Cambridge Audio has just unveiled a new Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) that is said to change one's entire computer audio experience. The all new DacMagic XS is a ultra-compact Digital to Analog Converter that takes the digital audio signal from your PC and converts it into a much more rich and full analog signal for a true Hi-Fi experience.
The DacMagic XS is smaller is size than your average matchbox but still manages to pack in the high-end components and technology needed to produce a product that audiophiles will appreciate. The DacMagic also features a built in headphone amplifier, that delivers ten times more power than most of the laptops soundcards are capable of. This ensures that the audio is always crisp and clear, even in the noisiest environments. Cambridge Audio says that the DacMagic XS is available now at an MSRP of $189.
Music streaming services are all the rage these days and it appears that owning just one of these services is just not enough for Google. Today Billboard.com is reporting that YouTube is planning to launch its own streaming service similar to Spotify in that it will have a subscription level of membership as well as a free version.
What sets YouTube apart from similar services such as iTunes Radio, Spotify, and even Google Play Music, is that it will offer music videos, something no one else has even hinted on in the past. While it is still not clear as to how the service will operate, I expect some form of partnership with Vevo, the largest music video producer on YouTube. Vevo is in a nice situation to partner up with Google and YouTube on this and already has tens of thousands of videos in their catalog. What do you think? Would you buy into a music video streaming service? Personally I think I will be sticking to Spotify.
Tomorrow during Nokia World, the company is expected to unveil several new mobile devices including the all new Lumia 1520 phablet, Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet, and several budget friendly Asha devices. What was not expected however, was the Nokia Guru, a iPod Shuffle-like music player with NFC capabilities.
TweakTown's favorite leakster @evleaks posted a photo this morning via his Twitter account which shows off the new Guru music player in a very Lumia blue color. At the moment, the only solid piece of information we have on the Guru is that it will feature NFC connectivity, a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume buttons and a microUSB port for charging and possible data syncing.
What is unclear is whether this device stores MP3 files, or if it is just a streaming device for the Lumia line of phones. My bet is on the latter if you are wondering. A streaming device such as this only makes sense as the MP3 player as we know it is dieing and is being replaced by bulky smartphones which always have an issue with cord length when placed in a pocket. This device could pair with your phone, and mount easily on your arm or shirt for a workout experience where one does not fight headphone cords constantly.
Today, Sonos announced the release their all new Sonos Play:1, a powerful and extremely compact wireless speaker designed for streaming music throughout your home. The Play:1 is a portable speaker that utilizes Wi-Fi to stream music and is designed to sync harmoniously with other Sonos wireless HiFi devices.
"Sonos was created upon the belief you should never have to choose between quality sound and an easy way to access all your music at home," said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos, Inc. "The PLAY:1 makes getting started with Sonos even more accessible to music lovers than ever before."
Sonos says that the Play:1 has been designed with minimalism in mind, and that the unit was designed with a single play/pause button on top of the device to minimize clutter as much as possible. Users can also combine a pair of Play:1 units to the Sonos PLAYBAR and SONOS SUB to create a powerful HiFi 5.1 surround system for the home theatre. The Sonos Play:1 will retail for $199 and is available now.
Its been a couple of weeks since we released our last podcast, and we want to thank all of our fans for being patient as we work out some bugs in our system. Last week, we sat down with the Founder and CEO of Sixense Entertainment, Amir Rubin, who talked about everything virtual reality. Rubin showed off his company's new STEM technology, which is designed to work hand-in-hand with both Steam and the Oculus VR to bring gaming to the next level.
Sixense had 10 days left in their Kickstarter campaign for the STEM controller, and had already managed to raise almost $550,000, which more than doubles their original funding goal of $250,000. Ruben even shows us some never before seen features of the STEM controller and clues us in on how their company is designing the system to be both maker and 3D printing friendly. Of course, this is big news for someone like me who is an avid 3D printing guru and promoter of the maker movement. We would like to thank Amir Rubin for joining us and letting us geek out with him for half an hour.
I would like to apologize for the poor quality of the video. We are working out some issues with our recording methods, and it appears that I have a bad audio cable that I did not know about until after the show was recorded. We are working on ironing out all of these issues and over the next few weeks, you should see our quality steadily improve. If you have any suggestions, comments, or critiques, please leave us a comment or email Anthony Garreffa or myself and we will take them into consideration. Once again, thanks for watching, and we hope you enjoy.
Brainwavz announced the launch of the latest edition to its headphones lineup. The HM9 marks the third installment to the company's HM series of headphones and has been designed to reproduce high fidelity audio with a sound signature sure to gain the approval of any audiophile. The new HM9 headphones feature large 40mm drivers that have been tuned to provide crisp, clean mids while still providing a powerful bass.
Brainwavz says that the HM9 features large ear pads that have been constructed with sweat-resistant memory foam, while a large metal frame and dual hinges allow the headphones to be easily folded into compact form for transport. The HM9 comes with a set of three cables, one of which features an in-line microphone on a 1.3-meter cable that is compatible with Apple iPhones and some Android smartphones.
1.3-meter and 3-meter standard cables are also included for easy compatibility with Windows PCs, Macs, and any other device that features a 3.5mm audio jack. The Brainwavz HM9 is available for purchase now at Amazon and retails for $149.50.
We started our first TweakTown Weekly Podcast (Beta) with a bang last week, quite literally, with Jim Handy on the show talking to us about the Hynix factory fires. A lot has happened in the tech world since then, with Apple's biggest event of the year just a few days ago unveiling two new smartphones: the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
Between the hoopla of the new iPhone launches, the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2013 show has taken place, unveiling and teasing a bunch of new products. We get right into the news, continuing our talk with some gaming news - with GTA V seeing a budget of a whopping $265 million.
Today, Tubecore announced that it has surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal by more than 500 percent, raising almost $100,000 with more than 8 days remaining. The Tubecore Duo is a home audio system that is based off of a Raspberry Pi and a tube-based audio amplifier.
The device is capable of streaming music over Wi-Fi and features built-in XBMC compatibility. The entire project is open source and is built with the hardware hacker and modder in mind. "The Duo's cabinet design is based on mid-century design principles," says co-founder and main designer Jason Perkins, "delivering more for less, allowing us to guarantee the hand-crafted cabinet for a lifetime. For a simpler user experience, the Duo utilizes a simple one source interface to control all onboard system features."
Today, Spotify announced that it has began working with "a number of" hardware manufacturers to bring music streaming to household audio systems similar to how AirPlay and other music streaming systems work. The new service is called Spotify Connect and will enable customers to stream playlists to speakers and home theater systems throughout their entire house.
This is quite similar to how Google Chromecast manages to stream audio from Chrome-based devices to TVs around the home. As expected, the system will allow users to pause a track on a smartphone and then resume the track at the same time marker on any sound-producing, Connect-compatible device in the home.
While no supporting products have been named, and no pricing or availability information given, we do know that devices from Argon, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Revo, Teufel, and Yamaha will be compatible with the Spotify Connect and identified by the logo being highly visible on compatible products.
PAX PRIME 2013 - I was on the ground in Seattle, Washington, today for PAX Prime. While there, I got a chance to check out Corsair's newly unveiled headsets in person. You can see the headsets, learn more about them, and hear my opinion in the video below:
The brief text version is that the new headsets are quite the deal, with the top-of-the-line Vengence 2100 7.1 Wireless headset providing up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. It is completely redesigned from the previous version, despite looking fairly similar. It retails for around $150, making it a good purchase choice.
Earlier today, SteelSeries introduced the world to its latest flagship headset, the Siberia Elite Gaming Headset. SteelSeries says that the new Siberia Elite features the high-quality audio drivers and is equipped with Dolby technology that creates a realistic 7.1 virtual surround sound. The headset will be available for pre-order in September and will retail for $199.99.
The new headset's design features a self-adjusting suspension system that is anchored to a still arc. The headset's ear cups feature RGB illuminated dials that are capable of reproducing 16.8 million color options. These dials control the Siberia Elite's audio and microphone, while the company's SteelSeries Engine 3 software ushers in new levels of customization and profile generation.
"First introduced in 2004, SteelSeries' Siberia headset brought together amazing audio quality with first-ever features like a self-adjusting suspension design and circumaural earcups to the market. The headset quickly became popular amongst gamers with its outstanding quality and performance as well as caught the attention of DJ's and musicians, appearing in popular videos and in places that expanded even beyond our core gaming audience," said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. "Siberia is recognized today as one of the fastest growing and highly rated line of headsets by consumers from around the globe. Expanding upon this legacy, today we introduce the next level of Siberia audio combining the acclaimed features, which makes the Siberia brand successful, with the newest and highest-quality audio technology and software that can truly be categorized as Elite."
Today, Creative Technology announced the launch of its newest Sound Blaster gaming headsets set dubbed the Tactic3D Fury. Creative says that the Tactic3D Fury is compatible with both PC and Mac thanks to the dual-mode USB adapter. A 3.5mm headphone jack is also present, which allows the end-user to connect the headset to a mobile phone, allowing them to receive calls during intense gaming sessions.
"Riding on the positive momentum of our Sound Blaster Tactic3D range of gaming headsets, we designed the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Fury with a sleeker, even more comfortable ear cup design than the headsets that inspired it. With this great-looking, comfortable design and our completely customizable suite of sound and voice technologies, we're unleashing the Fury as the best combination of gaming performance and value for the mass market," said Long Chye Low, general manager of audio at Creative.
Included with the headset is Creative's Sound Blaster Tactic3D Control Panel software that enables gamers to customize settings and tailor the sound output to their specific taste . This provides an immersive and accurate 3-D acoustic environment that is unlike any other. The Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Fury gaming headset is expected to arrive on store shelves sometime in October 2013 and will retail at a price point of $59.99.
During the Gamescom event being held in Germany this week, ROCCAT Studios announced the addition of a new high-quality gaming headset to its lineup of gaming peripherals. The new ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 digital gaming headset is the successor to ROCCAT's Kave 5.1.
The company says that the new Kave XTD is based on community and customer feedback and that the new headset builds on foundations laid by the original headset by improving existing features and integrating completely new innovations of its own. The headset features a fully-equipped desktop remote that integrates a built-in premium 5.1 sound card. Additionally, ROCCAT Smart Link technology is built-in. This technology lets the user pair their smartphone to the remote via Bluetooth. This new feature allows users to make and receive calls through the headset while gaming.
The remote also features built-in 5.1 speaker ports, which allow users to hook up their existing sound systems and easily toggle between the headset and speaker output without having to change settings in the PC software controls. ROCCAT says that the Kave XTD 5.1 provides a true, rich 5.1 surround sound. The headset features three driver units per ear cup, which are aligned at a 12 degree angle. This allows the headset to deliver an immersive and crisp sound while weighing 25 percent less than its predecessor.
Today, Mad Catz began shipping its highly anticipated TRITTON Kunai stereo gaming headset for PC and Mac. You may remember our coverage of the Kunai during the E3 Expo back in June. Available in red, black, and white, this new headset features 40mm neodymium drivers as well as an in-line remote offering easy access to the audio controls.
Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc., stated, "Our TRITTON Kunai range proved popular at E3 thanks to its clean aesthetics and impressive audio. We are confident that passionate PC and Mac gamers will appreciate the performance and value synonymous with the brand." The TRITTON Kunai is available for PC and Mac at major electronics retailers for about $80.
Today, V-MODA announced two new high-end accessories for use with its award winning Crossfade M-100 headphones. The BoomPro and CoilPro are aimed at enhancing the audio experience for even the most hardcore gamers as well as the Podcaster and Skype user. The BoomPro is a universal, hi-fi boom mic that instantly enhances voice clarity while greatly reducing background noise. It plugs directly into the audio jack of the CrossFade M-100 and a built-in on-cable Control Clip allows for quick adjustment of volume controls.
The CoilPro is a professional grade coiled extension cable that allows users to move up to 12 feet away from their battle station. The company says that this extension cable is perfect for the DJ booth, production studio, or for use while on a Skype call or other times when you may need to stay connected but move freely around your room or office. The cable is reinforced with an inner reinforcement strand of kevlar, which should prevent any stress breakage from occurring. Both of these new accessories are available from V-MODA and Amazon for $30.
Earlier today, Logitech introduced us to its latest set of Bluetooth stereo speakers. Dubbed the Z600, the speakers are targeted at the MacBook Air and UltraBook markets but will work with any Bluetooth A2DP-enabled device including smartphones, tablets, and media streaming devices. Capable of pairing with up to three devices at the same time, users can stream music from each individual device by just making sure music playback on the other two devices are paused.
Logitech says that the speakers produce a room-filling sound and each incorporates three drivers in a very sleek and refined tower style package. Covered in a fabric finish, the Z600 speakers incorporate touch sensitive volume controls which are actuated by gliding a finger across the edge of the top panel of either speaker to raise or lower the volume.
Logitech has included a small USB Bluetooth dongle that will allow streaming audio from devices that may not be Bluetooth-equipped. No actual launch date was given, but Logitech has the Z600 Bluetooth Speakers up for preorder on their website at a price point of just $150. That price seems a little high when compared to the Panasonic portable Bluetooth speaker we covered earlier today, but I have a feeling the speakers will reproduce a more rich and full-bodied sound.
Panasonic likes building products that can take whatever you can throw at them and their new portable wireless speaker is no exception. The SC-NT10 is a black and orange 4W portable speaker that features two full-range speakers and a passive radiator. Panasonic says that the speaker is "quad proof" and is dust, water, and impact resistant. Panasonic says that the speaker is able to last about eight hours on a single charge but did not disclose standby time battery life.
"Building on the popularity of other "tough" products in our lineup, Panasonic has created a wireless speaker that is small enough to carry almost anywhere and can handle the elements, but will still produce superior sound quality," said David Fisher, Product Manager, Home Entertainment, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "The SC-NT10 is an ideal audio companion for anyone who loves the outdoors. It's equipped with unique features for ease-of-use including Near Field Communication for easy pairing with mobile devices, and produces crystal clear, powerful sound."
Featuring Near Field Connectivity (NFC), the device is able to quickly pair with your smartphone's Bluetooth connection or alternatively, a 3.5 mm jack allows you to input your favorite tunes. The SC-NT10 is able to survive splashes of water, intense heat or freezing cold, and is able to survive drops from about 3 feet. Samsung says that they expect the speaker to ship sometime in August, but interested parties may pre-order one now for $100.
This morning, Sennheiser announced the addition of a new model headphone to its Momentum line. The new headphones are slightly more compact and come in four different colors. Designed to work with Apple's mobile product line, the new Momentum headphones feature a built-in line microphone and remote control.
The headset will, however, work with other devices with the exclusion of the remote control functionality. Sennheiser says that the new headphones were developed by an "international team of design experts and trend scouts," but still feature a high-performance transducers Sennheiser is known for.
The new Momentum headphones feature a headband and ear pads that are skinned in Alcantara, a high-grade material that is featured in high-end cars and boats. At the moment, the new headphones are only available in the UK at a price point of £170 with US availability expected in the coming weeks.
Beats Audio has been jockeying to get their music streaming service Daisy off the ground for quite some time now. Today, we're hearing reports that the company is working to partner with AT&T in an effort to leverage the wireless carrier's marketing muscle to finally get the service up and running.
Earlier today, CNET reported that Beats co-founder Jimmy Lovine has been seen in meetings with executives from both AT&T and big-name music labels trying to iron out deals that would give AT&T customers free trial periods of the Daisy service.
Lovine is no stranger to asking big name investors for help. Back in March, he reportedly sought out billionaire Len Blavatnik who led a group of investors to a $60 million round of funding for Daisy. Today's rumor, combined with that report, means that Daisy may finally take flight and rival such music streaming services a Spotify, Xbox Music, and Google Play Music.
Cambridge Audio has just announced the Minx M5, a 2.1 audio system that "reproduces computer audio with clarity, emotion and passion." The company says that the new system combines the benefits of Cambridge Audio's proprietary sound technologies and an in-house design expertise.
A pair of satellite speakers are said to reproduce amazingly rich and detailed sound on a much larger scale than one would imagine from such a small package. The compact active subwoofer delivers a deep and powerful bass while also providing a hidden housing for the amplifier.
Unlike many of the multimedia audio systems on the market today, the Minx M5 features a USB audio connection in lieu of the traditional 3.5mm audio jacks. A high-quality digital to analog converter handles the signal processing to ensure that the sound being output is always crisp and clear.
The unit features a single 2-inch driver per satellite and a 5.25-inch subwoofer, all of which is powered by a 30W amp. Weighing in at less than a pound each, the satellite speakers take up a mere three inches cubed of desk space while the subwoofer tops the scales at 10 pounds and about eight inches cubed. The Minx M5 is available from Cambridge Audio now at a price point of $229.
Ahead of this year's E3, SteelSeries has introduced a new line of headsets. The new H-series has several different models, ranging from the basic 3Hv2, which costs $39.99, to the advanced 9H, which costs $159.99. Whatever your needs may be, SteelSeries' new H-series of headsets should feature a headset for you.
The 9H features Dolby Technology and comes with an MSRP of $159.99. According to the company's press release, the headset features up to 7.1 channels of "realistic multi-channel surround sound." The 9H also features SteelSeries' in-line audio controls, with swappable cables for PC, Mac, tablets, and phones.
The 5Hv3 comes with an MSRP of $79.99 and is a step down from the 9H. It features a retractable microphone, which retracts into the headset when not in use. It also features SteelSeries' in-line and swappable audio controls, making the headset compatible with PC, Mac, tablets, and phones.
Finally, the 3Hv2 has an MSRP of just $39.99. It's more an introductory or casual gamer headset. It features a foldable design that makes it easy to stow away for travel. An included adapter allows the headset to work with a variety of devices. Even though the price has been reduced, it still features in-line audio controls, a retractable microphone, and extra-padded leather cushions.