Regardless of the kind of music you prefer -- be it light classical or heavy metal, or something in between – there's no shortage of high-tech gadgets created to supersize your listening pleasure.
Some products are designed for those on the go, including the latest in earbuds, headphones and rugged outdoor speakers, while others are meant for home use, such as sound bars, multi-room streamers and audio accessories.
On that note (pun intended), the following suggestions will keep you humming, head-banging or dancing into the fall season – and in most cases, you probably haven’t heard of these products that should be music to your ears.
Most headphones go on, over or in your ears. Not so with the Aftershokz Sportz M3 with Mic (starting at $50). Using “bone conduction” technology that guides mini vibrations through your cheekbones to your inner ears, these are “open ear” sports stereo headphones that let you listen to music or take calls in a number of environments – yet with surprisingly good sound. For example, it’s not safe for cyclists or drivers to block out ambient noise in case they need audio cues from their surroundings, such as a car honk or police siren. But Aftershokz’s patented “OpenFit” design delivers a rich open-ear experience, coupled with other patented technologies like PremiumPitch and LeakSlayer innovations, which all helps to deliver clear audio -- with situational awareness at the same time. Bone conduction tech, by the way, also helps those with some forms of hearing impairment listen to music without having to remove hearing aids.
Turn any speaker into a Wi-Fi-enabled one, so you can listen to you music, untethered. This is the premise behind the Kickstarter-funded Rocki Play (starting at $49). Simply connect this small gadget to the audio input of any speaker system (yes, cables included) and you can then use your smartphone or touchscreen tablet to play music wirelessly. Similar to Wi-Fi-enabled speakers that cost much more (such as Sonos family of products), you can use the free Rocki app (iOS/Android) to search and select any song, control volume and playback and select which Rocki Play-enabled speaker to stream to (the app also supports HTML5, therefore you can also use a web browser on a PC or Mac to play music). As you can see, these oddly-shaped gadgets ship in multiple colors, so choose one that suits your style and room décor.
Blurring the lines between speaker and furniture, One Foundation ($999) from House of Marley is a premium 200-watt digital music system that houses Danish-designed 1-inch tweeters and booming 5.25-inch woofers that can fill any room in your home. Seriously, 200 total watts is enough to rattle a few loose fillings. Dock your iOS device, use AirPlay or connect another music player to stereo inputs as well as a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack. A matching, wood-accented remote control is included. In case you weren’t aware, all House of Marley products use sustainable an eco-friendly components -- along with its FSC-certified dark wooden frame, One Foundation features a recyclable aluminum enclosure to add some extra durability and packaging made from pulp, recycled plastics and recycled paper.
Ever tuck your earbuds under a headband or beanie (or “toque” for our Canadian readers)? A couple of new products have integrated headphones into a headband and beanie already – and best of all, they’re wireless. If you’re heading out on a run or plan on working out at a gym, the 1 Voice Headband ($59) is a black sports headband with built-in Bluetooth earbuds that stream music from your portable devices. As a bonus, the earbuds also include a microphone for you to take calls while on the go.
Another tangle-free option is the 1 Voice Beanie (starting at $29, sale price), a dark blue knitted cap with built-in headphones that stream music, audio books, podcasts or calls from your nearby Bluetooth device.Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless
Speaking of exercise, Jabra has just launched Sport Pulse Wireless ($199), the world’s first stereo in-ear earbuds with a built-in biometric heart rate monitor. Therefore, not only does the earbuds deliver clear and powerful sound from your favorite Bluetooth device – featuring Dolby Digital sound – but a built-in intelligent app called Jabra Sport Life lets you analyze your fitness performance, set goals based on distance, time or calories burned, and adjust heart rate zone levels to optimize training. Designed for runners, cyclists, and exercisers, the weather- and sweat-proof carbon fiber earbuds also offer real-time voice coaching to inspire you during your activities.
The latest from Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand is the UE Boom ($199.99) a 360-degree speaker that delivers multidirectional and well-balanced sound, alarm functionality, sound customization, 15-hour rechargeable battery and water- and stain-resistant acoustic skin available in many colors and styles (in fact, the limited run UE BOOM -- Jettison Edition was designed in collaboration with skateboard artist Don Pendleton). The UE Boom also supports two-speaker pairing – called the “Double Up” feature – which lets you and a friend wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs together via a free app, either to double up the sound for more volume or play the same music in stereo sound, if you prefer.
HooToo TripMate Elite
Finally, a compact multipurpose gadget that keeps your music going all night long. The all-black HooToo TripMate Elite ($59.99) is a new all-in-one device charger (6000mAh) with a built-in AC plug for wall mounts and AC adaptor with USB ports; travel router (802.11n) with Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless bridge (to fix those “dead spots” in your home); and personal cloud feature that lets you access and share files with friends and family from any USB storage device over a wireless network. Able to fit in the palm of your hand, this TripMate Elite is ideal for smartphone, tablet or laptop owners – especially for those who travel – as it takes care of your charging, Wi-Fi and media sharing needs.
- Technology & Electronics
- Audio Technology