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May 03, 2020


I’ve been an audio buff all my life. I built my first stereo amplifier–with tubes!–while I was in high school. I’ve got the home theater with surround sound and two subwoofers and a kilowatt of amplification. So I’m the last guy to compromise when it comes to portable audio.

In all the reviews I’ve done for PC Magazine, I’ve learned that many a slick-performing digital audio player has serious sonic flaws. I’ve also found that headphones and earbuds have a major effect on the quality of your listening experience. Yet virtually every other reviewer just downloads his favorite tunes and says. “Cool!” if the unit makes music, and goes on to complain about the computer-side software or the belt clip.

Yes, we often use these devices in conditions that are noisy, and it’s easy to say that audio performance isn’t all that critical. You could make the same argument for your car, but I’ll bet you have a premium audio system in your car to help you drown out some of that hostile outside world. Don’t you owe it to yourself to do the same thing for your ears when you’re traveling and on the go?

In addition to digital audio players, I’ll also be looking at headphones and earbuds, not only for their frequency response and sensitivity, but also their noise-blocking and noise-canceling capabilities. And in the tradition of comparison testing that I brought to PC Magazine over 20 years ago, you’ll see real numbers, real charts, not just “sounds good.”

I’ve chosen a web log format instead of a static website so that you can comment on the reviews, add your own observations, ask questions, and get answers.

Thanks for looking and listening.

- Bill

Posted by machrone at 06:48 PM | Comments (17)