Newest Updates - Quick View
- Santana: "Lotus"
- Brainwavz B200 Earphones
- Music Everywhere: Grace Digital EcoXGear EcoBoulder Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker
- What Does Samsung's Purchase of Harman Portend?
- "The Lair of the White Worm"
- 1More Quad Driver Earphones
- Valerie June: "The Order of Time"
- Music Everywhere: Koss BT539ik Bluetooth Headphones
- Can Headphone Measurements Get Better?
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 / C3 v.3 / ADP3 v.3 / Sub 1 / PBK Home-Theater Speaker System
- Monitor Audio Silver RX6 / RX Centre / RXFX / RXW-12 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Anthony Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference 3.5 Loudspeakers
- Explaining HDMI while Solving the Cause of Blue-Screen Nightmares
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 Loudspeakers
- Paradigm Reference MilleniaOne / Seismic 110 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Jienat: “Mira”
- Peter Gabriel: "Scratch My Back"
- Back Cover
- Beat Kaestli: “Invitation”
Antonioni’s Homage to Photography and an Iconic Era
The Criterion Collection 865
How interesting that one of the most iconic movies representing London’s Swinging ’60s should be filmed by an Italian. Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) was already famous for having directed his trilogy L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L’Eclisse (1962) when producer Carlo Ponti signed him to direct three films in English. These turned out to be Blow-Up (1966), Zabriskie Point (1970), and The Passenger (1975). Zabriskie Point failed on almost every count, and The Passenger was a critical if not a commercial success -- of the three, Blow-Up was the cinematic masterpiece.
Last November, Samsung announced it had purchased Harman International, parent company of AKG, Infinity, JBL, Mark Levinson, Revel, and other audio brands. Most observers speculated that Samsung made the move to get into the automotive electronics business, where Harman is a powerhouse. But a recent report from A/V industry insider website Strata-gee.com speculates that much of Samsung’s motivation springs from the desire to use Harman’s audio technology to improve its smartphones.
When the Grace EcoBoulder arrived, I was afraid it was broken -- its single carton (no double boxing) had been greatly damaged in shipping. But inside, sturdy pieces of Styrofoam top and bottom still held the EcoBoulder in position, safe and unharmed. When I’d removed these, I stared in admiration.
Brainwavz B200 earphones measurements can be found by clicking this link.
Reviewers should beware the influence of manufacturers’ marketing copy, but we’re human and fallible. So a press release promising that a new set of earphones is “tuned to produce a balanced and accurate sound signature, with little to no coloring in the sound” still piques my interest, even when I know manufacturers’ statements aren’t reliable indicators of their products’ performance. But the Brainwavz B200s ($199 USD) have a couple of things going for them that lend credence to the company’s claims.
Sony Music / Audio Fidelity AFZ2 247
Format: SACD (2)
Released only in Japan as a three-LP set in 1974, as an import Lotus became a popular staple on campus FM radio stations -- for its exclusivity, its superior quadraphonic CBS SQ matrix sound, and its long, jazz-based jams. It was Santana’s equivalent to the Allman Brothers Band’s At Fillmore East and the Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72. Recorded live in Osaka on July 3 and 4, 1973, Lotus included extended versions of compositions from Santana’s four studio albums to that point, as well as numbers that would appear on Welcome, the 1973 album that would announce firmly that the band was now more jazz- than rock-oriented.
1More Quad Driver earphones measurements can be found by clicking this link.
Headphone enthusiasts were surprised last year by the debut of the 1More brand. First, they were shocked by the low prices: 1More offered its Triple Driver hybrid balanced/dynamic earphones for just $99.99 USD, one-third the price most companies charge for such a product. Then they were surprised to find that the Triple Drivers included a generous suite of extras: six sizes of eartips in silicone and three in foam, plus a very nice and practical travel case. And they were stunned to hear how good the Triple Drivers sounded -- far better than all but a few earphones costing less than $200.
Ken Russell’s Cult Fave on Vestron Blu-ray
LaserDisc aficionados will fondly remember Vestron Pictures, a film and television studio that provided a large portion of Image Entertainment’s catalog. Lionsgate now owns the Vestron catalog, and has begun reissuing its titles in Criterion Collection-like editions with remastered images and sound, with commentaries and extras that contribute to the viewing experience. Vestron made a steady stream of low-budget, schlock horror movies, but every once in a while strove for greatness and hired someone famous, if outrageous, to direct a film -- someone like Ken Russell.
Since I began measuring the performance of headphones six years ago, it’s been quite a journey. Not a journey through a picturesque mountain landscape dotted with rustic inns, but more like one through searing deserts and freezing snowscapes packed with predators and empty of civilized comforts. The prevailing standard for headphone measurements, IEC 60268-7, was originally published in 1984 by the International Electrotechnical Commission, “a non-profit, non-governmental international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies,” per Wikipedia. It’s an in-depth and well-considered standard, but most of it is now more than an entire human generation old -- in technological terms, perhaps ten generations. Some of its recommendations have been called into question by more recent research, and some reflect limitations and conditions that time has erased.
These wireless headphones seem to have been designed at the same time as the wired UR42i model, reviewed in January. They’re lightweight, with simple-to-use controls and very good sound, and their price of $99.99 USD makes them an attractive choice for those seeking wireless cans that can also be used wired.
Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature headphones measurements can be found by clicking this link.
In 1966, John Bowers and his friend Roy Wilkins established B&W Electronics Ltd. -- the seed money had come from an elderly lady who’d been deeply impressed with Bowers’s knowledge of classical music and the quality of the speakers he’d built for her. The same year saw the development of B&W’s first loudspeaker, the P1. Now, 50 years later, Bowers & Wilkins has grown into one of the world’s best-known loudspeaker brands, with a huge variety of products and a distribution chain that spans the globe. Its 50th year saw the redesign of B&W’s flagship 800-series speakers, and the introduction of their first flagship headphones model: the subject of this review, the P9 Signature ($899.99 USD).