I remember the very first Woo Audio headphone amp I heard five years ago; it was the $520 WA-3, and they still make it. The little amp made a strong impression because it so radically improved the sound of Grado headphones. That amp transformed Grados, gave them more soul, more body, and sweetness. I've reviewed a number of Woo products over the years, but the new WA-234 Mono is a very different beast. First, it is as the name implies, a monophonic design, so you need two amps for stereo. The other big difference is that these tube amps … Read more
There's no denying the Beats by Dre Studio's success, and how it so radically changed the headphone landscape. No other headphone manufacturer could have imagined that it could sell millions of $300 headphones to non-audiophiles. Before Beats those buyers were content with cheap and utterly disposable headphones, headphones that all too often would stop working in a few months, get thrown away, and get replaced with another set of cheap headphones. Of course, those cheap headphones sounded pretty bad, so moving up to the Studio meant the sound was a revelation! Bass, dynamics, and treble detailing were so … Read more
When I first reviewed the 1964 Ears V6 custom in-ear headphones earlier this year I not only loved the sound, I got the distinct feeling the company tries harder to please its customers than other custom in-ear makers. For example, 1964 Ears V6-Stage headphones are sold with a longer warranty (two years) and lower prices than the flagship models from more established high-end headphone competitors. 1964 Ears doesn't make universal-fit in-ear headphones, all of their designs are custom-molded to your ears for the best possible fit and maximum isolation from external noise. The headphones are hand-crafted by 1964 Ears … Read more
Although Sony released the Xperia M in the UK earlier this summer, the unlocked Android handset is available in the US as well.
At $249.99, the 4G Xperia M comes in four colors (black, white, purple, and yellow), and offers a 4-inch display with a rather low 854x480-pixel resolution and 245ppi.
Though it doesn't ship with the most recent version of Android, it does run 4.1 Jelly Bean. Underneath its hood you'll find a 1,700mAh battery (which has a reported talk time of around 9 to 10 hours) and a 1GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core … Read more
"Another Self-Portrait (1969-1971)" is the 10th Bob Dylan Bootleg Series release. I've been a big fan of the series since it started way back in 1991, and this new Bootleg is one of the very best.
The original "Self Portrait" wasn't a high point in the Dylan oeuvre, but over the years I've come to take it on its own terms. Arriving just a few years after Dylan was at his creative zenith as a songwriter, "Self Portrait" was mostly a collection of old and obscure cover tunes, with a smattering … Read more
LG officially pulled back the curtains on its new big-screen smartphone.
Announced on Monday, the LG Vu 3 delivers a 5.2-inch screen outfitted with 1,280x960 pixels and a 4:3 aspect ratio. Driven by a 2.26 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, the 4G LTE phone features a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2.1-megapixel model in front. Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is also part of the package.
Right, the name attracts a certain amount of attention, but Schiit is no joke. The California-based company made its name with the very first product, the little Asgard headphone amp, which I enthusiastically reviewed on this blog back in 2010. Since then more Schiit headphone amps and digital converters won raves from me. This time out we're back to the Asgard, in its revised Asgard 2 format. The price is still $249.
Onkyo has a long history of making high-performance, budget-priced speakers. Even their home theater in a box speakers were a cut above the speakers Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Yamaha, and so on were making, back when I was reviewing scads of HTIBs years ago. Then again, the Onkyo speakers were usually a good deal larger than the competition's, and it didn't hurt that most Onkyo speakers were made of wood instead of plastic, and had larger woofers and better-quality tweeters than most HTIB speaker systems. No wonder Onkyo HTIBs were, year after year, the best-sounding HTIBs. So when I … Read more
Most "sound art" installations leave me cold, mostly because they rarely sound good, and a lot of tech-oriented "art" is more about tech than art. Not this time. When I attended the opening party for "The Forty Part Motet" at The Cloisters on Tuesday, the sound was truly glorious. The artist, Janet Cardiff, took full advantage of the acoustics of The Cloisters' Fuentidueña Chapel. She specified 40 Bowers & Wilkins DM303 speakers (which are no longer in production) for the installation, and they literally "play" the Chapel's acoustics. The … Read more
Magnepan makes flat speakers, and has been perfecting the technology for more than 40 years. How flat is flat? The Super MMG three-piece system I'm looking at today is a mere 1.25 inches thick! The Super MMG floor-standing speaker is 48 inches high and 14 inches wide; the DWM Bass Panel is 19.25 inches high, 22.5 wide, and, like the speaker, just 1.25 inches thick. The Super MMG and DWM can be that thin because they don't use traditional box cabinets, cone woofers, or dome tweeters; they have "planar" flat drivers, designed … Read more