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Identity problems get bigger in the metaverse

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If the hype surrounding the metaverse results in something real, it could improve the way you live, work, and play. Or it could create a hellworld where you don’t get to be who you are or want to be.  Whatever people think they’ve read, the metaverse originally imagined in Snow Crash is not a vision for an ideal future. In the novel, it’s a world that replaced the “real world” so that people would feel less bad about the reality they actually had. In the end, the story is about the destabilization of the individual’s identity and implosion of traditional identities, rather than the securing of a new one.

Even in the real world (a.k.a. meatspace), identity can be hard to pin down. You are who you are, but there are many ways you may define yourself depending on the context. In the latest metaverse discourse there has been lots of talk of virtual avatars putting on NFT-based clothing, skins, weapons, and other collectable assets, and then moving those assets around to different worlds and games without issue. Presentation is just a facet of identity, as the real-world fashion industry well knows.



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The latest dreams of web3 include decentralized and self-sovereign identity. But this is just re-hashing years of identity work that focuses on the how (internet standards) and rarely the why (what people need to feel comfortable with identity online). Second Life has been grappling with how people construct a new identity and present their avatars since 2003.

There are many ways that the web today and the metaverse tomorrow will continue to integrate further with our reality:

Experiences Examples
Online through a laptop like the web today Posting to Facebook, discussing work on Slack or joining a DAO on Discord.
Mobile devices while walking around in the real world Seeing the comments about a restaurant while standing in front of it, getting directions to a beach or getting access to a private club via an NFT.
Mixed and augmented reality (MR/AR) experiences where the digital is overlaid on reality Chatting with someone who looks like they are sitting next to you or seeing the last message you sent to someone you are talking to.
Fully immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences Going to a chat room in AltspaceVR or playing a game with friends in Beatsaber.

Before we can figure out what identity means to people in “the metaverse,” we need to talk about what identity is, how we use identity in the metaverse, and how we might create systems that better realize the way people want their identities to work online.

I login therefore I am

When I mention identity, am I starting a philosophical discussion that answers the question “who am I?” Am I trying to figure out my place within an in-person social event? Or do you want to confirm that I meet some standard, such as being over 21?

All of these questions have a meaning in the digital world; most often, those questions are answered by logging in with an email address and password to get into a particular website. Over the last decade, some services like Facebook, Google, and others have started to allow you to use the identity you have with them to log into other websites.

Is the goal of online identity to have one overarching identity that ties everything together? Our identities are constantly renegotiated and unsaid. I don’t believe we can encode all of the information about our identities into a single digital record, even if some groups are trying. Facebook’s real-name policy requires you to use your legal name and makes you collapse all of your possible pseudo-identities into your legal one. If they think you aren’t using a legal name, they require you to upload a government issued document. I’d argue that because people create multiple identities even when faced with account deactivation, it is not their goal to have one single compiled identity.

All of me(s)

As we consider identities in the metaverse extensions to the identities we have in the real world, we need to understand that we build pseudo-identities for different interactions. My pseudo-identities for a family, work, my neighborhood, PTA, school friends, etc. all overlap to some extent. These are situations, contexts, realms, or worlds that I am part of, and that extend to the web and metaverse.

In most pseudo-identities there are shared parts that are the “real me,” like my name or my real likeness. Some may be closer to a “core” pseudo-identity that represents more of what I consider to be me; others may just be smaller facets. Each identity is associated with a different reputation, a different level of trust from the community, and different data (profile pictures, posts, etc.).

The most likely place to find our identities are:

  • Lists of email and password pairs stored in our browsers
  • Number of groups we are part of on Facebook
  • Gamer tags we have on Oculus, Steam, or PSN
  • Discords we chat on
  • …and the list goes on

Huge numbers of these identities are being created and managed by hand today. On average, a person has 1.75 email addresses and manages 90 online accounts. It will only get more complex and stranger with the addition of the metaverse.

There are times that I don’t want my pseudo-identity’s reputations or information to interact with a particular context; for these cases, I’ll create a pseudo-anonymous identity. There is a lot of prior work on anonymity as a benefit:

  • Balaji Srinivasan has discussed the value of an economy based on pseudonymous identities as a way to “air gap” against repercussions of social problems.
  • Jeff Kosseff, professor and author, has recently written a book about the benefits of anonymity “The United States of Anonymous.” In a great discussion on the TechDirt podcast he talks about how the ability to question powers is an important aspect of the ability to be anonymous.
  • Christopher “moot” Poole, the creator of 4chan, has often talked about the benefits of anonymous online identities including the ability to be more creative without the risk of failure. Given the large amount of harmful abuse that comes out of communities like 4chan, this argument for anonymity is questionable.
My many identities and overlapping zones of attributes, information, and privacy.

If you link one of my pseudo-identities to another pseudo-identity in a way I didn’t expect, it can feel like a violation. I expect to control the flow of information about me (see Helen Nissenbaum’s work on contextual integrity for insight into a beneficial privacy framework). I don’t want my online poker group’s standing to be shown to the PTA, with which I discuss school programs. Teachers who have OnlyFans accounts have been fired when the accounts are discovered. Journalists reporting on cartel activities have been killed. Twitter personalities that use their real names can be doxed by someone who links their Twitter profile to a street address and mobile phone number. This can have horrible consequences.

In the real world, we have many of these pseudo-identities and pseudo-anonymous identities. We even have an expectation of anonymity in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and private clubs. If we look to Second Life, some people would adopt core pseudo-identities and others pseudo-anonymous identities.

In the online world and, eventually, the metaverse, we will have more control over the use of our identities and pseudo-identities, but possibly less ability to understand how these identities are being handled by each system we are part of. Our identities can already collide in personal devices (for example, my mobile phone) and communal devices (for example, the voice assistant in my kitchen around my family).

How do you recognize someone in the metaverse?

In the real world we recognize people by their face, and identify them by a name in our heads (if you are good at that sort of thing). We may remember the faces of some people we pass on the street, but in a city, we don’t really know most of the people who we are around.

A few of the author’s identities online and in the metaverse.

The person you’re communicating with may show up with a real name, a nickname, or even a pseudo-anonymous name. Their picture might be a professional photo, a candid picture, or an anime avatar, or some immersive presentation. All of these identifiers are protected by login, multi-factor authentication, or other mechanisms–yet people are hacked all the time. A site like Facebook tries to give you assurances that you are interacting with the person you think you’re interacting with; this is one justification for their real-name policy. Still, there is a difference between the logical “this is this person because Facebook says so” and the emotional “this feels like the person because my senses say so.” With improvements in immersion and building “social presence” (a theory of “sense of being with another”), we may be tricked more easily into providing better engagement metrics for a social media site. I may even feel that AI-generated faces based on people I know are more trustworthy than actual images of the people themselves.

What if you could give your online avatar your voice, and even make it use idioms you use? This type of personal spoofing may not always be nefarious. You might just want a bot that could handle low value conversations, say with a telemarketer or bill collector.

We can do better than “who can see this post”

To help people grapple with the increased complexity of identity in the metaverse, we need to rethink the way we create, manage, and eventually retire our identities. It goes way beyond just choosing what clothing to wear on a virtual body.

When you start to add technologies that tie everything you do to a public, immutable record, you may find that something you wish could be forgotten is remembered. What should be “on the chain” and how should you decide? Codifying aspects of our reputation is a dream of web3. The creation of digitally legible reputation can cause ephemeral and unsaid aspects of our identities to be stored forever. And an immutable public record of reputation data will no doubt conflict with legislation such as GDPR or CCPA.

The solutions to these problems are neither simple nor available today. To move in the right direction we should consider the following key principles when reconsidering how identities work in the metaverse so that we don’t end up with a dystopia:

  1. I want to control the flow of information rather than simply mark it as public or private: Contextual Integrity argues that the difference between “public” and “private” information hides the real issue, which is how information flows and where it is used.
  2. I want to take time to make sure my profile is right: Many development teams worry about adding friction to the signup process; they want to get new users hooked as soon as possible. But it’s also important to make sure that new users get their profile right. It’s not an inherently bad idea to slow down the creation and curation of a profile, especially if it is one the user will be associated with  for a long time. Teams that worry about friction have never seen someone spend an hour tweaking their character’s appearance in a video game.
  3. I want to experiment with new identities rather than commit up front: When someone starts out with a new service, they don’t know how they want to represent themselves. They might want to start with a blank avatar. On the other hand, the metaverse is so visually immersive that people who have been there for a while will have impressive avatars, and new people will stick out.
  4. I’m in control of the way my profiles interact: When I don’t want profiles not to overlap, there is usually a good reason. Services that assume we want everything to go through the same identity are making a mistake.  We should trust that the user is making a good choice.
  5. I can use language I understand to control my identities: Creating names is creating meanings. If I want to use something simple like “my school friends,” rather than a specific school name, I should be able to do so. That freedom of choice allows the user to supply the name’s meaning, rather than having it imposed from the outside.
  6. I don’t want shadow profiles created about me: A service violates my expectations of privacy when it links together various identities. Advertising platforms are already doing this through browser fingerprinting. It gets even worse when you start to use biometric and behavioral data, as Kent Bye from the Voices of VR podcast has warned. Unfortunately, users may never have control over these linkages; it may require regulation to correct.
  7. I should be warned when there are effects I might not understand due to multiple layers interacting: I should get real examples from my context to help me understand these interactions. It is the service developer’s job to help users avoid mistakes.

Social media sites like Facebook have tried to address some of these principles. For example, Facebook’s access controls for posts allow for “public,” “friends,” “friends except…,” “specific friends,” “only me,” and “custom.” These settings are further modified by the Facebook profile privacy control settings. It often (perhaps usually) isn’t clear what is actually happening and why, nor is it clear who will or won’t be able to see a post. This confusion is a recipe for violating social norms and privacy expectations.

Next, how do we allow for interaction? This isn’t as simple as creating circles of friends (an approach that Google+ tried). How do we visualize the various identities we currently have? More user research needs to go into how people would understand these constructions of identity on a web or virtual experience. My hunch is that they need to align some identities together (like family and PTA), and to separate out others (like gamertags). I don’t think requiring users to maintain a large set of access control lists (ACLs) is the right way to control interaction between identities.

The life of my identity

Finally, identities have life cycles. Some exist for a long time once established, like my family, but others may be short lived. I might try out participation in a community, and then find it isn’t for me. There are five key steps in the lifecycle of an identity:

  1. Create a new identity – this happens when I log into a new service or world. The new identity will need to be aligned with or separated from other identities.
  2. Share some piece of information with an identity – every meaningful identity is attached to data: common profile photos, purchased clothing, facial characteristics, voices, etc.
  3. Recover after being compromised – “oops I was hacked” will happen. What do people need to do to clean this up?
  4. Losing and recovering – if I lose the key to access this identity, is there a way I can get it back?
  5. Delete or close an identity, for now – people walk away from groups all the time. Usually they will just drift off or ghost; there should be a better way.

All services that plan on operating in the metaverse will need to consider these different stages. If you don’t, you will create systems that fail in ways that expose people to harm.

Allow for the multiplicity of a person in the metaverse

If you don’t think about the requirements of people, their identities, and the lifecycle of new identities, you will build services that don’t match your users’ expectations, in particular, their expectations of privacy.

Identity in the metaverse is more than a costume that you put on. It will consist of all the identities, pseudo-identities, and pseudo-anonymous identities we take on today, but displayed in a way that can fool us. We can’t forget that we are humans experiencing a reality that speaks to the many facets we have inside ourselves.

If all of us don’t take action, a real dystopia will be created that keeps people from being who they really are. As you grow and change, you will be weighed down by who you might have been at one point or who some corporation assumed you were. You can do better by building metaverse systems that embrace the multiple identities people have in real life.

If you lose your identity in your metaverse, you lose yourself for real.

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Dinosaurs Roam The ‘Prehistoric Planet’ In Exclusive Clip From The Apple TV+ Show

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Footage of Mononykus hunting in the Apple+ new show. Credit: Apple TV+

Behold: Exclusive footage from Prehistoric Planet, the upcoming Apple TV+ show that offers viewers some of the most scientifically accurate depictions of dinosaurs to ever grace the screen. This clip depicts the methodical hunting routine of Mononykus, a petite, insect-eating theropod recognizable for its massive claws.

Narrated by David Attenborough, produced by Jon Favreau and scored by Hans Zimmer, Prehistoric Planet show is a five-episode series (one episode will be released every night starting May 23) that will transport viewers to five different habitats of the Late Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago, around the same time that a meteor impact wiped them all out. In case you missed the first captivating trailer for the show, it can be found here.

This exclusive footage is from the episode on deserts, and features a Mononykus on the hunt. In the clip, the roughly dachshund-sized dinosaur inspects a withered log in a desert, before rapping on the wood using a claw on one of its stubby forelimbs. Then the dinosaur pokes a hole in the log, and slurps up termites with its prodigious tongue. This depiction is in line with one theory about Mononykus’ ecological niche: that the dinosaur hunted like modern-day anteaters and pangolins.

Prehistoric Planet is not the first attempt to simulate extinct animals for the screen, but many of the specific reptiles the show features are being depicted on screen for the very first time.

Each animals’ behavior and appearance was produced with great detail given to their actual anatomy and biomechanics, so the show depicts dinosaurs in ways you may not have imagined before—and ways that science has only recently revealed they lived. There will be footage of dinosaurs in polar regions (a paper published last year described evidence of the animals nesting near the North Pole), and sweeping shots of massive dinosaurs moving in herds.

The show aims to depict the breadth of dinosaur biodiversity as never before—from duck-billed dinosaurs as shaggy as Dr. Seuss characters, to sauropods with massive, bubble-like accoutrements lining their necks.

You can catch Mononykus, Tyrannosaurus, and many other creatures of the Cretaceous when Prehistoric Planet debuts on May 23.

This Article was first live here.

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Obi-Wan is coming to Fortnite next week

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Now that Obi-Wan has his own show, there’s only one logical next step: an appearance in Fortnite.

Epic announced that Mr. Kenobi will be the latest Star Wars character in the battle royale when he hits the game’s item shop on May 26th. That’s the day before the new show Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts on Disney Plus. In addition to the Jedi Knight himself, players can also snap up a bundle that includes a Jedi Interceptor glider and a pickaxe blade that is sadly not a lightsaber.

Of course, this is far from the crossover between Fortnite and Star Wars. Just this month, Epic temporarily added lightsabers back into the game, and prior to that, characters like the Mandalorian have been notable additions to new Fortnite seasons. In 2019, J.J. Abrams stopped by the virtual world to show off a clip from The Rise of Skywalker.

Fortnite has been a busy place as of late, particularly on mobile, as the game has become accessible through both Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now.

This Article was first live here.

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The Best Speakers of 2022

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JBL

What to Look for in a Speaker in 2022

As speakers have changed and evolved, even the word itself has grown to include many types of products. To understand what we’re looking at in terms of a “speaker”, Bluetooth speakers, soundbars, smart speakers, and traditional bookshelf speakers are all represented in our roundup below.

The first thing you should keep in mind when thinking about a speaker purchase is the use case and form factor. If you’re thinking about indoor use, are you looking for a single smart speaker or a pair of bookshelf speakers? Will a soundbar cover your music needs?

You’ll also need to consider whether you need a powered speaker or speakers. Soundbars, smart speakers, and Bluetooth speakers are all self-powered, meaning you don’t need an external amplifier. That said, bookshelf speakers often require an amplifier or A/V receiver to power them.

Also, just because a speaker is wireless and has a battery built-in, that doesn’t mean it’s ready for use outdoors. One thing to check is the IP rating, a two-number rating for dust and water resistance that we include when it’s relevant. Outdoor sound modes and long battery life are also important for a speaker you’ll be taking everywhere.

When it comes to wired speakers, you’ll also need to keep connectivity in mind. Bookshelf speakers use traditional speaker wire, but if you’re looking at more audiophile-oriented speakers, you may find that you’ll need more specialized cables like XLR or 1/4-inch TRS cable.

When a speaker we’re recommending requires any sort of unusual cable, we’ll be sure to point it out. If speakers require an amplifier to work, we’ll mention that as well.

Finally, the vast majority of speakers we’re looking at here use some sort of wireless connectivity. Bluetooth is the most common form of wireless connectivity, but a few of our recommendations include alternative wireless connections like Wi-Fi.

This is a lot to keep in mind, but when you’ve figured out what you need, one of our recommendations will serve that function perfectly.

Sonos Beam Gen 2 under TV
Sonos

Pros

  • Trueplay does a great job tuning the speaker to the room
  • Dolby Atmos makes for convincing 3D sound
  • Better sound for music than most soundbars

Cons

  • You’ll need extra speakers to make the most out of the Beam

The Sonos Beam is a soundbar, but it’s far from just any other soundbar. While most soundbars work fine for watching TV and not much else, the Sonos Beam sounds great for music, podcasts, or any other form of audio entertainment you can think of.

Even without a subwoofer, the Sonos Beam manages a well-balanced sound signature, with powerful lows and clear highs. This works equally well for music, movies, and TV shows, with support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos Music built-in.

Setting up the Sonos Beam is a breeze. You only need two cables—one for power, and one for the HDMI connection. Using the Trueplay feature of the Sonos iPhone app (Trueplay is not currently supported on Android devices), the speaker can use your iPhone as a microphone to examine your room and tune the Beam to sound its best.

When using the Sonos Beam as a soundbar, it works much as you’d expect any other soundbar to work. Turn off the TV, however, and it becomes a Wi-Fi streaming smart speaker, similar to other Sonos speakers. It will also work with other speakers from Sonos for whole-home audio when you’re listening to music.

The Sonos Beam can also function as the core of multi-speaker home theater systems. You can add a Sonos Sub as a subwoofer and other speakers as satellites to complete your system.

Tribit stormbox on bike handle
Tribit

Pros

  • Bigger sounding than the size suggests
  • Built-in straps for mounting to bike or backpack
  • Pair two for stereo sound

Cons

  • Straps can be cumbersome for everyday use

Whether you prefer not to spend too much on a speaker or you’re looking for a spare, there are more quality budget models available now than ever. That said, the Tribit StormBox Micro has a few tricks up its sleeve that we think gives it the edge over its budget-minded competition.

Buying a budget speaker used to mean that it wasn’t going to be very tough. Fortunately, that is no longer the case, as the Tribit StormBox Micro is IP67-rated water and dust resistant. That’s handy, as it’s clear that this is a speaker meant for people on the move.

On the company’s Amazon listing, the Tribit StormBox Micro is listed as a bike speaker, and indeed it has built-in silicone straps to attach it to bicycle handlebars. If you’re not a cyclist, you can use those same straps to attach the speaker to your backpack and take it with you anywhere.

While the Tribit StormBox Micro is on the smaller side, as the name implies, it doesn’t sound as small as it is. On the Amazon page, Tribit credits this to its XBass tuning digital signal processing (DSP), which makes for much more bass than you’d expect from a speaker this small.

If you’re looking for even more volume and a wider soundstage, you can even add another StormBox Micro to make a stereo pair.

Best Budget Speaker

Tribit StormBox Micro

If you’re looking for an affordable speaker to bring everywhere, the Tribit StormBox Micro is a tough but easygoing companion.

JBL Charge 5 in the rain
JBL

Pros

  • Great volume, even with one speaker
  • Built-in power bank functionality is useful
  • Pair one or more speakers for stereo or more volume

Cons

  • Buying another speaker for PartyBoost isn’t cheap

If you’re looking for a speaker that works well anywhere you’re looking for music, the JBL Charge 5 is ready to handle it. Whether you’re inside or outside, listening alone or providing the soundtrack for a party, the Charge 5 has the volume and the sound quality for the job.

The JBL Charge 5 uses a separate tweeter and dual bass radiators to provide a big-sounding speaker without making it weigh a ton. The enclosure is tough too, with a solid build and IP67 rating meaning it’s dust and water-resistant, so long as you don’t drop it at the bottom of a pool.

While the JBL Charge 5 is loud on its own, it gets even louder when you pair two of them together. Even better, thanks to JBL’s PartyBoost feature, you don’t have to stop at two. This is great if you’re looking for wide-ranging sound without springing for a permanent whole-home audio setup.

Due to the heftier size of the JBL Charge 5, it’s able to fit a sizable battery. This gives the speaker a maximum playback time of up to 20 hours, though as always, this will depend on the playback volume.

If you don’t need all that playback time but want to take advantage of the size of the battery, the JBL Charge 5 also doubles as a power bank. Simply plug a USB cable into the port, and you can use the speaker to recharge your devices.

Best Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 is loud and versatile, but adding in the ability to charge your other devices makes this a speaker you’ll want to keep with you at all times.

Wonderboom 2 on pink background
Ultimate Ears

Pros

  • Water-resistant and it even floats
  • 360-degree sound means big sound from just one speaker
  • Ability to pair another for stereo is useful
  • Outdoor sound mode makes outdoor listening more enjoyable

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t great at highest volumes

If you’re looking for a speaker to bring everywhere with you, it doesn’t get better than the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2. The speaker is light enough to carry anywhere, and it’s packed with the volume and features to play your music as loud as you want.

Like the other portable Bluetooth speakers we’re looking at in this article, the WONDERBOOM 2 has an IP67 rating. That said, the rating is far from the only reason we’re suggesting this as an outdoor speaker. The build quality is solid, and it even floats in case you happen to drop it in the pool or on a canoeing trip.

The WONDERBOOM 2 features a 360-degree design, meaning you’ll hear the same audio, regardless of which side of the speaker you’re standing on. It also features an outdoor boost button that tweaks the sound specifically for outdoor use.

If one speaker isn’t enough, you can always add another. When you connect two WONDERBOOM 2 models together, you can use them for louder mono playback or in paired stereo mode.

While the battery life isn’t quite as impressive as the JBL Charge 5, the WONDERBOOM 2 still boasts up to 13 hours of battery life, depending on playback volume.

Best Outdoor Speaker

Best Smart Speaker: Sonos One

Sonos One on bathroom countertop
Sonos

Pros

  • Modular nature means you can expand your setup one speaker at a time
  • Voice control is great for smart homes
  • Stereo pairing makes setup easy

Cons

  • No Bluetooth connectivity

If music is a constant part of your day, you’ve probably already considered whole-home audio. That said, if you’re thinking of dipping a toe in the water, one or two Sonos One speakers are a great way to start.

If you’re just using one, the Sonos One is like an upgraded, Wi-Fi-powered version of a Bluetooth speaker. Pair two together, and you’ve got a wireless stereo set up. Add more and the sky is the limit, though it’s perfectly fine to stop at one if that’s all you need.

The Sonos One features Amazon Alexa built-in. This makes playing your music with just your voice as easy as thinking about it, but it also makes for great integration with any smart devices you may have. If you can’t bear the sound of an Amazon Echo but want that functionality in a better speaker, this is a fantastic option.

One thing to keep in mind with Sonos devices is that only the company’s portable speakers like the Sonos Move feature Bluetooth. For more home-focused speakers like the Sonos One, you’re using Wi-Fi for playback. This makes for better sound quality, but can be less convenient at times.

That said, if you’re an Apple fan, you’re in luck, as the Sonos One and many other Sonos speakers feature full AirPlay 2 support.

Best Smart Speaker

Sonos One

The Sonos One takes the best aspects of smart speakers and brings them into the Sonos ecosystem, making this a great way to enhance your smart home’s sound.

ELAC Debut on blue background
ELAC

Pros

  • Speakers work great in hi-fi or home theater setups
  • Front-firing ports make the speakers easy to place in your room
  • Detailed, accurate sound reproduction

Cons

  • Center channel speaker is sold separately

If you’re looking for a set of classic-style bookshelf speakers, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 needs to be on your shortlist. These speakers will work wonderfully with your turntable setup or hi-fi stereo system, but they’re just as comfortable in a home theater surround-sound setting.

The ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 features an aramid fiber woofer for the bass and midrange, while a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter ranges up as high as 35,000 Hz. The speakers use front-firing ports, which means you don’t need to be as careful with where you’re placing them in your room.

These are standard bookshelf speakers, so they’ll need an amplifier to work. The speakers handle up to 120 watts of power at 6 ohms. These speakers will work with most A/V receivers, including 5.1 channel and up-home theater receivers.

The speakers are internally braced to dampen vibrations, meaning you won’t encounter any degradation of sound quality as the volume increases. If you’re looking for speakers that present an accurate representation of what you’re playing through them, but don’t want to go quite as far as studio monitors, this is a great middle ground.

If you’re buying these as part of building a home theater system, don’t forget to check out the matching ELAC Debut 2.0 C6.2 center channel speaker.

Best Bookshelf Speaker

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2

The ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 can handle playing back your vinyl collection or serve as the centerpiece of your home theater system. It’s all up to you and how you want to use them.

Kali LP-6 on dark background
Kali

Pros

  • Boundary EQ makes these work in spaces other speakers won’t
  • Plenty of connectivity options
  • Improved low-end quality compared to the original

Cons

  • You’ll need an audio interface to make the most of these

If you take your music listening seriously, or you’re an audio or video professional, standard speakers aren’t going to be ideal. Instead, you’ll want a pair of monitor speakers meant for critical listening like the Kali Audio LP-6 V2.

The LP-6 uses a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter for clear highs that aren’t overly strident and a low end that carries surprising weight. In the V2 version of this speaker, the woofer is lower mass than the original, making for improved low-end clarity.

Also improved in this latest iteration of the Kali Audio LP-6 are the Boundary EQ settings. These are a series of switches on the back of each speaker letting you set whether the speakers are close to a wall or sitting on a desktop and shape the sound accordingly to better fit your setup.

The Kali Audio LP-6 V2 offers a few different connectivity options, but since these are powered monitors, they may not be what you expect. For balanced connections, you get 1/4-inch TRS and XLR connectors, while for unbalanced connections you get RCA connectors.

To make the most of these speakers, you’ll need an audio interface. If all you’re doing is listening to music on the speakers, a simple interface like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo will work perfectly with the RCA inputs on the speakers.

This Article was first live here.

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