Tablet speaker good for short range, lacks punch or clarity for everyday use
Finding a speaker purpose-built for a specific need is challenging. Even when a Bluetooth speaker can be paired with a mobile device, it doesn't mean that it's the right speaker for the job. When it comes to tablets, a speaker that can be kept to the side may not be the best purchase for something that's meant to be as portable as possible. So why not look for a device that can attach to an iPad or Android tablet, like the Adesso Xtream S3B speaker? Does the Adesso speaker provide enough of a boost to sound while retaining the original portability? Find out in our review.
Grovemade introduces limited edition metal iPhone docks
Accessories producer Grovemade has announced the introduction of a limited edition run of iPhone docks comprised of metal. Called the Black Dock, the new product is available with a solid steel or brass base, combined with an aluminium cap that is protected with a matte black coating. The Black Dock is designed for iPhone 5/5s/5c and the 4/4s, and weighs 3 pounds.
New devices can receive up to 128 channels of audio across Thunderbolt
Audio device manufacturer MOTU has announced three new Thunderbolt audio interfaces with 48-channel mixing, DSP effects and AVB Ethernet audio networking for system expansion. Based on a new shared technology platform, the 1248, 8M and 16a use ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters, and provide low analog latency, with round-trip performance of only 32 samples (0.66 ms) at 48 kHz.
Now offers Tune Your Taste, verified accounts, song history, more
As the process of Beats Music's acquisition by Apple continues, the iOS app for the subscription-based Beats Music service has received an update to both make playback better and more reliable as well as to improve the overall user experience. The new version 2.2.0 gives users the ability to customize the services's "Just For You" recommendations by changing artists and genres with a new feature called Tune Your Taste. In addition to some other changes, Beats reports that it has "fixed a ton of bugs."
Balanced sound, cleaver controls make wearing on-ear headphones enjoyable
For all the different configurations of headphones on the market, it's always a tough choice for buyers to get something that is just right. For consumers searching for a strong sound but who don't want to shell out a couple hundred dollars on over-the-ear headphones, on-ear is the next step down. But does that mean the sound quality is a step down as well? The JBL Synchros E40BT headphones aim to convince users otherwise, with their balanced approach to sound and mid-range price. Does that mean that the headphones are good, or something that consumers would be settling for? Find out in our review.
E-on Software releases free Ozone 2014 Personal Learning Edition
E-on Software has announced the release of its Ozone 2014 Personal Learning Edition, a sun and atmospheric lighting simulator. The software produces ultra-realistic environments with volumetric clouds, accurate light dispersion, and natural phenomena such as "Godrays." Users can create new atmospheres, and load any of the included presets and modify them.
Apple now on the hook in another patent infringement case
In a court filing discovered today, Bose is suing Beats over noise cancellation headphone technology. Bose claims that Beats has knowingly infringed on 50 years of "signficant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design" on the technology, with the Beats lineup for sale now using "36 US patents and applications" that Bose now owns or has filed for.
MacNN and Electronista Friday deals for July 25, 2014
It's that time of the week again! Time for Friday Deals! Every Friday, we're going to take a look at current sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy! We have a tendency to add deals over the weekend as we find them, so check back often!
Instrument, effects libraries expand
IK Multimedia has started shipping SampleTank 3, an upgraded version of its "groove workstation" for Mac and Windows users. The main addition is a redesigned interface, newly streamlined into three pages: Play, Mix, and Edit. The first allows for performance, layering, and adjustments, while Mix handles effects and processing. Edit enables more in-depth sound control, including access to 10 filters.
Does the matchbook-sized digital to analog converter perform?
Every computer with a microphone or headphone port has one -- a digital to analog converter (DAC). There are nearly as many chipsets and DAC models as there are models of laptop, and as many opinions on the efficacy of various implementations. Cambridge Audio has a USB one to supplement its line -- the DacMagic XS. Does the little device do as it promises, and actually boost the listening quality of digitally encoded music? Read our review and see.
Extra music added on top of existing million-track Amazon Prime Music collection
Amazon is attempting to improve the selection of music available on its Prime Music service, to make it more appealing to Prime subscribers. The retailer has announced it has added "hundreds of thousands of songs" to the Prime Music catalog, as well as more curated playlists to the service, though it appears users wanting more modern music may be disappointed.
Most remain undisclosed, but details on Beats buyout rationale emerge
Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed during Tuesday's conference call with analysts that Apple had acquired 30 companies and/or their talent over the course of the past nine months, back to the beginning of the fiscal year which began last October. Of these, less than half have been publicly revealed -- though a few of the higher-profile buyouts, such as the record-setting Beats Electronics and Music deal, have made headlines. On the topic of the latter company, Cook shared a bit more detail on the thinking behind it.
Kenu's Airframe+ phone car mount now available
Kenu has released a new extended size of its Airframe phone car mount, the Airframe+. The Airframe+ allows drivers to have their smartphone at eye level in the vehicle, ready for accessing GPS directions, streaming music, and engaging in hands-free calls. Its expandable, spring-loaded jaw supports a full range of smartphones and "phablets", the mount is capable of accommodating devices that include the iPhone 5 and 5s, with a four-inch screen, to the Lumia 1520, with a six-inch screen. Oversized cases, such as the Otterbox Defender and Mophie battery cases, can also fit inside the mount.
Speaker with Pendleton's art is a limited edition run
Logitech's boutique audio line, Ultimate Ears, is expanding its limited-edition lineup of UE Boom with the announcement of its collaboration with artist Don Pendleton on UE Boom Jettison Edition. This limited-edition run of UE Boom is designed with Pendleton's distinct organic cubist graphic style, and is the latest in a series of one-of-a-kind acoustic skins for UE Boom.
Blondie, Pharrell Williams, Beck, Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer among artists
Apple has revealed some of the lineup of its iTunes Festival 2014, which will again take over London's Roundhouse for 30 days and nights this September, and feature more than 60 bands. The month-long event, which is streamed live over a dedicated Apple TV channel, the iTunes Festival app on iOS devices and iTunes, offers free tickets won by lottery for fans in London by entering ballots on iTunes, while fans everywhere can win them through competitions run by local media partners.
Tight-fitting headset covers all-around needs for gaming, everyday listening
Gaming headphones are a challenge to get right, for a long list of reasons that are unique to the consumer buying them. Some shoppers want a universal set of headphones, some weigh the difference in the configuration, while others just want something with a good built-in microphone for voice chat. What about gamers looking for their next set of headphones for longer gaming sessions? Razer, a brand many gamers are familiar with, may have a solution with the Kraken Pro headset. But is it good enough for gaming as well as everyday needs? Find out in our review.
Four audio devices including Bluetooth speaker and in-ear headphones start at $150
Samsung is jumping into the premium audio market in North America with four new consumer offerings for headphones and Bluetooth speakers. Samsung launched the Level line of audio products today, aiming for high quality sound, portability and style. The Level Over, On and In give consumers options based on the type of style headphone preferred, while the Box speaker allows music to be shared with others.
Based on popular 30-pin version, includes line-in and USB passthrough charging
A little less than two years after it introduced its first digital 30-pin attachable microphone for the iPhone and other iOS devices, Blue Microphones is finally bringing out a Lightning-based version that works natively with the iPhone 5 and later models such as the iPhone 5s and Retina iPad mini. The new Mikey Digital includes two condenser microphones -- identical to the ones used in its popular Yeti and Snowball microphones -- and thanks to its reversible Lightning connector is now able to pointed either forwards or backwards.
Natural acoustic iPhone dock Eight now available
A new acoustic amplifier has been released for iPhone, composed of a natural wood construction. The Eight is hand sanded and hand oiled, making the wood structure the center of the design. Made of walnut and Birdseye maple, the iPhone dock features a built-in microphone, and its speakers are inspired by the shape of an ear, with conically-shaped chambers that produce aesthetically pleasing sound. The iPhone is accessible for use while in the dock, and its built-in slot includes a Lightning cable that can charge an iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Priced at $300, the Eight wooden dock is available internationally.
New app versions include videos, interviews, photos and lower cost
In an unusual move, Concord Music Group and former Beatle Paul McCartney have re-worked five of the singer-songwriter's classic albums -- McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Wings over America and 1980's McCartney II -- as multi-media iPad apps. The re-worked iPad versions feature not only remastered audio of the albums in question, but also videos, interviews, artwork associated with the release (such as single covers) and photos from the period.
Bitcoin added to currency conversion options in Google search
Google has updated its currency-based searches to include results for Bitcoin. Coindesk reports reports the search company is now working with digital wallet service Coinbase to track the price of the digital currency and perform currency conversion functions, just as Google Search does for other currencies. The same conversion can also be performed by the Google Search mobile apps.
Google's Chrome browser app for iOS adds Chromecast support
Google has updated its Chrome browser app for iOS today, adding Chromecast support. Chrome for iOS syncs tabs and bookmarks across devices, can translate webpages in any language, and allows users to open as many tabs as is desired. Chrome v36.0.19 allows mobile sites that have added Cast support to work one's Cast-enabled device. Additionally included in the update are stability-focused improvements and bug fixes. Chrome for iOS is free to download and requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Powerful speaker emits great sound, but misses the mark on the finer details
In the pursuit of outstanding sound quality, Bluetooth speakers make a lot of sacrifices to offer a device that is affordable and pleasant enough to listen to compel consumers to purchase it. It's a series of compromises between the number of speakers in the platform, the battery life and the portability of the unit. Cambridge Audio, the London-based audio company, offers a compact version of its sound quality inside the Minx Go. On the surface, the Minx Go appears to check all of the boxes that a Bluetooth speaker needs to in order to be successful. But does that make it a must-have for consumers? Find out in our review.
Song identifier app integrates subscription Rdio streaming
Song-indentifying app Shazam (free) has introduced a new update that incorporates streaming music service Rdio into the app, allowing subscribers to Rdio to hear the full version of songs identified using Shazam. Previously, Shazam would have to switch over to a third-party app if users wanted to hear a full copy of a song they identified in the app, but now those with Rdio installed won't have to fire up the previously-installed Rdio app to hear the full track. Shazam also offers iTunes buying of tracks, and in iOS 8 will integrate with Siri so that users can simply ask what song is playing at any time.
Case could be worth billions of dollars
Speaker and headphone maker Beats -- currently undergoing an acquisition by Apple -- has filed a lawsuit against a collection of Chinese counterfeiters, asking for billions of dollars in damages. "This action has been filed by Beats to combat online counterfeiters who trade upon Beats' reputation and goodwill by selling and/or offering for sale unlicensed and counterfeit products featuring Beats' trademarks," the complaint reads. "The Defendants create [fake Internet storefronts] by the hundreds or even thousands and design them to appear to be selling genuine Beats products, while actually selling low-quality Counterfeit Beats Products to unknowing consumers."
Electronista and MacNN staff deal picks for July 11, 2014
Another week, another episode of "Friday Deals!" Every Friday, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
IK Multimedia launches portable Lightning/USB iRig MIDI 2
IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping the iRig MIDI 2, a portable MIDI interface with Lightning and USB connectivity for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac and PC. The device is equipped with three standard-sized female MIDI DIN sockets -- IN, OUT and THRU -- which allow for full MIDI functionality and connectivity with any MIDI-enabled device, such as a keyboard, hardware synthesizer and more. Its two blue LED lights provide monitoring of the MIDI data passing through the In and Out sockets.
D-Link now shipping new 802.11ac Wireless Access Point device
D-Link has announced the release of the DAP-2660, a new high-power 802.11ac wireless access point. Enclosed in a low-profile white housing, the DAP-2660 can be installed on the ceiling or wall-mounted in locations that require access to a wireless signal. Its maximum wireless signal rates are up to 300Mbps using a 2.4GHz band, and 867Mbps using the 5GHz band. The access point supports advanced radio management features such as band steering, airtime fairness and load balancing.
Core unit utilizes 360-degree sound with three different jackets for style
It's rare to find a Bluetooth speaker that can cover a large array of needs. Generally, speakers are wrapped in a desktop-convenient device for a small increase in sound, or made compact enough to be carried around in lieu of headphones. But what about consumers that are looking for a rugged and waterproof speaker that can handle just about anything while pumping out 360-degree sound? Unfortunately, options were severely limited. A new speaker, the Fugoo, hit the market this year that makes good on all of those promises and then some. Check out what we think about it in our review.
Pioneer releases update for its digital music management software
Pioneer has announced the release of an updated version of Rekordbox for OS X, its digital music management software. Rekordbox is designed for DJing, and allows users to export tracks and playlists to USB devices and the Rekordbox app. During a DJing session, performance history is automatically saved, and after a set the user can review and prepare for a future performance by adding comments and ratings to an old set.
Fuels speculation of voice messaging on iWatch
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently advocated voice messaging in a private talk, according to a new memo by UBS analyst Steven Milunovich. "When we visited with Tim Cook, he said that walking down streets in China one sees people speaking into their phones sending voice rather than text messages," the note reads . "Porting this capability to the [i]watch makes sense as it is easier to send a voice message from a device already on the wrist than pulling out a phone. It also could aid penetration of China, which Cook said has a ways to go."
QNAP launches new fabless, silent HS-251 NAS device
QNap Systems has announced the release of its Silent Network-Attached Storage (NAS) series addition, the HS-251, designed for living-room use. Featuring a wide range of multimedia applications, the HS-251 offers real-time and offline Full HD video transcoding, and HDMI connectivity for local playback. Simultaneous viewing of different videos is possible with the device, and video content can be converted in formats that can be easily played on PCs, mobile devices and smart TVs.
Songza purchase by Google estimated to be worth at least $15M
Google has acquired Songza, a music app for Android and iOS which provides curated mood-based playlists. Though purchased for an unknown amount, speculated to be upwards of $15 million, the app will apparently remain active with no immediate changes instead of being shut down, though its features are highly likely to make their way into other Google music products, including Google Play Music and the rumored YouTube music service.
Headphones available in on-ear, in-ear models endorsed by Carmelo Anthony
SMS Audio, the headphone company that features rapper 50 Cent as a majority owner, released four new pairs of headphones today. The new headphones are part of the SMS Audio Sport Collection, featuring on-ear and in-ear versions of two existing models. The Sync and Street by 50 headphones are endorsed by company investor and partner Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks.
WaterField Designs introduces full-grain leather Franklin Tote
WaterField Designs has announced its new handmade leather tote. The Franklin Tote is comprised of naturally-tanned, full-grain leather and nylon accents in varying colors. The tote has seven organizational pockets, ideal for tablets and smaller accessories. Priced at $290, the full-grain leather is available with a choice of black, copper, "flame," green, pearl or pine nylon panel colors. Shipping begins July 7.
Streaming radio adds functionality to existing stereo systems, easy touchscreen navigation
San Diego-based Grace Digital has announced its latest model of wireless Internet radios, the Primo Wi-Fi Media Streamer. The Primo gives consumers the ability to connect to over 50,000 radio stations, podcasts and other on-demand programs though the unit, free of charge. Users can also play custom Pandora playlists, or connect to other music services such as SiriusXM, Live365 and Rhapsody.
Pioneer announces Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers, Elite SC series receivers
Pioneer has announced a new dedicated line of Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers and Elite SC series of home theater receivers. Dolby Atmos technology was first established for cinema use, and the collaboration with Pioneer aims to offer a multi-dimensional sound experience. Dolby's partnerships will not stop at Pioneer, with Dolby Atmos branded Blu-ray and streaming video services to be launched this fall.
KitSound Escape travel speaker released, designed for Lightning devices
Kitsound has released its new travel speaker for Lightning-connected iOS devices, the KitSound Escape. Featuring twin drivers and dual passive radiators, the Escape is portable, holding a charge for up to twenty hours. The device measures 60mm in height (2.36 inches), 150mm (six inches) in width and 82mm (3.23 inches) in depth, and is capable for folding flat to accommodate packing.
Kitsound launches new portable speaker small enough to clip onto a backpack
KitSound has introduced a new portable speaker that is geared towards use during outdoor activities, the Cadet. Clad in a tough rubber-coated metal housing, the Cadet can stream music from a Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 10 meters away, playing while clipped to a backpack. The round speaker is also equipped with a microSD card slot, USB port and connectivity for a 3.5mm auxiliary cable. Able to play for up to eight hours, the Cadet is priced at $70 and can be purchased online.
'The YouTube 15' debuts July 11 with pop, R&B, rock and hip-hop music
YouTube is looking outside the box with its latest music expansion, partnering with SiriusXM. The two will join forces to offer a weekly radio show on the satellite radio service starting July 11 at 6PM ET. The show will be hosted by YouTube personality Jenna Marbles on SiriusXM Hits 1 as it presents existing and emerging music stars.
Win an Inateck prize bundle
Inateck -- not to be confused with the fictional corporation "Initech" featured in the hit film Office Space -- is a computer peripherals and accessories manufacturer from Germany that has unveiled a variety of new products including MacBook sleeves, Bluetooth speakers and USB hubs. MacNN has teamed up with Inateck to give away a bundle of these items to one lucky winner, and we will also be picking two additional winners who can select a prize of their choice.
Stylish speakers feature compact design, high-end coverings, 360-degree sound
Two new Bluetooth speakers have been announced by Pioneer Electronics, focusing on ease of use and style. The XW-LF3 and XW-LF1 "Free Me" speakers feature a lightweight design with 360 degrees of sound. The Bluetooth units are small enough to be carried in a bag, but are made to stand out with their high-end look.
Two sport models, four E-Series models offer large range of consumer options
Announcing a total of six units yesterday, JBL is bringing out new entries in the Synchros lines of in-ear, on-ear and around-ear headphones. With two Sports models and four E-Series models, consumers are offered a number of options to fit their specific needs. The new Reflect Sports headphones offer users flexibility with a wired or Bluetooth option. JBL's new E-Series units offer small in-ear units to large around-ear headphones to fit nearly any situation.
KitSound releases portable, water resistant Bluetooth speaker
KitSound has released a new portable, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker, the KitSound Gravity. Weighing 270 grams (9.5 ounces), the Gravity offers an IPX-4 water resistant rating, making it suitable for outdoor use. Its built-in rechargeable battery holds a charge for up to six hours. Priced at $75, KitSound Gravity is available in red, blue and yellow options.
Life N Soul releases new Bluetooth 8-driver headphones, stereo speaker
Audio device producer Life N Soul has announced its new BE501 8 Driver Bluetooth headphones, and the BM211 Virtual Surround Bluetooth Speaker. The company's Bluetooth headphones feature Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and can pair with two different devices with a range of up to 30 feet. Offering built-in lossless transmission technology and dynamic surround sound, the BE501's frequency response ranges from 5Hz to 25kHz. Each ear piece bears 1pc woofer and 3pc drivers, with a total of 8 neodymium dynamic audio drivers. The headphones can hold a charge for 28 hours of play time, and 1300 hours of standby time.
Google Search on Android will offer streaming app links on music searches
Google has updated its search app on Android, changing the way it handles music-related queries. Results for songs and artists will now load up a list of links to streaming services, letting the user play that artist's music from within the relevant installed smartphone app, such as Spotify, Rdio, and Google Play Music. Google is rolling the feature out to Android devices in the United States now, and hopes to expand it globally soon.
Samsung closing Hub Music service at start of July
Samsung is shutting down its Hub Music service on July 1st. In an e-mail to users, Samsung advises music downloads from the Samsung Music Library will no longer be available to download from that date, and warns to download any DRM-free music and use remaining Samsung Music vouchers before it closes. As a replacement, the e-mail suggests the use of its Milk Music service, and is also offering three free months of Google Play Music.
Eight streaming services can now be accessed for free, Rhapsody unRadio unveiled
In a twist to the Uncarrier presentation in Seattle, T-Mobile announced that is offering free music streaming to its customers. "All the top streaming services," such as iTunes Radio and Spotify, can be streamed by smartphone customers without affecting their data usage. On top the streaming perk, T-Mobile also revealed its own radio service that it developed in a partnership with Rhapsody. Rhapsody unRadio will be available to the public June 23.
Reveal comes on the heels of reported indie label blockade
Partnering with "hundreds of major and independent" labels, Google's YouTube video service is launching a paid streaming music service. Trumpeting the poorly-kept secret, YouTube says that the offering will "bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year."
Refusal to agree on YouTube licensing terms induces removal threat
Independent record labels may see their music videos removed from YouTube, if they do not agree to new licensing terms relating to the video site's rumored music service. The videos could be removed "in a matter of days" if an agreement is not reached for the service, which is believed to start testing soon and become available to the public later this year.