When I dropped by the Park Avenue Audio NYC showroom, I was on a mission to find an audiophile bookshelf speaker that wouldn't break the bank. The store's selection covers a wide gamut, but the majority of speakers are $1,000-plus per pair. Then I ran across the Monitor Audio "Silver" RX1; it's a medium-size bookshelf speaker, measuring a tidy 12.3 x 7.3 x 9.4 inches. At 15 pounds, it feels surprisingly heavy for its size. It has a 1-inch ceramic-coated aluminum/magnesium-alloy dome tweeter and a 6-inch metal woofer. The speakers … Read more
Regular readers of this blog know we're living in the golden age of desktop audio. The speakers just keep getting better and better, and digital converters from the likes of Schiit Audio, AudioQuest, Hifiman, FiiO, and HRT have all made computers sound better than ever.
Now along comes the Meridian Explorer, a sleek, extruded aluminum converter with line- and headphone-level 3.5mm output jacks and a USB input. The line-level output internally bypasses the headphone amp and volume control. Meridian is best known for its ultra-high-end digital converters that sell for thousands of dollars -- the Explorer is their … Read more
It's really a shame that the iPad, or any tablet or smartphone for that matter, comes with such a limited amount of internal storage -- usually around 128GB at most. And after the operating system and apps, the remaining space for digital content is much less than that. This is the reason a wireless storage expander is a must for savvy users who want to carry their entire digital library around with them.
The good news is there is now a relatively big selection of these type of devices. They are basically portable external drives that come with a … Read more
Cricket Wireless this week announced a new Android smartphone with the Engage LT. Manufactured by ZTE, the handset is now on sale for $179.99 at the no-contract carrier.
You'd be forgiven if you thought this new model sounded similar to a current offering; it's nearly identical to the ZTE Engage announced in late 2012. In fact, it's hard to imagine how Cricket plans to position the two devices considering just how closely they resemble each other.
The Engage LT runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and features a 4-inch display, a single-core 1GHz processor, 1GB … Read more
Back in February I first posed the question, "Do separate components sound better than AV receivers?" when I checked out the Outlaw Audio 975 surround processor and 7125 power amp and compared their sound with a Denon AVR-1912 AV receiver. The Outlaws handily trumped the receiver.
I ran another comparison with the Denon, this time with the Emotiva UMC-200 seven-channel surround processor ($599) and UPA-500 five-channel amplifier ($399). If you just go by the numbers, the AVR-1912's 90 watts per channel might appear to be slightly ahead of the Emotiva UPA-500 amp, which has 80 watts per … Read more
The Fosgate Signature Headphone Amplifier is one of the very best-sounding amps I've ever used. It was designed by one of the greats, Jim Fosgate, a man who earned 18 audio related patents, founded a number of successful electronics companies -- oh, and he pioneered high-power car audio systems. He was also a big supporter of the very first home surround format -- quadraphonic -- in the early 1970s, and so committed to the format that even as quad was winding down, he designed the Fosgate Tate 101, arguably the finest quad processor of the era. Fosgate also created … Read more
If you are considering security software for your Mac there are a number of options out there, including those from popular companies like Sophos, Symantec, and Intego. There are both free tools and paid subscriptions to choose from.
A while ago I gave Intego's SecurityBarrier X6 suite a spin, which in testing has been found to be one of the better-performing anti-malware tools for OS X; however, the software did require a bit of a technical approach that was not too appealing to the average user.
In my kitchen I have this great Fluance speaker dock -- well, great except that it doesn't have Bluetooth. If I want to listen to music, I have to plop my iPhone onto its 30-pin connector.
Or not, if I plop an Auris onto it instead. This Kickstarter-spawned gizmo can turn that dock into a Bluetooth speaker, able to play wireless audio from my iPhone, iPad, Android device, Windows phone, or anything else capable of Bluetooth streaming.
Update: This product now goes by the name Auris freeDa.
Neat, huh? No wonder this Kickstarter campaign earned more than three times … Read more
I had a good feeling about the SVS Ultra Bookshelf speaker even before I heard it. First, the high-gloss black finish was perfect, and the heft of this 19-pound beauty left no doubt about the speaker's build quality. It seemed solid.
I've confessed many times on this blog my fondness for big speakers, but if you don't have the space for a set of tower speakers, so-called bookshelf speakers are the way to go. I said so-called because the last place you'd ever want to put a set of bookshelf speakers is in a bookshelf cabinet. … Read more