The CES 2016 in Vegas comes to an end today with tons of exciting news and products for the audiophile community.
Here's what you can look forward to from your favourite brands this year!
The biggest news coming from the German audio giant is the launch of the successor to the highly revered HD 800 with the HD 800 S. The new HD 800 S headphones build upon the success and design of the original HD 800 model. These headphones keep the transducer technology and earcup design hallmarks of its predecessor, but incorporate additional refinements that Sennheiser says improves performance—especially in certain areas.
Sennheiser has optimized sound image in the medium and low frequency range. The HD 800 S now includes a symmetrical XLR4 cable, so that it can take better advantage of audio sources with a symmetrical output, such as Sennheiser’s own HDVD 800 digital headphone amplifier. Aesthetically, the earcups of have been changed to a premium matte-black finish that distinguish the new model from the old.
Audeze has created a lot of buzz in the audiophile community by announcing two new models viz. the Sine and the EL-8 Titanium.
The Sine is the one the lightest, cheapest and only on-ear planar magnetic headphones in the world. At $499, Audeze claims that "The SINE headphones feature Audeze’s renowned Fluxor® planar magnetic technology with Fazor® Elements and Uniforce® Diaphragms to provide a highly efficient yet lightweight headphone, with very low distortion, good bass, a seductive midrange, crisp extended high frequencies, and excellent imaging."
The closed back variant of EL-8 launched last year, the Titanium incorporates Audeze's lightening cable, especially designed for iPhones. The EL-8 now has a digital signal processor, digital-to-analog converter, and an amplifier all built into its Cypher/lightening cable. The EL-8 Titanium headphones have an in-line microphone and remote control, and their processing is also used when conducting phone calls or sending voice instructions to Siri.
You can also read in detail about the lightening cable here!
Both these models should be available in India by summer.
Jaybird has launched two new Sports Bluetooth models, that are aimed at being smaller, more comfortable and more efficient than before. The Freedom and X3 both build on existing models from this sports brand with changes like an improved Bluetooth profile, enhanced comfort and a Jaybird app to improve sonic performance.
You can get the complete lowdown on the Freedom & X3 here.
These earphones are expected to be in India by Q3.
One of the most buzz worthy earphones of last year, the Bragi Dash is finally ready to be mass produced and shipped out this year! And according to reports, they actually sound very good.
These wireless earbuds previously connected the left and right buds through Bluetooth, and while users can still use Bluetooth to connect their music devices, the buds are now connected through a system called "near field magnetic induction." The company claims the system improves the connection. Dash boasts innovative extras such as gesture controls, a room sound mode, a portable charger dock, an ear bone mic for calls and activity and heart rate tracking.
Sony is on a roll at CES 2016, with a huge number of exciting announcements for the year.
First up, all-in-one Walkman audio players, the WS413 and WS414. The media player and headphones are built into the same unit, and both players are water and dust resistant. The WS414 comes with 4GB inbuilt storage, while the WS413 comes with 8GB in-built storage. They can be used in temperatures ranging from -5 to 45 degrees Celcius, and come with plenty of ear tips in varying sizes.
Next: The h.ear in and h.ear on wireless headphones. The h.ear in wireless headphones feature in-ear earphones connected by a behind-the-neck design, with support for high-resolution audio, Bluetooth and NFC. The headset features 9mm drivers and has a claimed battery life of 7.5 hours. The h.ear on wireless headphones feature 40mm drivers and also feature digital noise cancelling, apart from support for high-resolution audio, Bluetooth and NFC.
They have also launched the MDR-XB650BT, a wireless on-ear headset that features Sony's popular Extra Bass tuning. Featuring Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, the XB650BT has 30mm drivers and a claimed battery life of up to 30 hours of continuous playback.
Sony is also planning to bring the record players into the 21st century. Its PS-HX500 turntable can play records and convert them from analog to high-quality digital files. Your record collection can be turned into Sony's own proprietary DSD file format or a 24-bit hi-resolution WAV file.
The Walkman A26 is the final offering from Sony's stable, being a successor to the $300 Walkman A17. It looks identical to its predecessor, but comes in six swanky colour options: Grey, Blue, Red, White, Purple, and Lime Green. Digital noise-cancelling earphones are included with the device, and come in matching colours.
The player runs a basic user interface, with physical buttons at the front to navigate and control the device. Bluetooth and NFC are supported, which makes it a bit easier to use it with portable speakers, home audio systems and wireless headphones. FLAC, AIFF, WAV, ALAC, MP3, and AAC formats are all supported, and inbuilt storage is 32GB, with the option to expand by up to 128GB using a microSD card. Battery life is the same as it was on the A17, with a promise of 30 hours when listening to high-resolution formats and 50 hours on compressed formats such as MP3.
Offerings from JBL might not be of interest to audiophiles, but they've churned out a lot this year that will excite JBL fans in the country.
Firstly, JBL has announced the Everest Elite 100 wireless Bluetooth headphones that come with customisable active noise cancellation. These neckphones claim a 6-hour battery life, and an addition to its ANC feature with the companion app that lets you filter out sound by frequency. The accompanying app allows you to tune out specific frequencies, or to allow in sounds from only particular frequencies. This way, for example, you could cut out annoying high pitched noises (so you won't hear a crying baby on your flight), while letting everything else in.
JBL has also collaborated with Under Armour to produce the UA Headphones Wireless Heart Rate which lives up to the name and are a pair of wireless headphones that are made for workouts, with a design meant to keep them secure in your ears, a sweatproof IPX 5 rating, and a built in heart rate monitor. They offer 5-hours of playback time and also come with a 12-month MapMyFitness premium membership valued at $29.99 (approximately Rs. 2,000) and will cost you $250 (approximately Rs. 16,500). JBL also released the UA Headphones Wireless, which has the same technology and bundled membership, but does not come with a heart rate monitor, and is available for $180 (approximately Rs. 12,000).
All these earphones are planned to be made available by March this year.
After building a name for its quality fitness and activity monitors, Misfit has now entered the personal audio segment with its latest offering, the Specter wireless in-ear headphones. Apart from playing back your tunes wirelessly, the earbuds also serve as a basic activity tracker to count steps and measure basic activity. The Specter can also track sleep using the device's built-in accelerometer.
Thanks to its partnership with 1More, a Chinese company that has helped Misfit fit dual driver technology in the earbuds; Misfit claims that the sound quality of the earphones will be excellent. The device will also be compatible with the Misfit Link app, which will allow you to use the device as a trigger for various functions, such as controlling connected devices at home.
The device features two small earbuds which are attached to a receiver unit, which also serves as the battery for the unit that promises up to 10 hours of continuous playback on a full charge. It also comes with a microphone and in-line remote.
What are your hopes and expectations from audio this year? And what are you most looking forward to owning? Do let us know in the comments below!
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