Let's face it, i-anything is pretty hot now that the iPod has become the fastest-growing product in consumer electronics. Sales of MP3 players shot up by 255 percent during the first eight months of 2005, and you can bet Apple's smallest and prettiest child was the driving force behind that dizzying growth. Enter Klipsch, one of the few good speaker brands you're likely to find in a national chain store. Now that the the company's iGroove is playing on my desk, I'd say Klipsch deserves its piece of the pie.
Will better sound help a non-iPod product succeed in a iPod-centric world? JVC is
betting on it with the Alneo XA-HD500. Now, I’m not saying the iPod sounds bad. The
minis and nanos I’ve heard sound pretty good. But the Alneo has an edge in
transparency that becomes immediately obvious with a high-end classical recording like
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (K622), as played by the Michelangelo Chamber
Orchestra with soloist Antony Michaelson. Normally I don’t expect miracles from MP3
files, even when ripped at 192 kilobits per second, but I was amazed at the fragile
beauty of the string sound and the air that surrounded the solo instrument. I was
One of the most mortifying moments of my life came when I realized I’d lost my Sony MDR-NC10 noise-canceling earbuds. Well, I didn’t exactly lose them—what I lost was one of the rubber earpieces. I was ransacking the front pockets of my Levis in the men’s room of the Dallas airport and the friction of dragging out the earbuds must have dislodged the precious morsel of rubber. That effectively exiled the MDR-NC10 to my useless-gear drawer. Living without them was so impossible that I broke down and bought the successor model, the MDR-NC11.