Don’t Drill Your Graphics Card or Receive This Expensive Lesson

We have all done something stupid at one point or another, but some people’s actions make ours look pale in comparison. Such a case showed up this week where the victim of stupidity was nothing less than a Zotac GeForce GTX 980Ti Amp graphics card. At this point, you might want to either get the tissue box for your tears and put away the drink so you don’t risk spitting it all over from laughing; because one of those two things are bound to happen.

A user named Zanderlinde had purchased a Zotac GTX 980 Ti AMP! graphics card for his new rig, but having a custom built case, the giant heatsink on the card became an issue and he decided to get an aftermarket cooling solution instead to help that issue. So far everything is like it should be, right? But here we go.

Zanderlinde got himself a Corsair HG10 GPU cooler for his graphics card and tried to mount that to his card, only to find out that it didn’t fit properly, one of the mounting holes didn’t align properly. Being a DIY man, as he calls himself, he attempted to fix this issue; sadly he did so in the worst possible way. Instead of trying to modify the mounting bracket or create a new one himself to fix this issue, he took his power drill and made a new hole in his $1000 CAD graphics card. Yes, you read that right, he drilled another hole in the PCB of a Nvidia GTX 980 Ti graphics card.

Motherboard and graphics card PCBs are usually multi-layered and even tho you can’t see any visible connections where you drill, there might be more between the layers and it looks like Zanderlinde drilled through multiple of those. Now at this point, the card wasn’t fully destroyed yet, but it was before he was done with his stupid ideas. Realising that he might have cut some internal connection within the PCB, he got the idea to solder it up to reestablish the connection. To simulate this before actually doing it, he put a screwdriver through the hole in order to bridge the cap. Oh boy, and yes you already guessed right what happened next. Smoke started to rise from the card.

Before the last stupid attempt, parts could have been salvaged from the card, but now everything is more or less fried. To finish the card off completely, he went ahead and broke it in two. But he admits to his stupidity and called himself out for it, so there is a chance that he learned from his expensive lesson and will ask for help first before attempting something as stupid as this again.

Sennheiser Reveal Absolutely Bonkers $55,000 Headphones & Amp

Sennheiser has just revealed a new set of headphones with an accompanying headphone amp, that much in its self may not sound all that surprising, this is the kind of thing Sennheiser does regularly. What’s so shocking about this new piece of tech is that it’ll set you back a wallet murdering $55,000! I guess it would go nicely with the ultra-high-end Sony 4K projector that launched recently. That’s crazy amounts of money for headphones, I know, but the world of audiophile hardware has always been a passion of mine, even if I am only involved to the point of people who love a good Ferrari, but can only afford a VW Golf.

So what do you get for your $55k? The headphones are the latest update of their famous Orpheus headphones, which combine electrostatic headphones with a valve pre-amp, all set into a lump of gorgeous solid marble. Even crazier than the price, the range of the response is 8Hz to 100KHz, which is significantly more than the human ear cares to listen into, but at least you know that it covers all the important (actually audible) ranges.

The original Orpheus HE90 were Sennheiser’s efforts to create “the best headphones ever made” and if the price of $12-16k was anything to go by, they must think they’ve actually done just that. The HE90 are bigger, better and far more expensive. Pushing the limits of audio technology to the very limits, as they have a sound pressure level of 100-decibel with a harmonic distortion of just 0.01%, making them one of the cleanest sounding audio products ever.

“Electrostatic headphones work by placing a static electric charge on an extremely thin film that floats between two metal plates. The voltage of an audio signal passing through the plates causes the lightweight film to oscillate and produce sound. Because the film is so light and there’s no physical contact required to get it to move, it doesn’t have its own resonances or damping issues. Thus, the device produces extremely clear sound.” said Arstechnica

Beside the Electrostatic design, you’ll find a platinum-coated diaphragm with gold electrodes, as well as a rack of solid-state valves, with MOSTFET transistors in the AMP. If anyone would like to buy one or both of my Kidneys, or at the very least, let me borrow a set of these headphones for a few weeks, I’d be very grateful.

Would you spend this kind of money on headphones and amps? If not, what is the most you would pay?

Antec Mobile Products @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015: Here we are once again at the Antec booth, checking out their great new range of AMP mobile products. Mobile is a big deal these days and for those who need great accessories on the go, AMP produce some of the best around. Battery life is the biggest issue for most of us, but AMP has a great range of mobile USB battery packs, life-extending battery phone cases, charging hubs and more.

Enjoy music on your phone? AMP seem to have a mobile speaker that is ideal for virtually any phone, person or place, with the added bonus that they look and sound great! We especially like their new WAV as it’s a nice at-home unit and great for quickly throwing on some music in the kitchen, or anywhere for that matter.

Finally, we have the pulse air headphones, which may be the slimmest over ear headphone I’ve ever seen! Unfortunately, I didn’t a chance to try them out, but we look forward to bringing you a full review of many of these products in the near future.

Antec Smartbean Bluetooth Receiver Review

Introduction


We love reviewing big, expensive and high-end hardware, but sometimes, it’s nice to stop and appreciate the smaller things in the technology world. Today, we’re reviewing the tiny Antec Smartbean, a humble connectivity device that will allow you to pair up a Bluetooth compatible device, with any 3.5mm jack input, such as those found on your PC, speakers, in your car, your headphones and many other devices.

“The SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver by Antec Mobile Products [AMP] makes almost any device Bluetooth ready. Designed to free you from wires and tangled cables, the SmartBean is an ultra lightweight Bluetooth Receiver with Built In Microphone that provides Bluetooth connectivity at the touch of a button. The SmartBean’s 3.5mm standard audio jack is compatible with most headphones, speakers, home stereo systems and automotive auxiliary inputs (using the included connector). Simply plug in the SmartBean, pair it to your favorite Bluetooth Device, and in an instant you’ll have hands free music and calls. Perfect for cars, computers, or any other device you want to make Bluetooth Ready.”

While not the most exciting sound device ever, it does have a lot of potential. For example, my car has a line-in, but it doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth and this is a much cheaper, plug-and-play ready solution to add that functionality to it, without replacing the entire stereo system.

  • Charging Time : 2.5 hours (DC 5V)
  • Standby Time : 130 hours
  • Talk time : 6 hours

A neat and tidy box, giving us a sneaky peak at the device.

Around the back we can see it’s Bluetooth 3.0 compatible, has a range of 10m, a 130 standby time and 6 hours worth of talk time, impressive!

In the box, you’ll find the Smartbean, a male to male 3.5mm jack cable and a microUSB cable for charging the device.

It’s a very simple, yet functional design. All the major controls are on the top for skipping through songs, adjusting volume, play pause, which will also work for answering and ending phone calls. On the bottom edge, you’ll find the microUSB charging port.

On the right side, you’ll find a pin hole microphone and the 3.5mm output.

As I said before, the Smarbean is a tiny device, small enough that you could wear it clipped onto your shirt if you really needed to.

There’s even a handy clip on the back to help you mount it where you need it most.

The jack plug is very study, so you could easily keep the controller within reach of the jack-plug; this is especially handy if you’re mounting it in the car, or on the front of your computer.

Creative Sound Blaster X7 Deskop DAC & Amplifier Review

Introduction


A lot of attention gets put on high-end displays and graphics, but while technology has made great advances in pushing graphics to 4K monitors, 3D displays, and all kinds of other cool stuff, I see a lot of people neglecting their audio experience, be that as part of their home cinema setup, or their desktop audio. While I must admit that motherboard technology has made huge advances, with many brands such as MSI and Gigabyte for example, putting high-end audio hardware directly onto their motherboards, I have yet to hear one that was comparable to a standalone unit.

Audio Performance
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (DAC): 127dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (ADC): 123dB
  • 24-bit recording sampling rates: 44.1, 48, 96, 192 kHz
  • 24-bit playback sampling rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
  • Stereo Direct Playback at 24-bit / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
  • Surround Playback at 24-bit / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
  • Dolby Digital Decoding
Frequency Response
  • 20 Hz – 90 kHz (24-bit/192kHz)
Maximum Power Output
  • 50W + 50W (4Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)¹
  • 38W + 38W (4Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)²
  • 27W + 27W (8Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)¹
  • 27W + 27W (8Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)²
Rated Power Output
  • 37W + 37W (4Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)¹
  • 35W + 35W (4Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)²
  • 22W + 22W (8Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)¹
  • 20W + 20W (8Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)²
Total Harmonic Distortion
  • 0.05% (1kHz, 4Ω, 33W)¹
  • 0.05% (1kHz, 4Ω, 30W)²
¹ Requires upgrade to high power AC-DC adapter (24V 6A)
² Using bundled AC-DC adapter (24V 2.91A)

Creative and their Sound Blaster range have a lot of years experience in the audio business, unless you’ve been lost on a desert island for the last couple of decades, you will have heard of them and many of you have either owned or used their products in some context at least once. I’m seeing more and more desktop AMP and DAC hardware in recent years and as the music industry continues to push away from crude quality MP3’s that plagued early MP3 players years ago, higher bitrate audio files, high-quality audio streaming services and a whole lot more are now offering up audio in up to 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution formats.

If you’re investing £300+ into a 4K monitor and god knows how much more in graphics cards, a CPU and other components, is it really too much to set aside another £329.99 to get your audio on par with the rest of your setup? That’s what I hope to find out today.

First, let’s take a quick look at a full walkthrough with Ryan Schliepier of Creative, at the level of features included in this setup, because if I were to put them into writing, I’ll be doubling the size of this review; prepare to be blown away by the feature set on this unit!

This is a premium grade product, so as you would expect, it comes with virtually every kind of connection you could possibly need. One thing that did really surprise me is that the unit comes with five power cables, FIVE! No matter where you are in the world, you shouldn’t have a problem plugging this thing in.

All the cables that are included are of a high quality and will help you get this thing plugged in and setup from day one.

This funny looking thing is a headphone stand and we’ll take a close look at how that works in a few minutes.

The unit is very nicely designed and while it is quite big, it’s not so big that it would be imposing on your desktop. The shape of it also means it takes up less cubic space on your desktop and aesthetically speaking, it’s a lovely looking bit of kit.

As you saw in the video above, the unit has a great range of connections. On the front panel you’ve got a gorgeous volume dial, which was infinite rotation in either direction, rather than a lock to lock volume dial. There’s headphone jacks for both 3.5mm and 1/4″ and a microphone line-in for those who like to use a dedicated mic. Then you’ve got the power/Bluetooth and SBX control switches. In the middle there’s some ventilation, behind which you’ll find two beam-forming microphones.

On the right side, you’ll see a small NFC logo, you can tap your phone or any other NFC compatible device and immediately sync up the audio through the unit. This is great for playing songs from your phone or tablet, but it can also be used to make hands-free calls via the built-in microphones and your own speakers or headphones.

Around the back, we see a plethora of connections. You’ve got options for 4ohm and 9ohm impedance for two bare wire terminals and RCA/Jack outputs for 5.1 setups. There’s stereo line in, optical passthrough and USB, not forgetting the built-in Bluetooth support; if you’ve got anything audio related, you can connect it!

All the fittings are of a premium quality, with gold-plated ports and high-quality screw fittings for the wire terminals.

At the top, there’s some passive cooling holes and two small holes for mounting the headphone stand.

The headphone stand is optional and is perfect for keeping your favourite set within easy reach.

Down the left side, you’ll find a USB Host port, perfect for charging your phone or even your headset.

On the underside, there’s a removable cover, behind which you can see some of the workings of the AMP/DAC. Here you can see the removable op-amps, which you can replace yourself if you have the money and the desire to do so.

Overall, this is one stunning looking setup and no, the headset in the picture isn’t included in the bundle, but I figured a Creative brand headset would look nice on the stand.

Latest Zotac Graphics Cards @ CeBIT 2015

During the second day of CeBIT 2015, we met up with ZOTAC; most famous for their graphics cards and mini PCs. During the meeting, we had the opportunity to handle and fully examine some of their newest GTX 900 series products. Some very high-quality finishes were seen here, the best bit that I took away was the constant questions of our initial feedback on the looks of the products. We appreciate a company that values everything you have to say about their products. We were personally asked about the aesthetics of the tri-fan coolers, Extreme and AMP coolers fitted to the GTX 970 and GTX 980.

We gave our honest opinion which were taken on board; so I wonder if our suggestion of an orange accented AMP cooler will be taken on board. Would you like to see some additional colours used in the cooler design? Subtle or in your face, let us know on Facebook or on our forums.

We look forward to see what other innovative products Zotac can bring us in the future. Any news or events, we will keep you updated.

 

Silverstone SST-EB03 Desktop Headphone Amp & SST-EB01-E DAC Review

Introduction


When it comes to kicking back and enjoying your favourite albums, having a great set of speakers or a set of high-end headphones can really make or break the experience. Of course for many people out there, the £20 set of headphones they got from their local electronics store will be more than enough, offering them many hours of happiness when needed, but there are certain people, myself included, that demand a lot more from their audio equipment. While some like to use the term Audiophile to describe those who love premium grade sound components, I don’t think you have to take it that seriously just to want the best quality from your music, much in the same way you don’t have to be a complete TV nerd just to want a quality HDTV.

Desktop PC audio has certainly improved over the last few years, many motherboard manufacturers are including higher quality audio components directly onto their motherboards; sure there are some lovely sound cards out there, but with GPU’s often dominating the PCIe slots in our systems, it’s getting difficult to find the room for a large sound card. The devices we’re looking at today offer two solutions to improve your audio, the first would be the EB01E, a powerful XMOS XS1 TQ128 DAC which supports Asynchronous USB 24bit / 192 kHz audio. If all of that was nonsense to you, let me put this as simple as possible; you connect the EB01-E to your PC via a digital connection (USB, Optical or Coaxial) and then connect your speakers to the EB01-E and it will provide you with improved audio quality.

The EBo1-e uses the TI PCM1798 Digital Audio Converter (DAC), this is the part that takes your digital signal and converts it to analogue. It supports a maximum resolution of 24-bits, with USB, optical and coaxial line in and RCA out for easy compatibility with most speaker and headphone systems.

A high quality audio decoder such as this is ideal for bringing new life to the humble MP3’s you may have in your collection, but they’ll really pull their weight when you’re listening to something such as FLAC and other lossless audio formats.

  • High quality DAC with improved performance
  • Classic SilverStone Ensemble exterior design
  • Easy one touch button for USB, optical or coaxial input
  • Support highest format of up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Utilizes premium XMOS XS1 TQ128 USB decoder for accurate sound reproduction
  • Includes TI PCM1798 D/A converter for producing high quality analog signal
  • Includes TI NE5532 OP amp for optimal analog output

The EB03 is a headphone amp, it provides an extra powerful punch to drive your headphones way beyond the limits of what your on-board audio and even most soundcards could do; the EB03 can easily run any set of headphones from 16-600 ohm. It features a standard 6.3mm stereo jack on the front and an RCA bypass connection on the back, so you can still run your speakers without having to disconnect the device.

It features two chip sets that process the signal to provide a powerful, distortion free signal for your headphones of choice, which can be controlled via a simple to use independent volume dial on the top of the unit.

  • Premium amplifier designed to deliver full sound to headphones
  • Classic SilverStone Ensemble exterior design
  • Extra RCA bypass connection included for easy pairing with additional device
  • Studio-quality IC with THAT 1646W16-U & 1512S14-U
  • Independent volume control knob

Both the EB01-E and the EB03 come really nicely packaged with a quick run-down of the major features on the box (see above) as well as a small image of each product.

Both are really well packaged in soft foam blocks and plastic wraps, so the aluminium finish should reach you in perfect condition.

In the box with the EB03 you’ll find a manual, RCA to RCA pass-through cable, RCA to 3.5mm cable and a power adaptor.

In the box with the EB01-E you’ll find a manual, software install CD-Rom, RCA to female 3.5mm cable and a good quality USB cable.

Antec’s 2014 Product Range Shown At CeBIT 2014

Here we are at the Antec booth at CeBIT 2014 and the first thing that caught our eyes was this funky new PSU. The EDG750 features 750w of continuous power that makes it an ideal choice for those interested in overclocking, coin mining and gaming. It features two 12v rails and will run at 80 Plus Gold efficiency.

Anti vibration rubber ends not only provide a practical function, but also add a little extra style. These can be swapped out to colour match the PSU to your personal preferences.

The PSU features a fully modular design and can even be switched into a hybrid mode to allow it to run passively cooled for completely silent operation.

Next up we have a wide range of new buget chassis models, as well as the funky HTPC style case, the NSK 1380.

The new HCP Platinum 850W PSU is another prime pick for high-end users, it’s super efficient, features rock solid build quality and continuous power deliver that make it ideal for a multi-GPU gaming rig.

Hey look, some lovely eTeknix awards on that poster!

That all the new stuff from the Antec booth for now, but I can tell you that we have another new Antec product in the eTeknix office, the P100 mid-tower chassis and we’ll be bringing you a full review of that very soon.

Check back later today for even more coverage from CeBIT 2014.

Silverstone Desktop Amp & DAC At CeBIT 2014

Here we are once again at the Silverstone booth at CeBIT 2014 and while we’ve already had great fun checking out their new chassis products for 2014, I can’t help but be even more excited about their audio products. Silverstone are well known in the industry for their attention to detail and premium grade engineering, a mindset that works well when designing high-end audio equipment.

Below we have the RAV01 and the RAV02 audio products, both of which are part of Silverstone’s premium grade gaming series “Raven”. The devices booth look simple enough, black boxes with a pair of audio jacks on the front. The RAV01 is external and compact, while the RAV02 is a little larger to allow mounting in a 5.25″ drive bay slot on your chassis. Both of them are designed to filter and improve the quality of your sound while gaming, perfect for blocking background noise and giving your headset an extra kick.

The really awesome stuff comes in the form of the new desktop amp and DAC (Digital Audio Converter). These two sleek looking devices are made from beautifully finished brushed aluminium and while they can be run separately you can hook the pair together to really reap the benefits of high-end headsets and headphones on your desktop. Improved signal quality and power delivery really makes a big difference and I’ll be taking a closer look at these products in the coming weeks for an in-depth review.

There is still more great things to see at the Silverstone booth as well as from the rest of the show here at CeBIT 2014, so well be back very soon with even more coverage from the show floor.

AMD To Bring Radeon Memory Product Line To Europe

Fudzilla reports that AMD will be bringing its Radeon Memory products to Europe after their relative success in the USA. AMD’s memory products are particularly important because it allows AMD to offer its partners more competitively priced AMD bundles which can now include motherboard chipsets, APUs, GPUs, CPUs and memory.

Memory is also becoming increasingly important for AMD as their focus turns to APUs. APUs scale incredibly well with increasing memory frequencies, so for AMD having their own high frequency memory is important. A second aspect is the AMD Memory Profiles (AMP) which is AMD’s answer to Intel’s XMP. AMD is still working hard with its motherboard partners to bring better AMP support and memory compatibility with AMD products. AMD will be offering Radeon R9 Gamer Memory with frequencies up to 2400MHz, these products are produced by Dataram but sold and tested by AMD. Expect AMD Radeon Memory kits to start turning up at European retailers any time now.

Image courtesy of AMD

Silverstone Release Desktop EB03S Desktop Headphone Amp and EB01-E Desktop DAC

For audiophiles, getting the most out of their high-end headphones is more than just about getting the best source or music format. High-end headphones often have higher resistance so if the equipment connected to them are subpar, the sound quality will suffer. With the Ensemble EB03, SilverStone aims to provide the power and quality necessary to unleash the full potential of headphones.

EB03’s excellent sound amplification is produced by its internal studio-quality IC (integrated circuit) with premium Op-amp, current buffer, and enhanced power delivery. For discerning users, it also has an extra bypass connection for use with an additional amplifier or receiver. Finished with classic aluminum design that defines SilverStone’s longstanding tradition of excellent metal works, the EB03 is the perfect companion to high quality headphones. Besides using the EB03 on its own, users may also pair it with SilverStone’s own similarly styled EB01-E DAC to create a great looking, and sounding computer audio system!

Special Features:

  • High quality DAC with improved performance
  • Classic SilverStone Ensemble exterior design
  • Easy one touch button for USB, optical or coaxial input
  • Support highest format of up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Utilizes premium XMOS XS1 TQ128 USB decoder for accurate sound reproduction
  • Includes TI PCM1798 D/A converter for producing high quality analog signal
  • Includes TI NE5532 OP amp for optimal analog output
  • Premium amplifier designed to deliver full sound to headphones
  • Classic SilverStone Ensemble exterior design
  • Extra RCA bypass connection included for easy pairing with additional device
  • Studio-quality IC with THAT 1646W16-U & 1512S14-U
  • Independent volume control knobec.18th.

The recommended End User price (excl. VAT): EB01-E 242,97 USD, EB03S 244,27 USD

Computex: Antec Mobile Products (A.M.P) Present New Speakers

Antec Mobile Products (A.M.P), manufacturer of consumer electronics and audio technology announced new A.M.P speaker models at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan.

At only 6 inches in length, the most powerful SP3 is designed to bring powerful audio to mobile lifestyles. The SP3 by A.M.P offers music lovers a feature filled portable speaker at an economical price. Integrated dBs1TM driver technology delivers a powerful bass experience while Bluetooth HD technology provides 33 feet of wireless connectivity. In addition to amazing audio, the SP3 contains a rechargeable battery for 8 hours of continuous playback, and instantly receives speakerphone calls at the touch of a button.

The model SPzero offers premium audio quality in a smaller, portable form factor. With eight hours of playtime and measuring only 86 mm x 57 mm x 94 mm (3.4 in x 2.2 in x 3.7), the SPzero allows music enthusiasts to move with their media. The SPzero pairs with any smartphone, laptop, or media player to create an audio experience to share with anyone, anywhere. Integrated dBs1TM high-response driver technology delivers powerful bass in a compact and portable size. In addition to phenomenal sound quality, the SPzero is capable of expanding its acoustic capability with a Daisy Chain Function which allows users to connect multiple SPzeros via auxiliary port. A.M.P’s SPzero also contains a speakerphone function for conference calls at the touch of a button.

With the ever expanding tablet and smartphone landscape, the SP1+ is the definitive portable solution that allows you to play your music on the go with wireless Bluetooth connectivity. The SP1+ portable Bluetooth speaker uses dBs1tm technology to bring stunning hi-fi audio in a small and portable package. It also contains an internal microphone for speakerphone functionality which activates at the touch of a button. This extension of the A.M.P portable speaker line includes features such as tap-to-pair NFC and dual connection. Simply pair your device with the SP1+ and get thirty feet (10m) of freedom, just press play.

The A.M.P wireless speakers improve the mobile experience by bringing music and games to life everywhere. Simply pair with any tablet, smartphone, laptop, or media player to share your music like never before.

Thank you Antec for providing us with this information

Image(s) courtesy of Antec at Computex 2013

Computex: Silverstone Display Their Latest HTPC Cases, Audio Products & More

Silverstone make some of the best compact PC solutions on the market and while they make a wide range of HTPC chassis, they are certainly not tied down to one thing. The DS380 (pictured above) is a mixture of a HTPC mini-ITX chassis, but it features 8 SAS/SATA hot swap bays that can be accessed from a key lock front panel, making this idea for a NAS based system. Those with extensive home networking requirements will love this.

The HTPC market is as popular as ever and Silverstone seem to have a solution for every setup, from TV wall mounts, multi monitor swing brackets,  there are 11 HTPC cases in this picture and many more out of shot. each one a different shape and size that will cater to just about any system configuration from silent running low power systems to high end gaming rigs.

For those that want their HTPC to be more suited to music, Silverstone now also produce these gorgeous headphone apllifiers, they look great but I personally can’t wait to really get stuck in and test these in a more suitable environment, aka not at a noisy trade show.

Silverstone even have a new Raven themed HTPC case and while it’s not going to be to every ones taste I rather like it, it makes a nice change from the usual flat fronted HTPC boxes.

It’s also quite large, as you can see, the mini-ITX board takes up about 1/4 of the chassis, leaving plenty of room for storage solutions and a full size ATX PSU.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Antec Mobile Product Bundle Winners Announced

Not too long ago, we hosted a competition in partnership with Antec to give away five a.m.p bundles of their latest products from the range, and we had a lot of interest from people all over the world wanting to win one of these amazing bundles, but sadly there can only be one winner per bundle and we have randomly chosen 5 lucky readers as our winners.

The prizes were as follows:

  • 1st Prize: SP1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker + PowerUp 3000 Portable Charger
  • 2nd Prize: SP1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  • 3rd Prize: SP1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  • 4th Prize: Gain Bluetooth Receiver + dBs In-Ear Headphones
  • 5th Prize: iso Active Noise Canceling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

The winners have been chosen as:

All winner(s) have been notified requesting address details for your prize(s) to be shipped out directly.

Antec Mobile Products A.M.P. dBs Headphone Review

Antec are one most established names in the PC component industry, well regarded for the chassis designs, CPU coolers and of course power supplies, but more recently they’ve been gaining a new reputation, one for mobile products and while it seems every company ever is bringing out a range of mobile products, Antec’s previous attempts stand out a little more than most.

There is no doubt that there is a mobile boom going on and while the current generation consumes mobile devices, there is little sign of the market slowing down any time soon, so it makes sense than companies like Antec would want to get in on the action. We’ve already taken a look at several Antec Mobile Products (AMP) in other reviews and you can check those out here and here (links open in new tab).

So with mobile well covered, high end mobile speakers, Bluetooth headsets and rechargeable USB hubs already ticked off, what about the more straightforward solution that is audio? Well that’s exactly what I’ll be looking at today with the Antec Mobile Products dBs headphones, a simple enough pair of in-ear headphones.

Priced at around £25.00 from most major online retailers, they’re not terribly cheap or expensive, but it’s still a fair investment for a set of good quality in-ear headphones. Silver, Grey, Green, Black and Pink editions are available, but the ones were looking at today are a very funky pink.

The dBs come nicely packed in a colour matching box, so in this case a pink box and there is little on the front other than the product name and a simple product photo.

The box folds out at the back for an international translation run down of the basic spec, nothing fancy really and mostly just marketing stuff.

In the box I found a couple of light booklets that cover use and warrant of the headphones, the headphones them selves and two extra pairs of ear buds, making three pairs in total, each of a different size to ensure you can get a good fit for your ear shape.

Also tucked away in the box is a simple clip, perfect for keeping the headphones pinned to your clothes, prevent them dragging on the floor if you take them out of your ears for a moment.

The ear buds are clear and made from a easily moulded rubber that provides a really nice fit, they’re also nicely shaped meaning they fit into your ear well and sit relatively flush thanks to the compact drivers. They’re close backed too and this helps block out external noise, but also prevents sound leak from the headphones.

The cable is colour matched to the headphones and features a nice high quality braided cable that joins onto a nice quality 3.5mm gold plated jack plug.

Performance

Obviously these being headphones they’re as simple as plug and play with any 3.5mm headphone jack socket. I did my initial testing on my PC and after an hour of listening to some of my favourite tracks I found these to be very favourable indeed. The bass is really rich and that’s obviously helped by the fact the drivers are of an in-ear design and I wasn’t expecting to be able to get as much low end thump from something within this price range. They hold up fairly well after a push on the lower EQ, with +6db at 70Hz really helping to thicken the sound, but anything more than that and things get washed out and distorted, which is pretty common for most any driver or speaker under a £100.

The high notes are really clear and while things are a little hollow in the mid ranges this is nothing that you won’t find on most any other in ear headphone, but the mixture of punch bass and clear high makes for a powerful sound that is well suited to everything from pop music to heavy metal. I took them out for a spin with my MP3 player too and I’ve found they’re well suited for audio books and podcasts, so all round a pretty versatile pair of headphones that shouldn’t let you down no matter what you listen to.

Final Thoughts

These aren’t the best headphones ever, they were never going to be, but they are however really good in their own right and for £25 you can do a lot worse and I doubt you could do much better on the same budget as things doing really get interesting in the in-ear headphone market until you get to prices well over double the price of the dBs.

The style is really nice too and while personally I’m not that fond of the pink set, they overall quality and finish on them is really nice. It’s all put together well, there are no loose components, the cable is nicely braided and that should keep it protected but also adds a nicely style touch and the colour matching of the drivers, cable and jack plug looks good too. There are plenty of decent colours to choose from and overall you should be able to find something that suits your style.

They’re versatile in terms of what music they can handle and the price is highly reasonable, but overall I guess I can’t really fault them, Antec promised really good quality headphones at a reasonable price and that is exactly what they delivered on, perfect for those who need a cool looking set of headphones that won’t let them down in terms of build quality or performance, making the dBs excellent value for money.

 

Win One of Five Antec Mobile Product Bundles

With mobile and lifestyle products changing the market as we currently know it, a lot of brands are keen to produce products that cater for this area. With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with Antec and their Antec Mobile Products department to give away some amazing prizes. We have  five lots of fantastic prizes up for grabs in this awesome competition.

1st Prize: SP1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker + PowerUp 3000 Portable Charger

2nd Prize: SP1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

 

3rd Prize: SP1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

4th Prize: Gain Bluetooth Receiver + dBs In-Ear Headphones

5th Prize: iso Active Noise Canceling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

To enter this competition, we have broken things down into four steps to make it easier than ever:

So that we get bigger and better competitions each time, why not also share this competition page on your own social media (Facebook, Twitter etc…)

Rules and regulations:

  • The competition is open WORLDWIDE!
  • The competition ends at midnight GMT on 13th May 2013 and winners will be notified within 7 days of the closing date
  • In the event of a dispute, eTeknix staff hold the final say and no discussions will be entered into
  • Delivery is not in the hands of eTeknix and can take some time to arrive
  • In the event that the prize is unavailable, eTeknix reserve the right to offer an alternative of equal or greater value
  • By entering this competition, you adhere to the above rules and regulations
  • Winner(s) will be announced on our competition winners page