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Brent Butterworth

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 23, 2013 0 comments

Onkyo has spruced up the middle of its receiver line with two new models, the $1,399 TX-NR929 and the $1,099 TX-NR828. Both are THX Select2 Plus-certified, with 135 watts of power per channel. Both include wireless streaming through WiFi of files up to 24-bit/192-kilohertz resolution from computers, NAS drives, and other networked devices. And both include Bluetooth so your daughter can stream the latest Justin Bieber tune from her iPhone.

Brent Butterworth Posted: May 21, 2013 0 comments

Compact Bluetooth speakers are all small enough to toss into a suitcase-but they're not all tough enough to survive the trip. But I knew the Braven BRV-1 was different when I first pulled it out of its package.

With rubber bumpers covering most of its surface, rubber control buttons, and a bolted-on perfed metal grille, it looked tough enough that I could toss it onto the wooden floor of my office. So I did. Not necessarily a smart thing to do with a review sample, but when I went to mate my Samsung G3S phone with the BRV-1, everything worked just fine. I repeated the demo for my fellow Tech^2 blogger Geoff Morrison and frequent West Coast headphone tester Will Huff, and the BRV-1's still working, still not showing a scratch.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 20, 2013 0 comments
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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 19, 2013 0 comments

If there's anyone who writes about audio who hasn't raved about GoldenEar Technology speakers, we don't know 'em.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 14, 2013 0 comments

"So this is a tuner headphone," our frequent West Coast listening panelist Will Huff commented when I showed him the Mad Dog Alpha. "Like tuner cars?" he suggested when he saw my quizzical look. "Like in Fast and Furious?" he asked when I gave him a shrug. Ah, finally I got it.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 12, 2013 0 comments

I'm not much of a businessman. (If I were, would I be writing audio reviews for a living?) Still, after years of experience in marketing and advertising, I can't help but admire a good business strategy. That's partly why I like the Harman Kardon NC.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 09, 2013 0 comments

It's not so easy to convert a headphone to Bluetooth. You've got to find space for the amplifier, processing circuitry, radio transceiver, and battery-and all that stuff taking up space inside the earpieces can change the sound a lot. Plus you kinda have to have a cabled mode, because you can't use Bluetooth on airplanes.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 08, 2013 0 comments

I've heard Skullcandy 'phones ranging from the well-balanced RocNation Aviator to the heavy-handed Hesh to the hard-driving Titan, an inconsistency that led me to guess that the company wasn't making a serious effort to voice its headphones.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 03, 2013 0 comments

When I’m asked to pick my favorite headphones for S&V’s Editor’s Choice awards, it’s always easy. I just make a list of the ones I kept using after the review was done—the ones I listened to even when I didn’t have to. After our test of affordable audiophile headphones last year, the headphone I kept on using afterward was the AudioTechnica ATH-AD900. It’s a big, comfortable, spacious-sounding, tonally neutral open-back headphone. Just the thing for streaming Internet radio for hours while I’m writing, or to use for an all-night-long Netflix binge.

That’s why I was so happy to find a successor to the ATH-AD900 at the January CES show. The ATH-AD900X has the same list price, pretty much the same specs, and similar looks.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 29, 2013 0 comments

Speaker Standouts
An old-school category sees surprising innovation

One could argue that this spring will see as much innovation in the speaker category as in headphones. But when you think about it, that’s not really so surprising. After all, speakers can be almost any size, almost any shape, almost any weight, while headphones will always have to be small and light enough to fit on your head.

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