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Headphones and home theater gear hitting this spring

Spring is here. And so is a bevy of new headphones and home theater products. Here are some of the most promising.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
David Carnoy
Ty Pendlebury
1 of 13 Philips

Headphones and home theater gear hitting this spring

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the music is?

Whether you're looking to buy new gear for your living room or to take on the  road these are some of the more interesting products to hit this season.

2 of 13 David Carnoy/CNET

Momentum On-Ear Wireless

Price: The Momentum Wireless is $500, while the Momentum On-Ear Wireless is $400.

Availability: Now

The outlook: Sennheiser has refreshed its Momentum line, making some design tweaks and adding two wireless models, the Momentum Wireless and Momentum On-Ear Wireless.

Both models also feature active noise cancellation, NFC tap-to-pair technology for compatible devices, aptX codec support and a new folding design.

The noise cancellation, which isn't too heavy, is always on (there's no switch to turn it off), but battery life is still good at 22 hours.

I had a listen to the new models, which are shipping very soon, and the over-ear Momentum Wireless is a more balanced, audiophile-oriented headphone while the Momentum On-Ear is a zippier, more exciting model.

I preferred the sound of the Momentum On-Ear Wireless but liked the fit of the over-ear Momentum Wireless, which features plusher, slightly larger ear cups than the original Momentum. (Some people complained that the ear cups on the original were too small.)

3 of 13 Sarah Tew/CNET

​Philips Fidelio B5


Availability: Spring

The outlook: The Philips Fidelio B5 is a wireless surround sound bar whose detachable, self-powered surrounds double as portable Bluetooth speakers.

4 of 13 David Carnoy/CNET

JBL Synchros S210BT

Price: $200

Availability: April

The outlook: Harman bills its Synchros S210BT as the world's first in-ear Bluetooth headphones with motion sensor control.

It's a sweat-proof model that's due out this April for $200 and features a two-way hybrid driver design.

Here's what JBL has to say about the motion sensor control, which I wasn't able to try:

"No longer will you become frustrated by the task of trying to change tracks or answer calls with controllers that are both small and difficult to locate on earphones. The JBL Synchros S210BT offers an elevated consumer experience, made possible by wave-to-control technology. The JBL Reflect Response BT frees your workout from distraction with the world's first motion sensor sports earphones -- controlled with a simple wave of the hand. You can command audio to playback or pause, along with control tracks and pick up calls."

Battery life is rated at 8 hours, which is fairly decent.

5 of 13 Sony

Sony STR-DN1060


Availability: Q2 2015

The outlook: Our favorite receiver of 2014 is soon to get an update with new streaming capabilities -- Google Cast and Sony's own SongPal Link. Add the potential for home automation and this looks to be both sonic- and feature-rich.

6 of 13 Seamus Byrne/CNET

Monster Soundstage S3

Price: Monster Soundstage S1 ($200), the S2 ($300) and the S3 ($400)

Availability: Q2 2015

The outlook: Using Qualcomm's AllPlay standard, the S3 is the largest in Monster's new range of multiroom speakers. It promises a larger sound than most single speakers can provide.

7 of 13 David Carnoy/CNET

Trainer by Gibson

Price: $239

Availability: April

The outlook: Gibson tapped Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, for its new wireless sports headphone, due out in April for $239.

I tried the headphones out at CES in January and they sounded quite good, serving up pretty powerful bass while maintaining decent clarity.

They also have some interesting features, including a built-in flashing safety light, heat and sweat resistance, and a rated 10 hours of battery life.

8 of 13 David Carnoy/CNET

Urbanears Plattan Adv Wireless

Price: $99

Availability: May

The outlook: It's been a long time coming, but Urbanears' first wireless headphone, the Plattan Adv Wireless, is due to ship in May for $99 (around £65 or AU$125).

It comes with a built-in microphone, has a swipe interface on the ear cup and 8 hours of battery life.

Additional features include a machine-washable headband, collapsible structure and an equalizer to tweak your sound.

The headphone, which comes in multiple color options, seems to be a pretty decent value at $99, but we'll let you know just how good it is after we review it this spring.

9 of 13 Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Samsung WAM7500

Price: TBD

Availability: 2015

The outlook: One of several "360-degree" speakers on display at CES, the Samsung WAM7500 is compatible with the company's Multiroom system and streams via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

10 of 13 Marshall Audio

Marshall Major II

Price: $119

Availability: April

The outlook: We were fans of the special-edition Marshall 50 FX, the more expensive, souped-up version of the Marshall Major. Now Marshall is bringing out the Major II; while it may not be quite as good as the 50 FX, it's close and a good value at a little over $100. It's due to arrive in April.

11 of 13 David Carnoy/CNET

Philips Fidelio M2BT

Price: $280

Availability: April

The outlook: Philips has a new entry in the Bluetooth headphone market: the on-ear Fidelio M2BT, which is due out this spring for $280.

This is the follow up to the Fidelio M1BT, which was the wireless version of the popular Fidelio M1 ($80), which I reviewed and liked.

I got a chance to play around with the M2BT and it's definitely a very good on-ear Bluetooth headphone that stacks up well against the likes of the Beats Solo 2 Wireless. The only problem is that its list price is almost as expensive as that of the Solo 2 Wireless ($300). Hopefully, the M2BT's street price will come in under $250, which is what the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth costs.

12 of 13 LG

LG Music Flow

Price: Not announced but already available in Australia for AU$350; expect a similar price when it's released in the US.

Availability: Q2 2015

The outlook: Yet another multi-room system, the LG Music Flow H5 has one advantage: the app enables you to listen on your phone, so you can seamlessly switch between private listening and whole home audio.

13 of 13 Sony

Sony MDR-ZX770BN Bluetooth headphone with active noise cancelling

Price: $230

Availability: April

The outlook: Over the last few years Sony's put out a number of wireless Bluetooth headphones, some better than others. Now we get four new models -- the MDR-ZX770BN ($230), MDR-ZX770BT ($150), MDR-ZX330BT ($100) and MDR-AS600BT ($100) -- which form the core of Sony's entry-level and mid-range Bluetooth headphone lineup.

The MDR-ZX770BN (pictured) features both active noise canceling and Bluetooth.

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