At first blush you might think the Audiophiliac would be thrilled to hear the news about the Universal Music Group's new High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-rays -- and I would be, if I didn't know how this story plays out. In 1999 and 2000, the original high-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio formats debuted and quickly faltered. Then the record labels tried again with the DualDisc format in 2004, and that one came and went so fast most people didn't even know it existed. I heard a lot of those discs, and I didn't feel that most (but … Read more
The continuing popularity of Bluetooth speakers mystifies me. The under $50 ones sound pretty weak, but they have a good excuse: they're cheap! Sadly, the $100 models aren't much better: they sound undernourished next to my $52 Dayton Audio B652 stereo speakers, powered by my $25 Lepai LP-2020A+ stereo amplifier. Before we go any further let's put aside for a second the question of how BT sounds; the biggest problem with BT speakers is that it's just one speaker, and can't fill a room as well as two speakers, spread five or more feet apart. … Read more
Apple iTunes for Mac continues doing its thing, managing and playing your media, constructing playlists, selling music, and renting movies; but the interface is always evolving.
We updated Apple iTunes for Mac via Apple's Software Update, upgrading 10.7 to 11.0.4 without any issues. A dramatically redesigned interface was apparent right off the bat. The sidebar was gone--it can be restored--and all our albums were displayed in a grid of album covers. We scrolled through our 2,231 albums, smoothly and precisely, but iTunes 10 could not handle a library of this size very well, making browsing … Read more
VLC Media Player for Mac is the all-around reliable, works-out-of-the-box media player that you might never have heard of, though that's no reflection on the app, itself.
We installed the latest update for VLC Media Player for Mac on our test machine without problems. We quickly downloaded the DMG, and then copied VLC to Applications, overwriting our previous installed version. As longtime users of this software, we were happy to see that not much has changed. The interface remained the same, with standard buttons for playback, forward, and back. Advanced controls are available for more options, as well. The … Read more
If MultiExtractor's file-extracting capabilities (and stiff price) are more than the average user needs, it could be the answer to many pro user's needs. MultiExtractor extracts icon, image, audio, video, texture, and similar files, including zipped, hidden, and encrypted files, from deep inside a wide range of programs, drivers, and other software resources. You merely need to choose a file or directory and let MultiExtractor comb it for each type of file you're after. MultiExtractor displays results in a variety of customizable views so you can be sure you've hit the target. It also decompresses files … Read more
Let's face it: our "indulgences" can get expensive, so whether we go to sports events or concerts, buy flashy clothes or jewelry, gamble, drink, or take lots of vacations, those things can add up to a lot of money. Smoke a $6 pack of cigarettes every day, and you'll see close to $22,000 go up in smoke over the next 10 years. In that context, dropping serious cash on a great hi-fi doesn't seem out of line.
Middle-class audiophiles with $10,000 hi-fis might appear to be a wee bit over the top, but … Read more
It's been a few years since I wrote my last Zu Audio speaker review, but this time out I wanted to try their least expensive tower, and that's where things got interesting.
The Zu Audio Omen Standard and Omen Dirty Weekend (DW) are virtual twins, but with one very significant difference: the DW uses "recycled" drivers. That is, the DW drivers come from Zu customers who traded up to one of Zu's higher-end drivers. Let's stop right there: Zu Audio is one of the rare speaker companies to offer upgrades in any form, but … Read more
Packed in a polished, professional-looking package, Moo0 Audio Converter gives you fast conversions, but doesn't sacrifice any of your original file's audio quality. It is light and powerful enough to remain the only conversion software you'll ever need.
Size-wise, this download is about middle of the road at almost 9MB. It installs and unpacks very quickly, though. Once you open it, you're greeted by a very clean menu. You can drag and drop your files, or search them out through the traditional process. Once you load a file or files, Moo0 Audio Converter goes to work … Read more
I'm usually a sound-first guy, but this time I have to talk about the way these Marten FormFloor speakers look. The stunning, three-sided cabinets looked spectacular at the Wes Bender Studio in Brooklyn. The sleek, apartment-friendly towers are works of art.
Luckily enough, the sound is no less brilliant; their astonishing purity really enhances the experience of listening to music. Bass definition and "speed" are exceptional, and vocals sound present, like the singer is in the room with me. With jazz CDs the spontaneity of the band's improvisations was captured with unusual fidelity. The 43-inch-tall towers … Read more
We don't manufacture TVs, computers, cameras, or phones in the U.S., and American audio companies have been outsourcing production for years, but it's starting to come back. Not just for ultra-high-end products -- Schiit Audio's $99 Magni headphone amp and $99 digital converter were designed and built here. Magnepan, Tekton, and Zu Audio are all making affordable high-end speakers in the U.S. And this past Wednesday, Dan Laufman, president of Jade Design, announced the acquisition of Bob Carver, LLC, a manufacturer of tube amplifiers.
I've interviewed Bob Carver a number of times -- he … Read more