The iPhone’s iPod functions replaced an actual iPod in my pocket long ago. But as great as it is to have one device I can use to tweet, listen to music, check my calendar, and make the occasional voice call, for me, the iPhone is a less than perfect music player. Without hard buttons for navigation, I can’t skip to my favorite tracks without having to look at the device. Luckily, Etymotic’s new hf3 headset has an inline remote for playback control (and taking calls), and this time around, they’ve added volume buttons as well for the ultimate in control.
Bigfoot may get the majority of the media’s attention, especially after his stint on The Six Million Dollar Man. But the real star in the half-man/half-bear/monkey/gorilla arena is the Yeti. While Bigfoot is out stomping his footprint into mud, the Blue Microphone Yeti (shown left at very close to its actual size) is doing a bang-up job recording your podcasts, band practices, and events. Pretty good for a mythical creature--er, an affordably priced USB mic.
Why doesn’t this great audio receiver include great audio/video streaming tools? The NetBoxx R-904N sounds good, but its streaming is more annoying than awesome. You have to dig up your own Mac software, you’ll fight the weak interface, and you’ll be rewarded with video-resolution issues. We’d hoped that this one box could rule our A/V needs, but you’re much better off buying a standard audio receiver and an Apple TV.
There was a time when listening to music meant sitting in front of a stereo and popping in your favorite CD--or maybe even an actual vinyl record. But these days, we do most of our listening via iPods or from our Mac at our desk. Which is fine, except for the fact that most computer speakers suck. But these speakers from Bowers & Wilkins are so good, you should just stop reading this review now and start earning some of the 500 bucks you’ll need to pay for them.
Internet trolls and obnoxious PC owners know that the quickest way to annoy a Mac user is to claim that the only reason people buy Apple stuff is because they “want to look cool.” And smart Mac fans dismiss this criticism as quickly as it comes, easily recognizing it as little more than baiting. We love our Apple gear for tons of reasons, most having to do with functionality and ease of use. But it’s true that Apple designs great-looking devices, and that’s certainly part of the appeal--it’s not our fault that the other guys insist on making such ugly stuff. So it’s no wonder that we often gravitate toward equally good-looking accessories.
Created by San Francisco–based designer Joey Roth, the simply named Ceramic Speakers are exactly that: speakers built from handmade ceramic enclosures, cork, and wood.
Your MacBook’s built-in speakers are fine for the odd YouTube clip of dogs jumping in slow motion or for listening to NPR streams. But when it comes to bringing the rock to your desktop, they’re pretty weak sauce. Twelvesouth aims to improve your audio situation with its BassJump, a USB subwoofer built to boost the beats coming out of your MacBook.
“’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.
Internet radio offers options well beyond the powers of old-fashioned
broadcasting, but something’s still missing--that’s because many music
apps don’t go the extra mile themselves to let you record
internet-radio streams. Radio Gaga plays and records thousands of
stations, but the more you try to do with it, the more you’ll only hear