User Friendly

Classic styling adds appeal to SDI cones

By Mark Baard
August 8, 2011

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Although I may not be an engineering expert with a master’s degree from MIT, I do listen carefully to determine whether a speaker is delivering enough thump and tweet.

I confess, however, to being a sucker for anything that looks good.

One shiny audio object that caught my eye recently comes from SDI Technologies Inc., the maker of iHome iPhone and iPod docks.

The company’s SD63 Retro-Style Hi-Fi Stereo Headphones are meant to tap the look of SDI’s earlier audio equipment, made under a brand called Sounddesign. The company’s manufacturing history reaches back to the 1950s.

The SD63 headphones resemble those worn by Corporal Radar O’Reilly in the TV show “MASH.’’ They have a strictly functional look, with enough bare metal to make them familiar to ham radio operators. One of the pair’s swiveling, padded ear cups has a volume-control knob on the outside.

The SD63 headphones have a six-foot cable and an adapter for the larger jack you might have on your home stereo system. They are available through the iHome website for about $50. Just right for those shortwave broadcasts from exotic locations.

3-D Monitors

Monitor plus glasses make games 3-D

This month, ViewSonic Corp. will ship a monitor that works with a pair of glasses from Nvidia Corp. to deliver 3-D movies and games on a personal computer.

The 1080p, 24-inch LED monitor - called the V3D245 - has a 120Hz frame-refresh rate and a 2ms video-response time, according to the company. The monitor also delivers stereo “surround sound.’’ That should be enough to entice those who are eager to be the first to play 3-D games or to watch videos available in 3-D on the Web.

But enjoying 3-D on the V3D245, with the powered, wireless Nvidia glasses, is not as straightforward as tossing on a pair of glasses at the movie theater. You will need a PC with an Nvidia GeForce graphics card to make the whole thing work.

The announcement from ViewSonic and Nvidia delivers quite a show of its own, with 3-D photos and videos you can view at the website.