Monday Jan 21


Noise // Notes

Every edition is limited

Let's have a permanent moratorium on the phrase "Limited Edition." After all, practically anything you buy--a CD, a pair of shoes, an amplifier, a bicycle--is a limited edition by the nature of commerce. Only so many of any non-commodity item will ever be made and offered for sale.


Gear is the stuff you can kick–the metal, plastic, wood, and glass constructions that let us hear recorded music and see stored images at home and on-the-go. 

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The Little Soundbar That Could

Fair warning: This is a surprisingly (even to me) long review of a product that is being sold as a computer accessory for laptop users. But it is, after all, a loudspeaker system and it has a potentially broader appeal and many more likely applications than even the manufacturer seems to have noticed.

Futuresource: 24 million Blu-Ray players

Sales of Blu-ray players, excluding PS3, are expected to total nearly 24-million units this year across the three key growth regions (USA, Europe and Japan), according to a new Blu-ray and DVD Hardware Performance report from Futuresource Consulting.


Onkyo has loaded up its latest "home theater in a box" (HTiB) with a panoply of features that should appeal to the most demanding technophile. The press announcement makes a big deal of the fact that this system, the HT-S9300THX, is 3D-Ready and THX® I/S Plus™ Certified (the I/S stands for Integrated System). They say that this is the first HTiB system to offer both.

AZ Musical Instrument Museum with guidePort audio

The sculpture shown at the right stands near the entry to the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ.  Indeed, it's called The Phoenix and is the creation of Belgian artist Louis Halleaux. The impressively large three-dimensional bronze rotates slowly on its base and each turn presents a viewer with impressions of the distinctive shapes of various musical instruments: plucked stringed instruments, the bells of the brasses, bows for the viol family, and more.

A Monster-ous tribute to Miles Davis
Miles Davis Tribute Headphones

In the wake of the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's Kind of Blue LP, Monster Cable's headphone division is issuing the Miles Davis Tribute headphones. It's a classy-looking and presumably classy-sounding in-ear set.

Tip & Tilt Internet Radio

The new cube shaped ‘Tip & Tilt’ from Q2 is the world’s easiest to use internet radio.

The Eigenharp arrives!

News for techies that like and or play music. REVOLUTIONARY RADICAL NEW INSTRUMENT, the Eigenharp, debuts for the first time in the U.S.! The Eigenharp is a truly innovative new type of musical instrument.

The Pretty Things

Somehow I got on the email list for Les Jolies Choses, a French magazine dedicated to "toute la décoration d'intérieur."  I don't read much French, but the photos tell a lot and the things they show are often quite impressive.  A few, like a hanging lamp inside a gilded bird cage, are just plain silly.

Sansa nixes niches.
Rethinking the slotRadio

SanDisk's new Sansa slotRadio is a frustrating product. The company introduced it at last January's CES and I believe I had the first appointment on the first day. I was very much looking forward to it. I had received prior notification and from the information that I had, it looked to me like SanDisk had come up with a crafty and canny variation on the MP3 player genre.


Xitel SOUNDAround: Faking it

I didn't ask the Xitel folks to send me one, but a test sample of their new SOUNDaround accessory was waiting for me at the front door a couple of weeks ago.  The SOUNDaround is the latest in a succession of similar products that I've been exposed to over the past 20 years or so.  Their common goal is to produce an impression of surround sound with the user's two-channel system.

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Gear // News

Music // Overviews

Profiling the Best of Prestige Records

Kenny Burrell

The 2005 Prestige Profiles series of CDs merits a strong recommendation and a minor warning. Taking the latter first, you should know that these compilations are exactly the same as the corresponding Best Of... CDs that came out in 2004.