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All posts tagged "audio"

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Sweet Sound of Quality: Win a Set of $399 Audioengine A5+ Speakers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 09:00 AM


I may be selling these sites and working full time for HTC now, but who says I can't have a little more fun giving away a great prize before I go? Last week I posted about the new Audioengine A5+ powered desktop speakers; the generous folks at Audioengine have offered up a set of these new speakers for a contest. With dual inputs (3.5mm and RCA, the latter of which is easily converted to an addition 3.5mm input with a cable) and a USB charging port, the A5+ speakers are a great companion to an endless variety of devices: desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and yes, even the humble Zune. Ringing in at $399 USD, these are high-quality speakers that I guarantee will blow you away.

How do you win this contest? Simply post a comment to this discussion thread (one entry per person) telling me what your current audio solution for speakers is and how the Audioengine A5+ speakers will be better. One winner will be randomly selected from amongst all the entries and they'll get to chose either a set of black or white A5+ speakers. Due to the size and weight of this prize, it will only be shipped within the continental USA. The contest will remain open until Friday the 28th at 12 PM mountain time (GMT -7).

Best of luck everyone, and I look forward to reading some interesting entries. :-)

UPDATE: The contest is now over, and the winner is ITforSmallBiz. Thanks to everyone for entering!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Do All MP3 Players Sound Alike?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:45 AM


"Recently I read a review of an mp3 player where the author purposely chose not to discuss sound quality because, in the author’s words, 'The chosen player has a great deal to do with how you access your music, but very little to do with how it sounds…' That got me thinking. Do all mp3 players sound alike? They are all digital, so it’s the same 1’s and 0’s playing the music, so how can there be a difference in sound quality? I have tested some mp3 players myself and have noticed drastic differences. I have trouble believing that mp3 players don’t influence sound quality that much. They have different components, circuitry, software and build tolerances, so how can there not be a difference?"

Mobility Site's Steve Laser writes on a very important topic in the portable media player discussion. I seem to recall that in 2001 when the iPod came out, other players on the market were focusing on more faithfully recreating their digital sound and used higher-quality audio parts and software decoders. The iPod on the other hand, was more focused on affordability and battery life, and went the "walkman" route in supporting a technology that was "good enough" for most people. Laser poses the question to audiophiles and tech reviewers from around the net, with surprising variance in their responses.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Zune Podcast Download Mystery Solved Shocking Revelation!

Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Zune Talk" @ 05:34 PM


"I have been getting reports from listeners saying they have been able to download my show in the Zune MarketPlace, but it absolutely refused to synchronize the media it had just downloaded to their Zune media player. I fired off a message to Rob at Zune to find out what the story was. The responding answer completely blew me away. This is the first negative thing I am going to say about the Zune MarketPlace. In fact I told Rob he needed to smack the Engineers that did this, because it is obvious that the engineering team did not read the RSS specification. Here is the deal. If you have a RSS feed with only Audio or Video Enclosures you are fine. But mix Video and Audio Enclosures together in the same RSS feed and the Zune Marketplace looses its mind! The software makes a decision on which media type is going to be allowed to be synchronized to the Zune Player."

I have to fully agree, this is one of the stupidest problems that use Zune users have had to deal with. Though in Microsoft's defense, as of this moment in time, I haven't experienced this problem as a majority of the podcasts that I listen to have one standard format that they use — either audio or video. There are some podcasts that I listen to that are primarily video podcasts but they have an audio feed for individuals that do not have time to watch, but none that have both in one feed. Now while Zune Marketplace shouldn't have a problem (in theory) with differentiating with synchronizing audio as well as video from the same podcast feed... isn't it more tidy, and less lazy-like, to separate your feeds? Why include both audio and video in one feed? That is just asking for confusion when a user is expecting a video podcast and only audio plays. I myself would most likely spend hours fiddling with the item and trying to figure out why it is "broken" even though it was perfectly fine. It's like turning on your TV and expecting to watch a new episode of "Lost" but you find out that the new episode you were all excited to watch is read in audiobook format that week. Don't screw with your users like this and for the love of all things digital and entertaining, just practice some consistency!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Gear Diary Reviews the Altec Lansing M604

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Accessories" @ 09:45 AM


"One of the first things I realized after getting my Zune was that although listening to it through a premium set of earphones was nice, there were going to be plenty of times when I wouldn’t want to hear my music that way. Times when I would want to hear it playing over a better sounding system than the craptastic speakers on my laptop. Figuring out how I was going to accomplish this became my goal, because the fact of the matter is that there is a certain other digital music player that currently enjoys most of the after-market accessory love from all of the premium music dock companies. That’s why I was very interested when I saw the announcement that Altec Lansing - one of those premier music dock companies - would be producing a M604 Powered Audio System specifically for the Microsoft Zune."

Gear Diary's Judie Hughes has just reviewed the Altec Lansing M604 Powered Audio System for the Zune. At $199.95 (or slightly lower, if you shop around), you can expect great sound and great looks, so if money is no object, you may want to consider one of these beasts as an accessory.

Monday, January 8, 2007

VAF Octavio 1 on Amazon

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Accessories" @ 10:45 AM


"Timed to coincide with the release of Microsoft's Zune media player, the Octavio 1 speaker system fills your home or office with pure, powerful music and movie sound. The Octavio's central feature is the built-in Zune cradle along the top, which both charges the media player and sends its audio and video signals to the amplifier for audible playback. The Octavio 1's video output, meanwhile, connects directly to a TV, so you can enjoy your Zune photos and videos on the big screen without running additional cables across the floor. And when you're not listening to or watching your Zune, you can connect the Octavio 1 to a DVD player, video game console, or other video source. In short, the Octavio 1 serves as an integrated, high-end entertainment system that makes everything from music to movies to games sound rich and robust."

The "Designed for Zune" Octavio 1 speaker system from Australian company, VAF, is on Amazon and available for order (shipping soon) on a first come, first served basis. There's a lot of power under the hood, but at a hefty price: $499.99 USD a pop. Any of you considering picking one up?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Zune Bringing Back the iPod Magic of Old

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 AM


"So there you go. I know it's different than what the majority of folk out there are saying about the Zune, but I really feel as if I've found something that brings back that initial iPod magic I felt all those years ago. The body and design just feels so good and purposeful in my hand, and the audio rocks something fierce. I probably won't ever use the "WiFi" features of the Zune, but I didn't really buy it for that in the first place. I was looking for a great sounding iPod alternative that was easy to use and I found one."

A self-proclaimed iPod fan and audio junkie over on the Head-Fi forums, after being somewhat disillusioned by his iPod of late, decided to give the Zune a try. After plugging into a Zune at a local retailer, he was intrigued, and decided to take one home and run it through its paces. He finds the Zune to be quite a nice device, with great hardware, an excellent interface, and superior audio and video performance. His biggest issue is the with the companion software, which he found to be quite a beast but useable after some taming. This is a nice review that does a great job in pointing out the benefits Zune has to offer. I'm not an audiophile by any means and cannot speak to the differences between the audio performance of my iPod compared to my Zune, so I was intrigued by this user's account of how well the Zune performs. This is also the only other reviewer I’ve seen spend almost as much time on the packaging as Jason! :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pre-Loaded Content: What's Coming?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 09:14 AM


Included in today's press release are details on the Zune's swag of pre-loaded content. We have nine audio tracks, twelve music videos, three short films, and a variety of images. Obviously, tastes differ among us, but what do you think of the collection? Also, do you think its inclusion will help drive Zune sales?

Audio Tracks
• Band of Horses, “Wicked Gil” (Sub Pop Records)
• Bitter:Sweet, “The Mating Game” (Quango Music Group)
• CSS, “Alala (Microsoft edit)” (Sub Pop Records)
• Darkel, “At The End of The Sky (edit)” (Astralwerks)
• Every Move a Picture, “Signs of Life” (V2)
• Small Sins, “Stay” (Astralwerks)
• The Adored, “Tell Me Tell Me” (V2)
• The Rakes, “Open Book” (V2)
• The Thermals, “A Pillar of Salt” (Sub Pop Records)

Music Video
• 30 Seconds to Mars, “The Kill” (Virgin Records)
• BT, “1.618” (DTS Entertainment)
• Chad VanGaalen, “Red Hot Drops” (Sub Pop Records)
• Coldcut featuring Roots Manuva, “True Skool” (Ninja Tune)
• CSS, “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” (Sub Pop Records)
• Fruit Bats, “Live: The Wind That Blew My Heart Away” (Sub Pop Records)
• Grandaddy, “Elevate Myself” (V2)
• Hot Chip, “Over and Over” (Astralwerks Records)
• Kraak & Smaak featuring Dez., “Keep Me Home” (Quango Music Group)
• Kinski, “Live: The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia” (Sub Pop Records)
• Paul Oakenfold, “Faster Kill Pussycat (Featuring Brittany Murphy)” (Maverick Records)
• Serena-Maneesh, “Drain Cosmetics” (Playlouderecordings)

Film Shorts
• 5 Boro: “A New York Skateboarding Minute” (Skateboarding)
• Radical Films: “Kranked — Progression” (Mountain Biking)
• TGRTV The North Face (Skiing/Snowboarding)

• A variety of images to personalize a Zune device, including 12 classic rock posters from “Art of Modern Rock”

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Preloaded Zune Tunes

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 01:39 AM

Those of you with an Xbox 360 will know that Microsoft isn't new to the preloaded content game. Earlier in the month, our friends at Zune Insider and Madison and Pine revealed that the Zune would ship with some audio and video from a number of artists. While the final list is still under revision, we do have confirmed reports on four artists, and you can expect many more to be announced shortly. Bookmark this thread if you wish to stay updated!

Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) - a Brazilian fusion of pop, rock, and electronica.
Hot Chip - an electro-pop band well-known to the UK.
30 Seconds to Mars - an alternative rock band that recently received an MTV nomination for the song, "The Kill".
Serena-Maneesh - a Norwegian indie group that has reached out to all corners of the globe.

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