It's not too hard to remember a time when it required two hands to get a simple plug out. Things have since changed, and many manufacturers, especially in the gaming industry, are moving toward wireless peripherals, or including breakaways to remedy consumers stumbling over cords and taking the entire machine with them. The coolest one in recent memory is Apple's MagSafe power adapter, which not only makes your Mac laptop easier to plug-in, but keeps flying laptops at a minimum.
This morning, Shure announced another addition to its SE line of sound-isolating earphones, the SE110. The new model continues the Shure tradition of top-notch sound quality but brings a significantly lower starting price point to potential customers--the SE110 will set you back just $99. (Comparatively, the next model up the line--the SE210--is attached to a $179.99 price tag.) That's not exactly inexpensive in the scheme of earbuds, but then the SE110s aren't cheap in any regard. These earphones employ a balance armature driver in each 'bud, rather than cheaper and more common dynamic speaker drivers found … Read more
I can't really complain about my job. Oh, who am I kidding? Sure I can! But still, it's pretty sweet getting to test out hot new audio products day in and day out. (Don't lie...I know you all are jealous.) Yet there is an unforeseen downside to this gig, and that's that I often review things I can't afford to buy, and then I have to return them. Do you have any idea how painful it is to have a spectacularly sweet product wrenched from your loving (and slightly deranged) grasp? At best, it'… Read more
If you're not a parent, you might not see the immediate value in a pair of headphones designed especially for kids. But if you have progeny of iPod-bearing age--which will soon come before they're crawling, at this rate--then the need for Mad Catz's "AirDrive" headphones is all too clear.
Anyone who's been forced to endure a multi-hour car ride with children aboard knows that they'll never hear you, or anything else for that matter, because they generally keep the volume on their MP3 and DVD players turned up somewhere between 9 and 10. … Read more
When I look at my Sony noise-cancelling earbuds, I'm embarrassed. Although I love their sound quality--I can completely block out everyone when I'm listening with them--their black and silver minimalist design is nothing to brag about. So when I heard that Swarovski and Philips Electronics will start selling their new crystal-adorned headphones and other gizmos in August, I was pleased.
The new line, called Active Crystals, features eight styles of sound accessories and USB drives. My personal favorite is the key-shaped USB drive, which can be worn like a necklace, featuring signature Swarovski crystals embossing the pendant. There'… Read more
A couple of months ago, I posted a Photoshop mockup of a new pair of "wireless" headphones for the second-generation iPod Shuffle that Arriva, a startup based in Colorado, was working on. The irony was that the headphones weren't wireless in the traditional sense (Bluetooth, IR, or RF), but they simply had a tiny Shuffle II integrated into the headphones at the back of your neck. It's a concept that Monster has also seized upon with its iFreePlay headphones, which houses a Shuffle dock in the left earpiece. … Read more
Every few weeks it seems someone's announcing a new pair of noise-canceling headphones that are designed to take on Bose's ultrapopular--and ultraexpensive--QuietComfort line of headphones. This week's entry is the JVC HA-NC250, the company's new top-end noise-canceling headphone.
The formula's pretty simple for creating--or at least attempting to create--a pair of Bose-killers. Make them sound good, look luxurious and comfortable, and then price them $100 less than the Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones, which sell for $300 (the smaller QuietComfort 3's go for $350).
This is what JVC has to say about the HA-NC250:
"… Read more
The Web is filled with folks coming up with makeshift solutions from paper clips to cutting plastic away from headphones for some of the issues I've written about here.
For example, my friend Patrick, otherwise known as "he who waited hours in the iPhone line with me," agreed with my observations about previous generation iPod accessories that, on first glance, don't work with the iPhone. (He also had to wait three days in limbo for his iPhone to activate after being ported from Nextel while his wife's phone worked instantly, but that's another story … Read more
Being brave, I finally took my iPhone to the gym to listen to it while I worked out. No fear of dropping it could stop me now. Usually, I have an 8-gig iPod Nano with me. For a workout, I don't usually use the headphones that come with the iPod, since they: (1) fall out of my ears; (2) don't have enough bass to motivate me to run/erg/push that extra mile out; and, (3) let's face it: the standard-issue iPod earphone sound quality, well, just sucks.
To alleviate this unfortunate state of affairs, instead of … Read more
I like to listen to music. I fell out of the habit for a while, but then I got an iPod, which got me interested again. Now I probably buy more CDs every three months than I did throughout the 1990s.
I'm addicted to New Music Tuesdays on the iTunes Music Store, mostly because of the "Free on iTunes" section. There's a lot of good music out there! And a lot of bad stuff, too, but when it's free, that's not so much of a problem.
Oddly, I can't seem to get interested … Read more