With explosive drums, fuzzed-out guitars, and Wolfmother-style vocals, YB's first English-language single, "Cigarette Girl," might finally break YB in the West. Though already regarded as the Bon Jovi of South Korea, YB has not made much of a dent stateside -- unless you happened to catch the band at one of its sold-out 2006 NYC performances or at its acclaimed 2007 SXSW showcase. Under new manager Doug Goldstein, who formerly managed Guns N' Roses, Danzig, and Blind Melon, they just might make it here. As YB prepared for its first US mini-tour in seven years, frontman Do-Hyun … Read more
I'm on a family vacation this week, enjoying a much-needed respite from the horrors (horrors, I say!) of this year's winter. Although we all packed headphones for use with our phones and tablets, I wanted a speaker so we could jam together to Pharrell Williams' can't-not-dance-to-it "Happy."
I had several portable-speaker options to choose from, but I like to travel as light as humanly possible. So I packed the impossibly compact new Matrix Audio Qube2, which sounds way louder -- and better -- than any speaker of its size has any right to.
Alas, it'… Read more
On Sunday, February 9, in 1964, 73 million viewers in the US and millions more in Canada watched the Beatles' American television debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The band's very first LP, "Meet the Beatles," sold 3.6 million albums in the first two months in the US, and Capitol Records went on to sell 15 million Beatles albums in the States in 1964. These were different albums, with different combinations of songs than the Beatles albums released in England. That separate release pattern continued until June 1967 with the release of the "… Read more
British alternative rock band Maximo Park just released its fifth studio album (and follow-up to 2012's critically acclaimed "The National Health") "Too Much Information" on February 3. Synth-driven single "Leave This Island" is already burning up my iTunes.
The new album is called "Too Much Information." Are you implying that we're just bombarded with info via our computers and smartphones all day? Yeah, that's definitely a part of it. Being in the music industry, we became quite aware of people's attention becoming so much … Read more
Audioengine is one of those rare companies that gets it right every time. Its desktop speakers excel in a very crowded, highly competitive field, and its digital converters are also strong performers.
Audioengine's latest release, the tiny USB-powered D3 digital converter, continues that tradition. The aluminum body feels nice and solid, and its digital converter can accept 24-bit/192KHz audio. The headphone amplifier works with low- and high-impedance headphones. Alternatively, you can run a set of powered desktop speakers, such as Audioengine A2+s or A5+s, directly from the D3's headphone jack.
The D3 was designed to … Read more
As someone who's in the midst of migrating from iPhone to Android (namely, the Republic Wireless Moto X), I'm looking for ways to ease the transition. Among them: finding a place to dock/charge my phone at night. My current alarm-clock dock has an old-fangled Apple 30-pin connector.
Ah, but do they make bedside clocks especially for Android devices? Of course they do, and from now through tomorrow, Feb. 4, you can get the Hale Dreamer alarm clock/speaker dock for Android phones for $59.99, shipped. That's after applying coupon code XLL9I5S4 at checkout.
Born on … Read more
There are many types of headphones, and if you understand the pros and cons of each before you go shopping, you'll make a more informed buying decision. Closed- and open-back headphones sound very different and serve different needs. To learn more about how they differ I spoke with two engineers, Sennheiser's Axel Grell and AKG's Philipp Schuster, and thanks go out to them. Today I'll look at open- and closed-back headphones; I covered on- and over-the-ear headphones in yesterday's blog item.… Read more
I get a lot of reader emails seeking recommendations for headphones, and sometimes they'll ask about two very different types of designs. For example, "What should I buy, Sennheiser's on-ear Momentum or the AKG K 712 'phones?" In that case there's no obvious "better" headphone, because they are two radically different types of headphones. The Sennheiser is an on-ear, closed-back design, and the AKG K 712 is a much larger over-the-ear, open-back headphone. It's like asking "What's better, a Ford F-150 Raptor truck or a Porsche 911 Turbo sports car? … Read more
Hair, makeup, and gender-bending fashions aside, what singer/songwriter Boy George does best is write a prime pop tune. I'm thinking about chart-topping '80s singles like "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," "Time (Clock of the Heart)," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya," "Church of the Poison Mind," "Karma Chameleon," "Miss Me Blind," "It's a Miracle," and "The War Song." His later, more dance-oriented solo material and DJ gigs won a club following.
With the March 25 release of "This Is … Read more
Meridian Audio may be one of Britain's oldest high-end audio brands. It was founded in the late 1970s, but it was always exploring new technologies. It introduced the world's first high-end CD player in 1984, advanced the state of the art in self-powered speakers, and pioneered digital loudspeakers. The company also developed the lossless compression technology used in many Blu-ray Discs.
So when I heard Meridian was introducing a high-end headphone amplifier, I immediately requested a review sample. When the box arrived, I thought they had sent the wrong piece, it was too small to be a contender, … Read more