GRACE NOTES

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
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.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 18, 2017  |  0 comments
Smart speakers are all the rage at the moment, and companies can’t afford to let customers slip away. I had a chance to check out the new Amazon Echo ($100, currently discounted to $80) complete with the updated software that improves audio performance.

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  |  Oct 13, 2014  |  0 comments
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. True that. However, you usually can assume quite a bit by that cover. When I first saw the Harman Kardon Esquire Mini portable Bluetooth speaker ($150), I knew it was something special. Very few speakers can compete with the looks of this one; and on an executive’s desk, looks do matter.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 05, 2012  |  0 comments

The iFrogz Boost is a small, very portable speaker that claims to magically boost the sound from an iPhone, or any smartphone or other device with an external speaker. I have to be skeptical of any product that uses the word "magical" on their packaging - unless it's a "As Seen on TV" product, which everyone knows are all magical.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Sep 30, 2013  |  0 comments
Every morning, my inbox is filled with press release after press release announcing some new Bluetooth wireless speaker. Everybody seems to be making them, and every company is trying to find an edge—some way to elevate themselves above the fray. Different shapes, multiple colors, small or large, they all do the same thing. But the Lyrix Duo caught my eye as something different, something unique. I needed to find out if different is also good.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  0 comments
Face it: life can be hard for our favorite gadgets. I love my gear, but admittedly, I’m not as gentle with it as I should be. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active was made for people exactly like me. I lead an active life, and my electronics need to be up for the challenge. I ride my bike almost daily, kayak, and hike as often as I can – either along a mountain creek or along the beach. I need my phone (which these days is my camera, music player, and laptop too) to stand up to the rigors of dirt, water, rugged terrain, and less glamorously, sweat. I took the Galaxy S6 Active along this summer to see if it was as active as I needed it to be.

SV Staff  |  Aug 14, 2013  |  0 comments
Can a high-end headphone manufacturer appeal to mainstream listeners? Oh yeah!

Pages

X
-->