Put that silly iPod away--this time it's the real deal--extreme hi-fi by and for fanatics. Chances are you've never heard a truly great sounding audio system, so it'll be hard to imagine living with sound that can take you to another place. The very best systems can summon up hot blooded performances of your favorite artists. It's music in the foreground, upfront and real--sure, your $29 plastic computer speakers can play tunes, but without a hint of passion, totally devoid of human spirit. It's merely music as background noise, a drone to fill in the … Read more
Yesterday, Microsoft's program manager for sound in Windows Vista (what a great title!), Steve Ball, posted a blog entry explaining why audio playback sometimes gets glitchy in Windows.
There's an air of post-facto justification about the posting--it basically reminds us that a PC is doing a lot more things simultaneously than, say, a $20 CD player--but toward the end of the post, he notes that it's common for certain older device drivers to lock out the CPU for 10 milliseconds to 50ms, causing an obvious problem.
I'd be curious to know what some of those devices … Read more
Granted, home theater and multichannel sound go together like peanut butter and jelly, but music, even now in the twenty first century is pretty much a stereo-only affair. Ergo, if you listen to more music than watch movies, ditch the hassles of the 5.1 channel, satellite/subwoofer model and get yourself a decent stereo receiver and a pair of really nice speakers.
Outlaw Audio's RR 2150 "Retro Receiver" sounds spectacular with music and better yet, it's a refreshingly simple to use alternative to all of the stupidly complicated seven-channel A/V receivers I've used.… Read more
When I was in college, I took a film class. When it came time for postproduction on our action movie, my group and I scrambled to come up with some decent sound effects and ambient music without having to go back and rerecord new sounds, or create something catchy in Garageband. Most of the Web resources we ran into just didn't cut the mustard when it came to finding copyright credit. Our solution was to use the small assortment of audio CDs from the school library that contained short, public domain sound effects--a process that required first loading and … Read more
A reader wrote asking the age old question--Do all amplifiers sound alike? "Mr. Guttenberg, I've been enjoying what you write about since I am a budding audiophile. A guy I know claims that amplifiers do not alter the quality of the sound and pointed me to a web site with a $10,000 challenge by Richard Clark that states that the human ear cannot discern the differences between amplifiers. What are your feelings on the subject and do you think there is any merit to this man's challenge?"
Well, I do believe that there are important … Read more
Recently, Power Downloader received an e-mail from a contact in Spain who worked as a well-liked bellhop for a large hotel in the coastal city of Valencia. What the hotel management didn't know was that their trusted bellhop was secretly highly skilled in wiretapping and the use of parabolic microphones, which is why Power Downloader kept him in his list of contacts. Immediately interested, Power turned off his MP3 player and read further.… Read more
KEF, one of Britain's leading speaker manufacturers, had a press event earlier this week in New York City to show off their new Muon speakers. I was curious to see the speaker in the flesh, and now that I have I can say the pictures don't do it justice. They are the most beautiful speakers I've ever seen.
Designed by Ross Lovegrove (a top industrial designer), they are indeed works of 21 century art, fabricated from malleable sheets of heated aluminum. The process was required to produce the Muon's complex curves, dictated by the design's … Read more
Goldmund, a Swiss-based company, announced the availability of its media room "that exceeds the quality and performance of the nation's top commercial movie theaters and director's screening rooms." They call it "perfection in an imperfect world." Goldmund competes in the ultra-luxury stratosphere of the audiophile universe.
The Goldmund Media Room has up to 128 channels of audio, individual amplifiers for each speaker, and uses proprietary technology to overcome challenging room acoustics. Using their high tech room modeling software, Goldmund's team of professionals determine the number of speakers, and designs all the signal processing … Read more
I love my Archos Gmini 220. It doesn't play movies, make phone calls, or take snapshots, but it provides me 20GB of digital music and files that I can take anywhere and transfer to any computer. It also only cost me $150 two years ago and is still going strong (with the help of one critical rubber band). It's also very solid as a lo-fi recording device for live shows.
While I don't need a portable music player that massages my back or sorts my laundry, I do need one that can shuffle my tracks randomly. Unfortunately, … Read more
Premium car audio systems from Bose and Mark Levinson are all too commonplace, so it's about time one of the world's leading high-end speaker manufacturers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) joined the fray with its all-new system for Jaguar's gorgeous XF sedan. At a joint press event last week in New York City Jaguar and Bowers & Wilkins showed an advance prototype of the 2008 XF model.
Unlike most car audio/auto manufacturer relationships where the audio supplier is forced to work with the "leftover" spaces to place its speakers and electronics, Bower & … Read more