Growing up, my parents had a pair of floor standing speakers connected to a reciever with a tape deck and (eventually) CD player. I loved listening to music through those speakers, and when I got a house, I purchased a pair of speakers like theirs. I bought a cheap little amp and Bluetooth adapter, but… Read More

I’ve always been a fan of digital audio converters (DAC). They can make good headphones and earphones sound better by bringing out the best they have to offer. Audio listening is only as good as the weakest link, so if you’re wondering whether those expensive headphones can sound as good as advertised, upgrading the DAC… Read More

Let’s talk Bluetooth—again. Bluetooth began as a convenient, but spotty and bad-sounding way to listen to music without wires. Today, Bluetooth has improved dramatically in sound quality and signal strength—although it can still occasionally have annoying drop-outs. It’s almost gotten to the point that wireless—whether it’s Apple’s Airplay, wifi, or the ubiquitous Bluetooth is becoming… Read More

Whenever I try to explain what a digital audio converter (DAC) does and why it’s a cool thing to have, I almost always get that “deer in headlights” look. Then – if they’re still listening – I tell them the cost of this cool DAC. That’s when the look changes to “are you nuts?” Sheesh… Read More

I will admit upfront that this review is way overdue. The main reason is because the Audioengine W3 Premium Wireless Audio Adapter is a product that is not easy to categorize. It performs some unique functions and duplicates some that are built into existing products. It’s taken me a while to sort it all out… Read More

Audioengine doesn’t know when to leave well-enough alone. Case-in-point: Their A2 speakers were just about the perfect size and rating for desktop use, and consumers obviously agreed because they have sold quite well. Even so, Audioengine figured they could do better, so they’ve introduced the new A2+ powered desktop speakers. These mini-powerhouses have been substantially… Read More

Laptops are great.  You can take them anywhere; you can work or play, even read or listen to music with them.  Unfortunately, the sound quality is where most laptops suffer.  The built-in speakers are often the size of an almond, so you won’t get high-quality, room-filling sound from them.  The headphone jacks aren’t usually the… Read More

Computers and headphones are replacing the home stereo as the primary source for listening to music. Wireless speakers, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and a host of other technologies have developed and matured as a result. The external digital audio converter (DAC) also belongs in this group as a solution to the problem of lousy audio from desktop… Read More

In the portable world of digital music, it seems that most people are happy with whatever setup they have – whether it’s a laptop, iPod or smart phone. Ironically, the most expensive device from this list also has the worst audio output: your computer. That laptop or desktop (iMAC, for instance) computer has about the… Read More

With the growing popularity of wireless speakers – both Bluetooth and AirPlay – many speaker companies have begun to release products that are redefining how we listen to music. Suddenly, there are very small speakers that can produce quality audio with decent bass. Until recently, this was almost unheard of. Jambox, Soundmatters, Braven, Scosche, Jabra… Read More

V-MODA, maker of the Crossfade M-80 and Crossfade LP headphones, have introduced the VAMP, a headphone amplifier with a dedicated 150mW x 2 amplifier, DAC (Digital-to-Analog convertor), optical audio output and a 2200mAh battery – all integrated into a metal case for the iPhone 4/4S. It’s based on the GO-DAP 4.0 by VentureCraft, but tweaked… Read More

NuForce has added a cute and affordable speaker to the ever expanding portable audio market. Unlike the rectangular shaped Jambox or Soundmatters FoxL, the NuForce Cube is exactly that, a cube-shaped speaker small enough to carry with you.  (Click to enlarge the photos.) NuForce has added even more to this little wonder that makes it… Read More

As music storage becomes more computer-based, listening to music – whether it’s from a desktop or laptop model – requires compromises. One of those tradeoffs is sound quality. It’s a badly kept secret that computer sound cards are not that good. Heck, some of them are just awful. It doesn’t matter how much money you… Read More

I have mentioned in the last few reviews that I am now reviewing headphones using the NuForce uDAC-2 USB amp/DAC plugged into my new iMac, when I am not using my iPod. There’s a really good reason for this. The iMac audio output sounds like … well, let’s just say it sounds bad. Really, really… Read More