Some audiophiles swear that cables can make or break the sound of their hi-fis, while others poo-poo the idea and use the cheapest hardware store wires. The debates have raged for years, but the only way to really know for sure is to try a set of high-end cables in your system. When I sold hi-fis for a living, I convinced a lot of reluctant customers to buy a set of cables, with the promise I'd refund their money if they didn't hear a difference. The majority of them kept the cables; even some of the most skeptical … Read more
In this week's episode of Hooked Up, Kevin Frazier hangs out on the set of "NCIS" with actress Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Sciuto, the show's fan-favorite quirky forensic scientist. She talks about her role as the social media ambassador for CBS during "Tweet Week" and how she used Twitter to help keep the Hope Gardens shelter for families open.
Pauley bring hers own tech on set, including the dirtiest Macbook you've probably ever seen, and she shows us some of the fun set pieces in Abby's lab. She also talks about … Read more
The Wilson Alexia speakers and Dan D'Agostino electronics in the Innovative Audio room at the New York Audio Show stopped me in my tracks. I heard a lot of great gear at the show, but the sound in that room was closer -- a lot closer -- to the sound of the real thing than anything else. The system had a "this is happening now" quality that takes you back to the recording session, proof that cutting edge high-end gear is getting better all the time. Yes, ubergear prices are in the stratosphere, but there were plenty … Read more
I heard through the grapevine that the Mal Valve Head Amp Three takes headphone sound to the next level, so I had to check it out for myself. I brought two of my best headphones to the Audioarts NYC showroom to audition the amp, and it really was an ear opener. "Space" was the first thing I noticed, the Mal Valve decodes spatial cues in recordings better than any amp I've heard to date; and the resolution, clarity, and purity of the sound were all superlative via my Audeze LCD 3 headphones. The Mal Valve frees up … Read more
If you listen to music on your Mac while at work, you may use earbuds so as not to disturb co-workers; however, this does have a tradeoff. When using both earbuds, you can drown out others who might be trying to get your attention, but if you only wear one earbud, you will miss the parts of stereo recordings on the channel for the bud you left out, which in some cases can make a dramatic difference in the sound you're hearing.
You can avoid this by setting your Mac to use Mono output. This will combine all audio … Read more
Congrats to Cheryl W. of Irvine, Calif., for winning a Bem Wireless Bluetooth boom box in last week's giveaway. This week, we've got another prize your ears will like: a pair of sturdy and stylish Boom headphones from Swedish company Coloud.
The Boom over-ear 'phones come in all sorts of fun color combinations for a contrasting look, or in similar hues for a more tonal look. You get to choose. They have a mic and remote for additional functionality, and a special little thingamabob at the end for tangle-free cord management.
Normally, a pair of Coloud Boom headphones would run you $40, but you have the chance to get your ears on them for absolutely nada. How do you go about doing that? There are a few rules, so please listen up. … Read more
It's late afternoon. It's warm out and you're ready for a nap. You put on your Mico headphones and, as your eyelids droop, your headphones select a soothing mix of Kenny G, Enya, and Air Supply. An electroencephalograph sensor sits on your forehead to help the device scan your brainwaves and interpret your mood. Soon, you're off to la-la land.
Mico works with an app. The headphones relay your mood to the app, which then selects songs from its database of mood-tagged songs. It would be really cool if you could think "Spinal Tap" and then have Nigel Tufnel rip off a guitar solo, but that's out of the technological realm for Mico -- for now at least. Currently, it can only figure out if you're stressed, sleepy, or focused.… Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Check out our interview with B.O.B. and Big Boi for their new game, "Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel."
- Mico headphones let your brainwaves choose the music.
- Google Images adds filters for animated GIFs.
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Google closes the book on Reader, announces July 1 sunset.
- Petitions beg Google to reconsider closure of Reader.
- Google Reader alternatives including Flipboard, Feedly, and more.
- Google to retire more services in new round of spring cleaning.
- Google yanks ad-blocker apps from Google Play.
- Samsung Galaxy S4 event: Join us at 3p.m. PT today (live blog).
- Berkeley creates the first graphene earphones, and (unsurprisingly) they're awesome.Episode 1,227
When Apple introduced the iPhone 5 last year, I was mostly unimpressed. Slightly bigger screen? Meh. Slightly faster processor? Meh.
But there was one "feature" that did sound pretty good, no pun intended: Apple's new EarPods. They promised a better fit, better sound, and stronger protection against sweat and water (I'm a runner, hence the appeal).
Apple sells them separately for $29, but today only, and while supplies last, DealFisher has the refurbished Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic for $13.99 shipped.
Whoa. Refurbished earbuds? That doesn't sound too appealing. But DealFisher says these … Read more