dr. dre

Get an HTC Evo 4G and one year of service for $159

I've always said that I don't mind spending a couple hundred bucks for a smartphone -- it's the service that kills me. Paying $80 per month for a mandatory minimum of two years is not my idea of a great deal.

There are, of course, less expensive alternatives, but you're always going to be on the hook for some kind of monthly fee, right?

Wrong: For a limited time, StackSocial has a refurbished HTC Evo 4G smartphone with one year of service for $159 shipped.

What kind of service? Unlimited talk. Unlimited texting. And 500MB of … Read more

The 404 1,353: Where we go 50 light-years away from Steve Guttenberg (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Bad Beats: Why was the original Beats Studio headphone so popular?

- Why is the engineer who recorded Nirvana still using analog tape?

- 40 Bowers & Wilkins speakers and the art of sound.

- I hear voices: Could highly directional sound advertising be the next big thing?… Read more

Bad Beats: Why was the original Beats Studio headphone so popular?

There's no denying the Beats by Dre Studio's success, and how it so radically changed the headphone landscape. No other headphone manufacturer could have imagined that it could sell millions of $300 headphones to non-audiophiles. Before Beats those buyers were content with cheap and utterly disposable headphones, headphones that all too often would stop working in a few months, get thrown away, and get replaced with another set of cheap headphones. Of course, those cheap headphones sounded pretty bad, so moving up to the Studio meant the sound was a revelation! Bass, dynamics, and treble detailing were so … Read more

How do you like your headphone sound: Accurate or bassy?

Most of the headphones I've tested over the years weren't designed to have a neutral balance of bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. Manufacturers are well aware that most people like bass, and that buyers tend to favor one headphone over another based on how much bass it produces. I think that's obvious, but a recent study cited in Brent Butterworth's blog countered that assumption. "The Relationship between Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality," a paper by Sean Olive and Todd Welti presented at last October's Audio Engineering Society convention found that a … Read more

The 404 1,223: Where we wear Beats By Hey Keep That Racket Down (podcast)

- Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Cook reportedly discussed music-streaming service with Beats.

- Snoop Lion reverts to canine type in video game "Way of the Dogg."

- W controller for "Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style" ain't nothing to futz with.

- Guy with Netflix tattoo gets a free year of Netflix.

- Andrew WK is now the spokesperson for Playtex Fresh + Sexy wipes.

- Bathroom break video: "Iron Man 3" trailer, remade shot for shot.… Read more

Beats' curated music service heading for summer launch

DANA POINT, Calif.--Jimmy Iovine has worked as a producer with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Lady Gaga over his 40-year career, and is currently chairman of Interscope Geffen-A&M. As a second, or companion, act he cofounded the popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphone company in 2006 because he thought the iPod earbuds were terrible.

"If Beats did anything, it got kids interested in audio again. We turned an entire generation on to sound," Iovine said in conversation with Walt Mossberg at the AllThingsD Dive Into Media conference here.

But his third act is even bolder … Read more

Ultrapixels? Karaoke? Where HTC's 'M7' could go next

HTC's rumored M7 smartphone will usher in cutting-edge audio and photography features, if recent clues are an accurate indicator. A close look at an official HTC infographic teases a "new sound and camera experience" and provides hints of what to expect.

While the last line of the infographic might be the most fun to read, it is the lead-up that tells us where HTC is focused. HTC makes a point of saying that Apple did not change the image sensor size for the iPhone 4S in 2011.

What's more, the handset maker opines that it doesn'… Read more

U.K. Olympic athletes banned from wearing Beats

Great Britain's Olympic team has been given a friendly reminder to clamp down on athletes wearing the wrong brand of headphones, after medal-chasing Olympians were spied sporting non-sponsor Beats by Dr. Dre cans.

The bass-heavy Dr. Dre brand shipped batches of its headphones to hotels where British athletes were staying, the Associated Press reports.

The Beats brand is not an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics, and as such officials were none too pleased about the company's publicity ploy. British Olympic Association spokesperson Darryl Seibel said team leaders have been reminded of "the importance of protecting … Read more

Headphone maker 'Beats' marketing rules at Olympics

File this one under M.W.A.: Marketers with attitude.

Organizers of the 2012 London Olympics are peeved at Beats Electronics, makers of the headphones that are ubiquitous in major U.S. cities, according to The Guardian and other British publications. Without the company ponying up the money to become an official sponsor of the games, Beats' headphones still managed to find their way onto the ears of Olympic athletes, who during the games are some of the most watched people on the planet.

That makes them very valuable human billboards.

Officials from the International Olympic Committee are looking into … Read more

Sources: HTC did not meet financial obligations to Beats

HTC's abrupt change in course on Beats Electronics is more about HTC's internal troubles than anything involving the audio company, sources close to the negotiations told CNET.

Last August, Beats, a maker of popular headphones that was co-founded by rapper and music producer Dr. Dre and music impresario Jimmy Iovine, sold 50.1 percent of the company to the Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets for $300 million. On Saturday, HTC said in a prepared statement that it was selling half of that stake back for $150 million.

But in the year since taking majority control of the … Read more