The HTC One has dual (ie two) front facing (ie facing you when you’re looking at it) speakers, makes sense right? I mean, why have speakers on the back blasting sound away from you. (You often have to cup the speaker on the rear to bounce the sound back to you so you can hear it). The sound is by “Beats”. So I thought it would be good to show some videos of the sound output from the HTC One. Enjoy. (More after the break, where we’ve also got video playback).
This set of earbuds makes the lofty claim that they are ‘guaranteed not to fall out’. A lofty claim for sure, so evidence will be scrutinised.
Sony MDR-570, £17.99, Amazon UK – Orange, stylish, nice texture, feel decent padding to the ears, gold plated socket, sound is fairly decent when heard without any reference point. BUT in comparison to the Koss Porta Pros (£17.99, Amazon UK) they aren’t anywhere near as clear, crisp, dynamic, or bass driven, and need more volume from the source to match the volume level of the Koss headphones. They also need quite a lot of pressure (holding them to your ears) to get the best sound from them, they have a lot of treble at the top end, but generally sound muffled, and unclear, in the mid range especially.
Rating: 3/5. Good for value for money and good looks, not so much the sound.
Ultimate Ears Super fi 5 silver earphones by Logitech. These are expensive earphones, priced at around £87 on Amazon UK. They come with 3 different sized rubber covers (aka “silicone ear cushions”, you get 4 sets in total, 2 are the medium size), and 1 size grey foam earpieces (you get 2 sets of these).
They provide a scary amount of noise isolation – especially with the foam ear tips – which I found the most comfortable. Walking down the street, you couldn’t hear cars driving past. They provide better noise isolation than the Sennheiser CX-300 IIs, and the foam ear tips are more comfortable in my opinion.
However, the sound is not necessarily better than the CX-300 II’s in my opinion – the CX-300s have louder bass, and crisper treble. The difference in sound quality is quite subtle, and the most noticable difference is in comfort, and noise isolation (it’s like wearing foam earplugs). Although the price is also noticeably higher for the Super 5s, costing three times as much as the CX-300s (currently £30)!
One thing I’m not overly keen on is the slightly firm feeling cable – the CX-300s feel a little softer to the touch and the silicon / rubber ear tips are harder / firmer than the CX-300s – which seems to make the Super Fi 5s a little uncomfortable when wearing the silicon earpieces.
If you’re looking for excellent noise isolation and comfort then the UE Superfi 5s have the best options and most choice available regarding size and type of ear tip, however, I think it could be worth saving money by trying some Sennheiser CX-300 IIs first, or even Creative Labs EP-630/A Noise Isolating Earphones which are excellent performers considering they only cost £8. Especially if you’re upgrading from the free ones that came with your mp3 player.
UE Superfi 5 Specs:
Frequency response: 15 Hz – 15 kHz, Impedance: 13 ohms at 1kHz, Sensitivity: 115 dB SPL/mW at 1 kHz, Noise Isolation: 26dB, Gold plated 3.5mm jack
Sennheiser CX-300 II Specs:
Frequency response: 19 Hz-21,000 Hz, Impedance: 16 Ω, Sound pressure level: 113 dB (1kHz/1Vrms), Noise Isolation: not stated, Gold plated 3.5mm jack
Creative Labs EP-630/A Noise Isolation Earphones Specs:
Frequency response: 6 Hz – 23,000 Hz, Impedance: 16 ohms, Sound pressure level: 106dB, Noise Isolation: not stated, Gold plated 3.5mm jack
SuperFi Box Contents:
Super fi 5
Three sizes of soft silicone ear tips
2 sets of Comply foam ear tips;
pocket ready pebble-shaped case.
I seriously can’t decide whether this is pure genius, or just complete madness, or whether it’s just another money hungry marketing trick designed to part money from the foolish. Can you backup the mp3s? Copy them to your PC or other MP3 device? Although it costs more for the USB drive – so it would make sense to buy the CDs, and then rip to mp3. It’s a limited edition (100 units in the UK?) and costs £200. I’m pretty sure that’s an insane price – especially as it only contains the stereo version – I’d expect every version ever made for that price. (via Engadget)
Megadeth – Endgame – £8.98 at Amazon UK – This is Megadeth’s 3rd album since their “return” in 2004 with The System Has Failed. It sees a new guitarist join the band, Chris Broderick someone who, according to wikipedia, practised 14 hours a day, and you can tell. This has got to be the most technically impressive Megadeth has ever sounded, with extremely tight, fast paced drumming, very powerful bass guitar (even starting one track with the bass guitar with track 11), excellent solos and seemingly perfect performance from all members. All of the tracks vary in style through the song, and it takes some concentrated listening to fully notice the ability and skill of all musicians.
What I said previously about United Abominations definitely holds true with Endgame as well:
“The album as a whole, with quick “speed” / “thrash” metal, puts a high demand on your stereo, as a slow response or lack of punch, can result in the stereo being left behind.”
Dave’s voice is unique as always, but seems a little less hoarse this time round. Some have commented that Dave sounds angry in this album, and yes the music is very fast and heavy, but in my opinion lacks some of the raw emotion of the (in your face) United Abominations. Endgame is more about pure heavy metal / thrash with less synths, instruments and samples compared to the 2007 album, although saying that Endgame does go very nicely from one track to another with mostly no gaps in between the songs on the CD. As a whole album it works very well, with no obvious flaws or mismatches in the track list, and it is an extremely polished album (unlike The System Has Failed, which had one or two seemingly odd / mismatched tracks). It could seem like there is little variation from song to song in style, which to an extent is true, but it’s when you listen to each individual track that you begin to notice the differences in rhythm and style.
Lots of very good tracks, and some standout awesome tracks, but this time it’s because of the technical brilliance of the way the musicians and singer(s) come together, with excellent solos playing over great riffs, and lots of tempo changes, and variations in each track. The lyrics are not necessarily as raw as United Abominations, and there’s not as much political energy this time round, but it seems as though they’ve moved more towards musical excellence in Heavy Metal / Thrash with this album, and that’s got to be a good thing. Dave Mustaine and Chris Brodericks solos very smoothly roll into each other, and it’s clear they work VERY well together.
I’ve heard it said that you’ve got to listen to the guitar solo on such and such a track, or that the drummer is excellent on this track, and I think this is perhaps one of the most impressive things that you’ll notice when listening to this ablum. No matter what your favourite instrument or player, you can really hear the excellence of each player, be it the excellent guitar solo in 44 Minutes, or the excellent drumming in Head Crusher, or the pounding bass lines in The Right to Go Insane, or the snarling growl of Dave Mustaine’s voice in Endgame, it all comes together in each track, and throughout the album the sheer excellence of each musician is clear. A Definite MUST BUY! 9/10
I’m still waiting for a Megadeth “concept album”, as I think it would be the holy grail if Megadeth could pull it off, perhaps next time?
Full track listings and song descriptions continued below.
1 – Dialectic Chaos – 2 minutes 25 seconds of pure metal with no vocals, makes an interesting start to the album.
2 – This Day We Fight! – High speed, heavy metal, lots of fast solos.
3 – 44 Minutes – starts with police cb radio reports of open fire (211) from an AK-47, simply awesome grinding metal and great solos over great riffs. Great depth of sound and high speed solos.
4 – 1,320′ – high speed, drums stand out in the middle, style changes around the middle.
5 – Bite The Hand – Heavy bass lead riffs begin this track, impressive guitar work while Dave’s singing, sounds like they would have had fun playing this.
6 – Bodies – pounding bass line dominates the start of this track, classic Megadeth style riffs, gets quite musical towards the end, and then finishes with some high speed thrash metal.
7 – Endgame – somewhat dark, old skool, Rust in Peace style track (with some very clear nods to classic Megadeth riffs), with a dark theme and lyrics, and yet sounding extremely fresh, and bringing perhaps a slightly new sound to Megadeth. Dave’s vocals are the most varied on this track so far on the album. It’s also the longest song on the album, with the most political message about end times, and USA’s anti-terrorist laws. Ending seems a little weak simply fading away (I expect it would be more interesting live!)
8 – The Hardest Part Of Letting Go… Sealed With A Kiss – Again, this track continues to introduce a new sound to Megadeth, building up from a musical love song, it kicks into gear half way through, with high speed metal, then brings you back down to the love song at the end with an marching drum beat, and classical guitar playing.
9 – Head Crusher – extremely quick thrash with highly skilled and impressive drumming, “on your knees prisonors, take your positions”, reminds me of “Captive Honor”, and this track just keeps getting darker, and heavier, as the bass guitar begins pounding, and Dave’s vocals get more twisted and snarled. The speed continues as a high speed solo plays over the top. Wow!
10 – How The Story Ends – Impressive solos and guitar riffs.
11 – The Right To Go Insane – Great bass guitar riff starts this track, sets the heaviness of this track off nicely, however, I wonder whether track 11 and 10 should have been swapped around in order. Some great solos and drumming finish this track off nicely.
Gizmodo have posted information on why you’d want to buy the new Beatles release due today, available from Amazon UK, it doesn’t come cheap:
“But that wasn’t all. In the mono version you can hear stuff that is not in the stereo version. And not just bits, but quite a lot of things. Instruments, notes, even lyrics. Take the reprise version of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: It is full of shouting—Lennon going bananas at the end, and other bits at the beginning—that is not in the stereo mix.” – Gizmodo
Chickenfoot are that most poorly described of entities; a super group. They’re a four piece featuring ex-Van-Halen legends Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar on bass and vocals respectively, solo player Joe Satriani on guitar and Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers on drums. I only have a first impression as I just received their self-titled debut album, however, it sounds good. Of course, Hagar’s vocals dominate the whole piece, giving an 80s feel to proceedings and one suspects that there is nothing new here in terms of material, songwriting originality, but hell, this is good, old fashioned hard rock and it’s done excellently by musicians you wouldn’t ordinarily hear mentioned in the same breath. They won’t tear up the charts, but I think that is a compliment personally. Accomplished musicians are making more of an impact than they have for the last 30 years. Dream Theater’s new album, for example charted at number 6, their highest ever position, despite the fact that this is their 25th year performing together. Clearly there is room for people who can play, although I find it absurd that I have to suggest that success in music might once again be accessible to talented musicians.
Chickenfoot are 8/10 for me, low on originality, high on performance and balls. It’s only rock and roll, but I like it.