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
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Enter Steve's contest: You can be the Audiophiliac for a day!
- Poll: If digital audio is so great, why didn't it kill the LP?
- Steve interviewed producer-engineer Young Guru on what good sound sounds like.
- Steve endorses the Orbit Turntable on Kickstarter.
- The founder of the Bose Corporation dies at 83.
- Steve reviews the Sony MDR-7506 headphones, around since 1991 and still way better than most 2013 headphones.
Amar G. Bose wore two very distinct hats, he founded the Bose Corporation in 1964, and was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor until 2001. He died on Friday at age 83. Bose was a visionary, an electrical and sound engineer, and he devoted his life to investigating our psychological and physiological responses to sound.
I remember when I heard the first Bose speaker, the 901. It was a revelation. Instead of just projecting sound forward, the 901 was designed to re-create the sound of instruments in a concert hall, where some of the instruments' sound is heard directly, but … Read more
I'll admit I scoffed a bit the first time I saw the Nest Earbud Case (at CES earlier this year). Sure, I hate tangled-up earbud cords as much as the next guy, but 10 bucks for a big rubber cord-wrap? Pass.
But you know what? Dang if this thing hasn't become one of my favorite little accessories. And although it's still $9.99, you can get a Nest shipped for free when you apply coupon code nestcnet at checkout. (The code is good until July 16.) Normally shipping would run you another $4.95.
Available in blue, … Read more
Over the past year or so we've seen a new product category emerge: the portable digital converter/headphone amplifier. Of course, no one "needs" such a device -- phones and iPods already have converters and amps built-in -- and sound perfectly fine with average headphones. The sound is good enough, but your phone's converter and amp share space and battery power with the phone's electronics. A separate converter and amp, about the size of a phone, has only one mission: improved sound quality. So if you upgraded to a high-end in-ear headphone, like the $399 … 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
Headphones can be so easy to lose -- but not when you have them implanted in your ears.
That's what Rich Lee decided to do. Inspired by an Instructables tutorial on how to make invisible headphones using magnets and a coil necklace with an attached amplifier, the 34-year-old entrepreneur went a step further and implanted one such headphone in each ear.
The magnets sit on the outside of the tragus, the part of the ear that projects immediately in front of the canal. The magnets function as speakers, and the coil around Lee's neck transmits to them. … Read more
After a week pockmarked with unfortunately timed sellouts, I want to send you into your weekend with enough deals to make your wallet beg for mercy.
1. The cheapest Blu-ray player ever. We've been rewatching "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy around these parts, and I just upgraded from the DVDs I'd purchased years ago to the Blu-ray editions. No. Contest. If you want the best picture and sound, by a mile, there's still nothing better.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Newegg has the refurbished Magnavox MBP5320 Blu-ray player with Wi-Fi for $19.99 shipped. … Read more