The Complete Guide to High-End Audio
In this newly updated directory, the latest in cutting-edge audio equipment is provided, including how to choose the best audio equipment on a budget, how to get the best sound for the money, and how to set up a system for maximum performance. Revised and expanded to include all the latest audio technologies, this book is packed with expert advice how to make speakers sound up to 50 percent better at no cost, avoid the most common system set-up mistakes, and how to choose the one speaker in 50 w
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VTech Communications Safe & Sounds Full Color Video and Audio Monitor
- Split screen viewing system supports up to four total cameras to be viewed from one parent unit; Viewing modes include single view and quad view split screen to view 4 rooms at the same time
- Remotely communicate to your baby from the parent unit to the baby unit; Soothe your baby from another room or even from outdoors
- Infrared LED view your baby at night without disturbing them
- 1,000 feet of range with superior digital transmission
- Rechargeable battery with low battery alert in parent unit
Safe & Sounds Full Color Video and Audio Monitor split screen viewing system supports up to four total cameras to be viewed from one parent unit. Viewing modes include single view and quad view split screen to view 4 rooms at the same time.See and hear your baby from any room in the house with the VTech Safe&Sound Full Color Video and Audio Monitor. Features include a high-resolution LCD display, a 1,000-foot operating range, infrared night vision, high-quality audio, an encrypted connection, an
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This book is:
Almost what the High-End Audio industry needs
It’s important for me that a book be written on the advantages of high-end audio. It’s the business I’m in and it is dear to me on a personal level. There are many excellent portions and handy information pieces scattered about the book and that’s the good news.
I will refrain from personalizing my complaints and stick to the issues as I see them. To write this book as the author, you should know Ohm’s Law. Harley does not. This is made evident in several examples. Amperes, voltage and wattage are all part of a greater equation that appears to mystify the author. The basic laws of physics and simple electrical concepts need be firmly grasped prior to making an endeavor such as this. There are many elements of “Dark Science” in the high-end audio realm and a mystique that is largely relevant. This book does a strong job of handling that delicate balance between science and myth, that is so important to this industry. Along the way however it forgets to “check the science”
That’s too bad, but not a total loss…
A serious explanation of negative feedback as used in power amplifiers would have been pretty easy to put down for the record. Most power amp manufactures have fascinating solutions to the problems associated with negative feedback. A breakdown of a few of the key developments in this area would have been excellent. An opportunity missed. Instead he uses an example of a negative feedback amplifier and calls it just the opposite! At that point in the book I admit I was a bit frustrated.
The good parts are many!
It’s an enjoyable read when the author sticks to what he actually knows, acoustics and auditioning gear. I learned much and felt the key points were illustrated clearly and in the contexts of meaningful application. I am not saying “don’t buy”
I guess I’m saying this book missed a huge opportunity simply by not getting some important parts right. That’s all.
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Almost totally without credibility,
This is one of the very few books I have ever returned to the bookstore (and I have bought thousands of books.)
Why don’t I like this book?
1) It contains many, many, factual errors. These errors would be easily spotted by any freshman physics student, and should have been spotted by the publisher. For example, the author Robert Harley apparently doesn’t understand the difference between electrical current and voltage.
2) It doesn’t actually explain things. To me, an explanation shows how something works in terms of basic principles. Mr. Harley simpley states “facts”, e.g., an outboard D/A converter will improve your sound, without explaining how or why.
3) Many photos and diagrams have mistaken or even irrelevant captions, leading me to conclude that Mr. Harley doesn’t understand his own diagrams. For example, a diagram of an amplifier that uses feedback is used to “illustrate” a point about amplifiers that don’t use feedback.
This last is the most serious point to me, because it makes me suspect that much of the technical-looking stuff in the book is included to impress the reader, not to actually explain things. In other words, it creates the impression of dishonesty.
To the people who defend the book as not intended for technical readers, I say this: even a non-technical book should be written by someone who understand the technical issues, so he or she can explain things clearly and truthfully. If it turns out that the author doesn’t know the technical stuff, why should we read the book?
I might add that Robert Harley has a very poor reputation among respected audio engineers and other commentators in the field. Some audio manufacturers (but not all) pander to him apparently because he edits a high-end audio magazine, and his reviews can make or break a product.
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Other Sources Available,
[Just for reference, I have a background in electronics, old-school hi-fi sales, professional sound system installation, and operating both a PA system business and a mobile DJ business... and my hearing as measured by audiologists still reaches most of the spectrum from 50-18khz and follows normal response (aka loudness) curves.]
>> If you want to understand the electrical and electronic “rules” and theories, there are several books you can borrow from a local library (or buy at an electronics supply store). Understanding voltage, amperage, power (v*a), capacitance, inductance, phasing, etc. is all basic to correctly installing any level of “advanced” audio equipment.
/* if you dont understand these terms or the acronyms in my review – you need to get some electronic and audio engineering texts…*/
There are some old-school “hi fi” books that cover the basics of speakers, acoustics, and room design, (most are less than $25).
If you seriously want to understand high-end audio Systems, I suggest investing in Audio Engineering books (most are $50 to $100+). These cover acoustics more comprehensively, how to “aim” speakers, apply acoustic treatment, what wire guage is needed for long speaker runs, how to design (or choose) a passive crossover, how to operate an active crossover, etc.
**These all get you to the basic level of knowledge needed to weed out the useful info from the “fluff” in high-end audio magazines and ‘text books’. A basic example is that there is a significant difference in power loss (heard as loss in dynamic range) between 20AWG speaker wire and 14AWG cable. But most professional audio engineers/installers question the value of $1,000 per meter(yard) oxygen-free-copper wire as compared to using a doubled pair of 16awg or 14awg (a pair each for negative and positive for each speaker), for < $50/meter. A pair of thick extension cords turned into speaker wires may not be as cool looking as a multi-colored cable labeled “Mega-Cable” and having some funny looking noice-cancelation inductors and proprietary gold flashed connectors – but there are very few people on this earth who can *honestly* tell the difference in a “double blind test”, unbiased by knowing what cable costs $8,000 and what costs $200 and came from a hardware store.
Likewise, many people with trained ears can hear the difference between tube and solid-state audio, and can SEE it on an oscilloscope as the rounded edges of a clipped waveform as compared to the square edge produced by a SS amp.
Again, proper speaker placement (height and room position) and acoustic treatment of the listening room has noticeable affects on sound quality.
And – large power amps (>200wpc RMS) have a more noticeable dynamic range before distortion occurs due to clipping, allowing more comfortable listening at higher SPLs (even if they are dangerous). but…a tube amp with only 20-30wpc can sound better than a SS amp with the correct speakers and correct musical source (i.e. not rap or metal). [ps. I love metal, some rap, and lots of other types of music!]
**All these effects are not only something you can Hear but they can be Measured and are based on Scientific principles developed over at least 100 years (some are old, some are circa 1940s-today).
BUT – claiming to hear a power conditioner providing more “soundstage”, or claiming a $1,000 RCA interconnect has certain audible traits in the low frequency range is very questionable. Beware when an audio review reads like a WINE or CIGAR tasting. It is not referenceable to Anything! MORE IMPORTANTLY, unless the same audible characteristic is heard by more than one person, it is a Subjective evaluation based on personal taste and several psychological factors unique to that person and time.
Honestly, I like TAS, but many of the reviews make me laugh. For example an interconnect is claimed to “..have an expansive soundstage in which orchestral images always seem rooted and stable…” Come on!!-what the hell does that really mean!?!? A wire is not a dynamic component like a tonearm or speaker motor and unless it is being chewed on by the cat should not be affecting the audible “soundstage” perceived by the listener.
Will a $1,000 tonearm “sound” better than a $250 one? …possibly slightly noticable, but will a $15,000 tonearm sound better than the $1,000 model….?
CONCLUSION: Use this book as a guide, but temper it with factual knowledge from Audio/Sound Engineering books (go to the local college if you dont want to buy them).
CAVEAT – if you have ruined your hearing with excessively loud music – of any genre, or by loud engines or industrial noise, you can’t hear much beyond 100-12khz if you are lucky, and the frequency response of your ears is probably very ragged,(so save some money and stick to an iPOD or a $500 packaged system….)
ALSO – if you can afford high-end…
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Worked okay, but voice activation was annoying,
We purchased this monitor several weeks ago because it seemed to be the best value and also seemed to be of good quality for the price. The monitor worked well overall. BUT, the voice-activation circuit drove us nuts. There is a feature that is setup so that if the monitor isn’t picking up a certain level of sound, the parent unit goes completely silent — eliminating the ‘white noise’ sound usually heard from baby monitors.
Although this sounds great, in actual use it was awful. Regardless of what sensitivity setting we had the unit on, it still would turn on and off all night. If there was the slightest sound in the baby’s room, the monitor would “wake up” and you would hear white noise. 2 seconds later, it would go silent. 2 seconds later again and it’s making noise. On..off..on..off.
Unfortunately there is no way to turn this feature off — so we packed it up and sent it back. We then purchased a Motorola video baby monitor, which has worked well, and although never goes completely quiet, at least it doesn’t keep turning on and off all night like the V-Tech did.
Pros: Video quality, ease of setup, battery backup in baby unit, front speaker and volume control, price.
Cons: No way to turn off VOX sensitivity.
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Worked for a week. Now it’s junk. Don’t buy it!,
I weighed the reviews of this and other comparably-priced video baby monitors very carefully, since my wife and I have limited financial means. I ultimately decided on the VTech monitor over the Motorola model, mostly because it supports multiple cameras and the screen is bigger. I wrote off the complaints about the camera’s sound sensitivity, since my wife and I tend to keep the audio to our son’s room running continuously, anyway.
Unfortunately, our experience was much, much worse. Sure enough, it was difficult to find a good sound sensitivity setting, but we settled on the highest one. For two weeks, we enjoyed being able to keep a video eye on our son while in his room. In fact, without this monitor, my wife would never have known that when our son goes down for his nap, he doesn’t always sleep.
That was when it worked, which was approximately one week. Our problems began when the image on the parent unit started flickering like an old analog television set that needs to have its vertical hold adjusted. This continued to deteriorate until finally, the parent unit and camera refused to synch. Instead, the parent unit beeps and the camera power light blinks red and green while it makes an annoying clicking sound. No sound. No picture. After only two weeks of use.
Taking into account the previous review where the manufacturer admitted that the camera was bad (though we think our parent unit is bad, since the camera does not malfunction when the parent unit is turned off), this is obviously too high of a defect rate, so we are returning this item to Amazon for a refund.
Don’t make the same mistake we did. Don’t buy this unit!
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VTECH Monitor Does NOT Allow You to Monitor More than One Child with Sound!,
If you are looking for a video monitor that allows you to monitor more than one child at night, DO NOT BUY THIS MONITOR! Although its described as a “Full Color Video and Audio Monitor” that “supports up to four cameras,” audio does not work at all when using multiple cameras. Rather, if you’re monitoring more than one child, you only have a split-screen view with no audio from any camera. Instead, if one of your children begins crying, the screen for the camera where the sound comes from merely turns green, but no warning sound is provided. So, if you’re sleeping and one of your kids begins crying, you’re not going to see the monitor light-up green to let you know (unless you sleep with your eyes open). After thoroughly reading through the instruction manual, I called Vtech support thinking that I had to be missing something, because not being able to hear your children cry on a baby monitor really defeats the whole purpose. To my chagrin, however, the Vtech support representative confirmed that there is no audio capabilities when in multicamera mode, and there is no audible notification available to at least let you know that sound is coming from one of the cameras. I told her that it blows my mind that a company can release a baby monitor without thinking through this feature (e.g., the Lorex monitor resolves the issue by automatically cycling through the audio for each camera every 15 seconds). She said that she would relay this information to their design team for future products. So if you EVER want to add a second monitor, DO NOT GET THIS Product.
If, however, you only have one child and never want to expand, this is actually a fantastic montior. It’s got better range than all other products on the market, the screen is crystal clear, and the price is great. The actual cameras, however, are enormous, but still mount on the wall.
Update: The manufacturer’s representative contacted me regarding the issues I pointed out, and did tell me that the monitor can be set to vibrate when sound is detected from one of the cameras. I tried it on these settings and the vibrations of the monitor while it sets on my nightstand were not sufficient (as I am a pretty heavy sleeper). If you’re a light sleeper, it may work for you. But if your out on the patio or working around the house while the kids sleep, you’re not likely to hear the vibration of the monitor. Hopefully, they’ll resolve this issue with auto cycling function soon, and then, it will be one of the best values for video monitors on the market.
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May 23, 2012 12:52:34 PM PDT
When monitoring multiple cameras (aka Baby Units), and sound is detected, the video monitor (Parent Unit) vibrates and displays “Sound detected at CAM #___.”
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