TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
An update to the Amazon Echo now lets Alexa read you a nice story. And this new feature has a chance of replacing you as the head minstrel, reading bedtime stories to your kids.
This update comes completely free to all owners of the Echo, and works rather simply. Just ask Alexa to "read "insert book name here" and she'll start exploring the depths of that particular novel. Unfortunately her voice isn't quite so natural sounding as of yet, but it's quite the innovation, especially if you'd rather listen to that while engaged with other activities. She's able to read any book in your Kindle library.
The interesting thing is how this will conflict with another Amazon company, Audible, which serves up actual narrated audio-books. Granted, Alexa isn't quite as sultry and smooth as some of the great narrators used for Audible books, but given time we could see a rise in the popularity of using a well-developed AI to do such things instead. Siri even sounds a lot more natural now, even if some of her responses are pre-programmed.
Warner Bros. is definitely not shy when it comes to revealing details about the most expensive movie ever made: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The studio has just released a tease of one of the tracks from the score of Batman v Superman, called "Their War Here". Personally, I think this will be the music we'll hear during the flashback scene where Bruce Wayne is running through Metropolis when Superman and Zod were fighting in Man of Steel.
The official soundtrack for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice drops on March 18, one week before the movie hits theaters. It'll arrive digitally, on CD, a 2-disc deluxe CD, and on a Limited Edition 3-disc deluxe vinyl. As for the full track listing, check it out:
"Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice" Tracklist
- Beautiful Lie
- Their War Here
- The Red Capes Are Coming
- Day Of The Dead
- Must There Be A Superman?
- New Rules
- Do You Bleed?
- Problems Up Here
- Black and Blue
- Is She With You?
- This Is My World
- Men Are Still Good (The Batman Suite)
- Blood Of My Blood (Bonus Track)**
- Vigilante (Bonus Track)**
- May I Help You, Mr. Wayne? (Bonus Track)**
- They Were Hunters (Bonus Track)**
- Fight Night (Bonus Track)**
** On deluxe versions only.
Currently on Kickstarter with under three days remaining, Hult Design has presented its Pavilion wireless speaker and D-spiral acoustic system.
Sitting at $64,613 raised of the $70,000 goal and 65 hours to go at the time of writing this article, this speaker features some amazing design characteristics and has been based on architectural influences from around the globe. Featuring three-dimensional audio, a D-spiral acoustic bass booster, a 20W peerless driver, APTX + AAC codec and touch controls, this product has had its internal speakers provided by Tymphany, a company with over 85 years of experience.
However, style and class comes at a price, with an investment of $279 earning you a black of white Pavilion Q speaker, marked at $110 off retail. If you're looking for more sound, two units are the maximum per person and will set you back $449.
CES 2016 - Sennheiser's booth was a very alluring audio enthusiasts paradise, but they were showing off far more than just fancy and expensive headphones. They're pioneers in VR audio.
The most interesting and significant technology that they demonstrated was their proprietary 3D algorithm for they developed for games. The game demo they had running was called EDEN and was mostly a barren landscape rendered with Unreal Engine 4. In that hilly landscape though are a swathe of dinosaurs that are stomping about to help demonstrate what a 3D audio landscape sounds like. And it's a remarkable difference. What this algorithm does is work with HMD's to give an illusory feeling of aural freedom. So when you move your head around, the audio changes appropriately. This is a far cry from typical sound encoding for games.
The API they've created is able to easily calculate those changes, which will likely be a bit more computationally intensive than in the past. This middleware will hopefully make its way to game developers soon, and it would be cool to see a partnership with AMD so they could use their TrueAudio technology to use the GPU to do those calculations. The demo was a bit sparse and it could definitely have used a bit more interactivity, but it was a good first showing of what'll eventually be available. The future of audio is looking bright, such as it did back when Aureal and Creative were battling it out with their a3d and EAX API's.
CES 2016 - Computer audio has been somewhat stagnant lately, with even Creative letting the audio chipset they developed for the Sound Blaster Z line carry them over in the discreet audio world for awhile. But that hasn't stopped them from continually upping the game in the field of audio.
For their next trick, they're bringing 15.2-channel sound, and Dolby Atmos certification, to the living room in the form of a sound bar. That's right, a premium sound bar device that lets you enjoy what's usually reserved for theaters or the incredibly willing audio enthusiast.
The X-Fi Sonic Carrier is more than just a way to enjoy Atmos enabled content, which is where there's more positional data encoded in the source than there probably is in real-life, but it's also a complete home entertainment solution aiming to take on the living-room entertainment space. And the positional audio from one bar is actually pretty convincing too.
CES 2016 - Audio is a precarious subject for a lot of reasons. Not everyone can tell the difference between two different sets of headphones and sometimes audio-quality isn't the first thing on some peoples minds when it comes to building PC's. But then you try a $55,000 set of headphones and you wonder where they've been all your life.
Sennheiser is now on to their second generation of Orpheus headphones, using the original 1991 model as inspiration, they crafted the ultimate audio experience. And no, the price-tag doesn't color the experience, they're actually that good. It's overwhelming, so much so that someone actually cried while listening to the Orpheus.
They feel expensive in your hand, and I placed them gingerly on my head, careful to avoid bending them too far. But there's no actual need to fret, because these are made to be used and actually listened to. I put them on with Hotel California playing through them, which has a huge variety of sounds to help showcase just what they're capable of. Once they're on, you get blown away by the huge sound-stage, something that extends into what might be described as natural. It's not like you're sitting at a concert, no, it's much more than that. It's like you're literally in the music itself somehow, if you close your eyes. It just envelopes and it's never harsh and I certainly never wanted to take them off.
CES 2016 - Beyerdynamic has a good showing at CES this year with a new product that just launched, the DT 1770 PRO, as well as a much improved version of their halo product, the T1, which I took the chance to sit down and relax to some tunes while the world wizzed by.
The second generation of the T1 improves on a lot of the areas that astute audiophiles have been complaining about since they came out. First on that list are a removable cable system based off of mini-XLR that allows for customized cabling from your favorite third party. IT's a huge step forward even just for the piece of mind given that cables connections are the first to wear out anyway.
And inside they've reworked the drivers completely to give it a slightly different, but overall better sound profile. The top-end is slightly rolled-off but the low-end is perhaps even more smooth and just a bit more present. The result is a more fun headphone that doesn't completely sacrifice the neutral flavor that they're known for. Even on the loud show-floor, the sound was good on a variety of material. Subtelties in the works of Dvorak couldn't be discerned with such loud ambient noise, but even then the sound is leagues better than Apple Earpods.
CES 2016 - Another interesting announcement from the trade show in Las Vegas this year comes in the form of EVGA's new 'Pro Audio card'.
Joining the recent announcement of a laptop that was designed fully in-house, EVGA says that this card targets gamers and audiophiles, but the name isn't finalized just yet. It's likely that the specifications aren't finalized as the name isn't even decided just yet , so stay tuned for updates.
We do have a little bit of info on this card though, with EVGA saying that this card is set to contain "State of the art audio fidelity" and "True analog engineering for lifelike audio reproduction." As for specifications and form, the company says it will providing a 130dB+ signal to noise ratio and being released in two modes - as a PCI Express x1 add-on card and an external USB.
CES 2016 - Adding to it's award-winning Cloud headset lineup, Kingston HyperX has announced that a console headset will be joining the ranks, coming in the form of the HyperX CloudX, set for release in late Q2 2016.
Offically licensed and destined for the Xbox One, this headset will connect directly to your Xbox One through a 3.5mm Aux plug, providing audio and sound in one. Alongside an in-line volume control, this headset also boasts memory foam ear cushions, a leather-padded headband and hard carry case.
While this product is based initially on the Cloud II headset design, the CloudX comes packaged with a different conection setup, a hard carry case and an in-line volume control unit without the need of a virtual 7.1 surround-sound card. If you're after one of these for yourself, you're going to have to wait for a confirmation on pricing.
CES 2016 - Powered by a total of 7 processors with 14 cores, the X-Fi Sonic Carrier soundbar by Creative contains 15 drivers and it's a monster.
Currently priced at $1750 for pre-order and set to be $5000 on release, this product's internal structure is CNC machined and supports connections through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and wireless speaker links, allowing users to link up an additional four subwoofer units as they see fit. Operating in a 15.2 configuration, the drivers offer an 800 watt RMS total rating, featuring drivers in an 11-front/side and 4 up-facing configuration.
Supporting up to 4K (60fps) video content playback, this system allows for online music streaming service integration from companies such as Spotify and Pandora, while servicing video giants such as Netflix, Hulu plus and HBO GO. If there was is a soundbar holy grail, this has got to be it.