I never had any doubt that readers of this blog have the coolest systems, but the magnitude of the flood of homemade speakers, desktop systems, headphones, and all sorts of groovy turntables totally knocked me out. There's some sweet gear here, so click to the slideshow and check out the systems. Thanks to all who sent JPEGs -- I heard from well over 100 readers, so I can't show everyone's gear.
In my kitchen I have this great Fluance speaker dock -- well, great except that it doesn't have Bluetooth. If I want to listen to music, I have to plop my iPhone onto its 30-pin connector.
Or not, if I plop an Auris onto it instead. This Kickstarter-spawned gizmo can turn that dock into a Bluetooth speaker, able to play wireless audio from my iPhone, iPad, Android device, Windows phone, or anything else capable of Bluetooth streaming.
Update: This product now goes by the name Auris freeDa.
Neat, huh? No wonder this Kickstarter campaign earned more than three times … Read more
I had a good feeling about the SVS Ultra Bookshelf speaker even before I heard it. First, the high-gloss black finish was perfect, and the heft of this 19-pound beauty left no doubt about the speaker's build quality. It seemed solid.
I've confessed many times on this blog my fondness for big speakers, but if you don't have the space for a set of tower speakers, so-called bookshelf speakers are the way to go. I said so-called because the last place you'd ever want to put a set of bookshelf speakers is in a bookshelf cabinet. … Read more
It's not every day the president of Sony writes a blog post headlined "Help Sony's President Name His Pink Audio Balls."
What balls are we talking about? Today, Sony U.S. President Phil Molyneux took to the company's official blog and asked the Internet to leave a comment with a new name for the anemic-sounding SRS-BTV5 Bluetooth Wireless Mobile Speaker. If he likes the name, he'll push it through as the product's new moniker. The people behind the top five names get free -- ahem -- balls.… Read more
I'm usually a sound-first guy, but when it comes to evaluating headphones, comfort is a very close second. So even when I love the sound of a headphone, if they start to hurt my ears after a half an hour, that's a deal-breaker.
That's why I'm happy to report on a remarkably comfortable and great-sounding headphone, the MrSpeakers' Mad Dog. That's an odd name for a headphone maker, but MrSpeakers' Dan Clark started out as a speaker designer. Now he extensively modifies Fostex T50RP headphones, a headphone that I've never cared for. Clark transforms … Read more
I was bowled over by Anthony Gallo Acoustics' original Reference Strada when I heard it at a hi-fi show a few years ago. The small speakers projected a sound that rivaled the scale of big, flat-panel speakers, like my Magnepans. I never got around to reviewing the Strada, but when I heard that the Reference Strada 2 was coming out I let the company know I wanted a pair ASAP.
Unboxing the speakers it was impossible not to be impressed by the solidity of the cast-aluminum chassis and brushed stainless-steel spheres. The Strada 2 is 13.5 inches tall, and … Read more
Monoprice wants to disrupt the home theater industry. The company got its start selling cheap HDMI cables, and has recently expanded to full-fledged consumer electronics, with a bold mission of rolling out new products only when it can charge about half the price of traditional retailers.
The Monoprice 9774 ($249, plus shipping) 5.1 speaker set is the company's most audacious effort yet: a clone of the outstanding Energy Take Classic 5.1 ($394 street) speaker system for nearly $150 less. And "clone" is barely an exaggeration. The 9774 system performs and looks almost exactly like Energy'… Read more
A quick note of appreciation before I get started today: My Internet is down this morning (thanks, Comcast), but I'm able to continue working thanks to Tether.com, which lets me share my iPhone's 3G connection with my laptop -- no jailbreaking required. As a backup tool for situations like this and a pinch-hitter when there's no available Wi-Fi hotspot, it's a bargain at $29.95 annually.
Back to business. It's one of the great ironies of high-definition TVs that they look beautiful but sound terrible. Unfortunately, they're necessarily designed with thin, rear- or … Read more
Congrats to Michal H. of West Lafayette, Ind., for winning a copy of Nuance Dragon Dictate for Mac 3 in last week's giveaway. Now, get ready to pump up the volume. This week we're giving away a pair of satellite speakers from Aperion Audio.
Aperion -- whose home theater speakers have been called "spectacular" by CNET contributor and Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg -- went petite with its Verus Forte speakers. Intended for small spaces, they measure 9 inches by 5 inches wide by 5.7 inches deep and weigh 6.5 pounds.
The callout feature on these … Read more
To be honest, I've never heard a Bluetooth speaker I liked, because better sound was available from wired speakers, like the AktiMate Micro model. They're sold in pairs for $499, so you get true stereo sound, a rarity even with higher-end Bluetooth and most other wireless alternatives like the $600 Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, $600 Bose SoundDock 10, or $399 Sonos Play:5. Those three are perfectly fine for what they are, but wired stereo speakers from Audioengine, Emotiva, and AktiMate sound better, much closer to what I hear from traditional hi-fi speakers. True, they're not … Read more