Headphone choice is very personal. Some people opt for sophisticated,
audiophile-approved $300 earbuds, while others pick up the cheapest
pair possible so it doesn’t hurt so much when they’re lost or broken.
And some want their earbuds to have little blinking lights. Of course
The worst part about airplane travel is, well, the plane. Besides being
cramped, crowded, and short on any decent snack foods, they’re also
noisy. So noisy that it’s difficult to make the hours zip by more
quickly by revisiting your favorite albums on an iPod or watching a
movie on your MacBook. Bose’s new Quiet Comfort 15 headphones are made
for just these moments. The active noise cancellation helps block out
background noise, and Bose’s considerable audio experience brings you a
clean-sounding set of cans--with a couple of drawbacks, however.
In the 1980s, “portable audio” took the form of comically large boom
boxes with as many flashing lights and extra buttons as eight D
batteries could power. The ’90s turned boom boxes into gadgets so sleek
and light, they looked (and often were) incapable of pushing enough
decibels to fuel a party, let alone annoy the neighbors. And today, the
iPod has pretty much killed the boom box, collectors of old-school
Shure’s been building pro audio equipment for forever. Chances are, if
you’ve seen a band perform in the last 75 years, you’ve seen some Shure
gear at work. While the company is well known for its microphones, it
has recently begun expanding into the headphone market. Shure has
brought its considerable audio know-how to bear on the SRH240 and the SRH440 headphones, both of which offer
studio-level sound at prices that make them attractive for home use as
An iPod speaker is a great investment if you want to rock out with
friends--unless you and your friends prefer to dance around with
headphones on, like those silhouetted party people in Apple’s print
ads. iLuv’s iSP100 is portable, compact, and takes regular AAA
batteries, so there’s no need to tote along an AC adapter or charger.
But the anemic sound it produces might have you reconsidering that
“let’s all just put our headphones on and dance around” idea.
Giant TV. Check. Super-rad universal remote. Check. Speakers
strategically placed around the room so that when stuff blows up
onscreen you actually feel it in your belly. Check. A/V receiver that
supports up to 7.1 surround sound and the iPhone. Surprise--check!
While the iPhone has taken over your pocket and possibly your car, home
theater rigs have been noticeably late to the iPhone party.
Fortunately, the folks at Pioneer have taken notice of the iPhone and
its league of faithful users with the release of the VSX-819H home
receiver. Instead of relying on 1/8-inch cables, the system includes a
USB port with a USB-to-dock cable.
We’re amazed how many iPod speaker docks these days still won’t play
nicely with the iPhone--it’s been two-and-a-half years, people! Which
is one of the reasons we’re so excited about iHome’s iP1. Besides being
iPhone-friendly, it also looks great, a piece we wouldn’t mind having
in our living room. The sound is a step up as well, which is fitting
since the iP1 is the first in iHome’s new Studio Series line. And
here’s the kicker--the iP1 features some high-tech circuitry that makes
it rock even harder at the touch of a button: the Bongiovi button (more
on that in a bit).
Back in the day, people listened to the radio all the time, and
families would gather ’round it in the evenings, and it was all a very
big deal--um, so we’re told. Today it’s easy to look at radio as a last
resort, the old standby when you forget your iPod or there’s no
computer around for firing up Pandora. Fans of radio will appreciate
the Aluratek WiFi Internet Radio, Home Theater Edition, aka the
AIREC01F (another tech product whose name just rolls off the tongue).
Ultimate Ears has been making in-ear monitors for professional
musicians for nearly 15 years. The company was founded by Alex Van
Halen and Jerry Harvey, a sound engineer for the band--a couple of dudes
who know what they’re talking about when it comes to audio. Musicians
rely on UE’s monitors during performances, and now you can bring that
pro-level tech home in the form of earbuds. Even if you’re just
listening to “Panama” while you’re walking the dog, rather than
pounding it out on the skins in a packed arena, Ultimate Ears can make
your iPod rock that much harder.