Jim Austin

Jim Austin  |  Sep 21, 2009  |  0 comments
Designed to be used onstage by musicians monitoring their sound and mix, in-ear monitors (IEMs) such as the new Westone 3 are great in situations where you want to hear nothing but the music. They're small and portable, and their high efficiency and easy impedance load mean they work well with portable players. IEMs are better than electronic-feedback, noise-reducing, closed circumaural phones at blocking out airplane engine noise and annoying neighbors who want to chat. They're also more compact, sound better, and don't require batteries.
Jim Austin  |  Oct 20, 2007  |  0 comments
Most people are familiar, at least in outline, with the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea." In the story, the Queen decides that it's time for her son to marry, and the Prince—apparently a very fussy young man—decides that he can marry only a true princess, as measured by her sensitivity to small discomforts. It's like being an audiophile, but with peas.
Jim Austin  |  Aug 18, 2007  |  0 comments
For a hobby based on science and technology, audiophilia has more than its share of unscientific elements. That's not necessarily a bad thing; not all of those elements are obvious snake oil, and there's more than science to creating—or re-creating—a musical experience. Still, for the more technical-minded it's a little disconcerting that even the most basic distinctions, such as why two CD players sound different from each other, are hard to explain using technical measurements and simple scientific concepts.
Jim Austin  |  May 13, 2007  |  0 comments
For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.—Friedrich Nietzsche
Jim Austin  |  Mar 25, 2007  |  0 comments
In New York and other major cities, I understand, bus accidents are a real problem. Buses turn right and failing to yield to pedestrians. Clueless pedestrians walk in front of buses. I haven't seen any statistics, but I'm guessing that in this era of cell phones and iPods, the problem has gotten worse: not only do such devices distract you, they make it harder to hear warning signs—such as the sound of a municipal bus bearing down on your ass.
Jim Austin  |  Oct 22, 2006  |  0 comments
At the extreme high end—Halcro, VTL, Boulder, etc.—reviewers gush about a lack of character. If you're paying $20,000, you want a preamplifier or power amp to disappear. At those price points we also want extreme, unfatiguing resolution, and noise that's well below what most people would consider audible. But at those prices, an absence of character is definitely something most people aspire to.
Sam Tellig, Jim Austin  |  Oct 08, 2006  |  First Published: Apr 08, 2001  |  0 comments
The Rega Couple interconnect ($150/1m pair) comes in a plastic pouch rather like a Ziploc veggie bag—just the pouch and a printed card. How much could the packaging cost? Ten cents?
Jim Austin  |  Oct 23, 2005  |  0 comments
Want to improve your hearing? Have someone tickle your toes, or lightly stroke the palm of your hand. Sounds crazy, but it works, and things get even weirder.
Jim Austin  |  Sep 17, 2005  |  0 comments
I've never lived in New York City, but I've visited often, especially the Upper West Side, where my wife's grandparents lived for many years. There's a little jazz bar there, on Broadway near 106th Street, aka Duke Ellington Boulevard.
Jim Austin  |  May 15, 2005  |  0 comments
In his "From the Editor's Desk" in the March issue of Stereophile's e-newsletter, John Atkinson recounts how, years ago, "erstwhile audio scribe Enid Lumley" demonstrated her pizza-box-tripod tweak at a hi-fi show. Lumley, JA writes, "placed the tripod atop a CD player and convinced her audience—including me—that the sound was better."

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