The Wilson Alexia speakers and Dan D'Agostino electronics in the Innovative Audio room at the New York Audio Show stopped me in my tracks. I heard a lot of great gear at the show, but the sound in that room was closer -- a lot closer -- to the sound of the real thing than anything else. The system had a "this is happening now" quality that takes you back to the recording session, proof that cutting edge high-end gear is getting better all the time. Yes, ubergear prices are in the stratosphere, but there were plenty … Read more
Meson Player is a tiny music player without a conventional graphical user interface (GUI). The lack of a GUI puts the bulk of the application control in hot keys rather than the usual mouse and click. Using your keyboard's number pad, you can quickly skip tracks, turn volume up or down, and save and open playlists. Meson Player can handle a variety of audio file formats as well as Internet Radio playlists. Meson Player also supports the multimedia keys on some keyboards for advanced functionality.
Barely consuming any system resources, the software leaves a … Read more
I heard through the grapevine that the Mal Valve Head Amp Three takes headphone sound to the next level, so I had to check it out for myself. I brought two of my best headphones to the Audioarts NYC showroom to audition the amp, and it really was an ear opener. "Space" was the first thing I noticed, the Mal Valve decodes spatial cues in recordings better than any amp I've heard to date; and the resolution, clarity, and purity of the sound were all superlative via my Audeze LCD 3 headphones. The Mal Valve frees up … Read more
If you listen to music on your Mac while at work, you may use earbuds so as not to disturb co-workers; however, this does have a tradeoff. When using both earbuds, you can drown out others who might be trying to get your attention, but if you only wear one earbud, you will miss the parts of stereo recordings on the channel for the bud you left out, which in some cases can make a dramatic difference in the sound you're hearing.
You can avoid this by setting your Mac to use Mono output. This will combine all audio … Read more
In my kitchen there's a big ol' Fluance speaker dock. It's great except for one thing: no Bluetooth. If I want to listen to music, I have to dock my iPhone. And if I want to change apps or playlists, I have to go over to the thing and interact (awkwardly) with the screen while it's docked.
That's why I've always been a fan of Bluetooth speakers, which let me kick back and enjoy my tunes while keeping my phone close at hand. Thankfully, now I can retrofit my Fluance.
For a limited time, and … Read more
The number of video conversion programs available makes choosing a good one difficult. Though it's basically functional, the lack of features and problematic setup make VidConvert for Mac a less desirable option.
VidConvert is available as a free trial version with a three-minute conversion time limit; the full, unrestricted program requires payment of $7.99. The program installs quickly. Unfortunately, after initiating the program, the user must complete an additional download from a separate site before conversion can take place. This second download requires Terminal operations, which is a lot to ask of all but the most experienced Mac … Read more
One of the things that separates high-end audio from mass market gear is that it's built to last and perform at a high level for decades. I bought a 20-year-old, mint condition Audio Research SP-6C tube preamplifier 10 years ago. It looked great and sounded wonderful, but a few years later I sold it to my cousin, who was just starting to get into high-end audio.
Late last year, I bought a 30-year-old Krell KSA 50 stereo amplifier from one of my old customers. He loved the amp and listened to it all the time, but he needed money … Read more
Finding suitable programs to play certain audio and karaoke files can be difficult. While basically functional, QMidi for Mac's dated interface and lack of instructions could make it a less attractive download for all but the most experienced users.
QMidi for Mac comes with a free trial version with a pop-up nag screen. After the installation completed, the user is prompted to purchase the full version, which costs $12. This menu can be dismissed after waiting a few seconds. The program lacks user instructions, but support for updates is available and additional program versions have fixed reported bugs. The … Read more
Users who want to apply audio files to their project may need to edit them first. Ondesoft Audio Recorder for Mac, despite its basic interface, applies desired, albeit limited, modifications to songs or other audio files.
Ondesoft Audio Recorder for Mac offers a free trial version, which limits playback to two minutes of audio. Unlocking the full version requires a $29.95 payment. The program's small size allowed for a fast installation. Other than a pop-up menu describing the trial version and requesting a key to unlock the program, setup did not require any user actions. It is unclear … Read more
Though CD-burning software is built into just about every music player, most don't offer enough features. 3Nity Music CD Burner bucks the trend, giving you much more information about the CD you're working on. Though it's advertised as a CD burner, its biggest perk is the ability to delete written CDs.
In order to burn a CD, you will have to have a CD-RW drive on your computer. That's a given on most setups, though. You can preview any track and arrange your list of tracks however you want. There's no shuffle option on 3Nity … Read more