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Headphones come in only a few basic varieties. The most common one is the dynamic, which is a sort of a traditional speaker, small in size, but essentially a piston that pushes sound. The next variety, known as electrostatic, is esoteric and often pricey, and uses a special transformer to charge a metallic film in the headphones. In recent years we have seen the rise in popularity of a headphone that use a plastic film usually with metallic traces on it and surrounded by powerful magnets, this design is known as a planar magnetic. Oppo Digital, the respected manufacturer of Blu-ray decks, has entered the fray with a new line of personal audio products, and has recently introduced the PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphones. The first mention of these set the audiophile world aflame. How good are these new models? Read our review to find out!

Harris Fogel, with additional reporting by Nancy Burlan, posted 6/10/2014

When Oppo announced plans to enter the audiophile headphone arena with their PM-1 Planar Headphones, they did so with a supporting product not far behind. The Oppo HA-1 Headphone Amplifier incorporates some of the best features of the award-winning BDP-105 Audiophile Universal Blu-ray Player updated with a pure Class A headphone amp, the same Sabre DACs from the BD-105, and designed for consumers whose audio content resides on hard drives and computers rather than optical discs. How did the HA-1 perform in our tests? Read on for our full review of this new threat to the already crowded field of DAC headphone amps!

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Harris Fogel, with additional reporting by Nancy Burlan, posted 5/29/2014

The strength of social media is all those messages and posts, and the hassle of social media is all those messages and posts! You can filter and categorize your “friends” but that only applies to that singular app. What happens if you have a Twitter feed, Facebook, and LinkedIn and want an easy way to stay current with only the most important messages? The answer might be a new app, Sparksfly that offers an easy to use and powerful approach to prioritizing those messages. Read on to see if Sparksfly is for you.

Harris Fogel and Nancy Burlan, posted 5/3/2014

Like well-designed expensive luxury automobiles that are a blast to drive, high priced amazing sounding audio systems are pretty easy to find. The challenge is finding an affordable system that provides superior performance, and in this review we look at the Pioneer Elite SC-71 AV Receiver, and the SP-PK22BS Andrew Jones Designed 5.1 Channel Speaker Package. Jones is best known for his price-is-no-object TAD audio system, and we wondered how the designer of the $78,000 a pair TAD Reference One speakers did when faced with the challenge of creating speakers at a fraction of the price. How large a fraction? Try $129 a pair. Read on to discover if he succeeded or not, and how the SC-71 fared in our tests.

Harris Fogel, with additional reporting by Nancy Burlan, posted 4/25/2014

The Mac Edition Radio Kids review Aspyr’s Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Lego for the Mac platform. Listen in as Thomas Fogel (9), Jonathan Fogel (6), and Calin Losacco (7) review these titles from their point of view.Recorded in October 2005 by Harris Fogel

Harris Fogel, Posted 4/8/2006

The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show was a lot of different things to many different people. From photography, high-definition audio, car electronics, smart appliances, and wearable tech, to small startups with one small product hoping to strike it rich, it is both evidence of a consumer society out of control, yet coupled with a sincere belief that technology can help the world, make our lives more productive, fun, and free us to other more enjoyable pursuits, even if that means constantly making sure things are charged up! Here is a baker’s dozen list + three of fun and interesting items and trends we spotted in Las Vegas.

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Harris Fogel, posted 4/6/2014

On March 3rd, 2014, Apple formally introduced CarPlay at the Geneva International Motor Show. Originally named iOS in the Car when it was announced at WWDC 2013 in June 2013, CarPlay is essentially an enhanced mirroring system for Phones with the Lightning connector (the 5s, 5c, and 5). John Mulhern takes a look at what this all means for the in-car user experience.

John Mulhern III, Posted 3/4/2014

Here's another hard truth: Not only can your computer's OS fail at any moment, but your hardware can give up the ghost unexpectedly. Won't do you much good to have a bootable, up-to-date clone of your hard drive if you don't have a fallback unit to which you can attach it. A. D. Coleman discusses repurposing his refurbished MacBook Pro as a backup computer with the addition of Seagate's 5400rpm 1TB Laptop SSHD.

A.D. Coleman, Posted 2/28/2014

In this second installment of a multi-part article, we look at the various sources for high-resolution downloadable music from labels large and small, and offer a few sound bets for the audiophile in your life. In this article we explore some recent releases from Cedille Records, a unique non-profit label dedicated to championing the music of Chicago-based artists. Read on for our full review.

Harris Fogel and Nancy Burlan, posted 2/28/2014

In this first of a multi-part article, we look at the increasing popularity of high-resolution music availability. With a growing number of sources, file formats, and genres of music, will the audiophile holy grail of no-compromise recordings finally become a reality? For the first time in years, the 2014 International CES, held in Las Vegas in January, offered a High-Res Audio Experience Tech Zone in the Venetian Hotel, featuring many of the major players in the field. In this article, we look at some of the overall issues at play in the industry, and I get bit a cranky about the questions that remain for consumers.

Harris Fogel, posted 2/20/2014

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