Mini Review: EarSonics SM3 in-ear headphones, high-end buds for the audiophile in you

Mini Review: EarSonics SM3 in-ear headphones, high-end buds for the audiophile in you

By on October 22, 2010 at 5:11 PM.

Let’s just go ahead and just throw this out there: EarSonics’ SM3 in-ear headphones are not a “stocking stuffer” item. Furthermore, they are — in all likelihood — not going to interest the majority of you. So what are they? They are $379.00 worth of skull-thumping, head-bobbing, eardrum-titillating, in-ear bliss. If you’re an audiophile, and take sound very seriously, you should definitely take a look at the SM3s.

Designed by French audio firm EarSonics — a company that specifically caters to musicians, sound engineers, and audiophiles — the SM3s are a serious piece of technology. Built with three drivers — 1 low, 1 mid, and 1 high, all with three-way passive crossover — the buds can respond to frequencies between 20Hz and 18kHz. The SM3s also have a sensitivity rating of 122dB/mW (if that doesn’t get your head bobbing, nothing will).

In all seriousness, the sound emanating from the SM3s is so crisp it is hard to explain. They make our new Bose in-ear headphones feel like they were purchased at Family Dollar. We could only crank the volume on our computer and iPod up to about 75% before the sound got so loud, and so clear, we couldn’t stand it.

The cords running from the 3.5mm jack to the buds of the SM3s are twisted, making the cord extremely hard to tangle and get into knots — even if you manage to get a snag, a quick pull on one end will usually take care of it. The 3.5mm jack is “L” shaped which we like; we find that headphones that have a vertical 3.5mm jack, like the stock iPod earbuds, often bend when put in a pocket or bag (eventually leading to wire breaks). Our two criticisms of the SM3s were:

  • Jamming three drivers into in-ear buds requires space, for that reason there is a little extra hardware that is hanging out of your ear. In our opinion, for the sound quality you get, it’s well worth it, but you will have to get used to it.
  • At times, we wish the “low” driver was pumping out just a tad more bass; you really notice it when listening to hip hop but don’t miss it when listening to classical music.

The buds come with a carrying case and four sets of foam/rubber buds to make sure you get the fit you want. Hit the read link to read more. More →

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Sonos Controller app for Apple iPad now available

Sonos Controller app for Apple iPad now available

By on September 29, 2010 at 2:45 PM.

We checked out Sonos’ Controller app for the iPad a little while ago before it was in final form, but last night, dear music lovers, the highly-thought out remote went live in Apple’s App Store. Pricing is set to free in typical Sonos fashion. Well, what do we think about the app? It is an incredibly rich remote experience that in some ways even performs better than the regular desktop application. The larger screen of the iPad means more information, more control, and makes using the music player and service incredibly easy and rewarding. Video of the app after the break! More →

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Nielsen: U.S. digital music sales flat in 2010

Nielsen: U.S. digital music sales flat in 2010

By on September 27, 2010 at 10:02 AM.

According to analytics company Nielsen, digital music sales in the United States were flat during the first half of 2010; showing no positive growth from 2009. The data should be concerning to record labels as digital music sales rose 28% from 2007 to 2008 and 13% from 2008 to 2009. Nielsen’s Jean Littolff spoke with Reuters and explained: “I think this is a plateau, it doesn’t mean that this digital consumption is going to drop significantly.” Nielsen cited lack of consumer confidence and confusion over the plethora of ways to acquire your digital music online as possible reasons for the sudden slowdown. How about you? Are you buying less music these days? More →

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Sonos introduces Wireless Dock for multiroom wireless iPod enjoyment

Sonos introduces Wireless Dock for multiroom wireless iPod enjoyment

By on September 23, 2010 at 8:50 AM.

You know we love us some Sonos gear around these parts, and Sonos’ latest announcement definitely caught our attention. Today at CEDIA, Sonos introduced the Sonos Wireless Dock. Its purpose? To let you inject all of your tunes from your iPod or iPhone seamlessly into your existing Sonos wireless network. This means regardless of however many zones you have set up, all of your music will be instantly, and of course wirelessly accessible. While there’s a good chance you’d have most of the music you’d want to play from your iPod already on your computer, and your computer already hooked up to the Sonos network, the product makes sense if you’re a notebook type of guy (something not always connected), or if you have a bunch of guests that come over. Just plug in their iPod and you’re rockin’ out. It launches “by the end of October” for $119. More →

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Latest Apple iPod touch hits FCC, gets taken apart

Latest Apple iPod touch hits FCC, gets taken apart

By on September 2, 2010 at 5:10 PM.

Any Apple fans out there waiting to grab the brand new iPod touch hotness? If so, you’re going to be pleased to learn that Apple’s newest iToy has hit the FCC for certification and has been mercilessly torn down. You’ll find that Apple A4 CPU, an internal antenna, 802.11 b/g/n, and a 3.44 watt-hour battery. Not to mention the Retina Display, front-facing camera for FaceTime, and rear-facing HD-capable shooter. Delicious.

[Via iClarified] More →

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Apple iPod nano cases in production, surprise no one

Apple iPod nano cases in production, surprise no one

By on August 30, 2010 at 3:31 PM.

Well, well, well… That rumored touch screen square iPod nano is looking pretty solid right about now. Thanks to our lovely friends in manufacturing in Asia, 3rd party cases have started showing up online for the new iPod nano device. We’re not talking just one either, more like a whole heap — every color possible, too. In addition to cases, there is also a mockup along with sizing dimensions that has surfaced as well. We have to ask, is an incredibly small touchscreen iPod nano something that interests you, or will you stick to an iPod shuffle? Image of one of the cases after the break!

UPDATE: As one of our readers points out… what if this is just Apple’s new Shuffle? Would be pretty amazing, right? More →

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More information on upcoming iPod touch, Nano leaked?

More information on upcoming iPod touch, Nano leaked?

By on August 27, 2010 at 12:27 PM.

According to an iLounge source, the upcoming fourth generation iPod touch will be changing shapes once again. If true, it is said to be more flat than curved, with a flat surface and curved edges; much like the top of your MacBook Pro. Additionally, the back is rumored to not be modeled after the iPhone 4’s all glass surface; so we’re guessing stainless steel or aluminum. There is that much-awaited rear camera, though what’s not clear at this point is a LED flash next to it or a second microphone for audio capture while shooting video. Lastly, that tiny, tiny Apple-branded touch screen display we saw? Well, according to iLounge, it is indeed a new iPod nano, and won’t have anything to do with an iPod shuffle. September 1st is close enough, friends. More →

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Throwback Thursday: MiniDiscs

Throwback Thursday: MiniDiscs

By on August 19, 2010 at 5:35 PM.

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re going to dive into the audio realm with the technology that was MiniDiscs. Remember back when exercising with a portable CD player was out of the question? First, you had to have the stamina to carry the hefty device around while shaking your bon-bon (click on link to get Ricky-rolled). Second, anything you were listening to on your CD Walkman was bound to end up sounding like a bad remix after the anti-skip protection (typically 10, 20, 45, or 60 seconds) ran out. Then, in 1992, in came the MiniDisc.

Reminiscent of CD-ROM cartridges found on the Apple Performa series of computers, the MiniDisc promised CD-quality audio, with skipping under only the most extreme conditions, in a compact package. MiniDisc players were smaller, sleeker, and definitely more attractive than the CD and cassette-based Walkman units available at the time. At its inception MiniDiscs could accommodate 74 or 80 minutes of music. In 2000, Sony added a technology to its devices dubbed MiniDisc Long Play (MDLP) which allowed the throttling of audio quality and storage of up to 320 minutes of audio on one 80 minute MiniDisc. The MiniDisc’s Achilles heel came in the fact that the format only supported minute-based, CD-style audio recordings. Support for MP3 storage and playback was not added until the mid-2000’s; by then the era of the hard drive and flash-based MP3 player had begun.

Unfortunately, this was a technology we invested in and we owned several portable MiniDisc players (even a MiniDisc deck). We are also conjuring up faint memories of high school friends bragging about bootlegging Dave Matthews Band concerts with portable MiniDisc recorders and high-quality microphones. How about you? Any MiniDisc memories, or did you manage to avoid the fad?

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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Roku and MP3tunes ink deal to stream iTunes library to your TV

Roku and MP3tunes ink deal to stream iTunes library to your TV

By on July 20, 2010 at 1:35 PM.

netflix-roku-box

Today, Roku and MP3tunes announced a partnership that will bring your iTunes music library to your television. MP3tunes, for those not familiar, is a company that provides “secure online music space” and features “unlimited listening.” The company’s website boasts, “With just a couple clicks, Locker users can sync their personal digital music and video up to ‘the cloud’ for enjoying from any web browser and a wide variety of mobile and home entertainment devices.” And starting today, you can add the Roku to that list. MP3 offers 10GB of storage for free — ad supported of course — with paid options all the way up to 200 GB. Hit the jump for the full press release.  More →

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Throwback Thursday: Winamp

Throwback Thursday: Winamp

By on July 15, 2010 at 5:19 PM.

Winamp3

Remember when you could download all of the MP3s you wanted from peer-to-peer site Napster and not get sued by the RIAA? Remember trying to find an audio player that would play all of those pesky MP3s? Remember Winamp?!? Initially monikered WinAMP, the audio player was first released on April 21, 1997. Winamp gained popularity among audiophiles for being feature-rich, small, free, and compatible. Winamp also won fans over with its skinable interface, allowing you to inflict your personal steez on your media player. Winamp was developed by Nullsoft, a company who was known for their llama logo and humorous opening sound clip: “Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass!” Winamp is still very much alive, and very much available; although it is now owned by AOL. Hit up their website and take a trip down memory lane.

BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets — and in this case software — of yesterday and yesteryea

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Do you want us to do a weekly podcast?

Do you want us to do a weekly podcast?

By on June 30, 2010 at 6:01 PM.


We’ve sort of done some light podcasting, a couple radio-themed segments, and all, but we’re interested to know if you want a weekly no bull news recap / opinion-influenced podcast with the BGR staff. If you do, we’ll do it. See how much power you have right there with that computer mouse?

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Sonos Controller gets iPad upgrade

Sonos Controller gets iPad upgrade

By on June 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM.

sonos_ipad_horiz

The good folks at Sonos just stopped by our office to give us a preview of their brand new Controller application for the Apple iPad, and boy is it sexy. If you’re a Sonos fan (you know we are) and you have an iPad, this will be a no-brainer when it’s released within the next two months in the App Store for free. For starters, just by taking advantage of the extra screen real estate, the software guys at Sonos have masterfully developed a three column view that just looks incredibly slick and functions even better. We’re talking a completely new spin on the Sonos remote control experience, and we can easily see these things taking over living rooms, kitchen tables, and practically anywhere else music is listened to. More →

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