March 13, 2016
It doesn’t really matter if you are a cooking enthusiast, or you simply cook because you have to, you will still want to have the best necessary kitchen tools, appliances and cookware. From the essential kitchen utensils, a range to all sorts of pots and pans and even additional appliances such as slow cookers or pressure cookers, you need them all.
Before you head to the store and buy any of the kitchen tools which are going to be discussed further, make sure you gather enough information on any product you wish to purchase. For example, if you decide to get a pressure cooker, and don’t know which one to get, looking for stove top or electric pressure cooker reviews online will make your choice a lot easier to make.
A kitchen without saucepans is nothing. They are the most essential essentials. So, whether you buy them or not is not a basis for a discussion at all. What you need to decide instead is what kind of saucepans you will buy. Quality saucepans will cook your food easier and better, making it more delicious while also being more energy efficient. You need several saucepans in different sizes, and use whichever is appropriate for a particular meal. Cooking pasta requires a large pan, for example. If you don’t like to have a lot of trouble cleaning them you should consider getting non-stick ones.
You may be surprised to see pressure cookers have made it to the list of most essential kitchen tools, but the fact is, they are extremely popular, useful and easy to use cookers. You can choose between stove top and electric ones. Regardless of which one you choose, you can rest assured they will cook your food extremely fast and keep it delicious while also saving considerable amount of electricity. Pressure cookers are known to cook up to 75% faster compared to normal cooking pots. Not only they save time, they are extremely energy efficient. Nothing escapes from the cooker while the food cooks, which also ensures that all the vitamins and nutrients released from the ingredients will stay inside as well.
Any food recipe requires certain amount of preparations. Food ingredients need to be chopped, sliced, diced etc. before being stuffed in the cooking pot. For that reason, you need a good set of kitchen knives. Knowing which knife is most suitable for each task is equally important. Using a wrong knife will take more time to complete the job, or what’s worse, you can injure yourself in the process.
Although it is true that more and more people avoid fried food due to health reasons, no kitchen will be complete without a frying pan. You will never completely remove steaks from your diet anyways. Also, frying pans can be used to prepare omelets, fried egg sandwiches and more.
This category includes kettles, toasters, microwaves etc. Kettles are convenient because they can heat up water really fast. Furthermore, everyone likes to have a toaster to put their bread slices inside and make them deliciously crunchy. Microwaves are the ideal solution when you end up having to eat yesterday’s leftovers.
Other cooking products, such as a slow cooker will make it possible for you to leave a certain meal to prepare while you step outside and run other errands. A blender will make the perfect natural smoothies for you and your family, especially the children.
March 7, 2016
There are thousands of people discovering a box of vinyl record collections hidden in the attic by their ancestors. Some have simply forgotten about their vinyl collection sitting in a corner in the garage. If you wish to still listen to the music from those records, naturally you would need a record player.
There are many models of record players with different features nowadays and choosing the best record player your money can buy can prove to be somewhat challenging. Luckily we have come up with some guidelines to make this process easier for you. So here is what you need to take into consideration when buying a new record player for your old and new records.
Everyone likes to increase the volume to the max every once in a while and completely relax and enjoy the music. Although high volume will not be an issue for most record players overall, you will not be able to listen to a lot of bass without additional gear. If you love your bass, you will need a set of quality external speakers to make that pleasure possible.
If you are the type to just listen to music in mild volumes, any record player will be sufficient for you, without any additional speakers.
Do you just want to listen to your records and relax, or maybe you want to be able to spin them like a DJ and let your fantasy run wild? If you are the first type, a standard record player will be enough for you. If you are the latter, invest in a record player for DJs, but be aware they will be more costly.
Regardless of what you are buying, having a particular budget range for it is extremely convenient, especially since record player prices vary from $50 to well over a $1000. Knowing how much you are willing to spend will narrow your search down and you will be able to make a decision easier.
There are record players which have an automatic changer. These are called stackable players as opposed to normal manual players. If you don’t want to remove and insert records manually every now and then, you should go for a stackable record player. You can insert a few of your favorite records and not have to change them as often.
Furthermore, depending on the model, there are record players with different spinning speeds. Most of them are capable of 33-45 RPM. Knowing the spinning speed of the record player is essential, especially if you want to listen to older records on it. Older records need to be played at 78 RPM, and the really, really old ones at 16 RPM. Depending on your collection, pick the record player with the appropriate speed.
If you want your record player to blend in with the room, you need to pick the design accordingly. There are many different designs, from vintage to modern looking ones. Get one that fits your overall room décor.
Furthermore, there are now audio units that belong to the all-in-one category. This means that you can listen to radio, cassettes, CDs and records on them. However, these will not make your record player look and feel as unique and take up a bit more space in the room.
On the other hand, most of these newer units have the possibility to be connected to a PC. This means that you will be able to use them to transfer the songs from your records. It could be very convenient if you are dealing with bad sound coming from the record due to some scratches, since you will be able to edit those parts on the computer and still listen to your favorite music without sound issues.
Now that you have all your groundwork information, you can head to the local store and pick a record player that will suit your needs and be able to play your records. Whether you found some vinyl records unintentionally, or you have been storing your own for a long while, a good record player to listen to them on will offer a great experience.
February 28, 2016
Ultimate Electronics Inc., also known as SoundTrack in Denver, CO, plans to open new superstore formats for its audio electronics products. Ultimate operates several smaller-format stores in Colorado, but experienced phenomenal sales growth when it opened 19,000-sq. ft. superstores in Salt Lake City and Orem, UT. Sales have increased 90% to $58.2 million for the six months ending July 31, 1994. One Denver, CO, SoundTrack store will be converted to the superstore format and six new superstores in the Idaho, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.
Amid the din of major players that has come to characterize the consumer electronics business in Colorado, the once-small, once-private, Denver-based independent, SoundTrack, continues to make its voice heard, and not only is it competing with the big boys, it’s on the verge of becoming one.
SoundTrack, known outside of Colorado as Ultimate Electronics Inc., had its beginnings in 1968 when Denver entrepreneur Bin Pearse opened a Team Electronics franchise store. In 1974, he put out the SoundTrack shingle and by 1993 he had nine stores: seven in metropolitan Denver, one in Fort Collins, one in Colorado Springs. Sales topped $62 million for die first time in 1992. Around him swirled a galaxy of big names: Fred Schmid, Silo, Video Concepts (then Tandy and McDuff) and Best Buy, but he stayed the course as the others began merging, closing stores and getting bought up.
Last fall began the experiment that has cast the die for the future and put Ultimate on course to join the majors. Ultimate opened stores in Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah – doubling the size of the retail space in previous stores. The two stores each sported retail space of about 19,000 square feet. The formula worked right away, and Ultimate realized that more and bigger stores would rely on the company’s ability to raise money. It went public with 2.3 million shares of common stock.
“Being relatively successful with the format in Utah, we saw opportunities in other markets as well,” said Alan Kessock, vice president of finance and administration and a member of the lean, four-man management team.
One Denver store already is scheduled for conversion to the new, large format, which Kessock described as “not a Disneyland approach” but something Denver hasn’t seen: cars on the sales floor with state-of-the art sound systems, two theaters and 35 big-screen televisions on display. Although the two Utah stores had been on fine for only two-and-a-half months, by Jan. 31, 1994 yearly company revenues will have topped $88 million. Sales for the six months ended July 31 were $58.2 million – up nearly 90 percent from the $30.8 million in the first six months of the prior year. The experiment was a success and the decision has been made to replicate it. In the next nine months, the firm will open two superstores in Las Vegas, two more in Utah, and one each in Albuquerque and Boise, Idaho. It all goes as planned; the firms will more than double its retail floor square footage in nine months.
“We’re not so expansion driven that we’re willing to grow at any cost. And our growth spurt by national comparisons might be quite boring. But for us, it’s definitely a mouthful. As a result, we’ve tripled our resources in training and recruiting,” said Dave Workman, the company’s president.
Workman said the firm has no plans to “go global” – or even national. “We’d like to maintain a geographical presence that enables us to distribute out of one central distribution facility.”
Other things, too, will remain unchanged as Ultimate makes the leap to 17 stores. “We’ll continue to specialize in just consumer electronics and provide a broad price spectrum. We start as low as Best Buy but we go up to the type of merchandise you’d find in a salon. And we have a very strong focus and emphasis on customer service.”
In fact, said Kessock, the customer-service philosophy can be summed up quite simply: “Got a problem? Call Dave or Bill. If it’s a customer call, either one of them will leave a meeting to take it. In fact, (he told a reporter), the customer will generally get through quicker than you would.”
Neither that nor the product mix is likely to change much when Ultimate takes its next step. Its bread and butter have always been audio-related. Insiders estimate that SoundTrack has 20 percent of the metropolitan market share – and 30 percent of car stereo trade.
Kessock listed Sony, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, JVC, Pioneer, RCA and Canon as dominant labels. Speaker lines include Infinity, KEF, Klipsch and Polk Audio. “Those are afl very high quality without being the high end,” he said.
In fiscal 1993, audio made up 27 percent of SoundTrack’s sales with car stereos and mobile electronics contributing another 15 percent. Television comprises 23 percent, video 14 percent and home office, available for only three years, 12 percent.
“We have no magic bullet in our arsenal. We try to do a thousand little things a little better than the next guy, said Workman.” Piper Jaffray analyst Saul Yaari said the strategy is working. He has studied the company in depth and has issued a “strong buy” rating.
“The company’s strategy is to appeal to a wide range of customers, but its primary focus is on the middle-to-upper-income consumer. Ultimate attempts to differentiate itself from its competition through comprehensive selection of name brand and limited distribution merchandise, excellent customer service, upscale store format, competitive pricing and focus on the home audio, television, video and automotive electronics categories.” He added, “The focus on such differentiating factors, while matching the lowest prices on |shared’ brands offered by competitors, makes Ultimate a very favorable alternative to appliance/electronics Superstores and other large format limited service retailers.” According to Kessock, SoundTrack’s Denver business shot up 25 percent in the year after Best Buy’s arrival in 1991. “With more advertising dollars being spent as a group, awareness is increased and everybody’s out shopping for these items.”
SoundTrack survived and prospered during the Fretters (now YES!) takeover of market leader Fred Schmid, and the later swallowing by that group of Denver’s Silo stores (most later closed). Now it’s looking at the first quarter 1995 opening of a Tandy Corp. Incredible Universe store and the more formidable challenge of Circuit City’s planned arrival in Denver in late 1995,
“They all have their formats and their ways of doing business,” said Kessock. “We just want to get our share of the business.”
February 28, 2016
General Instrument will use the Winter Consumer Electronics Show to push C-band satellite television technology, despite its partnership in a Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) business. The growth in DBS interest should not make retailers forget the more established C-band technology which uses a larger dish to pull in over 300 channels, according to General Instrument. Consumers have more choice with C-band and may have to pay less per month for the system.
General Instrument will exhibit at Winter CES(WCES) for the first time in years, with a specific satellite-related message in mind. While the company has a vested interest in Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) via its partnership with Primestar partners Ltd., GI wants to make clear big-dish C-band is alive and well and can make a winning alternative to the smaller-dish DBS. At WCES, the company intends to let retailers know that many consumers, given the choice, will opt for C-band with its proven technology and greater number of available channels, and any retailer not offering that option could stand to lose substantial business.
“C-band is the Cadillac of the satellite industry–not everyone wants to drive a Geo,” noted Alan McCabe, vice president of consumer product sales for GI’s Communication Division, which makes products for both the home satellite and cable industries. “We were at the last Summer CES for the first time in a very long time because we knew DirecTv (the other existing DBS provider, in partnership with Thomson Consumer Electronics) would be there and consumer electronics dealers were beginning to show a huge interest in satellite TV; also, one of our partners, Primestar, was looking for media attention and they were in our booth.”
C-band, McCabe noted, has great sales potential with consumers who want more than what DBS has to offer. DBS, in the form of the DirecTv/Thomson RCA Digital Satellite System (DSS), can handle a maximum of 175 channels via its 18-inch dish. Primestar’s version of DBS can handle up to 77 via its 3-foot dish.
But a C-band system can pull in upwards of 300 channels via its larger (5-foot-and-up) dish. C-band has been around for more than 10 years and is being continually refined, noted McCabe.
C-band sales were expected to peak a year ago, but it didn’t happen, he added. “We had 69,300 C-band authorizations in August, and we expect 750,000 new C-band customers in 1994. At least 500,000 of those will be brand new and the rest, upgrades.”
The industry veteran claimed DirecTv and Primestar would move millions of DBS units over the next few years. “It’s a huge attraction to a lot of people,” he said. Still, as DBS grows and C-band levels off, “even a smaller percentage of the market means C-band is still a growing business.”
Some 70 percent of C-band sales are made in-home, and perhaps 35 percent of those approved for financing, which could result in a boom for a DBS supplier like Primestar, McCabe said. “These become prime customers for Primestar with its leasing program,” he explained. “We could deliver a half-million new customers just based on financing turndowns. Primestar has been hesitant about the turndown business, because of the perceived image problem, but they’re now looking at dealer prospects, with us egging them on.”
He said he understood why consumer electronics retailers haven’t been selling satellite TV, which is a time-consuming sale, but this has changed since DirecTv and Primestar got the message out. “The bulk of the educational effort is done.”
GI may put together a C-band package for retailers, much like PC suppliers did to promote their business in the consumer market. C-band, like the PC industry and home theater, tends to be heavily component-oriented.
The plum for retailers who get into the business is greater profitability, McCabe added. “C-band versus DBS means more choices and, likely, lower monthly costs for the user. On a closed system such as cable or DBS, the provider’s ability to change costs is a factor, versus C-band, where there are more than 35 programming packagers. So if the consumer doesn’t like one, he picks another, and this has driven pricing down considerably.”
HFD wants information about new products manufacturers plan to unveil at the Winter Consumer electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
HFD’s Electronics staff has begun gathering information about products exhibitors will show for the first time. We plan to publish new product information in HFD beginning Dec. 5, as well as in our show issue, Jan. 2, in our CES dailies during the show and in our post-show issues, Jan. 9, 16 and 23.
Manufacturers introducing products at the show should send us the information, along with black and white pictures, by Wednesday, Nov. 23. Information received after that deadline has no guarantee of making our show issues or CES dailies.
February 28, 2016
International Jensen Inc. has introduced a line of drop-in car speakers under the Blue Cone and Gray Cone model names. The speaker cones incorporate kapok to make them more weather resistant. Prices range from $44 to $119 per pair. Other new products include a 10-disc CD changer, two cassette receivers and three amplifiers. Two subwoofers will ship in Jun, 1994. International Jensen Inc. introduced a slew of new auto sound products including loudspeakers with several new features and a 10-disc compact disc changer.
In addition, Jensen’s sister company, Advent Mobile, also had new products on display at the 1994 Mobile Electronics Show.
Heading the new speaker line are Jensen’s Blue Cone models, which are all designed as drop-in replacements. Starting with the 6 1/2-inch coaxial J226CX, the 5 1/4-inch coaxial J225CX and 6 1/2-inch full range J16FR and the 4-inch full range J124FR. The price range is from $44 to $59 per pair and all are now shipping.
The triaxial J320TX and coaxial J220CS 6 by 9 will also be joining the Blue Cone. To make the cones more weather resistant they contain kapok, a material used in lifejackets. The speakers have molded magnet covers as a protective measure. Both models will ship in June with respective retail prices of $99 and $79. There were also new 6-by-9 speakers in Jensen’s Gray Cone line. The coaxial J240CX and triaxial J340TX, will be shipping in July with suggested prices of $94 and $119 per pair, respectively. These speakers feature a ridged cone area designed to deliver more bass by creating more surface area and contain kapok.
Others new Gray Cone speakers, also ridged and incorporating kapok, are the 5 1/4-inch J245CX, 4-inch J244CX and the 6 1/2-inch units J246CX and J236CX. All models ship this month with suggested retails, per pair, of $84, $49, $79 and $59.
Also shipping in May is the JDC10RF 10-disc CD changer. The unit has shock and vibration protection, can be mounted horizontally or vertically, remote control and a suggested price of $499. The CS8000 and CS3510 cassette receivers are also new for 1994. Both feature auto reverse and 20 watts of power, while the first models add a three-quarter detachable face and two pre-amp outputs. Both will ship this summer with $229 and $179 suggested price tags.
Three amplifiers in Jensen’s Triple Play Series will start shipping next month. The 50-watt A432HLX and A222HLX and 75-watt A322HLX with suggested retails of $379, $239 and $319, respectively. Joining the amps in June are two subwoofers each featuring gold-plated five-way binding post terminals and gray foam surround. The 300-watt JW12 and 200-watt JW10 will carry suggested retails of $64.95 and $54.95. Advent new product line also features two new subwoofers that have a window, dual voice coils and cones impregnated with graphite. The 12-inch BP12 and 8-inch BP8 will ship in August with suggested prices of $299 and $249, respectively.
Advent targeted the factory replacement market with two new loudspeaker models. The 150-watt 6- by 9inch AM690 and 75-watt 1/2-inch AM650 have high density cellulose cones and strontium ferrite magnets. Both will be available in August will carry the same suggested retail price of $69 per pair.
Closing out Advent’s introductions are three amplifiers. The four-channel PA415 and PA450 paired with two-channel PA250 are bridgeable and contain gold-plated connectors. The 15-watt PA415, suggested retail $149, 50-watt PA450, $379 and 50-watt PA250, $279, are all now shipping. Advent also showed its first electronic component, the APX7000, which contains four signal processors, a graphic equalizer, dual active crossovers and BBE II sound restoration system. Its suggested retail is $199. It is shipping.
February 28, 2016
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is expanding and enhancing its Bodysonic line of audio equipment. For example, the company is offering a remote controlled FH-P95 double-DIN size compact disc player/receiver with innovative features such as a function that removes the vocals from music so that listeners can sing along. Another introduction, the Bodysonic BSS-C1 speaker, retailing at $300, offers an amplifier and a pad designed to sit on a car seat and vibrate along with the music. Additional product offerings are discussed.
Executives at Pioneer Electronics Inc. feel there is more to car audio than just listening to the music. They believe it should be fun, too.
To push this idea, the company has added new features to its second generation double-DIN compact disc player/receiver and expanded its Bodysonic loudspeaker line.
Pioneer has also brought out an array of home audio products including a laserdisc/compact disc player and a large number of both A/V and stereo receivers.
The remote controlled FH-P95 double-DIN size CD player/receiver suggested retail price $1,400 and shipping in July, has several of these “fun” features, including Audition, a karaoke-type feature that removes the vocals from a song and mixing function that can meld together music from the CD player and tape player. It is designed for use with CDs Pioneer will be supplying with the receiver that contains sounds ranging from the soothing gurgling of a babbling brook to the screaming engine of a race car, whatever the listener desires, said Sam McLain, Pioneer’s car audio brand manager, marketing.
Some of the more traditional features for the FH-P95 are a three-band equalizer, sound field presets (studio, jazz, concert hall, club, audition and stadium), an LCD display and Pioneer’s new FLEX System. FLEX, to which access is gained via a button on the faceplate, uses a signal processor to pull the high-end frequencies off worn out tapes restoring most of the original sound quality.
The new BSS-C1 Bodysonic speaker is in response to the acclaim the first product has received since it was introduced at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show. The original Bodysonic, suggested retail $500, contains a small amplifier, two speakers and a pad that sits on a car seat and vibrates along with the music like a subwoofer. McLain said retailers believed a less expensive version would sell very well. The end result was the BSS-C1, which is just the vibrating pad and amp and will come in at $300 and is now shipping.
Five other new receivers will be available starting in June. The CDS-P45 CD changer controller and single CD player CD-470FM, suggested retails $200 and $480, respectively and the cassette-based KEH-3600, KEH-2600 and KEH-490. Suggested price points on these products are to be disclosed.
In the home audio field, Pioneer officials believe that with a street price point on below $500 its CLD-D503 combination laser disc/CD player will enable the average person on the street to afford a top notch home theater system. The unit has dual side play, direct CD loading and can switch sides in less than eight seconds.
Three laser disc-only players have also just started shipping. The CLD-D703, CLD-M403 and CDD-S303 have suggested prices of $1,220, $770 and $650.
In Pioneer’s CD player category will feature two mass storage players, the 100-disc PD-F100 and 51-disc DF-F51. The first model is a front loader with vertical CD trays, while the latter is targeted at consumers looking for a space saver unit. The 100-disc unit will start shipping this month and the 51-disc model will follow in July with respective suggested prices of $715 and $615.
The PD-F51 is also can also be found in the company’s mini system line as a component with the CCS-590 mini system, suggested retail $1,215 and shipping in July. Four other minis are new for 1994. The CCS-490 featuring is a three-piece subwoofer satellite speaker system, the CCS-390 that utilizes Pioneer’s extended bass technology, the CCS-290 and the 100-watt Z-A1000. The CCS-490 June at $865, the CCS-390 started shipping in March at $635, the CCS-290 will go in August at $520 and the Z-A1000 also began shipping in March at $635.
Four Dolby Pro Logic-equipped A/V receiver models will also be in dealers by July. The top of the line VSX-D903S has graphic user interface to help the user handle the various A/V settings. It is joined by the VSX-D703S, VSX-603S and VSX-503S. Suggested retails are $1,200, $810, $710 and $500, respectively.
Other home theater products include three new loudspeaker systems that will be hitting store shelves these months. The S-V201 has five satellite speakers and a subwoofer and a $580 price point. The S-2D has two front speakers and a subwoofer, $350 suggested price and the SC-R22 has a center channel speaker and subwoofer, $230 suggested price.