Music and audio bling make terrific presents, so here's a nice assortment of goodies. While audiophile gear can be quite expensive, picking out a selection of terrific gift ideas that won't break the bank is still doable. Prices start at $10 and go up to $100. I'll trot out another list of $100+ gift ideas in a few days.
The very first Zu speaker I ever heard was a Druid IV, and it bowled me over! There was a rare vitality to the sound. That was back in 2007, and every Zu speaker I've tested since then has been remarkable. The Druid V is not only a significant advance over any Zu I've tested, it's the best speaker I've heard at home this year.
The Druid V is a 50-inch-tall floor-standing loudspeaker, and it's bolted to an immaculately finished, machined aluminum base. The speaker sports the latest version of Zu's 10.3-inch full-range … Read more
Most cheap turntables sound cheap -- they're rumbly, thin and distorted -- but the U-Turn Orbit Basic suffers no such faults. Before the $179 Orbit's debut, audiophile turntable prices started at around $400. And while used turntables might be a way to get into vinyl for less, turntables are rather delicate devices, so used buys can be risky. If you're ready to take the plunge and explore new vinyl frontiers, you need a decent turntable to hear what the fuss is all about. The Orbit Basic will take you there.
I first heard about the Orbit when … Read more
iPhone owners who pick up a 2014 Honda Civic will be able to chat with Siri without taking their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road.
Siri will be a key ingredient of Honda's new Display Audio in-car technology when the Civic goes on sale Wednesday, the automaker has announced. Drivers with Bluetooth-connected iPhones will be able to activate Siri by holding down a Talk button on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to tap on or hold the phone.
People behind the wheel can perform a variety of tasks via Siri, such as listening to … Read more
Computer scientists have developed malware capable of establishing communications between devices that don't have active network connections. The discovery threatens the perceived protection of the "air gap" that separates standalone devices.
Using the built-in microphones and speakers found on PCs, the lab-created prototype malware uses inaudible audio signals to transmit small amounts of data over covert channels at distances of nearly 65 feet. The distance can be increased by creating a network of devices that repeat the signals.
Cyber Monday. The online yang to Black Friday's brick-and-mortar yin. Truth be told, I don't usually find this day terribly exciting, if only because the deals rarely exceed what I find all year 'round.
That said, there are deals to be had, oh yes. Here are five especially good ones.
1. Big TV, small price. Most bargain-basement TVs incorporate older technology, like traditional backlighting and slow refresh rates. Not this one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Groupon has the Westinghouse UW46T7HW 46-inch HDTV for $299.99 shipped.
This model may qualify as entry-level, but it … Read more
As we ramp up to the big day -- you know, Thanksgiving Black Friday -- stores are already dishing up some amazing deals. Starting with this one:
Windows gets small Not everyone is convinced that Windows 8 works well as a desktop or laptop OS, but what about in an 8-inch tablet? That's the question answered by the Dell Venue 8 Pro, which is already an intriguing buy at $299.
MP3MyMP3 lets you easily record any sound you are able to hear on your PC and export it as MP3 or WAV. If you need to record podcasts, streaming audio from the Web, Skype calls, sound effects, or your own voice, this program can help you out.
During the installation, MP3MyMP3 tries to install a toolbar and change your default search and home page, but you can easily opt out of this bundle if you choose the custom installation. Once installed, the program greets you with an appealing and intuitive interface and a great deal of features and customization options. … Read more
Audio Amplifier Free will boost the volume of any audio or video file you load, but not by much. The program doesn't make it anywhere near as loud as you'd expect, and doesn't do much once you've boosted the audio. However, if you want a relatively universal audio boost for your music and movies, this is still probably the easiest way to get it.
The install process for Audio Amplifier Free takes only a few seconds, and even though the program is free, it doesn't come bundled with any additional or unwanted software. Though it … Read more
WavePad Sound Editor Free lets you do a lot to your music files, but it has some hang-ups that make it a little annoying to use. Many of the features you'd want from the program are locked away in other programs that the app suggests you download. Still, what's inside of this program is worth using if you need to edit your audio files.
WavePad Sound Editor Free is part of a suite of audio- and video-editing apps that help you polish your media files. The program will advertise all of those other programs while you're using … Read more