More and more people are getting into vinyl and buying turntables, but to get the best sound you need to buy a separate "phono preamp." Some entry-level turntables come with built-in preamps, and that's a great way to get started, but if you want to really bask in all-analog glory you'll need to step up to a separate phono preamp. Look around on Amazon and you'll see a vast range of models, and some are decent enough, but they're not going to sound as good as a high-end phono preamp.
The thing to understand … Read more
I'm usually a sound-first guy, but when it comes to evaluating headphones, comfort is a very close second. So even when I love the sound of a headphone, if they start to hurt my ears after a half an hour, that's a deal-breaker.
That's why I'm happy to report on a remarkably comfortable and great-sounding headphone, the MrSpeakers' Mad Dog. That's an odd name for a headphone maker, but MrSpeakers' Dan Clark started out as a speaker designer. Now he extensively modifies Fostex T50RP headphones, a headphone that I've never cared for. Clark transforms … Read more
I was bowled over by Anthony Gallo Acoustics' original Reference Strada when I heard it at a hi-fi show a few years ago. The small speakers projected a sound that rivaled the scale of big, flat-panel speakers, like my Magnepans. I never got around to reviewing the Strada, but when I heard that the Reference Strada 2 was coming out I let the company know I wanted a pair ASAP.
Unboxing the speakers it was impossible not to be impressed by the solidity of the cast-aluminum chassis and brushed stainless-steel spheres. The Strada 2 is 13.5 inches tall, and … Read more
There's no doubt that the best of today's receivers sound great and come jam-packed with a vast range of features. Even entry-level models paired with a decent 5.1 speaker/subwoofer system can do a fine job, but some buyers aim higher. They may have invested in a 65-inch or larger display, or maybe a video projector and a 120-inch screen. They crave a sound that matches the grandeur of the picture, and they can get that only with separate components like the Outlaw Audio Model 975 Surround Processor and Model 7125 Power Amp.
The Model 975 Surround … Read more
Pop a properly manufactured CD into a CD player, and you'll hear music in a second or two. In more than 30 years of playing CDs I've never once encountered scanning, searching, or error messages; after I press "Play," the music starts. Stick a properly manufactured DVD or Blu-ray in a working player, and you always have to wait a while to start watching the movie -- or it might not play at all. You might have to do a firmware update to play the disc. With DVDs and Blu-rays, there's no such thing as … Read more
To be honest, I've never heard a Bluetooth speaker I liked, because better sound was available from wired speakers, like the AktiMate Micro model. They're sold in pairs for $499, so you get true stereo sound, a rarity even with higher-end Bluetooth and most other wireless alternatives like the $600 Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, $600 Bose SoundDock 10, or $399 Sonos Play:5. Those three are perfectly fine for what they are, but wired stereo speakers from Audioengine, Emotiva, and AktiMate sound better, much closer to what I hear from traditional hi-fi speakers. True, they're not … Read more
If you have a state-of-the-art high-end system, or a tricked out iPod speaker, we'd love to see it. Take an interesting picture of your headphones, Bluetooth speaker, turntable, home theater, or whatever you have. If you built your own speakers or amp, that's right up my alley!
Send JPEGs (not huge files) to theaudiophiliac (at) hotmail (dot) com. Of course, anyone submitting should be comfortable with the photos being publicly posted online "forever after." Please include your name (first name and first initial of your last name). And if you're up for it, tell us … Read more
I suppose it's still a fair assumption that more people listen to music than movies with headphones, but there has to be a growing audience listening to movies, TV shows, and YouTube videos via their headphones. Thanks to the booming popularity of tablets, might the ratio of movies-to-music listening time be moving away from music? Or not?
I watch a lot of movies at home with headphones on. They present a level of detail that you can get from speakers only when you play them really loud. With headphones, I don't have to crank the volume. They're … Read more
I've heard and liked DeVore Fidelity speakers before, but the new Orangutan 0/93 was different. Even when listening to mostly unfamiliar music I fell in love with the sound from the get-go. The Orangutan 0/93 brings out the best in all genres of music.
That's the key; all speakers play tunes, but they don't always connect the musical dots as well as this. I've heard lots of speakers that sound really nice, but for one reason or another the music doesn't draw you in. No problem here, the Orangutan 0/93 does just … Read more