Browsing Archive March, 2012

New Unreleased Monster Headphones, The Next Generation

With the introduction of the artist-branded headphone, Monster (the company formerly known as Monster Cable) made a tremendous splash in the music and fashion worlds. The enormous success of the Dre Beats and other models can be taken as preamble to the next movement of the Monster brand that promises to take the design aspect  of Monster headphones to new heights. Whatever your stance on the performance of the Monster brand, even some of the most ardent audiophiles must admit that the new line-up of Monster headphones are aesthetically original. Three of the more distinctive models are the the Infinity, the Diesel, and the Tranquility designs.

First among this innovative list are the Inspiration headphones. The Monster Inspiration headphones are the brands first over ear headphones to feature active noise cancellation and a distinctly streamlined construction. Aside from being the first of Monster headphones to feature active noise cancellation, the Inspiration will also be equipped with an in-line microphone capable of answering and ending calls. Stylistically, the Inspiration will offer a range of headband modifications that are anticipated to feature a broad range of styles and concepts. Moreover, the Inspiration will be available in a sharp Titanium finish, Pearl White, and Silver limited edition.

An even more adventurous design, the Vektr headphones feature an intricately jagged geometric patterning that resembles modern architecture.

Designed with Diesel, the Italian clothing brand, Monster’s Vektr headphones boast of titanium-coated drivers. The Vektr also features a collapsible design that allows them to be compactly and safely stored. Like the Infinity, the Vektr also feature an in-line microphone that allow users to use the Vektr for phone conversation.

 

Lastly, the Tranquility series aims to do exactly what its name implies: calm you down. The Tranquility series has so far been lauded as an audiophile grade set of headphones with a folding design. The remarkably sleek and thin construction is paired with sound isolating ear cushions and features active noise cancellation powered by a rechargeable battery. Furthermore, the Tranquility features dual 1/8″ (3.5mm) input and output plugs to easily connect the Tranquility.

With the impending separation of the Dre Beats from Monster, the relatively newly formed headphone company is seeking to further define itself in the world of headphones by creating completely distinct and original designs. These three anticipated models are a good projection of the direction Monster intends to take as a growing and developing manufacturer.

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Marine Vs Car Audio

Marine AudioEnjoy The Water

2012 offers an abundance of new audio equipment for your aquatic satisfaction.  It’s not quite summer, but now is the perfect time to start thinking of upgrading your watercraft’s audio components!  Marine audio can be installed on the likes of boats, sea-doos, jet skis, motorcycles, ATV’s, ect.  As opposed to car audio, marine audio is usually more durable and weather proof to allow for excessive wear and tear.  Getting the gear you need now will ensure an audio-inducing summer.

                                              The Difference

Kicker 10ZXM7005

5-Channel ZXM Series Marine Amplifier

Marine audio differentiates from car audio in a few major ways. Marine amplifiers and subwoofers are water resistant due to their increased exposure to salt or fresh water. They have special manufacturing designs such as watertight seals, coated circuit boards, and waterproof wired remote controllers. Another thing to take into consideration is sunlight exposure.  Usually, audio components are going to be exposed to long hours in the summer sun.  To compensate for this, manufacturers will coat parts with ultraviolet resistant materials.

 

JL Audio Marine M10W5-CG-WH

10" Single 4 ohms Marine Subwoofer Driver

When your audio components are wet or dampened, they are susceptible to corrosion.  Marine speaker wire is designed to reduce the risk of corrosion with stranded copper wire.  This wire also makes it flexible which is great for absorbing shock damage caused by the movement of the harsh marine environment. Due to the openness of a marine environment, marine speakers will always have hard dome tweeters to create the loudest sound projection obtainable. Marine head units will have rubberized buttons and splash guards to protect the internal parts from being wet. Today, there are an abundance of manufacturers who offer multiple lines of marine audio products to fit your specific needs.

 

We have a huge selection,  check it out!:

Marine Audio

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Defy Mediocrity With Roland’s “CAPTURE” Series

Roland UA-11 DUO-CAPTURE     Roland UA-33 TRI-CAPTURE     Roland UA-55 QUAD-CAPTURE     Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE

I’m currently wearing a shirt with the following words printed on it: “The future of music and art must not belong to the mediocre.” With any of Roland’s CAPTURE Series audio interfaces, and with your artistic input, you can give form to your creative vision(s); you can create something unique for future generations to enjoy for generations to come.

Octopus

4 out of 5 octopi recommend the OCTA-CAPTURE:

Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE

Put plainly, these audio interfaces are phenomenal. The OCTA-CAPTURE in particular is a real beast. With exquisite recording resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz, Roland’s proprietary VS Streaming low latency driver technology, and the inclusion of Cakewalk’s powerful SONAR X1 LE (not to mention a current promotion that enables users to download SONAR X1 Studio for free), it’s difficult to overstate the awesomeness of this baby.

 

Discover duality with Roland’s DUO-CAPTURE:

Roland UA-11 DUO-CAPTURE

For those of you out there who might not need that much awesomeness; those of you who can do a lot with a little, Roland also makes the beautifully affordable DUO-CAPTURE audio interface. The DUO-CAPTURE USB audio interface comes equipped with two audio inputs and outputs along with dual headphone outputs (which are great for musician/engineer production sessions). It also comes with high-stability, low-latency drivers for both Mac and PC operating systems (although SONAR X1 LE is solely for Windows). With its unique, slim-line design and stable performance, the DUO-CAPTURE is the perfect audio interface for recording musicians on the go.

 

TRI-CAPTURE demonstrates the power of three!

Roland UA-33 TRI-CAPTURE

For anyone who needs a little more bang for their buck, such as an XLR input and/or a S/PDIF out, the Roland TRI-CAPTURE is right up your alley. The TRI-CAPTURE has a feature called “loop back,” which enables users to record along with music that’s being played back from the computer. It also has more detailed knobs, buttons and LEDs for greater control over your recordings. It supports phantom power for condenser mics and has a Hi-Z switch for guitarists. Additionally, like all other interfaces in this series, it too comes with a copy of Cakewalk’s SONAR X1 LE.

 

QUAD-CAPTURE = pro performance for portable productions

UA-55

The enthusiasm of our aforementioned cephalopod friends for the OCTA-CAPTURE aside, the QUAD-CAPTURE performs spectacularly well next to its brother. It has 24-bit/192kHz recording resolution, VS Streaming technology, AUTO-SENS automatic level adjustment, and VS Preamps just like the OCTA-CAPTURE. This interface is one of the best you’ll find in its price range, in this blogger’s opinion. This one is geared towards musicians and engineers who certainly take their craft seriously, but who might not need (or be able to afford) the flagship of the CAPTURE series, the OCTA-CAPTURE.

 
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let octopi have all the fun! Pick up your Roland CAPTURE Series audio interface today, and be sure to grab the complimentary, comprehensive 178-page PDF guide to the SONAR DAW behind the links at the bottom of the product pages.

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What It All Means: Frequency Response, Impedance, Sensitivity, and Drivers

As headphones of all types gradually become  fashion accessories, important technical measures of performance with unglamorous scientific measures seem to be preeminently targeted for exclusion by many manufacturers. Further still, even when manufacturers supply technical information, it can often be overlooked and placed beneath less pertinent factors to listening experience and sound reproduction such as model style, crafty novelty, and brand name. Just as one would not purchase a new set of reading glasses because they look “cool” without first considering the appropriate magnification, buying headphones requires that buyers are equally aware of the characteristics that best fit their particular needs. Whether it is a total suppression of relevant information or lack of knowledge surrounding the specifications that make a true difference in sound reproduction, purchasing headphones of any type based solely on emotive judgement can  result in an inadequate and unsatisfying listening experience. To help you make your next headphone purchase as a discerning and refined buyer, this blog will explain the importance and relevance of their most crucial technical specifications.

In the following sections we will define and explore the effect on listening experience of specifications including Frequency Response, Impedance, Sensitivity, and Drivers (which classify better as components rather than a characteristic, yet are imperative to sound quality). This list covers only the most common specifications and do not take signal quality or signal source into account.

Frequency Response

The Grado SR225i features a frequency response between 20 - 22,000 Hz, well within the average human range

Perhaps the most controversial specification among audiophiles, the frequency response uses Hertz (Hz) as a measure of sound waves per second where 1 Kilohertz (kHz) = 1,000 Hz. In reference to headphones, and speakers in general, the frequency response describes the frequencies a set of headphones can produce. Essentially, the lower end of the frequency response indicates the lowest frequency the speaker can produce while the larger number describes the highest frequency the speaker can produce. This, of course, does not necessarily translate into sound heard. The reason for this is because human hearing averages between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. What makes this measure particularly polarizing is the general assumption that a frequency response with a lower Hz measurement translates into a better bass reproduction. While a frequency response lower than 20 Hz can be taken as a strong indicator of the potential bass reproduction, measures beneath roughly 16 Hz are felt as sound pressures rather than audible tones. The same logic that applies to bass applies to the treble scale. Sound above roughly 22 kHz tend not to be audible. As a general principle when shopping for headphones, buyers should at the very least be sure to accommodate for the average audible range for human hearing with a safe amount above and below the human hearing range. For example, a set of headphones with a frequency range of about 16 Hz – 23 kHz is  adequate for most casual listeners. Nevertheless, frequency response should not be the lone factor in deciding a purchase, there is plenty more to consider.

Impedance

The Sennheiser HD 650 features an impedance of 300 Ohms making it practically impossible to play with only a portable device

Without complicating matters too much, impedance basically indicates the power demand of a headphone and is most useful to buyers as an indication of a headphone’s application. Impedance is measured in Ohms and when thinking of impedance it is useful to separate into low and high impedance categories.

Low impedance headphones ranging from around 32 ohms to around 100 ohms are particularly well suited for portable applications. Because low impedance headphones require less voltage to produce high volume, a battery powered MP3 player or a portable device like an iPod have enough voltage to allow the voice coil and magnet to push and pull the speaker in the appropriate direction.

On the other hand, high impedance headphones are intended primarily for high-powered applications. High impedance headphones require more voltage from the source in order to reach comparable volumes to a lower impedance headphone. Nonetheless,  at a higher impedance, the tightly wound, thin voice coil wire creates resistance and results in a greater magnetic field that allows a more responsive diaphragm allowing high impedance headphones to push and pull the speaker with greater ease. High impedance headphones can be used with portable devices if they are paired with an appropriate headphone amplifier that will provide the high impedance headphone enough voltage to convert the electrical signal into music.

Sensitivity

In direct relation to impedance is a headphones sensitivity. While impedance describes the voltage necessary to power the headphone at a specified volume level, sensitivity is describes the amount of electrical signal that is converted into sound.  The relationship between sensitivity and impedance is such that sensitivity is a direct result of voltage. In other words, sensitivity tells users about the volume level, measured in decibels (dB), at a specified voltage.  So, if you know the impedance of a set of headphones and the power supply, sensitivity can give users a good idea of the volume you can expect for a set of headphones.

Drivers

Finally, the driver. Easily the most important part of a set of headphones as this is the place where the music happens. Although there are many types of drivers available to consumers, perhaps the most common is the dynamic driver. All the specification discussed up to this point directly affect the performance of the driver. Of particular importance is the driver size, as this most often indicates the type of frequency the driver will best suited to reproduce.

The old adage that bigger is better is only partially true in regard to headphones. For instance, if the goal is to get the most bass out of a pair of headphones and have made sure to see that the frequency response of the headset is sufficiently low, then a large driver may be the best option. Because a large driver with a larger surface area will push more air through the chambers, the large driver is best suited to provide the best bass response. Moreover, because of the large surface area, the pressure of inaudible frequencies will be more noticeable.

However, if your musical tastes and demands tend toward the higher frequencies, a larger driver is antithetical to your purposes. Higher frequencies travel in faster and tighter waves than the broad bass frequencies. This means that your driver will need to respond quicker and fluctuate faster than it would need to with low frequencies. Smaller drivers, with a smaller surface area and reduced mass, are much easier to move making it the most appropriate option for mid to high frequencies.

Conclusion

Despite the continuing trend toward marketable and trendy headphones, these devices are complicated and technologically advanced pieces of equipment that have developed over many years. Understanding how to get the most of a set of headphones require a dedicated degree of commitment and personal investment. Ultimately, the diligence necessary to fully appreciate the characteristics of a pair of headphones can be the difference between just another mundane experience and a lifetime of enjoyment.

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Have your Audio Equipment Installed at Sonic Electronix!

Technician Anthony B. carefully reattaches a door panel after a successful speaker upgrade

There are two things to consider when it comes to getting car audio gear into your vehicle. First you’ll need to buy the equipment, and then you’ll need to have it installed. In many cases, enthusiasts will procrastinate and leave a component or entire audio system sitting in a garage or closet, waiting to be installed. Stop letting all of that awesome audio gear collect dust and take it over to Sonic Electronix today to have all your gear installed by our professionals. We offer the highest quality car stereo installation at competitive prices.

Installation Manager Allyn R. showing the low quality factory speakers in this Honda Civic

 

We currently offer installation at our retail location in Valencia, CA. This means if you’re coming by to pick up some gear, you can have it installed into your vehicle in the same visit, & drive out of our parking lot jamming to your new stereo or subwoofer. Sonic Electronix is proud to be a one-stop solution for all of your car audio needs.

 

Allyn verifies that the speaker fits before sealing up the doors

Not only do we specialize in cars, we also have extensive experience installing in boats, ATV’s, and more! For more information on making appointments, requesting price quotes, or to view a general price list, check out our Car Audio & Video Installation Services!

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