When I told CNET audio editor Donald Bell about the Flat, Flexible Loudspeaker out of the U.K.'s University of Warwick, he immediately imagined subway posters shouting at him. And he's probably not too far off.
The new loudspeakers are less than a quarter of a millimeter thick and can be hung on walls like pictures to make announcements in places such as passenger terminals.
They're so slim and flexible, engineers say the speakers could even be concealed inside ceiling tiles orinteriors, conceivably leading to talking roofs, wallpaper, or seats.
The speakers were pioneered … Read more
The same day a new antipiracy law went into effect in Sweden, Internet traffic took a dive and five audio book publishers went after an alleged illegal file sharer in court.
The so-called IPRED law, which went into effect Wednesday, requires Internet service providers to reveal subscribers' Internet Protocol addresses to copyright holders in cases where a court finds ample evidence of illegal activity.
As of 2 p.m. local time Wednesday in Sweden, Internet traffic was down about 30 percent from the day … Read more
There's no lack of music instruction online. Sites like iVideoSongs and Internet-connected applications such as Garage Band, can tailor music instruction right down to the specific genre, song, and instrument of your choice. The trouble is, they don't actually show you how to make a great recording.
If you're more interested in how to use side-chain audio compression in Logic, than how to how to play "Stairway to Heaven," WinkSound.com is worth a look. The site design is a little rough, but the video tutorials are helpful and clearly organized into relevant topics (Garage … Read more
Let's face it, headphones always sound like headphones--that is--they never really sound like speakers.
Headphones "squirt" sound directly into your ears, but the new AKG K 702's much-larger-than-average earcups allow the drivers to be placed farther away from your ears, so the sound seems less direct. This headphone was designed for recording engineers and studio use, and the sound quality is right up there with some of the best headphones ever made. Priced at $540, it's not cheap, but it's not at all out of line for what you get. This blog is a preview of my upcoming full CNET review.
I found the K 702's expansive sound hugely appealing; that's why it sounds less like a headphone and more like speakers in a room. Not the same as, but less headphone-like than most.
The AKG K 702 is, in fact, the professional version of the consumer K 701 model that came out a couple of years ago. That one received raves from the audiophile press, including me, so naturally I had even higher hopes for the K 702, but it's essentially the same design as the K 701. The K 702 is matte dark blue (looks black to me) instead of gloss white and features a detachable cable.
Thanks to the way the K 702's real leather/metal wire headband distributes the weight of the 'phones evenly across your head, and those large, extra soft velour covered cushions, you can wear these headphones for hours at a time and they'll remain nice and comfy. Build quality, durability, fit and finish are all first rate.
I've made the point in previous blogs, but to get the best sound from high-end headphones plug them into a high-quality headphone amplifier. Sure, the K 702 sounded fine plugged into my Onkyo SR-TX 805 AV receiver, but the headphone was sweeter and prettier sounding with my Woo Audio WA6 SE tube amp ($1,050). Then again, the K 702's sound over my ancient 15GB iPod wasn't too shabby. … Read more
Considering its full plate of goodies--built-in Blu-ray player, iPod dock, and the capability to stream Netflix movies and Pandora's online music service--the $800 price tag on Samsung's HT-BD8200 sound bar is quite reasonable. But that's not to say it won't be a tough sell in these economically anxious times. And that's where the new HT-WS1 comes in. The smaller sound bar is strictly audio-only--no Blu-ray, no DVD, no video connectivity whatsoever. It's more of a glorified TV speaker, accepting either an analog stereo or digital-optical input (it can decode standard Dolby Digital and DTS … Read more
Samsung has taken the wraps off the HT-AS730, a component-based home theater system. Unlike the slate of sexy Blu-ray home theater systems back at January's Consumer Electronics Show, the HT-AS730 is aimed at those who already have a disc player or game console: it has three HDMI inputs and four digital audio inputs (1 coaxial, 3 optical), plus an iPod/iPhone dock. The receiver/amplifier pumps out 650 watts of power to the five included speakers (there's also an active sub), and the system can be auto-calibrated to your specific room with the included microphone.
The Samsung HT-AS730 … Read more
As I made my way around Vancouver, B.C., last week on a business trip and admired the futuristic high-rises and sweeping vistas of ocean and mountains I felt curious--and lost. I wanted to know what the buildings and landmarks were and why they were so striking.
My questions could easily have been answered with the HearPlanet Premium iPhone app. The new version of the "talking tour guide" mobile program, released publicly on Thursday, includes an integrated, interactive map and human voices, in addition to the computer-generated audio.
If you're looking for someone wanted for murder, you could put up a wanted poster at a few post offices. You could set up Web sites with images of the felon or mail people the pictures. These days, however, we're bombarded with information, and the bulletins could--and most likely would--get lost in the static.
Or you could cut through the sea of info by putting the identities right in the public's face with life-size, talking, cardboard cutouts of the evasive culprits.
Such a test case is currently underway in Japan as police try to track down Tatsuya Ichihashi, a man wanted in the 2007 murder of 22-year-old British English teacher Lindsay Hawker. Ichihashi barely slipped out of an arrest situation and has been at large ever since. … Read more