The Dayton Audio DTA-120 stereo integrated amp isn't very big, but for anyone searching for a decent amp that won't break the bank it's a real contender. First, let's look at the numbers: It's rated at 50 watts per channel for 8 ohm speakers; 60 watts per channel for 4 ohm speakers; the rear panel has stereo RCA inputs and speaker cable binding posts. The front panel has a 3.5 mm stereo minijack input, a 6.3 mm headphone jack, and a volume control. The DTA-120's extruded metal chassis feels solid, it's … Read more
DAYTON, Ohio -- It's hard to stand in front of the B-29 Superfortress and not be awed by its history.
Deep inside the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base here, visitors can come face to face with Bockscar, the plane that dropped Fat Man, the atomic bomb that leveled Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945, effectively ending World War II.
The museum has what is likely the most impressive collection of military aircraft in the world. Spread across three gigantic hangars, plus a section filled with missiles, and both a collection of … Read more
DAYTON, Ohio -- The list of American innovation is long and storied: the first mass-produced car; the telephone; the personal computer. And, of course, the airplane.
Kitty Hawk, N.C. may be the first place that comes to mind when people think of the Wright brothers and the invention of powered, manned flight, but this southwestern Ohio town has a much deeper claim to the brothers and their invention of what they called, in their patent, a "flying machine."
I've always been obsessed with sound, and I've always wanted to hear my music with the best possible sound. It enhances the experience for me, because I can more clearly hear what the musicians are playing, and the subtleties in the mix, so I get more out of the music. That's true at home and for on-the-go listening, and even when I didn't have much money I still managed to put together a pretty good hi-fi. Then again, good sound is in the ear of the beholder, and that beholder may not be so sure about … Read more
I worked as a high-end audio salesman for 16 years and spent another 16 reviewing audio products. Here's what I learned: The very best gear is always expensive. Sure, there are occasional examples of affordable products that are remarkable, but they never get remotely close to what true high-end gear can offer. Beyond price the main thing that separates high-end companies from mass-market brands is high-end designers are all about maximizing performance. Mainstream audio companies rarely try to make the best possible sounding gear. They know that features, wireless connectivity, styling, compact size, cheap pricing, marketing, distribution, etc. -- … Read more
The best I can say about most cheap subwoofers is they make bass. The bass won't be the deepest, most powerful, or the clearest, or blend all that well with most speakers, but all subs make bass. Better subs, like the $449 Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2, generate deeper, less distorted sound, so you can actually hear distinct bass notes, and can play louder and fill larger rooms better than most cheap subs.
While audiophile gear can be quite expensive, picking out a selection of terrific gift ideas that won't break the bank is still doable. Here you'll find books, music, gear, and even a free download that will put a smile on any audiophile's, or music lover's, face. The Audiophiliac had a self-imposed price limit of $100 max and easily met that goal. Seven of the 10 gift ideas are under $50!
My quest for the best-sounding/lowest-cost desktop system is finally over.
First, the caveats: I'm assuming that you, like me, will already have an audio source -- an iPod, smartphone, or CD player -- so I'm not including that expense. And you may need to invest in some speaker wire, which could run you another $10 or so. I also name a handful of optional accessories below that … Read more
I admit it, most of my favorite amplifiers produce enough heat to warm up a room and consume a lot of AC power. "Green," they are not. Class D amplifier designs (the "D" does not stand for digital) are vastly more efficient, and run cool to the touch.
For example, my Bel Canto REF500S power amp ($2,495) puts out 250 watts per channel, and it's a bona fide audiophile quality design. Bel Canto doesn't specifically refer to the REF500S as a Class D amp, but its low-heat, ultraefficient, heavily regulated switch-mode power supply … Read more
You don't have to be an audiophile to appreciate good sound and music, so I've put together a healthy selection of great gift ideas, all priced under $100. I'll soon post another blog with under-$300 gift ideas.
The AIX Records "Audio Calibration Disc & HD Music Sampler" Blu-ray ($25) is loaded with exceptional-sounding Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio music tracks. AIX refrains from using dynamic range compression, equalization, or signal processing, so the sound is as close to the original session as can be. And with the release of "Goldberg Variations Acoustica" AIX has ventured into producing original 3D video programming. The Blu-ray was shot with four prototype Panasonic 3D A1 cameras, and the sound was recorded in 96 kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio.
My pick for the best full-size headphone for less than $100 is the Grado Prestige Series SR-60i ($79). It's an improved and updated version of the original SR-60, which was a budget audiophile favorite for more than 10 years. The SR-60i sounds great at home or plugged into an iPod. The sound is nice and full, and since the SR-60i is an open-back design, you can hear the world around you. Highly recommended.
If you'd prefer an in-ear headphone, you should get the NOX Audio Scout ($79). The design features "balanced armature technology," which is rarely seen in headphones in the Scout's price class (I actually don't know of any others). It's very comfortable, the flat ribbon cable is as tangle-free as they come, and the sound quality is extraordinarily good.
Paul McCartney & Wings' "Band On The Run" Special Edition is a two-CD, one-DVD set ($30). Recently remastered by the team responsible for the Beatles 2009 remasters, "Band on the run" has never sounded better. The second CD has nine bonus tracks of rare demos and alternative takes. The original remastered album and bonus audio content are also available on a two LP, 180 gram audiophile vinyl edition that comes with an MP3 download of all 18 tracks. … Read more