Of course the record labels knew selling a new format on the basis of sound quality was a risky business, so they tacked on 5.1 surround sound. There were millions of households in the early 2000s with multichannel home theaters, so selling new music surround formats looked … Read more
Most of the music people enjoy doesn't sound very good. That's not to say it isn't good music, just that it doesn't sound great. I'm not picking on digital or contemporary music; most of my favorite Motown and Stax soul music from the 1960s and 1970s sounds like crap. Most rock music from any decade sounds cruddy; that's just the way it is.
A lot of today's best bands, including alternative darlings Arcade Fire, make awful-sounding recordings. I'm specifically referring to their Grammy Award-winning "The Suburbs" album from 2010; it'… Read more
This past Thursday I attended an informal "summit" hosted by Craig Kallman, Atlantic Records' CEO and Chairman, to learn more about the label's plans to start releasing high-resolution music. Kallman is passionate about improving the sound of music, and I was impressed by his candor about the industry's appalling track record and declining sound quality standards.
I think the widespread overuse of dynamic range compression is far more musically destructive than the low sampling rates used in formats like MP3. I fear that if the new formats are just higher-resolution versions of the dynamically compressed MP3 … Read more
Samsung subsidiary Nouvoyance is set to reveal an impressive 10.1-inch LCD next week that could be used in future tablet computers.
The 10.1-inch stunner features a 2,560x1,600 (WQXGA) resolution screen at 300dpi driven by PenTile RGBW technology (found in the Google/HTC Nexus One, Samsung i9000, Motorola Atrix, and others). RGBW's claim to fame is that, among many other improvements, it adds a white subpixel to the traditional RGB mix, resulting in higher brightness and sharpness.
Other notable elements of the prototype display include a wider color gamut and a 300cd/m2 luminance rating with 40 percent less power usage compared with legacy RBG-stripe LCD screens. There's also an option to scale up to 600cd/m2 luminance when the outdoor mode is enabled. Outdoor visibility has been a sore spot for tablet computers, enough that Amazon focused on it in a Kindle commercial bashing the competition.
Samsung is a supplier of LCD screens for a variety of tablet computers, including Apple's iPad. Tech bloggers are speculating that this high-resolution display could be the visage of the iPad 3 when that slate likely goes on sale next year. (Despite Apple and Samsung currently being embroiled in litigation over patents and other intellectual property, Apple has, according to DigiTimes, turned to Samsung for screen production following light leak problems with LG's products.)
High-resolution displays have eluded the first several generations of tablet computers, mostly because of cost and power inefficiency. Apple's iPad 2 has a 1,024x768 display running at 132dpi, while the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 both feature resolutions of 1,280x800 at 160dpi. … Read more
The Oppo BDP-95 ($999) may have a lot in common with the company's BDP-93 ($499) 3D universal Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-Audio player, but the BDP-95 really is a very different, potentially better sounding Blu-ray player. I say potentially because the $… Read more
The analog vs. digital debate has been raging for nearly three decades, and there's still no clear winner, because it's really just a matter of personal preference. I'm fine with that, but there's a lot of sniping in the analog/digital wars, and each side never misses an opportunity to put down the other side as misguided, deaf, just plain stupid, or worse. Each side claims its chosen format is superior and the opposite's is garbage.
I'm an analog guy, but I'd admit that analog's distortions, speed variations, and noise/hiss make … Read more
Last month the Internet was ablaze with articles like Mark Milian's "Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads." Milian did mention that the improved sound might be accompanied by higher prices, but no further details were covered.
He also said, "Many models of Mac computers can play 24-bit sound, and the iTunes program is capable of handling such files. But most portable electronics, and many computers, don't support 24-bit audio." Right, so I can't see why significant numbers of iTunes buyers would even consider purchasing higher-resolution files.
Download times for … Read more
The Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder is exactly what the name claims. Measuring just 8x2x5 inches it's very portable, and this little thing records high-quality WAV files at 44.1- to 96-KHz sampling rates with 16-bit or 24-bit resolution.
If you're more interested in maximum recording time, it can also do MP3 files at 48Kbps to 320Kbps. The H1 records on microSD cards and comes with a 2GB card. Step up to a 32 GB microSD card and you'll get over 50 hours of recording time at 16-bit/44.1KHz.
I first wrote about Zoom products in late 2007, and came away really impressed with the company's H2 recorder's sound quality. The H1 doesn't replace the H2, but it's a more evolved design, and goes for just $99!
Connectivity is pretty basic; there's a 3.5mm mic input, a 3.5mm headphone output, and a USB 2.0 port. You can monitor the H1's sound over headphones, or in a pinch with the recorder's tiny built-in speaker. Zoom claims the single AA battery should last 10 hours, but I only got 5 or 6 hours.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--If you've ever watched a DVD on a newish Blu-ray player, then you've likely experienced upscaling. Upscaling converts a non-HD-resolution image (like the image from a standard DVD) and converts its pixel count to that of HD resolution.
Some players do this better than others, and as a result, depending on the player used, artifacts and distortion can sometimes be detected on the upscaled image.
LG is attempting to alleviate this problem by introducing its Super+ Resolution technology in its E81 series of monitors. According to LG, Super+ Resolution "improves the quality of upscaled images by … Read more
Last year at CES, Iriver showed off its first e-reader, the Story. It didn't make much of a dent in the marketplace, but this year the company's come back with the Story HD, a new e-ink-based product that it's calling the world's "highest-resolution 6-inch e-reader."
Iriver says the Story HD, which sports an electronic paper display made by LG, offers XGA (768x1,024) resolution and has 63.8 percent more pixels and faster page turn, thanks to an advanced processor from Freescale Semiconductor based on ARM Cortex technology. It also has built-in Wi-Fi and … Read more