Newest Updates - Quick View
- Marshall Headphones Mode EQ Earphones
- Why Headphone Amps Drive Me Nuts
- Music Everywhere: Philips BT3500B Bluetooth Speaker
- Francis Albert Sinatra: A Centennial Worth Celebrating
- "Sullivan's Travels"
- IsoAcoustics is the Real Deal
- NAD Masters Series M17 Surround-Sound Processor
- "The Soft Skin"
- We Need a New Definition of "Audiophile"
- NAD Masters Series M27 Seven-Channel Amplifier
It seems that every audio-electronics company now feels it should offer a headphone amplifier. Many headphone manufacturers have introduced their own amps. New companies have been formed solely to launch headphone amps. Even cable companies have gotten into the act. For a niche product in a category that barely existed ten years ago, and that for most situations isn’t required, headphone amps are sure getting a lot of attention. It drives me crazy.
The Philips BT3500B is another Bluetooth speaker worth considering if you’re in the market for a smaller model you can carry in one hand from room to patio to porch. It has surprisingly good sound for such a little fella, and its retro design will appeal to many buyers. And at $79.99 USD, it constitutes good value for dollar.
Marshall Headphones Mode EQ measurements can be found by clicking this link.
How many new consumer-audio brands have emerged in the last seven years or so? I doubt anyone’s counted, but I bet the number has at least doubled, and perhaps tripled. With so many new marques emerging, the entry of the legendary guitar-amp brand Marshall Amplification into consumer audio didn’t get as much attention as it probably would have 15 years ago. That’s sad, because it deserves better.
December 12 of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francis Albert Sinatra, one of the 20th century’s most outstanding artists. During his life he was a multiple threat who rode the crests of amazing waves of popularity -- as a live entertainer, a recording artist of popular music, and a film actor, producer, and even director. Sinatra’s presence in the culture was ubiquitous -- it would probably be impossible to find anyone in North America who didn’t know of the man and his work.
This Preston Sturges Masterpiece Still Entertains
The Criterion Collection 118
Sullivan’s Travels opens with the last scene from a movie that director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) is showing to his studio bosses as an example of a socially responsible film. Sullivan has apparently been making comedies and feels that he should go for something deeper. Against everyone’s advice, he decides to go out in the world dressed as a hobo, to do research on the poor so as to accurately portray them in his projected film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Joel and Ethan Coen paid tribute to Sullivan’s Travels’ writer and director, Preston Sturges, and Sullivan by using this as the title for their movie starring George Clooney, made in 2000.)
Having established, over the past 40 years, an excellent reputation for manufacturing affordable yet high-quality audio gear, NAD has recently gained the attention of audiophiles with their Masters Series models, most of them priced at a few thousand dollars -- relatively expensive for NAD models, but not when compared to gear from many specialty-audio makers. And, like other NAD products, the Masters Series models have already become known among audiophiles for providing excellent performance and value, even at their higher prices.
Truffaut Channeling Hitchcock
The Criterion Collection 749
When it was first shown in 1964, The Soft Skin (French title: La peau douce) was a big flop. Audiences who had cheered for François Truffaut's previous films -- The 400 Blows (1959), Shoot the Piano Player (1960), and Jules and Jim (1962) -- didn't know what to make of a typical love-triangle story. I remember being somewhat cold to it myself. But history has been kind to the movie; it has acquired a following among cinema fans, and we can now see that though its story might be typical, its execution is anything but ordinary.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition defines audiophile as “a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction.” The word first appeared in print in 1951, in an era in which audio gear bore little resemblance to what we use today. Since then, the working definition of audiophile also seems to have changed. Look on any online audio forum, or in the comments section of an audio blog, and you’ll see that the word is now commonly used to mean “a person who believes certain things about audio.”
This reviewer is never so happy as when he’s blown away by a real bargain. I expected little when I first put on Monoprice’s 10585 Bluetooth headphones ($89.50 USD). Then I began to gush. “Whaaattt!?” “Oh, my!” Other complimentary exclamations followed . . .
Unpacking and contents
The Monoprice 10585s come in an attractive, low-key, quality looking outer sleeve. Lift that off to reveal a sturdy, black, cigar-box-quality case with a hinged lid secured by a magnetic clasp. Flip this open to find the headphones and accessories, protected by a clear plastic cover. It’s all simple, neat, and attractive. Also included are a USB-to-USB Micro charging cable, a 3.5mm stereo audio cable, a quick-start instruction manual, and a drawstring storage pouch of black plastic.
Recently, my attention has been captured by some Direct Digital integrated amplifier-DACs: NAD’s Masters Series M2 and C 390DD. My own budget reference, the NuForce DDA-100, is of similar design. Each of these models sounds fantastic for its price, and I like the idea of keeping the signal entirely in the digital domain, right up until the speaker outputs.
When NAD announced the newest power amplifiers in their top line, the Masters Series, I was surprised to learn that they would be class-D amps with conventional analog inputs, not Direct Digital designs. Also offered are the matching Masters Series M12 stereo digital preamplifier-DAC and M17 surround processor, but these link to the new Masters Series power amps only via analog RCA or XLR connections.