I had a long fascination with high-end audio before I owned any of the good stuff. I suppose the same allure applies to exotic cars; millions read reviews of cars they never drive, and watch Food Network shows about food they'll never taste. Folks are interested in excellence, but compared to $200,000 cars or celebrity chefs' handiwork high-end audio is more accessible and practical. Two products covered in today's blog -- used high-end Grado headphones and the Oracle Delphi turntable -- sometimes sell for less than $1,000 on eBay. That's still expensive, but more within … Read more
My quest for the best-sounding/lowest-cost desktop system is finally over.
First, the caveats: I'm assuming that you, like me, will already have an audio source -- an iPod, smartphone, or CD player -- so I'm not including that expense. And you may need to invest in some speaker wire, which could run you another $10 or so. I also name a handful of optional accessories below that … Read more
I wrote about Zoom's nifty $99 H1 pocket recorder last year, and really loved its sound, so I was curious to see how the H2n recorder measured up. It's a bit shorter, just 4.5 inches high, but fatter and a little heavier. The H2n's body is shiny black plastic, but it feels more solidly built than the H1.
It has four recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90 degree X/Y stereo, two-channel, and four-channel surround modes. The H2n can record MP3 files (48 to 320 Kbps) or WAV files (44.1-kHz/16-bit to 96-kHz/24-bit). The &… Read more
I've written about the Audeze LCD-2 headphones in this blog before, but now I'm going to cover the LCD-3 model, Audeze's best headphones. At first glance the two don't look all that different, but the LCD-3s sport real zebrawood earcups and have thicker and softer real lambskin leather cushions to coddle your ears. This is a fairly heavy (550-gram) set of headphones, but they're comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Details of why the LCD-2s and LCD-3s sound different aren't forthcoming from Audeze, other than the drivers, which use similar technology, are … Read more
At the end of May, Onkyo will start selling Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel music downloads, first in Japan, and by the fall of this year worldwide. That's either a brave or foolhardy move.
Multichannel music formats -- starting with quadraphonic LPs and tapes in the early 1970s, DTS encoded surround CDs in the 1990s, and DVD Audio and SACD in the early 2000s -- have all suffered from a lack of consumer demand. Very, very few surround releases were initially recorded in surround; most rock and jazz titles are remixed from older stereo recordings. The Blu-ray format has now … Read more
Audiophiliac readers have strong opinions about the gear I cover in this blog, so last month I asked for Readers' Choice nominations in a variety of categories, including headphones, speakers, receivers, etc.. I've sorted through all the comments, and here's what I found: there's a wide range of gear you love, but it was in the headphone category where the clearest winners stood out.
The Klipsch Image S4 in-ear headphones were the single most popular product in the survey, you people really love 'em! Grado SR60, SR80, and SR225 full-size headphones also drew raves, and Koss' PortaPro … Read more
In last Sunday's Mad Men episode, "Lady Lazarus," the advertising agency's creative director, Don Draper, asked, "When did music become so important?" Draper's clueless about what's going on outside his Madison Avenue office window. The episode was set in the summer of 1966 when the culture revolved around music; in 2012 the Web is where the action is.
What went wrong with music? Some blame the record companies, believing they mismanaged themselves into a crisis, then again, maybe it was inevitable that our tech culture would move away from music. In the … Read more
I've known about Adam Audio for a long time, but for one reason or another I never reviewed one of its speakers. Adam (Advanced Dynamic Audio Monitors) may have started as a pro sound company, but it now also makes audiophile speakers. To get a handle on their sound I started with Adam's least expensive model, the ARTist 3, a compact desktop monitor. The company was founded by physicist Klaus Heinz and electrical engineer Roland Stenz, in Berlin in 1999.
NYU's advanced audio production course is offered to both master's and undergraduate students. They work in 10 recording and computer music studios, listening rooms, and research labs where more than 40 music technology courses are taught.
The night I attended the class, the students were preparing to record a large jazz band, with horns, piano, keyboards, electric guitar, bass, and drums. One of the students, Charles DeChants, currently works in a studio in Brooklyn; he hopes to eventually make records for a living. "That's the dream, and that's why I came out here, so I … Read more
Finding new music has never been easier, and music podcasts are my favorite discovery path. I prefer shows with hosts that put music in context. That's why I like discussion and music sets, and occasional interviews with musicians and live performances. The shows listed below (for the most part) can be downloaded and played back when you're ready to hear them.WNYC's John Schaefer has two daily programs, Soundcheck, which features a wide mix of music genres, interviews, and live-on-the-radio performances; and New Sounds, which, if anything, covers an even wider range of music styles. Each episode … Read more