I didn't know the price of the M-Audio M3-8 when I first started listening, I just assumed it was $900 to $1,000 for the pair of speakers. No, the street price is closer to $600 for a pair, around the same price as for one of the reigning wireless champions, such as the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air or Bose SoundDock 10. And the M3-8s deliver so much more of the sound of your music than those two wireless models, it's not even close. For one thing a pair of M3-8s produce stereo, and the sort of … Read more
Did you know that 2013 is the International Year of Quinoa? Until this year not many people outside of health shops would have heard of the once-Incan-cultivated grain, but now it's seemingly everywhere. The same goes for wireless audio, for while the UN probably isn't considering lionizing Sonos next, more competing products have cropped up in the last 12 months than seemingly in the last five years.
Play-Fi emerged late last year as an Android streaming protocol, but with the addition last month of an iOS app, the system is getting a little closer to the power offered … Read more
The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is held every October in Denver, and every year it's packed with the latest and greatest high-end audio goodies. High-end doesn't necessarily mean outrageously expensive, though; Schiit Audio was previewing its upcoming $119 Vali tube headphone amplifier, and I quickly auditioned Audioengine's soon-to-be-released $249/pair A2+ desktop speakers. I hope to get one of the first pairs in for review. Hifiman was showing prototypes of a sleek portable music player that comes with a set of the company's excellent in-ear headphones; the complete system price was $249.
Oppo, best known for … Read more
A few months ago, Matt Moskovciak and Steve Guttenberg reviewed the Monoprice 9774, finding them to be incredibly similar to the Energy Take Classic. Too similar.
Monoprice's last home theater speaker system was literally too good to be true: a near clone of the outstanding Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers ($350 street) for a fraction of the cost. The copycat 9774 speakers ended up as the subject of a lawsuit from Energy's parent company, Klipsch. The proceedings were settled out of court, and the 9774 speakers were discontinued.
Now the company is back with the 10565 speaker system ($249), with the same price, but a different look. The new speakers still share many of the same specs as the Energy speakers, but there … Read more
I'm a proud member of the Bluetooth cyborg army. I'm the guy who always seems to be talking to himself in the car next to you at red lights, and I'm the dude at the gym working out to Spotify, podcasts, or Audible with a flashing thing in my ear. Since going wireless for almost all my audio needs, I've never looked back and have actually become a bit of a connoisseur, particularly when it comes to budget Bluetooth options.
What I've discovered over the past few years is that Bluetooth, in my opinion, is a pretty mature technology and there's not a whole lot of extra value to be found in the very top-of-the-line headsets and speakers, even for power users like myself.… Read more
Quick housekeeping note: If you tried to grab the free Wired subscription I mentioned a couple weeks ago, you've probably received a notification that you weren't "eligible" for the promotion. Turns out that freebie was only for folks who'd spent at least $25 at HSN, which wasn't at all clear on the promo page. Most likely it was a post-purchase landing page that shouldn't have been visible to the Internet at large. Sometimes freebies that seem too good to be true turn out to be exactly that.
Anyway, on to business. Sorry to … Read more
Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes, and there are even a few that can pull double-duty as an alarm clock. But who wants a clunky-looking hunk of plastic on their nightstand?
This is better: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Accessory Genie has the GoGroove BlueSync Tym wooden Bluetooth speaker for $44.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code SAVETYM at checkout. Regular price: $59.99 plus shipping.
This is a Cheapskate exclusive: You won't find the deal anywhere else. Just saying.
As you can see in the photo, the BlueSync Tym looks more … Read more
Every now and then I get e-mails from readers who like to listen loud -- really loud. One recent one asked, "Can you recommend a nice pair of tower or bookshelf speakers capable of keeping the party going?" Well, there's loud, really loud, and there comes a point where it's so loud your neighbors call the police.
The guy's budget was limited to around $600 for a pair of speakers, so I immediately thought of Klipsch; its larger bookshelf and tower speakers can play really loud, and sound good while raising the roof.
I rang … Read more
I recently met with speaker designer Andrew Jones at the CNET office in NYC to discuss his latest project, the new Pioneer SP-SB23W Speaker Bar. And after we finished, I picked his brain about the value of speaker specifications.
My take is that most, but not all, are nearly useless for providing consumers with information that could lead to opting for one speaker over another. For example, what exactly does "power handling" mean? When a manufacturer claims its speaker has a 100-watt power handling rating, can it be safely used with a 200-watt-per-channel amplifier? Or a 500-watt amp? … Read more