Paying for recorded music is a voluntary act -- you can get almost any tune you want on demand from streaming music services or YouTube. Of course, musicians wind up making little or no money from this arrangement, but thanks to crowd-funding, bands can get paid in advance of making a record. At least initially there are no freeloaders, so the band really has an incentive to record! The same Internet that made it harder than ever to make a living from recorded music has made it possible for bands to directly connect to their fans.
Pinball machine: check. Vintage Coke machine: check. Now all you need is a jukebox to finish off that awesome man-cave, basement rec room, or retro-themed loft.
Ah, but real old-fashioned jukeboxes limit you to a few dozen songs. I'd be more inclined to buy something that combines classic styling with modern technology.
Like this: for one week, Shoptronics.com has the Electrohome Kinsman Jukebox for $799.99 shipped when you apply coupon code JUKECNET at checkout. That's $200 off the regular price, and a CNET/Cheapskate exclusive.
The Kinsman looks like something from a '50s diner, but instead … Read more
I've said it many times: the very best audio is frighteningly expensive, and so are the world's best cars, cameras, clothing, boats, and so forth. The good news is there are really pretty spectacular finds at the other end of the audio rainbow. I love it when I come across an over-performing budget-priced speaker, and lately, I've found quite a few. Here's a newly revised list of standout designs.
Since this list covers a broad range of speaker types, there's no ranking order; each one is exceptional in its own right. I have spent time … Read more
Hang onto your wallets, cheeps, because I've got five -- count 'em, five -- deals lined up for your Friday.
Why the glut? Same as always: I found lots of really good items and couldn't decide which one to spotlight. Check 'em out:
1. One big TV. When it comes to bang for your TV buck, I think Vizio leads the pack. Especially when Vizio resellers serve up deals like this one: Dell Home has the Vizio E552VLE 55-inch smart LCD HDTV for $649.99 shipped (plus sales tax in some states). Although CNET had some nits to pick … Read more
Much as I like sound bars and other compact, affordable audio solutions for the living room, there's something to be said for an old-school speaker setup -- especially when it's still affordable.
From now until May 9, Fluance has the AVHTB 5-speaker surround-sound system for $199.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code AVCNET at checkout. Regular price: $249.99.
When I said old-school, I meant it: this is a five-piece, wood-enclosed setup consisting of two floor-standing towers, two compact surround (i.e. rear) speakers, and a full-size center channel.
What's missing, alas, is a subwoofer, … Read more
Regular Cheapskate readers know of my fondness for sound bars, which supplant the usually sucky speakers built into HDTVs with bigger, better, forward-facing audio.
One gripe with most bars, however, is the lack of bass. Another: price. Typically, these babies ain't cheap, especially if you opt for one with a subwoofer.
Exception! For a limited time, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Vizio VSB210WS sound bar and wireless subwoofer for $84.99, shipped (plus sales tax where applicable). It originally sold for $349, currently lists for $259.99, and sells elsewhere for as much as $227.
Before … Read more
Last Wednesday, I went to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU to meet with Young Guru. He was in New York with The Recording Academy's Grammy U 13-city tour visiting colleges across the country. The tour started on April 8 in Philadelphia and concludes on April 28 in Memphis. Young Guru has collaborated with Beyonce, Drake, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg, among others.
I didn't know how much time I would have with the engineer/producer/DJ, so I went straight to the heart of the matter and asked him to define what good … Read more
Subwoofers are used in most home theater systems, but subs can also radically improve the sound of stereo systems -- and not just the ones with small speakers. Subs can provide a foundation to the sound that few speakers can muster on their own. So adding a sub is not just about adding more and deeper bass; rather, a properly integrated subwoofer can improve the overall sound of the system.
In my kitchen there's a big ol' Fluance speaker dock. It's great except for one thing: no Bluetooth. If I want to listen to music, I have to dock my iPhone. And if I want to change apps or playlists, I have to go over to the thing and interact (awkwardly) with the screen while it's docked.
That's why I've always been a fan of Bluetooth speakers, which let me kick back and enjoy my tunes while keeping my phone close at hand. Thankfully, now I can retrofit my Fluance.
For a limited time, and … Read more
Most folks rarely focus on music; it's background to other activities like talking, reading, working, exercising, and so forth. They don't really think about sound that much, as long as it's loud enough, or they can follow the dialogue, or there's enough bass, they're happy. Audiophiles are more likely to really listen, so we care about how our music or home theater sounds. The more you listen, the more you hear, and the opposite is also true.
I always liked music, but it was the sound of Jimi Hendrix's guitar feedback and distortion that … Read more