CNET guest blogger Matt Rosoff found himself in the middle of a digital media tangle of WMA, AAC, FLAC, OGG, and MP3 files. This file would work on that media player, but not that one, and so on. As the situation became more desperate, Rosoff turned to dBpoweramp Music Converter to unmess his muddle. Could the popular download also be the right digital converter for you? This First Look video can help you decide.
Back in the day, we built great cars and the best TVs. And our advanced engineering was the envy of the world.
That was a long time ago. Today "world-class" design and manufacturing is mostly sent off-shore to Europe and Asia. American companies market and distribute products made somewhere else. According to American Economic Alert, the U.S. has imported $250 billion worth of goods and services more than we exported so far this year.
High-end audio is one area where made in America products are still truly world class. While the major brands like Audio Research, Ayre, … Read more
As the self-imposed deadline of June approaches, Simplify Media remains in beta for Windows, Mac, and mobile users. The iTunes and Winamp plug-in that lets you share your music with friends has, however, added three new features: chat, a "now playing" message that displays what your friends are listening to from your collection, and a built-in password reset for the forgetful among us.
The chat feature is the strongest, allowing you to directly communicate with friends, family, and even enemies with whom you've shared your music. It's a great way to give and get some direct … Read more
ToneThis hails from the school of personalized cell phone content that errs on the side of simplicity. Not everyone wants or needs dozens of settings to produce a functional ringtone or wallpaper photo, and to that end, ToneThis is the perfect entree for casual customizers.
It's got a few basic enhancements for editing ringtone length and adding fades, but it could stand to gain a few more. Even novice users might like to reduce red-eye in a favorite photo. Still, for many, ToneThis will be the hassle-free vehicle of choice for getting their videos, music, and photos onto their … Read more
Mac users may have it easy with iTunes, but Windows fans should look elsewhere for solid features, a customizable interface, and device syncing support that doesn't devour resources. That's why there's MediaMonkey, which juggles excellent library-management tools with skins, plug-ins, autotagging, links to the Amazon.com MP3 store, track encoding, podcast catching, and more.
Upon first launch, the program scans your drive for supported digital media files to add to the library. Files are sorted based on their ID3 tags, and the helpful Auto-Rename and Auto-Tag From Filename features keep untagged tracks from falling through the cracks. … Read more
The Federal Economic Stimulus program checks are in the mail. When you get yours try and be a good consumer and spend it right away. That'll help our economy and remember the checks will do the most good if they're spent on made in America products. One of my favorite high-value, high-end audio brands, Outlaw Audio, would be a good place to start. Its multi-channel home theater power amplifiers are in fact proudly made in the USA. Outlaw sells direct on its website and all of their amps are now on sale--with free FedEx Ground shipping! If you'… Read more
Audiophile gear is always really expensive.
Not true. While there's no shortage of stupid expensive audio toys, there's lots of affordable stuff too, such as Rotel's beautifully built RA 1062 integrated amplifier ($699).
Audiophiles rarely embrace new technology.
Guilty, with an explanation. Audiophiles don't jump on every new tech gizmo that comes down the pike, so we steered clear of iPods for the longest time. But now that we can get uncompressed digital directly out of the little buggers with devices like Wadia's 170iTransport, audiophiles are getting with the program. We were just waiting for … Read more
At least on the PC, iTunes' performance has been less than stellar. Sure, it set the standard for jukeboxes early on, but most of that was probably tied to its then-exclusive ability to sync with the ubiquitous iPod. Now that device syncing, and especially iPod syncing, is a must-have feature, iTunes' other flaws are standing out like a mohawk in Mecca.
Swinging in to the rescue on one heck of a lengthy vine is MediaMonkey 3. The latest free version of this Windows stalwart, which has been beating its chest since the beginning of the decade, showcases some great new … Read more
Even hardcore audiophiles have to face the music--brick and mortar record stores are fading fast--and it's starting to look like the CD is on its way out. Sure, no card carrying audiophile would be caught dead downloading MP3s or iTunes, the sonic sacrifices are too drastic. Well, what if there was a site that offered bona fide CD quality downloads, would audiophiles go for it? That's HDtracks' prime directive, but I don't think the high-resolution download store is just for audiophiles.
Then again I never understood why anyone would pay more or less the same price for … Read more
Taking an old-school tack to an ages-old computer problem, the PortableApps Suite approach to mobile computing feels more Web 0.5 than 2.0. Instead of hosting programs online, PortableApps is a comprehensive application suite that fits onto and runs from almost any thumbdrive with at least 512MB of space, and can be shrunk down even further if need be.
The suite's flexibility is impressive. It manages some of the best freeware applications from a taskbar menu that runs instantly when clicked on. User-favorites Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird are here, as well as the entire OpenOffice.org office suite, … Read more