Razer Reveals Updated Hammerhead In-Ear Headsets

Razer has decided to update its Hammerhead Pro V2 headset and Razer Hammerhead V2 in-ear headphones, which are some of the brand’s most appreciated accessories. Both of these products now feature an improved chassis, which was CNC milled from aircraft-grade aluminum, as well as new flat-style cables that are perfect for music listening sessions and mobile gaming. Razer Hammerhead products are known for their exceptional bass output, and these new headsets are no exception as they boast extra-large 10 mm dynamic drivers that are 20 percent larger when compared to their predecessors.

The Hammerhead Pro V2 includes three quick-action control buttons on its in-line microphone, which is 100% compatible with iOS or Android gadgets. Sound isolation is ensured by an optional bi-flange attachment and three ear tip sizes while a splitter cable facilitates connections with devices that have dedicated audio and microphone jacks. As for the Hammerhead V2, it incorporates all of the Pro V2’s features apart from the in-line mic and controls. When it comes to pricing, the Pro V2 will set you back EUR 79.99 or USD 69.99, while the simpler V2 costs EUR 59.99 or USD 49.99. Below you will find a complete list of specifications for these new Razer products. Would you consider purchasing them, or do you think that they’re too expensive considering their feature set?

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.

Sony’s Future Lab Shows Off First Prototypes

It hasn’t been long since they revealed their Future Lab program, a research and development-focused part of the company that would show off its prototypes in order to get input from the public. At SXSW, the department showed off some of their first prototypes including the rumored “Project N” wearable device.

N can be described as a neck-worn version of the Amazon Echo, admittedly with a few extra features. Like most voice-activated digital assistants, it is triggered by a phrase, in this case, “Listen up Arc!” and will await your commands, as well as synchronizing with a mobile phone for location data. Currently, it is able to tell you the weather, give you local news, local restaurant info as well as taking a photograph via a built-in camera that is hidden when not in use. It can even play audio back to the wearer in a limited zone around their head using directional speakers on the device though the quality isn’t excellent. For better audio quality, the Future Lab has you covered, offering “open-ear earphones”, which move the driver out of the way of the ear canal, providing audio through a small tube into the ear while also allowing external sound to be heard.

Other prototypes on show include two types of projectors. The first is a touch screen projector intended to be mounted above tables which turns them into interactive surfaces able to be controlled in 3 dimensions. The second was an aimable projector that can be directed to any point along a wall using a black wand-like device. The projector even contained an array of speakers able to make it sound like the source was the location that the image was projected.

Lastly was a controller with inbuilt advanced haptic feedback. The demo on show was simply a ball viewed through a touchscreen, however when the controller was tilted and turned, the user can “feel” the ball move around as if it really existed inside the device. While less exciting than the other prototypes, it seems like a solid choice for a feature to integrate into the next Playstation controller.

It is great to see a technology company willing to show off their prototypes so early on in their development, and the future of any of these products isn’t assured and may rest in the hands of the feedback they receive. We can only begin to dream what crazy technology Sony will dream up next.

Say Hello to the Headphones That Know Who You Are

We’ve all heard that we need to improve our security. Remember your password? Are you absolutely certain you remember every single password you need to remember? How about your fingerprint? Sure someone can’t use playdough to trick your fingerprint sensor? What about headphones that know who you are?

While this may sound stupid the science behind the idea is sound. Every ear is unique, very much the same way we have unique fingerprints or eyes. By using the way sound resonated within your ear canal, the headphones create a unique sound, something that can be measured and compared.

Reported to have 99% accuracy and only taking a second to do the measurements needed, listening to all that music may actually help you unlock your phone. The system is praised by the general manager of NEC saying that as it doesn’t “require particular actions such as scanning a part of the body over an authentication device” it would enable “a natural way of conducting continuous authentication”.

This solution may be a few years out though with the company behind it, NEC, saying that they are looking to commercialize the system for the 2018 fiscal year. So looking forward to listening to music while you bank? Take your headphones out to talk to someone and your phone will start to doubt if you truly are who you say you are.

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.

Orfeo Demos Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headsets @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Noise cancelling headphones are an essential purchase for commuters to reduce environmental noise and make their journey more enjoyable. However, it can be quite troublesome to deaden extremely loud noise or a build-up of background audio in large crowds. Orfeo might not be most recognizable company in the portable audio sector, but they’ve received a great deal of acclaim for the custom designed InnerMic technology.  This intriguing invention works by inserting a microphone into the earphones to distinguish between voices and outdoor interference. To showcase this, Orfeo demoed the Infinite headset during a traditional phone call and clapped in close proximity to the handset to demonstrate the noise isolation capacities. Despite injecting such a sudden, sharp noise, there was no deterioration in call quality whatsoever!

Orfeo have also created two smaller SKUs, the Voice is a Bluetooth mono headset designed primarily for communication purposes, and the perfect tool for Uber/Taxi drivers to communicate with customers. On another note, the Oreo Sign adopts a very thin form factor without compromising on audio deadening and create for fitness fanatics. This is fantastic as jogging outside usually has a large background noise.

In terms of pricing, the top-end model is estimated to cost around $130-140, but the product hasn’t been completely finalized yet. However, it’s pretty near to completion and entering the retail market.

What do you think of Orfeos new line-up?

World’s First Consumer Custom Fit Wireless Earphones Hit $1m on Kickstarter

Earphones, while compact and convenient, don’t get along with everyone. The generic moulds that accompany most consumer in-ear headphones do not fit everybody, and the few custom fit options that are available are prohibitively expensive for most, costing upwards of $1,000/£1,500. A recent Kickstarter, though, hopes to bring a cheaper alternative to traditional custom methods with the Revol Quick Custom-Fit Wireless Earphones.

The Revol – which at time of writing has smashed its $100,000 goal, raising $1,514,008 with seven days still to run – uses a moulding technique to create a perfect fit for your ear that you yourself control, using a companion phone app. The moulding process takes just 60 seconds, leaving the nano-composite gel ergonomically shaped to fit your ear.

The Early Bird Specials have now sold out, so if you’d like to support the Kickstarter and get yourself a pair of Revol Quick Custom-Fit Wireless Earphones, you will need to pledge at least $199. While hardly an insignificant amount of money, the Revol is certainly cheaper than other custom fit earphone options.

For that money, you will receive:

“A pair of Revols earphones (choice of black or white) + 2 sets of molding tips + 1 carrying case + 1 Revive battery pack + 1 charging cable + 2 sports skins (black or white & Kickstarter green) + 2 cable management discs.”

The Revol Quick Custom-Fit Wireless Earphones are slated to ship to Kickstarter backers from June 2016. There is no news yet on a consumer edition being launched.

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. 

Apple Set to Screw Users With Proprietary Earphone Jack

In an effort to corner the market on everything that interacts with its devices, Apple has filed a patent for its own earphone jack. The D-shaped jack has a 2.0mm width on its smallest side, which is effectively a regular audio jack with a flat edge on one side.

The patent, discovered by Apple Insider last week, mentions that standard headphone and earphone jacks are limiting how thin devices such as smartphones and tablets can be made, pitching the new D-jack as the solution to that problem. The patent reads:

“Electronic devices such as MP3 players and smart phones are continuously being designed to be thinner and smaller and/or to include video displays with screens that are pushed out as close to the outer edge of the devices as possible. The diameter and length of current 3.5 mm and even 2.5 mm audio connectors are limiting factors in making such devices smaller, thinner and allowing the displays to be larger.”

While Apple’s reasoning is sound – if a smaller audio jack can facilitate more efficient devices, then that is a positive thing – the fact that the patent is held by Apple is worrying. It means that the company, infamous for its micro-managerial control over its hardware (see the Lightning connector), can make its new jack the standard for its new iPhones and iPads, by which it can seize control over the earphone market, either through extortionately-priced headsets it produces itself – likely under the Beats brand – or rake in money from licensing the rights to the produce D-jacks to third-party manufacturers. A smart business move, but a huge disadvantage to consumers.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

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.

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.

Recent Beats Teardown Used Counterfeit Headphones

We recently shared a detailed teardown of glorified fashion accessory (and sometimes headphone), Beats by Dre. Prototype engineer Avery Louie stripped down the Beats headphones down to the gaskets, commenting that he was surprised at how cheap some of the components were, which really should be expected for an accessory that costs only $14 to manufacture and boast substandard quality sound. Now, the source of that shock has been revealed: Louie’s stripdown was conducted on a counterfeit Beats by Dre model.

Industrial design blog Core77 has collected together a number of inconsistencies that pointed to the headphones being fake, the most noteworthy of which was the number of drivers found during the teardown. Though Louie doesn’t mention which model of Beats he dismantled, a process of elimination suggests that they could only be Solo HD versions. However, Solo HD headphones have four drivers, two for each ear, while the model Louie was using only had one per speaker. This can be clearly seen in a post by redditor Vantt1, who broke down the difference between genuine and fake Beats on Imgur.

The biggest unanswered question so far is, did Louie know? It’s conceivable that he didn’t – he made no reference to having previous experience with Beats, so it’s safe to assume that his teardown was the first time he’d seen the innards of the headphones. That does point to a lack of rigour in his preparatory research, though, since an industrial engineer should have found out, for example, how many drivers the device should have before he started.

To be fair, for the uninitiated, it’s bloody hard to tell the difference between real and fake Beats:

Thank you Core77 for providing us with this information.

How Dre Beats Are Made

How it’s made, Beats by Dr Dre.

It is almost impossible to go outside and not see these headphones everywhere, the headphones are very successful and give out a great sound quality. But for a whopping retail price of $199 are they packing some tech we don’t know about? Bolt has done a teardown and it seems not.

Lots of optimizations are expected when products are manufactured at a multi-million unit per year scale. Push-together components and glue are used for main assemblies where possible instead of screws as it doesn’t require a lot of human intervention, making it cheaper to make.

Bolt took a set of these apart and has come up with some interesting finds.

The headphones have several large parts of metal, these weigh in at 36 grams out of the 86gram headphones. This provides a feeling of stability, strength and weight. 30% of which is from four non-functional metal blocks.

The next part is the single plastic mold that makes up the main part of the headphones. It has many curves and angles on it and would be the highest cost part to make. The parts have to be made perfectly which requires a several part, precise process to be made. There are two sides to it too, which makes it even more complex.

The picture above shows how the manafacturer has made the speaker housings to connect together without requiring screws.

Screws are cheap, but they are tedious and complicated to install on a mass manufacturer level. you can see how many screws are saved by cutting two or more molds by looking at the left and right housings. One has two more screw holes. Screws are great here because they will hold the circuit board secure and stop it moving around right next to your ear.

They also used rather generic speaker drivers inside them, do they really enhance the bass? these drivers make it seem unlikely. Bolt states that they were impressed by Dr Dre’s ability to create such a good feeling product from such cheap and few parts.

Bolt also pictured a table with a price breakdown:

you see that bottom figure? $16.892 to make these headphones, wow!  This is the figure that Bolt came up with excluding labor or shipping. However I can’t imagine it would add more that $5 to the total cost of manufacture. It’s impressive to say that Dr Dre and Jimmy Lovine have been able to get people to pay a whopping $199+ for these things.

Thank you bolt.io and medium.com for providing us with this information

Luxa2 Lavi S Wired & Wireless Headphones with External Speaker Review

Introduction


Luxa2 are well-known for their premium grade mobile products, but today, we’ve got something a little more unique from them, a set of headphones that also act as speakers! The Lavi S are packed full of features, with the option to use them as a wired headset, wirelessly via Bluetooth, as on ear headphones, or as a mobile speaker to share your music or make hands-free calls. This interesting mixture of features certainly caught our attention, so I’m really eager to test them out and see how well they perform.

The Lavi S are very well equipped, with a pair of powerful 40mm drivers for the headset component, then another 40mm driver for the loud-speaker. There’s a built-in 1000mAh rechargeable battery for wireless usage, which can offer 30 hours headset use or 3 hours speaker use, on-headset controls for media control, a foldable design and more!

Check out this quick guide courtesy of Luxa 2 for a quick look at some of these features.

In the box, you will find the headset, a male-to-male  3.5mm cable for wired usage and a micro USB to USB cable for charging the headsets internal battery.

First impressions of the Lavi S are promising, a mixture of high-quality plastics and soft-touch rubber grip coatings, that give the headset a good quality look and feel.

Down the left side, you’ll find the drivers have an open back design, which is handy given that there is a speaker on each side! The headband is extendable, allowing for a more comfortable fit on a wide range of head sizes. The headband feels pretty strong and it holds firmly in place once adjusted.

On the side of the right ear cup, you’ll find a wide range of controls. There’s the headset/speaker toggle switch, an LED indicator, and a power/pairing button.

Further round the same side, you’ll find volume up and down buttons, the DC IN for charging the headset, a line-in port for the 3.5mm cable and a pin-hole microphone; that’s a lot of buttons and features for just one side of a headset!

The left driver is the same overall design, but it doesn’t have a plethora of control switches around the edge.

The padding on the ear cups is a soft leather, that provides a comfortable fit over your ears and it’s close-fitting enough to help dampen ambient sounds.

The headband has a soft rubber padding, it’s not a lot, but it’s surprisingly comfortable and helps hold the headset firmly in place on your head.

The top of the headband has a nice black rubber coating, that looks really nice and it is also hard-wearing.

Finally, the headset has a foldable design, which makes it a lot easier to store the headset on your backpack between uses.

COUGAR Celebrates First Year in Gaming Peripherals and Vows to Continue

COUGAR entered the DIY PC market about five years ago, but they have only been making peripheral devices for the last year. The decision to enter this market was sparked by feedback from users who were frustrated with the current offering, especially on the software part.

COUGAR thought, this is something we can do something about and got working on their own devices. The 700M gaming mouse and 700K mechanical keyboard did very well in their reviews and scored great awards all around. The hardware is just one part of it all and they also released the UIX software along with it, allowing the user to take back control of his input devices with a user-friendly interface.

COUGAR released more products such as the 500 and 600 series of mice and keyboard, and they vowed to continue that with even more future products for the gaming minded user as well as to continue their sponsorships for eSport teams.

New planned products include mice for all sort of gamers, both left and right handed users, but also products such as headphones and water resistant gaming keyboards. We will make sure to keep you updated on their new products as they get released and as well as reviews whenever possible.

Beats by Dre Headphones Only Cost $14 to Manufacture

Apple-owned Beats Electronics, founded in 2006 by hip-hop producer Dr. Dre and record label owner Jimmy Iovine, is worth over $3.2 billion, and A new report reveals concern regarding its profit margins.

The big concern revolves around the price of a pair of Dr. Dre’s Beats by Dre headphones, a product that costs upwards of $450, which actually costs approximately $14 to manufacture.

The quality of Beats headphones has been in question since before this revelation, with TIME Magazine naming the brand as the second-worst headphone manufacturer in the marketplace last month.

Despite the questionable sound and build quality, Beats by Dre dominates the headphone industry, boasting a 27% market share and profits of £1.8 billion last year.

Source: All HipHop

Creative Launches Ultra-light Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth Headset

Creative released their latest mobile wireless headset, the JAM. The connection to them is created by Bluetooth 4.1 while NFC technology allows for quick and easy one-touch pairing. The headset also doubles up as a pair of Sound Blaster audio-enhanced headphones when connected to a PC via the included USB charging cable.

The headphones provide up to 12 hours wireless audio per battery charge, more than enough for a long day of music blasting from the 32mm Neodynamic drivers. The ergonomic fit of the soft ear cushions is said to ensure comfort even for long periods of times and the headset is overall built from lightweight materials that totals at 83g.

The headset features controls on ear cup, including one-tap bass enhancement. It has built-in noise reduction and an acoustic echo cancellation microphone for voice calls.

The Creative Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth headset should be available now and is priced at £39.99/$49.99.

Thanks to Creative for providing us with this information

MEElectronics Rumble AF80 Bluetooth Headphones Review

Introduction


Listening to your music on the go is hardly a new trend, we’ve had portable audio since the introduction of devices such as the Sony Walkman; the biggest change in recent years is easily with how we listen to music on the go. Mobile devices act as MP3 players, they offer music streaming services, gaming, movies and of course the least used feature on most people’s phones these days, actual phone calls. Sure all these things can be enjoyed to a certain extent via the built-in speakers and microphones on your device, but for music, movie and games, that may not be the ideal solution. There are many audio solutions on the market for mobile products, such as speaker docks, headphones, headsets and more that all offer ways to expand your audio experience. The latest headset from MEElectronics is packed full of features that make it very appealing to a wide range of users. The headset features wireless technology via Bluetooth, NFC connectivity, a built-in microphone, rechargeable battery, multimedia controls and more!

MEElectronics may not be the first name you think of when purchasing a new headset, but they’re quickly earning a good reputation for creating great quality products and I’m very excited to have my first review sample from them. I’m eager to see how this headset performs and to see if the headset lives up to the hype, so let’s get right to it and see what MEElectronics have to offer to the mobile audio market.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started. There’s the headset (obviously), a protective pouch to keep them scratch free when not in use, a 3.5mm cable for backwards compatibility with older phones, as well as with none wireless ready devices such as portable games consoles and media players. Finally, there’s also a USB to Micro-USB cable which can be used to charge the built-in battery.

The overall design of the headset is sleek and stylish. The headset itself is quite slender and lightweight, which should bode well for prolonged usage and comfort.

The glossy black exterior of the headband is backed with a warm red, while the ear cups are trimmed with a silver highlight. There’s a microUSB port on the right ear-cup for the charging cable and an optional 3.5mm jack on the left for the AUX cable.

All the major controls are located directly on the side of the ear cup, giving you quick and easy access to the multimedia controls.

The headband has been given a soft rubber coated padding for extra grip and comfort; it shouldn’t slip off your head while walking around. The ear cups are a little small, but they come with a thick and soft padding that feels very comfortable to the touch; they’re designed to be on-the-ear when worn, rather than over-the-ear.

Helping to provide a better fit are the ear cup mounts, a small pivot at the back allows them to move a few degrees in each direction, so they should feel comfortable on any head shape.

The headband is expandable and foldable; just pull the drivers in and they’ll fold up nice and small; this makes them easier to fit into the included protective pouch.

Overall a very stylish set of headphones, a nice mixture of glossy finishes, soft finish padding and unobtrusive control switches.

Essential Road Trip Gadgets: CES 2015

CES 2015 is always an incredible show, bringing many, if not all, of the world’s major technology companies into one place, ready to show off their latest and greatest products. This year was a little different for us here at eTeknix. After the show, we took to the roads to visit San Francisco and Los Angeles. On our trip, we stopped by the offices of Thermaltake, Patriot, Corsair, NZXT and more! A trip like CES is a big undertaking, for me personally it requires a four-hour train journey, a ten-hour flight and we clocked up over 20 hours driving over 1500 miles. All that is before the return journey of another ten-hour flight and another four-hour train journey home. All this traveling is enough to make you tired. Fortunately, there were a few luxuries that helped make the journey just that little bit easier for us; without which, we would have struggled.

LUXA2 Phone Dock

First up we have one of the simplest gadgets of them all, but by far the one that helped us out the most on our journey from Las Vegas to San Francisco, then again on our journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the LUXA2 Mobile Phone Mount.

The car we used, a Ford Mustang, has a cigarette lighter high up on the dashboard, perfect for keeping your Sat Nav or mobile phone charged when mounted in a cradle or dock of some format. Even better is how the LUXA2 mount works, as the mount fits directly into the cigarette lighter, giving you a powered USB port directly from the mount to connect your phone, while also providing a sturdy mount that doesn’t have to stick onto your windscreen, or hang from the air conditioning vents. The mount was universal and proved more than capable of housing our iPhone 6 Plus.

Ultra Short Patriot iPhone Lightning Cable

The only downside with this kind of mount is that the normal iPhone cable trails all over the place. Given the phone mount we had, we found the standard cable got caught on the dashboard controls, wrapped around the gear stick and more; not what I would call ideal. Patriot, perhaps better known for their high-end memory products, also make mobile products and quickly came to our rescue. Their new Lightning USB cable is just 6 inches long, perfect for going from dock to phone. This is the perfect cable to keep in the car and it saves you having to bring your full cable with you.

Nvidia Shield Tablet

Sitting on a plane for hours on end is a tedious and often boring affair. Sure you’ve got some in-flight entertainment (on some flights), but the easiest solution is to bring your own entertainment with you. Bringing your smartphone is one solution, but the small screens aren’t really ideal for watching movies and TV shows, and battery life isn’t always enough for a long haul flight; especially so if you’re gaming on it. The Shield Tablet solves a lot of these problems, not only did the battery life hold up for the full ten-hour flight, it also provided us with a unique experience that made us the envy of other passengers; Playing Mario Kart 64 on an emulator with two controllers was by far the most fun I’ve ever had on a flight! As an added bonus, the Nvidia Shield Cover provided the perfect viewing angle for gaming, watching movies and reading articles during the flight.

MEElectronics Wireless Headphones

No journey would be survivable without my music with me, but when I’m carrying around a heavy backpack full of camera and a laptop equipment, as well as pulling along a 25KG suitcase, the last thing I need is a cable getting wrapped around my neck. I love my wired headphones, but the strap from my backpack pulls them out of my ears and it’s simply impractical unless I’m sitting still. A set of high-quality Bluetooth headphones was the perfect fix and while they were excellent to wear while walking around, leaving my tablet in my backpack to stream my music, I found them to be even better on the long flight. Being able to fall asleep on a plane is no easy task, but a light set of headphones and some music certainly helped block out the engine noise; plus I didn’t have a headphone wire getting tangled up in my arms, so that’s always a bonus. MEElectronics promised a 14-hour battery life, so our 10-hour flight proved to be easy work for them on a single charge.

Wireless and Waterproof Smart Earphones Are Finally Here!

Bragi Dash earbuds are the latest gadget for the audio world, and the smart in-ear headphones are packed full of features that really made them catch my attention. They’re equipped with fitness sensors, much like every other smart wearable these days, you can listen to music on them wirelessly, you can store music on them, answer calls with them, you can even go swimming with them as they’re waterproof up to 1m.

I really like the idea of these, as there are no wires to get tangled and the Kickstarter funded product from Bragi received around $3.5 million on Kickstarter; so I’m clearly not the only one excited about these. The built-in 4GB storage is perfect for when you want to go running, swimming or anywhere that you would rather not have to carry your phone. For all other things, you can enjoy Bluetooth connectivity as well as adjustable noise cancelling capabilities.

Hands-free smart control is also a welcome feature, thanks to the built-in accelerometer. Look up at the sky, they’ll tell you the weather, look down at the ground to mute them, nod your head to answer a call; you get the idea.

The only downside? When they hit the market this April, they’ll set you back $299, although they sound like they’re worth every penny.

Thank you IFLS for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of IFLS.

Philips Announces New iOS Lightening Port Headphones

Philips has announced a new set of headphones that utilise the ‘Lightening’ connector only used by Apple on iOS devices. The headphones bypass the conventional headphone jack to provide advanced noise-cancellation using “inverted microphones”.

The Fidelio NC1L does noise-cancellation in pretty much the same way as many other headphones, but the major difference with this set is that they don’t require extra batteries. This makes them incredibly mobile, as they must utilise the power from the deice delivered via the Lightening port.

There are 3 modes of noise-cancellation – one with it on, another with it turned off so you can hear noises around you and another mode that allows phone calls.

Details are few and far between at the moment, but we do that they will at least be released in the US for $299.

Source: The Verge

Bang & Olufsen Releases its First Over-Ear Headphones This Month

Bang & Olufsen has announced the latest model in its B&O PLAY product line, the BeoPlay H8 wireless headphones, at CES 2015 on Tuesday. The BeoPlay H8 will be first wireless over-ear headphones released by Bang & Olufsen, and are due on sale later this month.

In addition to the usual high audio quality of Bang & Olufsen gear, the Bluetooth H8 features a touch interface to adjust playback, change tracks, answer calls from a smartphone, and gesture-controlled Active Noise Cancellation. The headset weighs in at 255g and has a 14-hour battery life.

Available in cream or brown, the BeoPlay H8 will cost £399 ($499) when units ship later in January.

Source: The Verge

The Streamz Smart Headphones Are Almost Here

The world’s first truly independent headphone audio system for audiophiles is almost here, as the Streamz Media have announced that the headphones will start shipping in Q1 2015 and will be on show at CES 2015. The

The Streamz headphones feature everything built-in, ranging from the 128 x 128 pixel OLED display, over controls and keypad, all the way to a built in 96KHz 24bit DAC, an Android system running on a quad-core processor and up to 36GB of storage with optional 32GB memory card.

It can play most common audio formats such as WAV, FLAC, ALAC, MP3. AAC, Pandora, plus many others, has built-in WiFi and additional Bluetooth where WiFi won’t work. Wifi connections are however the only uncompressed, so you’ll want to use that whenever possible. While you can control everything from the headphones themselves, they also come with smartphone apps for Android and iOS.

The API will allow Android developers to create their own apps and future plans include a voice controlled module called VOXXI that will allow users to search and play music plus other system controls with Google voice commands.

Thanks to StreamzMedia for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of StreamzMedia

Noontec Zoro II HD Mobile Headphones Review

Introduction


Noontec may not be as common a brand name as Beats, or Bose or many other fancy audio hardware brands, but they’re certainly gaining in popularity with a steady pace. When I reviewed one of their early products here on eTeknix, the original Noontec Zoro, I was far from impressed with the overall sound quality of their product. Sure the headset looked stunning, but the high price tag wasn’t backed up by premium performance. Today I’m hoping to see and hear a big improvement from the company. I’ve seen a few other Noontec products over the last few months that certainly had some merit, so perhaps the company have brushed up on their technology and made some much needed improvements.

It’s important to mention that Noontec market themselves as a fashion audio brand. Their headphones are designed to be a lifestyle choice for those who feel that their headset needs to look as good as they do. Personally speaking, I’ll wear the ugliest headset on the market if it offers me the best performance, hopefully Noontec can combine great performance with their already well-tailored designs.

The Zoro II HD comes equipped with a 4-pole 3.5mm connector for use on mobile devices, and it even comes with a built-in microphone, making it an ideal choice for use with your smart phone. You can use them to listen to music, but you won’t have to take the headset off to make/answer a call.

The on-cable microphone comes with support for a range of modern phones and the ones listed below will fully support that built-in answer call button and microphone with no issues.

The cable is completely detachable from the headphones and comes equipped with a tangle-free flat cable and a built-in microphone with call answer button.

The Zoro II HD come in a choice of four colours, although we’ve got hold of this rather fetching metallic purple; very pretty.

The headband is lightweight, but surprisingly durable.

The drivers are mounted on a pivot joint to provide a nice comfortable fit on your ears. There’s a 3.5mm port on the bottom of one of the ear cups to connect the included cable.

The headband padding is nice and soft and finished in a bright blue. It contrasts nicely with the purple finish, but most importantly it’s also very comfortable on your head.

The headband extenders are great for adjusting the fit, but they can also be folded inwards; perfect for storing the headset out of the way. When you need to use the headset again, they snap back into place firmly, no chance of them folding up when you don’t want them to.

The ear cups have a foam interior and a soft leather padding. The headset fits snug on your ears and stays comfortable even after a couple of hours usage.

Overall, a very nice looking headset. So let’s plug it in and find out how it performs.

Beats Reveals Wireless Version of Solo2 Headphones

Dr Dre’s popular fashion headphones range, Beats, has announced the release of a wireless version of its première headset, the Beats Solo2.  This marks the first new release from Beats since its acquisition by Apple back in July, and the culmination of Beats’ strategy to provide a wireless iteration of all its products.

Apart from the wireless capability, the Beats Solo2 Wireless has the same audio hardware and sound drivers as its wired equivalent. Battery life is up to 12 hours, but the headset also includes a removable cable to plug directly into your audio source.

Beats Solo2 Wireless will be available, from Apple stores and other selected retailers, from the end of November, priced at $299.99.

Source: Mashable

CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphones Review

Introduction


It was just 6 months ago that we reviewed an in-ear CM Storm gaming headset and while I loved the build quality, style and microphone performance, I couldn’t help but notice that bass was seriously lacking on the drivers. Now this isn’t really a bad thing, the headset was targeted right at the LAN gaming and eSports loving crowd and it’s no secret that clear treble and minimal bass can provide tangible benefits in competitive FPS gaming, since it allows you to better hear the footsteps of your opponents. Unfortunately for CM Storm I expect a little more from my audio devices and since I like to listen to music as much as I love gaming, good all round performance is a must.

CM Storm know they can do even better, which is why they’ve gone back to the drawing board and created the Resonar in-ear gaming earphones, not only do they promise more bass than before, but they also promise an innovative new feature to help you fine tune how much bass you get; well take a closer look at how this works in just a moment.

As you can see from the specifications we have powerful 20 Ohm 8mm drivers, a 1.3m cable, 3.5mm jack and an omni-directional microphone. All relatively straight forward stuff, so lets move on and see what else you get for your money.

The packaging is nicely designed with a few major features detailed on the front and a stylish image of the headphones.

Around the back you’ll find a detailed run down of all the bits you get in the box, as well as the full specifications (see above).

The packaging folds out to give a sneaky view of the headphones, as well as a run down of the BassFX technology.

In the box you’ll find a quick start guide, some spare ear-buds, a 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole adaptor, a protective carry case and of course, the headset.