Chris Larsen started Northcoast Audio in 2010 because he loves selling hi-fi and home theater gear. He also loves living in Eureka, a town of 30,000 people in California. It's five hours north of San Francisco, and seven hours south of Portland, Ore. Larsen admits, "We're about three hours away from anything." Which makes it only that much more remarkable that Northcoast Audio isn't the only place to buy hi-fi or home theater gear in Eureka, Larsen faces competition from another brick-and-mortar shop! That's incredible, Circuit City is gone, Best Buy's future … Read more
I've lost count how many times I've given props to Emotiva's $299 per pair Airmotiv 4 desktop monitor speakers on this blog, but never got around to auditioning the next model up in the line, the Airmotiv 5, which are currently on sale for $409 a pair. The 5 sounds really good, very similar to the Airmotiv 4, just more so. There's also an even larger model, the $599-per-pair Airmotiv 6s, I might get around to checking those out someday.
The Airmotiv 5 has a 5.25-inch polypropylene composite woofer, and instead of a dome tweeter, … Read more
Microsoft and Intel executives detailed some of the new hardware requirements for Windows 8 clients that will be introduced in 2014 and 2015 during a session at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.
During a session for Microsoft reseller partners titled "How to talk to customers about Windows devices," Microsoft executives talked about some of the new hardware features that Windows 8.1 and subsequent releases will support.
As we've been hearing at various Microsoft conferences over the past couple months, Microsoft is working closely with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) on making sure new touch-enabled, lighter, … Read more
No more room at the inn? At one point or another, most mobile-device users run out of storage space, usually at the expense of music or movies.
One option: upload everything to a cloud service like Dropbox, then stream your stuff as needed. But that requires both time and money.
Another: turn your PC into a media server and stream your stuff as needed. There's nothing to upload, and typically a lot less money to be spent (sometimes none, in fact). The only downside is that you need to leave your PC running 24-7.
If you can live with … Read more
Thunderspace is an audio thunderstorm simulator with 3D stereoscopic sound that's perfect for relaxing with headphones, and it has one especially cool feature.
Unlike other audio storm generators, Thunderspace adds synchronized simulated lightning. Even further, the 3D stereoscopic sound makes the storm seem as if it's all around you. You're not going to get this experience simply by playing the audio through your iPhone, so you should plug in some earphones. I tried with both earbuds and headphones, and the latter definitely brought out more of the bass, which is especially cool when there's a lot … Read more
Peachtree Audio's Deepblue ($400 street) may seem like a curiously named device given IBM's famous chess-playing supercomputer, but it's a fitting moniker: this is a Bluetooth speaker that makes exceptionally deep bass.
The performance shouldn't be surprising once you look at the specs, which boast a 240-watt amplifier and a jumbo (by Bluetooth standards) 6.5-inch woofer. It all adds up to big, aggressive sound that's particularly fantastic with heavier rock tunes, delivering more low end than any other shelf system I can recall. On the flip side, that rough-and-tumble feel is all over the … Read more
Growing up the in the 1990s meant that I came of age in an era before iPads, Pandora, and streaming cloud music, when Zunes and Walkman MP3 players weren't just shiny paperweights and the only way to get exposed to new music was either via MTV, the radio--and if you were really desperate, VH1 or the Disney Channel. Fortunately I was quick to embrace the Internet age with its promise of bringing people together; that is a great thing, but all I really cared about was the potential of getting music from these people. But that only left me … Read more
At first blush you might think the Audiophiliac would be thrilled to hear the news about the Universal Music Group's new High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-rays -- and I would be, if I didn't know how this story plays out. In 1999 and 2000, the original high-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio formats debuted and quickly faltered. Then the record labels tried again with the DualDisc format in 2004, and that one came and went so fast most people didn't even know it existed. I heard a lot of those discs, and I didn't feel that most (but … Read more
The continuing popularity of Bluetooth speakers mystifies me. The under $50 ones sound pretty weak, but they have a good excuse: they're cheap! Sadly, the $100 models aren't much better: they sound undernourished next to my $52 Dayton Audio B652 stereo speakers, powered by my $25 Lepai LP-2020A+ stereo amplifier. Before we go any further let's put aside for a second the question of how BT sounds; the biggest problem with BT speakers is that it's just one speaker, and can't fill a room as well as two speakers, spread five or more feet apart. … Read more
Apple iTunes for Mac continues doing its thing, managing and playing your media, constructing playlists, selling music, and renting movies; but the interface is always evolving.
We updated Apple iTunes for Mac via Apple's Software Update, upgrading 10.7 to 11.0.4 without any issues. A dramatically redesigned interface was apparent right off the bat. The sidebar was gone--it can be restored--and all our albums were displayed in a grid of album covers. We scrolled through our 2,231 albums, smoothly and precisely, but iTunes 10 could not handle a library of this size very well, making browsing … Read more