Finding new music has never been easier, and music podcasts are my favorite discovery path. I prefer shows with hosts that put music in context. That's why I like discussion and music sets, and occasional interviews with musicians and live performances. The shows listed below (for the most part) can be downloaded and played back when you're ready to hear them.WNYC's John Schaefer has two daily programs, Soundcheck, which features a wide mix of music genres, interviews, and live-on-the-radio performances; and New Sounds, which, if anything, covers an even wider range of music styles. Each episode … Read more
Bowers & Wilkins staked out its claim as Britain's highest-profile speaker manufacturer long ago, and it's now easily the country's best-selling brand. B&W speakers are favored by audiophiles and grace many of the world's top recording studios.
I recently wrote about B&W's terrific new headphone, the P5, which was introduced at the same time as the MM-1 computer speaker. They're both extremely handsome designs, and that's something we've come to expect from B&W.
The speakers black cloth grilles and brushed metal trim are indeed tasteful; the shiny black and chrome remote is also pretty slick. The remote controls power, volume, play/pause, and next/previous track selection for iTunes. The speakers make a cute little "plop" sound and the left speaker blue LED flashes when you raise or lower the volume. The MM-1 feels right.
The MM-1 is pretty small; it's 6.7 inches high and 3.9 inches wide and deep; they have a 3-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. The right speaker houses four 18-watt Class D amplifiers, two of which power the left speaker. I noticed the powered speaker's aluminum top panel runs warm to the touch. The USB connection is fed to an "audiophile" quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that incorporates equalization to increase the 3-inch woofers bass output.
We can't agree with B&W's "no need to add a subwoofer" claim. Computer speaker systems with high-quality subs, like Altec Lansing's Expressionist Ultra MX6021 PC speaker-subwoofer system ($199), can produce dramatically more and very high-quality bass. This Altec system is one of the very best I've heard, with great dynamic power and overall clarity. Then again, you can't add a sub to the MM-1, but the wee B&Ws take up a lot less room than the Expressionist Ultra MX6021. As always, size does matter.
Listening to streaming radio with the MM-1s, sitting about 2 feet away from them, was mostly not so pleasant. The streams grit and harshness were all too evident. But there were exceptions, and the MM-1's woofers got a nice workout from WFMU.org's 128k MP3 reggae programming. Bass was deep and punchy, though no match for the mighty Altec sub.
The MM-1 all too clearly revealed marginal sounding MP3's shortcomings, so I mostly played CDs for my MM-1 listening sessions.
The MM-1's bass on the opening organ passages from Philip Glass' "Koyaanisquatsi" CD were fairly deep and clear, without the bloated boom we've heard from a number of computer speakers. … Read more
Wednesday is tax day, so I thought you might be able to use some free music. I don't mean questionably legal file trades or streams or random MP3s delivered via Seeqpod or some other search engine--I'm talking about the Free Music Archive, which launched in beta over the weekend.
Often, sites with tons of free music have a low-quality bar--either they cater to beginning bands, or they're used to promote leftovers and outtakes that artists couldn't otherwise sell. But at first glance, FMA appears to be different.
It's curated by serious music fans, including New … Read more
New Jersey radio station WFMU--which may well be the best radio station in the world--has a blog called Beware of the Blog. The other day, they posted an MP3 file from listener Steve McLaughlin containing all the Beatles' U.K. albums, digitally time-compressed into a single hour. (No Magical Mystery Tour because it was a double EP, not an LP.) It sounds a bit like the sped-up President Bush speech at the end of Godspeed You Black Emperor's vinyl version of Yanqui U.X.O., only, it's the Beatles.
Then, some enterprising listeners took the McLaughlin MP3 and … Read more