Best Insulating Window Blinds For Sound On A Budget

There’s nothing quite as taxing as having to deal with living in a noisy neighborhood. You might have to deal with the blaring noises of traffic as people pass by or loud music that comes from your noisy neighbor’s house.

Noise is something you shouldn’t have to deal with, especially after a long day at the office.

Most people don’t even have enough thickness from their walls to keep sound insulated. This is why we recommend people opt for insulating window treatments to keep noise levels to a minimum.

Best Insulating Window Blinds For Sound On A Budget
Best Insulating Window Blinds For Sound On A Budget

Best Noise Blocking Blinds

Window treatments are best known for providing privacy and light control, though many of them work to keep sound insulated as well. If noise is something that is keeping you and your family awake at night, then we highly recommend investing in one of these window treatments.

Here are our top three favorite window treatments for sound insulation:



Cellular Shades

Sound is something that travels through the air from inside and outside your home. Cellular shades have a unique structure that allows them to capture sound, making them the best sound-insulating window treatment around. Cellular shades come in a wide variety of thicknesses with different cell layers, which allows you to customize the amount of control you have over sound.

Plus, cellular shades work to retain heat as well, meaning you can cut your electricity costs while using them.

Cellular shades use pleated materials to provide total privacy and optimal light control. If you’re looking for durability, functionality, and style, look no further than cellular shades.


Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters are an excellent choice for energy efficiency and light control. Not only do they work well for different types of décor, but they also work to block out any external noise really nicely too.

We recommend shutters that are made with solid polyurethane cores, as they are the most effective when it comes to insulating noise. You can purchase them in single-pane, double-pane, or multi-pane, depending on the style that you want.

Plantation shutters are known for being durable and lightweight. Next to cellular shades, plantation shutters are the best for keeping heat out of the house, effectively reducing energy bills. Simple yet stylish, these are incredibly popular thanks to their functionality and would make a great investment for any home


Roman Shades

For those who prefer nice fabric around their homes, Roman shades are an excellent choice and can always save with discount blinds. They add an essence of style and elegance around the home. While they are a bit more dressy than your typical window treatment, they are still plenty functional in providing total privacy and keeping the sunlight outside when wanted.

Roman shades work well for sound insulating due to the fact that they typically use heavy fabric. If you want to take it a step further, you can even add a blackout liner behind them. Roman shades are excellent for those who are seeking out sound insulation, though also want to add a touch of formality to their space.

Radio Stations in New York

Radio stations are stations that transmit sound through radio waves, sometimes using metadata, to reach an audience. The radio stations therefore, are to some extent categorized as transmitters and receivers. In general terms, radio stations operate on frequencies which are used for communication or entertainment. In some ways, they can also be classified as information services.

The majority of the radio stations originate their sounds through broadcasting service providers who pass the encoded radio signals from a transmitter to an antenna in the air for transmission. The signals are usually again reflected back to the listener. In most cases, terrestrial radio stations are controlled by the governing bodies while satellite radio stations can be operated commercially. However, both types of radio stations use the same transmission services.

In radio stations that are transmitted from a transmitter fixed in the earth, the station may be operated by a station manager, technician or other operators who make all the necessary decisions. The station manager makes all decisions in regard to the content of the programming, marketing strategy, promotions, advertising, direction and sales of the station. At times, the station manager may be the sole owner of the radio station. A station manager is typically elected for a fixed term of one year, though it is not uncommon for them to be hired on a term-by-term basis.

In the case of new York radio stations, the process of starting up is relatively simple because there are a large number of FM stations that have already been started. In order to get a license to operate, however, a station must successfully complete an application called an application for a license to operate. This application is reviewed by the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) and then either approved or disapproved. The license will tell the FCC if the station meets all the FCC requirements and the FCC approves or disapproves the license.

In order to qualify for a new York radio license, a station must be able to attract at least five percent of the total listenership of the local audience each week. The listeners must be able to find the station on a list of music listings published by conventional media such as magazines, newspapers and radio stations. The stations must also be able to draw listeners to their signal by having reasonable access to local programming. The licenses for radio stations are renewed every year, generally on a month-to-month basis, with the latest renewal date occurring just before the start of each season. Stations are often requested to run promotional ads during the most popular holiday periods such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, although this can vary depending on the station’s ratings.

In order to obtain a radio station license, it is essential to submit detailed plans for operations including advertising and promotion strategies. In addition, applicants must prove that their proposed business will generate a financial return. For example, if a station is to provide music for the home and school community, the applicant should show how revenue from advertisements will benefit these institutions. A successful application process for a new York radio station is based on a thorough review of a station’s proposals, including a presentation of financial statements. These financial statements usually include bank statements, income statements, rent checks and other receipts.

Radio Broadcasting Basics

Radio broadcasting is the transmission of audio or data content to an unaided audience through any analog mass communications media, usually one utilizing the very same electromagnetic spectrum, but normally one with the distinct advantage of being able to target specific regions of the radio spectrum. In a nutshell, it is similar to television broadcasting, except that instead of broadcasting video and audio information, it sends radio waves. This form of media has been around for a long time and has gradually been assimilated into the Internet and phone systems. Radio stations and television broadcasts had made great strides in the past decade and continue to do so in the present. There are numerous options available for those who wish to engage in radio broadcasting. From short, live broadcasts via portable devices such as iPods and i-pads to a much more sophisticated tool, the internet, which allows broadcasting of radio content over the airwaves, all the way up to commercial internet programming and television commercials.

For the purposes of this discussion, the term ‘radio broadcasting’ will apply to any medium that permits the transmission of sound or data in the form of communications, and which receives such transmissions. In other words, broadcasting involves both the broadcasting and reception of communications. In the broadest sense of the term, all communications are covered by radio broadcasting. Broadcasting is used to transmit audio and video communications to targeted audiences, generally with the intent of either passing on the information to the wider audience or to make it available for retransmission.

The term radio broadcasting covers a wide array of activities. While some radio stations may offer their affiliates free music downloads, news and information or other programming, and while some satellite and cable companies charge for the provision of these types of services, radio stations themselves rarely charge for their broadcast content. The vast majority of radio stations today broadcast both music and non-music programs. Some countries, such as the United States and Canada, allow their citizens the option of paying to receive public broadcast content as well, although this option usually has a much narrower scope than in other countries.

A radio broadcasting station can be a commercial broadcasting station or a public media company. A commercial broadcasting station is one that broadcast may transmit both music and non-music programs and may also provide news and information programming. In contrast, a public media company is one that broadcast both music and non-music programs and may also provide news and information programming.

As a general rule, listeners prefer a station that broadcasts from a fixed location, in most cases an office building or other structure that is not located on or near an active airfield. This is because most radio waves travel very long distances, and a radio station that wishes to broadcast on a long wave, such as the radio waves used by emergency medical services, has to be based in an area where the airfield is located. A short wave radio broadcasting station, by contrast, can be positioned anywhere.

Many people listen to radio broadcasting in their cars while driving down busy highways and expressways. Some car owners have installed car radio scanners to receive and retain only the best-quality programs for their car radio stereos. Stereo companies, in turn, sell portable devices that most people find very convenient when they wish to listen to multiple different stations while traveling on the road. These portable devices are usually called “hams”, or “hams kits”.

Why You Should Consider a Bluetooth Radio for Your Car

If you have recently purchased a mobile radio, you may have realized that it is not the same as your ordinary walkie-talkie. For one thing, the device comes with a built-in battery, so you won’t have to worry about running out of radio stations to listen to. You will also discover that it comes with a handy USB stick that allows you to connect it to your laptop or personal media player, or even to a car stereo system. These handy devices allow you to enjoy all of your favorite radio programs, no matter where you happen to roam.

In recent years, the mobile radio has taken off in a big way. More people are purchasing them for their cars, SUVs, boats, RVs, and even on airplanes. This is because these radios have the ability to broadcast and receive radio signals from dozens of different radio stations, at great distances. All of this makes it possible for you to listen in on your favorite sports team from across the country, while you’re listening to some music on your commute to work.

Another reason these radios are enjoying popularity is because they are increasingly more affordable than their older predecessors. As we’ve gotten used to modern devices and gadgets, we’ve also become used to paying top dollar for them. While this can be frustrating when you need or want a new radio, you will be happy to know that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to purchase a top-of-the-line radio like you did a few years ago. Radio Bluetooth devices are now very affordable, making it easy to get a hands-free device for your car or other vehicle.

Many people enjoy the added range of radio Bluetooth devices come with. While you can use these devices for many common purposes like listening to radio, they can also be used as walkie-talkies. As long as you’re within 30 feet of the receiving device, you’ll have clear communication.

In addition to being easy to use, radio Bluetooth devices come with many other perks. For example, most models come equipped with a digital sound dialer which allows you to easily switch out the frequency you want. Many models also have voice activation, so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket or holster. If you’re driving and need to make a call, all you have to do is press a button on your unit. You can do this while you’re driving, standing in traffic, or any other time you’re not using the phone in clear view.

One of the biggest reasons many people are opting for Bluetooth technology is the increased range they can enjoy. With today’s modern car navigation systems, you can literally reach anywhere in range. From your office to your home, you can receive and make calls with ease. With a sleek, stylish device that has all the functions you need, it’s easy to see why so many drivers love using this type of radio.

How to Optimize Your Website For Keyword Research

The key to a successful Internet marketing strategy is the ability to identify and capitalize on all aspects of design & connectivity. The Internet provides a multitude of options to consumers, including social media platforms, search engine optimization, content publishing, blog commenting, message boards, forum interaction and more. In fact, there are literally thousands of avenues through which marketers can make money online through these various Internet platforms. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t understand how to maximize their potential profits by using these various avenues of communication.

First, the Internet provides the world’s largest market for products and services. The Internet allows marketers to reach millions of consumers and provide solutions for problems that may be affecting them. Consumers are able to make purchases from any point of the globe, and businesses can provide solutions to those problems, increasing their sales. When marketers are able to tap into the tremendous consumer base available on the Internet, they are given access to a vast source of potential customers.

Second, the Internet is a highly connected platform. Individuals connect with their friends, coworkers, and family through various social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media provides an excellent way to reach potential customers who share similar interests. The Internet also provides millions of people with access to websites containing information about a business and/or products being sold.

Third, many search engines offer links to websites containing content that may be useful to a customer. Websites are ranked based on various criteria, including the number of relevant links, the quality of content, the relevancy of content, the number of unique visitors and other important factors. By linking to and from quality websites and blogs, a user can increase their chances of being found and potentially purchasing products or services offered by the advertiser. Additionally, by providing relevant content, an advertiser can build a reputation for reliability and effectiveness.

Fourth, the Internet is a highly dynamic environment, which means that marketers can engage in a variety of activities that can affect the visibility of a website. Advertisers can post links, comment on blogs, create content and post to forums and comment on discussion boards to engage in online conversations. Although most Internet users do not necessarily want to be contacted or read email, the Internet offers an abundance of opportunities for a company to engage in these interactions.

The key to Internet marketing success is the ability to identify the different facets of design & connectivity that are important to reaching your target audience. By understanding these key concepts, you can identify and optimize each aspect of your website to reach a larger audience. By using these various elements, you will be able to drive a greater volume of targeted traffic to your site and improve your overall search engine optimization. As a result, your website will rank higher in search engines for the specific keywords used in keyword research tools and allow more consumers to find you.

Choosing the BEST Wall Ceiling Speaker Mounts

The Best Wall Ceiling Speaker Mounts & Stereo Mounting Brackets

The new trend in home theater and whole house audio systems is the installation of either in wall or in ceiling speakers and so we’ve decided to find the best speaker mounts so you can relax and enjoy amazing sound quality throughout your home.

These can be flush to the wall or swivel arm bracket mounted.

They are more hidden and provide a listener the benefit of an added dimension through a listening experience, when keeping individual satellite speakers out of sight unlike a TV soundbar or bulky floor speakers.

The attraction of installing speakers which are mounted flush in walls is especially attractive in modern homes where a clean decor style is wanted. A homeowner can install a whole house audio system which is discreetly blends with a decorating scheme and does not protrude into the room while creating a multi zone, distributing audio system to all the rooms in a home.

While a standard speaker is commonly mounted inside a cabinet, in-wall or in-ceiling speakers differ in the respect that they are mounted inside of a frame which is designed to be set inside a wall, flush with the wall or ceiling.

Sometimes when installing a whole house audio system with this style of speaker creates some additional bass out of the wall itself which would be absent out of a cabinet speaker of equal size. You can see some full motion ones that have a comparison chart here There is no difference between an in wall speaker or an in ceiling unit except the obvious – an in ceiling speaker is placed above the listener in a ceiling while an in wall speaker is set into a wall or on a bracket arm mount.

In ceiling speakers are typically circular shapes while in wall speakers more frequently rectangular shaped.


installing Ceiling Speaker MountsIf you intend to install flush wall speakers, the most important element is the rigidness as well as size of the actual speaker cavities.

It is crucial to have this task done correctly or the frequency response of the total stereo system may be negatively impacted.

Speaker technology must be carefully thought about as well, however aside from selecting the speaker set itself a decent size, wall or ceiling mount speaker systems are equated in precisely the equivalent manner as any other styles of speakers.

Issues which should be weighed would be: efficiency, power handling, frequency response along with desired characteristics.

Credibly the most important element once putting in a ceiling speaker would be the placement since that could directly effect sound quality.

Although that could be true with almost all speaker styles, this holds true more with ceiling sound delivery installation since it’s hard to alter the location of a speaker after they have been mounted.

To allow for for location shifts, a number of mounting brackets have acquired a pivotal tweeter and bass unit.

When a standard in ceiling mounting bracket can simply direct audio sound in a downwardly manner the option to swivel speaker arms enables a homeowner to concentrate audio sound to accommodate individual preferences as well as the placement in a room.

Whatever speaker mount system a homeowner ends up deciding upon, the rewards with a surround sound audio system that features wall and ceiling mount speakers is apparent, allowing everyone to enjoy high quality audio sound output utilizing a contemporary decor design merging easily in the interior decorating theme.

What can be seen is a speaker cover grill which looks extremely discrete but is hardly detectable.

Wall and ceiling mounted speakers have grown to be a piece of several offices as well as houses because of the options regarding decor space they allow for.

The reward with speakers mounted on brackets more than a standard speaker mount style can be the small capacity along with that there’s not a need to take up extra floor space.

Wall mounted speakers offer less distortions since the cone does not move as much.

Wall and in ceiling mounted speakers don’t require filters since there can be less components through a signal route. Such speakers create improved stereo surround sound over a conventional speaker system.

Prior to deciding upon a wall or ceiling mount or swivel bracket speaker, a buyer should be certain that a speaker’s electric resistance as well as power meets that of the amplifier.

A speaker’s OHM rating needs to likewise correspond with an amplifier. Check out our Power Acoustik AMP Review here.

A speaker’s energy rating needs to be determined according to the output power coming out of an amplifier. A user needs to think about your living area while picking out the proportion of speakers.

There’s no relation between quality of a speaker and it’s size.

A few wall and ceiling mounted speakers have diminutive satellite speakers which manage high along with midrange frequencies as well as a subwoofer to handle added bass. After standard speakers are put together as well as secure, it’s an effort to move them.

That is one reason that wall and flush ceiling mount speakers have been popular over conventional models.

A ball and socket design in wall speaker brackets enable simple motility during the placement of the shaft.

An option of a wall-mounted speaker to be able to tilt the mounting bar in whatever direction can be an added convenience.

Because of this, location speakers in several awkward areas, like high upon a ceiling, located in a tight a corner or placed in an angled wall, has grown to be simple.

These days, many manufacturers of wall and ceiling mounted speaker brackets furnish the applicable points in their specs.

Are you using wall or ceiling speaker mounts in your home? Leave a comment on IPM Radio below and let us know your experience.

Definitive Technology W7 Speaker Review

IPM Radio Review: Definitive Technology W7 Speaker

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for products that deliver bigger bang for the buck. There’s just something about having a device or gadget perform more than what one might expect. And that’s why I decided to do this Definitive Technology W7 speaker review as I think it’s a GREAT bargain for those looking for sweet sound at a sweeter price.

Design & Connectivity

The Definitive Technology W7 speaker is an innocuous looking cube with an aluminum base, making it appear as if the speaker’s special resting place is separate. The audio input, volume, and play/pause buttons that jut out the front help to create this illusion of a completely separate base. But it’s all one piece. I rather like it. The switch button toggles through the inputs, and it’s accompanied by a separate LED that glows from underneath the speaker covering.

The speaker has got some pretty good weight to it! Take care, since the weight isn’t evenly distributed. Don’t drop it or tear the covering.

The top is glossy – fingers off. I almost wish I didn’t remove the plastic film, since the top is very sensitive to edges. There’s a few permanent scratches, the kind that only shows up if you’re looking at the right angle. But, still. Darn it.  The fabric covering the trio of speakers is appropriately taut with no loose edges or frays.

The rear contains the ports for power, Ethernet, optical, and auxiliary. The Wi-Fi Setup button is there too, all that. You know, the boring stuff. Don’t be fooled by the USB port in the back. That’s only for firmware updates.

As for the guts, you have a brace of bass radiators to each side of the W7 speaker, a combo mid/bass driver in the front, and a total of four tweeters to pump out sound. The only side without speaker business is the back, so make sure that it points to some wall. Basically, you’ve got an efficient box of speakers with nothing extra or unnecessary. Gotta respect it.

For not being a ‘portable (i.e. contains an internal rechargeable battery) speaker’, the Definitive Technology W7 is pretty portable! When you need to move it, it carries in one hand relatively well. And your only real limitation is reaching the nearest outlet. You probably could put it in a backpack if you really wanted to. I doubt it would be comfortable for long, but yes it can be done!

Definitive Technology Play-Fi app

If you want to listen to music wirelessly and/or set up multiple Definitive Technology products together, you’ll have to download their app. It provides easy steps for connecting the speakers to your home network. All wireless, no audio loss to worry about.

Adding the W7 speaker via WPS didn’t work for me, which wasn’t a surprise.. I blame my router for that – it’s always been the common denominator for such issues. But the standard set-up worked fine, and I also chose the ‘update software’ option presented to me. The last things to do is choose a name for the speaker, then you’re off to play some music.

Navigating through all your music feels similar to many other apps out there. In some ways the Definitive Technology Play-Fi app is a little vanilla, but it’s effective at letting you find what you want by song, artist, albums, playlist, genres, podcasts. You can even tune into local broadcast radio stations as well as internet radio. Album cover art is shown (when applicable), and music starts up in a couple of seconds from hitting play.

The volume slider in the app is directly tied to the W7 speaker. It’s also completely separate from the levels of your connected device. This means that the only way to change the W7’s volume is by pressing its buttons or using the app. All those other mobile noises – system notifications, games, videos, whatever – emit from the device itself.

When you have more than one Play-Fi compatible speaker, you can group them up together. (The yellow triangle at the bottom right of the app is what to hit.) You get to see each connected speaker and even rename them. Speakers can be assigned to only one (at a time) of the four zones. If you happen to own two speakers, the app lets you pair them in stereo for left and right channels. This is probably my favorite feature right here.

Two words: perfectly synced. The only adjusting you might do is balancing the audio versus the listening distance to each.

Overall, this Definitive Technology Play-Fi app is pretty decent, but there are some elements that need serious improvement. The process of putting speakers into groups and zones is way too involving and clumsy. It should be easier for users to command the audio playing in separate zones from the single device. Adding equalizer controls to the Play-Fi app wouldn’t hurt either.

When smartphone and/or network router hiccup (momentarily disconnects) the Play-Fi app rarely ever lets me resume where was at last. This is annoying to me. Also, the app doesn’t really like when I try to jump the cursor to a certain point in a song. The track sound stops, although it still may be playing, and the cursor moves all the way to the end as if it were done.

Audio Quality

Despite being half the size of a shoebox, the Definitive Technology W7 speaker belts out with some excellent projection. You don’t even need to turn it up all the way in order to completely fill a room – doing so ends up blanketing the adjoining rooms as well.

W7 speaker buttonsYou can turn the W7’s volume all the way past 80 percent of max, and the worst you’re going to hear is a bit of harshness/brightening of vocals and highs.

Maybe some of the mids strain a little bit.  However, standing back by at least 10 feet mellows out some of this effect. But the best volume level also depends on genre and track recording. Overall, I’ve been able to play most everything comfortably all the way up to 80 percent of max volume.

In some instances, I’ve turned it up all the way and everything still sounds great. But the W7 speaker doesn’t develop noise, distortion, or overblown lows, like what can be common with the vast majority of speakers under the $500 price point.

As for volume, the Definitive Technology W7 speaker delivers higher levels of volume when music plays wirelessly (through the app) instead of by an auxiliary cable. Just in case you were wondering. And no, it doesn’t really work well as a TV soundbar.

Once in awhile, when you have the volume over 70 percent (roughly) and a song takes off with a crescendo, you’ll notice a momentary recession in the output. It’s very brief, yet it’s there, especially if you know your music well. With Zach Hemsey’s “Mind Heist” as an example, the track positions of 1:05 and 1:26 are like celestial geysers of intense sound and emotion. It is at those precise points (among others) that the W7’s compressors kick in to pull the speakers back just a touch. This way, the hardware won’t suffer from duress just because you love to listen to your music loud. It’s smart, and I love it.

Although music from the W7 speaker can envelop a room (or two) with audio, there’s not that much sense of lateral imaging. Consider it a mono speaker, more or less. However, thanks to the W7 features and design, music sounds the same no matter where you are in the room. Every spot is a sweet spot with volume that dissipates evenly through distance. Just hook it up to your best streaming media player and rock on!

Despite the lack of distinct sides to the soundstage, you can still hear width and depth of individual instruments. Elements are represented with clear and defined focus. Each note belongs to its respective instrument with minimal blending (if that) with anything else. Trust that this alone should be more than enough to make you forget about the lateral imaging. If not, well, get a second unit and pair them in stereo with the app to get the desired dimension. You’ll find a way to deserve it for yourself *wink*

Definitive Technology W7When it comes to equilibrium, the Definitive Technology W7 speaker is absolutely fantastic. The highs, mids, and lows combine together to present vocals and instruments with wonderful balance. Nothing seems to crowd out anything else as projection and richness are doled out in equal measure.

I, personally, don’t mind forward vocals that reach out to pull you in. But I can’t stand the recessed kind. The W7 hits a sweet spot of smoothness by not over-emphasizing any particular element. And even though the music comes out forward from the speaker, it’s not so aggressive and in-your-face like the ZVOX sound bar I reviewed earlier.

A word of warning – expect your variable bitrate MP3s (e.g. ones from Amazon) to sound like garbage. Expect to hear constant peaks and dips throughout the entire track, all in the same places particular to each individual song. Vocals can sound like the artist is in a hallway, being pushed back and forth by two bullies. And if it happens during a favorite moment of your favorite song, it’s like awaiting relief from a sneeze only to have it go away instead. In and out. That’s right, variable bitrate MP3s are the musical equivalent of bathroom turtle heads.

It has nothing to do with wireless, you’ll hear the same by playing through an audio cable to the W7 speaker. And just to be certain, I compared the variable bitrate MP3s I downloaded from Amazon to the 256kbps MP3s I created from the physical CD that came with the purchase. You don’t even need to be an audiophile to hear the difference – my nine-year-olds were able to point out the difference.

While these variable bitrate MP3s may sound perfectly fine on most speakers under the $400 mark, the Definitive Technology W7 has enough detail and precision to underscore your mistake in buying the digital album only. Should have spring the extra cash for the CD with digital download. And I’ll be the first to admit having done this half a dozen times. Thankfully, the bulk of my music collection is all in FLAC format, created from my CDs. (Don’t blame speakers, it’s about the source files too.)

And, just to be clear, not all of my variable bitrate MP3 albums experienced this. But most did.

The Definitive Technology W7 speaker is truly amazing when you consider how well it maintains quality at such a small size. I keep mentioning the size – can’t get over it! It’s impressive. Even at maximum volume, I can enjoy the powerful swell of voices of the Westminster Cathedral Choir without flinching. Though sharpening at the peaks may be rare, rolled-off highs are practically nonexistent. Many other speakers – few in similar price yet many in similar size range – tend to let the upper register of highs hit a ceiling. As you listen to the smooth crescendo of voices, you can hear how the W7 maintains an open atmosphere.

W7The sounds of cymbals are absolutely delicious. Now, I’m the kind of guy that loves music enough to overlook tinny highs and sizzle on cymbals. Sometimes even suffer through it if I like the speaker enough.

But with the W7, it doesn’t matter if it’s a tap, hit, or brush. Hi-hats and cymbals preserve their metallic timbre and sound as they should. They blend in with the rest of the song and tend to add to the impression of stage depth.

Vocals maintain silky smoothness, even as they arc up into the higher registers. It’s wonderful to pick out characteristic inflections within sung lyrics. The W7 captures such subtle dynamics, presenting the full emotion to the listener for personal enjoyment. Lesser speakers tend to simplify or gloss over all of this. Just remember to keep the volume in check, since some songs tend to bleach the highs when there is too much.

I love how the vocals sound completely separate from the instruments, yet aren’t detached or too forward on the stage. It doesn’t matter if vocals consist of one or more singers. This is really important to me when I listen to metal, since lead guitar (or guitars) can be as big (or bigger) or aggressive (or even more aggressive) than the lead singer. Sometimes you’ll get a speaker that lets some instruments drag down or colorize the vocals. Not here. The W7 speaker takes Kamelot’s song, “Across the Highlands”, off of their Karma album, and sonically paints it with epic majesty.

You get some great guitars out of the W7, too. The tone of strings are spot on, and you can practically close your eyes and imagine the instrument and player just meters in front of you. “I Can Learn” by The White Stripes delivers a thumping mix of bass, drum, and guitar at varying volumes. The individual vibrancy and intensity of each is not lost upon the listener.

It’s not just the clarity and separation of instruments that get you going. There is a lot of energy streaming through the mids, carrying copious amounts of excitement no matter the genre of music. Of course, considerable energy comes from the highs and lows too, but the mids have the plurality. If someone plays Jamoirquai’s “Canned Heat” and you don’t boogie with it, you might be in a full-body cast.

W7 on shelfThose who want overemphasized lows won’t find them here. The W7 maintains a balance throughout, choosing to focus on quality instead of big booty. I always appreciate this, since it’s not difficult to use an equalizer to enhance my music. There is a lot of musicality that goes on in the lows, and this speaker lets you hear all of it. Mid- and sub-bass texture? That’s all here too.

Do you like purring bass? I like purring bass. And the W7 purrs. Listen to the song “Long Nights” by Eddie Vedder, off the Into the Wild soundtrack. You can practically feel the string vibrations. While the overall sense of stage may not be wide, you certainly get the depth of it all with the low-end action. But the best part is that you can still hear and focus on the mids and highs. The lows shine but don’t steal the spotlight.

Although the W7 speaker may be small, it’s mighty. Referring back to the “Mind Heist” song by Zach Hemsey – it delivers some seriously sudden power in the lows. Sure, it may not be able to carry the vibrations that a hefty floor subwoofer can. But the W7 maintains technical agility with punchy, expressive drums and bass. You are not going to get bloated tones here, which is preferable to anyone who wants to hear each bit of note.

I’m sure that some listeners might comment about a lack of bass force (at some point or another). I’m preemptively (and politely) disagreeing with such statements. The low-end power that comes from the W7 is very impressive, completely betraying the compact speaker size. I think it’s plenty big enough, and anyone wanting more can simply pair another Definitive Technology product to enhance. Besides, quality beats quantity in my cookie jars, and the W7 has hands in both.

If I had to pick what stands out to me the most about the W7’s lows, it would be the exceptional decay. The attack of drum hits (for example) are fantastic, but it’s the decay that really gets me going. The beats come defined and detailed, as opposed to sounding a little bloated on the back half. I’m talking clean, but without any sacrifice to the muscularity of what you get up front.


It’s quite possible that the Definitive Technology W7 speaker is in a league of its own. The music that comes out of it is incredibly vibrant and energetic. The energy isn’t just in the mids. It’s all across the board. And I absolutely love the balance, knowing full and well I can always fire up an equalizer to tweak things however I like. But right out of the box, the W7 speaker does justice to all of your favorite music and artists.

The weakest part about listening to the Definitive Technology W7 speaker is using the Play-Fi app. It’s only ‘ok’ when you have a single speaker, though there are a few things that need to be tweaked. But if you are using more than one Definitive Technology device at a time, especially in separate zones, the app forces too many screens and choices. The average consumer likely doesn’t have the level of patience and disregard that I do.

Anyone who wants stereo sound from Definitive Technology need only buy a second speaker. Tall order? Maybe. But once you hear one W7, it’s going to be hard to not want another. Totally serious. Besides, linking a brace of speakers is easily done with the Play-Fi app.

Now, it’s not just the audio quality that makes the W7 so awesome. Take the size and price into consideration; this is definitely a serious contender. Those who live in smaller spaces can appreciate portability without having to sacrifice sound quality. The W7’s volume can handle larger spaces across multiple areas, too. Either way, this speaker is gonna grab your attention and hold it. I’m a fan.

Sunfire Subwoofer Review

Sunfire Subwoofer Review

Our Sunfire SDS 10 Subwoofer Review

Consider the subwoofer: so simple in purpose, relatively simple in design, yet the source of more contention than just about any other element of home theater design. How many subs do you really need? Where should you put them? Are big subwoofers too flabby? Are small ones loud enough?

These days, it seems like my secondary theater is a veritable revolving door of subwoofers — some simple cubes, some trapezoidal, some shaped like Christmas ornaments — and I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that placement and setup has far more influence on satisfying bass delivery than the subwoofers themselves. That isn’t to say they all sound the same, given similar volume (which, oddly enough, doesn’t always correlate with power ratings), but the differences between them have been, for the most part, subtle.

Which makes a standalone review of a subwoofer like Sunfire’s SDS-10 no easy task. Let’s face it: subtlety rarely makes for exciting reading. And exploring the subtleties of a product designed to rattle the rafters and rumble your naughty bits is perhaps a little ironic (don’t ya think?).

But indulge me my nuances, if you will, because if you’ve got a small-to-medium-sized room and you’re in the market for a very good, versatile subwoofer, the little things that set the SDS-10 apart may well make it exactly the right sub for your system.

Out of the box, it’s unassuming enough: a typical looking cube, noteworthy perhaps only for the fact that its wood-grained finish breaks from the trend of glossy, piano-black or matte-finished cabinets.

Sunfire SDS 10 SubwooferOn the back, it sports fairly typical subwoofer controls and inputs: line level ins (including a dedicated LFE input), a signal sensing/always on switch, phase and crossover controls, and a volume knob. (No speaker-level connections, but most people will never use those, anyway). There’s nothing on the back to indicate the SDS-10’s wireless capabilities, but it works flawlessly with Sunfire’s Subwoofer Wireless Kit nonetheless.

It isn’t until you flip the SDS-10 over that you notice anything even slightly out of the ordinary: a 10-inch down-firing passive radiator that matches its front-firing active woofer in appearance, though not in function. (Passive radiators aren’t powered; they’re driving by the air pressure within the cabinet alone).

Perhaps as a result of that down-firing passive radiator, the SDS-10 is most similar to GoldenEar Technology’s ForceField of all the subwoofers I’ve got kicking around the casa at the moment (despite obvious differences in cabinet design), so comparing and contrasting those two specifically make sense.

First, the similarities: both the SDS-10 and the ForceField impress me with their ability to fill a room fairly evenly with bass. Both deliver more punch than their size might indicate. And both sound pretty much equally wonderful with movies and music. Contrary to nominal power ratings, though (the ForceField being rated much higher on paper), the SDS-10 strikes me as packing more punch, and is better suited to handling higher volumes, whereas the ForceField delivers deeper response. Those characteristics come into play most noticeably with the climactic battle from The Incredible Hulk. The SDS-10, as a result of its rapidly attenuated output below 30 Hz, lacks some of the ForceField’s ultra-low-end rumble, but delivers the crashing, booming, and bamming just a few hertz up the scale with a little more authority.

Which is preferable in that regard? I honestly can’t say. Based on my experience with both subs, I think I would prefer two ForceFields to two SDS-10s (after all, a pair of ForceFields could team up to deliver more SPLs with less effort, but no matter how many SDS-10s you add to a room, they’re all going to roll off pretty quickly below 30 Hz). But aside from enthusiasts, how many people run more than one sub? Not many. So if you only have room (or the budget) for a single sub, ask yourself whether you’re looking for deeper bass or stronger, more effortless bass. There’s no one right answer to that question, but if the latter is more your speed, the SDS-10 should most certainly be on your short list of subs to audition.

That’s with movies, of course. With music, I found it harder to really quantify the differences between the ForceField and SDS-10 in meaningful, objective ways, so let’s just focus on the Sunfire and what it does well. Which is a lot.

AIX Records’ Ernest Ranglin: Order of Distinction was still in my DVD-Audio player from my recent review of NHT’s SuperZero 2.0 monitors, so I queued it up first, not out of laziness (okay, a little bit out of laziness), but mostly because its mix delivers a rich, nuanced bottom end that really puts a subwoofer to test not in terms of stress, but subtlety (there’s that word again!) With the loping bass lines of “Satta Massagana,” the SDS-10 positively oozes bass into the room, spreading it around like a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on a hot slice of sourdough. Just as impressive is its even-keeled performance with the frolicking, playful, bouncy-up-and-downy bottom end of “My Boy Lollipop,” each note of which rings through with equally authoritative volume and distortion-free clarity.

In digging through my DVD-A and musical Blu-ray collection, I didn’t come across anything with bass low enough to reveal the SDS-10’s lack of super-ultra-low-frequency response, but plenty that revealed its superb performance in the ~100-120 Hz range, at which point the sub gives way to the NHT mini monitors still set up in the room. The transition from the sub to the NHTs is seamless with pretty much any material I throw at the system (including movies and other streaming media). And more out of curiosity than anything else, I replaced the SuperZero 2.0s with a set of MartinLogan Motion 12s and set the crossover to 80 Hz. Also seamless.

So unless you hold its lack of significant bass extension below 30 Hz against it (which wouldn’t really be fair, given its size), there’s nothing negative to report about the SDS-10. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a room any larger than my secondary theater (roughly 13-by-15 feet), but for reasonably sized rooms, it delivers a helluva lot of very versatile performance for an incredibly reasonable price.

SOL Republic Headphones Review

SOL Republic Headphones Review

Provides: Audio reproduction and iDevice control
Developer: SOL Republic
Minimum Requirements: Audio device with 1/8” stereo minijack
Price: $99.99
Availability: Now

At IPMRadio, we’ve suggested numerous times that you upgrade beyond the horrible headphones that came with your iDevice. Trouble is, we’re often recommending headphones that cost $200 and up. That’s not always a viable option, so I was happy to discover you can get the audio improvement you need out of SOL Republic’s $100 Tracks headphones without sacrificing the functionality of iDevice control.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Tracks is that they look more like a hair band fashion accessory than a set headphones, especially considering they’re available in black, red and white.

SOL Republic Wireless HeadphonesGuys, don’t let these put you off…there’s nothing “girlie” about the sound, or even about the band itself. It’s exceptionally durable, making a good option if you’re always shoving them into a book bag or suitcase. That’s important, because if you’re replacing earbuds with them, you’re going to need to account for the extra storage space that over-the-ear headphones requires.

The Tracks are also notable for the fact that the cans can be removed from the band itself, so you can actually swap out the band to match your outfit, or whatever. In addition, the cable that connects to the cans is removable. If something should go wrong the cable, you can just get a new one instead of buying a new set of headphones. Most users will never take advantage of this, but it’s good to know the option is there. The only drawback to it is that you’ll have wires hanging from both ears, which isn’t usually needed with over-the-ear headphones.

Or if you want to get rid of the cords entirely, there’s always the SOL REPUBLIC 1430-00 Tracks Air Wireless On-Ear Headphones that connect to your devises wirelessly using Bluetooth. The Tracks Air Bluetooth headphones are just as well built and practically the same exact pair, they just don’t have wires.

You can grab additional color headbands. Also, The Sound Engines are interchangeable (hence, the detachable cord). Both the HD Sound Engines and the colored headbands are available in retail outlets.

Apple and Android users will get additional functionality out of the speaker cable controls, with iOS users able to control volume and track selection. The center button for taking calls and pausing music rises well above the volume/track buttons, allowing for easy control without seeking it out. A microphone is also included, but because of the positioning, I found I had to hold it close to my mouth to get good voice reproduction.


But all of this so far is just bonus material. What matters with headphones are comfort and sound quality, and SOL Republic delivers more in both aspects than you’d expect from $100 headphones. The cushions sit directly on your ears, and are fairly comfortable while muffling external noises. A pad at the top of the band rests comfortably on your head, as well. The cushions aren’t as soft you’d expect by looking at them, but the Tracks are still comfortable to wear for prolonged listening sessions.

The audio reproduction is solid, if not spectacular. The Tracks do a good job of picking up the detail you’re losing with Apple’s earbuds, and the mix is fairly well balanced. But at times, the music can sound a bit harsh; clinical, perhaps. They’re fine for rock music, games and movies, but I didn’t like them for classical music, where they gave the feel of a performance in a hall not tuned for symphonic sound. There was also some distortion when the volume is cranked up, but that was well past the level of hearing safety, anyway. You should have no need to turn these up that loudly.

The SOL Republic Tracks, at $100, are a great option for iDevice and Mac audio. You won’t be exercising in these, of course, but they work well for long commutes, flights, or working at your desk. If you want to spend $30 more, you can upgrade to the Tracks HD, which offer the V10 High-Definition Sound Engine vs. the Tracks’ V8 Sound Engine. But there’s something satisfying about keep the price down to two digits, and the sound is good enough here to keep you happy beyond your next iDevice upgrade.

AfterShokz Review

AfterShokz Review

AfterShokz Sportz Bone Conduction Headphones

What if I were to tell you that some of my favorite headphones in recent memory sound okay at best, and offer nary an ounce of noise cancellation or isolation? And that you should definitely buy them nonetheless, especially if you exercise outdoors? I don’t have to be a mind reader to sense you reaching for the X at the top right of the page, but stick with me for a minute. Because with AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones, pure audiophile-caliber sound quality isn’t the point, and sound isolation — one of the factors integral to so many headphone designs — is completely contrary to the point.

Relying on a much improved version of the same bone conduction sound transmission technology designed for military special ops communication (where clear communication is crucial, but environmental sound is also helpful when, you know, avoiding bullets and such), AfterShokz transmit sound into your noggin without going in, over, or around your ears. (And also without requiring any telepathy at all).

Since the Aftershokz rest on your jawbone in front of your ears, your eardrums are mostly removed from the listening equation. (I say “mostly,” because while virtually all of the bass and midrange bypass your normal auditory chain of command, some high frequency sounds do take the short path through the air from your jaw to your ear, but not as much as you’d think at first listen.)


What’s that sound like? Not as weird as you’d think. And not as bad as my introductory hook may have indicated. Sitting in my quiet office at home, granted, they don’t sound anything like my favorite Paradigm Shift e3m or HiFiMan HE-400s. Throw in something like Björk’s “Army of Me” or the Black Keys’ “Howling for You,” and the sound that reaches your brain is probably best described as a significant step up from AM radio, but a step down from FM. And any appreciable amount of bass quite frankly tickles until you get used to it.

Need to find the best wireless earbuds instead?

Honestly, though? None of that really matters. It isn’t until you strap on the AfterShokz (AfterShokzes?) and go for a jog or a brisk walk that you really start to appreciate their performance. Not that the sound magically transforms or anything, but suddenly you’re listening to really solidly decent sound, while still hearing the world around you unimpeded. Who knew birds actually lived in my neighborhood? And you know that swish-swish-swish sound you usually get while exercising while wearing headphones? There’s none of that. None of it at all.

For that matter, there’s no fussing with placement. In the month or so that I’ve been seriously working out while wearing the AfterShokz, I haven’t found myself repositioning them once. Because even if they slip a little, as long as they’re touching your jaw, the sound is conducted with crystal clarity. And as much as bass-heavy tunes sort of draw attention to the unique frequency response of the AfterShokz, I’ve found that podcasts — even ones that rely really heavily on stereophony and inventive sound design, like RadioLab — sound surprisingly good.

Again, though, judging the AfterShokz for their sound quality — even when it’s really good — kind of feels like critiquing the engine growl of a Tesla Roadster. In fact, the one time I’ve forgotten to charge the AfterShokz before a jog (yes, you do have to charge them via USB; that old idiom about “getting through your thick skull” has never been used to indicate an effortless task), I found myself less enthused about the superior fidelity of the earbuds I brought along and more annoyed by the constant fiddling with them and the swish-swish-swish I had forgotten about and the loss of natural environmental sounds I had gotten used to.


I can’t say that AfterShokz have saved my life or anything (given that I tend to look both ways before crossing the street, and, at least in my suburban Alabama neighborhood, trucks tend to mostly stay off the sidewalk), but if you live in more bustling areas, that’s something to consider, too. And even if they’re not protecting your tuckus, they’re protecting your eardrums, no matter how hard you crank them. There’s a lot to be said for that, even if you’re not the sporty type.

They’re also incredibly comfortable. I’ve never liked behind-the-noggin, neckband-style headphones. Never in the history of ever. But these are incredibly comfortable, and despite initial concerns, they fit my Wookiee-sized head just as well as they do the smaller cranium of my sidekick.

The one sole, single, solitary complaint I have about the AfterShokz is that the cord is a little too short for my Wookiee stature. But hey, that’s what 3.5mm extension cables are for, right? The cord is pretty much the perfect length for regular human-sized humans. The next time I’ll opt for the Bluetooth cordless set. They only cost a bit more, but are totally worth it. They come with Bluetooth v4.1 connectivity and since they’re bone conducting they’re a kind of bluetooth hearing protection headphones.

And honestly, it’s a very minor quibble. It’s heartening to see at least one manufacturer offering a truly unique headphone in a market flooded by me-too products, most of which are sourced from the same handful of OEMs. At this price point, they’re a no-brainer. (Oh, yeah, did I mention how ridiculously inexpensive they are? Less than sixty clams! Or ten bucks more for an upgrade model with an in-line mic.)

No doubt, we’ll see a number of AfterShokz me-toos down the road, given how well these work and the void in the marketplace they fill. If you’re looking for a solid listening experience without all of the downsides and discomfort that come with putting a headphone in, on, or around your ear — or, heck, if you have a disability or eardrum damage that makes wearing regular headphones impractical, impossible, or ineffective — there isn’t much else on the market quite like them, especially at anything approaching this level of value. If you want to try out a pair now, Amazon has the Sport model for $59, and the Mobile model for $69. The AfterShokz website should also be stocking them again sometime in March, if you’d prefer to buy direct.