Headphone Amp/DAC Reviews

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Doug Newcomb  |  Jun 06, 2012  |  1 comments

Summer’s here, and it’s time to hit the road. Automotive entertainment used to be restricted to radio and whatever you brought onboard in the form of prerecorded music — from 8-tracks to discs and later iPods. But now that smartphones and tablets have made Internet connectivity possible in the car, a whole new world of content has opened up on the road.

We gathered five of the coolest connected- car gadgets and took them out for a shakedown cruise.

Michael Berk  |  Apr 23, 2012  |  0 comments

The dirty little secret of the iOS aftermarket accessory world (at least where audiophiles are concerned) is that Apple's various bricks and slabs actually sound fairly good out of the box. Output impedance of the headphone jack is comfortably low (around 5 ohm for iPods and iPads most cases, below 1 ohm for the iPhone 4/4s), the onboard DAC isn't a slouch - totally adequate for on-the-go, and for everyday desktop listening, you could do a lot worse.

But that might not be enough for you.

Daniel Kumin  |  Apr 03, 2012  |  0 comments

I have seen the future, and it is wireless. Wireless data, wireless music, wireless speakers, wireless keyboards, and now, wireless HDMI hi-def video. (Of course, all these things still need to be plugged into the wall, for AC power. Perhaps, somewhere on the Other Side, Nikola Tesla is still working on that.)

Wireless HDMI gets us that much closer to the Jetsonian ideal of the sheet-of-glass video screen floating unencumbered on a wall – without having to tear down that wall to run wires.

Michael Berk  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments

IT’S CLEAR THAT since the dawn of the iPod era, listeners and manufacturers alike have been struggling to figure out what kind of gear makes the most sense for a musical universe dominated by iTunes, and the rise of Apple rivals and music-streaming services has made matters even more confusing.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Mar 20, 2012  |  0 comments

While the hype at CES this year was all about OLED, 4K, and bigger TVs, a quiet revolution began in the interaction department. LG and Samsung both announced new ways to control TVs using facial and speech recognition, or even just a wave of your hand.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Feb 13, 2012  |  0 comments

There is a way to make your music sound better. Well, OK, there are LOTS of ways to make your music sound better. If you're looking to improve your digital music, beyond new speakers, amps, and so on is a bit of technological wonder called the DAC, or Digital/Analog Converter. This is what turns your music files into something analog you can actually hear.

Receivers these days tend to have built in DACs, but just because they're there doesn't necessarily mean they're any good. A great sounding DAC can smooth out your digital audio, making it sound more natural and realistic.

Firestone Audio's tiny ILTW packs a lot into a tiny frame, for not a lot of money.

Brent Butterworth  |  Dec 21, 2011  |  0 comments

Most headphone amps aren’t made for the way we use headphones. Even many small models are too big to slip comfortably into a pocket. And most require power from an AC wall wart or a USB port. What use is that when you’re stuck in seat 34B of a Boeing 757, miles above Enid, Oklahoma, struggling to get better sound from your smartphone?

Michael Berk  |  Dec 14, 2011  |  0 comments

Cable cutting. You've probably begun the process already, even if you haven't gone all the way - think about how often you turn to Netflix, or Amazon, or Hulu Plus. And despite the panicked efforts of networks and providers nationwide, when are you watching live TV, exactly, aside from sports?

SV Staff  |  Nov 21, 2011  |  0 comments

Every year around this time, the editors and writers of Sound+Vision put their heads together to come up with a list of the best gift ideas for the holiday season.

Michael Berk  |  Nov 16, 2011  |  0 comments

Over the past couple of weeks Hewlett Packard has rolled out a huge pile of new consumer products, among them a clutch of all-in-ones, touchscreen PCs and tablets, Beats-enhanced laptops, and even a curious little Wi-Fi mouse.

Michael Berk  |  Nov 02, 2011  |  0 comments

When Atari's Greatest Hits made its way into the App Store this past April, retro-oriented gaming geeks worldwide - especially those who'd never been quite geeky enough to seek out ROMs to run on the open-source MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) - rejoiced.

Brent Butterworth  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  0 comments

The iPod just turned 10, and I sure feel sorry for my old standby. It’s still working fine, but I know I’ll never own another one. Since I got my Motorola Droid Pro smartphone, the iPod lives in a drawer.

Michael Berk  |  Oct 25, 2011  |  0 comments

British manufacturer Monitor Audio has a deserved reputation for well-designed, high-performing speaker systems, and the latest offerings in the company's line of iOS device docks, the i-deck 100 and 200, follow in those footsteps. And now they can be yours.

Michael Berk  |  Oct 21, 2011  |  0 comments

The Peel universal remote is a combo platter including a transmitter and receiver that keeps in touch with your home network via ZigBee and passes on commands to your gear via IR, operated via a free app for 

John Sciacca  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments

Peanut butter and chocolate. Wine and cheese. Lennon and McCartney. Some things are great on their own, but when they meet their perfect counterpart, the result can be pure magic.

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