By the time you read this, it will be more than a year since most of us have been to a live concert in a packed venue. The last live show I personally attended took place on March 10, 2020, when I saw Dave Mason (“Feelin’ Alright,” “Only You Know and I Know”) at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, New York. Little did I know when I walked out of the Riviera following my after-show chat with Mason that it would be the last live gig I’d see until, well, who knows when?
Ever since that initial early-2020 lockdown period, artists have sought to fill the live-experience void in many intriguing and creative ways. One cyber-remote live option that’s matured greatly over the past year—both in terms of visual presentation and sound quality—has been livestream concerts. Initially, artists were finding their virgin livestream footing by treating us to brief, decent-sounding solo performance clips on social media platforms. Then, as many an artist’s handle on homebound technology began ramping up, one-person one-off songs gave way to better-sounding, quarantine-approved multi-performer mini-sets and, eventually, full-on full-set concerts. Performance locales began rotating among living rooms, home studios, professional rehearsal spaces, and, eventually, inside actual known clubs and live venues—albeit sans in-person audiences for the most part, given the stringent capacity regulations still in effect.
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The Wireless Meta-verse
WE LIVE now in the wireless world, and the major loudspeaker makers have been quick to embrace it with serious-performance, near-full-range designs. But each seems to have a different idea of what a “wireless speaker” should entail. Some simply connect to an existing component stack via a supplied small wireless transmitter. Others incorporate the whole smart-speaker thang, with full multiroom audio system and Alexa-Google-Siri voice control integration.
The Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp changed its tune during the pandemic from offering in-person seminars with stars to streaming Masterclass sessions. In many ways, the shift broadened the scope of what the Camp has to offer.
Sonos Roam Portable Wireless Speaker
Roam on the Range
A Garden Oasis in The Heart of Pittsburgh
This custom-installed outdoor A/V system sets the mood for parties, sports, or just chilling out and enjoying a City of Bridges sunset
Faceoff - 10 Wire-Free Bud Options That Block Noise So You Can Hear Music
Noise-canceling true wireless earbuds
TV TRENDS OF CES 2021
THE ANNUAL CES trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association was an “all-digital” event for 2021. On the plus side, that allowed us to report on the show from the comfort of our homes dressed in hoodies and sweatpants instead of suits.
Mini-LED Made Affordable
IN LATE 2019, TCL flew me to the company’s U.S. offices in California to spend an afternoon with its new flagship, the 75Q825 8-Series Roku LCD Ultra HDTV, a 75-inch 4K model.
Monolith by Monoprice M-TWE True Wireless Earbuds
Noise Cancellation Customized Monoprice is an affordable direct-to-consumer brand, and its Monolith product line features sophisticated A/V gear including speakers, amps, surround sound processors, and now the new Monolith M-TWE earbuds.
The End of Analog
Q Over the years, I’ve discovered that sound and vision are two distinct camps in the home theater realm, and it’s best to keep them separated due to constantly changing video formats.
HEADPHONES AT CES 2021
Once upon a time, CES was a huge show for audio but those days are long gone and showed no signs of returning in the virtual world that was CES 2021, with one possible exception: wireless headphones, a category that has made incredible strides in just the past year or so.