The Anthony Gallo Acoustics Micro SE speaker ($239) is a tiny steel sphere, just 4 inches in diameter -- that's the size of an orange. It's an audiophile quality performer, capable of delivering high-resolution sound and a big, downright spacious stereo image. In fact, the imaging of the Micro SE and the slightly larger A'Diva SE reminds me of the wide-open, boxless sound I get with large, flat-panel speakers. Since these Gallos have just one full-range driver, they don't need a crossover network to direct high frequencies to the tweeter and bass to the woofer, and … Read more
New music services are great at making me feel old.
Opening Spotify is like opening the door to some hip cafe where a mustached 20-year old barista takes my order with folded arms and a stamp on his hand from last night's secret show. I feel not just a little lame. But instead of running for the door like the curmudgeon that I am, yearning for the comfortable embrace of my iTunes collection, I stay.
I stay because even in these days of free apps, free video streams, and free e-books, I'm still totally enthralled by the idea … Read more
No one can deny the popularity of sound bar speakers, but I've always been frustrated by their sound quality. There were exceptions; the $899 Atlantic Technology PB-235 and $699 SpeakerCraft CS3 are quite good, but in the more popular $300-to-$400 range the 'bars weren't all that great. Granted, they were a big step up from TV speakers, but their sound was still a compromise, compared with what's available from the better $300-to-$400 Emotiva and Audioengine self-powered stereo speakers (they get hooked up from your TV's stereo analog jacks).
A few weeks ago I spent … Read more
The Fostex TH600 full-size headphones' sound is downright addicting. They take you inside the sound of a recording like few other headphones can. Unfortunately, Fostex's U.S. distribution of its high-end headphones is very limited (it's a Japanese company), but Fostex dealer Moon Audio was kind enough to send over a sample pair of TH600 headphones ($1,299) fitted with an extra-cost Black Dragon V2 cable. Fostex also offers much less expensive models, including the $129 T50RP, but the company mostly caters to the pro sound market.
The TH600 has large 50mm drivers, matched with an unusually powerful … Read more
It was barely two weeks ago that Lego Batman: DC Super Heroes made a wonderful iOS debut, and suddenly there's another Lego-themed game in the App Store: Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles. Woot!
The bad news: This isn't a port of any of the classic Lego Star Wars games that have appeared on consoles over the years. Instead, it's something new and original, a real-time strategy/action blend set in the "Clone Wars" universe and aimed at younger players. (Arguably, all the Lego games have a similar audience, but most of them are fun … Read more
The latest entrant: Evomail, which promises a better Gmail experience than Google's own Gmail app. But does it deliver?
Yes and no. Evomail closely resembles the latest Gmail app, which is to say it's attractive and smartly designed, with a simple expanding-panel layout that's admirably easy to navigate.
Evomail brings a couple of neat tricks to the table, including color-coded labels, a gesture-based reply option (just swipe … Read more
PSB Speakers is one of my all-time favorite brands. Its little Alpha B1 monitor ($299 a pair) is excellent, and a couple of years ago I was blown away by the Imagine Mini ($759 a pair), an even smaller but bona fide high-end speaker.
Small speakers are great, but the lucky folks with huge living rooms who like to occasionally play movies and music nice and loud need big speakers. And since it's been a while since I spent quality time with a PSB tower I requested a pair of Image T6s ($1,298 a pair).
The 40.… Read more
It wasn't very long ago that for a developer to make a successful weather app, it had to have the most information possible. This meant developers would compete to pack tons of graphs, maps, diagrams, written forecasts -- and even forums where people could talk about weather -- into busy, confusing apps that tried to cover it all. But what you ended up with were long, listlike menus when the only information you probably wanted was what the weather might be like for the weekend.
Don't get me wrong, the feature-packed weather apps have their place, particularly when … Read more
Last week, Apple announced that its App Store is approaching 50 billion app downloads. In celebration of the milestone, Apple is giving away a $10,000 App Store gift card to the lucky person who initiates the 50 billionth download.
As part of the celebration, Apple listed the top 25 apps -- both free and paid -- for iPhone and iPad. None of the apps listed is particularly surprising (especially to someone who studies the most-popular list every day), but one thing that did strike me is that a lot of the all-time best sellers still sit near the top … Read more
Late last year when I had my first encounter with a Tekton Design speaker, the M-Lore ($650 a pair), I was so bowled over by the sound I could hardly wait to try another Tekton. The time has come today with the all-new Enzo, a 40-inch-tall tower sporting three tweeters and two 8-inch woofers.
Multiple tweeters are rare on audiophile speakers, but Tekton's Eric Alexander developed a unique patent-pending approach that changes the way multiple tweeters are used. Unfortunately, he was mum about the details of his technology, but the Enzo's sound tells me all I need to … Read more