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Harman Kardon has been around for a long time and has a reputation for making speakers and other radio gear that sounds good and looks really cool too. Harman Kardon makes the cool Nova speakers that we talked about back in November. These speakers have a cool clear case and NFC tech crammed inside.
Harman Kardon is back with a couple new products being unveiled, including a set of attractive headphones called the Soho and a wireless loudspeaker called the Esquire. The Soho headphones are Android compatible and have an inline mic and remote. That means you can control your music without taking your smartphone out of your pocket or bag and make and receive phone calls.
The Soho headphones fold flat making them only 1.25-inches thick and easy to take on the go. They are available in white, black, and brown colors for £169.99. The Esquire wireless loudspeaker is aimed at people wanting to share their music with a large group.
Streaming music services such as Pandora could be putting a dent into digital album sales, with music listeners enjoying a cheaper and wider selection to music. Copyright groups, providers and consumers are still fighting through a complicated royalty battle that has left all sides disappointed through various periods.
Digital album sales finally passed CD and physical album sales in 2011, but digital music sales dropped in 2013, as Amazon, Apple and other companies will need to fight for consumer attention. It's not all bad news for music vendors, however, as 50 percent of streaming music subscribers also purchase at least one album's equivalent in digital downloads each month, according to research group Nielsen.
Online music is coming upon an interesting crossroads, with Beats Music jumping into the crowded streaming music market, while Deezer decided to shutter.
In a world where stand-alone MP3 players are a quickly dying breed, companies are resulting to extreme measures to sell their products in which they have invested millions into. Sony's W Series Walkman is one of those devices that while it may be a barebones MP3 player with no additional special functionality, has one major thing going for it; its waterproof.
To highlight this unique feature in New Zealand, Sony has began packaging the W Series inside of a bottle full of water with the help from an ad firm called DraftFCB. The bottle appears to be a reusable sports bottle with a stainless steel band around the top that bears the Walkman logo. Getting your hands on one of these will not be easy though as Sony has placed vending machines containing the Bottled Walkman inside of select gyms and pool facilities around New Zealand.
Bring your best Spotify playlist, and jump on a plane for the Netherlands - where the European Space Agency has its Large European Acoustic Facility, or LEAF, which has quite the sound system installation.
LEAF is a collection of spaceflight simulation facilities, all under a single roof. The main test chamber features two massive horns, as you can see pictured above. Nitrogen is shot through them which produces a range of sounds, up to and exceeding 154 decibels. The ESA describes this to standing as close as you humanly could to a passenger jet, as it's taking off.
If you were to stand next to the LEAF system, your body simply couldn't handle it. So the ESA has installed multiple safety features, where the system will not work if the doors are not closed. The walls are also coated with epoxy resin to absorb sound waves. Steel-reinforced concrete walls encapsulate the test chamber which blocks more of the sound, and the entire room itself is supported by rubber pads which stop the vibration from being transferred throughout the entire building.
Today ROCCAT announced the launch of its latest gaming headset, the Kave XTD 5.1. The Kave XTD is a true 5.1 digital gaming headset and is built on the foundation of the original Kave headset, with an entirely new ground-up design. The Kave XTD 5.1 features a fully-equipped desktop remote that incorporates a full 5.1 digital sound card as well as several other exciting features.
The Kave XTD 5.1 features ROCCAT Smart Link technology that lets users pair their smartphone with their headset and can make and receive calls during a gaming session by pressing a button on the remote control. The phones audio is piped into the headset, and allows gamers to take their call while in-game without the need to remove their headset. The Kave XTD's software mutes any incoming or outgoing audio from the game or chat software during calls, so no one hears your conversation but you.
The Kave XTD features 3 drivers per ear cup that have been aligned at a 12 degree angle to provide clean, crisp, and immersive sound. The remote control also features the ability to connect a true 5.1 audio speaker system to your PC from the 5.1 sound card built into the remote, and users can switch from headset mode to speaker mode with the push of a button. Finally, the Kave XTD 5.1 features a sensitive boom mic that is positioned perfectly for accurate communication with your fellow players.
I personally haven't used a Klipsch product before, but I've heard nothing but good things over the years. The speaker and headphone manufacturer has just unveiled two new gaming headsets, designed specifically, for gaming.
Starting with the Klipsch KG-200, which is a wired headset featuring 40-millimeter drivers and four equalizer presets: Fidelity, Combat, Stealth and Sport, will cost you $129.99. Then we have the wireless KG-300 headset which will be $70 more at $199.99, will feature the same EQ settings, plus Dolby Digital decoding and Klipsch SphereSpace Surround Technology. The KG-300 will require three AAA batteries to run.
Klipsch says its new gaming headsets will run on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC, and will be available through its website and authorized retailers starting next month.
Audio maker JBL added its Flip 2 Bluetooth-enabled portable sound system into a crowded audio market at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a refresh to the company's popular Flip speaker. The device is powered by micro-USB and no longer needs an AC adapter, with improved speaker and speakerphone clarity. Rated with five hours of battery life, which isn't as good as it could be, the Flip 2 is still a solid speaker that provides good quality audio playback.
"It's much more than a portable sound system," said Michael Mauser, HARMAN Lifestyle Division President, in a statement. "With dual, performance-tuned drivers and a built-in bass port, it's a party in the palm of your hand."
The JBL Flip 2 will be released later this year with a $129 price tag.
Bluetooth speakers are great for providing wireless audio in a compact, portable form factor, but sound quality has only recently started to progress. JBL and other established manufacturers are pushing the boundaries for consumers to have a small, energy-efficient product when listening to music.
One of the more exciting devices to slide through Kickstarter, is the ROCKI. We wrote about it a little while ago now, but the Kickstarter is slowly coming to an end, with something exciting announced in the last few hours of its crowdfunding.
ROCKI will see Spotify and Deezer support, with a new $210,000 stretch goal of: "Spotify or Deezer - Which first?" announced. ROCKI required $50,000 in funding, but quickly flew past that, and is now soaring above $204,000 at the time of writing. With around 30 hours to go, you need to jump in and throw money at your monitor for the ROCKI if you're a music lover. Free your music with ROCKI, and now Spotify and Deezer support? Yes, thanks!
Today BitFenix took a step into an entirely new realm of PC peripherals by launching its first high-end headset. The new Flow headset is designed to be extremely comfortable at and away from the PC. An included mobile audio cable, makes this headset perfect for use on-the-go as well as during intense gaming sessions.
The Flow Headset features the same sleek, modern, and minimalist design theaming that BitFenix is known for, while powerful 40mm drivers deliver clear, crisps audio that is sure to please. The SoftFeel ear cups will cushion your ears while a steel frame will keep everything rigid. No pricing information was provided at the time of this writing.
Headphone and earbud maker, Skullcandy has just released a new bluetooth wireless speaker called the Air Raid. The people from Skullcandy claim that it is louder than the competition. They are also saying it is "it is built like a tank and loud as hell." The Air Raid can hold a charge of 14 hours has two 50mm drivers. The Air Raid is a nice portable size and perfect for occasions like parties, camping, tailgating etc. You won't have to worry about breaking it either, they claim it is life proof and is water resistant. Air Raid will be available for $150.