Posts for Audio Category

Review: Creative SXFI Theater

Om Patel - May 19, 2020

There’s no doubt that wired headphones are king, but each struggle to untangle those annoying headphone wires, more and more people are ditching their wired headphones for wireless ones.

Now, before you go, “Bluetooth headphones have delay!” because of the latency issues that average wireless headphones have, Creative has actually solved that issue with their Creative SXFI Theater. You can still be immersed in your movies or video games with full, booming surround sound that captures you from all angles.

The Creative SXFI Theater was released late in 2019 and is currently priced at $199.99. We know it’s on the more expensive side for a pair of headphones, but none of the other wireless headphones on the market use Creative’s SXFI technology. Its full surround sound system makes you forget it’s just a pair of headphones. It makes you feel like you’re actually in the movie theater. Continue Reading

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Review: Sennheiser CX 350BT

Finley Green - April 21, 2020

Sennheiser is known for releasing a solid lineup of headphones and earbuds on the regular, so I was excited to hear that I would be able to test out and talk about their newest wireless earphones. I’ve found wireless earphone models to be one of my personal favorite designs when it comes to Bluetooth audio devices, as they can be used most anywhere and be practically forgotten about due to comfort, yet you can still easily remove one earbud for a moment if you need to speak to someone. It can be very useful for exercising or doing work around the house, so I was interested to see how Sennheiser would optimize the device for not only comfort but also sound quality and battery life, which are two of the aspects that wireless earbuds can be lacking in. Some die quickly and charge slowly, making themselves not useful except for short bursts of listening activity. Many others simply do not have the noise cancelling power to be heard well if you’re in a noisier area (although they do often fare better than their wired counterparts). Plainly put, they aren’t usually for listening to music on long road trips or a crowded bus, but that doesn’t mean that this can’t change. The German audio company Sennheiser has been known to rank high in review lists for their innovative approach to all sorts of auditory equipment, but especially impresses in headphones and earbuds. But were they able to come through with a pair of stand-out earphones that improve on the inherent weaknesses of the design to create a great listening experience? Let’s take a look one of their newest wireless earphone releases, the CX 350BT, and see for ourselves. Continue Reading

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Review: Sennheiser PXC 550-II Headphones Impress Audiophiles With Top-Notch Sound

Finley Green - January 1, 2020

Whether you prefer listening to music, podcasts, phone calls, YouTube, or anything else that can be accessed through our various personal devices, one thing is certain: quality headphones are a priority. Sure, you could buy some $20 flimsy headset at the mall and enjoy tinny audio that sounds like it’s passing through an empty sewer tunnel to get to you, but that can quickly lose its charm once you pass age 8 or so. For my real audio enthusiasts, true sound quality through top-of-the-line headphones is not simply enhancement, but essential. In this day and age, media can be enjoyed anywhere, but the phone and computer are two extremely popular mediums that practically require headphones. But what headphones really make the cut? After all, there’s thousands to choose from, all showcasing different perks and features that may seem overwhelming at first. Well, after being able to personally field test a pair of Sennheiser’s new PXC 550-II headphones, I can say that this pair is a real winner. Sennheiser has always been known for fantastic sound and noise cancellation with their wireless listening devices, and these headphones mark another success for the tech producer. Let’s inspect how all of 550-II’s features come together to create a pair of headphones that make listening to audio a full experience. Continue Reading

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Review: Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar

Finley Green - November 1, 2019

Sound is one of five tenets of our sensory experience on this planet, so it makes sense to want to experience it luxuriously at times. This is understood especially when it comes to entertainment that you personally enjoy and wish to upgrade. Whether it be movies, music, sports, or other immersive media, we can find a new level of enjoyment when the presentation is enhanced, such as by improving the auditory experience. If you have any friends that are self-proclaimed audiophiles, it’s highly possible that you’ve heard talk of the newly released AMBEO Soundbar. You may ask, “What’s the deal with this apparently very special speaker? Can it really change my audio that drastically? How did I get so many friends that all share this extremely specific interest again?” Or if you are said audiophile, you may be interested in seeing whether or not this new device is worth the hefty price. Fret not, as whether you have no knowledge of audio tech or consider yourself a passionate fan of such things, together we can all examine what the AMBEO Soundbar does, how it compares to similar devices, and how it can affect your media consumption forever. As I was able to test out the speaker and use it in various different scenarios, I’ll be highlighting my personal experiences with the device and how it stacks up in the grand world of audio tech. Continue Reading

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Review: Bose Frames

Mohammed Rayan - September 9, 2019

Since the dawn of wearable technology, we have seen a variety of smart wearable devices but none of them have been extraordinary. Sure, we have seen things like the Bose Soundwear Companion Speaker, but that doesn’t qualify as a wearable as the consensus for a wearable device is something that you carry anywhere without getting a weird look from people around you.

With the Bose Frames, that’s set to change. These new wearables from Bose are bluetooth- enabled sunglasses with speakers and a mic integrated in them, allowing you to listen to music or take calls without taking your phone out of your pocket. This is definitely a step up from the Snapchat Spectacles we saw last year. Continue Reading

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Review: Naim Mu-So 2nd Gen

Om Patel - July 31, 2019

It has been five years since Naim launched the Naim Mu-so. Back then, wireless speakers were premium devices that cost thousands of dollars. Then Naim entered the scene and changed the game forever by letting the world see that you could get authentic hi-fi at a pretty affordable price with its Mu-so, Naim is showing everyone that it’s still in the game with their new, reimagined wireless speaker: the Mu-so 2nd Generation.

The Naim Mu-so 2 is the wireless speaker we didn’t know we needed. The first Naim Mu-so was already a top-of-the-line speaker which was hard to follow, but Naim has raised the bar again.

Right off the bat, the Mu-so 2 is one of the best multi-room speakers of the year. It’s an evolution of the original Naim speaker, adding multiple connectivity options, and showing off a sleeker body. Although the price racks up at $1599, the Mu-so 2 justifies the price with its multitude of upgrades. Continue Reading

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Review: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Manoj Ramesh Shastri - July 4, 2019

Beats has finally released its latest earphones: the​ ​Powerbeats Pro​, which combine the best of both AirPods and Powerbeats 3 into an excellent product for both everyday use and for working out. Compared to the Apple AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro look large, but there’s a good reason for that; those soft, rubber-like arms are designed to grip your ears securely without making the things too comfortable to wear, despite looking a lot less elegant than the AirPods, these headphones are insanely comfortable. It takes a while to get used to fitting them, but once in place you forget you’re even wearing them. Another thing we really like about the Powerbeats Pro is the fact that both of the earphones have their own set of physical controls. The Powerbeats Pro come in a rather bulky carry case which also acts as a charging dock – a Lightning cable is included in the box, but it matches the colour of your Powerbeats Pro. Powerbeats Pro aren’t totally waterproof, they are splash and sweat resistant, which will be good news for those who plan to use these as their go-to exercise audio. The design of the headphones actually avoids sweat dripping down onto the unit, which is another sign that a tremendous amount of thought has gone into the creation of this product. But, the most annoying thing about the Powerbeats Pro is the charging case. With a product like this, you’d expect a portable, lightweight case. In fact, you get the opposite. It’s unusually large and weighs a relatively hefty 109g without the earbuds and 130g with them inside. In comparison, the AirPod case weighs 38g and 46g respectively. On the plus side, the case holds around two full charges. It’s also worth noting that it charges via a Lightning port, instead of a much more universal USB connector, and that, unlike the latest AirPod case, the Beats case can’t be wirelessly charged. Continue Reading

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Review: Master & Dynamic MW60

Manoj Ramesh Shastri - March 11, 2019

Master and Dynamic are a US-based audio manufacturer that pride themselves on their flawless industrial designs and well-realised tuning. Shortly following the success of their portable over-ear MH40, they promptly released the MW60, its wireless, closed-back counterpart. Alongside wireless connectivity, the MW60 brings a completely redesigned chassis that is more suitable for portable use, but also one that carries the same rigidity and flawless level of finish furthermore, though it uses the same drivers as the MH40, the MW60 sounds different due to a well-considered retune in addition to differing acoustics between their respective semi-open and closed-back designs. At $550 USD, the MW60 does represent a sizable price jump from the already premium MH40, though its exceptionally premium construction and lush sound will surely win buyers over. Master and Dynamic in the past have made some stunning headphones and the fit and finish of their end products is very hard to beat. Even by some of the biggest headphone companies would struggle to match this level of quality.

If you happen to like clean and minimalistic, you will definitely adore the made completely out of high-quality materials this headphone simply oozes luxury and elegance. No plastic to be found, as the MW60’s construction exists out of stainless steel and aluminium. The headband is wrapped in heavy grain leather, which also covers the outer parts of the earcups. On top of that, your ears will be spoiled by the soft lambskin leather earpads. Foldable hinges for easy and compact storage makes the MW60 a pleasure to travel with the MW60’s closed design and the comfortable leather earpads, which completely fit over your ears, gives the user a great seal. Meaning that this is a headphone you can fully enjoy, even when you’re in noisy environments.If you have a big head you can experience a high clamping force. But don’t let this be an issue. As with every headphone, the clamping will loosen up over time. You can always speed up this process by putting the headphones over a large shoebox when you’re not using them or by stretching the headband a little bit.During wear, the MW60 suffers from the same ergonomic niggles as the MH40, even though it’s actually a little lighter at 345g vs 360g. Chiefly, though nicely padded, its thin headband and heavy steel construction tend to form a hotspot after just a few hours of listening. And as with the MH40, I found the MW60 to have quite a narrow range of headband adjustment. I still found a strong seal and the sliders are smooth with unlimited adjustment points, though I just fit the maximum setting (I use a medium setting on most headphones). In return, the headphones fold for storage, becoming considerably more compact.e MW60’s design. Continue Reading

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Review: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i

Manoj Ramesh Shastri - February 8, 2019

Bang & Olufsen is well known for mixing boutique design with high-end audio engineering. The Danish company’s more consumer friendly offshoot, B&O, tries to cash in on that reputation by enticing audiophiles to splash out on gadgets like its latest Beoplay H9i wireless headphones, Which launched early this year and are the successor to the company’s H9 headphones and they keep up the excellent sound quality of its predecessor, They produce a crisp and clear audio experience that caresses your eardrums rather than pounding them, even at high volumes. They produce a layered sound which will surely satisfy the most finicky of listeners. Their bass is good, but is overly thumpy, which bass fans may appreciate. The mid-range is also good, but their treble is overemphasized and fairly uneven.

Overall, vocals and lead instruments sound thin and a bit pushed back in the mix. Due to their exciting sound profile, these won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music and should be better-suited for bass-heavy genres. Also, low-bass is hyped by about 5dB, indicating that the bass of these headphones is deep and very thumpy, which should be pleasing to fans of bass-heavy genres. However, mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and kick drums, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are under our target curve by 3 and 4dB respectively. The mid range performance of the H9i is good. The response throughout the range is decently-balanced, but there is a 10dB tilt favoring higher frequencies, which may make them sound a bit intense. The 4db underemphasis in low-mid will make vocals and lead instruments sound thin, and they may also be nudged to the back of the mix. These have a sub-par treble performance. The response throughout the range is fairly uneven. The dip centered around 6kHz will negatively affect the brightness and detail of some sibilants, but the very high and broad peak around 9-10 kHz will make those frequencies sound overly sharp and piercing, specially on already bright tracks. However, not everyone hears treble frequencies the same way, so your experience may differ. The H9i have a great frequency response consistency. These headphones seems to be using their ANC system to make the delivery of low-end frequencies more consistent. Continue Reading

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Review: Twelve South AirFly

Manoj Ramesh Shastri - October 8, 2018

AirFly from Twelve South lets you use your AirPods or wireless headphones with any wired headphone jack. Say you are on an airplane with in-flight movies or TV—with AirPlay, you can listen wirelessly. If you happen to spend time on a treadmill or stationary bike at the gym, you can listen to TV with your AirPods.The new AirFly is a tiny Bluetooth device smaller than a box of matches and weighs just 15.6g. You can plug any audio source into its 3.5mm socket and once paired with your AirPods or Bluetooth headphones, you can listen wirelessly. Even though AirFly is small, it contains a rechargeable battery that provides power for about eight hours of listening. Pairing your AirPods is a snap and AirFly remembers them so the next time you use them, connecting is simplified. It comes with two 6 inch (15.5CM) cables. One is for charging from any USB charger and the other is a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable. These cables are short to eliminate cable clutter when in use. It take two hours to fully charge the AirFly, and when fully charged the AirFly lasts about eight hours, there is a single button on the front of the AirFly, used to turn the unit on and off and for pairing. There are two ports on the bottom: Micro-USB for charging, and a headphone jack. Continue Reading

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