Kanye West Being Sued Over Promises of Tidal Exclusive Album

Kanye West is not a new face when it comes to news and digital issues, with his latest album, the life of Pablo, pirated over half a million times while it was still an exclusive at Tidal. The problem for many was that Kanye had offered the album as an exclusive for Tidal, the online streaming service that he has invested in. The so-called exclusive has now led to Kayne West being sued over promises that it would be a Tidal exclusive album, promises that didn’t last very long.

Justin Baker-Rhett is a fan of musician Kanye West, but he is now at the center of a lawsuit targeted towards both Kanye West and S.Carter Enterprises (SCE), the company that owns the Tidal music streaming service.

The lawsuit alleges that the rapper mislead his fans into buying and supporting the streaming service by falsely promising that his album, the Life of Pablo, would only ever be available on Tidal. A month and a half later the album appeared on both Apple Music and Spotify, leading many to believe that his claims about the album being an exclusive were nothing more than false advertising to boost Tidal’s falling sales figures.

Tidal promises greater control and royalties to those that use it to share their music so it’s hard to see West’s tweet as nothing more than an attempt to get people to buy in and listen to it on the platform before realising that he might not get the following on Tidal, whose subscription numbers are reported to have jumped from 1 million to 3 million following the announcement.

BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


BIOSTAR might not be the most recognizable motherboard brand in western markets but their pedigree for creating reliable products is worthy of praise. When compared to MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS, the company struggles to entice consumers with unique aesthetic designs. Furthermore, the BIOS and software package has been sorely lacking and in dire need of change. Thankfully, BIOSTAR have acknowledged these criticisms and decided to forge a brand new range based upon a racing theme to please petrolheads with an avid interest in enthusiast hardware. Each RACING motherboard sports a chequered flag PCB and stylish LED illumination while introducing a new BIOS layout. Clearly, this is a major departure from BIOSTAR’s previous products which evoked a fairly mundane appearance.

The BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 is based on the mATX form factor and supports up to 64GB DDR4 with a maximum speed of 2133MHz. Intel’s H170 chipset blocks multiplier overclocking which means you have to resort to your processor’s default turbo frequency. Of course, there’s been some controversy surrounding BCLK overclocking on H170 and B150 motherboards to unofficially achieve boosts fairly close to traditional multiplier overclocking. Sadly, Intel has voiced their displeasure regarding this phenomenon and pressurized manufacturers to disable BCLK overclocking via a BIOS update. As a result, we have to rely on stock figures to determine the motherboard’s performance. Previously, I’ve seen some astounding results when it comes to storage with BIOSTAR products, and I’m interested to see if this trend continues.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Here we can see the absolutely stunning packaging which contains a carbon fibre inspired cover and vibrant text. This coincides with the RACING focus and feels quite reminiscent of a luxury sports car’s interior.

On the opposite side, there’s a detailed diagram showing the motherboard’s layout and explanation of its unique selling features. Once again, this is presented a superb manner and makes you inquisitive about the product’s specification.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard includes a user’s manual, Vivid LED DJ instructions guide, SATA cables, driver disk, and I/O shield.

The Music Industry Wants The Digital Copyright Law Reformed

First, we had live music, then we got vinyl records, then cassettes and CD’s and now we can enjoy our music anywhere we like in the palm of our hand thanks to Digital music. The problem is that being able to share and copy music so easily isn’t for everyone and the American music industry wants the Digital Copyright Law Reformed.

Why does someone want the Digital Copyright Law reformed? The American music industry argues that the approach of issuing takedown notices to people who upload content illegally just doesn’t work when combating the number of web addresses and options people have for uploading music. They claim that the safe harbor passages of the Digital Copyright Law actually protect those who benefit from piracy, such as google with its search engine and YouTube videos.

As part of the reform, the music industry is looking at technology like audio fingerprinting to spot piracy before something is even uploaded. They are also asking that a takedown notice for say a song on YouTube, would affect all illegal copies of the song on that site. While the music industry may argue that issuing takedown requests at the moment doesn’t help enough, Google would argue that after a recent study as many as 30 percent of the takedown requests they received were dodgy.

People currently argue that the Digital copyright law is a guilty-until-proven-innocent piece of legislation, that often ends up with videos and content that use music for legal reasons are flagged up on systems. Asking for copyright law to be reformed, especially around its safe harbor passages, could result in the law being relaxed, or entirely new measures being put in place to combat the onslaught of takedown requests sites and search engines receive for both genuine and ‘dodgy’ reasons.

Inateck Headphones Roundup Review

Introduction


Picking the right headphones can be quite tricky, but with a great range of versatile and reasonably priced headphones in their range, it seems the Inateck has got you covered. Today we’ll be taking a look at three of their latest sets, all of which come targeted at a slightly different part of the market. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help guide you in which ones offer the best performance, features and value for money to suit your own needs.

Inateck produces a huge range of products, such as mobile accessories, USB hubs, hard drive docks, laptop bags and so much more. They’ve had great reviews in the past and their brand continues to grow in popularity, so I’m looking forward to testing out these headphones today. In the eTeknix office, we have their new Aries Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphones (BH1101), the Taurus Wireless Sport Headset (BH1001) and the more affordable Wood In-ear Hi-Fi Headphone BH1105’s. They all have some a little unique about them too, so it’ll be interesting to see which  ones offer up the best options and performance overall given their respective price ranges and target audiences.

Aries Dynamic Driver Headphones

“Built in modern aluminum-housings and classic premium genuine wood, Inateck Aries BH1101 likes more like a work of art. 22 cored anti-oxidized cooper wire can better extend its service life. Furthermore, the PU Aluminum Foil cable makes it sturdy and tangle free.”

Wood In-ear Hi-Fi Headphone

“What is the most important thing to headphones? A well-rounded and clear sound! BH1105 is not only superbly balanced but also offers awesome bass, trebles and ear protection. The Zebra Wood pumps up your sound to an orchestral-like level. Bring a concert with you wherever you go.”

Taurus Wireless Sport Headphones

“Inateck Sport Bluetooth headset-BH1001 provides a comfortable, curved fit. Its magnetic design allows the two ear buds attract with each other, forming a circle that could hang on your neck to avoid falling down or losing when you finished exercising.”

The packaging on the headsets/headphones is pretty simple, with a minimal waste box and some stylish representations on the front.

Around the back, quite simple again and a few major specifications on the Aries and Taurus boxes.

HyperX Cloud Revolver Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


HyperX is one of the most instantly recognisable brands in the PC market today, and that’s no surprise given that they have produced many fantastic quality memory products that are in countless systems around the world. They took a dive into the world of peripherals a few years ago, releasing their much-praised Cloud headset, and later their Cloud II. Now HyperX is back again with what is set to be their greatest headset to date, the HyperX Cloud Revolver.

Studio-grade sound stage for a competitive edge.

“HyperX Cloud RevolverTM has a wider audio range that creates depth and width for improved audio precision. Get the competitive edge by hearing your opponents’ location more accurately, even when they’re further away. Re-engineered audio pro les create a larger sound stage that’s ideal for FPS and open-environment gameplay and for a concert hall-like experience when listening to music.” – HyperX

Equipped with high-performance 50mm drivers, HyperX memory foam padding, a detachable noise-cancellation microphone, multi-platform support and TeamSpeak, Discord, Skype, Ventrilo, Mumble and RaidCall certification, the HyperX Cloud Revolver is one of the best equipped headsets you’ll find, so let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

Specifications

Headphone

  • Driver dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Type circumaural, closed back
  • Frequency response 12Hz–28,000 Hz
  • impedance 30 Ω
  • Sound pressure level 104.5dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • THD < 2%
  • Input power rated 30mW, maximum 500mW
  • Weight 360g
  • Weight w/ mic 376g
  • Cable length and type headset (1m) + audio control box (2m)
  • Connection headset – 3.5mm plug (4 pole) + audio control box – 3.5mm stereo and mic plugs

Microphone

  • Element electret condenser microphone
  • Polar pattern uni-directional, noise-cancelling
  • Frequency response 50Hz–18,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity -40dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)

The packaging is nicely designed, with a great image of the headset on the front, as well as a quick rundown of the main features and supported devices.

Around the back, a quick rundown of the steel frame design, control box, detachable microphone and more.

The box has a slip cover, behind which you’ll find a durable presentation box.

In the box, you’ll find extensive foam padding with the headset stored nice and snug in the middle, as well as the control box.

Finally, you’ll find the control box comes with dual 3.5mm gold-plated headers, and a small in-line controller. There’s also a fully detachable noise-cancelling microphone with a durable boom and a good-sized head.

£500 Battery Opened – Contains Only £22 Worth of Batteries!

We’ve all had bad experiences with buying things, from ordering something online and never receiving it to misrepresenting a product to the point where you can sell something completely different from what people are expected to buy. This is even worse when the technology you use is something quite expensive, and replacement components costing quite a bit. At least, that seemed the case until Markus Fuller revealed a shocking secret via YouTube.

The Nagra VI (6) Digital recorder is used by a lot of people for recording everywhere including your favourite TV shows to the latest movies. In the video, you can see Fuller take off the case to reveal components that add up to £22 worth of batteries, which is terrible given that the model he takes apart would set you back £498.

If you ever wondered what £500 worth of batteries looked like the video may come as a bit of a disappointment as the small battery pack comes with just 6 batteries that are often used in laptops.

I don’t know about you but when you have to pay £500 for a replacement battery, you expect to receive at least a fraction of the cost to cover in the quality you receive.  With each battery only costing £3.75 each, replacing the whole pack in the replacement would cost you less than 5% of the cost they are charging you. What adds insult to injury is that in the pack he takes apart, only two of the batteries are “dead”, meaning that for £7.50 you can replace a battery pack that would cost you hundreds.

Imperia by Oswalds Reimagines Audio Speakers

The way audio is transmitted to the consumer has evolved over the past decade or so, from higher quality headphones, well, some brands more than others, to the diverse sound systems that have incorporated today’s modern MP3 players, Smartphone’s and also transformed the flat audio from paper-thin Televisions into a Cinema experience. Audio company OMA (Oswalds Mill Audio) have decided that modern speakers are just too rudimentary in their design and have therefore announced a product by the name of the “Imperia”.

Below is an image and also a summary of this eye-catching product.

  • The Imperia has a four-way horn system with a vertical array of conical horns covering 100 Hz to 20 kHz.
  • Two rear loaded subwoofer horns using a massive 21″ neodymium woofer handling 20 Hz-100 Hz.
  • A special OMA sub is 104db 1w/1m and is powered by its own solid state amplifier.
  • The system as a whole is extremely efficient at 105db 1w/1m and is entirely time aligned.
  • The 100hz and 300hz wooden conical horns are made from a choice of solid Pennsylvania Black Walnut, Cherry or Ash.
  • The Dimensions are H 86″ D 60″ (max depth at horn) W 41″ Base footprint 41″ x 41″

OMA have stated that they are the “only manufactures to use the straight-edged cone speaker design, this is due to the fact that such a design will not add to the sound wave deformity”

I know what you’re thinking, how much? Answer is too much when you consider this product is expected to retail for around $280,000 dollars (£191,744) The product is certainly unique and provides a new dimension to sound systems, but I think I will stick to my current audio setup for the time being until this design is available at a considerably cheaper price.

Roccat Announces Renga Stereo Gaming Headset

Roccat has rapidly gained an impressive range of products including keyboards, mice, headsets, and gaming surfaces. The company is renowned for manufacturing reliable peripherals while adopting a unique aesthetic design. This is achieved without impacting on affordability and there’s something to suit various price brackets. Furthermore, Roccat has an official League of Legends team and continues to help the eSports industry. Their latest creation is the Renga stereo gaming headset for the PC, PlayStation 4, mobiles, tablets and other devices. The headset opts for an over-ear design, and produces a premium audio experience.

More specifically, the Renga utilizes a high-end 50mm neodymium driver in each ear cup to provide crisp trebles and a deep powerful bass. Furthermore, the headset features a reinforced skeletal frame which adds a robust feel while remaining surprisingly light. On another note, there’s ventilated ear cups, an ergonomic headband, and plush ear cushions. This ensures the headset is comfortable for long durations and should be a great option for streamers. The in-line remote control provides quick access to commonly used sound settings and allows for on-the-fly no-look control. The bundled microphone apparently offers crystal clear recording and can easily switch between gaming and music playback. It’s also rotatable which means it should be fairly easy to find the optimal positioning.

René Korte, CEO and founder at ROCCAT described the new announcement and indicated this is just the first product in a new range:

“The Renga is the first of our newly-designed headsets built for just one use – the perfect stereo sound experience”,

“Lightweight, robustly built and compatible with almost any device, the Renga is the everyday gaming headset that comes with an affordable price tag, without making compromises in quality.” 

 

 

The ROCCAT Renga will be available in late February with a suggested retail price of 49,99 Euro/USD. This is an excellent price when you consider the features and Roccat warranty.

New Kingston Cloud Revolver Headset @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Kingston are already a popular choice for PC gamers, after the massive success of their Cloud and Cloud II gaming headsets. Now they’ve back with a completely new design, the HyperX Cloud Revolver headset, and this time, it’s a fully Kingston designed headset, no help from other parties such as QPAD.

The design certainly looks great, and the headset feels like a premium product and well ballanced. Equipped with new 50mm drivers, Kington promise they’ve finally made a Cloud beater, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The headband design is self adjusting for the perfect fit every time.

And there’s a soft leather padding for excellent noise suppression on the interior of the ear cups. Other than that, you can find a new microphone, which is said to be even better than the old one, so it’s certainly something we’re looking forward to testing later this year.

The new headset is expected to launch in Q2, with an RRP of $120 and $150 for the 3,5mm and USB versions resectively.

EVGA Showcase High-end AMP & DAC @ CES 2016

CES 2016: EVGA are taking a dive into the world of high-end desktop audio this year, as they demonstrated the prototype of their next-gen audio card! As you can see, we’ve go ta range of high-end gold caps on there, for squeeky clean power delivery, as well as an on-board AMP and DAC. It also looks like the DAC chips are interchangeable, although I’m not sure if that is going to be a remaining feature on the retail product, it would be nice for the enthusiast user to have that option.

The demo units and I can’t stress that enough, those red boxes are just that, demo units for the cards external USB version. They sounded absolutely fantastic, and the clarity and power delivery is up there with the best and you can bet we’ll be pushing this card to the limit as soon as retail samples are available. With a signal to noise ratio of 130Db, Japanese Rubycon caps, Italian made resistors and a little help from Audio Note on the design front, it’s no wonder they’re sounding great.

Are you a fan of high-end audio equipment, or are you happy with the on-board audio from your desktop? Let us know in the comments section below.

New Creative Audio Products Demonstrated @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Creative are one of the most recognisable audio brands in the PC market, and their latest products at CES 2016 prove exactly why that is.

First up, their new Blaster X headset, which looks a little like the Cloud 2 headset from Kingston, but thanks to a powerful amp module, it sounds far superior to virtually anything else in its class. The build quality is exceptional, it’s super comfortable and better yet, it’s multi-format ready.

Their new in-ear P5 headset is another winner, with titanium-coated diaphragms, FullSpectrum drivers, noise isolation, this is some seriously audiophile grade tech that will simply blow you away. And once again, they’re multi-format ready.

We didn’t get chance to test these, but as you can see, the Live!2, Aurvana Gold and the Aurvana Platinum are some of their latest premium grade headsets, and we’re really looking forward to testing them later in the year.

A range of mobile speakers, featuring premium build quality and promising great sound. We didn’t get to test them, but if they’re on par with the other products we’ve seen from them recently, they’re going to be pretty special.

Need something that can really kickstart the party? The Roar Pro has all the extra grunt you’re likely to need.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to explore all the new products or demo everything, but we’ve reached out to Creative to bring you some great product reviews in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for more info on these products are they hit the market.

More iPhone 7 Details

Every year we see another selection of technology released, sometimes contain new technologies and sometimes old technologies are continued into the next selection of hardware released. One market that keeps moving forward is the mobile market and Apple looks to continue with its iPhone 7. With rumours about it being waterproof spreading, it was only a matter of time before we got more iPhone 7 details, something we now have.

A source that is said to have had knowledge of the plans detailed several features that have long been rumoured. The big one will be that the iPhone 7 will come without the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and will instead use a propriety headphone jack built into the lightning port and created in collaboration with Wolfson Microelectronics. With rumours flying around since their patent application for the new headphone connection, the new system is said to feature noise-cancelling technology created by Wolfson Microelectronics both within the phone and the headphones themselves in order to help reduce background noise. The source continued to say that other companies would need to buy a licence to use the technology within their own models.

The source states that they are also putting in wireless charging technology (after considering it in their last two iPhones) into the iPhone 7, alongside the new waterproof status that its said to carry.

While it is still several months before the phone begins production, many iPhone users will no doubt worry about the need to buy expensive headphones or an adapter in order to listen to music on their iPhone without wireless headphones.

Harmon Kardon Expands Omni Wireless Speakers Range @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Since the arrival of the Sonus wireless music system, audio manufacturers including Bose and Harmon Kardon have been trying to offer a legitimate alternative. Harmon Kardon’s Omni range of wireless speakers has just received a substantial update and now includes the Omni 10+, Omni 20+ and Omni 50+. Additionally, the company is producing the OmniBar+ soundbar and Adapt+ accessory which allows you to setup multi-room speaker configurations with your existing hardware. The speakers also support audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz and capable of streaming music from popular services like Google Cast. On another note, the speakers incorporate Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and standard audio out connectors.

Pricing starts from $199 for the Omni 10+ all the way up to $999 for the OmniBar+. This is quite an expensive proposition although high end audio solutions usually incur a hefty cost.

MQA High-End Audio Demonstrated @ CES 2016

CES 2016: New formats come and go, but MQA is quickly gaining in popularity in the industry. The new audio tech was demonstrated using the HTC One M9, which showed the Master Quality Authenticated format as a proof of concept here at CES.

The sound quality is certainly amazing, but it’s something that has to be heard to really appreciate. Of course, we’re not the only ones that agree, as 7digital, HQM, Onkyo, Tidal and more are looking to push the MQA tech to the public throughout 2016.

The tech delivers an end to end process, allowing master quality audio from one end that comes in a file size small enough for streaming or downloading.

We’re eager to see what comes from this tech and for more people to hear what it has to offer. Stay tuned, because 2016 may be the year for a big change in high-end formats!

Raumfeld Adds Google Cast And SoundCloud Support to Wi-Fi Speakers @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Raumfeld is one of the most respected audio companies in the world and renowned for creating beautiful wireless speakers which sound absolutely phenomenal. Their range spans across various sizes and designed for use with a home cinema setup. The majority of Televisions exhibit tinny, lifeless speakers which have a dull complexion even at prices in excess of $1000. As a result, dedicated soundbars which fit on top of a TV’s stand is an essential purchase for people targeting the best possible experience. In this particular field, Raumfeld are masters and constantly striving to manufacturer the highest grade of speakers around. While talking at great length about the company and their products, I inspected the workmanship of a number of speakers and was completely in awe of the build quality.

Not only that, Raumfeld is adding Google Cast support which allows users to stream music from popular apps such as Pandora and Google Play. On another note, SoundCloud functionality is also on its way and enhances the flexibility of Raumfeld’s product range

Max Boit, general manager at Raumfeld said in a press release:

“Raumfeld prides itself on manufacturing streaming speakers that sound as good as traditional premium hi-fi speakers,” 

“The integration of Google Cast allows us to offer the same hi-fi sound quality and the convenience of multi-room from a vastly expanded range of sources.”

Sadly, due to the nature of CES’s show floor, I wasn’t able to listen to the speakers although Raumfeld invited me to a private showing and we will be sure to provide an update on our thoughts.

https://youtu.be/at8gA-BNMDE

Marshall Demos Audio Line-Up @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Marshall is one of most prestigious names in audio founded in 1960 and produces some of the finest guitar amplifiers ever made. Not so long ago, the company launched their own smart phone with exceptional audio quality and according to their PR rep has plans to create a unique VR experience which allows you to enter legendary studios like Abbey Road. During CES 2016, Marshall showcased their existing portable audio range.

Here we can see the fantastic Killburn speaker which has a warm, signature Marshall sound while looking absolutely breathtaking. Pictures really don’t do the product justice and I fell in love with the leather and creme design.

The Major II is Marshall’s revised wireless version of the original Major headphones which utilize custom 40mm drivers, and a detachable USB cable. In terms of pricing, the product is available for around the $90 mark but I wasn’t able to try it out with some audio content.

Here is a brief rundown of the headphones’ connectivity options and unique selling point according to the manufacturer.

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?

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H7 Prioritizes Battery Life

Bang & Olufsen’s heritage in the audiovisual market is astounding and continues to produce stylish high-end solutions. Some time ago, the Danish designer introduced the H6 and H8 range featuring a beautifully stitched calf leather headband, lambskin ear pads and aluminium frame. The H8 added wireless functionality containing a battery capacity of around 14 hours.

The BeoPlay H7 is a cheaper, over-ear version of the H8 which opts for an increased battery life of 20 hours. This was achieved by removing active noise cancellation technology and focusing on the headphone’s raw signature sound. The H7 hasn’t been scaled back in any other way and still utilizes the highest-grade of materials include memory foam ear cushions.

On another note, the ear-cups contain a touch sensitive control pad which allows you to adjust the volume, play/pause and cycle between tracks. In terms of pricing, the H7 is available to purchase for £329.99 directly from Bang & Olufsen’s store. Interestingly, this is an identical price to the wired H6.

Currently, there is only one basic colour scheme in traditional black leather. Although, I expect to see some limited editions and more ostentatious designs. As someone who has used the H6, I can highly recommend them in terms of comfort and sound quality.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information. 

Corsair Void USB Dolby 7.1 RGB Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


The latest range of Corsair headsets launched recently and they’ve already blown us away with their impeccable build quality and performance. The Corsair VOID Dolby 7.1 Wireless is by far one of the best headsets we’ve ever tested and to make it even sweeter, it was priced under £100. Of course, wireless isn’t ideal for every user, so naturally Corsair pushed to make a USB version too, giving you all the thrills, without the ticking timer of the battery or signal issues; not that we had issues with either in our testing of course.

“Enter the VOID—the innovative family of advanced gaming headsets from Corsair. Whether you choose wireless, USB, or stereo powered audio gear, you will always be one step ahead of your enemies. With fast forward design, spectacular fidelity, and innovative features like InfoMic and CUE Control, Corsair VOID gaming headsets enable you to command and control your gaming soundscape without hitting pause.” – Corsair

The USB version is pretty much the same headset as the wireless, albeit a little lighter as it doesn’t need a battery, so it doesn’t need charging or the required charging cable either. It offers two powerful 50mm drivers, the very impressive Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound technology, one of the first consumer virtual surrounds that I think is comparable to dedicated drivers. You’ll also find the InfoMic, Clue Control RGB lighting and more!

Corsair is really proud of what they have created and if the Stereo and Wireless models are anything to go by, they’ve every right to be. Check out the video below as Corsair gives you a bit of background on what went into creating their new headsets.

There’s not a lot in the box, just a few documents and the headset, but in all honesty, this is everything you’re going to need.

Kensington SD4000 Universal USB 3.0 Docking Station with 4K UHD Review

Introduction


For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops.

While a docking station like this would work with any system and as such isn’t limited to portable ones, it will be a rare scenario that someone will connect it to their desktop. That said, it could still provide some beneficial uses there too.

While most laptop manufacturers also provide docking stations for some of their models, they are usually very expensive and only compatible to very few models. The use of a universal docking station like this opens a lot more options and best of all, you can take it with you to any other system that you might upgrade to in the future.

The Kensington SD4000 Universal Docking Station connects to your system via a single USB 3.0 host port and in return it offers you three USB 3.0 connectors, a DVI port, a DisplayPort or HDMI, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and headset connections. Those are all useful connections to have, especially on ultrabooks and netbooks that barely have any native connections at all anymore.

The Docking Station doesn’t just serve as USB hub, it also enables 4K Ultra HD resolutions, even when your laptop doesn’t have a graphics card that supports these resolutions. You can connect a single 4K monitor or TV via an HDMI or DisplayPort connection for Ultra HD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

4K Ultra HD resolution sadly only works with one monitor connected, but you can run up to 2K when using dual monitors. Ideal for users not ready to make the transition to 4K, this option can support the typical two-monitor setup with 1920 x 1200 and 2048 x 1152 resolution for each screen.

Speedy charging for power hungry devices such as tablets is also supported thanks to the 2.1 AMP fast charging USB port labeled with an extra lightning character. The Gigabit Ethernet port is also one that’s often missing on netbooks as they rely solely on wireless.

Features

  • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840×2160) to one monitor via an HDMI cable or DisplayPort connection
  • Enables 4K UHD even if laptop does not have 4K graphics card
  • 2K resolution (1920×1200/2048×1152) for two-monitor setup via DisplayPort or HDMI/DVI
  • 3 universal USB 3.0 ports for seamless productivity with your accessories
  • 2.1A fast charging port to power up a tablet or smartphone
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity to the Internet
  • Includes speaker port, microphone jack, Kensington Security Slot
  • Compatible with Windows 8.1/8/7

Specifications

  • UPC: 085896339830
  • Best For: Convertible and 2-in-1 Laptops, Laptops, Ultrabooks, Windows Tablets
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Connections: 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet (LAN) Female, Host Interface: USB 3.0, Host upstream link: USB (B Type)
  • Female, HUB downstream link: USB (A Type) Female
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Features: Extended Display, Kensington Security Slot, Mirrored Display, Power Indicator (Blue), USB Hub Link
  • Indicator (Green)
  • Dimensions: 7.71” x 3.34” x 1.08” (19.5 cm x 85 cm x 2.75 cm)

Packaging and Accessories

The package of the SD4000 Universal Docking Station comes in s a simple yet elegant wrapping. It shows what it does on the front without much extra.

The rear of the package explains what type of connectors it has, what’s in the box, and what it is compatible with. Everything you’ll want to know before you purchase.

Inside the box, we find a power supply with both an EU and UK replaceable plug, a setup guide, a USB cable to connect it and the docking station itself.

Google Announce Second Generation Chromecast And More

A few weeks ago we discussed the possibility of Google announcing and releasing their second generation of the popular streaming hardware Chromecast. It would seem like those rumours have been put to rest with the official announcement of several pieces of hardware today.

Google Chromecast allows you to stream your media to any TV as long as it has an HDMI port to plug the Chromecast into and a USB port to power it. It would seem they want to take its strengths and make it better with the Chromecast 2. Now available in black, orange or yellow the new Chromecast is circular in design and supports 5GHz WiFi for that even faster connection, allowing you to stream 1080p with greater ease. Atop the new design the USB is now at the end of a cable, where the previous Chromecast plugged directly into the HDMI port, sometimes making it difficult to use surrounding  ports or even plugging the Chromecast in. To help even more the new Chromecast will even feature 3 antenee which will be automatically selected and adapted to give you the best signal for streaming and recieving at any moment.

Alongside the Chromecast 2, Google have announced the Chromecast Audio, pictured above on the rights. A streaming device spercifically for your audio. Using the same principles that made the original Chromecast your favourite Google hope to catch your attention again with the Chromecast audio. With the ability to use either optical or standard headphone connections you can plug the Chromecast audio into almost anything with a sound input and have your phone stream your favourite songs from across the room.

Thank you Ars Technica and Tech Crunch for the information.

Image courtesy of Tech Crunch.

CM Storm Pitch Pro Gaming Earphones Review

Introduction


Gaming headsets are an important part of most people’s gaming setup, be that on a mobile device, games console or desktop computer. Sure, headphones and headsets can often bring you closer to the games audio, allowing you to get lost in the digital world of your choosing, but they’re also great for being able to turn the volume up, without bothering everyone else within range; such as a sleeping SO. They’re also a fairly importantcomponent in team chat, something that’s vital in many team-based shooters, MMOs and MOBA style games.

“Gamers love to travel. Whether you’re trudging through a war torn battlefield, farming creeps in the jungle, or going on a business trip to close that deal, the Pitch Pro in-ear headset is all you need. Great sound, high-quality microphone, and compatible with nearly all smartphones, desktops, and laptops – bundled all in a package that fits in your pocket.” – CM Storm

Of course, where the Pitch Pro differs the most from many headsets is the size, these are ear buds, rather than over-ear, meaning they’re extremely portable. For anyone that travels with a gaming laptop, plays games on their phone, tablet, or takes their PC to LAN gaming events, having something compact and portable is certainly going to be appealing; it’ll be interesting to see how they perform given the compact size.

The specifications are promising, big drivers, at least for a set of in-ear buds, an omni-directional microphone, good sensitivity, a 1.2m cable and gold-plated jackplugs. Now, let’s go and take a closer look at exactly what you get for your money from this new headset.

The headset is compact, so too is the packaging. A tidy little presentation box that gives you a good view of all the major components.

The box opens out, giving you a little technical information on the frequency response compared to that of the original Pitch headset.

In the box, you’ll find a nice assortment of goodies. There’s a warranty card, 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole adapter for desktop use, a split adaptor, two extra sets of different size ear buds, with a third set coming pre-installed on the drivers, and finally, a protective carry pouch.

The adaptor is of a good quality and vital for use on a desktop computer that requires separate channels for the microphone and headphones. The headset is designed to work with mobile devices as standard, meaning you can use it to make hands-free calls on your phone and similar devices.

The headset comes with a hard-wired microphone, which also features a built-in control button, perfect for answering calls without having to reach for the handset.

The drives are quite large, but surprisingly lightweight thanks to the main chamber being constructed for lightweight aluminium. They’re also pretty stylish, mixing matte finish and chrome finish materials, as well as that lovely red highlight on the back with the CM Storm logo.

The cable designed to be tangle free thanks to its flat design and soft rubber coating. Overall, the cable is lightweight but feels remarkably durable; pretty much what you would want from such a unit. The connector on the headset is gold-plated, just like the connectors on the included cable adapters.

The ear-buds are quite tricky to remove and install, but removing them does mean you can clean and maintain them easier, as well as swap them out for different size buds to help tailor the fit to your own preferences.

Second Generation of Chromecast Rumoured For Announcement Next Month

Google have announced several big products in the past, ranging from the high-end Google Glass to the low-end, as well as innovations such as the modular smartphone Ara. One of their more successful pieces of technology has been the Chromecast, and it is set for a new generation with rumours spreading stating that the next version could be announced as soon as next month.

Chromecast is a small dongle and from the looks of it, you would expect not much, but the small device packed a big punch and was in many was a forerunner to the generation of home media streaming. The original Chromecast supported features such as streaming Twitch and a whole host of apps, including Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. By turning any TV is a wireless streaming device for pictures, movies and online content the Chromecast quickly became popular.

The next generation looks to improve on this according to files found by 9to5Google. The documents indicate that not only will the next version contain improved Wifi and a slew of new features, of which “Fast Play” seems to be designed for streamlining connecting your devices in a quick and simple fashion.

The new Chromecast seems to also support something titled Chromecast Audio, a system where you can connect Chromecast to your speakers by auxiliary cord. With multi-room support and “high-quality” sound, the new Chromecast could see you streaming your party music all over your house.

With more and more features being added and upgrades like this, the Chromecast could quickly become my go to device for streaming any media content. What about you, do you stream media content in your home? Would you be looking at a Chromecast or do you avoid media streaming?

Thank you The Verge for the information. 

Image courtesy of Youtube user Marques Brownlee.

Corsair Gaming VOID RGB Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset

Introduction


The latest Corsair gaming headset is here at last and like many Corsair headsets we’ve seen in the past, it’s set to be a must-have, premium grade product. Corsair teamed up with the design team at BMW with the aim of creating one of the most functional and extremely comfortable headsets on the market. When you’re wearing your headset for many hours while you’re gaming, comfort is obviously an important factor, so it’s an aspect of this headset that I’m eager to test out.

The Void isn’t just about style and comfort, as Corsair has packed a lot of cool features to make this headset not only look, but also perform like a premium headset. You’ll find InfoMic & CUE control, ergonomic ear cups, RGB lighting, powerful 50mm drivers, a noise-cancelling microphone, high-end wireless technology and more!

  • Dolby 7.1 multi-channel surround delivers lethally accurate positional audio
  • RGB lighting for individual customization or synchronization with other Corsair RGB devices
  • CUE Control enables rapid on-the-fly audio adjustments
  • InfoMic LEDs relay instant visual status of audio and mic settings
  • Efficient 50mm neodymium drivers deliver staggering bass, scintillating highs, and powerful lows
  • Microfiber-wrapped memory foam ear pads for extended play
  • Unidirectional noise-cancelling microphone makes gamers’ voices loud and clear
  • Wireless USB extension dock (VOID Wireless SE only)

Check out the video below for a quick run-down of some of the features and design aspects of the headset.

As you can see from the packaging, we have the Void RGB Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset at our disposal today, this is the top model of the range, so we’re expecting great things from it today. The packaging is nicely designed, with all the major specifications detailed on the front, as well as a nice image of the headset.

Around the back, a more detailed run-down of the features, such as the microfiber/memory foam earpads, 2.4Ghz Wireless technology, and Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, such as the manual and warranty guide.

There’s a high-quality USB cable, which is used for charging the headset, as well as a cool looking USB dongle for the wireless connectivity.

Asus Unveils Trio of Strix Sound Cards

Asus has announced three dedicated PCI-E sound cards which output 7.1-channel surround sound and 192kHz/24-bit audio. The Strix Raid DLX, Strix Raid Pro and Strix Soar feature Perfect Voice noise cancellation to enhance the immersion factor during tense, atmospheric games. Asus’ flagship card is the Strix Raid DLX which utilizes a ESS SABRE9016 digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and provides the world’s leading performance 32-bit and 24-bit audio. Furthermore, the Strix Raid DLX is capable of an incredible 123dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

The Strix Raid Pro and Strix Soar focus on the gaming market and include a ESS SABRE9006A DAC for pure, full-sounding audio with an impressive 116dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Low-dropout (LDO) regulators and Hi-Fi-grade Nichicon FineGold, Nichicon Muse, and German WIMA capacitors ensure optimized power delivery. All 3 models contain an integrated 600-ohm headphone amplifier to enhance the audio production in high-end equipment. Here is a complete rundown of the software package:

Instant in-game audio adjustment with Raid Mode
Strix Raid Mode lets gamers with Strix Raid DLX and Strix Raid Pro sound cards save their favorite audio adjustments into custom presets that they can instantly turn on or off with the dedicated Raid button on the included soundcard audio control box. This powerful feature ensures gamers will never miss a single moment of gaming action by having to pause their game and open software to adjust their audio settings. The audio control box also has a convenient control knob that lets users adjust the volume and the Raid Mode intensity level, while also doubling as an output-selector button to switch between headphones and speakers.

Simple audio configuration with Sonic Studio
Strix Raid DLX, Strix Raid Pro, and Strix Soar sound cards come with Sonic Studio, the next-generation sound utility from ASUS that provides gamers complete control over their sound card’s audio features. It features a beautiful, intuitive interface that groups a wide range of audio-adjustment functions together logically, making Sonic Studio both powerful and easy to use. Unlike typical audio utilities with multi-screen interfaces that make configuration complicated and time-consuming, Sonic Studio has an elegant all-in-one view that puts all the necessary controls on a single screen to make adjustments fast and easy for users.

The Sonic Studio interface groups key audio controls together based on function, making features easy to find and configuration error-free. The Audio Enhancement group features tools for fine-grained audio control, including an equalizer for adjusting the gain of specific frequencies, Bass Boost for deeper, more pronounced bass, Voice Clarity for making speech stand out more prominently in games and movies, and Compressor to adjust audio dynamic range. The Tuning group lets headphone listeners enable virtual surround-sound and configure the spaciousness of the effect using virtual adjustments of speaker placement and reverb. Finally, the Mic tuning group contains microphone configuration tools and features the Perfect Voice control. Designed for multiplayer gaming where communicating with teammates is especially important, Perfect Voice reduces background noise – such as keyboard and mouse clicks as well as people talking nearby – in speech signals to ensure clear, in-game voice communication.

Sonic Studio also includes controls for Sonic Radar Pro, a unique feature that precisely maps in-game sounds – such as footsteps and gunshots – and displays them on an on-screen overlay, so gamers can pinpoint their enemies for a competitive advantage in first-person shooters.

Do you use a dedicated sound card?

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information. 

Inateck MercuryBox Bluetooth Speaker & Mobile Products Review

Introduction


Inateck is a brand name I’m seeing more and more recently. While they don’t make a lot of big products, such as PC cases and graphics cards, which we see plenty of here at eTeknix, they do make a lot of smaller lifestyle products that many of use day-to-day. From mobile devices, to desktop computers, Inateck has an interesting range of accessories and products to help improve your usage experience. Today we’re going to be looking at their very promising MercuryBox Bluetooth Speaker, but Inateck were also kind enough to send us their new 2-Port Rapid Charger and a nifty waterproof bag (more interesting than it sounds).

First up, let’s take a look at those cool little accessories. The first is the Inateck 2-Port Rapid Car Charger, which is pretty much what it sounds like, it’s a car cigarette lighter adaptor that provides you with a couple of USB sockets; but there’s also a nifty little extra!

In the box, you’ll find a fairly straight forward Micro-USB cable, perfect for connecting your smartphone, SatNav, dashcam, etc.

The actual unit is really compact and the back is slim, so it won’t stick out of your dashboard too much.

The cool part, however, is that it comes with a hard-wired lightning cable, giving you room to charge an Apple device while keeping the two USB ports free!

Even better, both ports are rapid charging 2.1A ports, always a welcome bonus.

Onto the next funky accessory, the Inateck Waterproof case. This is a simple one, it’s a 100% waterproof sleeve, which is perfect for your smartphone, but Inateck also say you could use it for money, documents, medication and all kinds of stuff. This isn’t something you’re going to need every day, but if you’re on holiday and want to jump in the sea with your kids, it could be the difference between a soaking wet phone and a dry one.

It’s pretty easy to use, come with a neck strap and while it may not look like the coolest thing on Earth, it’ll get the job done. It’s also amazingly lightweight and slim, so keeping it in your bag shouldn’t be a problem.

Samsung Announces Premium Wireless Pro Headphones

Samsung has expanded its headphone range into the luxury market to compete with designer fashion brands such as Beats. The Level On Wireless Pro features dual 40mm drivers to produce a rich, warm and premium-grade UHQA sound. This means the headphones are capable of sound quality higher than a CD’s Bit-rate and embellishes the qualities of SACD or similar formats. Additionally, the sound is directed through Active Noise Cancellation to eliminate background noise

In terms of build quality, the headphones contain a memory foam cushion which enhances comfort and makes them easier to withstand for long periods. However, the plastic housing, and “LEVEL” branding on the cups is pretty horrid and looks quite cheap. Although, I’ve always believed the same about Beats headphones and they remain ridiculously popular among a certain demographic.

 

Another inclusion is Samsung’s Smart Touch technology which allows you to adjust the volume and cycle between tracks directly on the headphones. This isn’t too exciting considering most headphones utilize an in-line remote. Possibly the most interesting development is the Talk-In Mode. This disables the noise cancellation and lets you experience background noises to increase safety as you walk across busy roads. The battery life revolves around BlueTooth 4.1 and is predicted to last up to 18 hours of standard play time.

While these headphones have a place in the audio market, I’m clearly not the target customer. For me audio quality is paramount and I’ve been using Bang & Olufsen headphones for some time. However, Samsung believes they can encourage enough people to move from Beats to their “LEVEL” brand and only time will tell.