs link to others, as and when they’re needed.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
The great media escape Break multimedia free of your PC with this bijou NAS, says Martin Pipe

Many of us now store photos, music and video on our PCs to stream to our TVs over a network. But doing so does have its flaws. Using a PC as a media server means coping with operating noise, power consumption and susceptibility to malware. A far better proposition is to copy content to a NAS with inbuilt media server, such as this inexpensive Verbatim MediaShare. The PC can then be turned off, until it’s needed again.

Ed Selley  |  Nov 30, 2010  |  0 comments
‘Daddy doesn’t get no rest...’ A networked music player with a screen? Martin Pipe wants it

There are plenty of ways of auditioning music stored on a PC. A plethora of networked media players balance quality with cost is, but most are, alas, not optimised for music and require your TV to be switched on, as tracks are selected by an onscreen menu. Welcome, then, to the latest version of the famous Squeezebox networked music player, which now has an added touchscreen.

Ed Selley  |  Nov 30, 2010  |  0 comments
Webbed feat in the stream Sam Kieldsen gives the thumbs up to this 1080p media player

The VMP74 is Viewsonic’s second so-called ‘full HD Network Media Player’, and as the name suggests, it offers full 1080p output for video. The device itself is a small, lightweight and glossy plastic box that fits discreetly into a TV stand. It’s pretty unassuming with just a power indicator LED on the top. Around the back you’ll find an HDMI port for rigging the streamer to your HDTV or projector. This is the only option for hi-def video, although a 3.5mm AV port enables you to use fuzzy, old school composite video (alongside stereo audio). There’s also an optical digital output. On the non-audio/visual front, there’s an Ethernet socket for networking duties (no wi-fi option here), plus USB and eSATA ports for connecting external hard disks and other USB storage devices.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 15, 2010  |  0 comments
WD drives towards domination Chris Jenkins checks out a media player with big storage attached

WD’s digital media players include the cut-down WDTV Mini and advanced WDTV and networkable WD TV Live. So this version, with its built-in 1Tb storage drive, can be regarded as a logical development.

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