GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 24, 2017  |  1 comments
Summer’s here and the time is right…for summer concerts, of course! There’s something magical about sitting under the stars serenaded by your favorite artist that only happens in the summer. But in actuality, there’s another side to the midsummer night’s dream of lovely music. What is it about outdoor concerts that brings out the worst in an audience? Who’s attending these concerts, and why are they making them so miserable for the rest of us? Nowhere else could the outrageous behavior seen under the summer sky be tolerated.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments
I worry when I see any product claiming to have audiophile sound. As if any company is going to advertise their new headphones with tone-deaf, mediocre sound? How about I-don’t-give-a-crap sound? Let’s just say that I start off a bit skeptical when I read claims like that, especially from a company who is a relative newcomer to the market. After some quality listening time with the new Zipbuds 26, I’m cutting them some slack. These earphones sound really good. Claim away.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 19, 2017  |  12 comments
Last week Apple released its own Siri-powered speaker, the voice-assisted HomePod. It’s Apple’s attempt to muscle its way into a market already dominated by Amazon’s Echo with Alexa, and the Google Home. The HomePod is touted as an audiophile-grade speaker with excellent performance. Sound quality? Really? Let’s do a quick reality check on this.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 05, 2017  |  0 comments
These days, air travel just sucks. Seats are smaller, flights are overbooked, computer glitches cause massive delays, and whatever happened to in-flight meals? You’re lucky to get a tiny bag of pretzel crumbs. Whenever I travel, I always slip on a pair of headphones, and tune out the chaos. If there’s a baby screaming all flight long, I won’t hear it. So when AKG announced the N60NC Wireless, a new active noise-cancelling headphone with Bluetooth, I was all ears.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 28, 2017  |  2 comments
Although it was many years ago, I still cherish the time I worked with Gregg in the studio.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 22, 2017  |  0 comments
Thanks to Apple, there’s a surge of Bluetooth headphones hitting the market. Apple users are practically forced to go wireless, and other users find it convenient to ditch the cords. However, besides the sound quality issue of going wireless, there is also a comfort factor. Because more electronics have to be jammed into earphones, most Bluetooth earbuds are heavy, making them uncomfortable for many users. Jam Audio’s Comfort Buds is a solution for those sensitive listeners. Is comfort worth the sacrifice in sound quality?

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 08, 2017  |  0 comments
Who doesn’t love staying up late and watching a guilty-pleasure movie while the rest of the household sleeps peacefully? The problem is that you can’t turn up the volume without fear of waking them or the neighbors. The Sennheiser Flex 5000 turns any headphone into a wireless option designed to let you watch TV using your favorite wired headphones. Plus it has features that help make TV audio clearer and enhances dialogue for better intelligibility.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 28, 2017  |  0 comments
I have never been a fan of soundbars. How can a little row of speakers replace the full-range sound of a true home-theater speaker system? It just can’t. However, soundbars heavy-set cousin, the soundbase, provides an interesting middle ground. I was skeptical of the Fluance AB40 Wide Angle soundbase when it first showed up, but after spending some time getting to know it, my opinion has changed—dramatically.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 03, 2017  |  0 comments
These days, it seems that listeners have no choice but to spend hundreds of dollars to get good quality Bluetooth headphones. The JBL E55BT (MSRP $150) has the sound of a $300+ headphone, with good performance and a wired option, all in a range of colors to suite any style.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 20, 2017  |  0 comments
Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, bunnies are multiplying and so are Bluetooth speakers. Doesn’t it seem that there is a new Bluetooth speaker hitting the market almost daily? One of the latest is the Jam Xterior Max, and it’s ready for any and all of your spring-time endeavours.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 06, 2017  |  0 comments
When Apple chose to remove the headphone jack from their latest iPhones, many people (myself included) freaked out. Would I forever be forced into listening to a downgraded Bluetooth signal? Luckily, BEEM United came quickly to the rescue with the BeMe D200 wired headphone with a Lightning jack.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 20, 2017  |  0 comments
When JLab Audio launched their new Party Series wireless Bluetooth speakers last month, they quickly created quite a stir. After they won a 2017 CES Innovations award and a 2017 Dealerscope IMPACT! Award, I knew I had to check them out in person. I’m certainly glad I did.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Nothing steps up your game like a pair of custom earphones. They’re usually priced so high that customs were reserved for only the most devoted audiophiles. Snugs, a company out of London, England is making them accessible to the masses by creating custom ear tips, and partnering with Echobox to match them to the Nomad Titanium Earphones(MSRP $399).

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 22, 2017  |  1 comments
Those who grew up in the age of vinyl LP records remember that preparing for the listening experience was an artform in itself. Ceremoniously removing the LP from the sleeve, while gently grasping the edge of the album, fingertips kept oh-so-carefully away from the surface lest a fingerprint mar the surface. The precise application of disc-washing solution to the luxurious velvet of the cleaning pad, followed by the virtuoso swipe of the pad across the grooves. The placement of the stylus on the record required finesse - a person was judged by how silently and gently the needle was placed on the disc.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 09, 2017  |  0 comments
While traversing the CES show floor, listening to products is usually an exercise in futility - nothing sounds good with so much chaos around you, and who has time to stop and really listen to anything? Amidst the noise of this CES, however, taking a moment to slip on a pair of the new MrSpeakers ETHER Flow headphones was an escape into musical paradise, and one of the best listening experiences I’ve had in Vegas in years.

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