Everybody has their preferences, mine tend toward close daily listening on the commute with over-the-ear bluetooths, Master & Dynamic MW60s holding the top slot just ahead of Sol Republics.
Apple Airpods work for in between: for driving say, when you need 360 audio awareness, but still want some detail and crackle to your sound. The default position for these improves greatly with some peripherals: these rubber EarBuddyz 2.0 and straps. This lends a degree of professional verve and safety: half the discomfort from these suckers stems from worrying about whether they’ll fall out or you’ll lose track of one. The sound has smart focus and plenty of heft, but not enough volume for my taste. That’s probably a safety thing. Great for falling asleep with, fumbling around sheets in the morning to find’em great sport. Necklace helps. More on earbuds next time.
For porch work and reading, and to relieve ear strain, you want a hefty wireless outdoor speaker. I have no use for waterproof, but that’s what all the kids demand these days. And why not. Ultimate Ears seems to dominate this space for now, and with respect: the trippy portable UE Roll 2 Volcano fits on your side doing house chores like nobody’s business, and the new medium-sized Wonderboom does the same with more torque and fervor. The Ultra-Boom has enough ballast to keep a patio party hopping, and what it lacks in definition it atones for with rich, echoing presence. Big difference between close headphone listening and wide-embrace outdoor listening: detail. So make the trade-off with elan. The Wonderboom emerges as a tidy crossover solution: big enough for outdoors, tidy enough for TV streaming. Ideal balance between thrust and precision. One special speaker.
A newer entry, Libratone’s ZIPPs, almost a third again as hefty as the Ultrabooms, delivers a whopping undercurrent as well as some nifty app features: netradio, and a spunky spotify plug-in that allows you to link up whatever playlist you like to a favorite bar and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE TO SAVE BATTERY. Operates on both wifi and Bluetooth, and while the UI has some tricky manoeuvres, you can almost pull the setup off without a manual. Now the fun comes from placement: our kitchen floor delivers substantial bass. The zip itself amounts to a needless bell: you can unzip the cover, pull it off and add a new color. Kids these days. But other perks bubble over: stream whatever you like through it with any device if you’ve got it linked to your home wifi signal; it even tells you when the signal weakens for better placement. I didn’t think I’d get caught up in the wireless speaker game, but yeesh we got options.
Archeer makes a Bamboo Wood Home desk speaker, two tweeters anchored with a medium-size woofer for respectable tone. Reminds me of the old KLH wooden bookshelf radios, or the precious Tivolis. Again, the old saw holds true: measure the speaker accuracy at lower volumes to see how much details gets projected in quietude. This passes the test: you can hear the cymbals echo in the room even without amping up. We live in glorious times if you avoid the papers.
MEANWHILE CUTTING THE CORD OPENS THE FLOODGATES
Aziz Ansari has taken such a giant writer-director leap in season two of Master of None, you compare him to his predecessors and start wondering if Agnostic Indian counts as the new Jewish.
And the small parts sometimes knock you over: Daniel Stern’s turn as Gillian Jacbob’s father in Love gives his barely three scenes the kind of psychological depth most writers spend several episodes developing. Jacobs’s work here should turn her into an A-list star, both for its comic unpredictability and troublesome subtextual rumblings: she’s desirable, sure, but emotionally Lost and nowhere near the edge of her Denial. Paul Rust’s Gus has numerous virtues, it’s almost a role-reversal of a romantic plot: capable guy transforms unlikely babe with patience and a steady stream of reassurance and consistency. He’s not a leading man, but the next best thing: totally appealing presence with smarts.