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Audio maker JBL added its Flip 2 Bluetooth-enabled portable sound system into a crowded audio market at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a refresh to the company's popular Flip speaker. The device is powered by micro-USB and no longer needs an AC adapter, with improved speaker and speakerphone clarity. Rated with five hours of battery life, which isn't as good as it could be, the Flip 2 is still a solid speaker that provides good quality audio playback.
"It's much more than a portable sound system," said Michael Mauser, HARMAN Lifestyle Division President, in a statement. "With dual, performance-tuned drivers and a built-in bass port, it's a party in the palm of your hand."
The JBL Flip 2 will be released later this year with a $129 price tag.
Bluetooth speakers are great for providing wireless audio in a compact, portable form factor, but sound quality has only recently started to progress. JBL and other established manufacturers are pushing the boundaries for consumers to have a small, energy-efficient product when listening to music.
One of the more exciting devices to slide through Kickstarter, is the ROCKI. We wrote about it a little while ago now, but the Kickstarter is slowly coming to an end, with something exciting announced in the last few hours of its crowdfunding.
ROCKI will see Spotify and Deezer support, with a new $210,000 stretch goal of: "Spotify or Deezer - Which first?" announced. ROCKI required $50,000 in funding, but quickly flew past that, and is now soaring above $204,000 at the time of writing. With around 30 hours to go, you need to jump in and throw money at your monitor for the ROCKI if you're a music lover. Free your music with ROCKI, and now Spotify and Deezer support? Yes, thanks!
Today BitFenix took a step into an entirely new realm of PC peripherals by launching its first high-end headset. The new Flow headset is designed to be extremely comfortable at and away from the PC. An included mobile audio cable, makes this headset perfect for use on-the-go as well as during intense gaming sessions.
The Flow Headset features the same sleek, modern, and minimalist design theaming that BitFenix is known for, while powerful 40mm drivers deliver clear, crisps audio that is sure to please. The SoftFeel ear cups will cushion your ears while a steel frame will keep everything rigid. No pricing information was provided at the time of this writing.
Headphone and earbud maker, Skullcandy has just released a new bluetooth wireless speaker called the Air Raid. The people from Skullcandy claim that it is louder than the competition. They are also saying it is "it is built like a tank and loud as hell." The Air Raid can hold a charge of 14 hours has two 50mm drivers. The Air Raid is a nice portable size and perfect for occasions like parties, camping, tailgating etc. You won't have to worry about breaking it either, they claim it is life proof and is water resistant. Air Raid will be available for $150.
SteelSeries has just unveiled its latest H Wireless Headset, which is a new multi-platform wireless headset. The H Wireless Headset provides "robust sound, lag-free wireless and versatile functionality bring superior audio to a wide range of platforms, including PC, Mac, mobile devices, consoles, home entertainment, streaming devices and more." The new SteelSeries wireless headset boats some impressive Dolby technologies, including:
- Dolby Digital reproduces multichannel audio for a cinematic audio experience
- Dolby Headphone recreates the sensation of up to 7.1-channel multi-speaker surround sound in headphones
- Dolby Pro Logic IIx optimizes the surround sound experience for the most realistic multi-directional sound
What about gaming? Well, SteelSeries has your back with two innovative gaming features. The first, is ChatMix, which lets the user tune the right balance between game and chat audio, which comes in handy, as you can increase another gamers voice, but keep your game volume tuned to your specific liking.
If your desktop is feeling a little bare, then maybe you could check out Harman Kardon's latest Nova stereo system. The new speakers are compatible with pretty much anything that pumps out audio, either wired, or wirelessly.
Harman Kardon's Nova system features 2.5-inch drivers and 1.25-inch tweeters, with the company stating it will provide a richer listening experience. Not only that, but the Nova speakers have passive radiators with a turbine enclosure, that will provide an extended bass response. This means that the frequency response is 70Hz to 20Hz, with Harman Kardon's DSP technology paving the way for improved soundstaging and voicing.
Not only do they have the usual 3.5mm audio jack, but the Nova speakers feature NFC capabilities, and a quick-paring feature that lets users activate the Nova by simply touching the mobile device near the speakers. How much is it going to cost you? $300, which isn't too bad, but it is a Harman Kardon device after all.
Cambridge Audio has just unveiled a new Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) that is said to change one's entire computer audio experience. The all new DacMagic XS is a ultra-compact Digital to Analog Converter that takes the digital audio signal from your PC and converts it into a much more rich and full analog signal for a true Hi-Fi experience.
The DacMagic XS is smaller is size than your average matchbox but still manages to pack in the high-end components and technology needed to produce a product that audiophiles will appreciate. The DacMagic also features a built in headphone amplifier, that delivers ten times more power than most of the laptops soundcards are capable of. This ensures that the audio is always crisp and clear, even in the noisiest environments. Cambridge Audio says that the DacMagic XS is available now at an MSRP of $189.
Music streaming services are all the rage these days and it appears that owning just one of these services is just not enough for Google. Today Billboard.com is reporting that YouTube is planning to launch its own streaming service similar to Spotify in that it will have a subscription level of membership as well as a free version.
What sets YouTube apart from similar services such as iTunes Radio, Spotify, and even Google Play Music, is that it will offer music videos, something no one else has even hinted on in the past. While it is still not clear as to how the service will operate, I expect some form of partnership with Vevo, the largest music video producer on YouTube. Vevo is in a nice situation to partner up with Google and YouTube on this and already has tens of thousands of videos in their catalog. What do you think? Would you buy into a music video streaming service? Personally I think I will be sticking to Spotify.
Tomorrow during Nokia World, the company is expected to unveil several new mobile devices including the all new Lumia 1520 phablet, Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet, and several budget friendly Asha devices. What was not expected however, was the Nokia Guru, a iPod Shuffle-like music player with NFC capabilities.
TweakTown's favorite leakster @evleaks posted a photo this morning via his Twitter account which shows off the new Guru music player in a very Lumia blue color. At the moment, the only solid piece of information we have on the Guru is that it will feature NFC connectivity, a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume buttons and a microUSB port for charging and possible data syncing.
What is unclear is whether this device stores MP3 files, or if it is just a streaming device for the Lumia line of phones. My bet is on the latter if you are wondering. A streaming device such as this only makes sense as the MP3 player as we know it is dieing and is being replaced by bulky smartphones which always have an issue with cord length when placed in a pocket. This device could pair with your phone, and mount easily on your arm or shirt for a workout experience where one does not fight headphone cords constantly.
Today, Sonos announced the release their all new Sonos Play:1, a powerful and extremely compact wireless speaker designed for streaming music throughout your home. The Play:1 is a portable speaker that utilizes Wi-Fi to stream music and is designed to sync harmoniously with other Sonos wireless HiFi devices.
"Sonos was created upon the belief you should never have to choose between quality sound and an easy way to access all your music at home," said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos, Inc. "The PLAY:1 makes getting started with Sonos even more accessible to music lovers than ever before."
Sonos says that the Play:1 has been designed with minimalism in mind, and that the unit was designed with a single play/pause button on top of the device to minimize clutter as much as possible. Users can also combine a pair of Play:1 units to the Sonos PLAYBAR and SONOS SUB to create a powerful HiFi 5.1 surround system for the home theatre. The Sonos Play:1 will retail for $199 and is available now.