Streamers Say Yes to MQA
A promising new encoding method from Meridian, maker of world-beating active loudspeakers and other digital audio hardware, has been adopted by Tidal and 7digital, two major forces in music streaming. Tidal is the Norwegian company whose lossless 16-bit streaming has gotten audiophiles interested in streaming. 7digital operates music download and streaming services for itself and other parties and was the first company to offer DRM-free MP3 downloads in 2008.
Meridian MQA, Part 2: Does the High-Res Audio Technology Have a Shot?
, we took a quick look at some of the workings of Meridian's new MQA (Master Quality Assurance) technology. As we observed, MQA claims to shoehorn all the fidelity of a high-res file into a standard-res file size. Terrific. But with 24/192 and lossless formats already well established, what is the incentive to introduce a new format? It turns out that there are plenty of incentives.
Gone in 60 Seconds: Protect Your Data!
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.
Oppo PM-3 and HA-2: Practical, Affordable, High-End Portable Audio
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.
Sony MDR-Z7 Headphone & PHA-3 Headphone Amp Specs
Sony MDR-Z7 Headphone & PHA-3 Headphone Amp
AT A GLANCE
Yummy sound, nice bass, clear top end
Impeccable Japanese build quality
Huge soundstage for a closed-back design
Doesn’t fold for compact storage
Sony's back with a winner! The MDR-Z7 looks, feels, and sounds like a high-end headphone.
AT A GLANCE
Handles ultra-high-res 384-kHz/32-bit files
Does DSD at 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz
Single-ended and balanced headphone outputs
No indicator for remaining battery charge
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.
Woojer Wearable Woofer Review Specs
Get Your Groove On: Woojer Wearable Woofer Review
$99; two for $179
AT A GLANCE
Extra boom for bass hounds, especially fans of hip-hop and dance music
Can create a buzzing sensation when worn on a belt
One more wire to deal with
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.”
Escapes: A Little Old, a Little New
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.
HBO Now to Launch on Apple TV in April
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.