Archive for the ‘Audiophile’ Category

Grado comes inside with the GR8

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To any new or seasoned audiophile, the name Grado is more than likely a familiar friend. Highly regarded for their pure, open, and airy reproduction of music means many have made the higher end headsets their own. In the age of mobility and always on the go lifestyles, ear buds have caught on. Many high end manufacturers such as Ultimate Ears, Shure, Sennheiser, as well as many others can now look forward to a new competitor in the marketplace: Grado. While Grado has neglected this particular niche of the market, they are finally answering many individuals’ pleas and coming out swinging with the GR8.

As far as looks go, you won’t be impressed nor will you gush over any chique design elements. But these are headphones people. Headphones should have only one priority — sounding as best as possible for the money. The single armature Grados aim to please with features such as 20Hz-20,000Hz frequency response, 118db/1mw sensitivity, 120ohm impedance, 20mW power output, and 51″ long cable. Several different sizes and styles of ear tips are of couse included ensuring you get the best possible seal. Is the $300 asking price worth it?

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Source: Engadget

Ultimate Ears releasing UE-4 Pro Custom Ear Monitors

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If you are an audiophile, musician, or all around music lover who is constantly on the go, big, bulky headphones are unwieldy and cumbersome to have to carry around. Because of this, many people turn to ear buds or in-ear headphones to get that mobile ease they’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, when shrinking drivers to fit inside of tiny earbuds, sound quality is often a feature that gets skimped on. Of course, you can always whip open your wallet and give your credit card a flogging by picking up some pricier yet amazing sound choices from the likes of Ultimate Ears, Shure, Etymotics, Audio Technica, and Westone just to name a few, but those often come with much higher price tags. Also to consider, human beings and their ears are differ vastly that even with various sizes of ear tips getting a good seal to truly hear the earphones at their best is next to impossible. What is an earphone audiophile/musician/music lover to do? Ultimate Ears has a new more affordable option for you by way of the UE-4 PRO Custom Ear Monitors.

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Turn your old Cowon X5 into a Compact Flash toting powerhouse of audio nirvana and flash goodness

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For many, MP3 player is synonymous with iPod.  However, in terms of audio quality, the iPod is far from the top of the heap.  Back when hard drive mp3 players were big, units such as the Rio Karma, iRiver iHP-120 (my favorite…mine still works), and Cowon’s X5 were the real kings of audio when actual audio quality was considered - something that seems to have fallen by the wayside today.  If you want to bring some new school love to an old friend, in this case an old Cowon X5, reinvent your dying love with some new compact flash goodness.  Of course this is a DIY project and as always you run the risk of rendering your precious sound gem into a nice heavy ‘ol paper weight.  But it’s all good.  Just think, with dual CF to IDE connectors, you can pair together two 32GB CF cards and have a 64gig CF X5 monster with storage and awesome sound to boot.  Willing to take the risk? Come inside for a quick blurb on the Frankenstein project as well as some pictures of the madness in action.

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MP3HD the successor to MP3?

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What do you think of when you hear MP3?  For some, they think of portable music players, online music stores, and NOT CD’s.  For others, they think of crappy low quality over priced junk.  The bittersweet existence of MP3 constantly pulls at the heartstrings of the occupants of planet earth.  On one hand, it makes the .WAV files on CD’s much smaller meaning you can take a boat load with you on your MP3 player.  However, on the other hand, it strips away parts of your music, granted, depending on the quality of the encoder and bit rate the quality of the file will also change.  Still, even a high quality MP3 file is nothing like a full quality .WAV or lossless FLAC file.  Thomson, one of the original creators of the now common place MP3 format announced yesterday a new “next gen” format: MP3 HD.  What is MP3 HD?  Come inside for the sonic rundown.

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Kids of today: “mp3′s sound great!”

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I would consider myself an audiophile.  I love music, all kinds spanning across many genres and many languages.  Whenever I hear someone blare a song that is of horrible quality, it makes me wince and I find myself noting every flaw that I can hear.  When possible I try to get at least 256kbps mp3 or even better…AAC for my music downloads that go on my portable devices.  For desktop use I use flac as I have several terabytes of storage so I have more than enough room for the large file sizes.  However, I am apparently of a dying breed.  According to an article on Oreilly, the younger generation that is leading the digital music revolution could more or less care less about audio quality as they think mp3′s sound perfect.  Now granted, if you have a 320kbs mp3 file, I even have a hard time discerning it from a lossless file many times.  But it’s sad and shocking a the same time.  How can they think that a low quality mp3 file is good?  It’s nothing to lose sleep over really as long as when the music industry eventually moves to a more digital only method in the year 3011 that they don’t forget the loyal and vocal audiophile group out there.  But the article brings up an interesting point; do the “audiophiles” of a particular time period gravitate towards the method of transmission that was available at the time?  For the golden oldies it is vinyl and large file sizes.  For the new generation it is either flac, aac, or mp3 with an mp3 player of some sort.  Clearly very different formats each having their pros and cons.  What are your thoughts.  Do you think audiophiles are a bunch of quacks?  Or do their arguments have some merit?  What are you?  I highly encourage you to stop by Oreilly as the article is a very good read that will make you sit back and ponder about all things digital.

 

Source: Tech Dirt

New Blu-ray audio format shown at CES by Pioneer/TAD

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If you have any friends or family that consider themselves “audiophiles”, then you will know how picky and selective they can be with anything regarding music, whether it is creating it or listening to it.  A subsidiary of Pioneer, TAD, has developed a new 2-channel audio format for Blu-ray discs that they claim “rivals 2-channel analog sound”.  Now a small claim by any means!  The format is as of writing still unnamed, however you can get a listen and I’m sure a technical rundown of it at CES where it is being displayed by Sheffiield Labs’ Bill Schene and Doug Sax.  The duo has picked out several cuts to be played on uber expensive and pro-level TAD equipment.

Source: Engadget, TAD Home Audio *pic*

AKG headphones coming to the U.S.

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As I’ve said before I would consider myself seven and a half tenths of an audiophile.  Not 100% there, but close.  I’ve heard many headphones from Shure, Sennheiser, Ultimate Ears, and Westone.  One brand I have always been intrigued in but never had the opportunity to listen to is AKG.  They have won various awards, as well as been highly praised on audiophile forums such as Head Fi.   AKG however was only available online used as they didn’t ship to the U.S.  That has all changed.  Today at Macworld, AKG announced they are bringing not just one, two, or even 5 new models, try 12+!  The 12+ AKG models will come in many different styles including ear buds, in-canal phones, over ear headphones, and mini headphones.  All listeners from casual to audiophile are going to be taken care of.  Unfortunately we have to wait a little longer as AKG stated the release date won’t come until March.  Click through to see all the models coming to the U.S. +Continue Reading