The SoundBlaster Play 4 is a DAC, a plug in device to USB or USB ‘C’ that improves the sound quality of music and indeed of the spoken voice be in from a phone call or any other source. As a plus it can also improve your voice be it a phone call or any other connection with other people. In the simplest of terms a DAC is a Digital (to) Analogue Converter.
The SoundBlaster Play 4 measures 5x1.5x.8cm and has a 3.5mm headphone or earbud connection at one end and the other end has a hard wired 8cm lead ending in a USB ‘C’ plug, an adapter for USB ‘C’ to USB is included in the box, this would add 2.5cm to the length. A lot of Notebooks and most Tablets compromise audio; I have even seen a Tablet without a 3.5mm socket.
This is a very lightweight on ear set of headphones. Appearances can be deceptive and in the case of these it is certainly so, they do not look much and my first thoughts were these are from SoundBlaster, yes they are reasonably priced but they look not that special. Looks are not everything and all that changed when I linked them to my phone and I realized that were a really rather nice offering.
They can be as little as 15cm from base of the ear pieces to the inside of the headband. Each side can be increased by up to 3.5cm so anyone from a child upwards should be able to wear them securely. Total weight is only 84 grams. While most will use these with Bluetooth they can be used with the USB ‘C’ to USB lead as a wired unit. All the controls are on the right ear and they slope slightly from front to back.
I have recently been informed that Marshall is launching its new in-ear headphone product.
Well know for its expertise in the development and product of audio listening equipment, Marshall has announced the launch of its Mode II product. This is the company's first rue wireless in-ear headphone set. The product sets out to combine the Marshall music legacy with forward thinking technology to enhance the listener's experience. The Mode II in-ear headphones, as it becoming the normal trend, come packaged in their own charging case to help expand listening time.
Since last spring most of us have discovered Zoom or other video streaming services. Those using it often find that while a built in camera on a notebook gives perfectly acceptable video sometimes the supplied pin hole microphone is not up to the standard required especially if the call is not just a meeting of friends but something more important then perhaps this offering from Shure can help.
The Shure MV5C microphone is round at 6cm across and comes with a stand that can raise it by up to 8cm from your desk. This can be set to adjust the get the perfect angle. As with most microphones the last thing you normally want to hear is yourself but there are occasions you might want to do so and so it has a mode where when you plug a set of headphones or earbuds into it you can. The connection to your PC or Notebook is by USB and there is a small 12x9.
These in ear Buds are small enough not to exert undue pressure on the ear so they can sit comfortably where others tend to droop down and with the ear being one of the more sensitive parts of the body comfort in that area is important.
Everything about this product is small from the box that is only 11x10.5x5cm to the charger that 8x4x3cm and the buds themselves that are around 1.5x1.5x2cm. The case with buds weights 57grams and the buds themselves weigh only 6grams each. These are Bluetooth only buds and like most units there are two other sizes of gels in the box. The only other contents are a short 30cm USB ‘C’ to USB lead to charge the charger unit and the multi-language guide.
Adding to their child-centric product line up, myFirst.tech has released a set of wireless headphones.
Headphones are available in a variety of styles with a collection of attributes that will appeal to a whole range of users. However, most of these headphones, especially those that tend to come my way, have been developed specifically for the more adult section of the population. Widespread as that section of society may be, there is one group that might feel neglected with regards to the choices on offer for their personal use.
Time for some news about a set of headphones that promises extended play time.
I suppose it could be regarded as one of those "Big Red London Bus" moments but, in this case, it is one that has some "bells and whistles" added to it. Earlier I had checked out a set of wireless headphones that came with over 20 hours of playing time from a single charge. I felt that this was rather impressive but then I received news of another set of wireless headphones arriving in my in-box.
When travelling on a very long journey these headphones could let you listen to your favourite music from start to finish.
Trust Electronics, a leading value-for-money brand for digital lifestyle accessories, has released four new affordable wireless headphones and earpad products. Given the choice of the Nika Touch wireless earphones, Primo Touch Bluetooth wireless earphones, Tones Bluetooth wireless headphones or Eaze Bluetooth wireless headphones, I opted for the latter model which, incidentally, was the most expensive unit in this quartet of products, priced at £34.99.
These earbuds are one of the best buds I have used, ideal for gamers, movie buffs or music fans. Certainly all three examples are improved by these buds they make the standard for those who prefer their enjoyment to be in ear. This is not just another set of earbuds.
These buds are for use on a Tablet or Notebook and also any USB ‘C’ SmartPhone that uses the port via an adapter for sound, you do not need the adapter just plug in the USB ‘C’ and hear your music, sound from your game or movie. In the box are six pairs of Gels to fit on the buds, the next to largest 15mm are fitted, however you get sizes from 10mm to 16mm and not just jumbled up in a plastic bag but fitted into the box.
As the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, HyperX has been developing gaming products for 16 years. New additions include the Stinger family of offerings.
Recently I reported on the latest gaming eyewear from HyperX. As part of the report I mentioned that the eyewear was designed to fit comfortably with the HyperX gaming headsets such as the company's Stinger line-up. HyperX has recently expanded its HyperX Stinger Headset line-up with a couple of new gaming headsets for immersive players.
Last October I had the chance to try some headphones from Adidas, yes like you I thought they only did trainers, here I get the chance to try another of their products, this time a set of earbuds, these are Bluetooth and link easily to whatever your Bluetooth SmartPhone.
The earpieces are attached to a thicker shaped piece that sits around the back of the neck each earpiece and lead is around 30cm so would lie on your chest. The shaped and stiffened middle bit sits comfortably around the back of your neck with the last six centimetres each side at 1cm wide and just over half that thick, three buttons on one arm along with the USB ‘C’ connector to charge its solid battery and one button on the other arm.
While this may not be unique it is certainly something that I have not seen before. A set of headphones for a younger child – 3 upwards – that does not involve placing anything in the ear canal. So how do they perform I put them to the test.
A seven centimetre wide fabric headband that is fifty four centimetres long, it is secured by Velcro pads on the inside of one end that can accommodate most children’s heads. The soft speakers can be moved within the folded piece of material to suit the area between the ears of the child. The headband itself has a stitched image of the Gruffalos face with ears and horns protruding from the top of the headbands width. A 1.2 metre long 3.
These look very similar to earbuds that Apple first produced not that long ago. They sound excellent and quite unusually because they weigh so little do not irritate my ears when wearing them for longer periods of time.
Each earbud weighs less than 6 grams and in their charging case the total weight is only 63 grams The buds are 4.5cm long and shaped to fit in the ear at less than 1.5cm wide. There are four sizes of gels supplied. A USB ‘C’ to USB lead is included as is a 13amp plug front to USB.
These buds actually fit into your ear, the controls are all by touching the back of the buds. As regular readers will know some buds give me problems after as little as an hour of wear, these seem better than most and allow longer wear without discomfort.
The buds are around 2x2cm at the front end and up to 2.5cm deep dependant on the size of the silicon bud you fit onto them. The weight of each bud is around 5.5grams. They are designed to fit into the ear and certainly will not fit in comfort if put into the wrong ear, each bud is marked either ‘L’ or ‘R’.
Usually with Edifier products I check out speakers but this time the product is a set of personal earbuds.
Continuing the trend of doing away with leads, which do have a tendency to become entangled, Edifier has produced its TWS1 offering. This product is a set of "True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds" that are physically untethered when linked to an appropriate audio source. The earbuds come with their own charging case element that can provide up to 32 hours of playtime time for the listener.
While I am not a gamer – my three score and ten and more years – take care of that. You need three things good reflexes, a quality panel with fast refresh rate and good sound, the last mentioned is taken care of by the Firestorm headset.
When you remove the headset from the box you think you have a good headset by the braided lead, the padded headband and earpieces and gold plated connectors. As soon as you plug the 3.5mm lead in and hear the quality your suspicions are confirmed this is quality piece of kit for a very reasonable price. For those who need to communicate a 15cm long microphone is included which plugs into the base of the headset and then twists to a position of your choice.
Having recently told you about the Firestorm: H01 here a larger and more complex unit that connects using USB rather than audio sockets. There is a control wheel and microphone control 60cm along the two metre connection lead.
The headset itself is larger and certainly an over ear offering. There is 3cm of expansion in each of the side arms so when fully expanded the distance from the base of the ear cups to the underside of the padded headband is twenty centimetres. If the arms are parallel then there is seventeen centimetres between each earpiece. This is described as a ‘Virtual 7.1 Gaming Headset’ and there is software and a manual online if required.
Winging its way from China comes a set of Bluetooth earbuds with its own charging case
The PaMu Scroll is a set of Bluetooth earbuds that follow the recent trend of arriving with its own charging case that can provide a useful source of additional power and a facility for storing the earbuds when not in use.
Oppo headsets have always been different, instead of putting a cheap pair of earbuds in the box that probably never get used they sell better quality offerings. Here a round the neck set of buds that look quite old fashioned but instead of a 3.5mm plug there is no plug as they are Bluetooth and work rather well with any phone.
There is 25cm of cord from each end of the grippy rubber that goes around the neck this is stiffened and thickened in a 45cm loop to connect the other earbud. There are two buttons split by the volume rocker at the end of the stiffened area that is horseshoe shape to lie comfortably around the neck.
When out and about and wanting to listen to music then headphones are often the way to remove external noise. This could also be true in a household where there are several occupants. Here a set of small on ear headphones that could suit.
Weight is not normally the first item I mention but at only 180 grams they are light for a set of headphones. Next is the size as the arms fold in on themselves a size of 16x14x7cm makes them easy to slip into a bag or pocket. They can be as little as 15cm from the base of the earpiece to the top head band but there is up to three centimetres of expansion in each arm so they should fit most heads.