It was just a few weeks ago when my buddy Tyll Hertsens was raving about Colin Shaw's Sicphones amplifier Kickstarter project. Hertsens never steers me wrong, so I contacted Shaw, and a few days later I received the amp. Hertsens was right. This design uses a newly available SemiSouth silicon carbide transistor, and the amp sounds amazing. If Shaw makes his Kickstarter goal he'll be able to sell amp kits for as little as $229, and assembled amps for $279! DIY-ers can spring for just $35 and get the Sicphones amplifier PC board, assembly instructions, and parts source … Read more
I have fond memories of the original Aragon 4004 power amplifier from my days when I worked as a high-end audio salesman. That was in the late 1980s and the big 200 watt amp sold for a lot less money than the reigning high-end amps of the period. The distinctive styling, with a "V" cutout in the 4004's chassis, made it stand out from rows of lookalike designs at the store. While the Aragon amps sold for a couple of thousand dollars, they were more affordable than most high-end amps. A few years after the 4004 arrived … Read more
The Fourth of July is coming up next week. It's a good time to take stock of where the country stands in the world of technology manufacturing.
We've been hearing quite a bit lately about how feasible (or not) it is to make tech products right here at home.
Manufacturing plants in Asia pretty much have the cell phone and gadget market cornered, but there are some blips on the U.S.-made tech radar. Google has managed to design and build the Nexus Q streaming media player in America.
Is this a sign of a reboot for technology manufacturing in America?… Read more
One unmistakable theme in Super Bowl ads this year was manufacturing in America. Is it time for Apple to reconsider all of the production it does abroad?
GE's ad, which highlighted Appliance Park in Louisville, KY, tried to show that the U.S. is still perfectly capable of making big-ticket consumer products.
"We're on the forefront of revitalizing manufacturing," a production line worker says. "We're proving that it can be done here and it can be done well," he adds.
The Chrysler ad starring Clint Eastwood echoes the same theme of making things … Read more
In December, when I asked readers of The Audiophiliac to "Show us yours--your hi-fi that is," I didn't know what sort of response I'd get. But it turned out to be a broad and deep one. JPEGs of heavyweight hi-fis flooded my in-box--from huge home theaters to desktop audio setups. There's some sweet gear here, so click to the slideshow to check out the systems.
Everyone knows Bose, in large part because it's the most heavily advertised audio brand in the world.
Then again, I can't think of any other audio brand that advertises on the radio, national magazines, or in newspapers. So unless you're an audiophile, or a regular reader of this blog, I doubt you could name another audio brand, if you're under 40. Older people might remember a few names from the days when audio was more mainstream.
Sure, a lot of folks would probably cite Sony or Apple, but those companies make all sorts of products. Bose just makes speakers and audio electronics; I might have to also include Monster's headphones or JBL as brands people know. That's it, I've run out of names that almost everyone would recognize.… Read more
A great headphone amplifier is one that makes headphones sound better than you thought they were. Judged by that standard, the Centrance DACport will be an awesome upgrade for buyers who have already invested in high-quality headphones.
This component, which was made in the U.S., is downright elegant in its simplicity. There's no power adapter or batteries; the Centrance DACport ($400) runs off your laptop or home computer's USB port, and it doesn't care if it's running Mac, PC, Linux, or iOS. The DACport has a 1/4-inch (6.3 mm) headphone jack at one … Read more
I recently dropped by EarsNova's spacious new high-end audio store, which has the best-looking showrooms I've seen in a long while. The vibe was relaxed, and the demo rooms' sound was pretty special, but it was the little Magico Q1 speaker that bowled me over.
Were my eyes deceiving me? How could this big sound come from such a small speaker? The sheer physicality and beauty of the sound required some recalibration of my senses to take it all in. Most bona fide high-end speakers are big, imposing things that dominate a room. They're so huge that … Read more
At the end of the 1960s it looked like transistors had completely replaced vacuum tubes for hi-fis, musicians' amplifiers, recording gear, etc., but then a handful of American high-end companies began designing new tube components. Audio Research was in the vanguard of the movement, and is still crafting electronics coveted by audiophiles across the globe. During my recent visit to the Audio Research factory in Plymouth, Minn., I spent some quality time listening to its least expensive integrated amplifier, the VSi60.
As high-end amplifiers go, the VSi60 isn't very big--it measures 14 inches by 8 inches by 16 inches--and … Read more
On today's show, we discover the universe's biggest diamond floating out there in space. Plus, the FCC is investigating why cell phone networks went down during this week's East Coast earthquake, especially with Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast even as we speak. Our BOL PSA to you: text, don't call. And also, be safe. Plus, Pandora makes some money and the most awkward voicemail session ever.Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more