Picture yourself in a boat on a river. Floating downstream, you eventually arrive at a beautiful island locale, where upon its shores awaits your favorite band. After you disembark, the band shows you a potential setlist that you approve, albeit with a few tweaks and additions. You want them to play some of your personal favorite deep cuts, and they’re more than happy to comply. The band commences a long set just for you, an audience of one, and it’s absolute paradise to your ears. Indeed, this is the kind of live experience you’ve been craving for months—and you didn’t even have to leave your home theater to enjoy it.
Pure fantasy, you say? Well, not entirely. Welcome to the burgeoning world of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) concerts. As the live performance industry continues to wrestle with pandemic related restrictions, musicians have gravitated toward sharing some sort of socially distanced live experience with their fans, whether it be all-request livestreams, drive-in shows, parking lot concerts, and/or with audience space bubbles in tow (hello, The Flaming Lips!). More recently, VR and AR performances have re-emerged as a viable, creative alternative to being there in person.
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THE WORLD OF RAISED BY WOLVES
A behind-the-scenes look at director Ridley’s Scott’s HBO Max sci-fi series
The Sound of Silver
THERE ARE quite literally hundreds of small, two-way loudspeakers you can buy priced from under $100 to well north of $10,000 per pair.
THE ROLLING STONES: GOATS HEAD SOUP SUPER DELUXE EDITION
Show of hands, please—how many of you rate August 1973’s Goats Head Soup as your favorite Rolling Stones album? Anyone? No? Can’t say I blame you.
Qello seeks to corner the market on streaming concerts and music documentaries. Do they have enough diverse material in their coffers to satisfy our consumptive hunger for content?
New Bronze Age
BRITAIN-BASED Monitor Audio offers a wide range of loudspeakers at prices spanning from the bargain basement up to the penthouse that are cleverly named for a variety of metals: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze.
Buy Once, Cry Once
PART 2. In my previous column (Buy Once, Cry Once), I considered areas in your A/V budget where you should consider splurging when building a system The categories I listed—projection screens, amplifiers, speakers—are ones that can provide years of enjoyment, but don’t see regular or major upgrades. I also covered categories like subwoofers that have a real impact on a system’s overall performance, and ones like pre-wiring that can strongly affect a system’s future serviceability.
Fractured Fairy Tales
Okay, children! Time for a bedtime story! Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. While walking through the forest, she came upon a quaint little village. In that village, there were three ways to watch movies.
REMEMBER THE rear-projection TV (RPTV)? RPTVs were big, boxy contraptions housing a projector that beamed an image at the rear of a screen mounted on the set’s front surface.
Whether you fall into the “all well-designed amps sound the same when used within their limits” camp or the “amp selection is critical” army of true believers, it’s arguable that prior to the turn of the millennium amps designed for high-performance audio had fallen into a rut.
The Next Generation
The big car companies refresh their lineups on a pretty regular schedule. Honda, for example, brings out all-new versions of its models every four to five years, and it makes smaller upgrades and improvements in the years between the big changes.