TECH2

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 09, 2013 0 comments

David Chesky's name is practically synonymous with audiophile recording and the quest for a purer, more natural sound. Instead of close-miking instruments, recording them on multiple tracks, adding reverb, and mixing it all down, he records in great-sounding spaces in pristine stereo.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Jul 16, 2014 0 comments
Last week we talked about The Distortion of Sound, the new documentary concerning the gradual decline in audio quality that plagues the music current music industry. If you haven’t watched it yet (it’s free, incidentally) you really owe it to yourself to take the half an hour, and to share with a less-tech-savvy friend. For those of you who can’t stream a video right now, the gist is this: music fans are getting deprived of the ability to hear the full quality of the music they’re downloading, streaming, and YouTube-ing. Initially, the desire for convenience of carrying a small device necessitated the severe compression of music files, but as tech has advanced beyond that point, the quality of the music we’re hearing hasn’t. In fact, since the CD, the clarity and authenticity or recordings has largely decreased. Buy the best headphones, speakers, you name it, and they’re all worthless if the audio you’re playing isn’t high quality. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park is a vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist, as well as producer, and was one of the many members of the music and recording industry who participated in The Distortion of Sound. I sat down with him before the documentary premiere to talk about the state of the music industry, how he listens to music, and what it was like to record an album analog.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 22, 2013 0 comments
Have you ever listened to a pair of headphones and thought that it seems as though the music was being performed right in front of you? Or maybe you’re in a public place, listening to music as you walk, and all the day to day mundanity around you takes on a more profound glow? Or sometimes, if you pay attention, it seems as though events are lining up to the rhythm: someone is walking to the beat, or speaking at just the right moment? Now imagine that all of those things were happening at the same time and you’ll have a small idea of what it was like to attend Invisible Cities, an opera composed for headphones and performed live at a functioning, bustling train station.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 06, 2012 0 comments

I have been saying for ages that the only thing that matters in a tablet is the available content: What can I download to the device, and watch on a plane, train, automobuggie? Everything can stream Netflix, surf the web, etc. The number of downloadable TV shows and movies is by far the most meaningful difference between tablets.

The assumption: iTunes and Amazon offer so much more content, the other services - and thus, tablets that aren't iPads or Kindles - are pointless.

Is that assumption correct? Or more to the point, how can you tell?

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Mar 13, 2014 0 comments
Ah, Bluetooth. The desire to cut the cord has led to a market flooded with a dozen new wireless headphone options in the last few months. The latest to enter the fray is JBL, with their Synchros S400BT: a touch sensor controlling, LED glowing, aptX encoding, Bluetooth 3.0 stereo over-ear headphone. With all those bells and whistles, I just had to give them a try. How would they measure up?
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 06, 2011 0 comments

It's an interesting thing, this. A tweaky audiophile program that strips away all the junk your computer could be doing while playing back your digital audio files.

The idea is to give each file as good an environment for playback as possible, minimizing jitter and maximizing sound quality.

Well, OK. That could be cool.

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Posted: Dec 11, 2012 0 comments

Today Kaleidescape launched a new online store where you can download movies directly to a Kaleidescape system that are bit-for-bit the same as Blu-ray and DVD.

It's a cool idea, since iTunes and Amazon downloads are compressed at best, and 720p at worst.

What this could mean, and more info, after the jump.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 28, 2011 0 comments

I'd expected a kind of This Is Your Life thing, where partygoers would be "treated" to a recitation of five decades of milestones. But the 50th anniversary party for speaker manufacturer KEF at the British Consulate in Manhattan was anything but a long look backward.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 08, 2011 0 comments

I'm a big fan of the Kindle Fire. It's the iPad's equal in every meaningful measure, plus it sports a more convenient form factor. Check out my review and this week's iPad/tablet face off.

But there's one thing I won't use it for: reading. Chances are, you won't want to either. So if you're thinking about getting one to use as an eReader, allow me a few words to talk you out of it.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 19, 2011 0 comments

Every year, magazine editors around the world solicit ideas from their writers for the compulsory “holiday gift guide.” Every year, we scrounge the Internet in search of items we think our editors will go for. ’Cause the more gift ideas the editors buy, the more money we make.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 06, 2013 0 comments

This is one of the nerdier posts I've done, but since I'm unabashedly a nerd, and I hope many of you are too, I figured it would work.

You see, I love LEDs. I think they're fascinating in how they work, what they can do, and so on. As you'd expect, I'm slowly replacing the CFL bulbs in my house with LEDs.

The thing is, not all LED bulbs are equal, and one of the biggest drawbacks is that not all offer the "warmth" in color temperature most of us love in incandescents.  So I put a few different LEDs on my test bench, measuring them sort of how I measure TVs, to see how they do.

Curious? Well I was, hopefully you will be too.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 18, 2012 0 comments

The name Mark Levinson is familiar even to those who couldn’t care less about audio. It’s been mentioned in numerous Lexus commercials, because Mark Levinson audio systems are an option in the higher-end models. Audio enthusiasts know Levinson as the founder of the company that still bears his name, and that 40 years later still makes some of world’s finest audio electronics, although under different ownership.

Levinson has been a prominent figure in the audio biz since 1972, but he’s been fairly low-key for the last 10 years. Now he’s coming back with what he says will be his last audio company and his last audio system. A couple of weeks ago, I got to be one of the first in the U.S. to give it a lengthy audition.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Jun 13, 2014 0 comments
Master and Dynamic are relatively new in the headphone community, but they sure know how to leave a memorable first impression. Due out later this month, the MH40 are retro-modern without trying too hard; that effortless kind of organic cool that you know probably took countless hours to design, but look as easy and sexy as bed head on a rock star. The chassis is crafted of durable goods: forged aluminum with stainless steel accents, and the headband and earcups have calfskin leather on the outside, lambskin on the inside. (Sorry, fellow vegans… maybe one day they’ll make a protein leather version just for us.) So, after a good lovesick sigh over the design came the moment of truth: was the beauty skin deep?

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 22, 2012 0 comments

To a surprising amount of excitement, Microsoft announced the a pair of new tablets this week. Web reactions to the new Surface — as you’d expect — were split down party lines: “It’s not an iPad! It’s stupid!” and “It’s not an iPad! It’s the second coming!”

Reality, as usual, is somewhere in the middle. It’s possible the Surface is a worthy iPad competitor something that, so far, we have not seen.

It all comes down to one, seemingly simple, thing...

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Aug 29, 2014 0 comments
Blue may be the last major microphone company to take the plunge into the headphone business, but they’ll tell you this was a conscious choice. Known for solid mic products with funky designs, Blue says they didn’t want to release just standard-issue headphones. One glance at the design of Mo-Fi, and you’ll see that in the quest for individuality they succeeded. Mo-Fi are simultaneously retro and modern looking with a unique hinged headband and adjustable tension knob. They also feature a built-in 240mW amp that the folks at Blue say is specifically matched to the drivers. For folks like me, who just can’t bear the idea of having to carry around one more thing, not needing a separate headphone amp is a welcome addition. Sounds great on paper. But how successful are Mo-Fi in practice?

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