Portable speakers are a great way to take the party anywhere, but many lack in the robustness department to the point where taking one to the beach is like using a Faberge egg as a rugby ball. To keep the tunes going even on a rainy day, JBL's Flip3 and Xtreme speakers not only boast exceptional sound quality, but are also so water resistant that you can rinse them off under the tap. We recently got hold of each of them and put them through the figurative wringer.
For the last few years, RHA's earphones have gone from great-sounding blasters for the budget conscious to top notch high resolution audio throwers like the impressive T20s we reviewed back in July. Fast approaching its fifth anniversary, the company now feels that the time is right for a move beyond earphones and gave a glimpse into its near future vision with a still-in-development DAC/headphone amp on show at IFA 2015. Gizmag dropped by the RHA booth for a quick look.
In a market saturated with celebrity endorsements, fashion experiments and ambitious mark-ups, it is always a delight to discover a product that focusses on functionality and performance. Swedish company Jays last month released its second-generation q-Jays reference earphones, three years after the release of the first model. We put them through their paces to see if they impress as much as the originals.
One of the most memorable moments in the 1972 film Deliverance is the banjo/guitar duel of Billy Redden and Ronny Cox. Musicians looking to add some of that plucky magic to their own compositions could nip out and buy a banjo and lock themselves away while learning to play. They may choose to follow the lead of Bow Thayer and create a new hybrid instrument. Or they could seek some digital emulation wizardry. After being unsatisfied with the latter, guitarist Jon Langberg came up with another way. The Guitar-Jo accessory gives an electric six-string an identity crisis by making it sound like a banjo.
If you run a lot of effects pedals, opening up hatches or unscrewing housings to replace 9 V batteries can be a bit of a chore, with many guitarists opting to build a pedalboard and juice up all of the stomps from one mains-supplied power pack instead. The 9 V Backpack from Züe Engineering allows a musician to quickly add battery power to a stomp without having to open up the casing.
When it comes to portable, personal audio, many of us are content to plug our ears with buds or cover them with cushioned cups. Such designs help isolate the user from environmental noise and improve the listening experience. But there are times when one needs/wants situational awareness, such as with outdoor running, hiking, or cycling. Trekz Titanium, the latest bone-conduction headphones from AfterShokz, are claimed to offer premium sound and safety for the best of both worlds.
For many of us, the shower is the best place to channel the spirit of Pavarotti. The waterproof MiiShower Bluetooth Speaker should provide a great backing track, currently half price over at Gizmag Store.
Bluetooth wireless is so pervasive in our modern lives, it can be easy to forget about all the non-wireless, classic audio equipment out there. Although stereo receivers and high-end speakers are still a mainstay of many home entertainment systems, the convenience of wireless streaming tends to trump such cabled connections. While there are many gadgets that provide Bluetooth audio capability to legacy devices, the Auris bluMe does it with range and power.
Not so long ago, music on vinyl looked set to go the way of the audio cassette tape. But, despite an overall dip in first half year physical album sales in the US, the latest figures show that vinyl is bouncing back. Unsigned artists, part-time musicians or karaoke champions wanting to ride the new vinyl wave could invest in a desktop cutter like the crowdfunded (but yet-to-be-shipped) DRC for limited production runs, but a new service launched in the Netherlands earlier this year caters for custom groove creations instore. Now Vinylify has launched a streamlined web portal and opened its doors to international orders.