The MacNN Deals return, complete with new offers
After a brief technical-issue-related hiatus, MacNN Deals is back, and so is our daily look at three items you can pick up from the store pretty cheaply. For the first featured items to herald its return, we have selected deals involving an iPhone 5 and two Bluetooth speakers: one with classic looks, the other opting for a more unusual appearance.
Vintage style speakers look great, fall short on audio quality
Let me paint an all-too-familiar scenario: You've got a stereo system that still works perfectly fine, but through a series of unfortunate events, you're stuck with speakers that don't work. Or maybe you just bought a brand new computer that lacks speakers at all, and you want to listen to Pandora while you surf the web without cutting off the outside world. Maybe the speakers of your favorite record player just don't do your albums justice. Whatever the reason, you're looking for new speakers ASAP. Allow us to introduce to you the Samson Meteor M2 Multimedia Speaker System, a retro-inspired speaker set designed to alleviate such problems.
These Bluetooth speakers give your audio playback a boost
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today, we're looking at a group of three Bluetooth speakers that could help improve the audio coming from your smartphone or tablet, and in one case, can even provide people who sing in the shower with more entertainment.
Altec Lansing introduces new speakers for all-weather conditions, 360 degree sound
Two new speakers have been announced today at CES by Altec Lansing, both featuring Bluetooth connectivity. The all-weather Boomjacket offers twice the battery life of Lifejacket, its predecessor, and is capable of playing audio for up to 40 hours on a single charge. Offering durability to resist the effects of rain, dirt, and shock, its dual two-inch neodymium drivers, passive radiator design and aptX wireless audio aim to produce a powerful sound in a range of settings. Priced at $200, the Boomjacket will be accompanied by a carrying pouch, USB charging, a 3.5mm aux-in jack and power supply cables.
Audio-enabled, insulated storage container launches Monday at CES
Portable audio system and food storage container Kube launched Monday at CES in Las Vegas. Designed for outdoor and indoor usage, the Kube offers a Bluetooth range of 50 feet for pairing with a Bluetooth-enabled device, and can deliver sound for up to 20 hours. Its exterior is comprised of aluminum and coated polymer, with five back-lit tactile buttons for controlling audio. Kube additionally includes the ability for charging USB devices with an available port, and its interior insulated food storage compartment features LED lights that automatically engage when the container is opened.
LG, Sony, Denon among early supporting hardware brands
Google has announced that its Cast technology will soon be able to send audio-only feeds to devices such as speakers and AV receivers. Users will be able to cast from Android and iOS apps, as well the web, presumably via Chrome for Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS. Some compatible services will include Deezer, Google Play Music, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, and TuneIn.
Operates up to 100 feet away
Logitech-owned Ultimate Ears has announced a new Bluetooth speaker, the UE Megaboom. The design is based on the original Boom -- which likewise aims sound in a 360-degree arc -- but is substantially larger. It should last up to 20 hours on a single charge, and UE is promising a 100-foot range, well beyond most Bluetooth devices, which are typically limited to about 30 feet. By comparison, the original Boom has a 15-hour battery, and a 50-foot range.
'Adventure models' will debut at Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show next week
Last year, speaker maker Nyne unveiled its "Aqua" at CES 2014 -- a Bluetooth speaker with an IPX7 rating, which means it's considered "waterproof" (immersion for up to 30 minutes at 3.3 feet (1m) of water). This year, three new "adventure models," the Edge, the Verge, and the Rock will be available to demo at Nyne's CES booth. While these new models don't have ratings high enough to designate them as waterproof, they are still water-resistant.
Futuristic-looking 'Ring Radiator' audio devices to debut at CES
Samsung has announced some details about the audio products it will be showing at CES later this week. An expanded line of their curved soundbars is included, as well as their brand new WAM7500/6500 360-degree speakers. Samsung introduced their curved soundbars earlier this year, and are looking to expand the line to four devices. The new "ring" speaker, by contrast, offers a slick, futuristic design.
Portable speaker, two soundbars, Blu-ray player incoming from LG
LG has revealed more details for new speakers joining its Music Flow networked speaker collection, competing against similar systems from Samsung and Sonos. Set to be shown off at CES, the new items consist of a portable speaker, two sound bars, and a streaming 3D Blu-ray player, all of which will be compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Versatile speaker system tackles games, music with ease, distortion a drawback
Complete speaker setups come in configurations for a wide array of uses, from multi-speaker home theater packages to compact desktop PC solutions. While there is never one set that covers every function perfectly, those looking for 2.1 speaker systems are confronted by a wealth of choices. One such option that tackles gaming, music and movies in good fashion is the SW-G2.1 2000 speaker system from GX Gaming, the gaming subdivision of peripheral manufacturer Genius. But does the SW-G2.1 2000 setup offer a good sound value, or would consumers be better off purchasing something like a 7.1 surround sound system? Find out in our review.
Elecronista and MacNN's guide to gifts for the digital audiophile
Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest people to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we'll attempt to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.
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.
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.
Bluetooth speaker releasing this fall for $300, contains 25 watts of power
Not to be outdone by the other brands under the Harman banner, Infinity will be releasing a new portable speaker this fall. The Infinity One Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System, which was designed in a collaboration with the rock group Linkin Park, looks to bring a new level of premium audio to the Bluetooth speaker space.
New headphones, Bluetooth speaker and wireless speaker system on sale this year
At a recent trade show, Harman Kardon made a number of announcements about the new consumer audio devices that would be hitting the market this fall. Offerings are spread across the board, with a new set of Bluetooth on-ear headphones, a professional Bluetooth speaker, and a wireless in-home audio speaker system and adapter are coming to tackle a number of customer needs.
Amplifier, headphone divisions come together create a speaker full of 'punch and drive'
Audio equipment maker Marshall, best known for its guitar amps and headphones, has announced a new consumer speaker coming this year called the Woburn. The new speaker is a joint effort between Marshall Amplification and Marshall Headphones, featuring classic Marshall styling in the unit, including gold piping, fret grille cloth and a vinyl covering.
Update eliminates requirement for physical network connection, Sonos Bridge
Sonos has started to implement a change to the wireless networking used by its speaker system, eliminating the need for a physical connection. The previously-announced update will now allow for speakers to connect to an existing Wi-Fi network, instead of the wireless mesh network created between the speakers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
Yantouch Diamond+ LED Bluetooth speaker released
Yantouch has released a new portable Bluetooth speaker with an accompanying light system in its Diamond series, the Diamond+. Its neodymium Super Magnet speakers are located on the sides of the device for improved sound emissions, and include a 300 precent sound boost feature. The system's LED light show features 16 million colors to choose from, with users able to control the hues, brightness and saturation, and several light modes. Its "Music You Can See" light mode, for example, matches lighting based on a song's beats. Other modes include a "wash-wall" mood lighting and a white LED light for reading.
Samsung adds Spotify Connect support to Shape speaker range
Samsung has updated its Wireless Audio Multiroom range of home audio equipment to allow Spotify to run off multiple speakers simultaneously, bringing Samsung's multiroom speaker system in line with competitor Sonos. Applying to the Shape M7, Shape M5 and other audio products in the range, the added Spotify Connect support allows for music to be controlled through the Spotify app itself instead of through a dedicated speaker app.
Includes cabled shaker unit
iLuv has started shipping the TimeShaker Micro, a stripped-down version of the original TimeShaker clock released last year. The Micro strips out a Lightning dock, and also switches to a lower-contrast black-on-gray LCD display. As compensation though it adds Bluetooth streaming, and incorporates a USB port for charging. Sound can also be pumped in via an aux-in jack.
Librify to launch an invite-only e-book service, Target to act as retail partner
Social e-book platform Librify has announced the upcoming launch of a new membership based service. Offering access to a "book club-like" experience, e-books will be accessible via a membership subscription, or purchased individually. Members can access book club management features as well as social features that aim to help organize and promote book sharing with friends. Target's partnership is retail focused, and combines Librify's e-book offering with Target's "Club Picks", which will be elaborated upon during its unveiling at Book Expo America this week.
PA features three-channel mixer, 5 hour battery and multiple inputs
UK company Kitsound has announced the release of its newest portable speaker option, the Kingston PA Sound System. Going beyond the typical offerings from the company, including portable Bluetooth speakers and headphones, the Kingston PA draws inspiration from spontaneous Caribbean street parties and Jamaican DJs to aid to its functionality and design.
Speaker provides long battery life, good sound in the home and outdoors
Bluetooth speakers are important not for only adding a bit of punch to music from mobile devices, but also for providing entertainment in social situations. With the increasing frequency with which people are carrying around music on portable devices, it makes sense that listeners would be on the lookout for an equally versatile speaker. But is there a one-size-fits-all speaker that works for a single listener indoors or a gathering on the porch? Nyne throws its hat into the ring with the TT, a hardback book-sized speaker with a combined 20 watts of power. Would it be adequate for open use? Or is it another speaker only good at short distances?
Portable Sony Bluetooth speakers use ClearAudio+ processing
Sony has launched a pair of compact wireless speakers shipping in Europe in the near future. The Srs-X2 Wireless Speaker is billed as an audio device that is portable enough for use outside, while the SRS-X3, meant for home use, is a squarer device that shares the "definitive outline" design of its larger stablemates, the SRS-X9, X7, and X5.
Software update being tested could remove need for Sonos Bridge
Sonos is testing a software update for its wireless speaker system that removes the need for a physical connection to the home network. The software would allow for the system's SonosNet network to operate with one of the speakers accessing the local Wi-Fi network, and avoiding wiring either a speaker or the Sonos Bridge wireless networking device to a router.
Google Play Music app on Android can cast directly to Sonos speakers
Sonos is adding support for Google Play Music to its multi-room speaker system, the company has confirmed. While both Android and iOS will gain the extra support, users on Android will be able to control music playback from the Google Play Music app itself, and marks the first time the speaker manufacturer is allowing a third-party app to control the speakers directly.
Includes USB charging, adjustable light levels
Soundfreaq has started shipping the Sound Rise, a new Bluetooth-based clock speaker. The device is relatively straightforward, for instance featuring built-in dual alarms, which can use separate weekday/weekend settings and a gradual volume increase, whether an alarm is toggled to FM radio, a connected device, or a chime. The speaker also includes a sleep timer which can be set in increments up to 120 minutes, and dimmable display brightness that can even be shut off completely.
Pair of Bluetooth streamers bring portability, bass to mobile device audio
Bluetooth speakers come in enough configurations that anyone should be able to find one to suit their needs. Be it a speaker to fill an entire room with sound that never moves from its spot on a shelf, or a small speaker clipped on a bag pumping out music on the go, there are tons of different units on the market to match an individual's tastes. Boomphones and id America each offer a speaker that may fit a niche for customers looking at small form factors with unique features. Which speaker will do the trick in our showdown -- Boomphones Pocket Speaker or the id America Touchtone?
M2 Bluetooth-enabled 2.1 speaker system offers room-filling sound, wirelessly
Kinivo has announced the availability of its M2 wireless speaker system, available for purchase online. The Bluetooth-enabled 2.1 speaker system is intended for home or office use, and includes two compact speakers with an active subwoofer. Its design features a black finish with copper accents on its volume controls. Able to connect to one's home entertainment system or workspace equipment, the speaker system can stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device, as well as any device that can connected through its auxiliary input. The M2 2.1 speaker system is priced at $70.
Units shoot for higher-than-CD audio
Audio gear maker JBL has announced two new wireless speaker systems, the Authentics L8 and L16. Both units support AirPlay, DLNA, and Bluetooth 3.0 streaming, as well as direct input via phono, SPDIF, or 3.5mm jacks. Notably, the pair also use 24-bit, 96kHZ signal paths, enabling better-than-CD quality.
iLuv introduces SyrenPro wireless, weather-resistant speaker
Audio peripheral manufacturer iLuv Creative Technology announced yesterday its extension of its Syren line of speakers, with the addition of the SyrenPro. Equipped with new features such as 'TrueWireless Stereo,' the SyrenPro allows users to wirelessly pair two SyrenPro units to create a combined stereo sound system. Able to withstand outdoor usage, the SyrenPro has a weather- and UV-resistant body. Its Bluetooth capability includes voice prompts for easy pairing, and SyrenPro's aux-in port allows for connection to devices without Bluetooth.
Streaming speakers, home entertainment systems on show from Samsung
Samsung has laid out what it plans to show at CES next week, alongside its 105-inch curved Ultra HD television. The Shape M7 that Samsung launched in October will be accompanied by a smaller model, a Soundbar and Sound Stand, a home entertainment system with a Blu-ray player, and a component audio system for entertaining that offers 2,500W of audio power.
Win a Divoom Bluetune-Bean
The new year is closing in fast and Electronista want's to get the party started, so we've teamed up with Divoom to give away three of their Bluetooth speakers through the evening in our countdown to the new year. The year isn't over yet, so to get things started we have the Divoom Bluetune-Bean.
Day six of Apple's "12 Days of Gifts" features free "New Years Eve Mix" from Avicii
Apple's annual 12 Days of Gifts is on its sixth day, with today's offering being the "New Years Eve Mix" single from Swedish DJ Avicii. Each day's gift can be found by using Apple's 12 Days of Gifts app, available for iOS devices, and users can subsequently download the gift item directly from the iTunes Store. Normally priced at $5, the "New Years Eve Mix" single is accompanied by Avicii's music video for "Wake Me Up".
Jambox, Mini Jambox can have Liquipel coating applied for $50
Jawbone is giving customers the ability to make their portable speakers water-resistant, when extra protection via a hydrophobic coating is bought from its website. The Jambox and Mini Jambox now lists an option to add Liquipel 2.0 to the devices as a $50 extra, making the regular-sized version cost $200, and the smaller model $230.
New Wren V5BT's 3-inch throw drivers and four layer voice coils produce realistic bass
American audio company, Wren Sound Systems, is now shipping its latest speaker product, the Wren V5BT portable speaker. Powered by Intersil's classic D2 50-watt DSP-controlled class D amplifier, the V5BT is able to deliver room-filling sound in a compact design.
Crescent-shaped Boomerang Wireless Audio Dock released
Favi Entertainment has launched its latest mobile accessory, the Boomerang Wireless Audio Dock. A Bluetooth and NFC-enabled speaker, the Boomerang can pair with a mobile device from up to 33-feet away, or rest on the outside edges of a device to create a portable home-theater experience. Its expansion sleeve design is adjustable, accommodating desired viewing angles as well as varying sizes of devices, with its curved shape allowing for wearing around the neck. The Boomerang can play audio for up to ten hours, and is available in two sizes: the original Boomerang, which has two 6-watt speakers, and the Boomerang Mini with two 4-watt speakers. Featuring up to ten hours of audio play, both Boomerang speakers are available in a variety of colors. Currently available for pre-order, the 6-watt Boomerang dock is priced at $80, and the 4-watt Boomerang mini is priced at $60.
Series branded as Immaculate Wireless Sound
Bang & Olufsen has introduced its first wireless speakers, taking advantage of the 24bit/96kHz WiSA standard. The lineup can be used as separate modular components, or as a complete set comprising the compact BeoLab 17 bookshelf speakers, the BeoLab 18 floorstanding columns, and the BeoLab 19 subwoofer. Electronista attended the company's Manhattan launch event to hear if the new set fulfills its promise of "Immaculate Wireless Sound."
Tries to bridge gap between quality and portability
Many Bluetooth speakers are marketed as "portable" these days, but that definition is often a stretch, to put it mildly. Just because something can technically be picked up and moved doesn't mean you can fit it into a bag or luggage. Nude's Move M, though, is one of those speakers that tries to be authentically portable; we'll put it to the test to see if that's true, and if it holds up as a speaker in general.