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Brent Butterworth  |  Oct 31, 2011  |  0 comments

I had an ear-opening experience when I got to do a blind listening test of some vintage turntables at Vancouver, BC vintage audio dealer Innovative Audio this past summer.

 |  Jun 25, 2012  |  0 comments

The annoying thing about Internet-connected smart TVs? Accessing the smarts usually costs you bucks. Probably 95% of the streaming Internet video I watch on my Samsung flat-panel is Netflix ($7.99 a month) or Vudu (usually $4.99 per movie for 720p high-def).

Brent Butterworth  |  Apr 23, 2013  |  0 comments

Soundmatters didn't invent the Bluetooth speaker, but it definitely invented the good, compact Bluetooth speaker: the FoxL. The FoxL's guts became the basis for the much cuter and more broadly marketed Jawbone Jambox. The look and general driver layout of the Jambox were then copied-sometimes subtly, sometimes shamelessly-by practically every audio ODM in China.

Brent Butterworth  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments

We tend to think of speakers as devices that blast sound at us. But they actually blast sound in every direction, and that's a good thing. In fact, if they don't blast sound in every direction, it can be a problem.

A speaker's characteristic sound projection pattern, broad or narrow, is referred to as "dispersion."

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Aug 24, 2012  |  0 comments

There are few things more powerful than the perfect combination of music and visuals. Think of your favorite movie scenes, and I’d be willing to bet they’ve got amazing music in them.

On one hand, you’ve got the great film composers; Herrmann, Goldsmith, Williams, and so on. They’re all worth study in their own right, of course. But what I find equally powerful, and arguably more interesting, is the effective use of popular music.

Interesting, because often, directors (and presumably, music supervisors) get it so horribly wrong.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jul 30, 2013  |  0 comments

It's hard to classify Defense of the Ancients 2, a free-to-play game from Valve. It's part RPG, part RTS, part multiplayer shooter, part lots of things. This month, there were 5.2 million unique players.

The best I can describe it, is if you've ever played a traditional RTS, and recall one of the "hero" levels where you play as just one, uber-strong, character. That's DotA. Sort of. It can be pretty intense, and quite fun, too.

If you keep reading I promise no more unexplained abbreviations.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jul 11, 2011  |  0 comments

RedMere, based in Balbriggan, Ireland, is one of those clever companies that comes up with something needed, then licenses it out for other companies to make and sell. In this case it's a tiny chip, small enough to fit in an HDMI connector, that allows the cable to be significantly smaller than other cables.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Feb 10, 2012  |  0 comments

Whether it's at a restaurant, buying a TV, or getting a used Blu-ray from Amazon, we all want good customer service. At the very least, we want a pleasant experience.

What's interesting is that while some companies are striving to make you feel warm and fuzzy, others couldn't care less.

The difference is incentives.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Oct 12, 2012  |  0 comments

The latest in the seemingly endless supply of add-on packs for Battlefield 3 is Armored Kill. The title is apt. There’re lots of tanks, airplanes, helicopters, airborne gunships, and massive, massive maps.

I wasn’t planning on covering yet another BF3 add-on, but the original game is one of my favorites of recent years and AK just isn’t. . . fun.

Brent Butterworth  |  Aug 10, 2011  |  0 comments

At the party last night at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to celebrate the release of the Blu-ray Disc and DVD of Dexter, Season 5, I got to spend some quality time with Craig Eggers, Director of Blu-ray Ecosystems for Dolby Labs. Eggers was there because the Blu-ray release is in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I think I was supposed to talk with him about the new discs, but instead I cornered him for an update on something far more interesting to me: the status of 7.1 sound.

Brent Butterworth  |  Apr 02, 2012  |  0 comments

I had always assumed that all $59 headphones sound about as refined as Ski Johnson. That is, until I happened upon a marketing crew from House of Marley at my local Fry’s Electronics. Encouraged by our experience with the company’s $149 Exodus, I tried the $59 Positive Vibration — and was shocked to hear that much of what I loved in the sound of the Exodus was evident in the Positive Vibration, too.

Which got me wondering: Are there other good headphones available at this price point? Could those who have only three Andrew Jacksons to their name actually get a decent set of cans?

Brent Butterworth  |  Dec 10, 2012  |  0 comments

It’s weird for a 50-year-old audio writer to be reviewing a product that’s targeted at people half his age or less. Guys my age like products labeled “audiophile-grade” or “reference,” not “Nuke” or “Boom.” Meaningless as such marketing terms are, though, you gotta figure Behringer did something to make the iNuke Boom Junior iPod/iPhone dock earn its badass moniker.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Apr 27, 2012  |  0 comments

I had no intention of seeing Titanic in 3D. This wasn’t a “Hmmm, should I” type decision. At no point was the option of going to a theater and seeing this movie in faux-3D a valid option in my brain. It was up there with “run marathon,” “time travel,” and “read Twilight” on the list of things I know I will never do.

Well, last night I saw it — James Cameron’s retrofitted 3D masterpiece. And you know what, I expected to hate it. . . and didn’t. As someone who reviews 3D crap — sorry “stuff” — for a living, here’s my take.

John Higgins  |  Feb 07, 2013  |  0 comments

At a recent press preview, I got to play through about 20 minutes of the upcoming PS3 game The Last of Us. It’s a survival-horror type game, set in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a plague that creates don’t-call-them-zombies. Ok, they’re not zombies, but that’s the idea here. You’re alive, they’re not(really) and you don’t want to get eaten. Seems rational.

Game on, then.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Oct 21, 2011  |  0 comments

Paradigm isn't a big company, only 250 people or so. It doesn't have the immense marketing budget to assault the airwaves like Bose, or the R&D budget to make every manner of gadget like Sony.

These are good things, because instead this Canadian company goes about making some solid products, loved by reviewers, and beloved by customers.

Invited to check out their factory just outside Toronto, I dusted off my American Flag jacket, trucker hat, "W" belt buckle, and headed north of the border.

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