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Ever wanted to worship your favorite audiophile brand but often find yourself stuck outdoors with no way to protect a $500 pair of lovingly crafted headphones? JBL has just announced its waterproof and rugged Clip 2 and Charge 3 portable speaker products to solve this issue.
The Clip 2 comes with Bluetooth streaming capabilities, a built-in carabiner, a IPX7 waterproof rating which means you can submerge it in water, and the ability to daisy chain speakers together for extra sound. While also containing an integrated 2.5mm AUX cable sound input, this speaker is coated in fabric material and comes with a rubber housing to ensure its own safety.
The Charge 3 is packed with a 6000mAh internal battery and also comes with an IPX7 waterproof rating. In addition, this product comes packed with daisy chain abilities through 'JBL connect', allowing you to connect any JBL connect certified speaker in line with this device. This speaker is also rated at a higher bass threshold, offering what JBL calls its 'bass radiator'.
Interested in playing music all around your house from a single central device? Harmon Kardon is here to make that happen with its OMNI+ series of speaker products, encompassing the Omni 10+, 20+, 50+, Bar+ and Adapt+ models.
Featuring Bluetooth and 2.4GHz/5GHz wireless connectivity, the Omni 50+ is further rated as IPX5 splashproof and is marketed towards indoor or outdoor applications. Built as an expandable system, you're able to start with any single OMNI+ speaker and expand your range throughout the house as you see fit. Further supporting Apple WAC, these speaker systems can be controlled by the Harmon Kardon Controller app for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones or tablets, further allowing for speaker group or individual controls (per room) as you see fit.
This amazing technology and connectivity comes at a price, with Harmon Kardon asking for $249 for the 10+, $349 for the 20+, $499 for the 50+, $999 for the Bar+ and finally $199 for the Adapt+ which contains input and output capabilities. These products will hit the market in Summer 2016, avaialble here.
CES 2016 - Connecting in partnership, JBL and Under Armour have announced two new audio products. These new additions come in the form of the UA Headphones Wireless Heart Rate and UA headphones Wireless. Both products were quoted as "Engineered by JBL Features" in a recent press release, accompanying a massive CES 2016 announcement haul for JBL.
The UA Headphones Wireless Heart Rate features an instant heart rate reading with a single button press, Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, 'Twistlock' technology that promises they will never fall out, a sweat proof IPX 5 rating, five hours of playback time and it comes packaged with a 12-month MapMyFitness Premium membership. While further offering 'JBL signature sound', this product will set users back $250 and is set for release in late Spring 2016.
Next up is the UA Headphones Wireless, boasting Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, 'Twistlock' technology, a 'Flexsoft' comfort fit, a three button in-line control unit with microphone, a sweat proof IPX 5 rating, eight hours of playback time and a 12-month MapMyFitness Premium membership. This model will cost $180 and is now available for pre-order.
CES 2016 - The HARMAN Voyager Drive Speaker system enables you to upgrade a stock-standard car sound system while also allowing you the freedom of a portable Bluetooth speaker, working as a sort of two in one unit.
Designed to be thrown into the back of your car, the Voyager Drive is a multi-speaker system that also has a small detachable Bluetooth audio product located within. This portable Bluetooth speaker is described by Gizmodo as "About the size of a small pizza" and aims to be part of an all-in-one audio upgrade package for your in-car and travel lifestyle.
This portable Bluetooth unit can also be attached to the Voyager Drive+ removable bass box, boasting sound quality much better than entry-level cars can offer. However, HARMAN has given no word on pricing or product specifications just yet, so we're going to have to wait.
Apple's portable music players have always been popular among music enthusiasts for the quality of the audio reproduction. Sure, they don't support the FLAC or Ogg Vorbis file formats that are the audiophiles preferred method of listening, but the internal audio processing components have always lent a certain cleanness to the audio quality.
At the Portable Audio Festival that took place in Tokyo over the weekend, there were some companies that were exhibiting high-res audio gear that are close enough to Apple to be able to speak to Mac Otakara about the possibility of Apple moving towards high-resolution audio for their streaming service, Apple Music.
Google has added support for high-resolution audio with its Chromecast Audio device, so you can now experience the aural bliss that is 96KHz/24bit lossless (assuming the song you're playing supports it). For the not-audiophiles, this is even better than the much-revered CD quality audio.
You can also blast that high-resolution audio in every room in the house now too if you feel like it, thanks to the addition of "Multi-room" functionality.
Researchers from the University of Belgrade claim that Graphene, a conductive carbon lattice, is even more useful that originally thought. They've made the world's first condenser microphone out of this material, quoted as 32 times more sensitive than nickel microphones in a report by Gizmodo.
In its current prototype state, the Serbian researchers were able to get to this phase by 'growing' sheets of graphene on a nickel foil, etching the nickel away and then placing their new creation within a microphone casing. Reports claim that this new creation has a sensitivity of 15 decibels higher than commercial microphones, handling frequencies up to 11 kHz.
The scientists claim that this prototype is just an indication of things to come, claiming much improved models in the near future, capable of completely blowing away current market-available models.
If you're interested in the high-end spectrum of audio, it's possible that Ultimate Ears (UE) is on your 'to watch' list. Starting at a price of $999, UE has worked with Capitol Studios on its new UE Pro Reference Remastered in-ear device, branding it as "an in-ear monitor tuned for high-resolution audio" in a recent press release.
Boasting a two-decade involvement in the high-end audio business, UE has thrown its 'True Tone Drivers' into this champion product. This model sets out to provide users with a flat response to 18KHz sound - allowing for clarity and the ability to hear harmonic structures and overtones missing in many other audio products.
This product is designed to "help bring studio-quality sound faithfully to the fan" according to Universal Music Group executive, Barak Moffitt, who expanded that this product promises to deliver audio "in a way that's completely faithful to the original studio recordings."
If you're an Uncharted fan, and a lover of vinyl, you will be happy to hear that iam8bit and Sony are working on a three-LP box set of the soundtracks to the Uncharted trilogy.
The soundtracks from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception will all be made available through the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection vinyl soundtrack box, which will feature Greg Edmonson's soundtrack being remastered for, and pressed onto an 18-gram colored vinyl.
To top it off, the vinyl soundtrack set will have artwork from Australian art collective We Buy Your Kids, where you can also purchase the artwork as a poster. The set can be pre-ordered for $55, and should ship in the first quarter of 2016.
Samsung's new R series speakers are shaped funny, but for a reason: the circular design means you can hear audio equally loud regardless of what side you are listening from. You might think distortion would be an issue, depending on placement, but Samsung claims this is not the case, as the diaphragms of the woofer and tweeter are closer to the speaker sides, resulting in "superb" treble and bass balance.
The R1 ($299), R3 ($499), and R5 ($649) set (pictured above, starting from the left) are the standard offerings, while the R6 ($599) and R7 ($699) are branded portable (those being the two on the right side in the image above).