Audiofile

  • The AudioFile: Dear iPod Firmware Engineers…

    The AudioFile: Dear iPod Firmware Engineers…

    When some companies produce a music player, they continually look to add features based on consumer feedback. Consider Cowon and Archos as two prime examples; they are constantly tweaking the firmware, and both have active online communities that actually seem to influence the future of the product. So WTF with Apple? The company has gotten so focused on taking someone’s great idea… Read More

  • The AudioFile: The Record Shop of the Future

    The AudioFile: The Record Shop of the Future


    Ever since Tower Records closed its doors for good late last year, I’ve been wondering about what record stores are going to be like in, say, 10 years’ time. Will they be nothing more than rooms full of self-serve digital music kiosks? People are buying digital music online in droves, and there’s only growth in sight as broadband penetration [eeeww] marches on and new… Read More

  • The AudioFile: Sonic Weapons, Justice League-Style

    The AudioFile: Sonic Weapons, Justice League-Style


    Traveling through the Scottish countryside with fellow writer Todd Seavey, who has written a couple of storylines for Justice League comic books, I began to doze off. Todd had just told me one of his storylines, so I began daydreaming about the various members of the League in terms of how these heroes might make use of bleeding-edge sonic weaponry. After all, even superheroes can benefit… Read More

  • The Futurist: Hands-On With The Neatest New Nanotech

    The Futurist: Hands-On With The Neatest New Nanotech

    So I’m here in Scotland with Audiofile Mike. It turns out that this home of The Highlander and hooliganism not only takes credit for bringing the world television, penicillin, and cloned sheep, but is now a steaming hotbed of new nanotechnology research. We spent the past week checking out bleeding edge nano, including ways of using OLED lights to smooth out skin cancer, microscopic… Read More

  • The AudioFile: Bad Things Happen To Good Players

    The AudioFile: Bad Things Happen To Good Players

    I spend a good amount of time at my officelocal neighborhood pub, Harefield Road, where I’ve gotten a reputation for fixing iPods, among other things. One of the pub’s owners, Peter “C.J.” Egan, has brought his 4th generation iPod to the pub a couple of times with some odd problems, and I’ve managed to have great success in fixing it with unorthodox methods. Read More

  • The AudioFile: The Unpatented Zone

    The AudioFile: The Unpatented Zone

    If you haven’t already noticed, the number of patent trolls and sneaky me-first companies suing over digital audio-related patents is approaching infinity. What happens when it actually gets there? We’d get sucked into an another dimension in which the laws of physics still hold, but patent laws break down. A dimension beyond sight and sound. We have entered… the Unpatented Zone. Read More

  • The AudioFile: Where's That Sound?

    The AudioFile: Where's That Sound?


    What’s a hard-core gamer or action-movie lover to do about having late-night fragging sessions or Matrix screenings without driving their spouse or neighbors nuts? While there are plenty of consumer 5.1-channel headphones on the market, if you want cans that give you a truly convincing surround-sound listening experience, you’ve got to be a military sonar operator or aircraft pilot. Read More

  • The AudioFile: A Day In the Life of an iPod

    The AudioFile: A Day In the Life of an iPod


    On Valentine’s Day, as I was perusing Time Out New York looking for something lame romantic to do, I came across a roundup of music-activated sex toys that you can plug an iPod into. It got me to wondering: Just how far does the iPod’s reach extend into our lives? I decided to see how many different ways one can incorporate the iPod into a typical day, and I admit, I was shocked. Read More

  • The AudioFile: Is the RIAA Smoking Apples?

    The AudioFile: Is the RIAA Smoking Apples?

    The music industry should be in a state of panic right now, but not because of piracy. The confusion surrounding digital music and the future of DRM was compounded this week by Steve Jobs’s open letter to the recording industry. And if the responses from the Norwegian Consumer Council and the RIAA were graded like reading comprehension questions on the SAT, neither group would make it… Read More

  • The AudioFile: Windows Vista In Your Ear

    The AudioFile: Windows Vista In Your Ear


    Windows Vista Intimate Edition fits in many orifices. Amid the Windows Vista hooplah this week, I wondered whether it will make a difference to my ears—I mean, besides having to hear Robert Fripp every time I start my Windows box. The new audio capabilities that are included in Microsoft’s latest OS highlight MS’s push even further into your living room, and from what… Read More

  • The AudioFile: Where's the Love In Online Music Services?

    The AudioFile: Where's the Love In Online Music Services?


    As a journalist covering digital audio, I can’t help feeling like I’m not really contributing to the welfare of the world at large. Sure, music is important to our physical well-being, and hearing it with the utmost clarity and detail is an integral part of the experience for many. But there are bigger issues in the world, like hunger, disease, war, poverty, and the proliferation… Read More

  • The AudioFile: Audio Quality Slip-Slides Away

    The AudioFile: Audio Quality Slip-Slides Away

    Can someone tell me why virtually nothing is happening with MP3 players in regards to actual audio quality? In fact, audio quality seems to be moving ass-backwards, giving way to non-audio features like video and wireless. Headphones have come such a long way in the last 15 years or so, and now we have dual- and triple-driver in-ear models designed specifically for use with portables. The… Read More

  • The AudioFile: Wireless Waves

    The AudioFile: Wireless Waves

    . File this under “will the speculation ever end?”: I think Microsoft will ultimately be the big winner, though not with the Zune as we currently know it. Read More

  • The AudioFile: Can't They All Just Get Along?

    The AudioFile: Can't They All Just Get Along?

    Face it, DRM is here to stay. Sure there are cracks (thanks DVD Jon!), file-sharing networks, and Bit Torrent, but the fact is many people are still buying digital music online legally. Some pundits say DRM is either doomed to failure or harmful to the consumer experience because of its increasing lack of interoperability, but I see a clear path through the DRM labyrinth. One company in… Read More

  • Name That Chiptune: The Growing Niche of 8-bit Music

    Name That Chiptune: The Growing Niche of 8-bit Music


    Audio has been moving steadily toward higher fidelity and resolution as components become cheaper and more advanced. If it ain’t 24-bit and 192kHz, many people simply aren’t interested. But this week, I’m looking in the opposite direction: 8-bit music. A whole community of musicians use modified handheld gaming devices like Nintendo Game Boys and NES boxes as live… Read More