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February 22 2014

February 19 2014

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January 07 2014

8 Awkward Moments From Monster's CES 2014 Press Conference
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In addition to unveiling new products, consumer-electronics company Monster brought a whole lot of weird moments to its CES presentation. Hosted by Monster founder Noel Lee, the Monday press conference was plagued by strange staging and technical glitches. Celebrities such as Shaquille O'Neal and Nick Cannon were upstaged be Lee, who was zooming around on his Segway. Luckily for our readers, Mashable was there to capture all of these moments.

Best known for its audio and video equipment, the 35-year-old company makes some pretty funky headphones. Read more...

More about Monster, Ces, Shaquille O Neal, Headphones, and Tech

January 06 2014

Sol Republic Relays: Sport Headphones With Crossover Appeal
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LAS VEGAS — Chances are you have one pair of headphones for everyday use and another pair for working outSol Republic aims to unite your dual-headphone existence with the Relays, or "crossover" earphones designed for both use cases.

The Relays are small, earbud-style headphones with rubberized, flexible rims called FreeFlex that encircle the "sound engine" and fit in any ear. The rim helps secure the earphone in your outer ear, and an even more flexible "bud" fills the inner opening of your ear canal. The package comes with four different pairs of ear tips in various sizes.

More about Ces, Headphones, Tech, Sol Republic, and Ces 2014

November 12 2013

7 Must-Read Tips for Buying Headphones
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So many elements affect the sound you hear through headphones. Headphones are nearly as important for determining sound quality as the device they're plugged into.

But sometimes it seems you need an audio engineer in order to make an informed purchase. On the contrary. However, it's worth putting in a little research to find the best audio quality with the right mix of personal listening features.

If you're in the market for a new pair, here are a few tips to take the mystery out of the purchase. Consider these seven points and you'll be able to find the right headphones for you. Read more...

More about Music, Entertainment, Gadgets, Features, and Headphones

November 09 2013

Velodyne vQuiet Headphones: Good Noise Reduction, Unimpressive Sound
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There's a special niche amongst the thousands of headphones out there, begging for attention of frequent travelers and those who work in noisy environments. We're talking about active noise-canceling headphones, and we've got a fresh pair on our hands: the Velodyne vQuiet

Velodyne is no newcomer — the Silicon Valley-based company has 30 years of experience in acoustics, and is best known for its subwoofers. In 2012 it entered the headphones market, and the vQuiet headphones are its latest product — a stylish entry into the world of noise-reduced audio goodness.

More about Reviews, Headphones, Tech, Gadgets, and Velodyne

October 29 2013

Sol Republic Tracks Air: Modular Headphones With a Wireless Twist
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For its signature Tracks headphones, Sol Republic takes the unusual step of making them modular: the earcups, cable and headband are all separate and can be swapped out with other components. It's ambitious, then, that Sol would extend the product into the wireless space. After all, Bluetooth headphones require much tech than simple speaker drivers, and don't lend themselves to being taken apart easily.

Nonetheless, Sol Republic has created a pair of wireless headphones that stay true to Tracks' modular design, the Tracks Air. Cleverly, only one earcup is wireless, with the other connecting via metallic connects in the special PowerTracks headband. Even with the metal strips, the band remains flexible, just like the one for the regular Tracks. Read more...

More about Bluetooth, Headphones, Tech, Gadgets, and Sol Republic

September 06 2013

The Gadgets of IFA: A Whole Lot of Headphones
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BERLIN — Headphones and chargers of all sorts seemed to occupy every other booth at Showstoppers, the mini-event where smaller tech players show journalists their wares, at IFA Berlin this week.

Sennheiser used the occasion to launch a couple of new colors for its Momentum range of headphones. Griffin brought its WoodTones earbuds and over-the-ear headphones, which, as their name implies, are made out of woodSkullcandy showed us its Crusher range of headphones that let you add as much bass to the sound as you desire. Go all the way, and the Crushers really start to crush your head — in a good way, if you like really heavy bass Read more...

More about Logitech, Chargers, Speakers, Headphones, and Tech

August 07 2013

Earbuds, Without the Buds
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The search for a reliable pair of headphones often leads to a fork in the road: in-the-ear earbuds or over-the-ear headphones? Earbuds, which rely on magnetic drivers and speakers to send sound waves in front of your eardrums, are compact and easy to carry; headphones are touted for their superior quality and damage control.

The decision-making process isn't getting any easier. A next-gen earpiece concept offers a third route: a wireless headset without speakers

The Kickstarter project Sound Band uses surface sound technology to send tiny vibrations through the backs of your ears, bones and tissues to land on your inner ear without blocking your ear canals. Read more...

More about Kickstarter, Headphones, Earbuds, Tech, and Dev Design
Design Hack Could Make Apple EarPods More Wearable
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Most earbuds never sit snugly or comfortably in my ears. It's why I was excited last year when Apple boasted that its then-new EarPods were "defined by the geometry of the ear."

When I got a pair with my iPhone 5, however, the supposedly magical earphones were a flop. Now, one Canadian industrial-design firm has come up with a hack that may help those of us with stubborn ears.

The folks at OHM faced a similar dilemma, so they designed Sprng clips, which aims to help EarPods stay put.

"As active folks, we noticed that our Apple EarPods continually fell out while we were on the move. With some research, we realized that it wasn't our ears. We also didn't like the idea of having to buy a whole new set of earbuds designed to stay in our ears when we were active. Simply supplementing the existing earbuds seemed like a less wasteful solution so we began working on a small, simple fix to the problem." Read more...

More about Apple, Design, Headphones, Earbuds, and Earphones

July 06 2013

Apple May Be Working on Self-Adjusting Noise-Cancelling Headphones
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Listen up — Apple may be working on its own noise-cancelling earbuds.

A recently discovered patent application filed by the company shows a pair of headphones that adjust their output based on how they fit in a person’s ears.

Noise-cancelling earbuds are often affected by how they fit in the ear. Earbuds that fit tight inside the ear can sound great, while those that don’t fit snugly often sound less clear.

According to the patent, which was filed by Apple in February, the new earbuds would measure the ambient noise coming into the headphones using a small microphone, and adjust based on that reading to deliver the best sound quality possible. Also detailed in the patent application is a system that would alert users through a push-notification if the headphones have a poor seal. Read more...

More about Apple, Patents, Headphones, Tech, and Gadgets

September 04 2012

Monster and Viacom Debut ‘DNA’ Headphones [PICS]


Monster, the electronics maker, has teamed up with media company Viacom to launch a new line of headphones called Monster DNA.

The triangular headphones feature a two-tone color design, and also include ear cushions that are light and more comfortable than its competitors, according to a press release. The design keeps "both the music and fashion consumer in mind."

The brand also aims to make music more social by including a "'buddy'" jack for users to share what they're listening to," says CEO Noel Lee in a statement.

Building upon this interactivity, Monster is focusing on music sharing, community and social awareness through an exclusive integrated campaign across Viacom mu…
Continue reading...

More About: Headphones, monster, viacom


August 16 2012

Are These Apple’s Next-Generation ‘Vented’ Earbuds? [PICS]


Apple-Earbuds

Apple is gearing up to reinvent the earbud as we know it, and there's a good chance we might see them as soon as next month with the rumored launch of the latest iPhone.

A patent filed in April 2012 and approved on Thursday details what Apple is calling "vented in-the-ear headphones," which aims to cut back on the echoes you might hear of your voice while making phone calls.

"The invention aims to improve the sound quality by venting or leakage," Apple said.

Although earbuds can be used for various types of activity -- such as exercising vigorously or talking on a telephone call -- Apple said the sound quality is lost due to the design.

"This increased level of physical acti…
Continue reading...

More About: Headphones, apple, earphones, ipad, iphone


August 08 2012

August 03 2012

Headphones for Cats? They Cost $1,000




Meowingtons Headphones for Cats from Sol Republic

We're not pulling your leg: Headphones for cats exist. But the fully-functional gadgets will set you back $1,000 if you really want a pair for your pet.

Designed for electro-house music maker Deadmau5's cat, Professor Meowingtons pHD, the Meowingtons headphones hit the market this week in limited supply.

Electronics company Sol Republic's made only 10 but may produce more based on demand. The proceeds will go toward the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"They also have a mic and remote, but I don't envision many cats using that functionality."But could humans use this gadget, too?

"You could, but they probably won't fit unless you have a really t…
Continue reading...

More About: Entertainment, Headphones, Music, Tech, animals, cats


January 11 2012

Parrot Zik: Best Bluetooth Headphones Ever? [HANDS ON]

zik by starck 360

LAS VEGAS — There are several reasons Bluetooth headphones haven’t taken off — lousy designs, poor execution, that cumbersome “pairing” — but the Zik, a new headset that Parrot unveiled at CES 2012, appears to address pretty much all of them. The Zik is one of the cleverest implementations of wireless technology we’ve seen in headphones to date.

For starters, the Zik has serious design cred behind it. It’s another baby of designer Phillipe Starck, who also collaborated with Parrot on speakers, and he seems to have struck gold here. The Zik’s earcups completely enclose the ear — a style made popular again by Beats Audio — but the headset is comfortable to wear and has an elegant look.

The Zik’s sleek look is partly due to the unusual fact that it has no buttons for volume or jumping tracks. To turn up the volume of your streamed music, just swipe your finger up the back of the right earcup. To track up, swipe forward; track down, swipe back. And to pause? Just take off the headset and it knows to stop the music until you put it back on — very smart.

But what about pairing with your cellphone? Yes, you still need to do that, but if your phone has near-field communication (NFC) — the short-range mobile-payments technology found in the Galaxy Nexus and a few other phones — you’ll be saved the trouble. Just tapping the phone to one of the earcups will automatically pair it with the Zik, no typing required.

Want more? How about bone-conduction technology to help cancel noise when you have to take a call. Or the active noise cancellation that detects and stamps out noise both outside and and inside the headset. And the accompanying app, which gives you precise control over your sound, from the width of the soundstage to multiple equalizer.

In our listening test of the Zik, we felt the sound quality was excellent. Both highs and lows sounded clean without distortion, and it could give plenty of oomph when needed. Noise cancellation wasn’t quite as good as, say, the Bose QuiteComfort 15, but it’s fine for most purposes.

Parrot didn’t say when it would be out and what it would cost, so we’ll have to just drool over our photos until then. Are you as impressed with the Zik as we are? Let us know what you want from a pair of wireless headphones in the comments.


Parrot Zik Headphones




The Zik Parrot, designed by Phillipe Starck, is a pair of Bluetooth headphones designed by Phillipe Starck.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: bluetooth, Headphones, parrot


January 04 2012

Headphones Get Princess Leia Upgrade

Princess Leia Headphones

For those looking to channel their inner Princess Leia, headphone covers with the Star Wars icon’s signature side buns are now available on Etsy in shades of blonde, brown and red.

The “Galactic Princess Headphone Covers” – priced at $24 before shipping — are made of synthetic hair and come with two 6-inch diameter buns with mesh backing.

The buns can be glued or temporarily attached to your headphones, and can also be pinned directly to your hair.

“These pieces will transform your headphones or ear muffs into Princess Leia’s famed cinnamon bun hair,” says the Etsy site. “Your friends will love you more, your coworkers will be jealy, and if you wear these to Comic-Con you will get laid instantly.”

Headphone covers for blonde and red hair are made to order.

Image courtesy of Etsy.

More About: Etsy, Headphones, Star Wars

For more Entertainment coverage:


December 01 2011

How Bose Headphones Sparked the Noise-Cancellation Revolution


The Tech Innovators Series is supported by Lenovo. Lenovo does not just manufacture technology. They make Do machines — super-powered creation engines designed to help the people who do, do more, do better, do in brand new ways.

We’ve all been on a crowded plane with screaming babies. What’s the solution? Some might slip on Bose noise-cancelling headphones to put the world around them on mute. While the headphones offer a nice way to escape the chaos and immerse oneself in hi-fidelity audio, that’s not the reason they were invented. But it did start with airplanes.

On a flight home from Zurich in 1978, Dr. Amar Bose tried an early set of electronic headphones that were newly onboard for passenger entertainment; “try” because he could barely hear anything with the overwhelming cabin noise. This experience sent Bose on a path that would redefine audio performance and comfort over the next few decades. He returned to Boston and set up a research program at Bose Corporation, which he founded years earlier in 1964, to investigate how ambient noise could be reduced with active noise cancellation. The Noise Reduction Technology Group (NRTG) grew out of that program, and in 1989, Bose introduced the first noise-reduction headset, which was appropriately designed for the aviation industry.

These days, Bose faces competition from Sennheiser, Sony and even Dr. Dre in the noise-cancellation market, but its position as pioneer of the industry makes it a strong competitor in the high-end headphones market.

Bose focuses on three primary areas: noise cancellation, audio performance and long-term comfort. “When judging those three areas together, that’s where we excel,” says Product Manager Brian Maguire.

Mashable interviewed Roman Sapiejewski — an innovative engineer who spearheads Bose’s active noise cancellation technology — about how the technology was developed and how the headphones are continually improved upon.


How It Works


 

Simply put, noise cancellation does just that — it cancels out unwanted noise, as illustrated in the handy graphic above, from How Stuff Works. The ambient noise is “measured” by small microphones that send a signal to the cancellation circuitry, effectively telling the headphones to produce an antinoise signal that’s equal but opposite to the noise you want to cancel.

“It’s not a complete cancellation that eliminates noise, but it significantly and dramatically reduces the amount of unwanted noise,” says Sapiejewski. By blocking the environmental noise, the headphones enable you to hear intricacies in the music and to listen to music at lower volumes, which is better for your long-term hearing.

Sapiejewski says it’s not a complete cancellation because high frequencies are more difficult to attenuate — their waves are much shorter than low frequency sounds, so the antinoise must be near-perfectly executed. So part of his mission over the years has been developing technology to effectively reduce the high frequency waves and improve the overall degree of cancellation.


History and Development


Since 1964, the company has led tech innovation in all things audio, including televisions, theater systems, speakers and of course, headphones. Though the first set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones — put to market in 1989 — were too big for consumer application, they were widely used in the aviation industry. But decades of innovation have yielded headphones with improved design and performance, which have found a comfortable home in the consumer market.

Sapiejewski joined Bose two months after Dr. Bose’s fateful flight in 1978, and has worked on noise reduction since then. “What was exciting about working in counteractive noise technology was the fact that nobody had a product on the market like it, so we had to come up with all the necessary components and figure out the most effective way to produce the noise cancellation,” he says.

So the company leveraged its research in military and commercial headphone noise reduction to develop its proprietary technology. In 1995, it released the Acoustic Noise Cancelling headset Series II, which the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association named “Product of the Year.” In 1998, the Bose Aviation Headset X was introduced, offering better audio performance with Bose’s “TriPort” headphone structure. In 2000, Bose introduced the QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones, the first in the consumer QuietComfort series that’s on shelves today. An improved version was released in 2002, the Bose QuietComfort 2, and in 2006, Bose released the QuietComfort 3, with new features that suppress the pressure some consumers report feeling while wearing the headphones.

The newest jewel in the Bose crown is the $299 QuietComfort 15, which was introduced in 2009 and offers improved attenuation, thanks to microphones both inside and outside of the earcup. This system has a more keen sense of the sound in louder environments and is able to more effectively measure and react to ambient noise. Because noise reduction can vary from person to person depending on factors such head shape and even one’s haircut, the exterior microphone helps to nullify the differences in cancellation from user to user — and a more consistent product is obviously a better one. The proprietary ear cushion offers noise attenuation for higher frequencies (which, as discussed above, are harder to cancel), and the materials used were chosen for their ability to block unwanted noise.


The State of the Market and What’s Next


Bose is the gold standard on the market, and though it’s privately held and doesn’t release financials, it’s estimated to have yearly revenues of $2 billion. Bose reinvests a “significant” portion of profits into the company for research and development, and Sapiejewski says it’s this commitment to innovation that “makes me excited about work.”

“We don’t start thinking about new products [by] thinking about the money. We think about how to make better products, and we try become our own customer. We understand what the requirements are and we need to satisfy our own senses before we try and sell something to our customers. We have a commitment to and passion for understanding the problems related to the product.”

And so the company will continue to tweak its headphones. Sapiejewski says Bose might even add a much-requested “pass-through audio” option, which would allow the headphones to play music like regular headphones, without noise cancellation. “In order to make the system work properly, we have only one mode — an active noise cancellation mode — in which you can also listen to audio signals,” Sapiejewski says. “But we’ve considered the option of making pass-through audio possible, especially in the future.”

What kind of headphones do you use? What features would you like to see on future iterations? Let us know in the comments below.


Series Supported by Lenovo


The Tech Innovators Series is supported by Lenovo. Lenovo makes machines specifically for the innovators. The creators. The people who move the world forward. Machines like the Lenovo ThinkPad and IdeaPad, meticulously engineered with visibly smart second-generation Intel® CoreTM processors to help the people who do, do what’s never been done.

 

Image courtesy of HowStuffWorks

More About: Bose, features, frederic lardinois, Headphones, mashable, noise, Tech Innovators Series


April 23 2011

World’s First Social Headphones Offer Spectacular Sound [REVIEW]



Today we don a pair of flashy headphones and give them a close listen. Billed as “the first social headphones” because of their integrated duo jack, these $170 cans were designed by the same sound engineer who created the Monster Cable “Beats.” We so happen to also have a pair of the Beats Studio by Dr. Dre headphones on hand, so let’s compare the two.

Stifling our giggles at its anatomical-sounding Fanny Wang brand name, it didn’t take us long to get used to these garish red phones, affectionately dubbed by their maker as “On Ear Wangs.” Given that name and their shiny fire-engine-red hue, be prepared for ridicule if you hang out with jokesters. If their ribbing gets to be unbearable, just let them listen to these headphones for a few seconds, and their snide remarks will soon diminish. If it’s just that red color that’s bothering you, they’re also available in white or black with red trim.

Social, indeed. That extra jack included in the detachable cable turned out to be a boon for us in testing. We plugged both the Wangs and our Beats Studio headphones into the two jacks, and noticed that regardless of whether one or two pairs were plugged in, there was no diminishment of the sound. Even though adaptors are easy to find that let two people listen to the same source, including that extra jack in the cable is a lot more convenient, and assures you you’ll always have that capability when you want someone else to hear that great song you’re listening to. Excellent idea, especially for us socialites.

To be fair, let’s point out that the Beats Studio headphones are over-the-ear style, while these Wangs are on-the-ear, not completely enclosing your ear as the Beats do. Fanny Wang also offers an over-the-ear style, and Monster Cable offers on-ear Beats headphones is well.

The fact that the Beats headphones are completely enclosed should have given them an advantage in sound isolation. Surprisingly enough, the Beats still sounded louder to people standing next to me than the Wangs did. By the way, both are highly efficient, creating tremendous volume from an iPhone 4 cranked up to 11.

Sound advice. How did the sound of the two headphones compare? Even though the Beats headphones retail for $350 (commonly available for between $250 and $300), their sound was only slightly better than these On Ear Wangs. Both have remarkable sound quality, with seriously accurate and powerful bass, lifelike presence in the midrange and some of the crispiest highs I’ve ever heard. However, the thunderous tightness of the Beats’ bass touches the edge of what I call the “scary zone,” nearing the point where the smacking thump of the bass drum sounds like it’s happening right there in the room, almost making me jump.

On the other hand, the Wangs are more travel-ready, folding up into small package that will fit in even a thoroughly packed carry-on, and don’t require the batteries that the Beats do. Do the Beats sound $130 better than the Wangs? No. Do they almost look the same? Yes, making me think there was a good reason for Monster Cable to sue Fanny Wang just before CES 2011, attempting to prevent the company from showing its wares on the show floor. But according to Fanny Wang, a judge denied Monster’s temporary restraining order, because “convincing evidence of infringement was not proven.”

They’re brothers. Not only do they look alike, their sound is remarkably similar. That makes sense, considering that the same designer created both of them. Consumers are the winners here, because for $120 less, you can get almost the same sound and a similar appearance, with a more-portable pair of earphones. A bonus is the dual cable that really does make the Wangs more social.

I think these Fanny Wang On Ear headphones are excellent, well worth the $170 and your consideration.


Fire-Engine Red




if you're looking for flashy headphones, you've found them here.


Full View




Notice there's no cable? It's detachable, and it has a springy, almost organic feel.


Signature




Fanny insists on her signature in five places, and I like that large L there, easy to spot when you're putting on the cans.


Comfortable




They're comfortable, even for extended listening sessions. Thanks to my lovely wife for posing for this one.


Dual Jack




The included cable has an extra jack that lets a friend plug in and listen to the same source you're listening to. And it doesn't even diminish the sound at all. Good idea.

More About: audio, Beats, Fanny Wang On Ear, Headphones, review

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


January 08 2011

50 Cent Touts His Own Brand of “Sleek” Headphones [PICS]


Hip hop star 50 Cent appeared at CES today, promoting his new Sleek by 50 Cent wireless headphones.

If their specs are any indication, they might give Dr. Dre and his Beats headphones and audio gear some serious competition.

Sleek by 50 Cent uses the Kleer lossless wireless technology for a cleaner sound than the usual Bluetooth wireless devices.

One feature we like: Four pairs of these headphones can listen to the same audio source at once. Their battery life is listed at 10 hours, but when you plug them in with conventional audio cable, they don’t require battery power at all, unlike the Dr. Dre Beats headphones.

We especially like those carbon fiber accents, certain to makes these babies even more expensive. But nobody from 50’s camp is talking price just yet.

The Sleek company says these ‘phones are the beginning of a series of audio products. Take a look at 50 Cent mingling with the CES throngs:


Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones




Photo by Curtis Joe Walker


Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones




Photo by Curtis Joe Walker


Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones





Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones




Photo by Curtis Joe Walker


Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones




Photo by Curtis Joe Walker


Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones




Photo by Curtis Joe Walker


Sleek by 50 Cent Headphones




Photo by Curtis Joe Walker


Reviews: Bluetooth

More About: 50 cent, ces2011, Headphones, KLEER, Sleek by 50 Cent

For more Tech coverage:


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