Audio

The Sonic Blocks Modular Speaker

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The Sonic Blocks Modular Speaker

Customers wanting to build a custom audio system might soon have the means to do so with Sonic Blocks, a wireless speaker featuring a modular design reminiscent of the Google Ara smartphone.

The concept behind Sonic Blocks is simple enough-- one first gets a cube-shaped starter kit featuring the "brain" (a computer base handling all connectivity duties), tweeter driver, full range driver and a bass driver. Each panel of the cube is removable and replaceable with other components, such as a supertweeter, lights, Digital Dolby decoder or even modules adding smart home functionality.

The cube carries a battery promising to run for 15 hours on a single charge. Of course it can also be connected to AC power, which should come useful should one decide to build a massive system consisting of multiple modules.

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Kanye Urges Apple to Buy Tidal

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Kanye Urges Apple to Buy Tidal

Is Apple really considering to buy Tidal, the Jay-Z owned music streaming service? One big name artist hopes it is the case-- Kanye West, who recently took to Twitter to express his opinions on the matter.

"This Tidal Apple beef is fucking up the music game," Kanye tweeted last Saturday. "Fuck all this dick swinging contest. We all gon [sic] be dead in 100 Years. Let the kids have the music." Another tweet has what appears to be a reference to the late Steve Jobs as it insists "Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve."

Kanye is one of the big names owning a minority stake in Tidal, together with the likes of Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Chris Martin, Rihanna, Usher and Jack White, among others. As such, his tweets might be in reference to actual negotiations currently going on in the boardrooms of both Apple and Tidal.

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Plex Streams to Sonos Speakers

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Plex Streams to Sonos Speakers

Owners of Sonos audio systems making use of the Plex media manager get some good news-- the latest Sonos app can access Plex music libraries for playback on the wireless speakers.

Plex on Sonos runs like any streaming service, and shows up in the Sonos app once the user links accounts. The tie-in also involves remote access to Plex server files, allowing one to play their music on any Sonos speaker anywhere.

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A Miniature DAC for Mobile Devices

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A Miniature DAC for Mobile Devices

British hifi maker Cyrus Audio takes to Kickstarter to fund development of the SoundKey-- a micro DAC designed for smartphone and tablet use.

According to the Cyrus, while the SoundKey is small and lightweight (around 16g) it still carries a high quality DAC and amplifier to improve mobile device sound. It connects via USB and sips just 50mA of power from the phone, half that of rival products.

It is compatible with Android, iOS and Windows devices, as well as laptops and PCs.

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Kicker Takes on Outdoor Audio With Bullfrog Jump

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Kicker Takes on Outdoor Audio With Bullfrog Jump

Aftermarket car stereo maker Kicker presents a portable Bluetooth speaker-- the Bullfrog Jump, a tough 2.1-channel number designed for outdoor use.

The Bullfrog Jump features a rugged cabinet complete with IP6 rating and water proofing. Inside are two 4-inch drivers and three 4-inch passive subwoofers, a combination the company says produces a 360-degree sound field.

Customers can daisy-chain one Bullfrog Jump with another via Bluetooth for stereo sound, while a 3.5mm jack is included for the connection of a portable audio source. Control comes through either companion Connect smartphone app or built-in rubber keys.

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Yamaha Adds Soundbar, Speaker to MusicCast

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Yamaha Adds Soundbar, Speaker to MusicCast

The Yamaha MusicCast wireless audio range gets a pair of additions-- the YSP-2700 soundbar with wireless subwoofer and the compact WX-010 wireless speaker.

MusicCast allows one-touch audio streaming from sources such as mobile devices and PCs, as well as streaming services including Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody and SirusXM. Customers can link MusicCast speakers, AV receivers and components to create a multi-room audio system complete with redistribution of multiple sources throughout the home.

The YSP-2700 pushes 7.1-channel surround sound via what Yamaha calls Digital Sound Projector technology. It uses 16 speakers (each powered by a 2W amp) to produce and reflect discrete sound beams off walls, thus enveloping listeners from multiple directions. Connectivity comes from both wired and wireless sources, with x3 HDMI input (plus 1 output), wifi, Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay.

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Acoustic Energy's Aego Reaches 3rd Generation

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Acoustic Energy's Aego Reaches 3rd Generation

Acoustic Energy presents the 3rd generation of Aego active loudspeakers-- the Aego Sound3ar subwoofer/soundbar combo and a Aego3 2.1 desktop system.

Both versions share the same subwoofer, one complete with optical digital, analogue and Bluetooth aptX wireless connectivity. Also found in all Aego products is aluminium alloy construction promising both "class-leading" acoustic performance and a stylish appearance.

The Sound3ar is a compact device featuring flush-to-wall keyway mounting, a thin bevel and a dark grille. It sits with the drivers facing upwards at 30 degrees, an angle Acoustic Energy claims provides optimum room projection while reducing reflections from the top surface of AV furniture.

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How to Build a Bose Wireless Speaker

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How to Build a Bose Wireless Speaker

Customers wanting a wireless speaker and a means to teach the kids how electronics work? Bose might have a solution with the BOSEbuild Speaker Cube, a build-your-own wireless speaker kit.

The Speaker Cube obviously features step-by-step instructions in the shape of a companion app, as well as all required equipment for the speaker building. In addition Bose includes customisable elements, such as different coloured lighting effects and "swappable silhouette covers" to keep things interesting.

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Cirrus Presents Lightning Headphone Dev Kit

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Cirrus Presents Lightning Headphone Dev Kit

Cirrus Logic gives more credibility to hearsay suggesting the next iPhone dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack as it announces an MFi-certified Lightning headphone development kit.

The kit provides headphone makers with means to migrate existing products from the legacy 3.5mm jack to the Lightning port. It is compatible with any headphone form factor (including earbuds and over-ear designs) and features a CS42L42 assembly offering a 114dB analog-to-digital converter with a low noise microphone bias generator and sidetone mixing for phone calls made through headset using the circuit.

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Libratone Adds to Portable Bluetooth Speakers

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Libratone Adds to Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Libratone presents a trio of portable wireless speakers-- the One Click, One Style and Too, all featuring Bluetooth connectivity, 360-degree audio and batteries promising up to 12 hours of use on a single charge.

Further similarities between the 3 speakers include pairing with the free Libratone companion app, linking with Libratone's Zipp or Zipp Mini speakers, a touch-based interface identical to that found in the Zipp speakers, a metal mesh chassis and IPx4-rated splash proofing.

The One Click is the flagship model, being a 40W with a 3-inch woofer, 1.1-inch tweeter and x2 passive drivers. It has a modular design consisting of a removable rubber frame allowing users to choose between either a hook or a carry strap. Libratone says it will offer more accessories making use of the system in the future, such as suction cups, a bike mount and a long shoulder strap.

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iHome Ships Toughest Wireless Speakers

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iHome Ships Toughest Wireless Speakers

iHome starts shipping what it describes as its toughest Bluetooth speakers yet-- with 4 Weather Tough models being the first from the company to have an IP67 rating.

The rating means the speakers' chassis is dust-proof and can withstand up to 1m of water for 30 minutes. To further add toughness the speakers also feature military-spec rubberised shock-proof casings. On the internal side, all models feature rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in microphone complete with echo cancellation and answer/end controls.

The first model in the lineup is the iBT37, a triangular mono speaker featuring an 8-hour battery and a quarter-inch tripod mount on the bottom. Following it is the small iBT82, a circular number with a 12-hour lithium-ion battery.

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