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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.