“’80s coke dealer.” That’s how one Mac|Life staffer libeled the Rotaliana Diva when trying to describe its visual statement. True enough, this multitalented iPod dock--brazenly slick and swoopy, unapologetic in its design flamboyance--does look like the kind of thing that Tony “Scarface” Montana might place on an end table in his Miami mansion. Are the Diva’s lines too over the top? That’s for you to decide. What we can tell you is that a host of interesting features make this ostentatious obelisk a compelling bundle of functionality.
Like X-ray glasses and sea monkeys, vacuum tubes are the stuff of 1950s
pulp-fiction cool. They even glow in the dark! And it turns out that
they can improve the sound of modern digital music--if you stick with
high-quality, lossless files, that is.
Great-sounding headphones that don’t cost an arm and a leg are kind of
like aliens--you’re pretty sure they’re out there somewhere, but
they’re really hard to find. Yamaha’s EPH-30 earbuds should come
packaged like a flying saucer--they offer a terrific listening
experience at an affordable price.
iPods are fantastic, but the most important part of any mobile music
experience is the earbuds or headphones that you connect to your
device. Plenty of people are happy to use the stock Apple iPod earbuds,
but many are less than thrilled by their sound quality--or the fact
that those hard plastic ’buds aren’t the most comfortable things to
stick in your ears. Yurbuds are soft rubber eartips meant to work with
your existing phones, offering better fit and improved performance.
Lately, our Sundays have been spent enjoying the latest trend in urban
cycling: group bicycle parties. So it seemed a logical extension to add
music to the festivities with Cy•fi’s Wireless Sports Speaker.
The recent spike in sales of vinyl and turntables brings a warm glow to
our hearts. We love our technology, but vinyl is just a beautiful
format. Having said that, vinyl records aren’t perfect. They’re bulky,
fragile, and easily scratched, and those milk crates filled with your
block-rocking jams can get heavy. Fortunately, DJ software is a
rock-solid alternative for amateurs and pros, and one of our favorites,
djay (5 out of 5 stars, Jan/10), just got a sweet dedicated hardware controller, the Vestax Spin.
The Zeppelin Mini from Bowers & Wilkins is certainly a sight to
behold. This elliptical iPod speaker dock slickly incorporates a pair
of three-inch drivers with a swiveling dock connector that allows you
to rotate your device 90 degrees, which makes it easy to take advantage
of Cover Flow navigation. It’s beautiful and well designed, and though
the sound performs equally well, the bass on this $400 dock is a bit
I love my iPod, and I use it every day. But between earbud cables,
straps for my laptop bag, and a jacket (even in summer… it’s San
Francisco), things can get pretty cumbersome. Dew Motion’s Quiver iPod
sash (for lack of a better term) aims to keep you from getting tangled
in your own wires and makes it easier to control your iPod.
You might be familiar with Sonos’ high-quality music gear, which lets
you stream tunes anywhere in your home over its own Wi-Fi network. The
new S5 is a set of self-contained powered speakers that can expand an
existing system or serve as the starting point for a new one.
Intriguingly, the S5 lets you take a pass on Sonos’ effective (but
pricey!) $349 dedicated remote, offering a free iPhone app to control
all your Sonos gear.
Great design is often about subtracting unneeded elements. Logitech has
taken the opposite approach, building up the Squeezebox Radio from a
bucket of buttons and features like a child trying to attach every last
Mr. Potatohead part. As we navigated clunky menus and pecked at the
various controls, we were disappointed with many aspects of this music
streamer. But after we got it going, the Squeezebox Radio did a good
job of booming out an unlimited supply of tunes and talk in spite of