Audio & Speakers
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.
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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.
Equipped with Active Noise Cancellation you can adjust manually, Jabra’s Elite 85t earbuds also offer the convenience of a truly wireless design as well as Qi-enabled wireless charging. With the Jabra Sound+ app you can adjust between full ANC and full transparency—what the brand calls HearThrough mode, to be as tuned-out or zoned-in as you want to be.
100% cable-free and dialed to deliver booming audio, Marshall’s all-new Major IV headphones also make it way easier to charge. With integrated Qi charging, plus Active Noise Cancellation, & beefy 40mm drivers these premium cans will keep you rocking.
Known for their cool & clever synthesizers, Swedish audio innovators Teenage Engineering have added something different to the lineup: a unique sound system/media instrument called the OB-4. It features a rewindable radio, allowing you to instantly scroll back to anything you’ve listened to in the past 2 hours. You can also capture, stretch & loop virtually any audio content, whether from streaming services or your personal collection, on any device.
Roku’s compact Streambar home theater speaker is a 14” wireless speaker compatible with all Roku devices, apps, & services, offering 4K HDR streaming via HDMI ARC or optical audio connection. There is also a Bluetooth receiver and support for Spotify Connect for music as well as Alexa & Google voice assistant plus HomeKit & AirPlay2 support.
Your hands are full and you get a call. Drop everything & take it or miss the call? With Mobvoi’s Gesture earbuds, you can just nod your head & the call connects. These premium wireless earbuds offer intuitive, AI-assisted TicMotion gesture control: shake your head for no, nod, for yes. They also offer dual-mic ANC, Siri/Google Voice Assistant support, and 50-hour battery life. A funded Indiegogo.
Completely re-designed for flawless fit and performance, the Bose Sleepbuds II are noise-cancelling earbuds for sleep. They don’t play your music but instead offer 14 different soundscapes that block ambient noise like traffic & the neighbor dog to help you fall asleep & stay asleep. There are 15 additional nature soundtracks, that Bose says “cover & replace noise.” They are designed to sit comfortably & securely in your ears all night long.
Bose is adding two new all-wireless models to its QuietComfort lineup of noise-cancelling headphones. The QC Earbuds deliver industry-leading ANC using proprietary noise-cancelling technology. It offers 11 levels of noise control & 6 hours of playback with 2 full charges in the carrying case. The Sport model features all-new acoustics and a IPX4 waterproof & workout-ready design. Available Sept. 29.
Encased in brushed aluminum with a louvered front grill, the updated Ottava F all-in-one music system from Technics’ delivers audiophile sound from any playback source: streaming via Chromecast or AirPlay2, bluetooth, wi-fi, and even the built-in CD player. Equipped with an improved 8cm woofer, it uses Technics’ digital amps with JENO (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping Optimization) engines to create crisp, full-spectrum sound in a single unit. Available in black & dark silver.