LATEST ADDITIONS

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John Sciacca Posted: Mar 23, 2015 0 comments
A few years ago, I attended a product demonstration at CES by a company famous for touting how durable its hard drives were. In fact, the company—ioSafe—calls its products “disaster proof hardware” and used CES to deliver extreme, over-the-top demonstrations to prove just what kind of damage their drives could withstand and still protect all of the data stored within.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Mar 20, 2015 4 comments
To enjoy their gear, high end audio enthusiasts have generally been trapped at home. From speakers, to receivers and amplifiers, none of the means of reproducing quality sound were exactly portable. Even the enthusiast-level headphones that have arrived on the scene over the last few years are large, unwieldy, unfashionable, and require at minimum a decent headphone amp to function. (See: most Audeze, Oppo HA-1, HiFi Man, etc.)

In addition, most planar magnetic headphones are open-backed, which means listening in less-than-quiet or public situations can be a challenge. Well, my fellow audio recluses, the PM-3 by Oppo aims to change all that.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Mar 20, 2015 1 comments

Sony MDR-Z7
Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value

PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Yummy sound, nice bass, clear top end
Impeccable Japanese build quality
Huge soundstage for a closed-back design
Minus
Doesn’t fold for compact storage

THE VERDICT
Sony's back with a winner! The MDR-Z7 looks, feels, and sounds like a high-end headphone.


Sony PHA-3
Performance
Build Quality
Features
Value

PRICE $1,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Handles ultra-high-res 384-kHz/32-bit files
Does DSD at 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz
Single-ended and balanced headphone outputs
Minus
No indicator for remaining battery charge

THE VERDICT
The Sony PHA-3 has undeniable synergy with the MDR-Z7, but sounds terrific with other headphones as well.

Sony's hardly a newcomer to the upper echelons of the headphone scene. Some of you might recall the legendary MDR-R10 from 1989—at $2,500, it was the most expensive headphone in the world. The sleek Qualia 010 debuted in 2004, and that one bore a remarkable resemblance to Sennheiser's current flagship, the HD-800, but the Qualia 010 arrived five years before! Now, with the $700 MDR-Z7, Sony's back with a new, considerably more affordable flagship. For this review, we mated it up with the company’s also-new flagship portable DAC/headphone amplifier, the PHA-3.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 20, 2015 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $99; two for $179

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Extra boom for bass hounds, especially fans of hip-hop and dance music
Minus
Clunky
Can create a buzzing sensation when worn on a belt
One more wire to deal with

THE VERDICT
Woojer is not for everyone, but it can add a visceral element to mobile listening that may appeal to gamers and fans of dance, hip-hop, and other bass-driven music.

Can a small device that clips to your belt produce the visceral sensation of a live musical performance or the deep, pulsating bass felt in a dance club? Can it wow mobile gamers with spine-tingling bass?

Kickstarter-funded Woojer (“See Me, Feel Me,” April 2014) aims to do just that with a “wearable subwoofer” that connects between your music player (or any audio source) and headphones. Technically speaking, Woojer is a polyphonic tactile transducer that converts audio frequencies below 500 hertz into low-frequency vibrations to “make your body feel like it is exposed to high acoustic energy.”

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Kim Wilson Posted: Mar 20, 2015 Published: Mar 19, 2015 0 comments
The owners of this house were building their dream home, with the expectation of fully integrated systems throughout the house, which would include 12 televisions, multiple zones of music, a dedicated theater, interior and exterior lighting, security, and more. This kind of complex whole-home project is nothing new to Electronics Design Group (EDG), of Piscataway Township, New Jersey. However, the challenge here was that the house was over 100 years old and was being rebuilt to keep its early 1900s aesthetics.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Mar 20, 2015 Published: Mar 18, 2015 2 comments
As promised, the HBO standalone subscription service will be available in April to Apple customers. Unlike HBO Go, the service will not require that viewers authenticate by also subscribing to HBO on cable or satellite. Find out how to get HBO NOW in April.
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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 19, 2015 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

I own a vintage 1974 Fisher solid-state stereo receiver. The left channel is fading in-and-out—at first weak, now almost totally dead.  Do you think the receiver is worth fixing, or should I just replace it? —Michael McCully

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 18, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $699

AT A GLANCE
Plus
PC-worthy USB DAC
iOS-worthy rear USB input
Coaxial, optical inputs
Minus
No headphone amp

THE VERDICT
About the size of a thick paperback, the Arcam irDAC is a USB DAC that will make your audio files—from lossless to lossy—sound great.

The USB DAC is the missing piece in many of today’s audio systems. Most AV receivers have iOS-friendly USB inputs, but few have the PC-friendly kind. If you want to connect a computer’s USB output to your system, you probably need something like the Arcam irDAC to mediate between computer and system.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Mar 18, 2015 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
A modernist masterpiece as revolutionary as Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon made in a time when film was important, L’Avventura tells the story—or anti-story—of a wealthy young woman on a boating trip who disappears off an island. After a search of the barren rock, her fiancé and best friend set off to find her, investigating sites where she’s supposedly been seen. Over the course of their travels, they become involved and gradually forget about what they’re searching for. L’Avventura is a whodunit without a who, a mystery without a solution, a dislocation of the already dislocated. In the process, director Michelangelo Antonioni peels away the skin of society as characters play at love without enthusiasm, sincerity, or context in ennui of unaware existential numbness. As in Blow Up and other Antonionis, L’Avventura is about absence—feelings are forgotten, meaning and purpose are misplaced, and “words are more and more pointless.”
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 18, 2015 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Wallace has not been lucky in love. He dumped his last girlfriend when he caught her cheating on him and was so dejected he ended up dropping out of medical school and moving in with his sister and her young son. Shut away from the world for almost a year, he decides to attend his ex-college roommate’s party where he meets the perfect girl and gets her phone number right before she drops the bombshell that her boyfriend is waiting for her at home—some guys can’t catch a break. After Wallace’s previous relationship, he doesn’t want to be “that kind of guy” and discards her number. As luck would have it, he runs into her a few weeks later at the movies and the pair decide to just be friends—but what if something more develops?

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