GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 28, 2014  |  0 comments
It’s possible that you’ve never heard of Bayan Audio. The company is better known in the UK, where it has built a solid reputation. Now, Bayan is bringing two new products to North America. The Soundbook and Soundbook X3 are portable Bluetooth speakers packed with some very cool features in very impressive packages. Can they make the jump over the pond and land with a big enough splash in an already crowded speaker market?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 14, 2014  |  0 comments
As someone whose life seems to revolve around the outdoors, I’m all ears whenever I hear about a new “active” piece of electronics gear. The new BlueAnt PUMP HD wireless waterproof sportbud promised to deliver audiophile-grade performance in a rugged, IP67-waterproof rated Bluetooth-compatible package.As soon as it arrived, I charged it up and hit my favorite bike trail.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 24, 2014  |  7 comments
There are lots of ways to get television content into your home, and everyone makes it seem like it’s a simple matter of literally cutting the cord. Get your entertainment from online streaming, and use a pair of rabbit ears to get your local news fix. Easy, right? If you live in or near a big city, that may be true. But having recently left urbania for smalltown USA, I can attest that it’s not so easy after all when the nearest TV towers are miles and miles away. When Winegard announced FlatWave, a new line of flat, passive or powered HDTV antennas, I was all ears.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 24, 2014  |  3 comments
Life is good. Having just moved into a house with a room for a dedicated home theater, it was time to get set up. More to the point, time for shopping. Usually, the last thing I want to do is to buy furniture, but the search for the perfect chairs for my home theater became my quest. Seeking perfection, I pored over furniture catalogs, websites and scoured any furniture in my path. A woman’s home theater is her castle, right? I already had furnished my girl-cave, I mean home office, and the A/V room, although last on the decorating list, was in my mind, the most crucial.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 09, 2014  |  1 comments
Live TV is one of the most anxiety-inducing tasks facing artists, producers, and engineers, not to mention corporate and political types. In the past two weeks, the NFL’s cash cow, the Super Bowl on Fox and Russia’s pride and joy, the Olympic’s Opening Ceremonies on NBC tried their darndest to impress the world. Both the NFL and Russia took extreme precautions to ensure a flawless show. But in the end, the best way to wow the crowd is to fake it.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 20, 2014  |  1 comments
The new Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphone takes everything I loved about the original Momentum over-ear headphone and puts it in a smaller, infinitely more stylish and affordable package. Coming in a range of colors, and at a lower price, this headphone retains the sound quality and voice of the original but makes it more accessible to more people.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 23, 2013  |  1 comments
Hitting the market this late in the game, Amped Wireless better have something special with their BTSA1 Bluetooth speaker adapter. Yes, like so many other adapters, it lets you to turn any audio playback system into a Bluetooth-enabled system. But the adapter also delivers a few unexpected, and welcome, surprises.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 09, 2013  |  3 comments
“When Britain first, at heaven's command, arose from out the azure main, this was the charter, the charter of the land, and guardian angels sang this strain: Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!”

Those lyrics, set to rousing music by James Thomson in 1740, declared that Great Britain was the emerging world superpower. Fulfilling the patriotic acclaim of the song, Britain did indeed soon rule the waves, and in fact, the sun never set on the British Empire. Similarly, Sony Corporation ruled the waves of consumer electronics....

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 25, 2013  |  0 comments
48 years after its release in 1965, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” finally has an official music video. Well, actually, it has an infinite number of videos. The digital media company Interlude Studios has created a totally unique interactive video for Dylan’s classic that turns channel-surfing into a mind-blowing experience.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 28, 2013  |  2 comments
Iconic indie-rocker Lou Reed passed away at the age of 71 on Sunday, October 27th from complications after a recent liver transplant. Reed was married to experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson. Although Reed had only a single top-ten hit, he will be remembered for so much more.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 14, 2013  |  0 comments
We love our devices. Love ‘em! When we first get them, we baby them. But the reality is, sooner or later, life happens. Phones slip through our fingers, fall out of pockets, and drop into water or worse. And heaven help them from the atrocities inflicted by active folks—rain-soaked armbands, sweaty bike jersey pockets, damp backpacks, and the occasional boogie board ride in the Atlantic. One solution is to encase them. Thus “protective covers” abound. Unfortunately, those cases often muffle or kill the features we use the most. What to do?

Leslie Shapiro, Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  0 comments
The year is 1976, when sex was safe and racing was dangerous. The Formula One World Championship is up for grabs, and it’s a grudge match. British race driver James Hunt goes mano a mano with Austrian race driver Niki Lauda, both driving pedal to the metal, with absolutely no margin for error and loving every minute of it. As Hunt explains, “The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel.” Director Ron Howard accelerates out of his comfort zone, and you’re sitting beside him, on the ride of your life.

SV Staff  |  Sep 06, 2013  |  0 comments
Riddick is an intergalactic murderous badass. When things start to go south, he’s your best and only hope.
SV Staff  |  Aug 14, 2013  |  0 comments
Can a high-end headphone manufacturer appeal to mainstream listeners? Oh yeah!
Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 14, 2013  |  0 comments

Sennheiser has long been a fixture in the professional audio and high-end audiophile market. I've used my Sennheiser HD 595 and HD 600 Open Dynamic headphones for many applications - in the studio for reference monitoring, for sound quality consulting, and for audio forensics. When Sennheiser announced the Momentum series, I was instantly curious about these affordable, fashionable, and (somewhat) portable headphones. Would they live up to the brand's reputation?

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