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.
American companies dominate the worldwide high-end audio market, but those brands are known only to the most passionate audiophiles in their home country.
Like most American high-end brands, Viola Labs, based in New Haven, Conn., has just a few retail outlets in the U.S. Audiophiles in Asia and Europe have made up the majority of Viola's customers since 2001.
So chances are most of my readers are in the dark about Viola. That's why I made the trek to New Haven to learn more about the brand. Viola's two original founders, Tom Colangelo and Paul Jayson, … Read more
There's good sound, and there's high-end sound; the difference is in the details. Case in point: the little Cruise USB digital-to-analog headphone amplifier from Alpha Design Labs by Furutech.
The Cruise sounds clear, clean and remarkably transparent. Regarding the details, connectivity comes in two flavors, there's a 3.5 mm analog stereo line input and 24/96 USB digital input. The Cruise can run off its external AC power supply, internal rechargeable lithium ion battery, or USB power from your computer. Furutech claims the battery is good for 80 hours of playback time.
High-end gear has to look the part, and again the Cruise scores. It may be a little thing, but it feels solid. Mirror-polished, nonmagnetic stainless-steel end caps flank a curvy, high-gloss carbon fiber body. Resting on my desktop the Cruise absolutely looks the part; it's the real deal. … Read more
Steve "Sphere" Guttenberg joins the cast today to talk about the joys of eating roadkill, borrowing e-books on Amazon, and pocket-sized USB audio amplifiers. … Read more
I admit it, most of my favorite amplifiers produce enough heat to warm up a room and consume a lot of AC power. "Green," they are not. Class D amplifier designs (the "D" does not stand for digital) are vastly more efficient, and run cool to the touch.
For example, my Bel Canto REF500S power amp ($2,495) puts out 250 watts per channel, and it's a bona fide audiophile quality design. Bel Canto doesn't specifically refer to the REF500S as a Class D amp, but its low-heat, ultraefficient, heavily regulated switch-mode power supply … Read more
By the late 1960s everyone assumed solid-state gear would soon replace tube electronics, but here we are in 2011 and tubes are still here. Rock and blues guitar players still crave the sound of tube guitar amplifiers, and a significant number of audiophiles are die-hard tube fans.
While tube amps don't measure as well as their solid-state counterparts, some people feel tubes more faithfully reproduce the sound of voices and real instruments. As always, opinions about sound quality don't necessarily correlate with by-the-numbers assessments. We like what we like.