Newest Updates - Quick View
- AudioQuest DragonFly Red and Black USB DAC-Headphone Amplifiers
- "Chimes at Midnight"
- Oppo Digital Sonica Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Speaker
- Grace Digital EcoXGear EcoPebble Powerbank Bluetooth Speaker-Charger-Flashlight
- ATC SCM19 V2 Loudspeakers
- Is It Valid to Say that an Audio Product Sucks?
- Norah Jones: "Day Breaks"
- Audeze Sine Headphones
- "Carnival of Souls"
- Sennheiser HD 630VB Headphones
- 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
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 Loudspeakers
- Paradigm Reference MilleniaOne / Seismic 110 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Explaining HDMI while Solving the Cause of Blue-Screen Nightmares
- Jienat: “Mira”
- Anthem Performance MRX 710 A/V Receiver: King of the Sonic Frontiers
- Peter Gabriel: "Scratch My Back"
- Logitech Squeezebox Touch WiFi Music Player
Compact, portable DACs that plug into a laptop’s USB port, extract up to 24-bit/96kHz digital audio using the jitter-eliminating asynchronous protocol, and provide amplified output for headphones and line-level output for preamps, are common enough these days. But in 2012, when AudioQuest introduced its first DragonFly DAC, the concept turned heads. The most attention-grabbing element was no doubt that the DragonFly was the size and shape of a USB memory stick. That such tiny hardware could make possible the playback of high-resolution audio through headphones -- not to mention a high-end audio system -- seemed nothing short of amazing.
Bigger-than-Life Falstaff from Orson Welles on Blu-ray
The Criterion Collection 830
William Shakespeare was a hero to Orson Welles, who spent much of his career trying to make definitive film versions of the plays. Welles directed an excellent Othello (1951), and his experimental Macbeth (1948) was a flawed masterpiece -- in both, he played the title role. But his greatest homage to the Bard was Chimes at Midnight (1965), which gives a different view of the story of Falstaff and Prince Hal in being a pastiche of parts of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
One of the most dispiriting events in an audio reviewer’s life is when a reader sharply disagrees. It’s one thing if the reviewer praises, say, the AKG Q701s and the reader says, “Those headphones sound too bright to me.” Fair enough -- and useful feedback. But when a reader describes a product that the reviewer raved about as “awful,” or says that “it sucks,” that’s different. That’s a criticism not only of the product, but of the reviewer’s competence and judgment.
I remember when 10 to 12 hours of battery charge time was considered a lot -- and that was only two or three years ago. Now we’re seeing mind-boggling charge times, even for small devices. The EcoPebble Powerbank can easily be held in the hand, yet boasts a 50-hour charge time -- a helpful thing, because it’s designed to charge your other devices. It’s also a Bluetooth speaker and a 200-lumen LED flashlight.
I’ve dreamed of wireless speakers for years. For one, I’ve always been owned by at least one cat, and, well, what you’ve heard is true: Curiosity can kill cats. I’ve had more than one sail through its first four or five years of life showing no interest in wires -- then, suddenly, the left channel starts to fry, and close inspection reveals a chewed wire. Fortunately, none of my feline friends has chewed anything carrying current heavy enough to kill.
Blue Note B002520702
I have a terrible track record for predicting which album will become a hit, but there were a couple of hints that Norah Jones’s 2002 debut release, Come Away with Me, would attract attention -- although, even then, I could not have predicted the eight Grammy Awards it garnered. I doubt if anyone anticipated that.
Does the name Billy Woodman ring a bell? Although he may not have been involved in any of the audio components you use at home, it’s very likely that Woodman designed some of the gear used in recording the music you listen to. All over the world, many of the finest musicians and audio engineers make their most crucial judgments of their work by listening to it through monitors made by ATC, the company Woodman founded in 1974. Beck, Kate Bush, Coldplay, Mark Knopfler, Diana Krall, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Supertramp, Jack White -- all have depended on ATC monitors to get an accurate idea of what’s really on their master recordings. If you’ve ever enjoyed records engineered and/or produced by T Bone Burnett, Bob Ludwig, Mark Ronson, or Doug Sax, or in the studios of Electric Lady or Telarc, or Sony’s massive SACD remastering facilities, you owe some of that pleasure to Woodman’s stunning speaker designs. Even at Abbey Road Studios, right next to the Bowers & Wilkins monitors you always see advertised, you also see ATCs.
Audeze Sine headphones measurements can be found by clicking this link.
Most new headphones are just permutations of past designs. Not the Audeze Sines. They’ve got two genuinely unusual, perhaps even unique, features. First, they’re an on-ear design with planar-magnetic drivers -- the first ever of this type, Audeze claims. Second, they’re available with analog and digital cables.
The Indie That Wouldn’t Die Finds New Life on Criterion Blu-Ray
The Criterion Collection 63
Carnival of Souls isn’t one of the black-and-white classics Criterion is known for. It’s a cult indie film that became a horror favorite when Roger Ebert re-screened and reviewed it in 1989, 27 years after its initial release. But considering its history, singular locations, and magnificent camera work, it’s one of the best editions that Criterion has produced. Its many secrets and wonders are revealed through insightful commentaries and a generous set of extras.
In-wall and in-ceiling speakers get no respect. In fact, they barely even get any attention. I rarely think about them, but last week I was twice reminded what an important part of the audio industry these speakers represent. My first reminder came when I made my arrangements to attend the CEDIA Expo in Dallas in September, which I’II be covering for SoundStage! Global. CEDIA focuses on custom-installed media systems, of which in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are often an important part. My second came when I was asked to run measurements on and give a listen to a prototype pair of in-ceiling speakers.