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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 02, 2012 0 comments

I had always assumed that all $59 headphones sound about as refined as Ski Johnson. That is, until I happened upon a marketing crew from House of Marley at my local Fry’s Electronics. Encouraged by our experience with the company’s $149 Exodus, I tried the $59 Positive Vibration — and was shocked to hear that much of what I loved in the sound of the Exodus was evident in the Positive Vibration, too.

Which got me wondering: Are there other good headphones available at this price point? Could those who have only three Andrew Jacksons to their name actually get a decent set of cans?

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 26, 2011 0 comments

Bang & Olufsen knows its customers value style and ease of use more than being the first on the block with the latest thing, so the Danish company tends to wait for the bugs to be worked out of new technologies before it embraces them.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 21, 2013 0 comments

It's hard to write up news about the PS4 when there wasn't any actual news about the PS4. At what best can be described as a "Save-the-Date" event, Sony laid out their ideas for their next-gen console, but gave few, if any, specifics.

What we found out is... interesting. By far the PS4 is being pushed as a gaming console to act as a central hub for a gaming lifestyle, than a hardcore, cutting-edge, gaming machine.

That and other disappointments AWESOME GAMING NEWS after the jump.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 04, 2012 0 comments

Brick-and-mortar audio retailing is in decline, but fortunately there’s another way to hear the best new sound gear: Attend one of the growing number of regional audio shows. Last year saw the first Los Angeles-area show in years, T.H.E. Show Newport, which took over much of the Hilton Hotel near the Orange County Airport.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 21, 2011 0 comments

Paradigm isn't a big company, only 250 people or so. It doesn't have the immense marketing budget to assault the airwaves like Bose, or the R&D budget to make every manner of gadget like Sony.

These are good things, because instead this Canadian company goes about making some solid products, loved by reviewers, and beloved by customers.

Invited to check out their factory just outside Toronto, I dusted off my American Flag jacket, trucker hat, "W" belt buckle, and headed north of the border.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments

Speakers are like karate. Subwoofers are like weightlifting. The quality of a speaker is determined by subtleties: well-chosen drivers, just-right crossover points and slopes, and a perfectly tuned, solidly constructed enclosure. The quality of a subwoofer is determined mostly by its muscle: the size of the enclosure, the displacement of its driver, and the power of its amplifier.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 12, 2012 0 comments

Apple announced today that it’s switching from the 30-pin connector on the bottom of iPods, iPhones, and iPads to something more compact. You can hardly blame Apple’s designers, since that connector is more than a decade old. But the move will essentially obsolete millions of iPod/iPhone docks already in consumers’ homes.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 10, 2012 0 comments

Whether it's at a restaurant, buying a TV, or getting a used Blu-ray from Amazon, we all want good customer service. At the very least, we want a pleasant experience.

What's interesting is that while some companies are striving to make you feel warm and fuzzy, others couldn't care less.

The difference is incentives.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 13, 2011 0 comments

An audio reviewer hears two lines over and over: “That never happened with any of the other samples” and “We created this [fill in the blank] because the products that are out there now are inadequate.” I heard the second line last week in a ramshackle Van Nuys, California industrial space bordered by a security gate and half-filled with piles of decades-old test gear. Unlikely as the setting seemed, its tenant actually delivered on his claims.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 26, 2013 0 comments

I am a vocal and unrepentant projector fanatic. I think projectors represent the best value in home entertainment, and wish more people would embrace the awesome as I have (for over 10 years now).

However, projectors aren’t without drawbacks, and the UHP lamps in nearly all of them are a big one. Hot, expensive, and not particularly long lasting, UHP lamp replacement is often cited as one of the biggest annoyances of projector ownership. The alternative, LED lighting, has mostly just been found in uber-high-end projectors, and inexpensive wee little projectors.

But not anymore.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 06, 2012 0 comments

It seems a growing number of people - or at least a growing number of op-ed contributors - have latched onto the idea that technology is bad, scary, and limiting our lives to ones and zeros. "The Flight From Conversation" and "The 'Busy' Trap" being two notable examples. It's something that Nathan Jurgenson calls "The IRL Fetish" (thanks Brian Lam of The Wirecutter for the link).

Jurgenson breaks down the idea better than I can. What I want to do is present the other side. I want to voice my strong and eternal support for the wonder that is the modern connected life.

Because, dammit, it's awesome.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 19, 2012 0 comments

Technically, Planetside 2 isn't out yet (the full game launches November 20). So technically, this isn't a review. But I'm having so much fun playing it, I couldn't keep it to myself any longer.

The original Planetside was the first (and still only) MMOFPS. Battles raged, waged over entire continents, with hundreds of players locked in epic sci-fi skirmishes. It was glorious.

Then Sony ruined it. If the beta is any indication, this is one serious mea culpa.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 16, 2012 0 comments

I’m not sure where to begin. In a Heisenbergian fashion, I can’t describe the game without ruining the game. I can’t really say what it’s about, what goes on, or really, what my feelings are after playing it.

I can only use words like “ethereal,” “haunting,” “absorbing,” even “beautiful.”

Well, maybe I can describe how I feel about it. I think. . . I loved it.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 15, 2011 0 comments

Light is one of those intangible things that is stuff and whatnot. Wait, no it isn't. It's light. As in, "Aziz, LIGHT!"

On the one hand, it's either on or it's off. On the other hand, it's half-on, half-off, and you've programmed it to go half-off and half-on again at the touch of a button.

If you don't have kids to turn lights on for you (or maybe you have kids, and they don't turn them back off), Lutron has a host of products to make life a little easier. How much easier is best explained by experience. Which brings us to the aptly named Lutron Experence Center.

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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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