Archive for the ‘Portable Electronics’ Category

M-Audio IE-10 Professional Reference Earphones Review

Monday, October 15th, 2007


I picked up the M-Audio IE-10 In-Ear Headphones over the weekend. They headphones are replacing my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 which just stopped working a few weeks ago (ugh, just before I was traveling, so I had to borrow way too bassy Griffin in-ears from Fuzzy). I had to wait for a Guitar Center replacement check to show up in the mail before I could go pick up the new earphones. Though I’ve only had the EI-10s a few days, my first impressions are so good that I had to post a quick review.

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Popularity: 29% [?]

iPhone Not True Widescreen – Hope for a 2.35:1 Video iPod

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007


Engadget is reporting that though Apple boasts a “widescreen” display for the iPhone, its screen is actually a non-standard aspect ratio:

Well, anyone who sat in Moscone Center to witness the holy unveiling surely noticed the screen cropping (letterboxing) that occurred when Steve played Pirates of the Carribean. That’s because the iPhone isn’t “widescreen” as the term is customarily understood outside of the reality distortion field — it is not a 1.78:1 (16×9) aspect ratio. Rather, the display utilizes a 1.5:1 aspect ratio.

via Engadget via Crave

Apple has a history of creating and then filling its own hardware niches. Large capacity video iPods for those that enjoy watching David Caruso wince on CSI: Miami, iPod Nanos for jewelry and compressed music lovers and the iPod Shuffle for random players who lost the bolo piece from their bolo tie. The iPod family members all have distinct hardware bonuses and shortcomings that complement each other. So the iPhone isn’t really widescreen, does this leave the possibility open that a new device will fill our widescreen video needs? Will iPhone customers become frustrated while they watch 300 in a thin strip of a 2.40:1 letterbox?

Could Apple’s strategy be to introduce the iPhone’s new on screen dual touch, storage and display technologies to refine them over time and once popular reduce their cost to meet a true widescreen video iPod? Imagine a 16×9 screen dominating the gadget’s full front face, all AV controls on the dual touch screen for the same price as today’s 80 GB iPod. Like a large storage Sony PSP without the D-Pad and buttons (oh, and games, have to remember the PSP plays games).

Maybe all the dual touch patent rumor mock ups were right, we just have to wait for the iPhone to become a commodity and piss off enough videophiles to introduce the true widescreen video iPod. Though I’m sure true videophiles would prefer a 2.35:1 aspect, constant height screen with little velvet curtains on the sides to aid contrast when windowboxing squarer ratios (as mocked up above). Introducing the cinePod (as in Cinescope). Heh.

Popularity: 15% [?]

Does Radio Shack Hate Their Customers?

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Men and women have to shop differently. Men only enter a store to buy exactly what they have researched and bring it home for good. Women browse, buy many options and return what they don't need later. It's Radio Shack's fault (or Best Buy or Fry's or Home Depot). Here's why.

My daughter, Paige, and I ran a short errand to Blockbuster last week to return Disney's The Little Mermaid DVD. Paige thought we were going inside, but I just threw the overdue DVD (not "own-it" overdue, thank goodness) in the "Quik Drop." I picked Paige up and scurried down the strip mall's promenade to my secret destination: Radio Shack.

With Paige struggling to not slip down my winter coat, I rushed to the cashier and announced I had a return or exchange for a satellite signal booster (RS brand). How it went down:

Continue reading Does Radio Shack Hate Their Customers?

Popularity: 18% [?]

You Cannot Afford this Audiophile Grade CMoy Headphone Amplifier

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

I'm putting together a typical Audiologica CMoy Altoids Mint Tin headphone amp. The electronic components needed for the amp are less than $40. I hope this gives me great performance when I install it between my iPod and my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 in-ear headphones.

But what if money were no object? How much would it cost to build the ultimate audiophile CMoy amp? Find out below.

Continue reading You Cannot Afford this Audiophile Grade CMoy Headphone Amplifier

Popularity: 26% [?]

Simplify Your Next DIY Project With My CMoy Headphone Amp Shopping List

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Through the haze that is new born care sleep deprivation, I ordered all the parts needed to make Audiologica's version of the Chu Moy Headphone amp that fits into an Altoids mint tin. I fought my former reluctance to buy all the parts through multiple small electronics dealer's crappy e-commerce systems with my desire to improve long commute's soundtrack quality.

If you're thinking about attempting the same project, then the following shopping list may help you. I tried to buy as many parts as I could from one online supplier, Digi-Key. The other vendors were used either by Audiologica's advice or me not realizing how easy it is to upgrade the circuit (hence the trip to Fry's to find upgraded input caps after the Digi-Key order).

Continue reading Simplify Your Next DIY Project With My CMoy Headphone Amp Shopping List

Popularity: 13% [?]

DIY Oak Tube Amp Outshines Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi Powered Speaker System

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Don’t feel like paying $350 for the Apple iPod Hi-Fi Powered speaker system? Make one yourself (and save $50).

Found this on Hack a Day:


This DIYer made a beautiful real oak tube mono amp and iPod dock atop a single matching speaker:

After pricing everything out, I decided to build a single mono channel to see how it sounded. $100 for the amp, $100 for the speaker parts, $100 for wood (real oak, just couldn’t use that compressed saw dust stuff). I ordered the parts and went to work. After about two weeks of working in the evenings this is what I came up with.

Though not as shiny as the Fatman iTube, this is still a cool looking project (I bet it sounds nice too) that gives the iPod some old-school hi-fi style.

Popularity: 24% [?]

DIY Headphone Amps – Amazing Collection of 130+ Pocket Size Amplifiers

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Hybrid-10.jpgEver since I've owned an iPod I've wanted a companion headphone amp like the Headroom Total Airhead. Never able to justify the cost and added weight to my already back breaking commuter kit, instead bought nice headphones, Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3, that work well with an iPod's internal amp. Still, my itch for an amp remains.

If I have an itch then this DIY headphone amp mad scientist has a major skin infection. First, he has over 130 different compact headphone amp designs. Second, many of them fit into small mint tins. Third, the Hybrid designs use tubes either hidden in the tin or poking through a die cut and lit with a colored LED light. Lastly, he has circuit designs for all of the amps so the possibility exists that a lowly hobbyist like me could construct an affordable DIY amp with caps, bread boards, headphone jacks and tubes from The Parts Connexion and batteries and Altoids tins from the drug store.

Via Streettech.com

Popularity: 22% [?]

PSP + Airtunes + Coverbuddy = Dance Party – Listening Test

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Toddler_o_Geek and I danced until bedtime Sunday night.

We started out with Gnarls Barkley (didn’t get us moving) and quickly switched to Futureheads. I pogoed, my daughter stomped. I made the mistake of pogoing toward her instead of just side to side, we then went into full chase mode—I was still dancing (a series of spastic kicks, arms flailing and hopping like a frog) and she screamed around the room as fast as she can navigate the furniture. We got through "Alms" before bathtime (I was freaking her out with my expert lip-synching at this point).

I can enjoy myself while dancing because I don’t have to wonder if the music sounds good or not. I don’t have to go upstairs to find a new CD in my armoire and then eject the playing CD and load the new one. My musical desires are answered by pressing left, up, right, down and X. I control my whole music collection through my Sony PSP and Coverbuddy on my Mac Mini. Convenience and fun overshadow audiophilia and tweaking. My initial experience with this music server wasn’t as fun.

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Popularity: 13% [?]

PSP + Airtunes + Coverbuddy = Dance Party Hi-Fi Wiring

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Now that I have my Mac Mini set up to deliver my whole iTunes library to my listening room through Airtunes with Sony PSP remote control, I needed to rewire my hi-fi components. The goal: deliver the digital Airtunes signal through the best DAC in the path and passing the analog signal cleanly through to my loudspeakers. I have no budget, so I must only use components I already own.

I also wanted to test how much I could combat the compressed audio feed’s nasties in the analog realm. My weapons: Taddeo Digital Antidote II and Rogue Audio Magnum 99 Preamp. One of these components won the battle and the other almost lost the whole war.

Continue reading PSP + Airtunes + Coverbuddy = Dance Party Hi-Fi Wiring

Popularity: 17% [?]

PSP + Airtunes + Coverbuddy = Dance Party Software Setup

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Not able to afford an additional $2500 investment in remote music server hi-fi equipment I had to make due with music server components I already owned: Airport Express, Mac Mini, Onkyo TX-DS989 AV Receiver and a Rogue Audio Magnum 99 Preamp. With some additional software on my Mac Mini I could remote control the music served to the remote system in my listening room with my Sony PSP.

Continue reading PSP + Airtunes + Coverbuddy = Dance Party Software Setup

Popularity: 15% [?]