Our Download of the Day today is Songbird 1.7.2.
Songbird is an open-source customizable music player that's under active development.
It is integrated with these Web 2.0 services: mashTape, SHOUTcast Radio, Last.fm Scrobbling, and Songkick concert tickets. You can enhance Songbird with community-contributed plugins like Media Flow.
Built-In Web Browser
Custom User Interface
Beta features include portable device support, metadata management, album artwork, and subscriptions.
iRiver has been making MP3 players for a long time. Apple still owns the MP3 player market and has since the launch of the iPod years ago. iRiver has unveiled a new MP3 player that looks a lot like the old iPod shuffle.
The new player is called the iRiver T8 Candy Bar. It has an integrated USB port with a removable cap sure to get lost fast. The device comes in eight colors and has a small OLED screen.
COMPUTEX Taipei 2010 - One of our stops today was at the Dolby suite at the Grand Hyatt where we caught up with Keith who spent a little of his time telling us about one of its latest audio technologies called Dolby Mobile.
The technology has actually be on the market for almost one year now, but it's only recently that the consumer has a fairly wide range of choice for picking out a cell phone that has been tested and certified by Dolby to provide a solid listening experience.
Not only that though, but Dolby Mobile is also able to create a virtual surround sound experience from any set of headphones that are plugged into a phone with this tech and also improve the audio experience with a set of enhancements that improve things like bass and depth in the perceivable audio waves.
If you haven't heard about this technology until now, it's well worth watching the video above and getting a bit of an education on Dolby Mobile.
The drama between Apple and Adobe has reached epic proportions. Apple is urging the use of HTML5 while Adobe has resorted to contacting the DOJ for help getting Flash onto Apple devices.
The DOJ kicked off an inquiry a while back that was looking into the practices of Apple with regards to the music industry. The reason for the inquiry was due to Apple allegedly putting pressure on major labels to not participate in a promotion that Amazon was running.
Scythe has announced its new Kama Bay AMP 2000 audio amplifier for PCs today, a Class D amplifier that can be either mounted into a vacant 5.25" bay in a system or positioned solely on a desk without looking like an eyesore.
It's actually quite an attractive little unit which is available in both black and silver. One of its highlights is that it uses Yamaha's digital IC YDA138 on the PCB as an improvement in sound quality versus other Kama series amps Scythe has in its line-up.
It is a 2-channel amp with a maximum output rating of 2 x 10 Watt (8 Ω), maximum efficiency of 88% (8 Ω / 10 W) and Signal/Noise ratio of 103 dB, or 95dB when using headphones.
Our Deal of the Day today is the Logitech - Logitech Indoor Video Security Master System (Dented Box) - $99.99 Shipped Free.
Offer: Logitech's Indoor Video Security Master System is one of the fastest, easiest ways to set up an IP security camera. It uses homeplug connectivity and can be set up to be motion-activated. This means you can get mobile-phone and e-mail alerts quickly update you when you're on the go. Dented box.
Use coupon code: logi_ivsms_52110 for the discount. Expires 05/27/2010.
Our Deal of the Day today is the Super Biiz - Sennheiser HD280 Professional Headphone (Black) - $69.99 Shipped Free.
Offer: The HD-280 Pro is a closed-back, circumaural headphone designed for professional-quality monitoring. Its exceptional attenuation of environmental noise (up to 32 dB) makes it particularly useful for use in high-noise environments, in outside broadcasts, and for DJs.
Use coupon code: CRUNCH10 for $10 off. Expires 05/16/2010.
Psyko Audio Labs' highly anticipated Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset has finally been announced with immediate availability in the USA and Canada.
These headphones are primarily aimed at the gaming crowd with several new technologies implemented not seen in a pair of headphones before. Psyko has been fine tuning its PsykoWave 5.1 surround sound technology to be as accurate and convincing as possible right through its lengthy development phase and they promise they've nailed it with perfect precision in the final build.
"Psyko 5.1 completely rethinks conventional headphone design and puts PC gamers directly in the sweet spot of a 5.1 room" remarks James Hildebrandt, CEo of Psyko Audio Labs. "You get natural surround sound with no latency, no simulation, and no hassles. This technology will completely shift the current landscape of gaming audio and usher in a new era of fully immersive gaming where audio is now a deadly weapon."
The folks at Tech Report were quick to get a sample in hand and have shared their experience with it in detail over here.
Psyko Lab's 5.1 PC Gaming Headset System complete with separate headphone amplifier box (giving volume and bass level control as well as on the fly visual indication of sound channels sourced) can be had for $299.99 U.S. at all major online stores including TigerDirect, Newegg, CompSource and others.
For further details on the technology packed inside, check out the official press release here folks.
Bang & Olufsen are well known in the high-end home theater and audio market for making some very nice gear that has a very premium price attached to it. The company also has a hand in some high-end car audio systems for Jaguar.
B&O has announced a new subwoofer that is designed like a sculpture making it looks as good as it is supposed to sound. The device is set to ship in mid-May for $1997 to $2574 depending on mount option and color.
The sub has a frequency range of 300Hz and down. It uses a pair of 6.5-inch drivers and can be placed on the floor or wall mounted.
A long time ago Logitech pulled the wraps off a bunch of new Squeezebox devices. The coolest was the touchscreen unit called the Squeezebox Touch.
The Touch was expected t ship long ago and at the last minute, it was delayed for some reason. Logitech has finally announced that the Squeezebox Touch is now shipping. If you have a Squeezebox system in your home already, you will need Squeezebox Server 7.5.0 to use the Touch.
In case you forget what the Touch is, it's sort of like a Squeezebox controller for other devices. A WiFi music player lets you control all zones of a home audio system and has a 4.3-inch touch screen.
World of Warcraft might have been around for a while now, but the game is still hugely popular. So popular in fact that peripherals and other items are made specifically for players and fans of the game.
Creative has announced that it is now shipping its Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless headset and the cheaper wired version. Both sets of headphones have the same design sporting artwork from the Alliance or Horde factions.
The wireless headset has a rechargeable battery and the battery can be charged while the headset is in use. The wireless version is available now for $159.99 at Newegg and TigerDirect. The wired version of the headset is available now as well for $119.99.
The biggest problem facing users who want to have surround sound in their home is the placement of the rear speakers. This is particularly challenging if 7.1 surround is what you are after. A new update fro Dolby 7.1 surround has been revealed.
The update adds a pair of new audio zones with a back surround left and back surround right placement. These pair with the two front zones to provide better 3D sound. The new setup feeds each of the new rear channels their own signal rather than using a single signal for both like the old system.
We aren't sure when the new system will land and if you will need a new receiver to take advantage of if you can somehow upgrade existing gear. I bet you need new gear.
Whilst motherboard makers continue to offer better and better incorporated audio solutions onto select enthusiast oriented models, there are those of us who still refuse to use anything but a quality discrete solution and Creative are one of the most trusted in this area with its Sound Blaster range.
The company has just extended its Sound Blaster lineup with two new models in the form of the X-Fi Titanium HD and USB based X-Fi HD Audio.
These two audio solutions are said to be the first on the market to make use of THX's TruStudio PC technology. Here's a bit of a rundown on it :-
THX TruStudio PC is specially designed to bring the same great audio experience found in live performances, films, and recording studios to the PC. THX TruStudio PC provides groundbreaking PC audio technologies, the result of collaborative research and development from Creative and THX. Together, these technologies deliver the fullest audio experience for music, movies and games, while remaining true to the source and intention of the artists who created it.
Both the PCi-E based Titanium HD and USB based Xi-Fi HD will begin to flood retail channels by the end of the month with pricing of $299 and $149 respectively. You can learn more about the two new Sound Blaster solutions as well as THX's TruStudio PC technology within Creative's official announcement here.
Our Download of the Day today is dBpowerAMP Music Converter 13.4.
Audio conversion perfected, effortlessly convert between formats. dBpoweramp Music Converter has become 'the standard' tool for audio conversions, over 20 million users worldwide rely on dBpoweramp:
Convert audio files with elegant simplicity. mp3, mp4, m4a (iTunes / iPod), Windows Media Audio (WMA), Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Monkeys Audio, FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC) to name a few!
Multi CPU Encoding Support,
Rip digitally record audio CDs (with CD Ripper),
Batch Convert large numbers of files with 1 click,
Windows Integration popup info tips, audio properties, columns, edit ID-Tags,
DSP Effects such as Volume Normalize, or Graphic EQ [Power Pack Option],
Command Line Encoding: invoke the encoder from the command line
Please note that there is an option to install an mp3 encoder with this application. This encoder is not free but has a 30-day trial period.
This download reverts to dBpoweramp Free after 21 days.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 13.4
* mp3 Lame updated to 3.98.3
* FLAC: if 'AlbumArtist' and 'Album Artist' contain the same item duplicated, it only appears once
* id3v2 tags split Soloist tag on '/' not r
* Resample can now convert 192Khz to 44.1KHz and 44.1 to 192Khz
* CD Ripper - eject and media detection works with BluRay drives under Windows 7
* Bug Fix: Single Track CDs detected again in CD Ripper
* Bug Fix: CD Ripper could change CD drive assignment when a device removal or addition took place
* Bug Fix: Batch Converter if clicked 'Convert' on the list page would not exclude unchecked files from conversion
ASUS has let loose details on its Cine5 desktop speaker solution this week which is a 5-channel soundbar that aims to give the user a surround sound experience whilst being confined to a limited space.
The black glossy finished unit measures 373 x 100 x 80 mm and uses 'EmbracingSound Theatre HD' tech that claims it can deliver high-fidelity, multi-channel sound that is ideally suited to movies and gaming.
ASUS says the total power rating comes in at 15W RMS. A specially designed bass reflex port is made in such a way that it can provide 15dB more bass than other speakers of a similar size and will be more than capable of delivering low frequencies with good accuracy.
We're yet to hear of an availability date or pricing on this one.
Our Deal of the Day today is the Best Buy - Acoustic Research HD510 5.1 Channel A/V Home Theater Speakers System for $139.99 with FREE Shipping!.
Offer: This magnetically shielded 5.1 channel home theater speaker system includes 5 identical 2-way satellite speakers, and a 175w 10" subwoofer. It's $139.99 with FREE shipping, down from an original MSRP of $899.
Ultimate Ears (owned by Logitech) are readying up their most ultimate in-ear monitors ever produced, the 18 Pro Custom Monitors.
The highlight of these are that there's six individual speakers per each earpiece which are said to offer top-end audio quality with -26 dB of isolation.
Other known specs include an input sensitivity of 110.6 dB @ 1KHz, frequency response of 20 Hz to 18,000 Hz and gold plated 3.5mm connector.
The company must certainly think very highly of the quality on tap here, pricing them at a mighty hefty $1,350 U.S. - They come with a one year warranty and will begin shipping in early Feb.
CES 2010 - Stopping by the Dolby booth is always a fun time as it gives you the chance to see more than just single company's offerings. As Dolby is less a product and more a means for providing audio content the items you see in the Dolby booth are from just about every company that makes a device capable of producing sound.
I have always been something of an Audiophile and have owned many products that have Dolby technology in them going all the way back to the first independent Dolby A (and later B and C) units for stereo playback and magnetic cassette tape recording. I currently own more than one analog tube amp for both headphone use and also one that is capable of taking input directly from a PC through USB. As such I am particularly hard on audio equipment and like to know that it is capable of quality playback. I was not disappointed by the Dolby booth.
We had the chance to listen to their new Pro Logic IIz 9.1 setup that adds a new axis of audio to the experience. This the long missing Z-axis which bring the concept of height to the listening experience. It was something to listen to rain falling on a roof and hear the sound coming from above you instead of the normal flat sound that you get from even the most expensive 7.1 systems.
But that was not all that we had the chance to see, Dolby is putting their technology into mobile phones and personal media players as well. We had the chance to listen to and play around with a couple of LG products that had several Dolby EQ settings built in.
After our fun with the phones we were treated to something for the gamer. This was Dolby's positional "tagged" team speak audio dubbed Axon. What Axon does is to connect the player's team speak audio to the character in the game. This adds the illusion of positional audio to the dynamic speech from each player. To give you an example; when someone is talking to you while walking away their voice till trail off as they get farther away. The same thing will happen if they go through a door and close it behind them or move out of your direct line of sight. With Axon these effect are now available in your favorite games. The Axon software can be accessed in two ways; either embedded in the game by a developer or through the use of a middleware piece that runs under the game while you are playing. Although Axon is still in the Beta stage the demo we saw was quite impressive. I hope that this technology does kick off as it will bring a whole new level of game play and emersion.
Cables suck, I think we can all agree to that. They lie in huge tangles behind, beside and under stuff in our homes and offices. Shedding cables is a big deal to many of us. Cables to Go has unveiled a new device that will allow you to shed the cables that are used for video and audio on your computer.
The company has a new Wireless VGA with Integrated Audio device that can stream audio and video signals simultaneously. The device has a 30-foot range and uses UWB technology for high bandwidth. The device supports resolutions of 720p for video content and can send audio from a 3.5mm input source.
The display source can be shared with up to six other computers. This is presumably done by adding additional receivers to the mix. PC resolutions supported include UXGA and WSXGA and the device can be mounted to the wall or desk. Pricing and availability are unknown.
Our Deal of the Day today is the Newegg - Combo: Yamaha RX-V365 Receiver & Energy Take 5 Speakers - $279.99 Shipped Free!.
Offer: NewEgg pairs one of the best speaker kits for the money with a budget receiver and you get one of the better home theater deals I've seen in a while. The Yamaha RX-V365 receiver sells for around $225, which means the Energy Take 5 is only $50!
Getting music from your iPhone to your home stereo is easy enough to do with a dock or other device. There are a number of companies that make devices that will do this and Belkin has announced a new product today called the Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver designed for the iPhone.
The device allows the iPhone user to stream music from the iPhone to their home stereo using Bluetooth technology. The device has a range of 33 feet and uses Bluetooth 2.0 technology. The adapter has a 3.5mm to RCA adapter and 3.5mm to 3.5mm cables.
The device will be available in March 2010 in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia and it is available today in America. The receiver can be paired with up to six devices.