Newest Updates - Quick View
- NAD Viso HP30 Headphones
- "The Honeymoon Killers"
- NuPrime Audio IDA-8 Integrated Amplifier-DAC
- Music Everywhere: Koss BTS1 Bluetooth Speaker
- Keith Richards: "Crosseyed Heart"
- The Five Best Noise-Canceling Headphones and Earphones (According to Me)
- Oppo Digital HA-2 Headphone DAC-Amplifier
- "Day for Night"
- HiFiMan HE1000 Headphones
- Music Everywhere: Outdoor Tech. Tuis Bluetooth Headphones
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 / C3 v.3 / ADP3 v.3 / Sub 1 / PBK Home-Theater Speaker System
- Monitor Audio Silver RX6 / RX Centre / RXFX / RXW-12 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 Loudspeakers
- Paradigm Reference MilleniaOne / Seismic 110 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
- Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond Loudspeakers
- Explaining HDMI while Solving the Cause of Blue-Screen Nightmares
NAD Viso HP30 measurements can be found by clicking this link.
On-ear headphones such as NAD’s Viso HP30 model rarely appear among audio websites’ top picks. There’s good reason for that. First, it’s difficult to make comfortable on-ear headphones, because the earpads, rather than encircle your earlobes, mash directly against them. Second, it’s difficult to ensure that the earpads seal correctly on the ear -- and without a good seal, it’s impossible to get consistently good sound.
Mahler and Murder
The Criterion Collection 200
This 1969 film, shot on a shoestring, won the attention of such luminaries as François Truffaut, who declared it his favorite American film. It’s based on the true story of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, lovers who, in the late 1940s, killed as many as 20 women. They were dubbed “The Lonely Hearts Killers” because they met most of their victims through lonely-hearts ads. Now it’s Craigslist, eHarmony, or one of the other dating websites. Back then it took more time -- you had to write a letter, mail it, and wait for a response.
I often hear audiophiles dissing noise-canceling headphones. This leads me to wonder how often they fly, because conventional over- and on-ear headphones really don’t work well on airplanes. Except perhaps on the very quietest new airliners, the droning, low-frequency noise of jet engines tends to drown out the midrange and treble of conventional over- or on-ear headphones, forcing you to crank the volume to ear-straining levels. Headphones equipped with active noise canceling can reduce this ambient low-frequency noise by 10-40dB, making it easier to hear your music and movies and, in my experience, reducing the fatigue of airline travel.
A little over a year ago, I seemed to run into Bluetooth minispeakers everywhere. Somehow, I missed the Koss BTS1. Koss is known for making affordable, high-quality headphones -- they have dozens of models -- but the BTS1 ($59.99 USD) is their only Bluetooth speaker of any size. Since the various Koss headphones I’ve tried over the past six months have all proved splendid, I jumped at the chance to review this tiny speaker.
NuPrime Audio continues to carve out its own unique path since being spun off from NuForce (now owned by Optoma, an international manufacturer of video projectors). While Optoma NuForce continues to make lower-priced audio products, NuPrime concentrates on designing components of higher performance yet still high value, including amplifiers based on the highly respected, proprietary class-D architecture first developed by NuForce. One of NuPrime’s first products was the IDA-16 integrated amplifier-DAC ($2600 USD), reviewed for SoundStage! Access in January by Vince Hanada, who liked it so much that he bought the review sample.
Mindless Records/Virgin EMI 2361502
To hear Keith Richards tell the story -- as he does in a new Netflix documentary called Keith Richards: Under the Influence -- Crosseyed Heart came about because he said something outlandish to Steve Jordan, the longtime drummer for Richards’s side project, the X-Pensive Winos. What on earth could Richards -- who, for more than 50 years, has set the bar high for outlandish behavior -- have said to create such a reaction? According to Jordan, Richards -- having now documented his turbulent past in an autobiography and with the Rolling Stones spending more time off the road than on it -- mused about retirement.
I think I like reviewing headphones and mobile audio gear more than I do full-size hi-fi components. The thrill of unboxing a new set of speakers retreats pretty quickly once the outriggers are hooked up, minute adjustments are made to toe-in angles, and the speaker cables are attached. But you live with a pair of headphones. You touch them, grab them, adjust them, and, most important, wear them -- they’re almost as much a fashion accessory as a watch or a pair of eyeglasses. Top-quality appearance and sound are necessary but not sufficient. The quality, durability, and comfort of the materials, the feel of the controls, become much more meaningful when they’re part of a device you physically interact with multiple times a day. A loudspeaker merely shouts at you from a distance.
François Truffaut’s Valentine to Movies Is a Winner on Blu-ray
The Criterion Collection 769
François Truffaut (1932-1984) achieved recognition in 1959 with his first feature film, The 400 Blows. After that, his career went up and down, albeit with more hits than misses. In the US of the 1960s and 70s, he was largely considered an "art house" director, and film critics and connoisseurs revered his films more than did the general public. One thing that shines through many of his works was his intense love of movies. This message was so clear that another lover of movies, Steven Spielberg, cast him as an actor in his Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
My recent review of the AudioQuest NightHawk headphones, and a survey of open-back headphones priced below $500 got me thinking again about breaking in headphones and speakers. AudioQuest says the NightHawks require 150 hours of break-in. That’s not an uncommon assertion: HiFiMan, too, recommends 150 hours of break-in for its headphones. The idea that headphones and speakers require break-in is generally accepted among audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts. The practice may seem harmless, but I think it might influence buying decisions in unsuspected ways.
I’ve been a great admirer of Outdoor Tech.’s imagination and innovation in producing products unlike everyone else’s. They’ve done it again with the Tuis headphones ($129.95 USD), but this time their efforts have not been as successful.