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Bring your best Spotify playlist, and jump on a plane for the Netherlands - where the European Space Agency has its Large European Acoustic Facility, or LEAF, which has quite the sound system installation.
LEAF is a collection of spaceflight simulation facilities, all under a single roof. The main test chamber features two massive horns, as you can see pictured above. Nitrogen is shot through them which produces a range of sounds, up to and exceeding 154 decibels. The ESA describes this to standing as close as you humanly could to a passenger jet, as it's taking off.
If you were to stand next to the LEAF system, your body simply couldn't handle it. So the ESA has installed multiple safety features, where the system will not work if the doors are not closed. The walls are also coated with epoxy resin to absorb sound waves. Steel-reinforced concrete walls encapsulate the test chamber which blocks more of the sound, and the entire room itself is supported by rubber pads which stop the vibration from being transferred throughout the entire building.
Today ROCCAT announced the launch of its latest gaming headset, the Kave XTD 5.1. The Kave XTD is a true 5.1 digital gaming headset and is built on the foundation of the original Kave headset, with an entirely new ground-up design. The Kave XTD 5.1 features a fully-equipped desktop remote that incorporates a full 5.1 digital sound card as well as several other exciting features.
The Kave XTD 5.1 features ROCCAT Smart Link technology that lets users pair their smartphone with their headset and can make and receive calls during a gaming session by pressing a button on the remote control. The phones audio is piped into the headset, and allows gamers to take their call while in-game without the need to remove their headset. The Kave XTD's software mutes any incoming or outgoing audio from the game or chat software during calls, so no one hears your conversation but you.
The Kave XTD features 3 drivers per ear cup that have been aligned at a 12 degree angle to provide clean, crisp, and immersive sound. The remote control also features the ability to connect a true 5.1 audio speaker system to your PC from the 5.1 sound card built into the remote, and users can switch from headset mode to speaker mode with the push of a button. Finally, the Kave XTD 5.1 features a sensitive boom mic that is positioned perfectly for accurate communication with your fellow players.
I personally haven't used a Klipsch product before, but I've heard nothing but good things over the years. The speaker and headphone manufacturer has just unveiled two new gaming headsets, designed specifically, for gaming.
Starting with the Klipsch KG-200, which is a wired headset featuring 40-millimeter drivers and four equalizer presets: Fidelity, Combat, Stealth and Sport, will cost you $129.99. Then we have the wireless KG-300 headset which will be $70 more at $199.99, will feature the same EQ settings, plus Dolby Digital decoding and Klipsch SphereSpace Surround Technology. The KG-300 will require three AAA batteries to run.
Klipsch says its new gaming headsets will run on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC, and will be available through its website and authorized retailers starting next month.
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.