Author Archives: Erich Meyer

A Loudspeaker for Every Budget

Focal Grande Utopias

As a dealer for high-end audio/video, our job is to provide our customer with what we think are the best products that we can find. We often get asked the question “Why do you only carry one line of loudspeakers?” Well, when you have heard as many loudspeakers as we have the pleasure (sometimes not so pleasurable) of listening to over the last 30 or so years, you get the opportunity to be a bit particular in your listening. We have expectations for what a loudspeaker should do and not do, and at price points that will fit our customer base.

We have in our showroom just such a loudspeaker…Focal. We think (and many experts agree) that the Focal Grande Utopia is the finest loudspeaker on the planet. It’s also one of the most expensive. But Focal also makes products such as the Chorus 705, which is a bookshelf speaker that retails for $550 and has no equal in that price based on performance, looks and build quality. There are loudspeakers from Focal that will fit every budget, and every taste from classical to metal.

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Streaming quality audio


If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.
~ Carl Perkins

If you have not heard, we turned 25 this year. That is a major milestone in the Hi-Fi world. We have seen a lot of things change in the Audio/Video business. One of the biggest changes is of course streaming and downloading music and movies. It has changed the way many of us listen and view our audio and video content.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is we still like our content to be of high quality. And luckily that is possible with devices like Sooloos from Meridian, and Marantz, who put things like Pandora and Spotify into their new line of receivers.

We have seen a large number of our customers that want to take advantage of these great streaming options, but they do not want to sacrifice quality over convenience.

Quality, that’s a large part of what we do here at Nuts About Hi-Fi. We try to carry what we think are the finest in audio and video components. But we also try to carry value in our products too. What good is it to carry a $160,000 pair of speakers if only a few can enjoy them? The great part is that a company like Focal loudspeakers uses the same technology in their magnificent Grand Utopias as well as their more modestly priced Chorus 706.

Build, design, fit, finish and above all uncompromised sound is paramount in our industry. Without those things you are not providing your customer with a product that you would own in your own home.

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A set of headphones for every set of ears


Headphones – the thought of them brings to mind so many different varieties. In-ear, on-ear, over-ear, open-back, closed-back, planar drivers and electrostatics. The list is long and I don’t have the space to go through all the different types.

We recently brought in a new line of headphones from or long time speaker manufacturer Focal, in addition to our Grado line. Each has its own distinct design and also its own very different sound characteristics. Neither is better or worse, just different.

Now what is different is each of our customers, some like an on-ear, some like in-ear. Others like a more open sound, some like a bass heavy sound, that is where each headphone becomes tied to an individual, and the listener to each style of headphone.

I have 4 pairs of headphones myself, and which I use depends on what I am listening to and what the source is. If I am listening to my 2-channel system at home, I like my on-ear, closed-back headphone. If I am out for a walk with the dog, I like an in-ear design that works well with my portable device. I also have moments where I just want to pop on a pair of headphones and listen on my computer. At those times I like a more open design where I can hear what is going on around me, and so can everyone else. That too is a by-product of an open design. Others can hear what you are playing, and that can be a bit annoying if you are on a plane, or riding the ferry to work. Your traveling neighbor gets to hear everything that you hear, but we will leave that discussion for another time.

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Flat Panel TV or Projector?


As an audio video salesman, I have customers who ask the question almost daily whether to buy an LED/LCD flat panel TV or should they go to the next step and purchase a front projector. My reply is that there is generally room for both.

 In most cases the LCD/LED TV is relegated to general, all-purpose duty: watching the news, cartoons, movies, streaming Netflix or Hulu. But, it’s great to have a place where you can watch movies in all their glorious widescreen (16.9 or 2.35) beauty.

Having multiple flat screens throughout the house is commonplace these days. And yes you can watch movies on them, but I believe to get the real home theater experience you should watch on a front projector with a screen larger than 90 inches. I know…I know, there are flat panel TV’s in excess of 90 inches, but they are just that, flat panel TV’s. To me, its still watching TV.

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To CD or not CD? That is the question.


I recently lost the use of my CD player. It has been a staple in my system for years and I took great time in picking it out almost 7 years ago. This brought me to a choice, should I get my beloved Rega fixed or do I go digital and get a Sooloos system?

Well, I went through the regular thought process on this. How do I use the CD player? And should I spend the money on getting something fixed that is already a digital format, when I can go completely digital and put all my music (some 6000 CD’s) on to a digital server and access them on a touchscreen or an even more accessible iPad?

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