Leslie Shapiro

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 05, 2019  |  0 comments
They say you get what you pay for. With budget audio products, that’s rarely a good thing. Finding a pair of true wireless earphones for under $50 is a rare thing, and finding ones with acceptable sound quality is even rarer. I had a chance to check out the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 earphones that retail for $45. Let’s see what just under fifty bucks gets you these days.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-quality DAC
Alexa voice control
Includes headphone amp
Minus
Cumbersome input selection
No aptX Bluetooth
No hardware remote control

THE VERDICT
The Amazon Echo Link Amp offers an easy way to connect music streaming services to your existing stereo speakers.

With the new Amazon Echo Link Amp ($299), Amazon is sending Alexa off into unchartered territory. The goal: get music out of the phone and into the home, where it can be shared with family and friends. Such a warm, fuzzy idea! Good thing the Link Amp's sound is crisp, clear, and not fuzzy at all.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 15, 2019  |  0 comments
As a long-time subscriber to SiriusXM, I tend to ignore emails and notices from them. I pay and renew every six months and forget about them in between payment dates. So I’m glad I spotted the latest email from them because they’ve announced a host of new features, stations, and exciting new ways to listen to SiriusXM outside of the car.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 01, 2019  |  0 comments
When you’re going truly wireless, your only option is to use Bluetooth, so it has to be the best quality that Bluetooth affords. The new Cleer Ally earphones use Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, so for the moment, they're pretty much as good as it gets.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 17, 2019  |  0 comments
While researching noise-cancelling headphones, I kept reading comparison after comparison with the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones. Needless to say, I had to try out the Sony headphones on a trip and see for myself. Were they as good as other reviewers made them out to be? Will they become my new favorites? Here’s a hint: the hype is real.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 12, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $499 (BAR 400), $499 (MusicCast 50)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
MusicCast 50 can be used for wireless surround
DTS Virtual:X simulated surround processing
Simple setup with multi-room capability
Minus
Unnecessarily complicated user controls
No Chromecast built-in

THE VERDICT
A powerful system with expansive sound and deep bass that's further enhanced by the addition of Yamaha's MusicCast 50 as a wireless surround speaker.

At just under $500, Yamaha's MusicCast BAR 400 soundbar/subwoofer system is a great value. When you add the company's MusicCast 50 wireless speaker ($499) to use for surrounds, you get a stellar wireless 5.1 system that creates an immersive experience while easily integrating with your streaming music apps. The system connects via Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 03, 2019  |  0 comments
When Dirac Research releases a new product, it always causes our ears to perk up. The company that made great strides in reference room-correction software has just released Dirac 3D Audio, an software solution that delivers 360-degree surround sound via any standard headphone or gaming headset.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 20, 2019  |  0 comments
I’ve got an insanely long airplane trip coming up and, no surprise, my very first thought was, which noise-canceling headphones should I bring for the flight? Great news for me; Jabra just released the Elite 85h. Besides having a sound that competes with the best ANC headphones out there, they’re the only ones with enough battery life to last for my entire journey. Let’s see if they sound good enough to stay on my packing list.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 06, 2019  |  0 comments
I’ve always wanted to be a hipster. However, the reality is that I’m too curvy for skinny jeans, I like having brakes and gears on my bicycle, and I prefer Nespresso’s convenience to single-origin third wave pour-over coffee. And while I appreciate vinyl, I equally appreciate the convenience and portability of digital music files. How do I get my music both ways? With the Denon DP-450USB turntable that easily creates WAV or MP3 files from my beloved vinyl collection, I can get my music however I want. Totally hip.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Apr 22, 2019  |  3 comments
There’s no denying that a killer song makes any workout better. Music is an integral part of most workouts — nobody prefers working out in silence. But, at what price? Peloton Interactive, leader of the upscale indoor cycling fad sweeping the nation is finding out that nothing in life is free, especially music. The biggest appeal of Peloton might be their large selection of online video classes that feature fabulous soundtracks. Too bad they (allegedly) aren’t paying for the music.

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