Cassettes, like LPs are enjoying something of a "comeback," but I can't say I was ever a big fan of the format. Sure, with a great Nakamichi or high-end Pioneer cassette deck the sound of recordings made from LPs could be pretty decent, but the prerecorded cassettes put out by record companies were always iffy. The main advantages cassette had over LPs and CDs was they were a little cheaper, and considerably more portable. They were the MP3s of the 1970s, '80s, and early '90s, and were as fragile as LPs. I mostly used the format to … Read more
As the iDevice universe moves away from 30-pin connectors and toward Lightning technology, users of older iPhones and iPods can look forward to scooping up some killer deals on 30-pin-powered accessories.
Like this one: For a limited time, you can get the Fluance FiTSD600 2.1 Speaker Tower for iPod/iPhone for $199.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code FITSCNET at checkout. Regular price: $349.99. This Cheapskate exclusive just saved you $150, baby!
This is not your average speaker dock. It's a tower, a piece of furniture, something you can stand in a corner to blast … Read more
Most of today's bands view recordings as promotional tools for their concerts, they have to stay on the road to make a living. That's just the way it is, but they make a lot fewer records than bands did before, and since most recordings lose money, studio time is limited and budgets are shrinking. That's too bad, recordings are the bands' only tangible legacy, and the great bands of the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and early '90s have substantial back catalogs that continue to earn income long after the band breaks up. Performing is an important element in … Read more
My kids are seriously into music these days. Seems like every other song on the radio is met with, "Dad, I want this on my iPod!" So I'm starting to think a music-subscription service might make sense, as it would give them unlimited access to unlimited songs, without all the piecemeal buying.
Of course, most of those services charge $10 per month. That's not unreasonable, but it's yet another monthly bill I'd rather not have. Thankfully, for the next three months, I can avoid it: For a limited time, you can get a three-month Rhapsody Premier subscription for $1. … Read more
I'm back! Did you miss me as much as I missed you? Nah, I'll bet I missed you more. So much so, in fact, that I've put together an exclusive deal on a product I seriously dig.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Fluance FiSDK500 iPhone/iPod speaker dock for $99.99 shipped when you apply coupon code FICNET at checkout. It's new, not refurbished, and it normally sells for twice the price. And it was $169.99 the last time I covered it!
Unlike a lot of bookshelf speakers … Read more
I'm always on the lookout for great cheap headphones, so when CNET's Matthew Moskovciak suggested I try Sony's MDR-ZX100 I jumped at the chance. We were both knocked out by Sony's MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 headphones, so I bought a pair of MDR-ZX100s on Amazon for $15. I had no expectations it would threaten those two amazing Sonys, but at less than 20 percent of those headphones' current prices I was curious to see how much of the magic trickled down to the MDR-ZX100. The MDR-V6 and MDR-7506 were both designed more than twenty years ago, when … Read more
The Velodyne vPulse is one of the best pair of $99 headphones I've ever listened to on the NYC subway, but it's not one I use at home or in any quiet space. Why's that?
The vPulse's overly generous bass turns me off at home, but it sounds perfectly balanced on trains, buses, cars, or planes. What those modes of transportation all have in common is lots of low-frequency rumble, and the vPulse's pumped up bass masks some of that noise. Headphones with more accurate bass response sound fine at home, but woefully bass shy on the go.
Worse yet, the very low frequency rumble on trains, buses, and so on can't be nullified by noise-canceling or noise-isolating headphones because those noises are felt through your entire body, not just heard through your ears. Bassy headphones may not be the perfect solution to the problem, but they can be surprisingly effective. … Read more
There's no sense denying vinyl's imperfections. First there are the noise issues -- pops, clicks, and rumble -- and they all get a little worse every time you play an LP. Then there are problems with speed stability, off-center pressings, warped records, less than accurate vinyl and phono cartridge frequency response curves, poor stereo separation, and limited dynamic range. That was all true back in 1983, and digital has only improved since then. So why are vinyl sales up year after year since the early 2000s?
Most formats wither and die soon after the replacement format takes over … Read more
Take a good look at the picture of the Equator D5 desktop speaker. Do you see anything unusual about its design? Where's the tweeter? Look closer, there it is -- right in the center of the woofer! The D5's "coaxial" driver combines the tweeter and woofer into a single driver, and that's really cool. Equator didn't invent this type of driver -- I've seen them before on various KEF and Tannoy speakers, but the D5 is, by far, the least expensive desktop speaker I've tested with a coaxial driver. So what's … Read more
This isn't just for audiophiles. I don't care what kind of speakers or headphones you have -- once you start listening, you'll hear more of what's going on in the music. The only "downside" to focused listening is that you might turn into an audiophile. Once you focus on sound, the more you'll hear, and the opposite is also true, and the music matters less and less. I usually stick to acoustic music when evaluating sound quality, but this time out I went for highly processed, totally unnatural, but beautiful sounding recordings.
"… Read more