Crowdfunded accessories from Flare Audio promise premium sound quality
Welcome to Crowdfunding Critic, an occasional post that arises every so often, whenever we find something on one of the many crowdfunding efforts that may be worth your time, and possibly your money. None of the projects featured in this series of posts pay us for the attention, as we select them based on if they are interesting to us and potentially you. This time we're looking at the Flare Audio lineup of premium headphones and earphones.
Panasonic offers four new models, one with Bluetooth and NFC
Four new models of headphones from Panasonic made their debut today at CES. The offerings included a foldable on-ear model, Bluetooth headphones with near-field communication (NFC), and two premium in-ear models. The Panasonic Foldz are designed to allow the ear cups to swivel around into a compact formation for storage and portability. The RP-BTD5 Bluetooth headphones include NFC connectivity that allows the user to connect them to a device by simply touching it to one of the ear cups.
Bluetooth earphones, standalone Samsung Gear S smartwatch head to market this week
Samsung has confirmed it is bringing its Gear Circle wireless earphones to the United States this month, ready for the holiday shopping period. At the same time, it has been revealed the manufacturer's standalone Gear S smartwatch will be making its way to the United Kingdom, with the first units set to go on sale later this week.
Red JBL earphones have 9mm drivers, inline controls
Chinese mobile device producer OnePlus has introduced a second set of earphones for its smartphone, less than a month after announcing another pair of slightly-smaller earbuds. Built in partnership with JBL, the E1+ Earphones are said to be "specifically crafted" for the OnePlus One, with the earbuds using 9mm JBL drivers with the company's PureBass technology, claimed to provide a high-frequency response between 10Hz and 22kHz and a considerable amount of bass.
OnePlus earphones launching next week for $15
OnePlus has created a set of earphones designed to match its flagship smartphone, the OnePlus One. The Silver Bullet Earphones are compact ear buds housed in a brushed aluminum casing, with the Chinese manufacturer claiming the audio devices to be durable as well as providing listeners with a "powerful and immersive sound."
Gear S smartwatch can operate independently from smartphone with own 3G connection
Samsung has unveiled a new Gear smartwatch and earphones before its Unpacked event at IFA. The Gear S updates the original device's bulky design into a slimline and stylish smartwatch with a curved two-inch 360x480 Super AMOLED display, though unlike the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, this edition adds the SIM card and 3G connection from the rumored Gear Solo, allowing it to work independently from a smartphone.
LG fitness tracker, health-monitoring earphones launching soon
LG is bringing two health-related wearable devices to market, items that have been previously rumored. The Lifeband Touch is a wrist-based fitness tracker, while the Heart Rate Earphones will combine audio playback with health monitoring, with both devices able to synchronize with a mobile app for Android and iOS, as well as LG's own smartphone collection.
Four drivers aim to deliver robust audio
Shure brought its latest and greatest audio gear to Las Vegas this week for CES, including the high-end SE846 earphones that arrived in 2013. Wading through a myriad of new audio products at the expo, we weren't expecting to find anything that would really knock our socks off. Trying to remain optimistic, we made sure to try on the SE846 and hear if it is worth its $1000 price tag.
Lumen TL800 Bluetooth smart bulb now available on Amazon
Tabu Products' app-enabled Lumen TL800 smart bulb is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. A light bulb that lasts up to 30 times longer than an average incandescent bulb, the Lumen TL800 uses five times less power. Dimmable, The TL800 has 16 million color options; its LED RGBW (red, blue, green and white) lighting can be customized to create a specific atmosphere.
JAYS updates a-JAYS Five with all-new design in three versions
Swedish audio maker JAYS has released the latest version of its popular a-JAYS Five series earphones. Unlike the previous model that came in one edition, the new lineup comes in three discrete models, each individually tailored to iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. Each of the three models features its own three-button remote that supports all the remote functionality of each type of smartphone running each OS.
Sony SBH50 Bluetooth earphones feature 'smart' tech
Following hot on the heels of the Sony SBH20 Bluetooth earphones, the company has also revealed a more upmarket variant, the SBH50. The new headset is notable for including a small OLED display into its remote with app extensions available through Google Play. The extensions allow users to browse their call log, read text notifications and messages on the display without needs to pull out a smartphone.
Sony adds new SBH20 stereo Bluetooth earphones to range
In tandem with the launch of the Sony Xperia ZR, Sony has rolled out a iPod shuffle inspired pair of stereo Bluetooth earphones. The new SBH20 uses a small shuffle-like case to enclose a Bluetooth 3.0 receiver and rechargeable battery, while also function as a remote control for a connected smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device. The SBH20 incorporates a clip that users can use to pin to their clothing, minimizing the amount of cabling while allowing the connected device to remain stored in a backpack or handbag.
Shure SE846 make Asia debut, set for US launch in June
Shure has quietly slipped out its latest in-ear headphones, the SE846 with quad-drivers, through an official launch in Asia. The see-through plastic enclosure also allows users to get a close look at some of the 10 laser cut stainless steel plates that help comprise its internal design. It also incorporates 4 balanced micro drivers with two low frequency, one mid and one high frequency on a 3-way crossover configuration.
9-pin connector dubbed Lightning, earphones dubbed Earpods
Apple’s much discussed and still rumored 9-pin dock connector is reportedly referred to internally as ‘Lightning,’ reports 9to5Mac. It is also believed that Apple will also market the new connector with that name lending weight to our earlier story that it is likely to be compatible with USB 3.0. Apple’s newest Ivy Bridge-based Macs support USB 3.0 and boast speeds of up to 5Gbps, half the speed of the Thunderbolt I/O, but much faster than the current USB 2.0 compatible connector.
Apple earphones get first redesign since 2006
Apple may have a redesigned set of its earphones headed for the next iPhone if Vietnamese site Tinhte is indeed in possession of the genuine article. While Apple’s earphones have reached an iconic status, featuring in numerous ads promoting the iPod over the years, their sound and fit have been less than stellar. The new earphones feature a spherical design and appear to aim for a more secure in-ear fit, as the video embedded below shows.
Earpieces acoustically matched
Westone has expanded its earphone lineup with the 4R, a new quad-driver design that is claimed to offer a range of upgrades geared for audiophiles. The symmetrically-balanced armature drivers are connected to three-way crossovers to separate frequencies, ranging from 10Hz to 18kHz, while the earpieces are said to be acoustically matched to with a +/- 2dB tolerance.
3.9-foot cord, interchangeable ear tips
Pioneer Electronics has released a new set of water-resistant, washable earbud headphones -- intended for exercising or other activities where sweat, dust or risk of water immersion is an issue. The SE-CL331 earbuds (U.S. website not yet updated) are safe in up to one meter (3.3 feet) of water and come with four interchangeable ear tips, as well as an extra-long 3.9-foot cord for increased flexibility.
High-end earbuds use dual 8mm neodymium drivers
Etymotic has announced its latest noise-isolating headset, the mc2. The earphones are compatible with BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile and iOS devices that use a 3.5 mm/ 4-conductor stereo phone plug. The mc2 features the same chamber design for improved dynamics as its iOS-only mc3 headset,
moving-coil, high-output 8mm neodymium magnet drivers, an omnidirectional microphone, and a Kevlar-reinforced cable. The headset is capable of up to 42dB noise reduction, which the company claims is the highest of any headphone on the market.
Features Microban anti-bacterial coating
Mac accessory maker iSkin has launched a new line of earphones called EarTones with built-in mics that are specifically designed for iOS devices but also work well with Mac and Windows computers using programs like Skype, iChat and FaceTime. The microphone features call and iPod control on iOS devices, including the iPad 2, and the earphones offer other innovations like an anti-bacterial coating and a flexible neck to give the earbuds an even better fit.
No battery required, regulates volume above 85dB
It's not just the volume level of some personal headphones that creates long-term hearing damage, its the distortion and sound pressure as well. Audio company dB Logic has introduced the EP-100 earphones for teens and adults that uses advanced circuitry to regulate volume, but maintain the integrity of the sound in a virtually transparent way. By getting cleaner sound without excessive volume, there is less need for listeners to expose themselves to excessive sound pressure levels, thus protecting their hearing while being able to listen longer.
Vocal Tuning, Live Tuning and Mega Bass Tuning
TDK has launched its new line of CLEF-P Sound Tuning Series earphones. Each pair of earphones in the series is tuned to deliver a different sound dynamic. The Vocal Tuning model enhances the vocals in recordings, the Live Tuning model is designed to reproduce a live rock sound, and the Mega Bass model adds a punchier bottom end to a user's tunes. The earphones are made of high-quality aluminum for strength as well as to enhance sound quality.
Earphones set to join over-ear headphones
Marshall, famous for rock ‘n roll guitar stacks teased its first set of over-ear headphones, the Major a couple of weeks back. Due to launch on November 15, the Major is now set to be joined by the Minor, which Marshall began teasing via its Marshall Headphones newsletter today. The Minor are an earphone model styled after the guitar plug of a Fender Telecaster and the knobs off its own Marshall Amps.
Patented die-casting technique gives unique look
V-MODA today unveiled its Vibrato in-ear earphones, die-cast using a patented technology in zinc-alloy. The technique helps to give the earphones a unique appearance while also making them more robust. Tuned in conjunction with pro musicians, the earphones incorporate an 8mm dynamic neodymium driver to deliver high-quality sound that minimizes background noise through the application of hybrid silicone to form the ear tips.
High-end, for audiophiles and pro musicians
Earsonics SM3 earphones are now available in the US. The high-end earphones are aimed at audiophiles and pro musicians. The earphones incorporate triple balanced armature drivers with 3 way passive crossover (1 low, 1 mid, 1 high) and feature proprietary silicon tips offering universal fit and high levels of comfort.
Designed in collaboration with LeBron James
Monster has expanded its Beats by Dr. Dre series with new earphones, PowerBeats, that are said to be borne of collaboration with Miami Heat star LeBron James. The earphones feature an adjustable ear hook with a flexible arm designed specifically for sports enthusiasts and athletes.
Built for an active lifestyle
Philips and O’Neil have teamed to develop a range of headphones and earphones for people who like to get outdoors. The premium range includes The Stretch,
The Covert and
The Specked. The Stretch and The Snug are over-ear headphones that use 40mm drivers designed with an emphasis on delivering deep bass. The Stretch is also made of an extra-rugged nylon polymer. The Snug, as it name implies, is more oriented towards delivering comfort and includes soft cushions for long use; the set also folds flat for travel.
Ultimate Ears outs music genre-inspired designs
Ultimate Ears today unveiled its 100 series noise-isolating earphones. They have been given a highly individualized flavor with each of the five models inspired by one of five different musical genres. Providing up to 24dBs of passive noise isolation, they also come with four sizes of ear cushions designed to provide a comfortable fit.
New protective iPad sleeve and cases
Long Live Books and Philips have already expanded their range of accessories for the iPad. Philips has introduced several new products, ranging from protective cases to audio devices. A soft reversible sleeve protects the device from bumps and scratches, offering either a red or black exterior depending on which side the user chooses. The second iPad guard is a soft neoprene and leatherette case utilizing a fold-over flap to help keep the iPad in place. The leatherette material also provides extra protection for the glass screen.
Record voice with integrated microphone
TuneWear has released a new product in its line of iPhone and iPod accessories, the TuneSonic Crystal with Mic and Control earphones. The earphones feature 9mm neodymium drivers claimed to produce clear sound, while magnetic shielding and a rubberized guard on the Y-connector provide additional protection. The design integrates a single Crystallized Swarovski Elements rhinestone on the back of each earpiece.
New line of iPhone/iPod accessories
iWave has announced a new line of electronic accessories geared toward female users, the Crystal Clear Collection. The new product line offers a variety of headphones, earphones and cases for iPhones or iPods. All of the accessories feature Swarovski's Crystallized Elements, along with bright themes in colors such as pink.
New dock works with companion iPhone app
iLuv has introduced a new headphone series, Tatz, and a new iPhone dock, App Station. On display at CES (Central Hall, Booth #12632), the new rotational alarm-clock dock features a built-in speaker and works with a companion iPhone app to allow it to play music, movies and perform alarm clock functions. The app allows for customized displays of digital alarm-clock readouts on the iPhone. The dock can stand vertically or horizontally for standard or movie viewing on the iPhone. The App Station dock will ship in February for $130, and the iLuv app will be available on the iTunes App Store.
IDR655m noise-isolating earphones with mic
Scosche has announced its CES 2010 product line-up of new iPhone and iPod accessories, consisting of the reviveLITE II, a new tapSTICK model, flipSYNC, and IDR655m earphones. reviveLITE II is an improved version of the company’s previously released reviveLITE iPhone and iPod charger, complete with an additional USB charging port that can be used to simultaneously charge any USB-powered device. Similar to the original, it features a cordless charging design and includes an integrated LED nightlight.
TruTune Fine Color Series
Radius Products has launched its TruTune Fine Color Series, a new set of colourful earphones that match Apple’s iPod nano 4G. The TruTune earphones are made from lightweight aluminum and feature a gold-plated stereo mini-plug. Each earphone offers small, medium or large silicone caps to help ensure they fit in the user’s ear. Colors which are currently available are designed to match the nine iPod nano 4G colors and include silver, black, violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and pink.
Tunewear has launched its first earphone product for portable music players, the TuneSonic Crystal. The earphone delivers a high-resolution 9mm neodymium magnet driver that the company says produces clearer sound with input as strong as 5mW. It comes in three different colors, “black onyx” (black with rhinestone), “chrome silver” (silver with clear crystal), and “crystal pink” (pink with clear crystal). Also included is a 24k gold-plated 3.5mm stereo cable.
Ultimate Ears earphones
Headphone manufacturer Ultimate Ears on Wednesday announced it has added the Super.Fi 5 and Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 5vi earphones to its range of universal-fit earphones. The new products are the first to feature a top-fire armature speaker design that, the company claims, provides a strong sound delivery while retaining a small form. The headphones feature a frequency response range of 15Hz to 15kHz and a maximum sound pressure level of 115dB.