Computex Taipei 2013 - BitFenix have just entered the audio headset market with their new Flo headsets, which come in five different colors. BitFenix state that they are made from precision-tuned acoustic chambers, feature 40mm Neodymium drivers for excellent sound, and more.
There's a self-adjusting headband, detachable microphone, in-line volume and mute controls, and BitFenix's famous SofTouch Surface Treatment. We donned the headset for some Lady Gaga tunes, and I must say, I was impressed. They didn't sound washed out with too much bass like most 'gaming' branded headsets, nor did they feel too cheap for a company who is completely new to audio products.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Tt eSports is known for their professional gamer-inspired gear and one of their most prevalent designs is the DRACCO CAPTAIN gaming headset which is targeted at the casual-to-professional gaming demographic.
Featuring an exceptionally low bass response, the DRACCO CAPTAIN headset comes tuned for the highs, mids, and lows that the serious gamer requires to be effective on the battlefield. The headset's drivers feature high-output neodymium magnets that provide powerful sound effects with crystal-clear position definitions.
Additionally, the oversize microphone boom with a rigid body structure ensures that you will always have the proper microphone-to-mouth placement. The full-size ear cups ensures fatigue-free use over extended gaming sessions and the ultra-soft airbag covers block out excessive ambient noise.
The DRACCO CAPTAIN features a removable 3.5mm audio cable that can be locked into the headset to prevent in-game mishaps. This headset was co-designed and is endorsed by famous StarCraft II player AlekSey "White-Ra" Krupnyk. Tt eSports says that the DRACCO CAPTAIN headset retails at an MSRP of $89.99 at major online retailers.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Tt eSports, a division of Thermaltake, is demoing their mid-level CRONOS gaming headset that is aimed at PC and mobile users.
The CRONOS is able to function as a PC gaming headset in addition to working with your mobile device via swappable audio cables. The headset features a LYCRA head-pad that reduces pressure on the users head to allow for a longer fatigue-free gaming session. Additionally, the CRONOS features a bendable and pivotable microphone as well as LED-lit Battle Dragon Logos.
Gold-plated 3.5mm connections and an in-line user-friendly control box is present on each of the audio cables. The CRONOS is responsive in the 20Hz to 20kHz audio range and feature 40mm neodymium magnets for the drivers. The CRONOS retails at an MSRP of $69.99 at all major online retailers.
Just days after the Xbox One reveal, and we're hearing that Turtle Beach have been approved as one of the first next-gen headset providers. Turtle Beach aren't unveiling any details on their products just yet, which is something we'll hear more about at E3 in a few weeks time.
The problem here is that existing headsets won't be compatible with the Xbox One, as the controllers on the Xbox One use a new proprietary port that makes your old devices incompatible with the new controller, good work, Microsoft. We should keep our eyes and ears open at E3 for Turtle Beach's goodies.
Neurowear's new Mico headphones are capable of reading your mind and playing music that your subconscious "wants" to hear. The headphones read your brainwaves to figure out what mood you are in and then select the corresponding song (out of a library of about 100) from the company's app.
The headphones connect up to your smartphone via Bluetooth. While they may not be the most stylish headphones ever deceived, they do show a cool step forward in reading brainwaves. If your mood (or brainwaves) change, you can switch the song to your new mood by shaking your phone. Hit up the source for a cool video demonstration.
Tt eSPORTS has a very unique product announcement today, with their Level 10 M Headset now known to the world. The Level 10 M Headset is Tt eSPORTS' third design collaboration with BMW Group DesignworksUSA.
Managing Director of Tt eSPORTS, Tony Liu, said:
Its mission is to extend the Level 10 experience to the headset that users can directly interact with. With the Level 10 design, the headset now also functions as the experience itself. And it's a huge part in the world of E-Sports as well - always exciting, always emotional, and full of challenges - exactly the same as Tt eSPORTS' brand mission and the Level 10 M Headset.
Tt eSPORTS' new headset is set to launch in the following days at CeBIT 2013 in Hannover, Germany.
As an avid Spotify user - heck, I'm listening to music on Spotify right now, Black Eyed Peas to be precise - this news comes as a bit of a shock. The House of Representatives has slapped a ban on the use of music streaming and subscription service, Spotify.
The House has a longstanding ban on peer-to-peer technology, and while Spotify isn't exactly a P2P program, it has still been banned. The ban on peer-to-peer software was made to stop illegal file-sharing and to prevent infections on computers with malware. A spokesman for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer told Politico:
To help protect House data, our IT policy generally prohibits the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies while operating within the secure network. While Spotify is currently not authorized, the CAO has and will continue to work with outside vendors to enable the popular services that improve member communication capabilities.
After 21 years in the limelight (well, until the iPod was unveiled) Sony's MiniDisc player has been discontinued. Sony are just finishing off the MiniDisc, where the last units will leave the assembly line next month.
Debuting back in 1992, Sony's MiniDisc player was heralded as the next big step in portable music players, where it was capable of cram a bunch of music onto a small optical disc, which at the time was about half the size of a compact disc. This made it easier to take your music with you, enjoying a nice 80 minutes of listening, but it never really took off with US consumers for a few reasons.
Pricing on the format was expensive and didn't slide down to acceptable levels for years, and there weren't many new releases dumped onto the format. Japan was the place to be for the MiniDisc, but elsewhere? Not so much.
Some of you may remember the MiniDisc; it looked like a weird mash-up of a CD-ROM and a 3.5-inch floppy disk and was originally designed by Sony to replace the audio cassette. Much like the PlayStation 2, Sony kept the MiniDisc production alive to appease a loyal fan-base in Japan.
In a statement made to the Japanese website Ashashi, Sony says that it will cease production of the MiniDisc this March. The storage format used a magneto-optical disc that was kept safe inside a plastic case that featured a sliding mechanism that protected the disc when not in use.
It was able to store 74 minutes of audio in the ATRAC format with the linear PCM format and 80 minutes of record time developed later. Sony sold over 27 million MiniDisc players over its 20 year run despite being overtaken by the CD and much more popular Walkman portable CD player. We at TweakTown say sayonara to the MiniDisc and wish it a happy retirement.
While most people can't distinguish the difference in bit-rate between 128Kbps and 320Kbps, the latter has become a selling for most online streaming services. Sony has updated their Music Unlimited service to keep up with the times and that means they will now be streaming 320Kbps audio.
The updated streaming quality will first be coming to Android, web, and the PlayStation 3 players, but desktops, iOS, and the Vita won't be left out. Upgrades for the latter devices and home theater devices will be coming later this year. Sony has staggered the update to make sure it goes without a hitch.
Cooler Master has just announced its latest addition to the CM Storm line of gaming accessories. The Sirus S 5.1-channel gaming headset is a variant of the Sirus which ships with a custom 5.1-channel USB sound card.
The original Sirus dates back to spring 2011 and included a purpose built USB sound card, effectively making the unit more expensive. Cooler Master designed the Sirus S to run without the sound card and includes a simple volume control pod and 3.5mm audio jacks.
This new setup allows users to take advantage of their own sound card or even the motherboards built in HD integrated audio. We expect that Cooler Master decided that the constant driver support needed for a custom sound card was just too much and redesigned the headset as a quiet way out. The Sirus S should be much cheaper than its predecessor when released in February.
Today Amazon announced that it will begin giving free digital music files when customers purchase physical CD versions. The AutoRip program is basically Amazon's plan to get the older generation to begin migrating from CD players to MP3 players.
The program gives CD customers a digital version of their purchase at the exact time of purchase when buying CD based music. As an added incentive, any music purchased since 1998 on Amazon is also available to be downloaded in MP3 form.
Not all music will be available for AutoRip though, not all albums and even some songs on specific albums will be omitted from the program as Amazon is still working out deals with music labels. We are sure that Amazon will eventually sort things out though, so that we can all enjoy both our CD's and digital files at the same time.
RockDoc have teamed up with quite the international music superstar, Armando Christian Perez aka Pitbull - you know, Mr Worldwide. They've both teamed up to develop a "revolutionary portable speaker line" which is based on their Proprietary Weave Technology.
VisionTek have stepped in to bring the line-up of RockDoc-branded products to the North American market this holiday season. RockDoc's series of Pitbull speakers will "change the way you listen to music, at a price that will not slow you down". RockDoc and VisionTek will make the new line of products available through GameStop, BestBuy, Fry's Electronics, CDW, Dell, Costco and other retailers and partners.
The new products from include the RockDoc POWER which sports 4GB of on-board memory, 1-reflex floating portable speaker that features two Pitbull songs and comes with an MSRP of $39.99. The RockDoc BOOM also sports 4GB of internal memory, a 2-way portable speaker and includes two Pitbull songs and an MSRP of $49.99. Lastly, there's the RockDoc Bluetooth 2-way portable speaker with an MSRP of $59.99.
CES 2013 - Monster went on stage today and introduced three new models of Diesel headphones, as you can see in the picture below:
These headsets have been seen in Milan, Italy fashion shows, magazines, and elsewhere, and exemplify the fashion aspect of Monster's 2013 marketing plan.
Diamond Tears, a flashy set of headphones introduced last year have been selling well. Retailers report that it is one of the most sold units. Monster has introduced a new color of Diamond Tears today.
The Inspiration line of headphones features interchangeable headbands to match your style and now Monster is debuting the Inspiration Lite, which is lighter and thinner, though not noise canceling. It still features the same interchangeable headbands.
Now, Monster is introducing the N Credible line. As part of the line, they're adding new products to the N Credible line. There are the N-Pulse, N-Tune, and N-ERGY. The N-Pulse is capable of being used as studio headphones, while the N-ERGY are in-ear models.
CES 2013 - "Always lead, never follow." - Monster's mantra
Monster is showing off 3 active HDMI cables, called the M Series. Used to carry HD content long distances. Debuting new mobile power components and chargers for mobile devices.
beats by dr. dre were built by Monster. Monster wants to keep the market leadership they've gotten with that.
Vinyl records are making a comeback, so one Instructables editor decided to try and print his own at home using a 3D printer. Using Processing, he wrote a program to convert digital audio into 3D models. The 3D model was then printed using a high-resolution 3D printer with plastic material.
The 12-inch record is playable on a standard record player, but it won't sound very good. The issue is that the current 3D printers don't have a high enough resolution to capture the nuances contained in even decent sounding MP3s. The printers also leave a grainy residue or texture on the surface, which interferes with the needle.
It's impressive, from a technical standpoint, what Instructables editor Ghassaei was able to do. Just don't be expecting to pirate vinyl records quite yet.
You can check out the audio in the video embedded in the original source, linked below.
We all have had our favorite pair of headphones rendered useless by the cable stretching or getting pinched, researchers at North Carolina University have solved those issues for ever.
The team at UNC have developed a conductive wire that can be stretched up to eight times it's original length with out impeding functionality. The stretch-ability was achieved by filling the hollow elastic core of the wire with a liquid metal consisting of gallium and indium.
Keeping the metal materials separate is key to making a much more stretchable wire while keeping electrical conductivity high.The new type of wire is perfect for high stress environment cables such as those used on headphones, cell phone chargers, and USB cables.
Ask the Experts: HDMI audio output not working with fresh install of Windows 8 and Intel HD graphics, please help!
Our Ask the Experts section has a new question, with Jamie in the UK wanting to know how to get HDMI audio output working with a fresh install of Windows 8 and Intel HD graphics.
Q: I've just got done installing and setting up Windows 8 only to find that I'm not hearing any sound from my PC via HDMI output. I can see the audio devices in the Sound section under Control Panel, but it's still not working. Can you help?
A: You can view the answer to Jamie's question right here.
Xbox Music was announced at E3 this year. The service is billed as Microsoft's "definitive music service" and rumors now place the launch date as October 26, coinciding with the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft Surface, and Microsoft's pop-up holiday stores. It seems as though Microsoft will have a busy October.
Xbox Music is a natural evolution of the Zune streaming service that Microsoft had previously tried. Now with Spotify, Pandora, and others being so successful in this market, Microsoft has decided to give it another try. The service will span Windows 8, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone 8, something the other services don't currently do.
The spanning appears to go so far as to allow playlists to be shared across the drive, as hinted to by the "Save to Playlist" option that is visible in the leaked pictures online. Pricing seems reasonable and there is a rumor that there will be a free, ad-supported version for the cheap people among us, something I would appreciate very much.
Creative have just taken the veil off of their latest creation, the Sound BlasterAxx range of products. Creative dub this "a whole new generation of Sound Blaster" which is set to "dazzle the new mobile networked generation". In reality, just a handful of cool, new Sound Blaster-based products.
First up we have the Sound BlasterAxx SBX 20, which supports both PC and Mac, as well as iOS- and Android-based devices. SBX 20 sports Bluetooth connectivity, making it that much easier to hook these devices together and get your audio goodness on. Because we live in a world of network-connected devices, Creative Chairman and CEO, also the creator of the Sound Blaster, Sim Wong Hoo, had to really go back to the drawing board when envisioning the new Sound BlasterAxx range of products.
Creative's Sound BlasterAxx SBX 20 is Bluetooth-enabled, features a unique patent-pending "stacked stereo" speaker design that can fill a room with sound, a high-quality, dual-microphone for great voice chat and conversation, hardware-accelerated SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice technologies, as well as featuring aux-in for wired connection from other audio-connected devices. The package arrives in a 410x91mm form factor.
It looks like there might be some new, redesigned earbuds in those new iPhone boxes. MacRumors has posted some news, along with a photo and video regarding the redesigned earbuds.
The video shows off the new earbuds, comparing them to the old ones that were included with the current-gen iPhone 4S:
In my hands are the new earphones for the iPhone 5 that is about to come out - Apple's next generation of iPod [sic]. These will replace the current earphones that are on the market. These are manufactured at Phax Co factory in Vietnam. They have the appearance of a horse's head, not like earbuds. When they are worn, they have a much smaller profile. They have the appearance of a fully integrated, single unit - there's no part that looks like it would come apart - not like earbuds; the integrated design is characteristic of Apple products. Here I have the old earphones for comparison. The new ones are much smaller; when they are worn, they do not hurt the way earbuds do. You can see on the old ones the surface is a separate part that looks like it can be detached - not like the small surface of the new one. The old earphones were mostly made in China, with some in Vietnam. But the new ones are clearly made in Vietnam. (Reading from the wires): "Designed by Apple in California, assembled in Vietnam."