GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 06, 2016  |  2 comments
There are moments that stand out in most people’s lives. Where you were you when you heard John Lennon was shot. Your first kiss. The moment when you first heard high-fidelity music, and it was so profound that it changed the course of your life.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 07, 2016  |  0 comments
The Onkyo DP-X1 is a powerful pocket-size portable digital audio player. Expandable up to 432 GB with two micro-SDXC slots with up to 200GB capacity each, the DP-X1 can handle hours and hours of Hi-Res audio files.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 10, 2018  |  0 comments
While many companies are producing smart speakers with added features such as built-in video screens, Onkyo is flipping the script and adding a camera and home monitoring features into the VC-FLX ($280).

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 20, 2016  |  0 comments
Every week a new pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones seem to appear on my doorstep. Usually, I have to take a long, hard look to find anything noteworthy to make one pair stand out from the others. The newly updated NuForce BE6i earphones feature aptX technology for better playback quality and that, my friends, is noteworthy enough.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Sep 07, 2015  |  0 comments
When Optoma, a home-theater projector company, and NuForce, an audio company joined forces, I’ll admit it I was initially confused. NuForce made nice, niche audio products, and Optoma is mainly only doing projectors. What would their combined efforts produce? Light-emitting earbuds? Projectors with built-in speakers? But it actually makes sense; Optoma purchased NuForce to be able to provide both excellent video and audio to consumers, and they’ve kept the high quality that you would expect from NuForce. How do two new pairs of earphones, the NE750M and the NE800M from Optoma NuForce sound? Let’s find out.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 05, 2016  |  0 comments
Most folks know that audio can only be as good as the weakest link in the supply chain; send good audio through a crappy headphone amp and it doesn’t matter how good the headphones are. It’s still going to sound like crap. Phāz Music is releasing new headphones that eliminate that problem.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 03, 2012  |  0 comments

By any measure, Disney’s enjoyable Mars epic John Carter was a fiscal fiasco, netting only $72 million in the US and $282.4 million total worldwide, barely clearing its $250 million price tag. Ouch.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 10, 2018  |  0 comments
While Alexa got her start in a speaker tower built by a company with little experience in speaker design, now she’s really getting to shine in a smart speaker from Pioneer’s Elite product designers.

 

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 09, 2016  |  1 comments
Absolute power corrupts absolutely; lack of power is just freakin’ annoying. The new Plantronics BackBeat GO 3 is a wireless, sweatproof earbud that solves the lack of power problem in a unique and clever way. The carrying case has a built-in rechargeable battery that provides the power for up to two recharges, giving the Backbeat GO 3 an extra 13 hours of playback. That’s the kind of power a girl could get used to.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 17, 2015  |  0 comments
Everything needs to be enhanced these days to stand out from the crowd—everyone needs a schtick. Potato chips need wacky truffle-oil flavoring, cars need a carbon fiber wrap, and well, most celebrities keep their plastic surgeons on speed-dial. Even headphones need a hook to make a splash in the over-saturated market. While the Plantronics BackBeat Sense wireless headphones look like ordinary headphones, they are packed with enhancements, including knowing when they’re on or off.
Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 10, 2011  |  0 comments

A few weeks ago, the blogosphere was abuzz with commentary on Netflix's impetuous decision to split into two companies: Netflix for streaming TV shows and movies, and Qwikster for home delivery of DVD and Blu-ray movies. Seems that Netflix thought better of it too.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 18, 2015  |  3 comments
Rdio isn’t new to the highly competitive streaming music market, but they just announced a new price structure that’s garnering some big interest in the music industry. Aiming for the cost-conscious consumer, Rdio has initiated a plan that’s just $3.99 per month, Rdio Select, for an ad-free experience with unlimited skips and 25 downloads. This makes it the cheapest commercial-free subscription streaming service. How does that compare to what they’ve offered before, and why should we care?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 19, 2015  |  0 comments
As you probably know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Hard to avoid the pinking of every product under the sun. While I generally oppose the “pink it and shrink it” mentality when designing products for women, I do appreciate a company that puts their money where their pink is - and donates a significant percentage of their proceeds to a cause. Scosche Industries is partnering with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to create the goPINK for Hope line of audio products and accessories. Scosche is donating 25% of all proceeds from the sale of this product line, and all goPINK products are currently discounted by 25%.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 06, 2015  |  1 comments
Standards and guidelines are a good thing. Just ask anyone who’s ever had an 11-inch long Footlong from Subway. (Subway, interestingly enough, claims that “Footlong” is a descriptive name not intended to be a measurement of length. Seriously?) As audiophiles, we need to make sure that what is called Hi-Res music, is indeed high-resolution, and not just a descriptive name. The Producers & Engineers Wing of The Recording Academy (who presents the Grammy Awards) has come up with a set of production guidelines for high-resolution music. (In full disclosure, I’ve been a voting member of The Recording Academy for over 30 years.)

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 15, 2013  |  0 comments

Alan Parsons’ Art & Science of Sound Recording is a series of videos available on DVD, online streaming, or download that offer a fascinating look into the recording industry, hosted by legendary producer, engineer and performer Alan Parsons. With years of experience at Abbey Road Studios and credits including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Parsons is an eminently qualified host.

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