Archive for February, 2014

The DacMagic XS – audiophiles rejoice!




Sound is very important to a lot of us. We listen to music, hear birds chirping in the morning, know when something is wrong with our car, and loads of other scenarios you’re all well acquainted with. In that same vein, sound can also alter our mood, especially when it comes to music that is being distorted because of a bad pair of headphones.

While buying expensive headphones normally means you don’t have to deal with many audial issue, it doesn’t mean there’s not always going to be a better pair out there somewhere. If you’re content with the earbuds or headphones you currently have, but wish they had a bit of a boost, then the Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS might be able to help. This is a digital audio converter as the name suggests, and it can plug into your PC or Mac through USB.

This will dramatically improve your digital audio listening experience, by providing deeper bass and more power than a standard laptop headphone output. This is very small, which makes it perfect for all of you who don’t like staying in one place for too long, and is encased in aluminum so it can withstand constant transport. Of course, something like this isn’t going to come cheap, and you’ll need to be prepared to spend around $190 on it. Reading around, it is said that you’ll only have volume control through the DacMagic rather than on your computer, but that is a small price to pay for better sound quality.

Available for purchase on Amazon, found via technabob
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Bluetooth Sound Enhancing Amplifier merges the old with the new


There are moments in time when the old will actually merge with the new, and I suppose you could say the old school amplifier is par for the course to be on the receiving end of a technological update. The futuristic looking $1,800 Bluetooth Sound Enhancing Amplifier fits the bill perfectly for such a device, where this hybrid vacuum tube amplifier will be able to pair up with any Bluetooth music device in order for it to deliver superior audio performance. The presence of the vacuum tube amplifiers are famous for generating warmer, more dynamic tones compared to transistor-based models simply because they are capable of limiting distortion when overloaded so that better signal-to-noise ratio is provided.

Apart from that, there will be a couple of 6N3 tubes located in this amplifier that are capable of generating 20 RMS watts per channel of distortion-free signal, which will further add more punch and clarity to high bit-rate MP3s, Apple Lossless, or CD-quality audio that are played back asns wires from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android-powered device. In addition, the tubes too, would be able to deliver robust bass response by ameliorating the natural acoustic qualities of second and third harmonics for richer sound coloration. A switch is located on the amplifier’s top that enables one to choose between a Bluetooth audio source, 1/8″ stereo audio input, or a pair of RCA inputs.
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Polk Audio 4 Shot Headset set to arrive this March 6


When it comes to gaming, here are two groups of people – the first would be the casual gamer who does not mind not going without his or her daily fix of Flappy Bird or Candy Crush, while the hardcore gamer would be one who ensures that every single secret is uncovered across all levels, and in record time, too. Well, audio in games have played a very huge role over the years to complement the improved visuals, so much so it is now an indispensable part of the game. Polk knows this, and with four decades of sound, engineering and design expertise, the company has announced its latest 4 Shot Headset for Xbox One. The 4 Shot Headset is set to hit the market to accompany the latest generation Xbox One console this coming March 6th.

It will also hold the title of being the first Xbox One compatible headset which will arrive in stores, where the 4 Shot Headset was specially developed in collaboration with Microsoft Studios at 343 Industries and Turn 10 Studios, who happen to be the creators of the “Halo” and “Forza Motorsport” franchises. With such strong backing from various industry leaders, the 4 Shot Headset will bring listeners to the next level with real, balanced audio representative of the virtual world. It will boast of proprietary Polk Optimized Electro-acoustic Tuning (POET), so that users will be enveloped in immersive and realistic sound for a truly game-changing experience.

Apart from that, the 4 Shot will also be able to hook up to gamers’ wireless Xbox One controllers, offering them the additional freedom of moving around. It boasts of dynamic, loss-less wireless technology that translates to a lower incidence of latency issues, ensuring that you will be able to make those crucial split-second gaming decisions that could mean either victory or defeat. Not only that, there is a retractable near-field microphone so that you can carry out conversations or take calls at any point in time. Prepare $159.95 this coming March 6 and you can pick up the 4 Shot Headset at select GameStop locations and polkaudio.com.

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Clap-On Alarm Clock showcases your inner Houdini


Don’t you wish that you had magical powers to exhibit and impress those who decide to pay your home a visit? Sure, you might not be a new tycoon who has just cashed out big time because Google or Facebook decided to buy your company and intellectual property for a few billion dollars, so you lack the financial resources to model your home after a high tech space installation that is really “smart” in a sense, such as voice controlled temperature and the like. Perhaps something more basic and of course, affordable, might be right up your alley – like the €37.79 Clap-On Alarm Clock.

No matter how much you have partied the night before, there is still an office to go to the next morning, not to mention plenty of work to finish up. Hence, the assistance of an alarm clock can never be understated, but with bother with the traditional alarm clock when you can let the wonders of clapping do the job for you? The Clap-On Alarm Clock will feature a red LED panel that will reveal itself only when you clap. Sporting 12 as well as 24 hour formats, the cube clock sports a chic wood veneer which would perfectly complement any interior. It might just impress your date, too.
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Creative announces Sound Blaster Roar speaker


Creative introduces their latest speaker yet – the Sound Blaster Roar. The Sound Blaster Roar is special in a sense where this new concept of a 5-driver portable wireless speaker has been made flesh. The launch of the Sound Blaster Roar will continue to follow a highly successful sneak preview which happened just early last month over at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where whoever laid their eyes on it (and had their ears treated to its capability) having shared some very positive comments. For instance, the Sound Blaster Roar will come with a bi-amplified design which will make use of a pair of amplifiers. One of the amplifiers have been dedicated to driving the lows and mids, while the other has been dedicated to deliver the highs.

Such partnership has enabled the speaker to be able to produce uncompromisingly clear, high definition, well balanced music without missing a beat. Apart from that, you would be pleased to know that the Sound Blaster Roar is no one trick pony. In fact, it also comes with a slew of useful features, where among them include speakerphone teleconferencing capabilty, a microSD memory card slot that paves the way for MP3/WMA/WAV playback and audio recording, a siren, Bedtime Mode and Life Saver Mode. This particular speaker will be able to hook up sans wires over Bluetooth, where it will make use of aptX and AAC codecs for the highest quality audio and lowest possible latency.

Apart from that, there is also support for the latest Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology thrown into the mix. Those who are curious in picking one up will be pleased to find out that the Sound Blaster Roar can connect two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. All in all, the Sound Blaster Roar measures a mere 57mm x 202mm x 115mm and tips the scales at 1.1 kg, but packs quite the aural punch. It has a large, built-in 6,000 mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery that can deliver up to 8 hours of audio playback on a single charge, retailing for $199 a pop when it arrives.

Press Release
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Razer Blade Gets Limited Edition Koenigsegg Model


Razer, one of the foremost names when it comes to gaming peripherals as well as in recent times, gaming machines, has just teamed up with Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg in order to roll out a bunch of Koenigsegg limited edition Razer Blade laptops. The thing about these limited edition laptops is, you are unable to purchase it from any walk-in retail store even if you happen to have more than enough money to spare. Both companies that have come together decided on this plan to inaugurate the relationship by introducing a limited edition of custom not-for-sale Blade laptops, where only a lucky few Koenigsegg owners and Razer fans will be able to have the privilege of using.

I suppose that the main changes introduced in this limited edition Razer Blade gaming laptop would be cosmetic in nature, as this lean and mean gaming machine will continue to retain its form factor (an ultra thin chassis, mind you) in addition to power underneath the hood. The chassis itself is said to be CNC machined and appointed with unmistakable Koenigsegg cachet.

While it would be rather strange for a gaming laptop to be introduced at a motor show, this is exactly what is going to happen later next month. The Koenigsegg Razer Blade is tipped to be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2014, where it will be on parade to the masses there, and only a selected few will be able to drive virtual Agera R´s in the best setting possible.

Just how will this collaboration pan out in the future? Only time will tell, but I have a feeling deep down inside that this will not be the last device that both of them will work together on, so let us keep our fingers crossed that we will see more exciting projects being worked upon in due time.

Press Release
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Scosche boomCAN BT targets those who are on the move always


It does seem as though the world of Bluetooth speakers have not quite reached the end just yet. And when I say “the end”, I mean that this particular niche peripheral still has some ways to go before folks turn away from it totally and it dies a slow death, like the humble netbook as well as Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). In fact, the Bluetooth speaker industry seems to allude that everything is alive and kicking, and Scosche has proven that yet again with another release in the form of the boomCAN BT. The boomCAN BT’s outstanding point would be this – it is one of the most compact Bluetooth enabled speakers ever released by the company, but just like how one should never judge a book by its cover, the boomCAN BT might be small in stature, but it certainly packs enough build quality to be durable so that music enthusiasts are able to enjoy rich audio while they are the road, at the office, or enjoying an outdoor adventure.

Just in case you were wondering, how small is the boomCAN BT? It currently stands at slightly more than 2 inches tall, but this is a huge performer. It boasts of a 35mm up firing speaker which is capable of producing 360 degrees of loud and crisp sound. Pretty cool, huh?

Not only that, this unique portable Bluetooth powerhouse will feature a lithium ion battery that when fully charged, is capable of providing up to 2 hours of non-stop wireless playback from up to 30 feet away. Every single boomCAN BT will include a convenient travel pouch as well as charging cable that lets you rock it out while you’re one the move. In addition, there are plans to roll out the boomBARS bike mount for cyclists who want to attach the boomCAN BT to their handlebars. Interested parties can pick up the boomCAN in red, blue, white, and black shades for $29.99 a pop.

Press Release
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Pyle Audio announces Gator Sound Bluetooth speaker


I am quite sure that you would have heard of Pyle Audio before, where they happen to be the ones behind outdoor recreational gear and home, car and pro audio equipment, and they have just unveiled the Gator Sound Bluetooth speaker. Not only is it portable, it is also lightweight as well as waterproof, which certainly makes the Gator Sound speaker system more than suitable for those who happen to lead an extremely sporty lifestyle in the great outdoors. Of course, who are we to stop one from bringing the Gator Sound Bluetooth speaker to the beach or by the river for folks who want something more serene, such as a family picnic?

In fact, if you love to do a spot of karaoke in the shower, then the $49.99 Gator Sound Bluetooth speaker would also be the perfect match for you. It would be equally at home whether you love to stand in the shower and belt out your favorite tunes, or prefer the slow hum while you soak in a bathtub. Either way, this is one waterproof speaker which will be comfortable with your singing style without requiring you to turn your hair white worrying about moisture or submersion.

Not only that, this particular Bluetooth speaker is lightweight, where it will let you hook up to a smartphone in order to stream music as well as receive incoming phone calls. There is an integrated lithium battery as well as USB charging cable which will be able to deliver both indoor and outdoor functionality without missing a beat.

There are also easy-push controls that dot the front part of the Gator Sound, where it also boasts of crystal clear audio and echo cancellation for your phone calls. Apart from that, there will be a wide range of low, mid, and high sound restoration amid streaming music, where nothing is sacrificed where sound quality is concerned without having to compromise on convenience and durability. A full battery charge will enable the Gator Sound to enjoy up to 25 hours of play time.

Press Release
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Busy Bee Wall Clock tells the time sweetly


Not all clocks are created equal, and when it comes to a wall clock, you might want to settle for something as ordinary as a regular IKEA timepiece, or you could opt to fork out a decent amount of coin for something which is truly unique. Case in point, the $60 Busy Bee Wall Clock. Bees are an industrious lot, where this particular hive or swarm mentality will be able to pull through an entire colony in tough times, although such thinking might not necessarily work well in a human context. Still, there is something fascinating with bees, and this nature-inspired timepiece would definitely deserve a place in the living room of any home.

The Busy Bee Wall Clock is the creation of father and son team, Lance and L J Nybye, where they decided to merge the geometric beauty of a honeycomb alongside the human innovation of laser-cutting technology. This particularly delicate, hexagonal lattice was created using precision-cutting decorative plywood, where it is then painstakingly hand-glued in order to create a layered look, before it is endowed with a coat of cheerful, honey-yellow, water-based dye. There will be a solitary, laser-cut honeybee that rests in the 12 o’clock spot.
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Grace Digital introduces Encore Stereo Wi-Fi Music System


If you have not heard of Grace Digital before, perhaps it is about time you did so. They happen to be a leader when it comes to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and networked audio solutions, and this time around, they have decided to roll out the Encore (GDI-IRC7500) Stereo Wi-Fi Music System, where it will make an appearance on Amazon.com. The Encore Stereo Wi-Fi Music System boasts of an impressive tweeter and woofer arrangement, where it is more or less guaranteed of delivering clearer vocals as well as deeper bass in comparison to what the industry standard has in store.

Using the Grace Digital Encore, all that a user needs to do would be to hook up to their Wi-Fi network, where they can then gain instant access to just about any preferred internet radio station thanks to one-touch presets. There are more than 50,000 free internet radio stations, podcast, and endless on-demand content for one to choose from, where among them include the likes of NPR, BBC, iHeartRadio, CBS, Pandora, and leading pay services SiriusXM, Rhapsody, and Live365. Not only that, you can opt to save up to a hundred of your favorite stations directly to the Encore Wi-Fi music system, so that you will be able to enjoy quick access to top station and artist choices later on.

Not only that, one will be able to enjoy additional features such as seven separate alarms alongside an adjustable sleep timer and large snooze bar (which is very, very important to those who cannot live without the snooze function), a headphone jack, RCA line out, RCA aux-in, a USB slot so that it can also juice up power hungry smartphones at the end of the day, access flash drive stored tracks, or use the optional Grace USB to Ethernet (RJ45) connector. The asking price for the Grace Digital Encore (GDI-IRC7500) Stereo Wi-Fi Music System stands at $249.99 a pop.

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