Alex’s Top 10 of 2017 Dec28

Alex’s Top 10 of 2017

2017 was a so-so year for metal but an epic one for me. Toward the beginning of this year, my wife gave birth to our first child, a baby boy. Consequently, Metal-Fi came to a screeching halt as I learned to change diapers in the wee hours of the morning, discovered the power of a good swaddle, and spent nights on end just checking to make sure he was still breathing. I also never thought hearing the word “Dada” could make a grown man cry – it can. My son and I are like two peas in a pod exploring the world together; him for the first time and me doing it all over again but acting as a co-pilot now. It is a strange yet...

Dave’s Top 10 of 2017 Dec27

Dave’s Top 10 of 2017

Years of bountiful harvest are often followed by years of drought, and that (for me at least) seems to be what happened in terms of great metal releases from last year to this. 2016 was filled with some absolutely phenomenal albums from long time heavy hitters like Dark Tranquillity, Fates Warning, Ihsahn, and of course Vader, and I went into 2017 with some big expectations, unfortunately many of which lead to big disappointments, with the new Xanthochroid probably taking the cake for biggest let down. Happily all is not sorrow however, indeed 2017 also brought a few very pleasant surprises. This being a year end review I also need to...

Go High-Res For The Holidays Dec24

Go High-Res For The Holidays

Here’s the thing: Dave and I have always been skeptical about high-res. First off, the whole concept is somewhat nebulous since the industry can’t really standardize on a formal definition of it. As a result, many labels have taken advantage of that fact by advertising a record as “high-res” when in fact it’s just an upsampled version of the original CD. Secondly, even though most audiophiles equate any format with a greater than 16-bits/44.1kHz sampling rate with “high-res,” a higher sampling rate in itself can’t compensate for a poorly produced master because ultimately no amount of...

Metal-Fi Prize Giveaway: Audioengine B2 Wireless Speakers Nov01

Metal-Fi Prize Giveaway: Audioengine B2 Wireless Speakers

It’s that time again where your participation in the Metal-Fi community finally pays off! I’m not talking higher dynamic range either, or am I? [Dave: Groan.] Metal-Fi and Audioengine are teaming up to giveaway another pair of B2 wireless speakers this month and I’m hoping all of you enter to win. If you aren’t familiar with the B2, then head over to their site right now to read up on one of the most versatile speakers on the market. The winner will be announced on November 30th. One final tidbit: AE is thinking about expanding the finish options on the B2 and wants your input. So please feel out the survey below....

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 3 Jul07

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 3

A couple of months back in part two of this series, I explained how room modes can wreak havoc on in-room frequency response, and how kinetic bass traps work by slowing down the air particles that carry sound waves, reducing the energy of the reflected waves that cause peaks and nulls in response. The problem with these types of traps is that while they are very effective at medium to upper frequencies, they can be ineffective at dealing with low frequency peaks and nulls, which can often be the most problematic areas in a room. The reason why is that the velocity of the particles directly at the wall (where you would normally mount the...

Po-Nope! May12

Po-Nope!

I last wrote about Neil Young’s erstwhile Pono music store a little less than two years ago, when the SS Pono was already taking on water. Unsurprisingly, Pono has now found a new home in Davy Jones’ Locker. Let’s take a moment to consider the reasons why. When you are trying to enter the market as a disruptor, you need to actually do something different. The original iPhone is a great example of a market disruptor. Touch screen phones prior to the iPhone sucked, because nobody had thought to build a UI around the idea, and even if they had, plastic resistive screens would’ve been miserable to use anyway. In its earliest stages, Pono did...

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 2 Apr21

Echo Chamber: Room Acoustics Part 2

In part one of this series, I mentioned that as soon as I walked into my new apartment, I knew I would have to put in some significant acoustic treatments for my system to sound good. How did I know that? One word: echo. You don’t have to be an acoustician to understand how echo works, and how it can completely ruin any possibility of good sound, even with a million dollars worth of equipment. Ever tried having a conversation with someone in a concrete garage? All of those hard, flat, highly reflective surfaces can allow a sound to bounce around for several seconds before it finally decays below the threshold of audibility, making the...

Metal-Fi’s Audioengine B2 Giveaway! Apr11

Metal-Fi’s Audioengine B2 Giveaway!

Audioengine has been gracious enough to sponsor our very first giveaway! If you’ve already read my reviews of the HD3 and HD6 speaker systems, then you already have a good idea of what to expect from the B2. Think 60 watts of headbangin’ fun streamed over an extended range Bluetooth connection all wrapped up in a handsome modular little woody package. What more could you ask for? Don’t be shy and enter to win! And of course if the metal gods should happen to show favor upon you, please post your impressions of the B2 here or in the forums so other MF’iers can live vicariously through you. Good luck and have fun!...

Vanatoo Wants You Apr07

Vanatoo Wants You

There are loads of active speakers out there promising to be your one stop shop to audio bliss, but one in particular stands out for its combination of features, build quality, sound, and price – Vanatoo’s Transparent One. Of course $500/pr is still a pretty significant chunk of change. What if Vanatoo could keep most of what made the T-One such a great buy, and cut the price nearly in half? Now that would be impressive. Well, that’s just what they’ve done with the new Transparent Zero. Of course some sacrifices had to be made to get the price down to $299/pr, but a lot less than you might think. The One’s 5.25” woofer and...