We've said it before, and we'll say it again: the stock earbuds that came packaged with your MP3 player are not going to help you recognize the full potential of your device. (Unless, of course, you happen to own one of these players.) No matter how many times we say it, we still see countless individuals rocking white iPod earbuds. Perhaps people want others to know they own an iPod, or maybe they balk at the idea of spending even more money to make the most out of a device on which they've already dropped a healthy … Read more
Audiobooks are great on-the-go entertainment, but they cost about twice as much as a standard hard copy of the material. With that price difference, I'd rather read it myself. Happily, for those whose eyesight isn't what it used to be, or others who just prefer the soothing sound of a narrator, there is a way to enjoy digital books without lightening the wallet: public libraries. Many city libraries are now offering audiobooks as free downloads...but there's a catch. Find out what it is below. Also this week: why it's important to pay attention to review … Read more
Motorola's "JayZ" headphones passed FCC muster (PDF), though we don't yet know if they're in any way connected to the rapper/music impresario/Beyonce husband of the same name. (Given the recent arrival of the Dr. Dre headphones, we wouldn't be surprised if they are).
The Federal Communications Commission filing reveals that you can use the JayZ headphones with your Bluetooth audio device and Bluetooth cell phone simultaneously. If you're listening to music and your phone rings, you can transfer the call to your headphones. Hang up the call with a push of … Read more
Logitech on Thursday announced that it will be acquiring headphone-manufacturer Ultimate Ears for $34 million. The all-cash deal is expected to close later this month, but signs of the impending integration are already apparent on the Web sites of both companies (Logitech.com and Ultimateears.com).
Ultimate Ears specializes in in-ear "canal phones" for portable audio devices such as the iPod. While the company's flagship UE-10 Pro model--a set of headphones that are custom-molded to the listener's ears--cost upwards of $900, the product line includes plenty of other headphone products in the more mainstream $40-$250 … Read more
Summer may be drawing to a close, but just because you get to start wearing clothes with more coverage soon is no reason to sit on your duff. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: an MP3 player is just the ticket to get you motivated to move your body, and at least one person agrees with me. Check out the players he's considering for gym companionship and you may just get some ideas of your own. Also this week: why a two-plus year old set of headphones is still an excellent option.
Q: I'm currently in the market for a good MP3 player that I can take to the gym with me and after reading up on pretty much every single MP3 player buyer's guide, I've narrowed my selections down to the second-generation iPod Shuffle, the third-generation iPod Nano, and the Creative Zen V Plus. I was just wondering what your personal preference for an exercise MP3 player would be. I was originally drawn to the Sony NW-S203F that you reviewed, but the unfriendly interface of SonicStage scared me away. The Nano seems to be the most highly regarded and most respected of the three, but I'm tempted to get the Zen V Plus. I'm not sure if the armbands that you can get for the Zen V Plus is waterproof either, so do you think it would be a good idea to go with that choice? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank You!--Alex, via e-mail
A: My favorite player for working out specifically is actually the SanDisk Sansa Clip: it's super compact, has a built-in clip, and offers great sound quality. However, it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the Zen V Plus or the Nano (such as a color screen or photo and video support), which would come in handy for use outside the gym. I don't recommend the iPod Shuffle generally because the audio quality is not great.… Read more
Jasmine's back and Donald wrangles her away from vacation reflection and back into a digital music frame of mind. Discussion topics include a new Philips GoGear review, why you should never trust a headphone review, and what would happen if Apple stopped supporting FairPlay. Listen now: Download today's podcastEpisode 108
Band-themed MP3 players: Yay or Nay?
It's always tough to come back from vacation, especially on a Monday, which is already a day of dread in its own right. So much to catch up on. So. Much. E-MAIL. But, on this Monday, there is a bright spot, which is that I received plenty of compelling questions and comments for this column during my absence, and I appreciate every one of them. This week, I've decided to focus on a couple of relatively simple items because (a) my brain is still out of the office and (b) I think the simplest tidbits can be the … Read more
You have two grand to spend on a fantastic stereo system. Can your cash get you there? Yes, it can!
In this case, we're talking about a headphone-based system, but I will in the coming months cover speaker-based audiophile-grade systems for less than $3,000.
For the headphone system, I'm recommending the Woo Audio WA6 Special Edition vacuum tube headphone amplifier ($1,050) I reviewed in yesterday's blog, along with Grado RS-1 headphones ($695), and Oppo's DV-981HD SACD/DVD-Audio player ($229). All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail price.
Mind you, the Woo and Grado are … Read more
Would you buy a Ferrari for $1,050? OK, how about a $1,050 headphone amplifier?
The Woo Audio WA6 Special Edition headphone amp is built to Ferrari levels of quality and performance. Even before I listened to it, I knew it was going to be amazing.
It's a two-piece design. One chassis contains the power supply, the other is the amplifier proper. The pewter color, die-cast chassis parts are finished to a high standard, fully equal to $10,000 stereo amplifiers I've reviewed, but the WA6-SE is a good deal smaller than your average high-end amplifier. The two chassis together fill just 11.25 inches by 10.25 inches of shelf space.
The WA6-SE is a pure tube design, without a single semiconductor or integrated circuit in the entire amp. It's hand-crafted in New York's Queens borough, and there are no printed circuit boards; all wiring is point-to-point hand-soldered. Woo Audio builds each amp to order, so it can incorporate custom options and offer a wide range of upgraded parts. Current build time is about three to four weeks.
Woo Audio offers an extensive range of headphone amplifiers. Prices start at $470 for the Woo Audio 3; the top-of-the-line WA5 LE runs $2,400. When I heard the $585 WA6 amp a few months ago, I was knocked out by its sound. … Read more