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Audio

— Electronics Review

Review: ZuperDAC makes hi-res thumb-sized

With a few notable exceptions, you'd be forgiven for thinking that laptop audio circuitry is something of a manufacturing afterthought, with decisions on such things made at the very end of the design process when there's very little money left in the pot. Plugging a pair of top drawer headphones into a notebook's (often cheap and cheerful) audio out jack can therefore be a little disappointing, leading many music lovers to look to the USB ports for help. Though some USB digital-to-analog converters and headphone amps can be a good deal bigger than the laptop they're connected to, and have a suitably large price tag to match, smaller options are available. The successfully-crowdfunded ZuperDAC from Zorloo, for example, is about the size of a USB thumb drive and supports audio file resolutions right up to 24-bit/192 kHz. We've spent the last few weeks diving into our hi-res FLAC and WAV vault for some lossless easy listening.

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— Music Review

Review: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Roar 2 speaker

Creative Labs likes to do things big by packing its speakers with power and features. The original Roar, which we reviewed last year, delivered impressive sound and functionality. As an encore to the original, the Roar 2 is designed to be 20 percent smaller without any sacrifice or compromise to the hardware and audio. How well does this new version succeed? We recently spent a few weeks putting the Roar 2 speaker to the test.

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— Music

Libratone's new Zipp speakers embrace SoundSpaces flexibility

Libratone is known for blending Scandinavian design with high-performance hardware to create speakers that look plush and sound refined. The company recently launched its new Zipp speaker line-up, which, through the company's SoundSpaces concept, is designed to stream 360-degree audio individually or as part of a multi-room setup, be they plugged into power outlets or not.

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— Music

Liutaly iV electric violin dials up smartphone for synth sounds and effects

Gizmag first heard from Claudio Capponi about two years ago when he told us that he'd started working on a new musical instrument. Development has continued apace ever since and now the Liutaly iV electric violin is ready for its place in the spotlight. There are already a good many electric violins on the market of course, but the iV stands out from the crowd by packing its own amplified speaker system, having its own power source and making use of a docked smartphone running music creation apps to access an almost infinite arsenal of digital sounds.

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— Music Review

Review: Phiaton PS 202 NC earphones with active noise cancellation

Wireless audio may be convenient, but can lack a certain ease and purity that comes from listening to music through a cable. Plus, you never have to worry about battery life or carrying additional accessories when a simple 3.5 mm plug does the job. Phiaton, which has made a name for itself by successfully combining features, style, and great audio quality at competitive price points, has recently made available the PS 202 NC wired earphones. We get some ears-in to see how the company’s latest delivers, especially with the added hush of active noise cancellation.

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— Music

SubPac M2 brings the bass to your body

Los Angeles-based StudioFeed first came to our attention in 2013 when it launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at putting some low end rumble in your seat. The Kickstarter campaign was successful and the SubPac tactile bass technology has since been further developed, and also pushed beyond the immersive music and gaming experience. It's been integrated into Peugeot's Fractal concept car, for example. It's also added a more engaging, physical dimension to a VR-enhanced premiere of the movie Jurassic World, and allowed deaf and hard of hearing festival goers in Brazil to feel the music at this year's Rock in Rio. Now the company is aiming to put some bottom end on your back with the upcoming SubPac M2 wearable sound system.

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— Music

Master & Dynamic ME05 earphones look elegant in machined brass

While basic earbuds will get the job done, many eventually choose to upgrade their audio with something that both looks and sounds better. If you happen to have an appreciation for precision-machining and fine material, the latest from Master & Dynamic may catch your fancy. The ME05 earphones feature 8-mm Neodymium drivers encased in a solid brass body with a hand-finished shine.

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