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The i Violin display at CES

Often viewed as works of art, violins and other string instruments are not uncommonly displayed in the home. One Chinese company is turning a number of violins and other string instruments into speakers, so the display is functional. Instruments used to make the speakers, which also include bass and other string selections, are made by Hua Xing String Instruments in Guangzhou, China. A driver is inserted into the instrument, and the resonance within the resulting ViolinSpeaker is used to produce and project sound.  Read More

Griffin Technology has previewed its new Twenty Audio Amplifier for Airport Express at CES...

Griffin Technology has given visitors to CES 2012 a quick preview of a new audio amplifier that uses Apple's Airport Express to offer untethered digital playback from iTunes through existing non-powered speakers. The low profile amp captures streaming audio from any AirPlay-enabled source, decodes it and then sends the lossless, amplified sound through the speakers.  Read More

The foxLO subwoofer (rear) adds some low frequency oomph to the foxL portable speaker (fro...

Soundmatters has announced a new speaker designed to bring some low frequency oomph to its portable foxLv2 Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth brethren. The new foxLO, which Soundmatters calls “the world’s first palm-sized hi-fi subwoofer,” plugs directly into foxLv2 speaker’s subwoofer output but will also work with other branded portable speakers, such as the Jawbone Jambox, thanks to the inclusion of a 3.5 mm full pass-through output.  Read More

Cowon C2 MP3 player hands-on review

Ever since Sony introduced me to portable music with its iconic Walkman series, my enormous collection of tunes has never been far from reach. I've been through tape cassette players, mini-Disc and CD players, and MP3/OGG/FLAC digital players but have stopped short of carrying my music around on my smartphone - preferring uninterrupted listening rather than risk being bothered by incoming calls and messages. My current digital music player has been giving me serious battery life issues of late, though, which shouldn't be an issue with Cowon's C2 MP3 player with its whopping 55 hours of claimed audio playback. So is there still room for the dedicated digital music player in a world dominated by media-playing mobile phones? I've been spending some quality time with the C2 and I think there is. Here's why...  Read More

Never go back to an iNuke Boom once it's shuffling (Image: Behringer)

If one had to describe Behringer's 10,000 W iNuke Boom dock for iPhones and iPods, it would not be big. That word does not begin to do it justice. The 700 pound dock is 8 feet wide, 4 feet tall and about as deep, and looks like the results of a crossbreeding experiment between a common or garden iPod dock and a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Read More

The SLUG is a device that allows users to record any streamed audio off of a computer or o...

Perhaps you’ve experienced this frustration before. There’s a piece of audio on a website that you want to use in a project of your own, and it’s playing right there on your computer, yet you have no way of copying it – short of holding a microphone up to your speakers, that is. Well, Kenneth Gibbs and Seena Zandipour want to change that. They’ve invented a little gizmo called the SLUG, that can reportedly obtain lossless recordings of any streamed audio being played back by a computer or other electronic device. The music labels will no doubt be about as happy to see the emergence of this thing as they were when blank audio cassettes first hit the stores.  Read More

Visualization of the acousto-optic effect (Image: NPL)

We've been following the quest for the world's best speakers for some time but remarkably, there's still room for improvement. A key issue that plagues proper sound reproduction (and thus its perceived quality) is a phenomenon known as deconstructive interference. This occurs when audio signals overlap and cancel one another out, creating dead spots which, until recently, have been very difficult to track. Now, a team from Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has figured out a clever way to make speaker sound "visible" - and they do it with laser light.  Read More

The original image on the left, the modified image in the middle, and the 'heat-map' produ...

From nude pictures of celebrities to politicians caught in compromising positions, verifying the authenticity of images online is often no easy task. To address this problem, a team at Duke University looking has developed software called YouProve that can be integrated into the Android operating system to track changes made to images or audio captured on an Android smartphone. The software then produces a non-forgeable "fidelity certificate" that uses a "heat-map" to summarize the degree to which various regions of the media have been modified compared to the original image.  Read More

The Libratone Lounge (rear) and Libratone Live can stream music wirelessly from AirPlay en...

With the advantage of no cables running around the corners of a room and the ability to play music from people’s ever-expanding digital music libraries, wireless speakers have become increasingly popular over recent years. So it’s not surprising to see Copenhagen-based company Libratone enter the U.S. market with a couple of AirPlay-enabled speaker systems that can stream audio from iTunes libraries on a Mac or PC, as well as music stored on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  Read More

Two Woo Audio WA-234 MONO mono-block headphone/speaker amplifiers

Actually it's two US$5,000 amps because these rather spectacular looking beasts are mono-blocks. They are two completely separate, but matched, mono amplifiers. Now it's no secret that the world of audiophile hi-fi sound systems can be a place of strange voodoo and esoterica - where the Law of Diminishing Returns becomes a way of life for deluded males of a certain age (never women it seems) but let's check our cynicism at the door for the moment. There is something interesting going on here and it may just turn out that at $10,000 for the pair, these amps are a (relative) bargain.  Read More

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