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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."
At their first event in Australia, professional audio brand Denon and Marantz late this week announced their new range of lifestyle gear including headphones and dock speakers for personal mobile devices.
Differentiating between key types of users and their music needs and tastes was what Denon did in their new range. With 8 new on-ear and in-ear models across four different lifestyles: Music Maniac, Globe Cruiser, Urban Raver and Exercise Freak - there should be a product that will fit your lifestyle.
High-end audiophile gear can be found in the Music Maniac range, with two on-ear (AH-D7100, AH-D600) and 1 in-ear (AH-C400) models. We were able to play around with these headphones that were connected to an amplifier.
Coming from an Audio Technica AD900 user connected to the ASUS Xonar ST, the D7100 and the D600 both had a nice representation of bass, (something that the AD900 lacked being open-back designed), but the bass wasn't muffled so each word from the song was crisp and clear, including the instruments used in the track. Both headphones feature a 50mm driver to deliver the sound...
The headline for Logitech's product launch promises big things: "Pure Undiluted Music, Anytime, Anywhere." So, how are they going to do that and what products are in this new line? The press release highlights six new products ranging from boomboxes to headphones, so the line is quite expansive.
"Today's fans have their music with them wherever they go - they carry it with them on their tablet or smartphone," said Rory Dooley, Logitech senior vice president of music. "But no matter how or where you choose to store or access your favorite music, this lineup is the best way for you to experience it. Whether you want to be completely immersed in your favorite song, to share music with friends, or to discover new favorites, Logitech UE is the clear choice."
Sennheiser have just shown off two new gaming headsets, with the new devices including a premium option with Dolby technology integrated, with the other priced to appeal to entry-level gamers. Both headsets are available right now from Sennheiser's website.
First up, we have the PC 323D which sports Dolby 7.1 Headphone and Dolby ProLogic IIx sound. The 323D features a CircleFlex design which allows it to adjust automatically to a user's head. This headset comes with its own 3D G4ME1 7.1 USB sound card attached, as well as an open-acoustic design which is said to keep the gamers' head cool through hours of gaming. Volume controls are also featured, on the right ear cup and rounding out the PC 323D we find a microphone which features noise-cancellation technology.
Ever feel that need to listen to that one song while showering? Apparently the makers of iShower did as they have created a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker designed to blast beats while you lather, rinse, and repeat. The new device, sure to make your showers last much longer than they need to, is now shipping for $100.
The device is easily installed by most any person due to its adhesive mounting system. No tools are necessary, and the device can also be hung over the shower head, if you don't want to risk sticky residue. Even though it's called the iShower, it can be paired to a maximum of 5 devices, which don't have to be an iDevice.
It uses 3 AA batteries and is said to last for 15 hours of listening time. A nice touch, there is also a built-in clock so that you don't let your shower times get out of hand. Check out the video below, in which the CEO of the company gives a nice demonstration and no, he does not actually use it in the shower.
Samsung have announced their DA-E750, which is a wireless speaker dock, and will arrive in the UK and Korea starting June 18. Samsung's DA-E750 is a vacuum tube-based amplifier that is meant to improve sound quality.
The tube-based amp can connect to Samsung GALAXY devices through AllShare, as well as Apple's AirPlay, and finally, plain old Bluetooth 3.0. The speaker dock also features an analog composite input, a USB port so that you can play music from a USB flash drive and support for MP3, WMA, and WAV file formats.
Spec-wise, we're looking at a 2.1-channel woven glass fiber speaker system, with a built-in 100W subwoofer. It comes in two colors, Mahogany and piano black. Samsung haven't released pricing just yet, but when it was shown off at CES earlier this year, the company gave an $800-ish price.
Pioneer is launching a new series of headphones aimed at professional DJs and musicians, the HDJ-1500 sports a pair of 50mm drivers embedded in sound insulating casings with air chambers that are said to reduce the sound by 4dB and help hear the intended mix.
The new Pioneer HDJ-1500 headphones come in two colors, black or a satin silver and black combination. Impedance is 32ohms, sensitivity is 180db. Frequency response is 5Hz to 30,000Hz. Price-wise, Pioneer are not breaking the DJ bank at all, they should sell for 18,000 yen or $223-or-so USD.
Pioneer haven't said when they'll begin shipping the HDJ-1500's, or whether they'll even ship them to the US.
CES 2012: The Republic of Gamers team is pretty damn awesome, not only do they make some truly kick arse motherboards, but they also have gaming accessories like keyboards, mice and headsets and are now set to enter the sound card market, too.
ASUS teased at CES the ROG Xonar Phoebus (the God of Music and Light) and is a standalone product (not bundled with a motherboard). Xonar Phoebus is rated at 118db SNR and includes the regular outputs, a dedicated amplifier for driving up to 300ohm headphones and a volume control/wire extender for gaming headsets.
It sports the usual ROG black/red theme and looks insanely sexy for a sound card. I/O wise we have headset connectors, power for the volume control, line-in, 5.1 audio and SPDIF-out as pictured below.