All posts in “Music”

Sony promises WFH comfort and sleek design with the SRS-NB10 neckband speaker

Even though most of its competitors have established a foothold on many market segments once dominated by Sony, its presence remains strong. These days, the bulk of its operations now focus on gaming, displays, and imaging, among others. Here to remind us of its proficiency when it comes to audio, we have the SRS-NB10.

Consumers who find earbuds and headphones unbearable might want to consider this alternative. As much as audiophiles hate to accept it, the shift to true wireless technology is unstoppable. To date, Apple’s AirPods lineup leads the pack, while everyone else uses similar platforms from other competing brands.

What Sony hopes to do with the SRS-NB10 is cater to a specific subset of users. We’re sure some of you hate how earphones or headphones feel after a long listening session. Prolonged usage can leave your ears or head sore.

Therefore, the Japanese consumer electronics giant goes for a wearable solution that feels more natural. It aptly describes the SRS-NB10 as neckband speaker designed with all-day comfort in mind. With many of us now working from home, making and receiving calls can be a chore

Just slip it on around your neck and you’re free to move about. Multi-point connection via Bluetooth lets you pair it up to two devices at the same time. Sony says it can seamlessly switch between the two when you need it to.

A full charge can last up to 20 hours and its USB-C quick charging tech will give you 60 minutes of runtime after a short 10-minute top-up. The upward-firing speaker grilles sport a premium fabric cover for a classy touch. Finally, don’t let moisture get in the way as the IPX4-rated splash-resistance protects your SRS-NB10.

Buy – $149.99

Images courtesy of Sony

Essential Vinyl: 30 Albums Every Record Collector Must Own

Although streaming reigns supreme in the music world, the physical medium has returned with a vengeance. Vinyl record sales have been at an all-time high since the advent of the streaming age. And everyone from…

The post Essential Vinyl: 30 Albums Every Record Collector Must Own first appeared on Cool Material.

Bang & Olufsen imparts an opulent touch to home entertainment with the Beolab 28

Folks enjoying the finer things in life are now seeing a growing selection of options from the world’s leading brands. Bang & Olufsen is a premium audio company that has been spoiling us with a growing lineup of stunning products. Thus, if your home entertainment setup needs an elegant touch, maybe the Beolab 28 will meet your discerning tastes.

As with any product the Danish brand comes up with, these sleek and slim stereo loudspeakers use only the finest materials. Along with outstanding craftsmanship, the Beolab 28 will certainly impress anyone who can pick these out from the room’s décor.

Yes, just like other speakers from Bang & Olufen (both wired or wireless), the aesthetics are intended to double as decorative pieces. Additionally, buyers are even free to personalize their Beolab 28 with a  wide selection of materials, finishes, and mounting options.

The outer cover is fashioned out of wood and is available in Light Oak, Smoked Oak, Walnut, Grey Mélange, and Grey. The inner cover is available in two fabric colorways: Grey Mélange and Grey. Next is the aluminum hardware in Natural, Bronze Tone, and Black Anthracite.

Finally, you can choose between a wall mount base or a freestanding configuration for the Beolab 28. Controls are located at the top of these wireless speakers, but it is also compatible with the Beoremote One BT, Beoremote Halo, and the Bang & Olufsen companion app.

A cool feature is the motorized outer covers which redirect sound based on the user’s preference. It can fill an area anywhere between 150 to 500 square feet with rich acoustics. Also, each Beolab 28 unit houses one 1-inch tweeter, three 3-inch full-range, and one 6.5-inch woofer.

Buy – $14,750

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Images courtesy of Bang & Olufsen

This Beautiful Guitar Amp Will Improve Your Space and Make You a Better Player

If you’re practicing guitar at home, you need an amp. Our current favorite is the Spark Pearl, a special edition of Positive Grids’ #1 best-selling guitar practice amp that adds stylish presence to any room…

The post This Beautiful Guitar Amp Will Improve Your Space and Make You a Better Player first appeared on Cool Material.

Boombox Candle

When it comes to boomboxes, there is no option more iconic than the JVC RC M90–aka The King. Whether it’s the soaring secondary prices, the feature on LL Cool J’s Radio album cover, the presence…

The post Boombox Candle first appeared on Cool Material.

Fender American Acoustasonic Guitars

The past year or so has made it possible for all of us to pick up new hobbies we’ve been putting off forever whether it be painting, bread making, or finally learning to play the…

The post Fender American Acoustasonic Guitars first appeared on Cool Material.

Oppo bolsters its smart wearable catalog with the Enco X earbuds

After making a name for itself with the launch of the Find X, Oppo is becoming one of the leading Android OEMs across the globe. This Chinese brand is competing with the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus, POCO, and Samsung in the mid to flagship ranges. Following its growth, the company announced its foray into smart wearables with a Wear OS smartwatch. Now it’s entering the TWS race with its Enco X earbuds.

At first, we were thinking this might be just one of those average true wireless models. Thankfully, Oppo is not heading in that direction but is instead offering class-leading features with the Enco X. They might know their way around smartphones, but when it comes to high-end audio a little help will go a long way

As such, they are co-developing their firs premium earphones with Dynaudio. With years of experience under their belt, the company sound engineers are sure to deliver the best. The Enco X undergoes extensive testing and recalibrations until it meets their strict standards.

Instead of relying on established codecs such as SBC, aptX, and AAC among others, Oppo is using LHDC. Audio experts point out that this wireless transmission technology retains more detail than the others. Therefore, users will enjoy clarity, dynamic range, and an immersive output.

Another aspect where the Oppo Enco X likewise shines is the triple-microphone setup. This ensures your calls are audible as it filters out unwanted background noise. Average runtime on a single charge is 5.5 hours and up to 25 hours with the charging case. You can grab it in two colors: White or black.

Learn more

Images courtesy of Oppo

Tenho Design Saana Levykaappi Vinyl Record Holder Cabinet

Despite the popularity of online streaming services and the digital home assistants that can play enormous collections of music you don’t own with a few spoken words, there’s no denying the fact that records are,…

The post Tenho Design Saana Levykaappi Vinyl Record Holder Cabinet first appeared on Cool Material.

Enjoy acoustic bliss with Dan Clark Audio’s stylish ÆON 2 Noire headphones

Audiophiles are a fickle bunch when it comes to their equipment. In fact, what matters the most for these folks is clarity and accuracy. As such, you normally won’t find products with household names in their collection. Instead, there are brands that one would likely associate as luxury-tier, while some names are more under the radar. Dan Clark Audio has its fair share of fans and its opening 2021 with the ÆON 2 Noire headphones.

This is the company listening to the requests of its longtime users. Not many do this, but it appears Dan Clark Audio is one of the few exceptions. According to their production page, “since we launched ÆON 2 we have had two frequent requests: make a black version, and offer it with the perforated pads.” Naming it the ÆON 2 Noire is actually quite special as it shows they welcome feedback.

Thanks to the darker tones, we now have a variant with a more sinister vibe to it. Meanwhile, the acoustics also receive a tweak to give it softer mids than the regular model. Dan Clark Audio wants you to enjoy longer listening sessions in comfort. Therefore, only top-shelf materials such as carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum combine to keep it lightweight. In fact, the ÆON 2 Noire tips the scales at about 11.57 ounces.

The ÆON 2 Noire headphones are equipped with two in-house 62 mm x 34 mm planar magnetic drivers. These along with Dan Clark Audio’s Trueflow technology, users can enjoy the details they long for. Just like the regular ones, the folding gimbal makes it impressively travel friendly. Its shaping up to be an upgrade that audiophiles should be considering soon.

Buy – $899.99

Images courtesy of Dan Clark Audio

LSPX-S2: Sony packs great audio and striking style into a glass tube wireless speaker

Speaker design has remained the same for a long time now. It’s the usual form factor with multiple drivers usually in a horizontal arrangement. The arrival of portable types quickly prompted sound engineers to come up with something different. This is why omnidirectional models are so popular right now. Most companies choose to keep it conventional, while upscale brands are more experimental. This leads us to Sony and its remarkable LSPX-S2, which is unlike anything we have already seen.

Although it follows the cylindrical shape of most Bluetooth speakers in the market, Sony gives it a unique spin. The Japanese consumer electronics brand is renowned for its camera optics and audio products. In fact, we would consider its range-topping offerings as luxury-tier devices already. The LSPX-S2 — or the Glass Sound Speaker as the manufacturer calls it – lives up to its name.

This is not a brand-new release, but the aesthetics it brings to the table is timeless. Originally retailing for about $990, you can grab it now for a much lower price point. Its refined appeal comes from the glass tube that rises out from a metal base. Thanks to its exceptional craftsmanship, the LSPX-S2 would look good wherever it stands.

Meanwhile, you’ll be glad to know that the crystal is only for show as three actuators send vibrations up to produce 360-degree audio coverage. Sony notes that the LSPX-S2 supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The highs come from the glass tube, the mids from a 35-mm speaker, while the lows and directed downward. Finally, the built-in LED can even emulate candlelight for those relaxing and romantic moments.

Buy – $448.00

Image courtesy of Sony

Give your AirPods Max the protection it deserves with the Waterfield Shield Case

There have been surprising reviews regarding Apple’s latest gadgets which came out last year. One deals with the removal of Force Touch from the latest Apple Watch models. Others talk about the company’s decision to no longer ship their products with chargers and earphones in the box. Its most recent product release was the AirPods Max, which continues to receive criticism from users for a lot of reasons. Thankfully, Waterfield has a solution for one of those issues called the Shield Case

In what the majority of tech pundits define as a major step back for innovative technology, the AirPods Max does not have a dedicated power button. Instead, Apple ships their costly over-ear cans with a Smart Case. This automatically triggers what the manufacturer calls “ultralow power mode” the moment you slip the headphones in.

However, the accessory leaves some parts susceptible to damage. Waterfield hopes to address that oversight in a stylish and classy way. The Shield Case can accommodate the AirPods Max with or without the Smart Case. To activate the power-saving feature it uses what they call a Magnetic Leather Butterfly system.

We love how it folds down flat to accommodate the headphones with the first-party Smart Case on. It also doubles as a barrier to prevent the aluminum earcups from scratching one another. Plus, the embedded magnets engage the sleep mode as well.

The exterior of the Shield Case is crafted out of full-grain leather with a zippered front pocket and back mesh pocket. The interior has a plush lining with soft foam inserts to protect your AirPods Max. Waterfield ships this out of San Francisco, California by batches, so grab yours now.

Order it now – $99.00

Images courtesy of Waterfield

Flaunt the Master & Dynamic x Temi Coker Collection For Extra Style Points

Just a while back, we brought you a special collaboration between Master & Dynamic and Oliver People. Once again, the premium audio brand is releasing a limited-edition version of its MH40 and MW07 PLUS this holiday season. This time, it’s partnering with Lagos, Nigeria-born multidisciplinary artist Temi Coker. You should be glad to know that each purchase of the Dark Wave and Light Wave variants will be for a good cause.

To be specific, proceeds from the Temi Coker collection benefit the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. In fact, Master & Dynamic notes that 100% of the profits will go to the non-profit civil rights movement. The Dark Wave and Light Wave variants sport similar patterns on the surfaces of the MH40 and MW07 PLUS. As hinted by the names, the former comes is a darker gray tone than the latter.

The MH40 is a pair of wireless headphones that – thanks to Temi Coker’s exclusive design – also delivers a cool fashion statement. The outer surfaces of the headband and earcups are adorned with the artwork. Master & Dynamic is using upscale materials such as anodized aluminum, coated canvas, and lambskin leather. These pack 40 mm Beryllium drivers and Bluetooth 5.0 support

On the other hand, is the MW07 PLUS, which is a true wireless option for those who don’t like the bulkiness of full-sized cans. Just like the MH40s, Master & Dynamic decorates the hand-crafted acetate and stainless-steel charging case with Temi Coker’s signature graphics. These use 10 mm beryllium drivers and promise 40 hours of playback.

Get it here

Images courtesy of Master & Dynamic/Temi Coker

We Got the Latest AI-Powered Headphones from Crowdfunding Legends, xFyro

xFyro has been a major player in headphone tech ever since they made crowdfunding history in 2018. Raising almost $2M for their waterproof earbuds (xFyro ARIA), xFyro has been launching awesome and affordable buds on the regular ever since.

And now, they’ve done it again. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the latest xFyro offering, xFyro ANC.

These ultra-sleek earbuds are destined to launch xFyro into headphone history yet again, and here’s why:

xFyro ANC are the first true wireless headphones powered by artificial intelligence.

That’s right. Little robots in your ears playing instruments to recreate any song you want.

Just kidding.

xFyro ANC features AI-powered noise cancellation technology. The algorithm in the xFyro software learned thousands of sounds and is able to listen to them via the mic and sort them into “critical” and “non-critical” categories.

Then, it allows the sounds you need to hear to pass through to your ear while canceling the sounds you don’t.

Pretty sweet.

xFyro ANC can do a lot more than that, too. Let’s take a look at why these are the headphones are on all of our Christmas lists this year.

AI-Powered ANC

The most advanced feature of xFyro ANC is, as you might expect, the ANC.

These earbuds come with three different listening modes, including:

  • Transparency Mode (AI-powered)
  • Standard ANC (normal ANC, but 50% more powerful)
  • No ANC (no noise cancelation)

The new tech here is Transparency Mode, which uses a custom algorithm that “listens” to sounds in your environment while you blissfully enjoy your tunes with ANC.

xFyro ANC’s AI learned over 6000 unique sounds and frequencies. When it hears a sound that you need to be aware about, like a siren or a voice speaking in your direction, it will allow that sound—and only that sound—to pass through the ANC barrier and into your ear. Other sounds, which it deems noise, are blocked so you can enjoy your music in peace.

This tech is undoubtedly cool. But it’s so much more than that.

Transparency Mode ensures that you never have to press pause or take off your headphones if you don’t want to. Whether you’re talking to a cashier, walking through traffic, or working on a project, you won’t have to miss a beat of your music or your life. You can even have full conversations while wearing your headphones AND listening to your music.

It’s a game-changer for people who never leave home without their headphones on (and who hate to take them off).

What makes xFyro even better is that the noise-canceling power is super strong. At 30 dB of ANC power, they’re 50% stronger than AirPods Pro for unrivaled noise cancellation from true wireless headphones.

Nanoparticle Speakers

For years, headphone manufacturers have been trying to figure out how to put big sound into tiny earbuds. xFyro has found the answer.

xFyro ANC’s drivers are made with a latticed nanoparticle called graphene. This material is 200x thinner than paper and 1000x stronger than steel. It’s super small but amazingly durable, making it perfect for building tiny speakers.

Graphene speakers deliver louder volume, a wider audio range (including decent bass in earbuds…finally), and fewer artifacts for a crystal-clear listening experience.

And if that wasn’t enough, xFyro went ahead and increased their driver size for even more dynamic audio and volume. xFyro ANC’s speakers are about 40% larger than the average earbud speaker. These babies sound so good that you’d swear you were listening to pro-grade over-ear headphones.

100-hour Battery Life

xFyro ANC’s Transparency Mode allows you to keep your headphones on indefinitely. So, xFyro had to provide a battery that could do the same. And they’ve knocked this one out of the park.

xFyro ANC last much longer than every earbud on the market. They go for 10 hours on a single charge and hold 90 additional hours in their charging/carrying case. That’s a total of 100 hours of battery life in your pocket. You could keep these earbuds in for a full workday for 2 weeks straight and still have enough juice to fly halfway around the world on just ONE CHARGE.

The earbuds are also highly efficient when ANC mode is on. You can expect up to 8 hours of battery life even when using the AI.

If the battery happens to quit, the headphones are fast-charging and can be powered for 1 hour or more of playback in just 15 minutes.

Durable as Hell

Are you tired of having to take your headphones out every time you break a sweat or feel a raindrop?

xFyro ANC are built for pretty much anything. They’re ready for the gym, the beach, the trail, and whatever weather is in store.

With an IPX5 waterproof rating, the xFyro ANC can sustain heavy rainfall with no issues. They’re also sealed to prevent dust and particles from getting into any cracks.

Additional shockproofing prevents damage in case of drops or spills. But that won’t happen if the earbuds are in your ears, thanks to the ergonomic fit.

Speaking of that…

Like-Nothing’s-There Fit

xFyro’s ultimate goal with the xFyro ANC design was to create a pair of headphones you never want or need to remove. So, they hired ergonomic specialists to design the most comfortable inner-ear fit imaginable.

And the results are pretty astounding.

xFyro ANC are hands-down the most comfortable earbuds out there. We’re so tired of plastic earbuds slipping out, and we hate itchy earbud materials that are supposed to increase grip (unsuccessfully). With xFyro ANC, the experience has been revamped entirely.

The buds fit snugly in the ear canal by contouring to the shape of your body. The ear tips are plush and malleable, and the buds themselves were designed using thousands of images of human ear canals. Once they’re in, the sensation of wearing them just fades away. It feels like you’re wearing nothing at all and your music simply exists all around you. You have to feel it to believe it.

xFyro ANC ships with three ear tip sizes, so you can customize your fit and find the perfect nothing’s-there feel.

So Much More

We could go on and on about the xFyro ANC, but there are too many features to fit in one article. We’ll list a few more of the perks here:

  • Touch Controls: No buttons for a sleek, seamless, and dustproof earbud
  • Dual-Beamforming MIc: Crystal clear calling in any environment
  • Bluetooth 5.0: The most advanced wireless technology
  • Digital Assistant Access: Access Google or Siri with your voice alone
  • Quick USB-C Charging: Charge xFyro ANC 2x faster with USB-C

To get the full specs on xFyro ANC and to see the earbuds in action, visit xfyro.com.

xFyro Early Black Friday Sale

Remember when we said xFyro ANC were on our Christmas lists? Well, we’re tearing those up and throwing them away (sorry Santa), because xFyro is having a stellar Early Black Friday Sale. Folks who are planning grab one soon or even beyond Cyber Monday can use the code: BFCM2020 to take $25 off the regular $125 price.

During the sale, you can pick up xFyro ANC for up to 65% off the retail price. The sale lasts for all of November, but shipping times are already getting extended due to high demand. If you want your xFyro ANC before the end of the year (or before stock runs out), head to the xFyro site and get your pair now.

If you’re a music lover, or just have to have the latest gear (like us), then you can’t miss the chance to grab xFyro ANC fresh off the line. Happy holidays and happy listening!

Bang & Olufsen is adding wireless charging support to the Beolit 20 speaker

Bang & Olufsen continues to drop even more premium products before 2020 draws to a close to the delight of its fans. In fact, we have been featuring some of its new releases lately. The Beolit 20 is a welcome addition to its catalogue of portable audio products. As always, we remind you not to underestimate some of the smaller speakers out there. These bad boys often pack a mean acoustic punch which could catch folks by surprise.

Now that you have been given fair warning, the Beolit 20 a substantial upgrade over the outgoing model. Aside from its new features, Bang & Olufsen is keeping what matters the most. Due to the design, it is difficult to tell apart from the 2017 version. At first, we were wondering why the manufacturer was sticking with the look.

Nevertheless, upon closer inspection, it’s easy to tell which is which. What gives it away are the new colorways: Black Anthracite and Grey Mist. This means it still sports the same omnidirectional audio output like its predecessors. From all angles, its anodized aluminum body, robust polymer base, and vegetable-tanned leather strap remind us of the top-shelf craftsmanship that goes into each Beolit 20.

Bang & Olufsen packs cutting edge technology into a 135 mm x 230 mm x 189 mm body that weighs  2,700 grams. Meanwhile, the 3,200 mAh battery can last up 37 hours at lower volumes and up to 8 hours at regular levels. Furthermore, the Beolit 20 now comes with a 5W wireless charging area on the top section. This is a welcome addition that a modern smartphone user will surely appreciate.

Make it yours – $500

Image courtesy of Bang & Olufsen

The LG TONE Free lets UV light destroy harmful bacteria and other pathogens

Although Apple was late in the true-wireless (TWS) earbuds game, the AirPods and AirPods Pro dominate the sales charts. As the latest smartphones — from flagships to mid-range models – now ship without a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth is the way to go. As such, Huawei has its FreeBuds, Samsung has its Galaxy Buds, while other brands also flaunt their own. The latest one is from another South Korean manufacturer and they’re calling it the LG TONE Free.

First of all, we like the fact that LG electronics opted not to use “buds” for their TWS offering. Among the available alternatives for Android Users who want nothing to do with Apple’s ecosystem, Samsung’s most recent release is perhaps the next big thing. However, the TONE Free has one unique gimmick that would set it apart from the rest.

The earbuds themselves might seem like every other TWS options out there, yet the secret lies in the charging case. We all know that the human ear is a breeding ground for various types of bacteria. Thus you should think twice before you grab someone else’s earphones. This is where LG’s UVnano case technology comes in. Using ultraviolet light, it effectively disinfects the TONE Free while it charges.

This zaps 99.9 percent of bacteria including S. aureus and E. coli to oblivion. Meanwhile, in the sound department, the LG TONE Free boasts high-fidelity acoustics courtesy of Meridian Audio technology. A full charge should give users six hours of playback and a total of 18 hours with the UVnano charging case. The self-cleaning features is a great bonus, especially amid the pandemic.

Purchase it now: here

Images courtesy of LG Electronics

Apple’s HomePod Mini Is More Than A Smart Speaker

Whether you’re looking for a media center, a smartphone speaker, or a voice assistant, Apple has you covered. The HomePod Mini takes all the offerings of its predecessor, the HomePod, into a small package built with modern features.

The device now has a spherical design instead of the cylindrical shape of the original. It also clocks in at an amazing 3.3. inches tall. But don’t let this mini version fool you. As with its predecessor, it packs modern offerings you can easily trade for your home studio speakers.

The HomePod Mini boasts clear and amazing sound. It uses Apple’s S5 chip that helps analyze and tunes music for the optimum loudness, dynamic range, and overall great audio performance with deep bass and crisp high frequencies. An acoustic waveguide directs the flow of the sound down and out toward the room for an immersive 360-degree experience. This makes the device a great alternative for a multi-connected soundstage.

As a smartphone speaker, Siri takes center stage as your A.I. It works seamlessly with other Apple devices to deliver updates on news, weather, traffic, reminders, and more. It works just like how Siri functions in iPhones. The difference is it can differentiate who is speaking and tailor music and podcasts according to the person’s preference.

Moreover, the HomePod Mini also makes smart home controls easy. You can ask Siri to turn on the lights, lock the doors, and more. A new intercom feature allows users to send messages to connected family members through their HomePods.

Get It Here

Images courtesy of Apple

Pair the Beats Flex wireless earbuds with your new iPhone 12

What Apple users have dreaded has finally come after the brand’s Hi, Speed event wrapped up recently. Following its plans to reduce wastes and for carbon neutrality down the line, the company pushes for a new trend. This might not sit well with most consumers, as it seems like another cash grab form the Cupertino-based tech group. With no charger and EarPods in the box, we have no choice but to them separately. Thankfully, it’s offering the Beats Flex, which, at $49.99, is not actually at a bad deal.

Although most of you (including us) were hoping to see the rumored AirPods Studio, it was a no show. Perhaps Apple will unveil that along with the AirTags, Mac with ARM chipsets, and others in November. For now, we’ll take whatever is on offer and the Beats Flex looks like it. For the price, its not exactly a true wireless stereo (TWS) type of configuration akin to the AirPods and AirPods Pro.

However, it boasts Bluetooth connectivity and boasts the signature acoustic performance of Beats by Dr. Dre products. After years of bass-heavy tuning, experts claim the latest models now strike a good balance. While it’s not exactly at the same tier as the AirPods and AirPods Pro, the Beats Flex should sound great.

Battery life is rated at 12 hours of music playback and charges via USB-C. We also love the feature wherein the audio is paused when the buds are linked via the embedded magnets. To resume, just pull them apart and put them back in your ears. The Beats Flex is available in four colors: Smoke Gray, Yuzu Yellow, Fame Blue, and Beats Black. Might as well grab them to match whichever colorway your iPhone 12 comes in.

Purchase now – $49.99

Images courtesy of Beats by Dr. Dre