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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 23, 2012 0 comments

Falling Skies, the TNT Network sci-fi series that debuted in summer 2011, is certainly one of the creepiest shows on TV right now. It’s creepy because of its grotesque, mysterious alien protagonists. And they’re creepy in large part because of the way they sound.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 14, 2011 0 comments

After hearing the enthusiastic sales pitch from SOL Republic, one of the latest of many new entrants into the headphone biz, I was disappointed when I heard the company's first model, the Tracks $99 on-ear. While the Tracks is beautifully made and incredibly comfortable for an on-ear model, its extremely bass-heavy balance made me feel like I was locked in the trunk of a Honda Civic with two 12-inch woofers and the complete works of Deadmau5 cranked way up.

When I received the company's first in-ear monitor (IEM), the $99 Amps HD, I wondered if the company would be able to achieve the blend of design and sound quality it originally promised - or if it'd be another well-crafted but sonically intolerable product.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 21, 2008 0 comments

Don't get us wrong - today's top TVs are great. But where do we go from here? What's going to get us video enthusiasts really excited? Broader color spectra arising from LED-based technologies? Frame rates moving up to 240 Hz?

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Oct 17, 2011 0 comments

Visitors to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest that ended yesterday got to see two shows in one.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

Some audiophiles consider Focal’s $180,000-per-pair Grande Utopia EM to be the world’s finest speaker. The Spirit One, Focal’s first headphone, weighs about 99.9% less and costs about 99.8% less. Yet its brushed aluminum metal parts, matte black soft-touch finishes, and detachable cord with a woven cover convey some of the Utopias’ high-end vibe.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 26, 2012 0 comments

When I first saw the Soundmatters FoxL portable audio system, I knew I'd found something cool, but I didn't realize it would start a movement. The FoxL proved that a tiny, briefcase-toteable sound system could deliver satisfying sound. Since then, we've seen lots of products inspired by the FoxL, including the Jawbone Jambox, the Braven 650, and now the Monster ClarityHD Micro.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 29, 2009 0 comments

Nobody realized the potential of digital TV. Sure, 15 years ago, tech pundits raved about the possibilities of multicasting, and A/V buffs salivated over the thought of high-definition images. But digital technology has affected the world of television in many more important ways besides those.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 21, 2011 0 comments

Most headphone amps aren’t made for the way we use headphones. Even many small models are too big to slip comfortably into a pocket. And most require power from an AC wall wart or a USB port. What use is that when you’re stuck in seat 34B of a Boeing 757, miles above Enid, Oklahoma, struggling to get better sound from your smartphone?

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 08, 2012 0 comments

Pioneer’s gotta be a little PO’ed. The storied Japanese company has been making headphones for more than 50 years, yet it’s been overshadowed by upstart brands like Beats, HiFiMan, V-Moda, Phiaton, and others. But Pioneer’s fighting back with a freshly designed new line, in which the SE-MJ591 on-ear headphone is one of the top models.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 28, 2013 0 comments

I've dreamed of a bicycle sound system for years. I've tried several, even jury-rigged a few of my own, but always ended up discarding them 'cause they sounded lousy, fell apart, or were just a hassle to deal with. But two trends might make decent cycle-sound systems possible.

First there's Bluetooth, which lets you stream MP3s, Internet radio, and podcasts from your smartphone. Then there's the recent explosion in relatively high-quality miniature sound systems like the Soundmatters FoxL and the Jawbone Jambox.

The $99 NYNE Multimedia NB-200 is one of the first Bluetooth speakers designed specifically for cycling. Its driver layout-two 1.5-inch drivers with a 3- by 1.5-inch passive radiator-is somewhat similar to that of a FoxL. While you can get a bike mount for the FoxL, the NB-200 was designed from scratch as a bike speaker. The enclosure has slots that match up with a couple of handlebar clips.

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