Saturday Oct 20

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Noise // Notes

A is for Armstrong

In our formative years, ABC books helped us learn our letters and also introduced us to information about the world. A trip from A to Z remains fun for almost everybody, typically blending the familiar with the unexpected. Thus, the ABCs of Jazz which follows.  [Originally published as a "Jazz Tracks" column in CD Review, 10/1992.]

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As the title says, this category is for actual hands-eyes-and-ears-on reviews of various products.  The comments are based on my experiences and filtered through my sensibilities.
 
 
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Better than free
Sennheiser CX 215

The earphones that arrive with an MP3 player serve two easy purposes. They assure you that the player operates and they provide instant gratification. It won't be long before you're ready to replace them with phones that sound better than the freebies, are more comfortable, and hold up under regular use.

The problem, of course, is finding them.

 
 
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.

 
 
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.

 
 
Brill: Better Than Bose?

The noisest regular activity for most people is mowing the lawn.  Muffling the din from that activity is one of the great blessings of noise-reducing headphones.  In fact, the weekly lawn trim is the main purpose I've kept a set of such phones at hand for the past few years.

 
 
Build a great little amp

How would you like a compact, clean, bullet-proof 10 watt per channel power amplifier?  Think of the possible applications.  Use it with a portable CD player and a couple of small speakers for a transportable system that you could take on vacation or on business trips.  Add an FM tuner with a volume control and a couple of larger speakers for a nice bedroom, office, or workshop system.  Or set it up as an auxiliary headphone amp.

 
 
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Music // Overviews

4 on 2

Creek BankMellow Moods

Each of this pair of Prestige reissue CDs rescues two LPs from back catalog oblivion.  Creek Bank opens up with ten excellent tracks from Young Man Mose and follows with ten more from the Creek Bank LP.  Mose Allison recorded both for Prestige in 1958.The music on Clark Terry's Mellow Moods CD originally came out in the early '60s as two LPs on Prestige's Moodsville subsidiary.  The first was the unforgettable Everything's Mellow and the second was not so memorable All American.

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