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Tag Archives: Portable Audio

Kinyo Portable Speakers Support USB Flash Drives

Kinyo 2.0 Portable USB Flash Player (Image courtesy Kinyo)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve yet to come across a pair of small portable speakers that don’t sound like small speakers. But this set from Kinyo at least makes up for it with some great added functionality. It can of course connect to an iPod, Zune, CD player or pretty much anything with a headphone jack but it also includes a built-in USB port for directly connecting a USB flash drive.

It currently supports MP3, WAV and WMA audio files and might even allow for just a bit more sound quality since it’s a direct digital connection to the music files. The Kinyo player has 2 watts of total power output and you can choose from 6 different equalizer settings including normal, jazz, rock, classical, hip-hop and blues. It’s powered by 4 AAA batteries or an included AC adapter.

It looks like Newegg.com is currently carrying the speakers for $39.99.

[ Kinyo 2.0 Portable USB Flash Player ] VIA [ Chip Chick ]

Stereo Bluetooth Gets Cheap, Collapsible

By Evan Ackerman

BluPhonesGear4 is selling a new set of stereo bluetooth headphones, which offer many of the same features as other sets of stereo bluetooth headphones (works as a headset, pauses for calls, has buttons that do stuff, mediocre battery life), albeit in a relatively cheap (at £49.99) and relatively foldable package. It’s the foldability that especially interests me. The BluPhones have a bendable piece of memory wire across the back, which lets you wad them up and messily stuff them away while not in use.

I have to say that the on/in-ear bits don’t exactly look comfortable in the picture, but then, I’m a fan of around-ear headphones, because they help me all the more legitimately ignore the rest of the world. And while having to have battery powered headphones is never a good thing, the lack of wires more than makes up for it.

[ Gear4 BluePhones ] VIA [ Tech Digest ]

Beatnik Announces New Digital Music Format Ten Times Smaller Than MP3

Audio Waveform (Image courtesy Floom.com) By Andrew Liszewski

When the MP3 file format was created it came at just the right time to be small enough for PC users to amass large collections while still providing audio quality comparable to a CD. And since computer storage has grown by leaps and bounds over the years there hasn’t really been the need to improve upon the way MP3s are compressed.

However US software company Beatnik, which was founded by Thomas Dolby has developed a new audio file format that can reduce the size of a song up to ten times more than the MP3 format can. The new format finds parts of the song that occur more than once and only stores a single copy of that part in the file. Then when the song is being played back those parts are loaded on the fly and seamlessly integrated back into the music.

The new format was specifically created for the mobile phone market where over-the-air track delivery is becoming more and more popular. The smaller file sizes allow for a quicker delivery and of course less bandwidth charges. Just don’t expect iTunes to be switching over to the new format anytime soon and I guarantee there are ‘audiophiles’ already turning their noses up at it.

[ Beatnik announces New Digital Music Format for Faster Downloads ] VIA [ Phone Scoop ]

PodXtreme Packs A Lot Of Sound Into A Small Speaker

PodXtreme (Image courtesy Gadget Universe) By Andrew Liszewski

The market for compact, portable speakers is definitely not lacking in selection these days. But when it comes to sound quality that’s a different story. When you spend $20 on a pair of small speakers they’re going to sound like $20 speakers. The PodXtreme however claims to provide impressive sound output in a very small, pocket-sized speaker.

One of the reasons the PodXtreme can outperform other speakers is that it has a built-in power source. It uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be topped off via a USB connection or plugged into an AC outlet. This of course allows for much more volume than you’d get with an unpowered speaker. The PodXtreme also claims to have impressive bass performance thanks to the extended part you can see sticking out in the photo. (Which helps to ‘elongate’ your sound of course.) Thanks to the accordion design it can also be collapsed when the speaker is not in use allowing for even a smaller form factor.

I can’t say for sure whether or not the PodXtreme actually lives up to its claims but at only $29.95 from Gadget Universe it might be worth a shot.

[ PodXtreme ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

OhGizmo Review: Playaway Digital Audiobook Player

By Evan Ackerman

Playaway

Playaway, makers of a single-serving digital audiobook player, kindly sent us a review unit last week. Being a fan of audio and books (and free stuff), I volunteered to write it up. The particular audiobook that I’m listening to for this review is The Worst Case Scenario Handbook, read by Penn Jillette and Burt Reynolds. It retails from the Playawaydigital.com website for $34.99. Click on through for a brutally in-depth review.

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Kubric To Replace All Humans, Animals With iPods

By Evan Ackerman

iKub Shuffle

First it was the bears with iPod minis where their guts should be. Now, in a more sinister turn, Kubric’s iKub is an iPod Shuffle (1st gen) dock where the Shuffle is a full fledged replacement for a humanoid head. The message is clear: who needs a brain when you have an iPod? Furthermore, note the prominent wired USB connection, alluding to the digital tether that the iPod has on every last one of us. My own personal iPod, as it happens, is currently being replaced. I’ve been PMP-less for nigh on two weeks now, and it is only because of that forced separation that I’ve been able to see how those little white earphones are actually burrowing their way deeper and deeper into our brains. But you know what? It’s a scary world out there, filled with all kinds of noises that haven’t been digitally remastered and compressed into mp3s. And so when my iPod is finally returned to me, I will happily follow the iKub’s lead and replace my brain with a head full of music. £32.

[ iKub Shuffle ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

iSkin’s Cerulean F1 Bluetooth Headphones (Obviously) Ditch The Wires, Get Hit With Ugly Stick

cerulean f1

By David Ponce

We suppose that one man’s beauty is another’s monstrosity, but to this editor’s eyes, the Cerulean F1 from iSkin looks marginally more interesting than a can of porridge. Not that there’s anything wrong with the product itself: the company claims the Cerulean F1 to be the world’s smallest and lightest stereo Bluetooth headset on the market. We have no reason to doubt them, even though throwing a superlative around is hardly enough to guarantee explosive sales. Still, if you look at the specs (Bluetooth 1.2 or 2.0+EDR cellular phone support, 15mm drivers with rubber coating for added comfort) and the price ($130), it’s not a bad deal… well, it’s not a great deal either because the pictured Cerulean TX Stereo Bluetooth Transmitter for iPod is actually not included in that price.

The headphones will be “available soon”.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Xataka ]

Samson Zoom H2 Portable Surround Sound Recorder

Samson Zoom H2 (Images courtesy Samson)
By Andrew Liszewski

Unlike most portable recorders the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder from Samson actually uses 3 onboard directional microphones located in the center and positioned on the left and right sides. This setup apparently allows for “unparalleled stereo imaging” and can even be used to make surround sound recordings of your garage band.

For maximum flexibility, you can record from the front or rear of the H2 and at 90° or 120° in up to 96 kHz/24-bit WAV format, as MP3 up to 320 kbps. Additionally, you can record 360° in 48kHz/24-bit format which will allow you convert your recordings to Surround 5.1.

The device includes all the options needed to capture great sounding audio including manual gain control buttons on the front panel for riding levels on the fly and an auto-gain function as well. SD cards are the storage medium of choice and with a 4GB card the Zoom H2 can capture 2 hours at 96kHz, 6 hours at 44.1kHz or up to 138 hours in the MP3 format. Unfortunately though the unit only includes a 512MB card so you’re going to want to upgrade right away. It also includes a USB connection for transferring files to your PC and the unit will run for about 4 hours on 2 AA batteries.

The Zoom H2 should be available sometime in June for about $200.

[ Samson Zoom H2 ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Audio Recording Device Blocker

Digital Or Tape Recorder Blocker (Image courtesy Spycatcher) By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re constantly worried about your friends, family, boss, co-workers or even internal affairs setting you up then carrying around this audio recording device blocker 24/7 might be a good idea. It emits a sub-audible tone which cannot be detected by the human ear but will end up drowning out any audio recordings when played back.

The built-in rechargeable batteries will last for about 2.5 hours which is a bit limited for those that are truly paranoid but the unit can also be plugged in. For digital recorders it has an effective range of about 0.5 to 2 meters but for tape recorders that range is increased to about 3 to 8 meters. It also includes a remote control that can be used to switch the blocker on and off since you’re no doubt going to want to be discrete about using it.

The Tape Recorder Blocker is available from Spycatcher for about $3,800 which isn’t cheap but I guess if it helps keep you out of prison it’s probably worth it.

[ Tape Recorder Blocker ]