Of all the unexpected surprises lurking amid the pre-CES fervor flooding my inbox, this little gem from MEElectronics is perhaps the most interesting. The lesser-known earphone manufacturer garnered my attention over the past year with its inexpensive, decent-sounding, and--perhaps most importantly--tiny earbuds. Now, the company has blown my mind a bit with the launch of its SP51 "sound preference" in-ear headphones ($69.99 with inline remote; $59.99 without).
What's so intriguing about the SP51 earphones, which don't look all that exciting from the photo, is the inclusion of adjustable, removable rear plates. MEElectronic … Read more
Have you ever caught yourself shopping for audio gear and thought, "What would Bob Marley listen to?"
Well, wonder no more.
Marley Ventures, heir to the Bob Marley brand, is set to unveil a line of Bob Marley-inspired products at CES 2011. The three products being teased on the company's The House of Marley site (not to be confused with House of Marley pug clothing) include a pair of in-ear headphones, circumaural headphones, and a swank iPod/iPhone speaker dock.
Although I was resistant to Facebook at first, staunchly clinging to MySpace until all but three of my friends ceased to use it (thereby making it all but pointless), there is one thing in particular that has kept Facebook in my favor since I made the switch. The social-networking service provides an excellent medium for sharing content, particularly quick bits of information via links posted to your Wall or that of a friend. The ability to display (or hide) photos is also quite handy.
But if there's one place Facebook has failed to excel, it's in the music … Read more
Now that the holiday season has us in its clutches is well under way, it's the perfect time to bring my well-rested Dos & Don'ts column out of hibernation. And while I count myself among the lucky few who don't have to do much traveling to visit family, I know many of you have some lengthy treks ahead of you.
Whether the mode of transport is plane, train, or automobile, one of the best ways to counter the tedium and annoyances of travel is with some video entertainment. What follows are some tips on the best ways … Read more
The holiday season is a peak time for traveling, as many people gear up to take advantage of the kids' time off and visit family and friends. If you're traveling by air this year, a high-tech travel bag can help you ward off tedium and the annoyances that come with being contained on an airplane with dozens of strangers.
My main goal when flying is to drown out crying babies, obnoxious passengers, and droning engines, so the first thing that goes in my carry-on is an MP3 player--but it's not much good if I can't hear the … Read more
Today at San Francisco's annual Music Tech Summit, Gracenote Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Ty Roberts hinted at a few announcements the company will make at CES 2011.
Speaking on a panel that tackled the subject of "connected devices," Ty mentioned that Gracenote (a division of Sony) is gearing up to unveil a service for delivering streaming mood-based music playlists to connected devices such as TVs, along with accompanying artist photos and album art.
Apart from the "mood-based" angle, the combination of streaming music and artist images sounds similar to Microsoft's Zune … Read more
Before today, the TDK brand meant only one thing to me: mixtapes. Just the mention of it makes me nostalgic for peeling the cellophane off a 5-pack of cassettes, like a fresh pack of cigarettes.
It's been at least 15 years since I dubbed a tape, and honestly, TDK has been off my radar ever since. That is, until today, when they dropped by CNET to show off the coolest-looking portable speaker I have ever seen in my life.
When I saw TDK's latest Three-Speaker Boombox (seriously, that's their name for it), I think I may have squealed a little. Priced at $499, set for unveiling at CES, and due out in January, this sonic beauty hits on all cylinders--combining sound, features, and design in a way makes my audio nerd heart swoon.
Under the hood, you have three drivers: a 15-watt woofer at the center, flanked by two 10-watt stereo speakers with edge-driven tweeters at their center. Because the speakers aren't covered by a grille, TDK utilized woven carbon fiber speaker cones that can stand up to the elements. All together it's 35 watts RMS, which doesn't sound like much--but you feel every watt. Turned up just halfway, it's a house party.
Feature-wise, you're looking at iPhone/iPod support (via USB), AM/FM radio, USB stick (MP3, AAC, WMA), and a slew of aux input options, including RCA, minijack, and a 1/4-inch instrument input that can be blended with the other audio for instant karaoke/block party high jinks. The unique audio support for iPhone and iPod takes the digital signal from the dock connection and decodes it to analog using TDK's own integrated converters. The company also throws in an EQ with 5dB of cut and boost, represented on an OLED display on the front and controlled using the system's oversized aluminum knobs.… Read more
With the startling variety of products offered by online retail giant Amazon.com, it's no wonder the site is the go-to Web depot for all manner of holiday shopper. Interestingly, though, digital media gifting was notably absent from the store's repertoire--until last week. The company first announced a new feature allowing Kindle book gifting; unsurprisingly, MP3 gifting capability was launched almost immediately after.
Giving the gift of digital music is just as straightforward as you'd expect, and works largely in the same manner as e-book gifting. Simply visit the Amazon MP3 Music store, select a single track … Read more
The biggest disappointment with The Beatles arriving on iTunes is that there's no satisfying way to give music downloads as gifts. There will be special Beatles-branded iTunes gift cards, undoubtedly, but who really wants to unwrap a holiday present to find a plastic card?
No, if Apple has any sense, we'll see a repeat performance from 2004, the year Apple made the special U2-edition iPod.
Of course, with iPod sales on the decline, special Beatles-edition iPhones or iPads are just as likely. In fact, it's the best reason I've heard yet for the delay of the … Read more
In my many years reviewing portable headphones, I can honestly say I've never seen anything quite like Digital Group Audio's (DGA) Zipbuds. These unique earphones incorporate a zipper that makes up the Y-cable descending from the left and right earpieces.
The idea behind the design is the prevent the incessant tangling that seems to be inherent to earbuds. It actually makes quite a bit of sense: think about trying to tie a strand of zipper into a knot. Probably not the simplest of feats.
More than that, the zipper is actually kind of stylish in the looks department, … Read more
Wearables are largely aimed at the person who just wants to maintain a good weight, sleep enough, and maybe get in a little cardio. CNET's Brian Cooley tells you why 2014 could be the breakout year for wearable tech.