I visited Stereo Buyers' Brooklyn headquarters to get a first-hand look at their gear. Located in Red Hook, the facility was flooded by Hurricane Sandy last summer, and most of the inventory was literally underwater. Stereo Buyers' Adam Wexler did his best to prepare before the storm hit, but his best line in recalling the disaster was, "I bet you didn't know that Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy 5 speakers (that weigh over 100 pounds) can float, but they can. It was crazy and depressing; the financial losses were a bummer." He didn't have flood insurance, but … Read more
I've heard a lot of, but far from most of the world's best headphone amps, but even in that heady territory the Auralic Taurus MKII shines. I've used a wide range of my very best headphones, in-ears and full-size, and they're all sounding better than I've heard them before.
The $6,475 Mal Valve amp is right up there, but it's been a few months since I heard it, and I never had it at home so my experience was more limited. I had the luxury of living with the Taurus MKII for weeks, … Read more
Last month I asked readers to submit essays for my "You can be the Audiophiliac for a day" contest. I received a lot of thought-provoking pieces, and I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to write. You guys are a smart bunch, but there can be only one winner, and I selected John O.'s "Chasing the Ultimate Sound System." His perceptive examination of the audiophile quest for great sound will reverberate with a lot of folks. The only thing I'd like to add is that the only person you need to … Read more
Last weekend I had a yard sale with a few pairs of speakers to unload. After the first wave of hard-core hagglers trampled through my yard I noticed that someone had trouble resisting the impulse to dent the center of my vintage speakers.
Since I was not about to let them spoil my day (or my profits), I rushed the speakers inside the house to fix them up. A quick online search for some DIY solutions bore some useful results, which I've gathered here.
Swabs and glue OK, honestly, this technique bubbled up from the dark recesses … Read more
I never heard of Lepai until about a year ago, when Parts Express sent over a Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifier for review. Well, it didn't take long to see it was a steal, and it has been my go-to amp for anyone on a super-tight budget, it's just $25, and for that kind of money the sound is pretty special. The 20-watt-per-channel stereo amplifier is a tiny thing, it's just 1.5x5.5x4.5 inches.
Many questions surround the possibility of a manned mission to Mars, but perhaps the most fundamental comes down to something everyone faces daily: what to eat? Well, how about Cajun jambalaya, Moroccan beef tangine, no-crust quiche muffins, Crater Crunch bars, and fried noodles? Those were just a few of the dishes researchers noshed during a four-month Mars-mission simulation study.
The NASA-funded study into potential food options for a mission to Mars is wrapping up Tuesday. During four months in a barren lava field on the northern slope of Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano, six researchers dined on a variety of dehydrated and freeze-dried produce and meats, including jambalaya made with Spam.
The goal of the study, led by Cornell University and the University of Hawaii, was to expand current outer-space dining options so astronauts on a Mars mission could avoid malnourishment and food boredom. … Read more
As Windows machines follow in Apple's Retina display footsteps, Google is building HiDPI support into its Chrome browser.
The browser developer marked HiDPI support in Windows as fixed on Tuesday night, though it's weeks away from arriving in the stable version of Chrome. It's currently scheduled for release in Chrome 30; the current stable version is Chrome 28, and Google releases new versions about every six weeks.
High-resolution screens have more dots per inch than conventional screens, thus the label HiDPI, which is nice for crisper graphics and text. However, programmers must adapt graphics elements such as … Read more
It's been a few years since I wrote my last Zu Audio speaker review, but this time out I wanted to try their least expensive tower, and that's where things got interesting.
The Zu Audio Omen Standard and Omen Dirty Weekend (DW) are virtual twins, but with one very significant difference: the DW uses "recycled" drivers. That is, the DW drivers come from Zu customers who traded up to one of Zu's higher-end drivers. Let's stop right there: Zu Audio is one of the rare speaker companies to offer upgrades in any form, but … Read more
The release of a 5,120x2880-pixel wallpaper image indicates that Apple could bring high-resolution Retina displays to its iMac line of desktop all-in-one computers and external monitors.
The 3.3MB "OSX_hero_2x" image shows the blue and green ocean wave that's featured in the upcoming OS X Mavericks version of Apple's operating system. Its width and height are exactly double that of of the 2,560x1,440-pixel screen on the current 27-inch iMac.
As Apple has spread its Retina displays across … Read more