When I told friends that I was interviewing in-demand drummer Matt Sorum, I kept getting the same response: "Find out what he's actually like." The stick master is best known for keeping the beat for the Cult, Guns N' Roses, and Velvet Revolver, but he shows his softer side on his second solo album, "Stratosphere," out February 25 under the moniker Matt Sorum's Fierce Joy. The follow-up to 2004's "Hollywood Zen" is a highly personal, orchestrated acoustic album. Sorum writes about the important things in life, like family and environmental and … Read more
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' sixth release, "Wig Out at Jagbags," was worked out "on a computer on someone else's table in someone else's apartment" in Berlin and a studio in rural Belgium, but it sounds as casual, lived in, and American as a vintage Polo sweater. Grab the album (iTunes/Amazon) on January 7, and get tickets (Live Nation, StubHub, eSeats) for their upcoming U.S. tour, which kicks off February 12 in Denver.
Download.com caught up with the indie rockfather, following his return to the U.S., while he was out … Read more
My New Year's resolution for 2014 is the same as it was for 2013, and for every year before that: Don't make any New Year's resolutions. And I'm batting a thousand!
That said, next year I plan to continue my quest to reduce stress, and I find that listening to music for 15 to 20 minutes (while doing absolutely nothing else) is a great way to relax.
Of course, music is best enjoyed through a good pair of headphones. Like these: Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the Sennheiser HD 439 over-the-ear headphones for $39.99, … Read more
I didn't know the retail price of the newly revised Alesis M1 Active520 desktop/computer speakers when I first set them up. I assumed they ran $300 to $400 a pair. They look and feel that expensive, so imagine my surprise when the company's representative sent an e-mail quoting a $199 minimum advertised price or MAP.
"That's each," I asked. She said no, "The M1 Active520 retails for $199 a pair." Well alright!
This bi-amplified speaker features a built-in 25-watt amplifier for the 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter and a 50-watt amplifier for … Read more
The Centrance Hi-Fi M8 is a rather unusual product on a number of counts, starting with the fact that it's offered in eight different connectivity configurations that were proposed by potential buyers who responded to a crowdsourced thread on the Head-Fi Web site. I admire Centrance's willingness to accept consumer opinions, but as it turns out most consumers opt for the configuration I have for review, the HiFi-M8 XL4, which features 3.5mm, 6.3mm and four-pin XLR headphone output jacks on the front panel. Some of the other versions are directed to pro users with headphones that … Read more
Fictional folk singer Llewyn Davis is having a really bad patch. He got his good friend's wife knocked up (pre-Roe v. Wade), he got knocked out by a stranger in a back alley, his manager dropped him, and he lost his home and his friend's cat -- all in the same week. When all else fails for him in 1961 Greenwich Village, the troubled troubadour of the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," convincingly played by Oscar Isaac ("Drive"), piggybacks on a road trip to Chicago to audition for a music mogul.
Co-starring Carey Mulligan, … Read more
It's easy to understand why there's so much confusion surrounding the differences between earbud and in-ear headphones. The two designs are sometimes referred to interchangeably, but they are two very different types of headphones. Earbuds rest on the outer concha ridge of the ear, located in the center of your outer ear. In-ear or ear-canal headphones are placed inside the ear canal, sealing the listener off from environmental noise.
We're living in the golden age of headphone design. Never before has there been such a vast assortment of exceptional headphones available in every price class. I was totally knocked out by the terrific Koss KTX Pro 1, on sale for just $10 right now, and at the other end of the scale we have the best headphones I've heard, the $5,495 Abyss AB-1266. Slotted between those two I found lots of jewels, including Shure's radically innovative SE846 in-ear headphone. The NAD HP50 over-the-ear headphone beat out Sennheiser's and Bowers & Wilkins' similarly priced models.
The Abyss AB-1266 is a full-size (and more) design; it's huge and heavy, but I find it super-comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The secret? The AB 1266's ear pad barely touch my ears, and the sound is a giant leap better than anything I've had home. With good recordings, you feel like you're in the room with the band; no other headphone can come close to producing that level of realism. The AB 1266 is The Audiophiliac's Full-Size Headphone of the Year. Abyss' Joe Skubinski and his son Eric developed the AB-1266's planar magnetic drivers from the ground up over a period of nearly five years. … Read more
A long time ago, I decried Bluetooth as a useless technology. Short-range wireless? What good could that possibly be? Turns out Bluetooth proved its awesomeness once smartphones and tablets arrived on the scene, as it allowed for audio to stream wirelessly from those devices to compatible speakers.
Ah, but what if you have a speaker dock, home stereo, or car radio that lacks built-in Bluetooth? No awesomeness for you. [Cue audience: "Awwwwww."]
Thankfully, you can add Bluetooth to nearly any audio device; all you need is a receiver. Like this one: For the next few days, and while … Read more
The way I see it, JBL's LSR305 stands near the top of the heap for under $500 (per pair) desktop monitors for its remarkable sound quality. The LSR305 is a breakthrough product, the $199 speaker price (per speaker), puts it right in the middle of the highly competitive audiophile desktop market, but it's easy to find the LSR305 selling for $120, just $240 a pair! That's under Audioengine's and Emotiva's entry-level speakers' prices!
The deeply recessed "waveguide" surrounding the tweeter is the first tip-off the LSR305 is special. The guide focuses and controls … Read more