GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 07, 2017 0 comments
The Explorer audio player from Echobox, crafted from solid blocks of luxurious wood, is easily the most attractive player on the CES show floor. While most companies are making blocky (or triangularly - looking at you, Mr. Young) plastic players, the Explorer looks more like a flask of aged whiskey than a piece of high-end audio gear.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 26, 2016 0 comments
2016 is wrapping up and it was a tough year for music. We lost so many influential musicians: David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Merle Haggard and most recently, George Michael. Throughout the year, though, we’ve also had some wonderful musical moments that remind us of why we love music. It makes us laugh, it inspires us, it brings us together. Thankfully, most of my favorite musical moments of the year were captured on YouTube videos, so continuing in the spirit of Christmas, I give you my Top 4 Musical Moments of 2016. Enjoy!

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 12, 2016 0 comments
Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2016 Art Basel show in Miami, Florida, Sennheiser, the historic headphone and microphone manufacturer was showcasing for the glitterati in attendance a display of their AMBEO technology with a concert recording utilizing over 120 microphones in a 3D array played back over a 9.1 system featuring Neumann speakers. They were also auditioning the stunning $55,000 HE 1 headphone and amplifier, with a solid Carrerra marble chassis and vacuum tubes that dramatically rise up out of the unit as they warm up. Sound & Vision sat down with the delightful co-CEO’s of Sennheiser, Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser to talk about where they see the company founded by their grandfather 75 years ago heading into the future.

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Posted: Nov 28, 2016 0 comments
Cutting the cable is still a dream for most gear addicts. The interior decorator in your household might be more accepting of new gadgets if you can also get rid of the wire clutter. Thankfully, my household is a bit different, because we’re both technology freaks, which makes reducing wires even more critical for us. As promised a few weeks ago, and still in pursuit of the perfect wireless transmission system for my oh-so challenging concrete house, I had a chance to review the Nyrius Aries Pro Wireless HDMI system.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 14, 2016 2 comments
This morning we can take a break from the post-election fallout and concentrate on a news item that is less contentious, and certainly more interesting. Electronics powerhouse Samsung is set to acquire Harman International for approximately $8 billion when the sale closes in mid-2017. While we at Sound&Vision know Harman from their home audio brands, the bulk of their business has been in the automotive world. Samsung sees the future of connected cars and this acquisition is their foot in the proverbial car door. This is the biggest acquisition in Samsung history, and one that marks a concerted effort to grab a huge piece of the automotive industry.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 24, 2016 0 comments
It’s that time of year. Nope, not Halloween, and even though Christmas decorations showed up in stores weeks ago, it’s not that either. It’s election time! No, no, not that election. It’s time to vote in the first round for the 59th Grammy Awards. Voting members of the Recording Academy just received their ballots for the first round of voting—the nomination phase.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 10, 2016 0 comments
There’s a little-known corner of the audio world—one filled with drama and fantasy, science fiction and nonfiction. A world where anything is possible, and where many audiophiles rarely tread. It’s the world of audiobooks. And while the music industry may be struggling financially, the audiobook is exploding.
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 26, 2016 0 comments
As more and more devices become wireless, it seems that it should be easier to connect together all the TVs in the house without the mess of cables. Truth is that it’s not as simple as it seems. The new Nyrius WS54 (MSRP: $170) makes it about as simple as it can be. Plus, it works in a challenging situation where many other systems have failed.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 12, 2016 2 comments
As we predicted, Apple just released the iPhone 7 and it’s missing one critical component for audiophiles—a headphone jack. Luckily, HRT (High Resolution Technologies) also just released the i-dSp digital sound processor to let Apple users continue to use wired headphones.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 22, 2016 1 comments
It’s that time of year—when kids cringe and parents rejoice. The school bus armadas have begun. Little ones are heading back to school, but the whole family is heading back to the malls and online to load up on school supplies for the year. What tops the shopping list? Technology. What is the third most popular back-to-school technology purchase? Headphones. Bizarre, right?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 08, 2016 0 comments
Fourteen years is a very long time when talking about technology. So much has changed since then, yet some things remain oddly the same. Fourteen years ago, Ken Pohlmann and I wrote an article for Sound + Vision magazine comparing Sirius and XM. You would think that they have changed immensely since then, but some things haven’t. Back then, there were two companies. Was there a difference in sound quality? We definitely had a strong opinion then, but since the companies merged in 2008, could there still be a difference?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 25, 2016 1 comments
Music mogul Will.i.am has produced a new earphone, the "EPs.", inspired by the look of vinyl, launching exclusively online at Apple.com and in select Apple stores. At a time when “Made in China” might not seem all that cool, the EPs proudly boast that they were designed in Los Angeles, and produced in China, with glamour shots of the factory included. They also boast that they’re for the dope. We’ll see about that. With rumors swirling around that Apple might be eliminating the headphone port on the next gen of iPhones, is it any wonder they’re the exclusive retailers of these wireless earphones?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 11, 2016 2 comments
High-resolution audio has a new champion. This past April we reported that Nativ had launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring a premium high-resolution wireless touchscreen music player and DAC to production. It easily surpassed its funding goal by 316%—that’s $344,000 from its initial goal of $100,000. Well, to sweeten the ask, Nativ just announced they’re adding the Nativ Disc powered by Gracenote, a new CD ripping unit that continues their “bit-perfect” streak. Think no one cares about high-resolution audio? The 356 Indiegogo backers certainly care.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 20, 2016 3 comments
Every week a new pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones seem to appear on my doorstep. Usually, I have to take a long, hard look to find anything noteworthy to make one pair stand out from the others. The newly updated NuForce BE6i earphones feature aptX technology for better playback quality and that, my friends, is noteworthy enough.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 06, 2016 2 comments
There are moments that stand out in most people’s lives. Where you were you when you heard John Lennon was shot. Your first kiss. The moment when you first heard high-fidelity music, and it was so profound that it changed the course of your life.

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