I've always been obsessed with sound, and I've always wanted to hear my music with the best possible sound. It enhances the experience for me, because I can more clearly hear what the musicians are playing, and the subtleties in the mix, so I get more out of the music. That's true at home and for on-the-go listening, and even when I didn't have much money I still managed to put together a pretty good hi-fi. Then again, good sound is in the ear of the beholder, and that beholder may not be so sure about … Read more
My preferred and better-sounding alternative to wireless audio streaming is a simple plug-and-play solution: it's a wire. There are no hassles with pairing, synching, dropouts, or glitches, and a skinny wire can get the job done with the best possible fidelity. The wire is also "backwards" compatible with any portable device with a headphone jack, and any iPod speaker, hi-fi system, sound bar, or computer speaker you already own! Sit on your couch with your phone or tablet and play your tunes, with a wire running to the speakers.
Sure, if you never sit in one spot, … Read more
Leaked from today's 404 show:
- 'People' defend Chic-fil-A on Facebook.
- Chick-fil-A cashier fired for racist receipts.
- Old records outsell new ones for the first time.
If you've shopped around for a case for your PlayStation Vita, you probably know that they can get pretty pricey. In fact, I recently wrote about WaterField Designs' Vita cases, which are sweet but retail for upward of $50.
Shifting gears, I decided to go the budget route and checked out Monoprice's $5.28 Brushed Aluminum Clamshell case in silver (alas, that price doesn't include shipping, which brings the total up to $7.82).
The verdict? … Read more
All HDMI cables may be the same in terms of image quality, but that doesn't mean they're physically the same.
In the photo above, the thick cable on the right is Monoprice's current 50-foot cable; the cable on the left is the upcoming Monoprice 60-foot ultraslim cable. The new cable is dramatically thinner than traditional long-run HDMI cables--every editor at CNET who held the two cables was impressed by the difference.
RedMere: Unidirectional, thin, and enables long runs The difference between the two cables is because of the 60-foot cable's built-in RedMere chipset, which draws a small amount of power from the HDMI source (Blu-ray player, cable box) and allows less copper to be used in the cable.… Read more
CNET Audiophiliac and general audio diva Steve "Sphere" Guttenberg is back on The 404 Podcast for his last appearance this year, and as usual he brings a list of talking points, like a kooky theory on how to curb population control, and when the iPad will eventually overtake the big screen TV.
Jeff and the official 404 graphic designer Blake Stevenson have also partnered together for Crave's first weekly comic strip "Low Latency,"and a big congratulations goes out to our video voice mail contest winners! Check out the videos below:… Read more
Monoprice is an Internet retailer that made a name for itself providing tech accessories at insanely low prices. (It is, in our opinion, the best place to buy "good enough" HDMI cables at prices far lower than you'd ever find at Best Buy.)
Not content with accessories, Monoprice is now branching out into its own branded line of tech products. Even with Monoprice's reputation for bargains, we were shocked to see the Monoprice 8247: it's a 5.1 surround-sound speaker package you can buy for the seemingly impossible price of $84.10. That's less than $15 per speaker (including the subwoofer) and Monoprice doesn't chintz out with the accessories, including four swivel wall-mounts for each of the satellite speakers. The most impressive feat of all is that these ultrabudget speakers actually sound pretty good.… Read more
When Steve "The Audiophiliac" Guttenberg tells us he has ideas for the 404 Podcast, we listen. We invited him to sit down with us today to talk about Netflix splitting in half, which "high-end" audio manufacturers are making impossible claims about their products, and the headphones that just earned Steve's award for "Worst-Sounding Audio Ever."$25,000 'bookshelf' speaker from Magico. The award for 'Worst-sounding audio product' goes to... Steve endorses these $74 5.1-channel home theater satellite speakers. And these $1 HDMI cables from Monoprice, too. Episode 910 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
Going to a retail store for consumer electronics purchases can be both exciting and frustrating. After working at Best Buy for two years, I have a few opinions to share that you might want to consider before your next shopping trip.
1. We have no formal training in the field of consumer electronics. Upon transferring to the computer department from home theater, I expressed concern to the manager: "Will there be time for someone to train me on laptops/desktops? What do these specifications mean?" His reply was simple: "Just do your best. A good salesperson can just read the labels and compare specs." Ouch.
Salespeople are not necessarily experts in the products sold in their departments, even if they are expert salespeople. Though many express a strong interest in the products they sell, your time spent at a retail store fishing for information about a future TV purchase could be better spent online researching the products yourself (I heard CNET has pretty great reviews).
2. We make little off the big-ticket items, so we smother you with accessories. Remember the story "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"? Well, if you tell a salesman you're going to buy a TV, he's going to want to sell you a DVD player to go with it. Once he sells you the DVD player, he's going to want to get you to buy an HDMI cable, too.
Managers at Best Buy (and possibly all retailers) tell employees that the store profits surprisingly little from video game consoles and computers. Cables, accessories, mice, and other components, however, have a huge profit margin-- stores can make about $120 from a $150 Monster HDMI cable. Angry yet? The point is, we're going to work really hard to convince you to purchase that big item, but once you've said "OK" you've opened Pandora's Box.
Here's my advice: Grab the big item, and run. Purchase all accessories online, including memory cards, cables, traveling cases, and so on. Amazon, Monoprice, and Newegg are all reputable discount Web sites. You'll find what you need at a much lower price.… Read more