Q: I am interested in security products for the home. I don't want an expensive service with subscription fees. I'm looking for simple devices I can easily employ myself. Any recommendations?
A: Panasonic recently introduced the HomeHawk Home Monitoring System. Powered by long-life rechargeable batteries and completely wireless, the cameras can be placed anywhere. Several things make it stand out: color night vision, motion detection, two-way talk, compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistant, lots of options for expansion and the power of the Panasonic brand behind it. Packages start at $249. (shop.panasonic.com/homehawk)
Sabre, a brand of Security Equipment Corp., makes one of the most ingenious and cost-effective protection products I have seen. The Sabre Door Stop Alarm is, as its name suggests, a door stop with an integrated security alarm. It's powered by a 9-volt battery. Just put it in place, and if someone tries to open the door, not only will the door stop and its nonslip pad keep the door from opening, but it will give off a piercing 120-decibel alarm. (For comparison, an ambulance siren typically is around 115 decibels.) It's also perfect for use in hotels and dormitories. Although the suggested retail price is $14.99, it can be found online for under $10. (sabrered.com)
Now that the doors are covered, we can turn our attention to the windows. Doberman Security makes window alarms with vibration sensors that can be purchased for under $18 per pair. Just stick them to the windows and, like the door stop alarm, they will warn you of potential intrusion. Technology prevents false alarms from storms, wind and rain. (dobermanproducts.com)
The case for and against vinyl
For regular readers, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of vinyl records. Collecting and listening to records is my favorite part of the audio hobby, and seeing the recent resurgence of vinyl makes my heart glad. More and more people are embracing this wonderful format, and there are more makes and models of turntables available now than there were 20 years ago, when doomsayers were sounding the death knell of the vinyl record.
There also are drawbacks to the format. Here's a short list of some of the pros and cons.
Pro: Natural sound quality. Although digital sources have more impressive technical specifications, there's a warm, natural sound to vinyl that CDs can't match.
Con: Occasional surface noise. Background pops, hisses and clicks are a fact of life with vinyl.
Pro: Continuously upgradeable sound. With digital sources, you plug it in and you get what you get. With vinyl, you can tweak your system to produce the sound that you want by upgrading the equipment.
Con: The investment. This is the flip side of what we just said. It's easy to get caught up in a perpetual quest for better gear and end up spending big money for small changes.
Pro: A wide variety of music is available very inexpensively. A tremendous amount of vinyl was issued over the years, and you can pick up records everywhere from music specialists to thrift shops.
Con: A shortage of newer music. While some new music is being issued on vinyl, it is the exception rather than the rule.
Pro: The coolness factor. Granted, this might not be as practical as the other reasons, but retro is hip.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.