Curved Soundbar designed to have same curvature as Samsung UHD televisions
Samsung has revealed two more products ahead of this week's IFA show, this time pertaining to home audio. The M3 is the latest in Samsung's rival multiroom system to Sonos, following the M5 and the M7, while the Curved Soundbar is designed to match the same curvature and style as the manufacturer's curved UHD televisions.
Action platforming game Wipeout 2 available for iOS, Android
Activision Publishing has released its action platforming game Wipeout 2, available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire. Based on the competition TV series Wipeout, players dodge environmental hazards and challenge to complete each level as fast as possible. Players can choose from 10 playable characters, including Zombie, Pirate and Popstar, with 150 themed obstacles and 135 new levels. Free to download, Wipeout 2 is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store.
RHA to debut new T10i in-ear headphones September 5
British headphone producer RHA has announced the upcoming release of its latest in-ear headphones, the T10i. Featuring handmade dynamic drivers, the noise-cancelling headphones possess a custom tuning filter system that allows for frequency response adjustment. Filter adjustments are also included for bass and treble response. Each high fidelity driver is encased in an ergonomic stainless steel housing; other features include a multi-core, 1.35m oxygen-free copper cable with 3-button remote and microphone (suitable for Apple devices) and mouldable over-ear hooks. Priced at $200, the T10i headphones will be available for purchase in Apple stores worldwide starting September 5, 2014.
Speaker doubles as a tablet stand, but offers weak bass, one control button
Bluetooth speakers aren't only for listening to some music at the park or on a long bus ride, but can also be built with tablets in mind. While some manufacturers craft speakers with a shape that is specifically molded to hold a tablet and offer little use otherwise, others have caught on to a better design. Life n Soul have attempted such a configuration with the BM211 Virtual Surround Sound Bluetooth speaker. Would it give consumers flexibility to have a speaker suited for tablets and everyday use, or would they be left with another single-use sound device? Find out in our review.
Company claims over-the-ear headphones have 24-hour battery life
Plantronics announced a new model of Bluetooth headphones this week with the BackBeat Pro. The over-the-ear headphones feature a long battery life, 40mm drivers, active noise-cancelling technology and "Plantronics signature audio performance and design." Not leaving noise cancelling as the only trick of the headphones, Plantronics also added a smart feature to help consumers pick up where they left off if the headphones are removed.
Gear S smartwatch can operate independently from smartphone with own 3G connection
Samsung has unveiled a new Gear smartwatch and earphones before its Unpacked event at IFA. The Gear S updates the original device's bulky design into a slimline and stylish smartwatch with a curved two-inch 360x480 Super AMOLED display, though unlike the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, this edition adds the SIM card and 3G connection from the rumored Gear Solo, allowing it to work independently from a smartphone.
Google Play Music set to join T-Mobile Music Freedom later this year
T-Mobile is expanding its Music Freedom program, almost doubling the number of music streaming services which can be used by subscribers without touching their LTE allowance. The seven existing music services, including iTunes Radio, Pandora, and Spotify, have been joined by another six, just two months after the carrier launched the initiative.
PayPal offering discounted UK iTunes cards at 25 percent off
PayPal is currently offering digital iTunes cards at 25 percent off for UK customers. Users can purchase iTunes codes to redeem for music, films, TV programs, games, apps and more from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store and the App Store. Content purchased can be accessed on iOS devices and Mac or PC computers. The discount offer is available until tonight at 11:59 BST.
Audio versions of articles temporarily suspended for changeover
The USA Today newspaper app for iOS is temporarily removing the program's ability to feature audio versions of top articles, revealing that the reason is due to a change of serving technology needed to prepare a forthcoming update of the app to be CarPlay-compatible. In the current update of the app, the announcement was buried in the program's release notes, and there is no mention of when the audio feature will return.
Shuffle play mode now available for Windows Phone 8.1, free version supported by ads
Subscripiton music streaming service Spotify has announced that it is bringing its free listening experience to Windows Phones beginning today. In today's software update, owners of phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One (M8) for Windows can now partake in the Spotify experience, with a few limitations. As with the expansion into a free version for Android and iOS in December, the offering is supported by in-app advertising.
Mac minis, hard drives and headphones
This week at Adorama.com, get the Mac mini desktop computer for the reduced price of $879 with free shipping. That's $20 less than the retail price, and the lowest price we have seen on this Mac model by the same price margin. This Mac mini features a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i7 processor, 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Includes battery-powered preamp, adjustable headband, more
Blue Microphones, a digital audio brand best known for its USB audio mics popular with both podcasters and musicians, has expanded into headphones with the release of its first Mo-Fi headphone set. As recently noted by one of our reviewers, most headphones sound much better when paired with a combination DAC and amplifier like the Sony's PHA-2 portable headphone amps -- but Blue has taken it a step further by building the amp directly into its headphones.
T-Mobile adds 2GB LTE option to Simple Starter price plan
T-Mobile is giving customers using its Simple Starter price plan the choice of adding more data. From September 3rd, subscribers can opt to quadruple the LTE data allowance on the single-line plan from 500GB to 2GB, increasing the cost of the plan from $40 to $45, but retaining the same unlimited calls and texts as the original plan. Just as before Simple Starter users will find their data service suspended once they've used their allocation.
Mackie introduces new Creative Reference multimedia monitors
Mackie has announced the introduction of its new Creative Reference multimedia monitors, offering studio-quality audio performance. Designed for home or professional studios, the compact monitors features 50-watt stereo sound, three-inch or four-inch polypropylene-coated woofers, and a 0.75-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeter. Its front-facing features include a volume knob with a lit power ring, and users can plug one's smartphone into the front. Prices start at $130 per pair, and are available through local dealers.
Satechi's Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard now available
Satechi has announced the release of its new Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard, suitable for Mac or PC systems. Measuring 0.7 inches thick, the keyboard's wireless functionality allows users to have an extra USB port available to them, and can use the keyboard from up to 33 feet away. Its multimedia keys provide access to controlling video and audio content, including play/pause, volume, forward/backtrack and activating functions on other mobile devices. The white version of the keyboard features specific keys mapped for use with OS X and iOS, and the black version mapped for PC and Android features. Priced at $55, Satechi's smart keyboard is available through Amazon and the company's own online store.
New line adds power, long-life battery to Bluetooth streamer mix
Speaker purveyor Cambridge Audio has revealed its new Bluetooth speaker line. Replacing the original Minx Go Bluetooth streamer, launched today are the Go and the Go Radio, with similar stylings to the predecessor. Also released is the 100-watt Bluetone 100 streaming device.
LG Music Flow Player app streams music from networked audio sources to speakers
LG is attempting to take on Sonos in the networked speaker market, with the launch of a new range of speaker components. The LG Music Flow collection consists of three Music Flow Speakers, a Sound Bar, and a Network Bridge, with a central Music Flow Player app for Android and iOS able to control all of the devices and manage the user's music library.
Middle-of-the-road headphones offer comfort and long battery life, but odd controls, sound
When it comes to music on the go, consumers generally have some options to consider when looking for the best experience. While Bluetooth speakers are good in a large number of situations, in some place they just aren't practical. This leaves consumers to look away from speakers and toward their counterparts for sonic deliver, Bluetooth headphones. But not all headphones are created equal, especially when the boutique market for headphones is examined. One company, Life n Soul, hopes to grab attention with its 8 Driver Bluetooth headphones. Do the headphones warrant some attention, or are they just another set in the middle of the pack? Find out in our review.
Bluetooth headphones feature 40mm drivers, 116dB sensitivity, on-ear controls
Genius announced a new set of stereo headphones today, giving consumers another option in the world of Bluetooth listening devices. The HS-920BT on-ear headphones feature 40mm drivers with a sensitivity of 116dB, an impedance of 32ohms and a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Controls are placed on right ear cup, giving users control over volume, tracks and receiving phone calls. Power is provided by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Screenshots of YouTube Music Key show mixes, recommendations, 20M song library
Google's long-rumored music service for YouTube will apparently cost $9.99 per month, according to a leak. Dubbed YouTube Music Key, the subscription service will provide advertising-free music playback on the desktop, mobile, and through the TV, with the ability to cache songs on devices for offline playback, similar to the existing Google Play Music All Access subscription.
New technology backwards compatible with Blu-Ray, other content delivery
At an event earlier this week, Dolby announced a technology moving from the cinema to home theaters that challenges the channel-based stereo paradigm. Dubbed Dolby Atmos, the new protocol -- which is fully backwards compatible with older Blu-Ray players and other content delivery mechanisms -- uses up to 34 speakers to more accurately play back a moving sound, and enhance the home theater experience.
Buying a headphone amp is money well spent if you love music
Like many people, I love music and have an extensive iTunes collection. I also record my own music and even released a single with Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens on lead guitar. All of which means that, like many people, I take the quality of my listening experience seriously and am always looking for a great listening experience at home, in the car, and when on the go. I have managed to get a great sound at home, and in my car, but struggled to get an ideal listening experience on the go. Like some I've bought far too many headphones as part of this quest, when what I really should have done is buy a portable headphone amp as I recently discovered.
New 5.1 surround sound gaming headset features 8 drivers
Tesoro Technology has released its new true 5.1 surround sound gaming headset. The Kuvέη's fully customizable control of every channel offers wearers precise sound, suitable for tactical gaming. The headset includes a subwoofer, center speaker and one rear speaker. Each channel can be customized via the removable in-line control, which also allows for the microphone or speaker to be instantly turned off. Its unidirectional noise-cancelling microphone blocks out noise, and a virtual 7.1 surround sound audio mode is available.
SMS Audio BioSport headphones feeds back heart rate to mobile app
Intel has partnered with SMS Audio, the headphone company by rapper 50 Cent, to develop headphones designed for fitness tracking. The BioSport In-Ear Headphones includes a built-in optical heart rate monitor, one which continuously collects data about the wearer's pulse as they go through intense exercise or a relaxation routine.
Comic legend offered the original voice to the 'Your Verse' campaign
[Updated with addition of feature spot on the main Apple website] The death of actor and comic Robin Williams has spawned a dedicated section at the iTunes Store where fans can find various movies, specials and other performances from the widely-loved actor and comedian. Among the offerings are both videos and audio-only appearances, celebrating the diversity of his career along with a brief biographical note. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Nest CEO Tony Fadell were among the luminaries that remembered Williams in tweets on Monday.
Does the Jongo speaker ecosystem stand out in a crowded field?
Multi-room audio compatibility is a key metric for wireless sound systems these days. The entry cost into a house-spanning system can be problematic for many buyers, with many mid-range systems costing many thousands of dollars for even a small installation. Pure has a solution -- the Jongo speaker system. We've lived with a few Jongo T2 speakers for a while now. How well does the system perform, and when up against higher-end competitors, how does it stand up? Read our review to find out!
Desktop 2.1 stereo speakers offer affordable, clear sound, but need more punch
Desktop computer speakers sit in a weird area of limbo: many consumers have forgone the era of desktop listening for the privacy and versatility of headphones. Others see their usefulness in work spaces, when large surround systems or wearing a pair of headphones for hours isn't an option. What about consumers looking for a budget set of speakers that can be used in a number of spaces, without sacrificing on sound? Desktop users could have a possible solution with the Logitech Z213 multimedia speakers. Does the $30 speaker set warrant consideration, or is the money better spent towards a more expensive set up? Find out in our review.
Outdoor speaker provides stereo alternative, but suffers from distorted sound
While most Bluetooth speakers are meant to be portable or desktop solutions, some are made to be used outdoors. Many of these speakers either take up a large footprint or are ruggedized, depending on the use, but other times they are simple meant for listening to a song on the porch. Of those set and forget types of speakers, what kind of features should be included to appeal to consumers? Is it huge presence and stereo sound? Or are features like weatherproofing and long battery life in high demand? The SyrenPro from iLuv attempts to include all of those features for the maximum outdoor experience. But does the SyrenPro succeed in trying to be all things to everyone? Find out in our review.
New program performing well, according to Google
Google is in the process of evaluating "Listen Now" advertisements, alongside Beats Music, Spotify, and Rhapsody. When users search for an artist, Google's ads on the right hand side promotes music from the artist, alongside options to purchase the music from participating online music services. The ads are on mobile as well as on searches performed in a desktop or notebook browser.
Trial period will be free, pricing expected to be similar to US premium cost
Roughly a month after first announcing its expansion into Canada, subscription streaming music service Spotify is now sending invites to people who signed up to receive notification when the service was imminent. Invitations are currently still on a limited basis, but the company is testing the service in Canada presently, Electronista has verified. Canada is not yet officially listed on the company's website as one of the countries it serves, but an official debut is expected in the coming weeks.
Electronista and MacNN Weekly deals for August 8, 2014
Once again, its 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!
Serato Flip integration allows 'hot cue combination' loops, builds on previous deck
Pioneer Electronics announced a new DJ controller today, one that the company touts as being the first to include Serato Flip functionality. The new DDJ-SX2 controller contains purpose-designed buttons, improved reaction time of the jog wheel, and multi-colored performance pads. Additionally, the DDJ-SX2 brings some additional features to the table, including a built-in sound card, assignable settings, and multiple connection options behind its aluminum top panel.
Offers good sound, low price, but speaker is held back by battery, digital signal processing
Bluetooth speakers offer a wealth of choices for consumers, with sound and price often coming down to the main factors for a purchase. Sound needs to fit the requirements of the user, from those that seek crushing bass or a balanced spectrum. Trying to find the middle ground between what consumers can afford and what sound they want can be a difficult equalibrium to reach. But can a good balance of price and sound be found in the sub-$100 market? Yes, with the $70 Logitech X300 mobile wireless speaker. But does the sound stack up to speakers more than twice the price, or are consumers taking too much of a hit to save some cash? Find out in our review.
Aimed at journalists, podcasters, online radio announcers, home recording buffs
A new version of IK Multimedia's previous iRig Mic is now available beginning today for the iRig Mic HD, an all-in-one digital condenser mic that features its own A/D converters to eliminate any requirement for pricey audio interfaces. By providing both a 1.5 meter (59-inch) Lightning and USB cable, the mic is one of the few that works natively with both mobile and desktop/notebook systems (a 30-pin connector is sold separately for older iOS devices). The unit is capable of 24-bit, 48kHz recording.
VOD changes remove indefinite storage, music being muted due to copyright
Gaming broadcasting service Twitch was quick to issue some changes of its own, a day after the company decided to shut down its original product, Justin.tv. In what the company is calling necessary changes, Twitch will be changing the way it handles video-on-demand (VOD) and the audio within videos. The changes are significant compared to many others the company has made, as Twitch is removing permanent video saves and handing off audio copyright policing to a third party.
Pickups give Rhapsody access to new discovery processes and community sharing tools
Rhapsody International has recently acquired two companies that could help it build is music services in additional areas. It was announced that the company has acquired Schematic Labs, the team behind SoundTracking, and Exfm - each for undisclosed amounts. The two companies were picked up for a different reasons; one team to bolster music discovery, while the other expands upon sharing.
New speaker models for home use in five configurations, including bookshelf and on-wall units
Harman has released a new set of loudspeakers called the Reference Series under its Infinity brand. The new lineup includes five types of speakers, in nine different configurations, to fit the needs of consumers. Each of the speakers are powered by the company's transducer technology, called the Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm (CMMD).
New full tower case features signature brushed aluminum design, tool-less features
Lian Li has announced a new brushed aluminum case in its lineup, adding the full tower PC-V2130 chassis. The new case features support for water cooling, including four positions for radiators 240mm or 280mm in size. The PC-V2130 supports a number of motherboards, including ATX, XL-ATX and Micro-ATX. Up to 11 drives, 2.5 or 3.5-inches in size, can be installed in hard drive bays or on the back of the motherboard tray, with an additional four 2.5-inch drives in a removable bracket. Lian Li's new case uses tool-less design for PCI card mounting, thumbscrews for front plate removal and side panel removal with only two latches. Consumers worried about the size and weight of the case will be happy to know that it includes four wheels for easy movement.
MBPs, iMacs, cameras, and more
Adorama.com currently has the previous-generation Retina 13.3-inch MacBook Pro on sale for $2,250. That' s $150 less than their regular price of $2,400, and $250 off the MSRP of $2,500. This MacBook Pro features a 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of flash storage. Included is a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Electronista and MacNN deals for August 1, 2014
Once again, it's time for the MacNN and Electronista 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, our faithful readers. 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!
Bass-heavy headphones provide sweat resistance during workout, lackluster sound
When hitting the gym or going out for a trail run, headphones can cause a number of problems. From the ear buds getting slimy with sweat or the ear cups not holding onto the user's head tightly enough, there are a bunch of inconveniences that occur. This isn't even considering the cords that can get in the way, resulting in headphones flying off someone's head or a plug being yanked from a device. Is there a set of headphones that can put active people at ease when wearing them? Perhaps, as SMS Audio, the company led by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, has released an active version of its Sync on-ear wireless headphones. Do the SMS Audio Sync Sports give users everything they want, while delivering great audio? Find out in our review.
Menu bar control shows all recent listings
Music and TV recognition service Shazam has today launched its first-ever Mac app. While similar in design to the iOS client, the Mac app is able to listen constantly, generating an ongoing list of items it hears. Notifications give users the ability to jump quickly into pages for lyrics and/or buying the media in question.
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, audio equipment maker Bose is suing headphone rival 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!