The Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies is one of the most beautiful audio products I've ever used. For my money it approaches a level of design grace comparable to that of Apple products. The 5-inch cube headphone amplifier has two vacuum tubes protected by a thick glass cover. The WA7 also has a built-in 32-bit/192kHz USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and lots of custom-made parts, including dedicated nickel alloy output transformers. There's a 6.3mm jack for home-style headphones, and a 3.5mm jack for portable ones. That's noteworthy, as few headphone amps have both jack sizes. The … Read more
Schiit Audio's very first product, the Asgard headphone amplifier, left me shaken and stirred back in 2010. It sold for $249, looked and sounded amazing, and to top things off, it was made in the U.S. -- not just assembled here. Most of the Asgard's parts are sourced from U.S. companies.
The Asgard is still in company's product line, and it's still $249. But Schiit has grown since then, and now offers a full line of more expensive headphone amps and USB digital-to-analog converters (DACs) -- which is great. But the company's most recent offerings sell for just $99 each! The Magni headphone amp and the Modi DAC are also made in America, and they sound spectacular. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--If you need to add more Wi-Fi range to your Windows 8 computer, especially a tablet or an ultrabook, consider the TAN1 adapter from Amped Wireless.
The networking vendor showed off this device at CES 2013, calling it "the first high-power Wi-Fi adapter designed specifically for use with Windows 8."
This is because when connected to a Windows 8 computer, via either standard USB or Micro-USB, the TAN1 works immediately, without any software or driver installation. It's just like you plug a network cable in to a computer's network port. The TAN1 is a wireless … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Amped Wireless has invested a lot in the new 802.11ac standard.
In addition to its first 802.11ac router, the RTA15, shown here at CES 2013, the company also showed off its first USB 802.11ac adapter and range extender, which may be the first 802.11ac range extender on the market.
The ACA1 High Power Dual Band AC Wi-Fi USB Adapter is designed to add long-range 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity to Windows or Mac computers. Amped Wireless says it features two high-gain, dual-band antennas and four total amplifiers to maximize performance. The adapter supports USB 3.0 … Read more
I've long admired Pro-Ject turntables, but I was only vaguely aware of their electronics line so it was high time to check out one of their amplifiers. I requested their baby amp, the Stereo Box S ($299). It's the smallest power amp I've ever seen, a mere 4.1 by 1.4 by 4.8 inches, and the build quality of its all-metal chassis felt robust. The amp is available in silver or black finishes. A remote control adjusts volume and switches between two RCA inputs. The gold-plated speaker binding posts are really pretty small, and so … Read more
If you've been hit by a natural disaster recently, you know you can't put too high a price on mobile power supplies.
If your phone is dead and the grid is unreliable, JuiceCans are one way to keep communicating with loved ones.
This Indiegogo fundraising project centers on a stackable USB power pack called a JuiceCan. Add more packs to form a JuiceCane and you get more power. … Read more
Windows is so full of fonts that they'd fill a warehouse if they were cast-metal typesets, but it doesn't go out of its way to make them easy to manage. That's where tools like AMPsoft's AMP Font Viewer come in. Font Viewer can install and uninstall fonts, sample them, and organize them into categories. This lightweight freeware is compatible with nearly every version of Windows still in use, even 9x releases from the 1990s. Regular updates are logged on the program's Web site. We tried Font Viewer in 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium SP1.
Font … Read more
Two years is a long time. In that number of years, you can finish a master's degree or, uh...raise a baby into a 2-year-old child. OK, that latter example wasn't the most illustrative, but what I'm trying to say is that for some mobile phone users out there, two years is too long to be locked down in a carrier agreement. That's why I've gathered a few top-notch, recently released Android devices on prepaid carriers that are ideal for those who want to be contract-free.… Read more
I'm a lucky guy, I've heard most of the world's very best headphones: Sennheiser's HD 800 and their legendary Orpheus, the Audeze LCD 2 and 3, the Stax SR-007 ($2,600), SR-009 ($5,200), and now I'm spending quality time with Hifiman's flagship HE-6 planar magnetic headphones. I've long admired Hifiman's designs, starting with their very first model, the HE-5 back in 2009. The HE-6 looks nearly identical to Hifiman's current HE-4, HE-400, HE-5LE, and HE-500 headphones, but the HE-6 is heavier (502 grams), and it feels like it's built … Read more
John Seaber started JDS Labs in 2007 with the cMoyBB headphone amp, which is based on an open-source design. Seaber revamped the cMoy's power supply and volume control, added a DC power jack, and a special bass boost switch. The tiny amp sold well and got the company off the ground. The cMoyBB is still being made, in an Altoids tin box, and currently sells for $60. Seaber is 26 and has an electrical engineering degree from Missouri S&T University.