Audio

The Lovable Turntable Concept

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The Lovable Turntable Concept

Designer Yves Béhar brings about an unusual concept for the turntable-- the Love is, essentially, an oversized, spinning tonearm packing all the hardware making a traditional vinyl player.

Described as "the first intelligent turntable," the Love uses Bluetooth and wifi to connect with smartphones and speakers. Music playback involves putting a record on top of a base (two are included) before putting the Love over the record. The device "scans" the vinyl to obtain song information and the number of tracks, before playing it via standard stylus on the bottom.

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Bragi Ships The Headphone Wireless Earbuds

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Bragi Ships The Headphone Wireless Earbuds

Following unfortunate Christmas season delays Bragi starts shipping its Apple AirPods rival, the Headphone-- a set of wireless earbuds one can describe as stripped down version of Bragi's previous Dash earbuds.

First revealed back in September 2016, the Headphone earbuds are similar to the Dash, with a similar size, overall design and basic function. However they lack the fitness tracking, built-in storage features and touch-sensitive control features. The result? Lower cost wireless earbuds promising 6 hours of battery life for audio playback (double that of the Dash) and 250 hours of standby time.

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The Onkyo VC-FLX1: An Audiophile-Grade Smart Speaker?

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The Onkyo VC-FLX1: An Audiophile-Grade Smart Speaker?

Onkyo claims the VC-FLX1 is one of the first assistant-equipped speakers to offer high quality audio playback together with the cloud-powered smarts of Amazon's Alexa.

To power such audio the speaker carries a proprietary full-range speaker driver. To further add "tremendous functionality and value," it also includes a built-in webcam and a temperature, motion and humidity sensor, allowing customers to monitor the surroundings.

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LG Presents Wearable Tone Studio

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LG Presents Wearable Tone Studio

LG reveals an unusual hybrid of speaker and headphones at CES 2017-- the Tone Studio and Free are a horseshoe-shaped devices the company says can deliver "amazing" surround sound when worn around the neck.

Described as a "personal wearable speaker," the Tone Studio carries 2 full range speakers on the top and 2 vibrating speakers in the bottom. It also features, DTS technology for "realistic theatre-like sound," a DAC for enhanced audio output and a Dual Play mode allowing users to pair two Tone Studio units and share the sound from a movie or playlist.

Customers wanting a more traditional audio product from LG also get an option at CES-- the Tone Free includes wireless earbuds one can charge by storing inside the neckband. As well as taking care of storage and charging the neckband also vibrates to alert users of calls and text messages, while built-in speakers and microphone turn it into a hands-free headset. Only one worn around the neck.

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Microsoft Puts Cortana in Harman Kardon Speaker

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Microsoft Puts Cortana in Harman Kardon Speaker

Microsoft is the next company to rival Amazon and Google in speakers equipped with voice-controlled assistants as it announces a partnership involving such a device with Harman Kardon.

Details on the actual speaker are scant, but one can safely assume Harman Kardon will offer a premium device. A brief teaser video shows a cylindrical speaker reminiscent of, well, the Amazon Echo product line. Like the competition it glows when users call out "hey Cortana," the name of the Microsoft take on the likes of Siri.

The partnership with the audio maker comes as Microsoft starts offering developers and vendors means to access the Cortana assistant-- specifically through what it calls the Cortana Skills Kit and devices SDK. The Skills Kit helps devices to integrate Cortana in apps and services running on a range of operating systems, while the SDK allows OEMs and ODMs to build Cortana-powered devices.

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Bose Boosts Hearing With Hearphones

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Bose Boosts Hearing With Hearphones

Bose presents what appears to be a combination of headphones and hearing aid-- the Hearphones, around-the-neck earbuds able to augment specific sounds in the wearer's vicinity via directional microphones.

First spotted by a sharp-eyed Hacker News user, the Hearphones look like the company's QuietControl 30 earbuds, if with the capabilities of the Doppler Labs Here One earbuds. The Hearphones can both augment and cancel certain sounds using what Bose describes as smart active listening technology, and the accompanying marketing is emphasising on the ability to help users listen to conversations in noisy environments.

Further details on the Hearphones come from the "Bose Hear" companion app already available in the App Store. It allows users to turn "world volume" up or down, change the direction one is hearing sounds, and includes presets such as "TV," "focused conversation," "airplane," doctor's office" and "gym." It also mentions the app is not compatible with the QC 30 earbuds.

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Apple Music Subscribers Reach 20 Million

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Apple Music Subscribers Reach 20 Million

Apple Music, the iPhone maker's rival to the likes of Spotify, is all about steady growth-- the service sees paid subscribers reach 20 million as it turns a year and a half old.

Subscriber numbers totaled 15 million in June, the month of its first birthday, and grew to 17 million just 2 months later in September. Interestingly, around 50% of Apple Music subscribers are located outside the US (in good part thanks to its being available in over 100 countries) and, marking a shift in music consumption, 60% haven't actually bought any music from iTunes in the past year.

“It’s been quite a year,” Apple SVP of internet software and services Eddy Cue tells Billboard. “We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before.”

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Sonos Speakers Get Spotify Control

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Sonos Speakers Get Spotify Control

The Sonos and Spotify mobile device apps get a pair of updates-- a combination allowing customers to control Sonos speakers directly through the Spotify app via Spotify Connect.

Such functionality requires a Spotify Premium subscription, and includes all curation, discovery and sharing features associated with the music streaming service, as well as multiroom speaker support. The reverse is also possible, since one can control Spotify playlists and tracks through the Sonos app, and visitors can control the Sonos system using the Spotify app on their own mobile devices.

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Klipsh Takes on Wireless Multiroom Audio

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Klipsh Takes on Wireless Multiroom Audio

Klipsch is the next company to jump into wireless multiroom audio with the Stream, a product collection consisting of 6 products featuring DTS Play-Fi technology for high-resolution streaming over wifi networks.

Stream products include a pair of Reference soundbars (RSB-8 and RSB-14), the RW-1 wireless speaker, the Three tabletop stereo system and two legacy source converters (Gate and PowerGate). All can handle audio from a variety of sources, including online streaming, local storage and traditional sources. Control comes through mobile devices equipped with the companion Klipsch Stream app.

The two soundbars feature HDMI inputs and output, with the ability to pass 4K UHD video signals as well as HDMI-ARC and CEC. Additional inputs include Bluetooth, optical and RCA. The RSB-8 package includes a 40-inch wide soundbar and a 6.5-inch subwoofer, while the top-of-the-line RSB-14 includes a 44-inch soundbar and 8-inch subwoofer as well as three HDMI inputs. Sound comes through four 2.5-inch midrange drivers and two 0.78-inch tweeters in Klipsch tractrix horns.

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China Takes on Echo With LingLong DingDong

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China Takes on Echo With LingLong DingDong

Speakers equipped with voice-controlled personal assistants appear to be the next big thing, and Chinese vendors want a slice of the pie. One of these companese is LingLong, whose speaker bears the amusing monicker DingDong.

As the first product of Beijing LingLong, a joint venture between Chinese online retail giant JD.com and voice recognition specialist iFlytek, DingDong performs many of the functions provided by the likes of the Amazon Echo. It tells users news, weather and stock updates, answers questions, manages schedules, provides directions, and plays music and audiobooks. It also acts as a voice-based smart device controller, and includes a number of simple English lessons. The only difference, of course, is that it does so in either Mandarin or Cantonese.

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Nordic Stylings With B&O's Cool Modern Collection

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Nordic Stylings With B&O's Cool Modern Collection

Bang & Olufsen offers customers a spot of Nordic minimalism with the Cool Modern Collection-- a selection of B&O Products clad in brass-toned aluminium and "beautiful textile colours."

Part of the company's 91st anniversary celebrations, the Cool Modern Collection includes products such as the new BeoVision 14 television, the BeoSound 35 wireless audio system, the BeoLab 18 speakers, the BeoRemote One remote, and the upcoming BeoSound 1 and 2 speaker systems. All feature a subtle redesign inspired by both contemporary interior trends and the Art Deco fashionable during the time of B&O's founding, the 1920s.

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