A set of headphones is often considered an audio accessory, but the truth is that this "extra" can outlast your MP3 player if you treat it right. After all, headphone technology doesn't evolve swiftly enough to warrant purchasing a new pair every year or so. As such, investing a hefty chunk of change in earphones isn't really a waste, and though it's true that $100 or less can get you a decent model, there are even sweeter-sounding options available for those with luxury-level budgets.
To that end, we've rounded up a selection of high-end … Read more
OK, so the name of the Sony RDP-XF100iP actually conveys nothing about the product. Let's look past Sony's hideous naming schemes for a minute and just appreciate the fact that the company still knows how to make a fine portable speaker system.
There have been a rash of surprisingly good and affordable iPhone speaker docks crossing our desk of late. The Sony RDP-XF100iP ($249) is one of the more recent additions. It has the power and detail of the recently reviewed Philips Fidelio, with the portability of the Logitech S715i, and the FM radio of the Altec Lansing inMotion Classic. … Read more
One of the most overlooked features in any laptop, iPad, smartphone, or iPod Touch, is Bluetooth music streaming. Sure, everybody loves the idea of music without wires, but in reality, stereo headsets are either bulky or messy, and Bluetooth speakers are generally wimpy and ugly.
Enter Jambox--a rechargeable speaker that breaks our preconceptions for what a Bluetooth can do (and how good it can look doing it). Priced on the high end at $199, this little speaker bar uses two 1.25-inch drivers on the front … Read more
Anyone who has ever shopped for an iPod speaker knows that there is no shortage of models from which to choose; options range from giant party speakers in the form of old-school ghetto blasters to tiny units about the size--and shape--of a goose egg. Indeed, you can even find portable device cases with speakers built right in.
Portable Sound Laboratories started cranking out its original iMainGo speaker case back in 2007 and followed it up about a year and a half later with the impressive--and cheap--iMainGo 2. Since reviewing that unit, I've been eagerly awaiting the next offering from the company. It arrived not long ago in the form of the iMainGo X, which offers more features--and a noticeably higher price tag--than its sibling.
In fact, the X isn't a replacement for the iMainGo 2 but an addition to the line. While not entirely unwelcome, the iMainGo X is tougher to recommend at its current price of $69.95, since you get the same volume boost, audio quality, and case enclosure as the 2. However, there are a smattering of useful extras that some users might find compelling enough to warrant the $30 jump in price.… Read more
Around this time last year, I was reviewing the Zune HD, Microsoft's last valiant effort to unseat the iPod as the dominant portable media player. This year, instead of a shiny new version of the Zune HD for the holidays, Microsoft is keeping last year's model on store shelves (though a 64GB version was added this year) and focusing its attention on Windows Phone 7. Arguably, it's the right move for Microsoft, especially considering that even Apple admits that iPod sales are on the decline while iPhone sales are skyrocketing.
If you're reading this, chances are you've owned at least one MP3 player in your lifetime, and anyone who has used a portable audio player knows that the earbuds that come packaged with these devices are--for the most part--far from impressive in terms of fit and sound quality. Even those who can tolerate the often thin and flat audio will readily admit that stock earbuds are severely lacking in the bass department.
In other words, find me an MP3 player owner, and I'll show you someone who's begging for boomier bass. The good news is that … Read more
The JBL On Stage series of iPod speaker docks are practically an institution at this point. We have On Stage reviews dating back to 2005.
This year, JBL is doing something a little different with its iPod-amplifying staple, offering a new design that looks like it's been crushed by an elephant and artfully glued back together.
All kidding aside, the daring design of the newest On Stage systems is available on two models. The On Stage IV ($179) is the larger of the two, with a total of four JBL Odyssey transducers, battery power up to 16 hours, and … Read more
In terms of music apps, Napster lagged behind the competition until its caching-capable mobile program hit the iTunes music store. Luckily, what finally did arrive is a pleasure to behold. Clearly a lot of effort went into designing the look and feel of the Napster for iOS app. The interface is quite simply one of the best we've seen from a mobile music program, with options laid out in a handy grid of large buttons and a slick, graphically appealing theme. Sadly, sound quality falls very short of the offerings from Rhapsody and Slacker.
Today, online music retailer eMusic announced a deal with Universal Music Group that will bring 250,000 new songs to its catalog starting in November. Along with the expanded catalog, the retailer will begin displaying song and album prices in dollar values, instead of the obscure credits system that has been in place for years.
These changes are part of a larger effort by eMusic to bring the service and its music catalog in line with the big guns of Apple and Amazon. After appointing a new CEO in August (Adam Klein), the company has been working to swiftly add … Read more
For the second-generation of the player (NS-HD02), Insignia is giving its HD radio the Nano treatment by switching to a 2.5-by-3-inch capacitive touch-screen interface and introducing a Live Pause feature that can cache up to 15 minutes of a live broadcast. The NS-HD02 will also serve up "Artist Experience" content, available in 10 to 20 markets, allowing album art and artist photos to be transmitted along with audio and ID … Read more