Grace Notes

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 05, 2012  |  0 comments

The iFrogz Boost is a small, very portable speaker that claims to magically boost the sound from an iPhone, or any smartphone or other device with an external speaker. I have to be skeptical of any product that uses the word "magical" on their packaging - unless it's a "As Seen on TV" product, which everyone knows are all magical.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 10, 2018  |  0 comments
Go big or stay home is my version of that common saying. If you’re going to go for a hike, make it epic. If it’s a run, make it a marathon. Bike ride? Better be a century. Ultra is in and you need gear that’s up for the challenge. If your legs can take a 14-hour run, why can’t your headphones?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  0 comments
Face it: life can be hard for our favorite gadgets. I love my gear, but admittedly, I’m not as gentle with it as I should be. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active was made for people exactly like me. I lead an active life, and my electronics need to be up for the challenge. I ride my bike almost daily, kayak, and hike as often as I can – either along a mountain creek or along the beach. I need my phone (which these days is my camera, music player, and laptop too) to stand up to the rigors of dirt, water, rugged terrain, and less glamorously, sweat. I took the Galaxy S6 Active along this summer to see if it was as active as I needed it to be.

SV Staff  |  Aug 14, 2013  |  0 comments
Can a high-end headphone manufacturer appeal to mainstream listeners? Oh yeah!
Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 14, 2013  |  0 comments

Sennheiser has long been a fixture in the professional audio and high-end audiophile market. I've used my Sennheiser HD 595 and HD 600 Open Dynamic headphones for many applications - in the studio for reference monitoring, for sound quality consulting, and for audio forensics. When Sennheiser announced the Momentum series, I was instantly curious about these affordable, fashionable, and (somewhat) portable headphones. Would they live up to the brand's reputation?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 17, 2019  |  0 comments
While researching noise-cancelling headphones, I kept reading comparison after comparison with the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones. Needless to say, I had to try out the Sony headphones on a trip and see for myself. Were they as good as other reviewers made them out to be? Will they become my new favorites? Here’s a hint: the hype is real.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 07, 2013  |  0 comments

To cut through the clutter of Bluetooth-enabled wireless speakers on the market these days, one would need a stiletto. Or at least a pair of stiletto heels.  The Stellé Audio Couture Pillar is making its way through the crowd with a difference. The Pillar (in fact, the entire Stellé Audio Couture product line) is being targeted and marketed to women, with a sense of style and fashion blended with good quality products.  

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 03, 2012  |  0 comments

Last month we explored ways to break up with your cable provider.  But what if you’re in a long-term, loving relationship with your cable box? Or your satellite dish? So in love, in fact, that you can’t stand to be apart from it? The Vulkano Flow ($99) lets you view the output of your cable set-top box or satellite receiver over the internet, on your laptop PC, Mac, or smartphone, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Never be away from the one you love!

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 24, 2014  |  7 comments
There are lots of ways to get television content into your home, and everyone makes it seem like it’s a simple matter of literally cutting the cord. Get your entertainment from online streaming, and use a pair of rabbit ears to get your local news fix. Easy, right? If you live in or near a big city, that may be true. But having recently left urbania for smalltown USA, I can attest that it’s not so easy after all when the nearest TV towers are miles and miles away. When Winegard announced FlatWave, a new line of flat, passive or powered HDTV antennas, I was all ears.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 19, 2019  |  2 comments
Most headphones strive for a clean sound without any coloration or alteration of the source. The new AV50 noise-cancelling headphones from ZVOX feature AccuVoice technology that intentionally brightens up vocals and dialogue, adding clarity to movies and TV shows, while also reducing ambient noise. Headphones for an older or mildly hearing-impaired crowd? Why not?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 16, 2015  |  0 comments
There’s no doubt that custom earphones are way more comfortable and fit better than off-the-shelf one-size-fits-all earphones—and that snug fit usually means better sound too. The problem is that customs take a long time from fitting to delivery and are usually quite expensive—around $1,000. Revols, a Kickstarter-funded company is changing that with a proprietary technology that turns soft Nano-composite gel earphones into permanently-molded custom fit wonders for much less than traditional customs and the magic happens in just 60 seconds.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 18, 2018  |  1 comments
At a recent solo concert in Las Vegas, Roger Daltrey urged his fans, “I advise you all, all you rock’n’roll fans, take your f***ing ear plugs to the gigs.” Daltrey, age 74, admits that he's “very, very deaf” and relies on reading lips. While most people lose some hearing as they age, years and years of loud music has most likely caused profound hearing loss in The Who's lead singer. Sadly, it's a condition that is preventable. “If only we had known when we were younger.”

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 09, 2013  |  3 comments
“When Britain first, at heaven's command, arose from out the azure main, this was the charter, the charter of the land, and guardian angels sang this strain: Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!”

Those lyrics, set to rousing music by James Thomson in 1740, declared that Great Britain was the emerging world superpower. Fulfilling the patriotic acclaim of the song, Britain did indeed soon rule the waves, and in fact, the sun never set on the British Empire. Similarly, Sony Corporation ruled the waves of consumer electronics....

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 06, 2016  |  0 comments
Samson is known in the studio world and educational forums as a supplier of good, solid, reliable headphones. At CES 2016, they’re showing off a new line of headphones that cater to both the artist and the end-user.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Sep 07, 2014  |  3 comments
Samsung has a mind-bending new product that’s shaping up to be a real breakthrough, just revealed in Berlin at IFA 2014. Sure, Samsung’s new focus on curved TVs is exciting. But in addition to a complete lineup of 17 new curved TVs, including one that’s 105-inches (debuted at CES 2014), Samsung has announced a revolutionary 105-inch bendable TV. Yup—bendable! Stand back Gumby, step aside Elasti-Girl, Samsung’s flexing some serious muscle with this bad boy.

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