The "Spinal Tap" reference to the volume control that goes to "11" notwithstanding, there's a lot of confusion surrounding volume controls. There shouldn't be; the volume control setting has nothing to do with how loud an amp can play. Some folks mistakenly think that if you don't have to turn the knob up very far from the minimum setting to achieve high volume, that "proves" it's a powerful amp. No, not at all; the maximum volume level of any amp is determined not by how far you turn the knob, … Read more
The new Zoom H6 Handy Recorder jams a lot of technology and features into a surprisingly compact device, and it sounds great. The H6 was designed for musicians, sound professionals, journalists, and videographers, but I'm sure there's a smattering of audiophiles who would really enjoy using this thing. I spent a few days recording street musicians performing in various parks around NYC, and one feature immediately stood out, the interchangeable microphone modules that plug into the top of the recorder. The H6 carries a retail price of $399, and that price includes two mic modules, X-Y, and MS (… 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
The GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven is, as we audiophiles like to say, "transparent" -- it sounds like an open window to the sound of music. That's always the goal for high-end speakers, but only the very best ones take you all the way there.
The Triton Seven's slender cabinet leaves no doubt: this is a thoroughly modern design. The swept-back, nonparallel-sided cabinets, and high-gloss black accents are distinctive; I'm sure the Triton Seven will never be mistaken for just another big-box tower.
The Triton Seven's front, sides, and rear are covered with a wrap-around … Read more
Acer is offering a few new ultrahigh-resolution monitors for your viewing pleasure. The three recently announced monitors include a highly ergonomic pair and a Windows 8-compatible touch screen.
The new models rock IPS panel displays with 178-degree viewing angles and purportedly 100,000,000:1 contrast ratios. They also come fitted with dual speakers, USB 3.0 ports that can charge your devices even when the monitor is off, and Energy Star and TCO certifications.
I heart the Hyperloop. When I heard that Elon Musk planned to hold a press call to unveil his design and the science behind a radical new form of technology -- a pneumatic-like tube that could shoot passengers at speeds of up to 800 miles per hour between San Francisco and Los Angeles -- I was thrilled.
And I remain thrilled, despite all the Debbie Downer arguments that there are no plans to build the Hyperloop anytime soon, that no company currently exists to build such a thing, and that the usual toxic combination of politics, money, and monopoly will … Read more
At first blush you might think the Audiophiliac would be thrilled to hear the news about the Universal Music Group's new High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-rays -- and I would be, if I didn't know how this story plays out. In 1999 and 2000, the original high-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio formats debuted and quickly faltered. Then the record labels tried again with the DualDisc format in 2004, and that one came and went so fast most people didn't even know it existed. I heard a lot of those discs, and I didn't feel that most (but … 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
The world of "Star Wars" fan fashion is a wild and wonderful place full of Wampa-skin dresses and Boba Fett ski hats. No outfit is complete without a great pair of shoes, however. Etsy seller DeckoFab offers a pretty stunning set of "Star Wars" wedges.
The made-to-order wedges are crafted from decoupage with pictures of Stormtroopers, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Darth Vader plastered across them. DeckoFab also takes custom orders, so you could specify an all-Jar Jar Binks pair if you really want to be obnoxious.… Read more
Elegantly designed, affordable products are marvels of our age, but then there are the extreme, defiantly outrageous ones designed to thrill. Take the new 640-horsepower Dodge SRT Viper GTS: this $120,000 supercar looks like a venomous snake with wheels and can propel its owner to insanely fast speeds, but the car probably won't be of much practical use as a grocery hauler or picking up the kids from soccer practice. The Abyss AB-1266 is the SRT Viper GTS of headphones. It's a no-holds-barred attempt to build the best-sounding headphone on the planet.
The mostly metal design is … Read more