A new app from a Latvian outfit called Sonarworks claims it can tune music to play perfectly through specific headphone models. So whether you’re using AirPods or a swanky pair of $900 Auduze LCD-2s, you’ll hear the same exact mix. Could the future of making music sound good be an app that compensates for the terrible headphones most of us insist on buying? For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying a beta version of Sonarworks’ True-Fi software on both Android and iOS. The apps are a mobile version of the headphone calibration software that’s existed for the desktop since earlier this year. After spending much of the year in closed beta, Sonarworks is now opening the mobile apps to an “early access” public beta, with the goal of a full release next year. A lifetime license for the desktop and mobile apps currently costs $79 (and will go up to $99 next year), but for the next few months during the early access period, the app will be totally … [Read more...] about Can This Little Magic App Make Your Headphones Sound Perfect?
Why headphones sound low
I’ve tried more headphones than I can count. Some sound amazing, some sound terrible, and some require DIY modding to get juuuuuust right. The $400 Nuraphone, however, is the first headphone I’ve tried that’s given me a completely unique experience that puts it in a category all its own. The Nuraphone’s novelty starts as soon as you put them on your ears. Instead of a traditional over-ear design, the Nuraphone uses a hybrid form factor of sorts: it’s an over-ear headphone, with in-ear tips in the cups. We’ll talk a bit more about that in a bit, but the rest of the headphone is well-built: the pads are made of a very soft rubber that exudes “premium,” and the adjustable band is smooth as butter. There’s no power switch, instead relying on sensors to determine when it’s on your head. Put it on, and it’ll prompt you to connect over Bluetooth, download the Nura app, and perform a listening test which will customize the sound … [Read more...] about The Nuraphone Tailors Its Sound to Your Ears, and It’s Unlike Any Other Headphone I’ve Tried
After years of speculation about whether it would ever happen, Grado Labs’ first wireless headphone, the GW100, is finally here. Even if they’re using the same Bluetooth tech used by big box brands you might be more familiar with, they’re unlike any other wireless headphone I’ve ever used. For a certain brand of nerd, Brooklyn-based Grado Labs inspires devotional loyalty. The 65-year-old family company has cultivated a following thanks to its distinctive aesthetics, stubborn commitment to its homegrown roots, and its uncompromising commitment to audio quality. And they’ve got a headphone everyone can afford: The audiophile brand offers great-sounding products as cheap as $80 and ranging all the way up to the thousands. Grado’s slow-moving style suggested to me that maybe the company would never go wireless. But lo, after 18 months of development, the GW100 ($250) are real! John Grado, the company’s head honcho talks about making headphones in … [Read more...] about Grado’s First Bluetooth Headphones Are Everything I Wanted Them to Be
Soundbars are a relatively new invention. The 5.1 surround sound setup—one left speaker, one center, one right, and two rear—used to be the most popular way to improve your home theater’s audio, and it tended to be pretty expensive. Then, in 1998, Altec-Lansing released the world’s first soundbar and changed the way living rooms worked. It’s been two decades since, and thanks to a weird consequence of innovation, pretty much all TVs now require a soundbar. This isn’t some conspiracy cooked up by Big Soundbar. It’s actually directly related to improvement in TV design. As LCD and OLED displays have taken over the market, TVs have simply gotten so thin that they can’t accommodate speakers big enough to put out decent sound. This wasn’t an issue back in the CRT days, when televisions were roughly the size of a refrigerator. As you can see in this teardown of an old LG Flatron, the big case required to house the tube meant that the TV … [Read more...] about Why Every TV Needs a Soundbar
With video quality rapidly going up, game physics exploring never before seen detail and virtual reality devices getting more and more affordable, one part of the media we consume is often getting overlooked – sound. Most of us use the sound interfaces integrated into motherboards, which often times is not enough to fully indulge yourself in a movie, get the highest quality sound when listening to or producing music and when you need just that little bit of edge over your opponents in a video-game. This is why we have compiled a short list of what we believe to be the best PC sound cards out there as of right now, each covering different needs for different users. Table of contents: Table of our picks for the best PC sound card What to consider when choosing a sound card? Sound card descriptions Why does a high-end sound card matter? A very brief history of sound cards Summary of the best sound cards Our picks for the best PC sound card Sound card Signal-to-noise ratio … [Read more...] about The Best PC Sound Cards of 2018