Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

January 6-9, 2011

All prices in US dollars unless indicated otherwise

Las Vegas Black Lung

I flew into Nevada on a crisp, cloudless night. The air was dry here in the desert. That dry air endows landscapes with a lucid quality that's almost hallucinatory. I'd look out a hotel-room window and there in front of me would be a rugged, austere, almost lunar landscape that was totally at odds with the madcap ring-ring-ring casino frenzy.

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Xtremely Unappealing

One hundred and ninety-nine thousand dollars isn't quite enough to buy a detached home in my city any longer, but it is enough to buy a decent condo or a townhouse, and it's way more than enough to buy one of the most amazing sports cars you can imagine and be envied by almost every guy in the city. It’s also enough to buy one of the worst loudspeakers I’ve heard in years: the Venture Xtreme, priced at exactly what I just said for a pair.

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F’ing Up a Legend?

Mirage's original M1 loudspeaker was released in about 1987 and is considered by many to be a legend. Back then, the Mirage brand was owned by Canada's Audio Products International (API), and the M1 looked like the Monolith from 2001. All that's changed.

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Awful Avalon

For $15,000, consumers should expect to get a pair of loudspeakers that are extremely well built, beautiful looking, and incredible sounding. All told, a speaker that costs this much should be amazing and, perhaps, even approach the state of the art. Case in point: Vivid Audio's B1, which won our 2010 Pioneering Design Achievement award.

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