AC Gears sells a wide variety of headphones and gadgets in Greenwich Village in NYC. It's not a huge space, but half of the store is devoted to in-ear and full-size headphones, and I recently spoke with founder Kohn Liu to learn more about his business. The brands and model lineup change from time to time, but right now he has around 50 headphones on display. Many are in the affordable range, but there's also a decent selection of high-end brands as well. AC Gears has most Grado models on display, including the top-of-the-line PS 1000. They also … Read more
I've been a Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber for ages, but I'm ready to pull the plug. I still think some of the music and talk channels are pretty good, but the sound quality has always been iffy. The treble sounds like it's underwater; it "swishes" and sounds garbled. I got around that by playing Sirius over my Tivoli PAL table radio, and since the PAL doesn't have a tweeter it softens the sound enough to make Sirius less irritating. The Tivoli is also on the other side of the room, and that helps to … Read more
Hitting the road this summer? Before you go, make sure to stop by today's CNET Exclusives page and stock up on tech gadgets to make your trip more entertaining! Accessory Genie is offering five products at 50 percent off. Buy them all, or pick and chose from our excellent selection.I recently borrowed my dad's car for a 4-hour road trip up to Cape Cod -- yeah, right where that guy in a kayak got chased by a great white shark last week -- and about 5 minutes in I realized he didn't have a jack for … Read more
I haven't covered too many inexpensive earphones in this blog, mostly because I prioritize sound quality, and precious few under-$50 models cut it. The RHA MA450 really stands out in this crowded market, not just because it actually sounds pretty decent; the look and feel are outstanding and RHA sells the MA450 with a three-year warranty. Reid and Heath Acoustics products are designed at its research and development center in Glasgow, Scotland.
Build quality and features are exceptional for a $50 pair of in-ear headphones; the MA450 has machined aluminum earpieces, 10mm drivers, seven pairs of silicone eartips, … Read more
Even if it's just an inexpensive iPod or Bluetooth speaker, careful placement can really make a difference in the sound. Specific placement requirements vary with the type of speaker, but it's usually wise to have speakers at least 36 inches off the floor, close to the height of a seated listener's head. If the speakers have to be placed lower or higher, angle them toward the main listening position. Try to place speakers at least a few feet away from corners and large pieces of furniture that reflect sound.
Placing speakers close to boundaries -- walls, corners, … Read more
I'm not sure what's "local" about this deal, but I don't care. AmazonLocal is giving away free music from Amazon's MP3 store -- which is decidedly global (or at least national).
Specifically, you can get a free $3 Amazon MP3 credit voucher to spend on any music. (The link takes you to Oakland County, which is local for me, but it should work for anyone.)
The only catch, if you can call it that, is that you have to use the voucher by July 12. Also, you'll need Amazon's MP3 Downloader utility … Read more
Looking to add a decent sound system to your laptop -- or perhaps even a small TV? When you're doing an end run around tiny built-in speakers, there's nowhere to go but up.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Meritline has the refurbished Logitech Z313 2.1-channel speaker system for $19.96 shipped. That's after applying coupon code MLCSUMMER20 at checkout. (Meritline's codes do expire after a fixed number of uses; as of this writing, it was still working.)
Update: Apologies, folks. Looks like the coupon has expired and Meritline has jacked the price … Read more
The AudioQuest DragonFly is a USB-powered (it doesn't use batteries or an external power supply) digital-to-analog converter. I usually need some time to get a handle on the sound of a component, but within minutes of plugging in the tiny $249 DAC I knew exactly what made it so special. It sounds clear and clean, so there's less standing between the music and my ears.
The DragonFly is a bona fide audio component, designed by Gordon Rankin, a man known in audiophile circles as a great tube electronics engineer, but Rankin is also a computer audio guy. He's one of the few DAC designers with equal depth of knowledge in analog and digital audio technology.… Read more
Blackie Pagano's skills as a repair technician and designer of one-of-a-kind electronics and speakers have ensured a steady stream of happy customers. He started in New York City, relocated to LA and lived there for seven years, but now he's back in NYC. He's played guitar and bass since he was 11, been a roadie, then a live sound engineer, a recording engineer, and a studio tech; through it all, he's been just a guy who loves building stunning works of not just art, but art that also sounds great.
Pagano mostly makes his living repairing … Read more
A 7-inch quad-core tablet for $199? Got my credit card right here!
A media-streaming orb for $299? Not so fast.
These were the two big announcements during yesterday's Google I/O keynote, and while the Google Nexus 7 tablet has "smash hit" written all over it, the Nexus Q media-streaming orb will probably be the biggest flop since Google TV.
What's wrong with the Q? Simple: it has too many digits in its price tag.