The editors here at CNET Download.com have bashed our heads together trying to sort through the bloody mess that was the past 12 months in software. The rise of webware sure changed the playing field, but we think we've found 10 Windows applications that are either new to the world or had such a major upgrade that they might as well be. We present these in no particular order, but please feel free to add your favorites in the comments below.
Pity the audiophile. Home audio was once the centerpiece of the consumer electronics experience, but it's been completely subsumed in recent years, with HDTV squeezing in on one side and the ubiquitous iPod on the other. Even what's left is generally referred to as "home theater," stressing that video is just as important--if not more so--than the audio experience. If they even want surround sound--most seem perfectly happy with their tinny TV speakers--the majority of consumers will opt for a cheap home-theater-in-a-box, grumbling at the $300 price tag even as they gladly shell out five times … Read more
How grand is it? The entire system weighs 3,800 pounds, stands thirteen feet tall, and was designed to fill even the most lavish homes, and yes, palaces with sound! The system employs three stacked planar-magnetic arrays and eight-foot tall subwoofers. I've heard Wisdom's statuesque speakers at high-end shows and they really do produce a sense of scale that conventionally sized speakers can't muster. For those lucky enough to afford the very best, the Infinite Grande closes the gap between mere hi-fi and the sound of the real thing. The better the speaker the less you hear … Read more
The Zu Audio Driud Mk. IV is the Audiophiliac's Speaker of the Year! As a former hi-fi salesman and now as a professional audio reviewer for twelve years I've heard thousands of speakers, but the Druid hit me hard. A total rock & roll animal, the skinny monolith/tower feels tremendously powerful, and my samples look extremely cool decked out in brilliant red metallic paint. I initially reviewed the speaker in the March, 2007 issue of Robb Report Home Entertainment. I'm still listening.
A number of American and Canadian speaker manufacturers now outsource production while maintaining sky … Read more
Simplify Media--a free desktop application for Windows or Mac OS X that lets you stream your digital music or your friends' from iTunes or Winamp (Simplify Media covered previously)--today released a new version of its software that is developed to run on the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch.
Rather than function as a conventional iPhone app, (i.e. a Web app built for Safari), the new program is standalone software that requires a "jailbroken" iPhone to work.
The ability to listen to your entire music collection or your friends' anywhere your iPhone or iPod Touch has … Read more
I just heard the Podium Model 1 flat panel speakers at Laufer Teknik, a brand new, high-end audio showroom in downtown Brooklyn, New York. Sam Laufer's shop doesn't carry Sony or Bose, in fact I doubt most audiophiles have heard of most of the brands on display there. The Podium Sound speakers are new to me, but these slender panels, which look like beautifully constructed room dividers, may break through to the wider market.
Laufer Teknik promotes uber audio, stratospherically priced exotica from cutting-edge manufacturers, mainly from Europe; Laufer also serves as a distributor for Behold electronics, Ascendo speakers, … Read more
If you haven't heard of Zingspot.com yet, you soon might.
Zingspot is likely related to Zing Systems, a company that Dell acquired in August. Zingspot.com is described in the document filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as "an online consumer portal for digital entertainment content acquisition and distribution." Being a hardware maker, it would make more sense to expect Dell to make a device rather … Read more
Most PC speakers are afterthoughts--the computer equivalent of those awful earbud headphones that come bundled "for free" with portable media players. But Canada's Axiom Audio is offering a high-end alternative with its new Audiobyte PC speakers. At 6.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide by 4 inches deep, the stereo speakers aren't too much larger than standard computer audio offerings, but they're effectively miniaturized versions of high-quality bookshelf speakers, sporting two-way designs with a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter and 3-inch aluminum cone woofer.
The Audiobyte is now available in a variety of finishes … Read more
When we first saw the Polk Audio I-Sonic, we dubbed it a "home theater in a shoebox." But now the all-in-one I-Sonic finally looks to have some competition in the form of the Cambridge SoundWorks i765. At first glance, the product looks like a doppelganger of the company's Radio CD 745i, but adds DVD playback and a top-mounted iPod dock to the AM/FM radio, CD player, and dual-alarm system found on that earlier model. The price is a hefty $500, but that's $100 less than that of the I-Sonic, which lacks the iPod dock but includes digital HD Radio and support (with an add-on antenna dongle and monthly subscription) for XM satellite radio. … Read more