CDs and DVDs can store a lot of data, but over time they have a tendency to get lost or damaged. When either of these tragic events happens the data on the disc becomes unusable or impossible to recover. Follow these steps to create a digital archive of all of your software discs and never have to worry about these issues again.
Autoplay can be a great tool to help your computer react to new media being inserted into a drive. It can automatically open your music player for an audio CD or a file browsing window when you plug in a USB thumbdrive. But what if, at the time, you don't want to listen to the audio CD, or browse the files on your USB drive. Follow these steps to adjust, or even disable outright, your Autoplay settings.
Step 1: Open the Control Panel from the Start menu.
Step 2: Click on the small triangle next to Control Panel in … Read more
Microsoft Office is a large and expensive software package. If you buy it, it's wise to save your Product ID and CD Key codes, preferably in a secure yet accessible place. The same goes for SQL Server and Exchange Server, and throw Windows in while you're at it. Failure to do so can result in elevated stress levels, should you need to repair or reinstall the software. If you didn't jump through all the hoops in the proper order, you're probably going to have to telephone Microsoft, and we know how you feel about that.
That'… Read more
Thanks to streaming services and file sharing, there's little incentive to purchase music anymore. Everybody knows CD sales have been falling for years, but as soon as the record labels stop making CDs, their value will skyrocket.
Sure, there's still a sizable market for CDs, but if sales continue to decline I think the labels should offer a very limited run of each CD title on its original release, say a few thousand discs, with beautifully printed booklets and packaging, and auction them on eBay. When they're gone, they're gone. Prices would go through the roof, … Read more
To go along with the consolidation of the Sirius and XM satellite radio services, the new SiriusXM rolled out a unified hardware platform: the SXV100 SiriusXM Connect vehicle tuner. We've already seen the first receiver to offer compatibility with the SiriusXM Connect from Alpine. Now, Sony strikes back with the second, third, fourth, and fifth as most of its new CDX line of CD receivers is now compatible with SiriusXM's module.
Four of the six new CDX receivers feature compatibility with the SXV100 SiriusXM Connect module ($60) and connect to the module's proprietary connection. The SXV100 draws … Read more
Album sales edge up 1 percent for just the first half of the year and suddenly it seems everybody in the music industry is giddy.
That's likely due to the fact that since 2004, all the news about sales has been bad, bad, bad. Consider that the music industry hasn't seen growth since George W. Bush was preparing for a second term as president, the Boston Red Sox were breaking the curse of the Bambino, and Mark Zuckerberg was founding Facebook.
Last Wednesday, research firm Nielsen SoundScan announced that the industry recorded a 1 percent increase in overall … Read more
Most of today's music on CD, LP, or download is compressed to sound loud all the time. The engineers, producers, and record labels are afraid not to make music sound as loud as possible.
Dynamic range compression isn't new, it's been used by recording, mixing, and mastering engineers for decades. A little bit of compression is fine, but the unnatural onslaught of dynamically compressed sound obliterates musical nuance, delicacy, and emotional power. Compression's loud-all-the-time nature sucks the life out of music. The overuse of compression has become known as the Loudness War.
Before we go any … Read more
Apple included an optical drive in most Mac models, and even for those who do not have an internal drive there are options for using external USB or Firewire drives. While optical drives should accept formatted and blank optical media, there are times when people find that discs automatically eject from the drive when inserted.
This happens because the drive cannot recognize the formatting of the disc and also does not recognize it as a burnable medium. Usually the drive will recognize a disc and attempt to communicate its file-system structure to the computer, but if it cannot read the … Read more
Defining exactly what qualifies audio gear as "high-end" or "audiophile" isn't easy, but I'll give it a try. Sound quality that rises above what's available from mainstream manufacturers would lead the way, followed by exceptional build quality, and a high price.
Well, by those standards it's safe to say Emotiva's ERC-2 CD player is definitely a high-end machine. The only disqualifier might be the ERC-2's price; it's just $449, which includes free shipping in the U.S.. The ERC-2 boasts individually regulated and shielded power supplies that separately feed the CD transport mechanism, the display, microprocessors, and digital and analog electronics sections. Build quality, from the thick machined-metal faceplate; beefy, all-metal remote control; the Analog Devices' digital-to-analog converters; and fully discrete analog circuitry are all more in-line with what I'd expect to see on a $1,500 CD player.
You can also use the ERC-2 as a CD "transport" with an external digital-to-analog converter; it has a "professional grade" digital output XLR connector, as well as RCA and Toslink optical digital audio connectivity. The ERC-2 has RCA and XLR (balanced) analog outputs.
Where most digital players, including many high-end models that sell for many times the ERC-2's price have one- or two-year warranties, the ERC-2 has a five-year warranty!
I listened to the ERC-2 in my high-end system with Pass Labs electronics and Magnepan 3.7 speakers. It's a high-resolution system, so it was easy to hear just how spectacular the sound of this CD player really is. … Read more
While most of today's consumer electronics goods are designed with limited life expectancies, high-end audio gear has always been built to last for decades. Sure, it's more expensive to buy the good stuff, but when you stop and consider how many years of enjoyment you'll get out of a pair of really great speakers (or electronics) the investment makes a lot of sense. So instead of buying and replacing gear over and over again, just buy something really nice, once.
My Samsung Blu-ray player conked out just before its second birthday, and the one before that was … Read more