Lauren Dragan

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Fantastic sound with pleasantly forward bass
Lots of bonus features (including optional cordless Qi device charging)
Sexy retro design
Optical input
Minus
Bass could be a bit much for those who love flat response

THE VERDICT
Perfect for folks with small apartments where space is tough to come by, the L8 is versatile, adaptive, and attractive enough to be front and center of a small audio setup.

How It Connects: Bluetooth, NFC, DLNA, Wi-Fi, Airplay, ⅛” analog, optical.

A true bookshelf speaker packed with extras, the JBL Authentics L8 is the largest model we’ll discuss here, measuring about 26 x 10 x 13 inches and weighing around 16 pounds. So whereas the Go and the One offer portability, the L8 is made to stay put. That said, if you can’t take the L8 with you, there are a lot of ways to bring your audio to the L8.

Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 26, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Light-up touch display
Included remote
Small footprint
Minus
Accentuated highs
Lackluster mids and bass

THE VERDICT
While the small footprint is fantastic, and the bonus features exceptional, the SRS-X9’s sound quality disappointed.

How It Connects: Bluetooth, AptX, NFC, USB, LAN, DLNA, AirPlay, ⅛” analog.

Economical in the use of space, the Sony SRS-X9 measures around 17 x 5 x 5 inches and weighs about 10.5 pounds. Sony really crammed a lot into the relatively small body of the X9, with four 0.75-inch tweeters (top and front), two 2-inch midrange drivers, a 3.75-inch woofer, and two passive radiators. The overall design is your standard black side-lying monolith, though in a cool surprise, the sleek, touch-sensitive controls on top are hidden when the unit is off and only appear by backlight upon power-up.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 21, 2014 0 comments
I am not a luddite. I love buttons that make things happen. I love touch screens, I love customization, I love the newest thing. So it would only seem natural that I would love the newest addition to the Parrot family, the Zik 2.0 headphones. They are a tinkerer’s headphone. Touchpad earcups, customizable sound, active noise cancellation, Bluetooth… if there’s a headphone feature available, the Zik 2.0 have it. And yet, despite all of these wonderful features, I can’t recommend them. And it breaks my heart.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 07, 2014 0 comments
In-ear custom monitors are generally considered the gold standard for performers and audio professionals. And it makes sense; monitors are one of the only pieces of equipment that are made just for your anatomy and nobody else’s. The process of going from fitting to final product has remained largely unchanged for years: a painstaking, labor-intensive process.

Ultimate Ears is working on streamlining their workflow with the addition of 3D scanning, editing and printing. It’s working: what used to take three weeks, now can be done in one. But monitors at Ultimate Ears  still take a shocking amount of craftsmanship and skill to make, and I got to take a tour of their facility in southern California to see just how it’s all done. Wanna see? Check this out!
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Oct 17, 2014 0 comments
At the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, the west coast edition of the Luxury Tech Show was filled with gold phones, automated homes, and personal drones. Here’s a roundup of some of the more unusual offerings on display.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Oct 03, 2014 0 comments
This week, at a massive loft space in NYC, the people of Bose constructed a temporary museum of sorts: an impressive array of both consumer technology and fascinating prototypes, chronicling the company’s history. Bose is celebrating its50th anniversary, an accomplishment for any company, but especially in technology, a field where so many businesses launch with great fanfare only to sink into obscurity. Built on the shoulders of engineer, MIT professor, inventor, and entrepreneur Dr. Amar Bose, the Bose corporation began with a single product, the pod-looking Bose 2201. The 2201 screams 1960s design aesthetic. With its burlap-esque fabric and wooden housing, it’s fun to imagine what stereophiles thought of this unique and bizarre design in a sea of rectangle and square speakers.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Sep 25, 2014 0 comments
After attending the phenomenal David Bowie exhibit at the Chicago MCA last week, I’m finding myself acutely aware of how much I miss regular access to art. As a college student studying music, and even as a high schooler fortunate enough to attend fantastic humanities classes, every day had some form of exposure to artistic endeavors. But once out of school, if we want to experience art, we have to seek it out. While we have plenty of access to media, one could argue that art is a bit tougher to come by. Of course, there are galleries to visit, which is wonderful and needs to be preserved, but unlike school, art no longer comes to you.

A few artists have come together to try to change all that. They took two things New Yorkers have encounters with daily: technology and advertisements, and created an innovative augmented reality art space...the NY subway station.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Sep 22, 2014 0 comments
In the center of an all-white video screen, stands a young David Bowie. He is miming the story of a man who finds a mask that generates him enormous success and yet ultimately causes his suffocation. And so it’s fitting, perhaps, that the Bowie retrospective at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (September 23 through January 4, 2015), titled “David Bowie Is,” contains little detail concerning the life of David Jones, the man who would become Bowie.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Sep 19, 2014 0 comments
Bowers&Wilkins have become known for their innovative takes on aesthetic design. (Remember the Zeppelin?) Sometimes weird, and often wonderful, B&W have a love-it-or-hate-it style that is distinctly their own. No exception is the C5: in-ear headphones with a bullet-like shape and a unique stabilizing loop that have been recently revamped and released this week. The C5 Series 2 have a few deviations from the originals, while still keeping a similar form factor. I sat down to compare version one to Series 2 to get a better sense of what’s new.

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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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