If you've laid down serious cash for a great pair of headphones but they're plugged into your phone or computer, you're missing out on a lot of the sound quality you paid for. Don't get me wrong, phones and tablets can sound acceptable, but their designers didn't focus on sound quality -- that's the last thing they worry about. The cure for so-so sound is straightforward: invest in a high-performance digital converter/headphone amp, like the Cypher Labs Theorem 720. It can be used with iPhones, Android phones, or computers via USB connection with … Read more
Say the words "The Star Wars Holiday Special" around a group of geeks, and you'll most likely be met with guttural groans and a lot of glares. The 97-minute TV special debuted on November 17, 1978 (making this its 35th-anniversary year), and never aired again. Many fans, as well as director George Lucas, would prefer to pretend the Wookiee- and disco-saturated show never existed, but I watch it every year as a holiday tradition to amuse myself and horrify my friends.
The infamous TV special aired on CBS, parent company of CNET. It featured not only the iconic "Star Wars" characters Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2, but also new characters like Chewie's wife Malla, his son Lumpy, and his father Itchy. If that's not intriguing enough, we get "Golden Girls" actress Bea Arthur playing Ackmena the cantina bartender; "The Carol Burnett Show" veteran Harvey Korman playing a myriad of bizarre characters; and actor Art Carney as electronics salesman Saun Dann and friend to the Wookiees. … Read more
There have been several nights in my life when I've looked up at the night sky, seen gaggles of what people told me were birds and thought: "Wait, those are killer alien mustaches."
I am delighted, therefore, that the wise minds at Intel and Toshiba have come together to bring digital life to my fears.
For they are launching an interactive social film -- which is, I believe a film in which you can scare yourself as well as your social network -- called "The Power Inside."
The conceit of this oeuvre is, oh, you won't believe me. Let me quote Intel's own fair hands: "The film's plot follows an alien invasion by a race of extraterrestrial mustaches and unibrows who take over the upper lips and eyes of people around the world."… Read more
If you get the feeling someone is watching you, you may not be far off from the truth, though that "someone" may actually be a "something." As the popularity of drones for surveillance grows, so do privacy concerns for citizens just going about their daily business. Designer Adam Harvey has come up with a line of anti-drone clothing that is much more stylish than an aluminum foil hat.
The anti-drone clothes include a hoodie, a scarf, and a burqa. They are made with a metalized fabric designed to thwart thermal imaging. They work by reflecting heat and masking the person underneath from the thermal eye of a drone. The designs may hide you from certain drone activities, but they would definitely make you noticeable to people out on the street.… Read more
1964 Ears makes custom-molded, in-ear headphones, just like Ultimate Ears, JH Audio, and Westone, but 1964 Ears is a relative newcomer. It has to try harder than the more established brands, so 1964 Ears offers a wider array of customizable features and service options than the others. Prices start a little lower, at $350 for the 1964-D, and $650 for the top-of-the-line model I'm reviewing here today, the 1964-V6. That's significantly less expensive than the established brands' flagships.
State prosecutors who investigated the late Aaron Swartz had planned to let him off with a stern warning, but federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz took over and chose to make an example of the Internet activist, according to a report in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Middlesex County's district attorney had planned no jail time, "with Swartz duly admonished and then returned to civil society to continue his pioneering electronic work in a less legally questionable manner," the report (alternate link) said. "Tragedy intervened when Ortiz's office took over the case to send 'a message.'"
The report … Read more
I've been listening to Jerry Harvey's custom-molded in-ear headphones for years. The very first one, the UE10, was a game changer; in 2006 it was the best sounding in-ear headphone I'd heard. Now with his new Freqphase JH13 and JH16 in-ears, Harvey's done it again. The performance gains in clarity, detail, resolution, and stereo imaging are huge -- the adrenaline-pumping sound of the music you love over a set of Harvey's headphones can't be matched by any other in-ear 'phones.
Years before he made headphones, Harvey mixed stage monitor sound for Kiss, Van Halen, … Read more
Harvey Weinstein, the tough-talking indie-film producer, has strongly condemned the pirating of movies and TV shows via the Internet and has accused Apple and Google of being part of the problem.
During a keynote speech in London at the BFI Film Festival, Weinstein attacked Internet companies that profit from the distribution of movies, music and other content but don't compensate the creators, according to a report in the British publication The Register.
Weinstein, who with his brother Bob founded the legendary indie studio Miramax, called for the creative community to band together and fight the infringement of intellectual property … Read more
For most people bass quality and quantity loom large when judging headphone performance. Bass supplies the music's weight and power, so bass-shy headphones can sound thin and tinny.
Sure, the same argument could be made about speakers, but their bass is perceived in very different ways than headphone bass. Speaker bass is literally visceral, your whole body feels it, and you hear it filling the room you are in. Subwoofer bass is even more visceral, and there's no headphone equivalent for that.
So while a decent set of headphones can play low-bass frequencies that are in subwoofer territory, … Read more
Jerry Harvey got into the headphone business by making in-ear monitors for just a few musician friends, and went on to build headphones for hundreds of bands, and now counts Mary J. Blige, Godsmack, Guns 'N' Roses, Alicia Keys, Eddie Vedder, and the Glee Live Tour as customers.
Harvey pioneered two-way (bass/treble) in-ear designs in 1995, and later the first three-way (bass, mid, treble) in-ear monitors. Harvey's multiple driver designs produce less distortion and increase dynamic range compared with conventional single-driver headphones, which include all of the standard headphones from Etymotic, Monster, Skullcandy, Sony, etc. The JH16 Pro I'm reviewing here is the world's first eight-driver, three-way in-ear headphone, and its sound is revelatory.
I reviewed the JH Audio's 13 Pro in-ear headphones last year in this blog, and the JH16 shares a lot of the same technology, but the big difference is in the bass. The JH16 has four low-frequency drivers (the JH13 uses two), two midrange, and two high-frequency drivers--for a total of eight drivers per channel. Both headphones feature "balanced armature" drivers, which are proprietary to JH Audio, and they're designed by Jerry Harvey.
The sound is addicting; once you've gotten used to hearing this kind of uber resolution, it's hard to go back to merely excellent in-ear headphones like my old Etymotic ER-4P ($300). I haven't heard any of Etymotic's latest designs, but the ER-4P now sounds small, cramped, and hopelessly outclassed by the JH16. Can't afford $1,149? JH Audio offers a range of custom in-ear models; prices start at $399 for the JH 5 Pro.
The JH16 is super efficient, so it can play louder, a lot louder than most headphones while being driven by iPhones, iPods, and Zunes' puny built-in headphone amplifiers.
Each JH16 is a unique hand-built creation, based on custom ear molds. The company's Web site has a list of recommended audiologists who make the molds (for around $100). Building a JH16 is a labor-intensive process; each headphone takes five hours to complete and test in the company's factory in Florida. … Read more