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T-Mobile expands Music Freedom roster to cover 14 more services

11/24, 12:47pm

Streaming from Google Play Music, 13 other services no longer uses T-Mobile Simple Choice data allow

T-Mobile has expanded the range of its Music Freedom scheme to include more streaming services. The program, which allows T-Mobile subscribers to listen to music from specific services without using up any of their mobile data allowance, now has an additional 14 services for customers to choose from, bringing the total for the entire collection to 27 services.

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Briefly: YouTube videos in Google Play Music, Washington Post app

11/21, 6:04am

Google Play Music All Access subscribers gain YouTube Music Key access

Google has rolled out its YouTube Music Key service to existing Google Play Music All Access subscribers. While the YouTube Music Key launch revealed its users automatically enrolled into the Google Play Music subscription, Google revealed yesterday that Music All Access users were also able to use Music Key as part of their existing subscription. The Google Play Music app has also been updated on Android, providing options to watch the music video with certain tracks.

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Billboard, Nielsen tipped to track streaming music, video services

11/20, 9:53pm

Billboard introducing streaming plays, digital sales into album chart

The way the popularity of content is measured may be seeing some changes in the coming weeks, both for audio and video. Billboard will start to include streaming and digital track sales as part of the Billboard 200 albums chart, while Nielsen is said to be preparing to track content watched through streaming services starting from next month.

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Briefly: New Rapoo Bluetooth speakers, Parrot Bebop Drone release

11/18, 7:31pm

Bluetooth 4.0, NFC-enabled speakers offer 360-degree sound coverage, compact size

Accessory maker Rapoo announced the US release of two of its wireless speakers today, bringing the revamped style of the A500 and A300 models to a new audience. Both of the Bluetooth 4.0 speakers feature NFC pairing, a dual-mode that enables an auxiliary connection, and 360-degree sound coverage. Each speaker has its own construction features, as the A500 contains speakers made from bio-fiber materials, while the A300 has an aluminum alloy exterior.

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BitTorrent Bundle paid content system opened up to more artists

11/18, 9:58am

Paid BitTorrent Bundles offer content creators 90-percent revenue share

BitTorrent is allowing more companies and content creators the ability to sell content packages across the peer-to-peer file sharing network, by opening up BitTorrent Bundle to more artists. A project using paygates which has been under development since last year, BitTorrent Bundle aims to make collections of songs and other media available to purchase, with content creators set to receive the lion's share of funds.

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Spotify control of Uber cab audio revealed, new functions discovered

11/17, 12:13pm

Spotify Premium subscribers can control Uber audio system during ride

Spotify is partnering with Uber, allowing passengers of the taxi app to play their choice of music via the cab's built-in audio system. At the same time as the audio announcement, it appears that code within the Spotify app itself points toward the future introduction of a podcasting service, alongside another unknown feature given the name "Magic."

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Apple Stores changing up look of gift cards, worker uniforms

11/17, 11:19am

Clerks expected to ditch lanyards

Apple is planning some minor changes at its retail stores in preparation for the holiday season, sources say. One of these includes dressing clerks in red holiday shirts. A permanent adjustment, though, will involve removing neck lanyards from the standard uniform; to compensate for the lack of ID, clerks will reportedly be asked to introduce themselves more often.

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Review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro Bluetooth headphones

11/14, 1:27am

Technology additions, active noise cancellation make a the BackBeat Pro a fantastic buy

Looking for a pair of headphones that can do everything a user requires is a task that can take some study. Trying to decide on in-ear, over-ear, or on-the-ear model starts at user comfort and preference, but goes much further when features are thrown into the mix. When features like noise cancellation are tossed into the equation, the cost can weigh on the practicality and sound of the unit. It doesn't always need to though, as Plantronics tries to prove with the BackBeat Pro. Would these headphones be the right fit for most consumers, or are there enough small flaws that push them into being just another headphone set with active noise cancellation (ANC)? Find out in our review.

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Briefly: JBL Horizon clock radio, Vizio P-Series television in Canada

11/13, 8:26pm

Bluetooth clock radio charges devices, uses ambient light, music to wake users

Audio company JBL has revealed a new clock radio that pairs the company's sound with a gentle way to wake up in the morning. The JBL Horizon is a compact alarm clock with an LCD display that uses ambient LED lighting that gradually brightens to wake users up. On top of the LED lighting, one of two alarms can be set to use a digital tone, music streamed from a smartphone, or an FM radio station to entice people to get out of bed. To keep with the basic needs of an alarm clock, the Horizon has a snooze/light bar.

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Taylor Swift's record label claims Spotify royalty figure is incorrect

11/13, 10:07am

Record label CEO claims Taylor Swift paid less than $500,000, not $6M

The battle between Spotify and Taylor Swift is continuing, with an executive at the singer's record label now stepping into the fight. Scott Borchetta, CEO of record label Big Machine, advises that Swift has been paid less than $500,000 in the last year, a significantly lower figure than the $6 million claimed to have been paid by Spotify to the label in a recent blog post.

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YouTube Music Key launched in beta with offline listening option

11/12, 4:56pm

YouTube music subscription removes advertising, adds Google Play Music All Access

YouTube has launched its often-rumored music service, just one day after a report claims it struck a major deal with independent record labels. YouTube Music Key is a subscription-based streaming service which offers advertising-free viewing of music videos on YouTube itself, as well as a few other features only paid subscribers will receive.

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Hands On: TunesFlow (iOS)

11/12, 2:50pm

Alternative music player brings style and functionality to iOS

Listening to music is a very personal thing for most people. As a whole, we generally tend to think of our music collection as an extension of ourselves. Music fanatics often tend to demand a lot out of their personal music players, allowing them the ability to customize their experience fully, from playlists to organization to artwork and beyond. TunesFlow, by Hector Ricardo Garcia Peña, aims to meet and exceed the needs of the average music enthusiast.

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Briefly: Boom 2 beta; MBS Xojo, Real Studio plug-ins in version 14.4

11/12, 11:48am

Audio boosting app Boom 2 Beta released, built for Yosemite

Global Delight has released a beta version of its re-engineered audio boosting app, Boom (readers can check out our review of Boom from last month). Boom 2 introduces an ability to adapt and adjust to accommodate the type of Mac being used, attempting to intuit a suitable volume output, depending on the device. Support for 64-bit architecture is included, and users can switch between 10-band and advanced equalizer controls. Depending on the audio file, Boom 2 can recommend the type of 'boosting' to apply for best optimization. Those interested in trying out the Boom 2's beta version can subscribe online.

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Beats launches Solo2 Wireless headphones

11/12, 11:00am

On-cup controls handle playback, calls

Apple-owned Beats has announced the Solo2 Wireless, a new pair of over-the-ear headphones. The unit is based on the original Solo2 headphones released earlier this year, but sports Bluetooth for pairing with devices up to 30 feet away. Buttons on the ear cups let users control volume and playback, and even answer phone calls.

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YouTube reportedly makes deal with indie labels for music service

11/11, 7:30pm

Agreement between Merlin, YouTube said to have taken months to complete

Google's in-development YouTube music subscription service is another step closer to reality, as a deal with independent record labels has apparently been reached. One of the last stumbling blocks for launch, a report claims YouTube's agreement with rights agency Merlin will allow the service to include tracks from thousands of independent record labels, significantly expanding the library.

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Spotify paid over $2B in royalties, CEO responds to Taylor Swift

11/11, 1:00pm

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims Swift was on track for $6M in royalties this year before pulling music

Spotify has responded to claims by singer Taylor Swift that the service does not pay music producers enough, by revealing it has paid more than two billion dollars in music royalties. A blog post by CEO Daniel Ek following the removal of Swift's music from the service and a further attack in an interview also notes Swift was on track to receive $6 million in streaming revenues for this year alone.

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IK Multimedia ships iRig HD-A, app for Samsung Android smartphones

11/10, 3:04pm

Samsung Professional Audio required for Android version of iRig

IK Multimedia has made a version of its iOS-based iRig HD for Android Devices, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 being the first compatible device. The iRig HD-A digital guitar interface is also accompanied by an Android version of the AmpliTube app, the guitar processing app, which will also only work with Samsung mobile devices.

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Spotify Connect update adds smartphone control of desktop app

11/07, 6:07pm

Smartphone users of Spotify can select songs on networked computers

Spotify has made another update to Connect, its controllable streaming music system it introduced last year, by letting smartphones control a computer. The latest addition allows a Spotify user to use a mobile device as a remote control for the desktop version of the app, through the same system which can select the music on Wi-Fi-enabled speakers and other devices.

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Apple 'let us into the labs,' says U2's Bono

11/06, 3:18pm

Singer hints at revival of iTunes LP-style concepts

Speaking at today's Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, U2 frontman Bono dropped some more hints about the band's involvement in a new digital music format for Apple. The company "let us [U2] into the labs," he commented at one point, suggesting direct involvement in unreleased products. Apple is normally extremely strict about who it lets into its development labs, to the extent that even people with high clearance might be allowed in one lab but not another.

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SoundCloud subscription service coming in 2015, Warner Music onboard

11/05, 7:18pm

Free options to continue, Warner first major label to receive royalties from service

Audio distribution platform SoundCloud is on the cusp of launching its premium subscription service, adding another layer of offerings to help the company generate revenue. The premium ad-free service will be launched in 2015, with Warner Music Group signing on as the first major label to earn money from the sharing and streaming hub.

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Briefly: Rapoo E6700 Bluetooth keyboard, Blue Blackout Yeti

11/05, 3:48pm

Thin Bluetooth keyboard features touchpad, allows users to configure 15 gestures

A new Bluetooth keyboard from Rapoo is bringing some of the functionality of a notebook to wireless keyboards. The E6700 Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard features a "touch area" on the right side of the thin keyboard, that has added functionality for gestures. The E6700 lets owners configure 15 different gestures, bringing the keyboard closer to the use seen in MacBooks and other notebooks. The "touch area" also has a glass surface, which Rapoo says makes it scratch-resistant and easier to clean.

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Music royalties in Europe from Spotify reportedly overtakes iTunes

11/05, 3:28pm

Royalty collection company claims Spotify payments 13-percent higher than iTunes

Streaming services are heavily impacting music sales, with one report claiming Spotify's music royalty payments have eclipsed royalties earned through iTunes sales in Europe. Kobalt, a music royalty company representing over 6,000 songwriters and artists, claims that Spotify-derived revenues on the continent were higher that those earned from European iTunes sales by 13 percent in the first quarter of this year.

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Samsung ships Gear S in UK this week, Gear Circle in US via T-Mobile

11/05, 1:07pm

Bluetooth earphones, standalone Samsung Gear S smartwatch head to market this week

Samsung has confirmed it is bringing its Gear Circle wireless earphones to the United States this month, ready for the holiday shopping period. At the same time, it has been revealed the manufacturer's standalone Gear S smartwatch will be making its way to the United Kingdom, with the first units set to go on sale later this week.

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Hands On: ffwd player (iOS)

11/04, 7:10am

New music player app seeks to supplant Apple's own player

While there's no doubt that Apple's built-in music player certainly does its job well, those who love music might find it a little basic for their needs. But what does one do when they want to find a music player packed with features the default music player lacks? Developer Christopher Lim has built the ffwd player, a music player for iOS that aims to create a better overall experience while listening to music.

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Review: Alpine Headphones

11/03, 11:35pm

Punch and bass felt through the entire unit, but app, comfort hold the headphones back

Headphones have hit a point where there isn't much to differentiate one set from one another. Making a choice between Bluetooth and wired models ends up being the first decision, followed by the type of tuning or sound quality a user wants. Alpine aims to add another feature into the mix, the feel of the music. With the Alpine Headphones the audio company wanted to bring the feel of a concert home, packing technology into a set of over-the-ear headphones with an app for user control to accomplish it. But do the Alpine Headphones offer a new audio experience that is worth feeling, or would consumers be better served by something more traditional? Find out in our review.

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Taylor Swift pulls entire music catalog from Spotify

11/03, 3:06pm

Albums by Taylor Swift removed from streaming service

Singer Taylor Swift has taken the unusual move of pulling her entire back catalog from Spotify, in the same week that her label launched her latest album. The move, which involves the removal of all of the artist's earlier albums, has been conducted without comment from Swift nor her management, but that has not kept Spotify from speaking out.

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Performer headphones with suspension ear cups revealed by 808 Audio

11/03, 1:29pm

New headphone suspended ear cup design inspired by studio microphone mounts

Two new pairs of over-the-ear headphones were announced by 808 Audio today, taking a new approach to the ear cup design. The Performer Headphones -- released in wired and Bluetooth models -- use ear cup suspension technology in an attempt to give users a better fit during long play sessions, or in professional audio applications like DJ sets.

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Southwest Airlines offers Beats Audio playlists to passengers

11/03, 12:39pm

In-flight Beats service includes The Sentence personalization

Passengers of Southwest Airlines will soon be offered access to Beats Music during their flight, as an alternative to in-flight radio and other entertainment options. The airline will be providing music via the streaming service on its Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft starting from today, with passengers able to access a personalized playlist to listen to throughout their flight at no extra charge.

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Sonos allegedly testing Android Wear, iOS lock screen music controls

11/03, 8:12am

Smartwatch, phone lock screen may be used to control music playback on Sonos speaker network

Sonos is looking to extend the usability of its audio products, by allegedly testing the ability to control its networked speakers using a smartwatch running Android Wear, as well as the iOS lock screen. A photograph shared by a supposed member of the company's beta program is said to show notifications on the Moto 360 and provide some level of control, while iOS users may gain a lock screen widget providing similar functionality.

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Giveaway: Trick or Treat! Win a set of A-Audio: Elite HD Earphones

10/31, 8:56pm

Trick or Treat! Win a set of A-Audio: Elite HD Earphones

Ah, is that? Yes, yes, we think it is! The sweet sound of success, the sweet sound of freedom and victory over evil. The end of this journey has come. The Trick or Treat giveaway is over, but first we have one last treat to hand out. We have a set of A-Audio: Elite HD earphones to give to one lucky reader. We bet that sounds pretty sweet too.

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Giveaway: Win a 808 Audio Hex SL Bluetooth speaker!

10/31, 4:40pm

Win a 808 Audio Hex SL Bluetooth speaker!

What is a hex? On a day like today, it could mean a magical spell or a curse. It could also simply be the prefix from the Greek word "hexa," as in a hexagon. For 808 Audio, we assume it's a little bit of both. They have a series of Bluetooth speakers called "Hex" that heavily utilize hexagonal shapes and enchant listeners with magical sounds of music as well. We have one Hex SL enchanting Bluetooth speaker to give away to our readers.

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Giveaway: come trick or treating with MacNN and Electronista all day!

10/31, 4:00pm

come trick or treating with MacNN and Electronista all day!

Now that Halloween is in full swing (presumably swinging from a noose), it's time for all the little ghosts, goblins, ware-wolves and witches to come out of hiding. It's time for tricks, and it's time for treats, but most of all it's time for a little fun. So this year, come trick or treat with MacNN and Electronista, because we have a big bag full of Halloween treats (and some tricks) to give to our readers. Check back here throughout the day, as the list below will be refreshed when each new treat (or trick) is announced. Have fun everyone!

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Trent Reznor 'fully in it' on unannounced Apple/Beats project

10/31, 3:41pm

Said to be related to role on Beats Music

Trent Reznor -- the Nine Inch Nails frontman and one-time chief creative officer at Beats -- says he is "fully in it right now" on an unannounced music project for Apple and Beats. While he is unwilling to go into much detail, in a new interview, he says his work is "related" to his role with Beats Music. "Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them," the musician notes. "I can't go into details, but I feel like I'm in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. This is very creative work that's not directly making music, but it's around music."

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Giveaway: Trick or Treat! Win 1 of 3 Wicked Audio Deuce earbuds!

10/30, 11:28pm

Trick or Treat! Win 1 of 3 Wicked Audio Deuce earbuds!

With the witching hour upon us, we have a most wicked prize up for grabs: the Wicked Audio Deuce earbuds. Gather around while we tell the spooky tale of three wicked little sets of earbuds that lost their way, and ended up being captured by MacNN staff to send off to live with strangers. Pretty scary stuff for those earbuds, but it's another treat for our readers.

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Hands On: PluralEyes 3.5 (OS X, Windows)

10/29, 3:07pm

Synchronization software removes headache from matching up video clips, audio recordings

DSLR shooters often have a troublesome workflow when trying to put together videos recorded with the dual-purpose cameras. While many consumers might look to a dedicated camcorder to produce a short film or conduct an interview, DSLR cameras provide the necessary technology needing only an external audio recorder to do the job. But how do users bring video and audio together? In the past, filmmakers entered into a time consuming process to match peaks in waveforms. However, that is no longer needed as Red Giant offers a supremely better solution with PluralEyes 3.5.

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Briefly: Razer Leviathan sound bar, Lucasfilm games on GOG

10/28, 3:42pm

Sound bar with dedicated subwoofer brings 5.1 surround sound to the desktop

Gaming peripheral maker Razer announced that it is readying a new sound bar for the living room and desktop. The Razer Leviathan is a 5.1 channel surround sound bar, which the company states can easily fit under a monitor or console setup. The Leviathan features Dolby technology, including Dolby Digital, Pro Logic II and Virtual Speaker. The unit also comes with a dedicated 5.25-inch down-firing subwoofer that Razer says is "tuned to produce distortion-free lower tones."

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MOTU ships 24Ai, 24Ao rack-mounted 24 channel audio mixers

10/28, 12:27pm

Multiple mixers in parallel can control up to 256 channels on Thunderbolt

Audio hardware company MOTU is now shipping the 24Ai and 24Ao, two new audio interfaces that offer 24 channels of analog audio input or output in a single rack space, combined with three banks of ADAT optical, for a total of 72 channels of I/O. Similar to the 1248, 8M and 16A models released by MOTU earlier this year, the 24Ai and 24Ao are equipped with DSP-driven mixing/effects and AVB Ethernet. With all five interface models, users can mix and match complementary I/O configurations and unify operation on their shared AVB audio networking platform.

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Hands On: Boom (OS X)

10/25, 7:04pm

Boom audio boosting app increases file volume, optimizes OS X audio

The speakers included with Mac laptop and desktop systems and portable devices typically suffice for basic audio needs. For more power behind your sound, Global Delight offers its audio app Boom, a volume-optimizer for OS X. Boom's central functionality is that it can create "boosted" media files and playlists, so that audio is easier to hear when listening on a device's speaker such as iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. On an OS X system, Boom optionally includes a volume booster and equalizer for additional sound control. Priced at $7, does Boom effectively achieve its aims?

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Deezer acquires Stitcher, will keep iOS, Android apps alive

10/24, 1:42pm

Stitcher content to be integrated with Deezer Talk

Paris-based streaming music service Deezer has acquired Stitcher, the company has announced. The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, will allow Deezer to take control of the personalized Internet talk radio service, which currently provides access to eight out of the top ten US terrestrial radio programs to users, as well as a collection of around 35,000 radio programs and podcasts.

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Review: Sound Blaster Roar Bluetooth speaker

10/24, 4:00am

Portable speaker offers grand sound with boost technology, only lasts eight hours

There could very well be a new king of the hill for Bluetooth speakers, with Sound Blaster's recent entry into the marketplace. Bringing a heap of features for music enjoyment to a powerful speaker, the company introduced the Roar earlier this year. With the crowded market for Bluetooth speakers, is it possible that a company like Sound Blaster could release a device that topples some of the big names in audio? Find out in our review.

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Sonos sues Denon for alleged infringement of four patents

10/23, 11:58am

Sonos asks Denon to stop copying its wireless speaker system

Sonos is suing Denon for patent infringement over a set of wireless speakers it released earlier this summer. The Denon Heos range is apparently violating four patents owned by Sonos relating to wireless audio products, prompting Sonos to file a lawsuit in its incorporation state, Delaware, against Denon's parent company D&M Holdings.

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Google Play Music updates Listen Now page, adds Songza playlists

10/22, 6:49am

Human-curated playlists available on Google Play Music All Access in US, Canada

Google Play Music has been updated for both Android and iOS, with a new look and extra features. While it has received a Material Design-influenced makeover, similar to the leaked Gmail update, the main change users will notice is the inclusion of activity and time-related playlists, something Google has introduced courtesy of its acquisition of Songza in July.

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Briefly: Alpine headphones, iDevices' iShower2

10/21, 5:22pm

Alpine launches headphone line with emphasis on feel, adds app to create 'energy' playlists

A new set of consumer headphones was released by Alpine Electronics that sets out to bring the concert experience to users in order to "feel their music." The patented TKR3 full-frequency immersion technology attempts to recreate the sensation of a live show with a "unique sound field expansion." The Bluetooth headphones feature 40mm drivers, programmable audio processing, powered digital amplifiers, and a lithium battery for up to 10 hours of play. The Alpine Headphones can be used with the Alpine Level Play app for iOS, which creates playlists based on the "energy level" of the songs on the device. The Alpine Headphones are available at Alpine's website or Apple Stores for $300.

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Review: Plantronics Rig Surround 7.1 headset

10/20, 10:45pm

Brings Dolby 7.1 surround sound to PC, discomfort surfaces in a short period of time

Trying to capture the true soundscape of video games can be a daunting task. Looking to surround-sound home theater options, users have to balance the price of speakers and a receiver with the space demands a setup would require. Due to this, gamers often turn to headphones to get the job done. Plantronics has released the Rig Surround headset as a way to fill the need for 7.1 surround sound experience without an expensive price tag or room full of speakers. But is the Rig headset something that consumers should look to, or would they be better off making room for the speakers? Find out in our review.

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Spotify introduces multi-user discounts in Family subscriptions

10/20, 7:19am

New payment option lowers cost for multiple users to access Spotify

Spotify is adding a new subscription option to its plan roster, one which covers multiple users. Spotify Family will provide access to the premium version of the music streaming service to up to five nominated users, with the group plan being discounted heavily compared to the single-user subscription, a payment option Rdio first introduced in June of last year.

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Apple pulls Bose products from online store

10/17, 4:47pm

Comes despite companies settling lawsuit

In spite of the two companies settling a lawsuit over noise cancellation patents, Apple has gone ahead and removed Bose headphones and speakers from its online store, visitors note. Rumors surfaced a week ago that Apple was planning to remove Bose products from its stores. Why it would want to was uncertain, but one point of speculation was animosity because of the lawsuit.

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Apple updates iLife apps, iBooks Author, Aperture for OS X Yosemite

10/16, 11:05pm

Programs gain new look, tap into Yosemite features such as iCloud Drive, Mail Drop

In addition to updating its iWork apps for OS X to better support the formal release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (and give the programs the signature design language of the new OS update), Apple has also updated iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand with similar changes in the user interface and back-end improvements to take advantage of Yosemite features such as Mail Drop and iCloud Drive storage. In addition, the company issued what is likely to be the last update to Aperture, making it Yosemite-compatible, and also updated iBooks Author to version 2.2.

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Iovine on NFL-Bose ban of Beats: 'I can't believe I'm this lucky'

10/16, 12:12am

Publicity from ban, player fine makes Beats 'look like the underdog,' co-founder says

Speaking at the University of California's "Global Conversation" conference on Wednesday, Beats co-founder and Apple executive Jimmy Iovine offered his spin on the recent NFL deal with rival Bose to make the latter's headphones the "official" brand of the football league, and the fact that many players seem to prefer the Beats brand. He told the audience that players, both under contract to endorse Beats and not, have taken to taping over the Beats logo on their own pairs rather than wear the endorsed brand.

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AT&T drops Beats Music subscriptions for new customers

10/15, 9:37pm

Move seen as part of rumored rebranding shift coming next year

One of the US' largest carriers, AT&T, has abruptly ended a promotion it began with Beats Music prior to the latter being acquired by Apple. The carrier was previously offering the ability to include a Beats Music subscription on a customer's wireless bill if desired, and told AppleInsider that it will continue to offer the plan to existing customers and those currently on the free trial. There is, however, no longer any access to a free trial through AT&T's website.

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U2 frontman Bono apologizes for auto downloads of 'Songs of Innocence'

10/14, 9:44pm

Deluxe version now available on Amazon, other retailers

While many users were happy to get a free album from iTunes, the recent promotion of U2's Songs of Innocence LP done through Apple -- where every iTunes user had a copy added to their past purchases list -- rubbed some listeners the wrong way. Bono, the lead singer for the group, has issued an apology for what he characterized as an overzealous move that resulted from a combination of "a drop of megalomania" and "deep fear" that the songs wouldn't be widely heard.

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