Audio

Triby IO Speaker Supports HomeKit, Alexa

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Triby IO Speaker Supports HomeKit, Alexa

French company Invoxia announces a smart speaker-- the Triby IO, a device the company posits as a smart home controller able to handle both Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

A sequel to last year's Triby speaker, the Triby IO features a similar design complete with a handle and small display on the front showing the time, weather doodles and messages. A magnet on the back allows customers to attach it to the fridge, while the 5 hardware buttons are customisable to control lights, thermostats or even HomeKit scenes combining multiple smart home products.

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Sonos Intros One Smart Speaker

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Sonos Intros One Smart Speaker

Sonos confirms rumours of its making a smart speaker with the One-- the first product from the company with native voice assistant support, initially via Amazon Alexa.

The One is essentially a refresh of the Play:1 for the smart speaker era. It features a cuboid design with rounded edges in either black or white, and acts as either a standalone speaker or paired with other Sonos audio products as part of a multi-speaker setup. Setup and management come through Sonos mobile app, and the speaker handles a number of streaming services, including including Amazon Music, Pandora, IHeartRadio, TuneIn and SiriusXm.

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Parsound Intros JC3 Junior Phono Preamp

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Parsound Intros JC3 Junior Phono Preamp

Customers dipping their tones into the world of vinyl get a lower-cost phono preamplifier option from Parasound-- the JC3 Junior, a compact version of the JC3+ preamp catering for a wide range of MM and MC cartridges.

The JC3 Junior handles 50 to 550 ohm continuously, with variable MC impedance. It has a mono switch for use with older vinyl, and offers selectable gain output, gold-plated balanced and single-ended output terminals, and a 12V trigger for system integration. The S/N ratio reaches up to 94dB, while THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) is specified below 0.02%.

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Q Acoustics Debuts M2 Soundbase

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Q Acoustics Debuts M2 Soundbase

Q Acoustics follows on the M3 and Media 4 soundbars with a first soundbase-- the M2, an audio offering the company says can carry flatscreen TVs weighing up to 25kg.

The M2 measures 55cm wide and 34cm deep, and combines two 58mm Balance Mode Radiator drives with an integrated subwoofer. It is designed for both TV movie viewing and music listening, with individual modes for each use case. A MoviEQ function emphasises the bass further to enhance movie soundtracks and videogame action.

Total output reaches 80W, and the soundbase is fully braced and damped to reduce internal vibrations. BMR speaker technology allows it to deliver 180-degree sound spread, eliminating the listening sweet spot, while a 3-mode equaliser switch on the back allows one to alter bass levels according to where the unit is positioned.

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The First Bose Wireless In-Ear Headphones

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The First Bose Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Bose announces a first pair of wireless in-ear headphones-- the SoundSport Free, an offering similar to the likes of the Apple AirPods, being a pair of buds one puts in the ear without need for connecting wires.

The SoundSport Free are designed for sports and other physical activities. Silicon StayHear+ sport tips ensure a comfortable tip, while an IPX4 water resistance rating protects the buds against sweat or water. Connectivity comes through Bluetooth and a Bose Connect iOS/Android app complete with a "Find My Buds" feature able to display the last known location and time of use of the headphones.

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Shure Intros First Bluetooth Earphones

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Shure Intros First Bluetooth Earphones

British high-end audio maker Shure announces its first Bluetooth wireless earphones-- the SE215 and SE112, both promising to build on the SE Sound Isolating line with the same ergonomic design.

The earphones promise "endorphin-inducing, detailed sound" through a design able to block up to 37dB of outdoor noise. Battery life clocks at 8 hours, while wireless range is 10m via Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. The SE215 are the more premium option, with a detachable cable connecting the two earbuds, while the SE112 has fixed cable.

As for current Shure detachable earphone users wanting to go wireless, the company has them covered with the Bluetooth Accessory Cable-- a cable accessory adding Bluetooth connectivity together with integrated mic and 3-button remote for volume and playback control.

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Apple Intros urBeats3 Earphones

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Apple Intros urBeats3 Earphones

Customers get a new Beats earphone option-- the urBeats3, equipped with a Lighting connector for use with iDevices lacking a headphone jack, namely the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, as well as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Apple says the urBeats3 earphones feature a "fine-tuned acoustic design" for an "exceptional listening experience." The package includes a variety of eartip options for a custom fit, together with secure-fit wingtips for a more secure fit during workouts. Colour options include silver, gold and black to match the new iPhone model colours.

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The Smart Assistants of IFA 2017

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The Smart Assistants of IFA 2017

Voice-controlled smart assistants were everywhere at IFA 2017, as multiple companies took a stab at putting such capabilities, be it through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana, in a piece of hardware.

Surprisingly, while the show took place two assistant makers announced a partnership-- one allowing Alexa and Cortana to play nice with each other. Thus, Cortana users will be able to summon Alexa to shop on Amazon, while Alexa users get access to Cortana features such as calendar management and location-based reminders.

But back to the actual product offerings. On the Alexa side, Logiech UE Boom and Libratone Zipp wireless speakers get the Amazon assistant via update, as will the Bragi Dash earbuds. DTS also had a number of Alexa-enabled products, including the Phorus PS10 wireless speaker, Onkyo Smart Speaker P3 and Pioneer Elite Smart Speaker F4.

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FCC Filing Reveals Sonos Smart Speaker

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FCC Filing Reveals Sonos Smart Speaker

The grapevine has previously suggested Sonos is working on a voice-controlled speaker, and now we have proof in the shape of a filing with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

First discovered by Zatz Not Funny, the filing describes "product model S13," a "high-performance all-in-one wireless smart speaker" featuring "integrated voice control functionality with far field microphones." It also "will support multiple voice platforms and music services, allowing customers to effortlessly control their music on Sonos."

As such, one can imagine a wireless Sonos speaker with support for a wide range of smart assistants, including the obvious likes of Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. The FCC filing also includes an image of a new UI replete with a prominent microphone icon. This might either be a simple button or a touchable surface, like the one found in the Play:5.

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Monster Headphones Get Voice Control

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Monster Headphones Get Voice Control

Monster joins forces with Speak Music to presents its first voice-powered headphones-- versions of the Elements, Clarity HD and iSport Freedom V2 Bluetooth headphones making part of the MonsterTalk sub-brand.

The headphones allow users to tell their headphones what music to play and ask for a particular song, genre, artist or playlist, providing a "truly hands-free listening and control experience." One can also use voice to access streaming services such as iHeartRadio, Spotify and Tidal, as well as NPR news briefs and iTunes local music.

Providing such functionality is Melody, a companion app promising a seamless listening and control experience across multiple music platform. The Melody service does need a wifi connection, instead using cellular data. To get started, users need to download the free Melody app, follow the on-screen tutorial and pair the Monster headphones with the app via Bluetooth.

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Rapid Growth for DAB Radios

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Rapid Growth for DAB Radios

According to GfK, H1 2017 sees "rapid" growth in DAB+ receiver sales across Europe, in good part driven by the Norwegian switchover from FM to DAB+, as well as the development of digital radio markets across the continent.

The research covers Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. It shows sales ae up by 30% Y-o-Y for H2 2017, reaching 1.1 million audio home systems, tuners, receivers, clock radios, portable radios, radio recorders and aftermarket car radios.

As mentioned earlier, Norway was a key sales drivers-- the country sees H1 2017 sales grow by 192% Y-o-Y. Digital Radio Norway says overall sales total 4.1m, and 78% of Norwegian households own one or more DAB+ sets.

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