Audio & Speakers
Powerful enough for room-filling sound at home while small enough for all-around portability, the Roam speaker from SONOS is a versatile little noisemaker. It’s the audio brand’s smallest and most affordable speaker yet but the feature set is impressive. SONOS is known for premium quality sound & fit the Roam with dual Class H amps and an arcing “racetrack” mid-woofer. The battery delivers over 10 hours of playback & the IP67 rating keeps it weather-protected in the great outdoors.
Marshall’s first entry into the realm of true wireless earbuds is called the Mode II. These loud little earphones feature 6mm dynamic drivers, Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and IXP4 water resistance. The buds offer just over 7-hours of playback while the charging case provides 4 full charges for up to 25-hours of continuous play. Adjustable EQ, touch controls & voice assistant make them equally adept for work and play. Available for pre-order now.
Seeking to extend the effective life of its high-end connected home speakers, Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level is a battery-powered speaker with a modular design that uses advanced chip technologies designed to handle software updates far into the future. The speaker streams via AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect & supports Google Voice Assistant. Battery offers 16-hours continuous playback & recharges via USB-C.
High-end French audio brand Devialet has just released the latest evolution of its infamous stand-alone speaker, the Phantom. The new & carefully upgraded Phantom I retains the same smooth, spherical design & with the luxurious good looks comes enhanced single-chip audio processing, Heart Bass Implosion (HBI) tech, and Apple AirPlay2 streaming support. Choose matte black or gloss white/rose gold.
When it first launched more than 40 years ago, Korg’s miniKORG 700S was an overnight sensation—bringing studio-quality synth sounds to home players & touring acts alike. Today, the iconic analog monosynth returns as the miniKORG 700FS, featuring modern function and key classic features like a secondary detunable oscillator for thick bass plus an arpeggiator, spring reverb and aftertouch. Korg has not yet announced a release date.
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Fender’s Mustang Micro is a compact, portable headphone amp that plugs directly into an electric guitar, giving players a wide range of 12 different amp emulators and 13 pedal-like effects, making it a versatile practice and recording gadget. Powered by a USB-C rechargeable battery.
Four years back when Jeep’s all-new Wagoneer was still just a concept car, the plan was hatched to develop a McIntosh sound system for the luxurious new lineup. Offered in the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, the McIntosh MX950 Entertainment System brings high-end audio & handmade craftsmanship to the in-motion sound experience. A 17-channel amplifier delivers up to 950 watts of power & the system boasts a LD/HP speaker design to lower distortion while Power Guard ensures exceptional clarity even at very high-volume.
As the first noise-cancelling headphone from V-Moda, M-200 ANC retains the distinctive design of the original with a tech upgrade that includes Active Noise Cancelling technology plus Bluetooth 5.0 with Bluetooth codec support. In addition to SBC codec that all audio devices use, these also have aptX HD for high quality streaming and AAC for iOS devices.
Utilizing the same runner-friendly audio tech as the Bose Frames glasses, the brand’s new Sport Open Earbuds won’t block-out ambient noise, providing safety & improved situational awareness. The bud design features no tip, rather the earbud sits above your ear canal—providing a customizable mix of your audio & noise from the outside world. They feature 16mm drivers and are IPX4 splash-resistant, offering battery life up to 8 hours at 50% volume.
Los Angeles-based audio hardware startup Syng—creators of Apple’s HomePod speaker—are rolling out a Spatial Audio speaker of their own. The orb-shaped Cell Alpha delivers immersive, room-filling sound with 7.1 channel surround. The 360º speaker array consists of a pair of chunky woofers, a 6-pack of tweeters & mid-range drivers, plus three microphones which function to continuously “tune” the audio to the space.
With voice detection and ANC powered by machine learning, the Olive Pro wireless earbuds combine the best of mobile audio with an FDA-registered hearing aid, allowing users to hear clearly by reducing ambient sounds while focusing enhancement on a specific sound source—like the other person’s voice. 18-hour battery life & rich hi-fi audio make “affordable hearing for all” sound really good. A funded Kickstarter.
Just when you thought Apple might exit 2020 with a fizzle, they unveiled AirPods Max, their new flagship over-ear & noise-cancelling headphones. Boasting 40mm drivers and “custom acoustic design” for rich, full-spectrum audio, they offer adaptive EQ and transparency mode as well as spatial audio and audio sharing. They feature aluminum construction with a soft & breathable knit mesh in the headband & ear cups. Battery life is 20 hours. Available in 5 colors December 15.
For the latest update to their Hammerhead earbuds, Razer bumped up performance, adding Active Noise Cancelling & THX Audio. With Hi-Fi sound and noise isolation, the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro also features a low-latency mode for improved sound/video sync while gaming.
Disguised within a design resembling a vintage lantern, Sony’s LSPX-S2 Glass Sound Speaker merges room-filling 360º sound with mood lighting that offers 32 levels of light from flickering candlelight mode to bright LED—reflected in the speaker’s “organic glass” body. Multi-speaker connectivity lets you link up to 10 speakers.
Black Airpods? Not really. The Oddict Twig true wireless headphones def borrow the form factor but are constructed of lightweight aluminum—a first for wireless buds. They deliver exceptional sound via 12mm & include a range of silicone tips for adaptive fit. The Twig app allows users to set personal listening preferences plus equalizer, presets & auto play.
The Beolit 20 is a portable bluetooth speaker from Bang & Olufsen that uses the brand’s signature True360 omnidirectional technology to deliver crisp, room-filling audio. The compact, re-designed exterior encases a 5.5” wideband woofer, a trio of 1.5” full range cones, and a pair of 4” passive bass radiators. The result is full, punchy sound in any space. Battery-life ranges from 8-37 hours & a Qi charging pad on top lets you charge phones & other devices while it plays.
The mysterious sounds of the Theremin can be heard from Pink Floyd to the Pixies to Erykah Badu & now as the revolutionary electronic instrument turns 100, Moog has created a masterful special edition. The Claravox Centennial features a very intentional mid-century look: a smooth walnut exterior, bright brass antennas, and a bank of analog knobs & dials. The rest of the design is fully modern, equipped with USB/MIDI, it’s also fitted with endless inputs/outputs for seamless studio integration… all to make those groovy sounds.
They insist they’re not overdoing it. Okay. But as the most powerful amp to ever thunder out of of the McIntosh lab, the MA12000 pumps out an incredible 350-watts per channel; a two-channel hybrid integrated amp with tremendous power. Merging the analog warmth of a vacuum tube pre-amp with an overbuilt & advanced solid-state amp, you get 350-watts of perfectly balanced audio delivered to your 2, 4, or 8-Ohm speakers. The back offers 10 analog inputs & 7 digital inputs to connect and network all your components.
French audio brand Devialet, known for big-sounding speakers, condenses audiophile quality into a stealth set of wireless headphones called the Gemini. These premium Qi-enabled earbuds feature “pressure balance architecture” for optimum sound quality as well adjustable ANC with two-level transparency modes. Battery life is 6 hours continuous with ANC enabled & goes up to 8 without. The charging case holds 3.5 charges.
Swedish lifestyle brand WeSC—shorthand for We Are The Superlative Conspiracy—just unveiled a range of fresh products, everything from streetwear to electronics, including these new headphones: the WeSC True Wireless and WeSC On Ear. The True are compact wireless buds with a charging case, IPX4 water-resistance, & 20-hour battery life. The OnEar is also wireless, featuring a foldable, travel-friendly design & 9-hours of continuous playback.