OK, you blew your budget on a high def display and now high speaker prices getting you down? Step right this way, Overstock.com has the cheapest speakers around! Check out their SDAT CES500 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System that goes for $48.99!!! The package includes a wood, 60 watt, 6.5-inch subwoofer, and five small satellite speakers with 2-inch drivers. That's great if you have an A/V receiver, but if you don't consider the Emerson Dolby Pro Logic Home Theater System that comes with a receiver and goes for $69.99. You get a … Read more
If you've had your fill of swoopy iPod speakers and yearn for the good old days check out the R601 Tube Hi-Fi FM/AM Classic Radio manufactured in China by Shenzhen V.A.L. Technology Co., Ltd. It's a modern vacuum tube amplified table radio, and a major step up from the typical cheesy retro radios you see in chain stores. You know the type, a flimsy plastic box with a crappy radio tucked inside. The R601P is the real deal.
This bad boy, all-tube radio pumps out 7 watts over its 4 inch driver, and even features … Read more
A reader responding to my The Beatles on iTunes? Who Cares? rant came up with this great summation: "iTunes are to audio what McDonald's is to hamburgers, but if this is how the public wants to buy music, then let 'em have it." Right on! Sound quality doesn't matter anymore, just the so-called convenience of downloading 1s and 0s at the cheapest possible price, or better yet for free. Why buy the complete "Sgt Pepper" when you can just get "With A Little Help From My Friends"? That's where it's … Read more
First things first--center channel speakers do one thing really well--they anchor dialog to the screen for listeners sitting over to the left or right sides of home theaters. So if your family or friends watch movies together, I'd definitely recommend using a center channel speaker.
But for one or two people sitting directly in front of their TV a center isn't necessary, and almost always sounds less good than the left and right speakers. Center speakers tend to sound boxy, so Denzel Washington sounds like he's in a box. Ditch the center and your A/V receiver … Read more
It's one of those as you like it stories. We like the music that we like. Me, I hated the sound of Bob Dylan's "Modern Times" CD that came out last year, and Bob wasn't too crazy about it either. "You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them. There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like--static." That's what Dylan told Jonathan Lethem in Rolling Stone magazine, September 7, 2006.
I dissed Modern Times for its muddled sound. Dylan's vocal was … Read more
Paul McCartney is now saying the Beatles catalog won't be available on iTunes until sometime next year. Yeah so? Maybe I don't get it, but didn't the "digitalization" of the Beatles catalog happen more than twenty years ago when they put out the CDs? So why are iTunes buyers a vast untapped Beatles market? The catalog is already online--if you have a hankering for Abbey Road buy the CD from Amazon and rip it right now.
I could give a hoot about the long-running legal feud between the Beatles' music label Apple Corps and Steve … Read more
Todd Haynes' new Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" stars Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw playing different aspects of Dylan's life. The film comes out later this month, but the soundtrack is here now. The 34 track, two-CD set mixes interpretations by what I call "Baby Bobs," artists, many born before the music was originally recorded, and "Boomer Bobs," Dylan's contemporaries. And curiously enough, the Baby Bobs mostly dish out for note-for-note recreations of the originals, while the oldsters veer off in different directions.
Jeff … Read more
As a reviewer I have to admit I've blown up more than my share of speakers over the years. I usually push the limits just before I finish the review and ship them back to their maker. Hey, it's my job and I like to see how loud they can go, and most of them survive my torture tests just fine, but some can't take the heat, like the Sony DAV-X10's poor little satellite I popped last week. The 2-inch "woofer" fell prey to my over zealous fun with Eminem's "Live From … Read more
Listening comes naturally, doesn't it? Well sure, everyone with normal hearing can listen, but what do they hear? What I'm talking about is listening as a focused activity--as opposed listening where music serves as background to something else, reading, driving, running, working, or washing the dishes--active listening can be a lot more rewarding. You hear stuff in your favorite music, maybe rhythm guitar patterns, overdubbed vocals, or instruments you never knew were there can suddenly jump out of the mix. It's stuff the band may have put a huge effort into perfecting, that you only notice when … Read more
Put that silly iPod away--this time it's the real deal--extreme hi-fi by and for fanatics. Chances are you've never heard a truly great sounding audio system, so it'll be hard to imagine living with sound that can take you to another place. The very best systems can summon up hot blooded performances of your favorite artists. It's music in the foreground, upfront and real--sure, your $29 plastic computer speakers can play tunes, but without a hint of passion, totally devoid of human spirit. It's merely music as background noise, a drone to fill in the … Read more