I've always been a big fan of Denon receivers' sound quality, but now the company's really getting serious about headphones. Yes, it's made headphones for years, including some really nice ones, so I was unprepared for the radical rethinking of Denon's headphone line. I was treated to an advance preview of upcoming Denon, Marantz, and Boston Acoustics products on Tuesday in Mahwah, N.J.… Read more
I had a long fascination with high-end audio before I owned any of the good stuff. I suppose the same allure applies to exotic cars; millions read reviews of cars they never drive, and watch Food Network shows about food they'll never taste. Folks are interested in excellence, but compared to $200,000 cars or celebrity chefs' handiwork high-end audio is more accessible and practical. Two products covered in today's blog -- used high-end Grado headphones and the Oracle Delphi turntable -- sometimes sell for less than $1,000 on eBay. That's still expensive, but more within … Read more
I've written about the Audeze LCD-2 headphones in this blog before, but now I'm going to cover the LCD-3 model, Audeze's best headphones. At first glance the two don't look all that different, but the LCD-3s sport real zebrawood earcups and have thicker and softer real lambskin leather cushions to coddle your ears. This is a fairly heavy (550-gram) set of headphones, but they're comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Details of why the LCD-2s and LCD-3s sound different aren't forthcoming from Audeze, other than the drivers, which use similar technology, are … Read more
Red Wine Audio makes some of my all-time favorite headphone amplifiers, but they're pretty expensive. The Isabellina HPA LFP-V Edition, for example, runs $2,500; it was designed and built in Vinnie Rossi's small factory in Durham, Conn. The Isabellina is more than just a headphone amp, it features a spectacularly good digital-to-analog converter and a hybrid transistor/vacuum tube audio amplifier. While the amp can be run off an AC power outlet, it sounds best powered by its built-in 25.6 volt Lithium Iron Phosphate battery pack. The battery can play for up to 10 hours, and … Read more
Steve Sphere Guttenberg returns to close out the week and he's calling on all our listeners to submit and vote for their favorite speakers, sound bars, headphones, subwoofers, and other home theater products for the first ever Stevie Awards for Excellence in Audio. So far, my personal top pick, the Koss PortaPros, are leading the headphones category!
Steve also tells Jeff and me about the leaps in technology that blew his mind growing up, the most prolific of which happens to be a head-shaped JVC binaural recording device that he used as a wingman in bars around New York … Read more
I've written about Schiit's amazing headphone amps before, but their new Lyr is the company's first high-output headphone amplifier. It delivers up to 6 watts into 32 ohm headphones. If that sounds like overkill for most headphones I'd agree, but there are a few headphones that need more power to sound their best. That's where the Schiit Lyr ($449) comes into its own.
I recently raved about Emotiva's Airmotiv 4 powered speakers, but if you already have a nice pair of speakers and need a great affordable amp, the company's Mini-X a-100 deserves an audition. Emotiva calls the Mini-X a-100 a "Super Flex" amp, which I assume means it's super flexible. You can run it with a CD player, computer, iPod, or as a "second zone" amp in a multiroom system, a rear surround speaker amp, or just a basic amp for a small hi-fi.
The Mini-X a-100 looks like a smaller version of one of … Read more
Ever since digital technology took over in guitar amps, a lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to eke an analog tone out of modern tech.
The quest for good old-fashioned tube tone has been fairly successful, but let's get down to what's really important: retro good looks. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--D-Link's latest top-tier router almost includes a kitchen sink.
The company showed off today at CES 2012 the Amplifi HD Media Router 3000 (model DIR-857). This is the first home router on the market you'll soon be able to purchase that comes equipped with USB 3.0. On top of that, the router's included USB port now supports D-Link's SharePort cloud technology. The router is part of D-Link's cloud services strategy, which also includes the hybrid router model DHP-1565, a sub-$50 Cloud Router (DIR-605L), and a new Cloud Camera.
SharePort has always been a unique feature of D-Link USB-equipped routers that enables the router to support any USB device as though it were connected to a network computer directly. Over time this technology has evolved from allowing only one computer to access the connected USB device at a time, to multiple access, and now, the ability to share data via the Internet.… Read more
Audio gifts are always a great idea for anyone who likes music or home theater. Here's a quick round up of affordable goodies, priced from $100 or less!
Logitech Mini Boombox First thing, the "Boombox" name might be a little misleading; this tiny thing can't boom, but the Logitech Mini Boombox does sound better than I could have imagined for its size, and price, $100. I'm not of fan micro speakers, but this one ain't bad.