Orbital posts on CNET

Orbital

How to make LPs sound better than ever

The vinyl boom isn't slowing. Here in NYC, Rough Trade opened a new 15,000-square-foot record store, and the display space is evenly split between LPs and CDs. Vinyl sales were up 18 percent in 2012, and that growth continued in 2013.

To get the best sound from an LP, you need a decent turntable, and the $179 U Turn Orbit I reviewed a few months ago would be a great place to start. The $449 Rega RP1 turntable will get you even closer to audiophile nirvana.

After you buy a nice 'table the next question will be, how … Read more

The 404 1,401: Where we get in the groove with Steve Guttenberg (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- U-Turn Orbit: An audiophile-quality turntable for $179.

- Steven's Koss Pro4AA Titanium review.

- MDR SA5000: Sony's classic, audiophile-grade, full-size headphone.

- Why open a huge new record store in 2013?

- New Spotify report debunks "per stream" payments for artists.

- Check out Fuse's awesome video series about obsessive record collectors.

- The Wrecking Crew: The best-selling band you've never heard of.… Read more

U-Turn Orbit: An audiophile-quality turntable for $179

Most cheap turntables sound cheap -- they're rumbly, thin and distorted -- but the U-Turn Orbit Basic suffers no such faults. Before the $179 Orbit's debut, audiophile turntable prices started at around $400. And while used turntables might be a way to get into vinyl for less, turntables are rather delicate devices, so used buys can be risky. If you're ready to take the plunge and explore new vinyl frontiers, you need a decent turntable to hear what the fuss is all about. The Orbit Basic will take you there.

I first heard about the Orbit when … Read more

SpaceX's Falcon 9 successfully blasts into outer space

As the saying goes, the third time's a charm.

The conditions were perfect, wind was down, temperatures were moderate, and SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch out of Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was a success on Tuesday.

"Mission confirmed," announced ground control once the rocket was safely past Earth's atmosphere. Roughly 45 minutes after launch, the rocket had finished safely putting its satellite into orbit.

"Spacecraft separation confirmed!" SpaceX tweeted. "SES-8 is now in its targeted GEO transfer orbit."… Read more

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch called off again

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was slated to hurtle into outer space on Monday, but unusual pressure readings canceled the launch. Then, Falcon 9 was scheduled to have a famed Thanksgiving Day liftoff; but, once again, the flight was nixed -- this time due to unexplained technical issues.

It's been a tough week for SpaceX, but that hasn't deterred the company from working to get its rocket aloft. SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk took to Twitter after the second canceled launch on Thursday to say that the company was playing it safe.

"We called manual abort. … Read more

Review: If it's astrological, then Astrolog can probably handle it

Astrolog is for the true astrology follower. It's much more than a horoscope calculator. It boasts wheels, aspects, midpoints, relationship charts, biorhythms, alternative zodiacs, and much more. Its celestial tools include local horizon, constellations, astrography, and planetary orbits, with ephemeris (astronomical positions) for 8,400 years. Astrolog handles scripts and macros and exports charts and images. Astrolog 5.40 is open-source freeware for Windows NT to 8, including Server versions.

Astrolog's user interface reminds us of colored chalk on the blackboard; and yes, that's good. The main window opened with the default chart, the traditional Zodiac for … Read more

Heads up! 'Space Ferrari' set to fall back to Earth

The European Space Agency and gravity are about to make it rain... pieces of a sporty-looking spacecraft all over the atmosphere and perhaps even on the surface of the Earth.

The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, has been orbiting our planet since March 2009 at a relatively low altitude to map variations in Earth's gravity in great detail. But the satellite, nicknamed the "Ferrari of Space" for its sleek, atmospheric drag-reducing structure, is about to run out of fuel and make a 130-mile descent towards Earth.… Read more

NASA probe takes off to solve moon dust mystery

There's a bizarre glow on the moon and scientists have launched a probe to figure out what it is.

A Minotaur V rocket roared into the skies above Virginia late Friday carrying the super sleuth robot, NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which will examine the moon's infinitesimal atmosphere and dust.

The $280 million mission began with a textbook launch, visible to millions along the East Coast, as the probe was carried aloft at 11:27 p.m. ET from Pad 0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. … Read more

From $99 and up, audio component manufacturing is returning to the U.S.

We don't manufacture TVs, computers, cameras, or phones in the U.S., and American audio companies have been outsourcing production for years, but it's starting to come back. Not just for ultra-high-end products -- Schiit Audio's $99 Magni headphone amp and $99 digital converter were designed and built here. Magnepan, Tekton, and Zu Audio are all making affordable high-end speakers in the U.S. And this past Wednesday, Dan Laufman, president of Jade Design, announced the acquisition of Bob Carver, LLC, a manufacturer of tube amplifiers.

I've interviewed Bob Carver a number of times -- he … Read more

Review: Orbit Downloader downloads batch files quickly, but comes with junkware

Orbit Downloader makes it easy to download lots of files, but it's not really worth all of the junkware it packages with it. There are almost a half-dozen different programs and toolbars this download will try to add. Even the program, itself, is riddled with ads for other programs you don't want. The small boost in features isn't enough to justify this download.

This program throws more junk programs at you during the install than you could ever count. Even if you opt out of all of them, one or two will still randomly start installing themselves … Read more