Val Kolton has a lot of ideas. I know him first as the man who runs V-Moda, but he's also a hotshot DJ. I met with him in NYC last week for a sneak preview of his brand-new Crossfade M-100 over-the-ear headphones. Kolton had just received the first production batch and hadn't actually listened to the completed headphones yet. I had the honor of listening first, even before the V-Man, and the M-100s totally knocked me out. It has a closed-back 'phone design, but the sound was remarkably open and spacious, a rare feat for a closed design. … Read more
I met Julie Glick a few months ago with some folks from Ultimate Ears at a Head-Fi meeting in NY. UE was promoting a new set of custom-molded in-ear headphones, the Personal Reference Monitors, which are just now entering full production. In her NYC office, Glick can fully demonstrate these unique headphones, which are not only custom-molded to your ears but fine-tuned, soundwise, to your liking. Ultimate Ears technicians use the frequency curve you create to build your Personal Reference Monitors. I crafted my EQ curve in Glick's office; it was a lot of fun to design my sound. … Read more
It was just a few weeks ago when my buddy Tyll Hertsens was raving about Colin Shaw's Sicphones amplifier Kickstarter project. Hertsens never steers me wrong, so I contacted Shaw, and a few days later I received the amp. Hertsens was right. This design uses a newly available SemiSouth silicon carbide transistor, and the amp sounds amazing. If Shaw makes his Kickstarter goal he'll be able to sell amp kits for as little as $229, and assembled amps for $279! DIY-ers can spring for just $35 and get the Sicphones amplifier PC board, assembly instructions, and parts source … Read more
Before the iPod and iTunes supposedly changed everything, we listened to records, CDs, tapes, and radio in our cars, on the street and in mass transit. Music was nearly as portable as it is now, but iPods and other MP3 players radically increased the quantity of music you could take with you. Looking back to the dawn of the iPod/MP3 era, sound-quality improvements weren't part of the agenda, just the quantity of music that was transportable. Apple's early ads touted the advantages of having "1,000 songs in your pocket," which struck me as an … Read more
August 29, 2012: This is an update of my subwoofer setup article from 2008.
Merely buying a great subwoofer is no guarantee that you'll wind up with great bass. There are too many ways to squander its performance potential, and that's why putting in the extra effort to achieve proper subwoofer setup is crucial. This two-part guide will help you get the best room-shaking bass from your subwoofer.
Subwoofer Setup Part I:Placement and positioning While a subwoofer's deep bass is nondirectional, it would be unwise to … Read more
With the booming popularity of sound bars, iPod docks, and tiny Bluetooth speakers, it's increasingly obvious that most people aren't interested in buying the best-sounding speakers. Other factors, such as the smallest possible size and maximum feature set are higher priorities than sound quality. I go the other way and put sound at the top of my list, but I'm far from convinced that the most accurate sound is the best sound. Accuracy isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Digital audio formats, for example, always have more accurate frequency response than any analog format, … Read more
So you're planning to buy "Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 43." Hey, I'm not here to judge.
(Don't worry if the voucher comes up showing Oakland County, which is where I live. All you need is an Amazon account that's been set up with a valid credit card, and the voucher should work.)
Just to clarify, that code you'll eventually get is good … Read more
When it comes to portable speakers, most products cram a couple drivers into a small brick of the Jawbone Jambox or Logitech Mini Boombox variety.
Many of them sound pretty good for their size, but the best stereo comes when you've got two speakers spaced farther apart.
On the other hand, you still want portability, and, ideally, Bluetooth.
Problem solved: Abe's of Maine has the DBest Duo Bluetooth mini speaker set for $49.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code CNET20 at checkout. (That's right: This is another fine exclusive just for Cheapskate readers.)
Update: The … Read more
I've written many times about the merits of augmenting your TV's crummy built-in speakers with an external sound system. Even if you add lower-end speakers, the difference is night and day.
I've also written many times about Vizio's sound bar, which has sold for as low as $50 (refurbished). It's pretty good on its own, but if you really want to kick your TV sound system up a notch, you need a subwoofer.
Today only, and while supplies last, JustDeals has the refurbished Vizio VHT210 sound bar and wireless subwoofer for $109.77 shipped. That'… Read more