audio posts on CNET

audio

A super deal on super audiophile speakers

Ah yes, the Pioneer SP-BS21-LR -- it was love at first listen back in 2011 when I reviewed it as part of Pioneer's awesome SP-PK21BS six-piece, subwoofer/satellite home-theater system. I used the SP-PK21BS package as one of my reference speaker systems in reviews after that and was always amazed by the speaker's sound and build quality. The SP-BS21-LR speakers sold for $130 a pair. It was later replaced by the SP-BS22-LR, which is the current model (the SP-PK21BS package has also been discontinued). The old and current speaker models have the same retail price, $130 a pair, … Read more

Get a Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth speaker for $99.96

First up, thanks for the incredible response to yesterday's post about Microsoft Office. Lots of good discussion, lots of very fair points on all sides. (Note that CNET's commenting system is down for the moment, so you can't add your two cents just now. Same goes for this post. Sorry about that! Hopefully it'll be sorted out soon.)

Second up, most of the Bluetooth speakers you see nowadays are of the compact, portable variety. Those can be great if you want something that can go where you go, even if it's just to different rooms … Read more

Sound bite: Despite Pono's promise, experts pan HD audio

Pono Music's roaring success on Kickstarter, raising $4.3 million so far, shows that thousands of people believe better audio quality is worth paying for.

The company -- backed by star musician Neil Young and selling a $400 digital audio player along with accompanying music -- promises people will hear a difference between Pono Music and ordinary music that's "surprising and dramatic." The company's promise is based in part on music files that can contain more data than not only conventional MP3 files, but also compact discs.

There's no doubt that highly compressed music … Read more

Get a pair of Gogroove Bluetooth headphones for $29.99 shipped

Whether you're out for a walk, doing housework, or just relaxing under a palm tree while your monkey butlers prepare mojitos (a man can dream, can't he?), there's nothing quite like a pair of untethered headphones feeding your favorite music directly to your brain. Because cords are evil. Eeeeeevil.

Hence, today's deal: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Accessory Genie has Accessory Power's Gogroove AirBand Bluetooth headphones for $29.99 shipped when you apply coupon code Airband29 at checkout. Regular price: $44.99 plus shipping! That's what I call a rockin' Cheapskate … Read more

Poll: What's your favorite audio format?

A couple of weeks ago I asked Audiophiliac readers to vote in my "What's the worst audio format?" poll, so now let's find out what you guys think is the best audio format. As in that poll, sound quality isn't the only criteria -- how you use the format and other factors may come into play.

I love vinyl but play more CDs, mostly because the selection of contemporary music is vastly greater on CD than it is on LP. I listen to Apple Lossless files on my iPod Classic when I'm on the … Read more

Can an audiophile find joy in an under $100 amplifier?

The Dayton Audio DTA-120 stereo integrated amp isn't very big, but for anyone searching for a decent amp that won't break the bank it's a real contender. First, let's look at the numbers: It's rated at 50 watts per channel for 8 ohm speakers; 60 watts per channel for 4 ohm speakers; the rear panel has stereo RCA inputs and speaker cable binding posts. The front panel has a 3.5 mm stereo minijack input, a 6.3 mm headphone jack, and a volume control. The DTA-120's extruded metal chassis feels solid, it's … Read more

Bona fide high-end, affordable in-ear headphones from Beyerdynamic

The DX 160 iE ($119) and DX 120 iE ($99) are the first in-ear headphones I've reviewed from Beyerdynamic, and they're both up there with the best I've heard in their price range. These two Beyerdynamics sound similar, but there's a bit more life and detail with the DX 160 iE's sound, so I spent more time listening with that one.

Both models come with seven different sizes of silicone tips, one pair of Comply tips, and carry cases; but neither one has a mic or phone controls. The cables are a little unusual, the … Read more

Finally, Marvel's ready for you to hear its comics (scoop)

It's a fallacy of the superhero genre that a new costume accompanies every power boost the hero earns. That's also the case with a major upgrade to Marvel Unlimited, the preferred (and only) subscription-based comics reading app for fans of Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America.

Scheduled to be announced on Sunday afternoon's Marvel panel at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, and currently live in Apple's iTunes Store, the new version of Marvel Unlimited looks a lot like the old version of Marvel Unlimited. Don't let that fool you, though, as the changes … Read more

This Android SmartWatch doesn't run Android

CNET Update examines a different breed of Android:

The Android watch has been around since before Google ever existed. Android Watches USA has made traditional timepieces under the Android brand name since 1991. And it's only now that the Florida-based company is getting into wearable tech with the Android SmartWatch. But ironically, it doesn't run Google's Android operating system. It runs the timekeeper's own software.

The CEO of Android Watches USA, Wing Liang, (an iPhone owner) said that as the smartwatch craze heats up, his company is frequently fighting to protect the Android watch trademark from … Read more

An awesome small room/high-end stereo system

One of the most important factors in selecting the right hi-fi components is room size. If you're lucky enough to have a big living space (over 500 square feet), I'd recommend floor-standing speakers. Big rooms also soak up amplifier power; smaller rooms need a lot less. Here in NYC, most folks live in small apartments, and they'll get terrific sound with midsize bookshelf speakers and small amps.

I was thinking about the stereo/room size ratio question during a recent visit to In Living Stereo, one of my favorite NYC hi-fi shops. I was listening to a … Read more