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Earphone Showdown, Part 2: DQSM D2, LKER i8, and Crazy Cello

Even at the inexpensive end of the earphone market, audiophiles can find happiness

3 min read
Photo of the LKER i8, the DQSM D2, and the Crazy Cello.
Photo: Randi Klett

aThe Ear Drummers: From the outside in—the LKER i8, the DQSM D2, and the Crazy Cello. All provide good, if not perfect, sound at low cost.Photo: Randi Klett

More than a year ago I noticed I was spending most of my music-listening time playing songs on my smartphone. That realization sent me on a quest to find the most inexpensive earphone-based setup that would give me high-end, audiophile sound. I listened to dozens of earphones, half a dozen headphone amplifiers, and a like number of digital-to-analog converter-headphone amplifiers (DAC-headphone amplifiers). I found a few gems, such as the DragonFly Red DAC-headphone amplifier from Audioquest, in Irvine, Calif.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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