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).
PAX Australia 2015 - One of my oldest memories of Creative is using the Sound Blaster AWE 64 sound card back in the days of Wing Commander, but the company walked us through their booth at PAX Australia 2015 this year in Melbourne, impressing us with their latest headsets and audio products.
The company has launched its new Sound BlasterX range, with the highest end model in the H7. We tested out both the H7 and the more mid-range H5 model with some impressive results. The audio range and sound were great, with more than impressive bass levels. CS:GO was being played on the headset, and the explosions and gun fire sounded quite good for a pair of headsets priced at under $200.
Memorabilia masters Mondo have put together quite the early Christmas present, slapping the entire score from the 'Back to the Future' trilogy onto an awesome-looking vinyl set.
You can grab each movie individually as a two-record set for $35 each, or the entire vinyl kit for $105. The individual album versions include artwork by Matt Taylor, who was responsible for the screen-print Back to the Future posters for Mondo while the box set artwork and design was done by DKNG Studios.
If you buy the kit, you'll get it in an awesome radioactive box, the same box that Doc had in the first movie. The album art itself looks incredible, with any 'Back to the Future' fan set to jump at the chance to secure themselves this beautiful kit.