Newest Updates - Quick View
- "Ride the Pink Horse"
- Aurender Flow Headphone Amplifier-DAC
- Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: "The Traveling Kind"
- Music Everywhere: Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro Bluetooth Speaker-Powerbank-Flashlight
- Does a Product's Backstory Matter?
- Oppo Digital PM-3 Headphones
- Torque Audio t402v Headphones
- "Odd Man Out'
- Optoma NuForce DDA120 Direct Digital Integrated Amplifier-DAC
- Music Everywhere: Polk Audio Hinge Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 / C3 v.3 / ADP3 v.3 / Sub 1 / PBK Home-Theater Speaker System
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 Loudspeakers
- Paradigm Reference MilleniaOne / Seismic 110 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Monitor Audio Silver RX6 / RX Centre / RXFX / RXW-12 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Anthony Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference 3.5 Loudspeakers
- Logitech Squeezebox Touch WiFi Music Player
- From "Home Theater & Sound" to "SoundStage! Xperience"
- Oppo Digital Does It Again: The BDP-93 Blu-ray Player
- Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver
- Velodyne Optimum-10 Subwoofer
A Film Noir with Redemption
The Criterion Collection 750
We usually associate films noirs with urban locations -- cities with streets that glisten in the rain, tall buildings casting long shadows. But, as film historian Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City, points out in an enthusiastic interview on this Criterion Collection edition of Robert Montgomery’s Ride the Pink Horse (1947), that’s not always the case.
In a recent column, I complained about the rapid growth in the number of lookalike headphone amps that are little more than a DAC-amp chip stuffed into an extruded-aluminum box. The Aurender Flow ($1295 USD) is the exact opposite: a product that represents a major rethinking of what people -- specifically, audiophiles -- need in a headphone amp.
I’m writing this review on a sleek, highly portable Hewlett-Packard Spectre laptop equipped with a modestly sized solid-state drive (SSD) that makes me wish I’d spent the money on a bigger drive. Despite my efforts to move my storage-intensive audio and video files to an external drive, my SSD has just 2.2 gigabytes of space left. Yet thanks to the Flow, I can now use this overstuffed computer to access my entire collection of digital music files, and I can add more music without worrying I’ll run out of space.
Nonesuch Records 2-548243
Close harmony lives at the heart of rural American music, a reflection of the fact that, in its early years, it was frequently created by family members or friends -- as much self-entertainment as anything meant to share with others.
A YouTube video I recently watched got me thinking more deeply about my work than I have in a while. No, it wasn’t a video by some great audio scientist or famed writer or philosopher of aesthetics. It was a program from VH1 Classic’s series Rock Icons 2015, featuring none other than Officer of the Order of Canada (and Rush bassist and singer) Geddy Lee -- and he wasn’t even talking about sound.
I like Outdoor Tech -- the imaginative company comes up with devices like no others. A few years ago they came up with the Buckshot, a little cylindrical speaker that could be fastened to a bicycle handlebar or hung from a backpack loop. Now they’ve expanded that design into the Buckshot Pro, which adds a flashlight and a battery charger.
Oppo Digital PM-3 measurements can be found by clicking this link.
In just one year, Oppo Digital has become one of the biggest names in audiophile headphones. The new PM-3 closed-back headphones ($399 USD) follow on the impact Oppo made with its other models, the PM-1 ($1099) and PM-2 ($699). Not only is the PM-3 the least expensive model Oppo has made, it’s their first closed-back model, which opens it up to a much wider audience. Closed-back headphones provide some degree of isolation from sounds around you, so you get less noise and more music. I’d guess closed-back headphones outsell open-back models by 100 to 1.
Torque Audio t402v measurements can be found by clicking this link.
It’s a good thing most headphones are relatively inexpensive, because they’re the riskiest purchase an audio enthusiast can make. Headphones vary greatly in tonal quality -- more than speakers do, at least according to my ears and my measurement gear. Listeners’ opinions of headphones also seem to vary more than do their opinions of gear in other audio categories. Yet it’s rare to be able to listen to headphones before you buy. Sometimes you can check them out at a headphone meet or hi-fi show, but for the most part you have to rely on reviews written by people who may or may not share your taste in music and/or sound.
Carol Reed’s First Masterpiece Gets the Blu-ray Treatment
The Criterion Collection 754
Odd Man Out, directed by Carol Reed and first released in 1947, is not your ordinary crime movie. With its blend of German expressionism, the poetic realism of 1930s France, and cinematographer Robert Krasker's moody black-and-white photography, it's hard not to think of it as a British film noir.
Look around on the Internet and you’ll find innumerable lists of the best five or six or ten of a given type of product. It’s wise to be skeptical of such lists. Their compilers may or may not have any real knowledge of their subjects, and may not even have actually tried every item on a list. Still, I often Google things like “best hybrid cars” or “best torque wrenches” or “best coffeemakers” or “best bass amps.” I sometimes get good advice, and at the very least, I usually find out about a few products I wasn’t aware of. So in that spirit, this month I offer my list of the five earphones that have most impressed me as delivering outstanding sound for the price.
Most headphones look similar to other headphones, but Polk Audio’s Hinge Wireless on-ear model ($199.95 USD) is subtly different. Add to its looks good sound and easy use (for some), and you have headphones that are not just for the fashion conscious. Still, the Hinge Wireless has some problems . . .