Posts tagged mp3

Amazon-AutoRip

Amazon has today launched a new music service called AutoRip, which offers customers a free MP3 version of every album they’ve bought on CD from Amazon since 1998. The service currently boasts more than 50,000 digital albums from all the major record labels, and Amazon insists that new titles are added on a regular basis.

These Scosche Realm RH656 ($130) headphones compete in the same league as with headphones like the Beats (formerly Monster) Solo HD, the Incase Reflex and the Fanny Wang 1000 Series. These ‘phones have a lot in common: they have smallish earcups that sit on the ear, instead of over; they all have track and volume controls (remember though that the volume control won’t work on Android devices); and they’ve all had a dash of fashion added.

But there are some key differences too. And as you’re about to find out, the RH656 does pretty well against its competition.

If you haven’t heard of the Samsung Galaxy Muse, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s a music companion device designed to work with Galaxy smartphones such as the Galaxy S III and Note II. Basically, it’s an MP3 player. What in the world would anyone want with an MP3 player these days? Well, some people prefer not to jog, bike, exercise, etc. with their $600+ device and would much rather carry around a small companion device such as the Muse that costs much less.

I remember saying something to the effect that these Monster Inspiration headphones (passive noise isolation, $300) looked like fluff when I first encountered them at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. Boy was I wrong.

We bumped into neophyte Australian headphones-maker Audiofly in January, during a press-only event at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and gave two models in the four-model lineup a whirl. Their mid-level AF45 set sounded great for $50; but the next one I tried — the top-of-the-line AF78 ($200)left me slack-jawed with disbelief; its sound knocked my socks off, even amid the cacophony of noisy journalists.

What makes the AF78 unusual is its speaker arrangement.

Many mid-to-high-end canalphones are powered by tiny armature speakers, while moving coil drivers are found pretty much everywhere except the very high end. Armatures are generally better at producing clean highs and mids, but can lack deep bass; moving coils, on the other hand, are generally not as good at reproducing the clarity of an armature. But the AF78 is part of an elite group of models  — like the Scosche IEM856m I reviewed last year — that employ both a moving coil speaker and a balanced armature in each ear, in an attempt to give the listener the best of both worlds. And it works spectacularly.

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