Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose

Sonos founder John MacFarlane’s vision of a connected speaker that could wirelessly stream music was too seductive to resist for a broadband and connectivity junkie like me. Even before the product evolved from a concept to design, I was sold on the idea of Sonos and what it represented. For years, the company’s speakers have been the preferred way of listening to music in my tiny apartment. But it is time to say goodbye to Sonos — though, not for the reason you might think.

Yes, most of my Sonos gear is over a decade old and needs an upgrade. And I’m told their new speakers look nicer and sound better than ever (of course, they only need to sound as good as the high-def stream on Spotify). But I am not going to be upgrading with Sonos. This has nothing to do with their core product. The problem is that they are bundling the speakers with voice assistants, specifically Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Yes, you have to turn on these features and enable them for use, but I remain highly suspicious of what can be done surreptitiously. You can blame it on a growing mistrust of the big tech, and their decision making processes. Continue reading “Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose”

[Podcast] Audeze CEO Sankar Thiagasamudram

Sankar Thiagasamudram is the co-founder and CEO of Audeze, a maker of high-quality headphones, which are all the rage with audiophiles and music professionals. Sankar, who started his life working for a high-end 3D graphics company, is an engineer by training and audiophile in real life. He co-founded the company with Alexander Rosson. They were pioneers in putting (a proprietary) planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets inside their headphones. I experienced the Audeze magic when I got EL-8 as a gift from a friend.

I recently caught up with Sankar to talk about their new gaming headphone, Mobius, and more importantly about Apple’s HomePod, computational audio, the headphone boom and how head-fi changing our expectations of music. He shared his tips on how to buy headphones, his thoughts on other headphone brands including fashion/luxury headphones such as Master & Dynamic.

You can listen to the podcast on Soundcloud or download it from the iTunes.

Should Spotify buy Sonos

If some job listings are to be believed, then Spotify might be getting into the hardware business. I am not sure, how much of that is true, but it makes perfect sense. Spotify should be thinking about vertical integration — its content, its distribution and its own speakers — it wants to compete with Apple, Amazon, and Google. Those three companies are making their speakers, have their music services and have their distribution channels.  Continue reading “Should Spotify buy Sonos”

My HomePod Review

Apple HomePod, a connected speaker is about to come to market, after being delayed by over a month. It is not the first to the market, and it will definitely not be the most versatile. However, you can bet your last dollar, that it will play music, and play it very well. In fact, there won’t be a sweeter sounding connected speaker in the market. It might sound so good, that for a few days you might forget about your expensive, warm sounding and fantastic vintage hi-fi system. Why do I say all this? Continue reading “My HomePod Review”