I bought a Linn LP-12 way back in 1978, and used Linn turntables until five years ago, when I bought a VPI Classic. Turntables last practically forever, which is one of my favorite things about high-end audio gear: the best products have incredibly long lives. As I recall, the LP-12's initial claim to fame was conceptual; Linn promoted the idea that the "front-end," aka the source -- a turntable, CD player, or cassette deck -- would make or break the overall sound of a music system. If the source's sound quality was poor to start with, … Read more
There's no denying the Beats by Dre Studio's success, and how it so radically changed the headphone landscape. No other headphone manufacturer could have imagined that it could sell millions of $300 headphones to non-audiophiles. Before Beats those buyers were content with cheap and utterly disposable headphones, headphones that all too often would stop working in a few months, get thrown away, and get replaced with another set of cheap headphones. Of course, those cheap headphones sounded pretty bad, so moving up to the Studio meant the sound was a revelation! Bass, dynamics, and treble detailing were so … Read more
When I first reviewed the 1964 Ears V6 custom in-ear headphones earlier this year I not only loved the sound, I got the distinct feeling the company tries harder to please its customers than other custom in-ear makers. For example, 1964 Ears V6-Stage headphones are sold with a longer warranty (two years) and lower prices than the flagship models from more established high-end headphone competitors. 1964 Ears doesn't make universal-fit in-ear headphones, all of their designs are custom-molded to your ears for the best possible fit and maximum isolation from external noise. The headphones are hand-crafted by 1964 Ears … Read more
The $25 Lepai LP2020+ integrated stereo amplifier plays exactly the same notes as a $42,000 D'Agostino Momentum amplifier. Exactly. The rhythms, melodies, and harmonies are all the same. Granted, the Momentum is considerably more powerful, so it can play louder, the bass will be more potent, the treble is clearer, and the stereo sound stage takes on an almost three-dimensional quality, but the notes, they're no different.
For me, the real difference between the two amps is how they translate music into sound. The emotional connection to the music is stronger through the D'Agostino Momentum; it'… Read more
Not all Bluetooth speakers are black, boxy, and boring. At least one looks like it just stepped off the set of "Mad Men."
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Accessory Genie has the Gogroove BlueSync DRM portable Bluetooth speaker for $39.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code SYNCDRM at checkout.
Let's go ahead and address the elephant in the room: whoever decided to put "DRM" in the name of an audio device either has a sick sense of humor or no clue whatsoever.
Fear not, however: there's no actual DRM … Read more
In 1965 Ray Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories and pioneered the noise-reducing and surround-sound technologies used throughout the film and music recording industries. He died in San Francisco at 80 this past Thursday. Dolby perfectly fit the form of "American Inventor" -- he was first and foremost a problem solver.
Dolby introduced A-Type noise-reduction for professional analog tape recorders in 1965 and it quickly became the de facto, worldwide standard. Three years later Dolby B Type consumer noise reduction followed the same course, and in the 1970s nearly every cassette player featured Dolby processing. Starting in 1975 Dolby Stereo … Read more
Magnepan makes flat speakers, and has been perfecting the technology for more than 40 years. How flat is flat? The Super MMG three-piece system I'm looking at today is a mere 1.25 inches thick! The Super MMG floor-standing speaker is 48 inches high and 14 inches wide; the DWM Bass Panel is 19.25 inches high, 22.5 wide, and, like the speaker, just 1.25 inches thick. The Super MMG and DWM can be that thin because they don't use traditional box cabinets, cone woofers, or dome tweeters; they have "planar" flat drivers, designed … Read more
Music should be able to go wherever you go. It can, of course, thanks to your smartphone and tablet, but those devices have pretty anemic built-in speakers. If you want to share the love (and the Daft Punk), you need something a little more robust.
But still portable. And battery-powered. And Bluetooth-friendly. Also cool-looking.
Check, check, check, check. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Luzy's Storage Place (via Amazon) is offering the Francois et Mimi Trois Plus portable Bluetooth speaker for $14.95 when you apply coupon code VDXV45MK at checkout. Shipping is free for Amazon Prime … Read more
Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I'm not a big fan of any type of wireless speaker, and more specifically I have no love for Bluetooth or AirPlay speakers. For me the sound compromises that come with compact size and wireless technology are hard to swallow. I have less of a grudge against the smaller, under-$200 models; they produce "good enough" sound, but the more expensive models' sound pales next to a pair of wired Adam Audio, Audioengine, or Emotiva self-powered speakers.
I'm the kind of record buyer that always reads album credits, and starting in the early 1990s, with the Pixies' "Surfer Rosa," Nirvana's "In Utero," and PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me" I noticed that all of these great sounding recordings were engineered by Steve Albini. The man is extraordinarily prolific, and to date has worked on 2,000 albums! I reached out to him a few weeks ago to talk about his work.