From the way things are going multichannel home theater speaker systems will be on the endangered species list in a few years. Sound bars epitomize the "good enough" direction the market has taken, and most folks are happy with them, mostly because they sound better than the speakers built into their TVs. That's easy, but how do sound bars fare compared with a bona fide 5.1-channel subwoofer/satellite system? For this shootout I wanted to keep the budget in check, so I used MonoPrice's 8247 sub/sat system, and compared it with a couple of … Read more
CNN recently reported on the "death" of the home stereo system, and while that's an exaggeration, few people -- young or old -- have "stereos" anymore. CNN was asleep at the wheel on this one; precious few folks have had stereos for decades. Music is now almost always consumed in cars, and over phones and plastic computer or Bluetooth speakers. If there's an imminent "death" on the horizon, it will surely strike MP3 players and iPods. Phones have already taken over as the portable music players of choice. Do you know anyone … Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Bad Beats: Why was the original Beats Studio headphone so popular?
- Why is the engineer who recorded Nirvana still using analog tape?
- 40 Bowers & Wilkins speakers and the art of sound.
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Man stabbed and robbed of Grand Theft Auto V.
- Why a disembodied finger can't be used to unlock the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5S.
- McAfee reveals the most dangerous celebrities of 2013.
- A Redditor in Turkey found the greatest Beats by Dre knockoff ever.
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
In 1965 Ray Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories and pioneered the noise-reducing and surround-sound technologies used throughout the film and music recording industries. He died in San Francisco at 80 this past Thursday. Dolby perfectly fit the form of "American Inventor" -- he was first and foremost a problem solver.
Dolby introduced A-Type noise-reduction for professional analog tape recorders in 1965 and it quickly became the de facto, worldwide standard. Three years later Dolby B Type consumer noise reduction followed the same course, and in the 1970s nearly every cassette player featured Dolby processing. Starting in 1975 Dolby Stereo … Read more
Want to know what a typical MRI scanner sounds like? Go to this YouTube video and turn up the volume pretty much as loud as you can and you'll get an idea. At 110 decibels, which is roughly the noise level of a rock show (I know, depends on which one) and right at the average human pain threshold, MRI scanners are pretty much daring you to keep your cool.
So GE Healthcare has been developing a new technology called Silent Scan that dramatically reduces the noise level. (Scroll down to get an idea of the difference.) The company reports this week that the tech is now commercially available and is also being more widely used in clinical settings worldwide.… Read more
Sound visionary and founder of Dolby Laboratories Ray Dolby died Thursday at his home in San Francisco. He was 80.
The company said that Dolby had been living with Alzheimer's disease in recent years and was diagnosed with acute leukemia in July.
Dolby is credited with revolutionizing how people experience sound with his multitude of audio technology inventions. Besides his pioneering work in noise reduction, Dolby also invented surround sound. He held more than 50 US patents.
Sound bars have a reputation for being a cheap and convenient home audio option that may not wow you with their sound, but hit that critical level of "good enough."
Sony's new HT-ST7 ($1,300) wants nothing to do with good enough. It's marketed as a high-end, performance-driven system that offers serious sound quality for those who still want the simplicity of a sound bar. Visually the HT-ST7 is a stunner, with brushed metal details and a heft that clearly differentiates it from plasticky budget bars. It's also packed with features, including three HDMI inputs, … Read more
What if you could listen to music on a headset without putting anything into or over your ear canal?
It sounds counter-intuitive, but here's a concept that frees your ears to pick up ambient noise while you groove to your favorite tunes.