Libratone Zipp(s) up powerful sound into stunning design [Reviews]


Improve your speaker game this summer with the new Libratone Zipp.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I’ve made no secret in declaring my love for Libratone speakers, having covered the Zipp and Loop in the past.

So, when Libratone got in touch asking if I’d like to take a look at the latest iteration of the Libratone Zipp, of course I jumped at the chance.

Watch the video below to see my full thoughts!

Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its musical repertoire


Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its bag of tricks.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo smart speaker just upped its music game, adding Spotify streaming to its ever-growing list of skills. Now playing your favorite artists and playlists is just a voice command away — at least if you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber.

As streaming surges, record stores turn the indie knob up to 11

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Video might have killed the radio star, but streaming hasn't killed the record store. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Stroll into your local record store and you won’t find the dusty-floored wasteland of empty bins you might imagine. Chances are you’ll see something that’s more vibrant, relevant and vital than before.

Like the nerdy know-it-alls at specialty wine stores and comic book shops, today’s typical employee at an indie record store is still a tastemaking wizard — just turned up to 11. Staff picks bear the unerring zeal of the true believer, and staffers are more focused on uncovering stuff that you’ll never find on a Walmart CD shelf.

“Since there’s been a turn to Spotify, Bandcamp and iTunes, we sell way more vinyl,” said Jim Haynes, assistant manager at San Francisco’s Aquarius Records. “We’re at about 75 percent vinyl to 20 percent CD and a smattering of cassettes. People are turning to an even more seemingly obsolete medium.”

Predictions of the end of physical media are as played-out as those reports about the death of rock ‘n’ roll, with everyone and their mother proclaiming that Spotify and other streaming services have killed the local record store. That fear-mongering sounds smart and might even contain a kernel of truth, but the reality is much different.