Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fool's Gold AiAiAi TMA-1 DJ Headphones

The mega-rise of Electronic Dance Music in the past few years has promoted some of the genre's best artists to a level of super stardom only previously known to the likes of Jay-Z, Britney Spears, and Justin Bieber. With the recent collaboration of EDM and Hip Hop, EDM producers like David Guetta and Calvin Harris are becoming just as famous as their Hip Hop counterparts. Dre and 50 Cent have their own brands of headphones so it would make sense that EDM DJs would start creating their own headphones. The world famous DJ spinmaster A-Trak and the other DJs on his Brooklyn based Fool's Gold record label have done just that. Fool's Gold Records includes the likes of Laidback Luke, Flosstradamus, and Chromeo. They have collaborated with AIAIAI, a audio design company, to create a headphone made especially for the hardworking, traveling DJ. 

Changing some of the features of AIAIAI's standard TMA-1 design to suit the needs of a working DJ. The design has a minimalistic and urban look that can go with any DJ set up. As any DJ knows from experience, the most important thing they look for in a pair of headphones (beside the sound quality of course) is its durability. A good DJ is moving just as much as his or her audience and the headphones are constantly coming off and being thrown around, which is why AIAIAI has installed a lock feature into the headset so that they cannot be unplugged by the movements of the DJ. At the end of a show no one wants to be delicate with their equipment, they just want to throw their gear in a bag and go. The headphones flexible nylon material makes it extremely bendable and hard to break making it perfect not just for DJ's but also for any type of fast moving traveler. Check out the videos below for more information behind the special headphones.


Price: $250
Available Now



   

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bose Releases 2 New Products


Bose has revealed two new products: the Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker and QuietComfort 20 in-ear headphones, both of which are quickly creating quite a buzz. 

The new Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker is an obvious move to compete in the emerging ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker market, with products such as the Beats by Dre Pill or the Jawbone Jambox already available.  The Soundlink Mini, weighing about 1.5 pounds and sitting at about seven inches in length, provides exceptional sound, with loud audio that does not get distorted at higher volumes.  It utilizes a Bluetooth technology that can remember up to six devices when paired and, additionally, it offers wireless charging due to an included charging pad.  Early reports indicate that the battery can last up to seven hours on a single charge.  Bose also offers fun blue, orange, and green covers for the speaker, which disappointingly, will set you back an extra $25. 

With the QuietComfort 20 In-Ear headphones, Bose has put its famous noise-cancelling greatness on full display.  To start, these are the first in-ear noise cancelling headphones that Bose has manufactured.  They use a dual-microphone system which recognizes volume levels inside the headphone along with outside noises and adjusts in order to fully eliminate any outside sound.  Bose, however, has recognized that total outside silence is not always practical, so they have created a new listening mode, called “Aware Mode,” which allows the listener to press and button and listen to low level music and still have a conversation or listen to an announcement.  These headphones come with a lithium ion battery and are said to provide up to 16 hours of continuous use. 

Be on the look out for a full review of both products, once they are officially released later this summer. 



Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker
Price: $199
Available: July 1 (Pre-Order Here)


Bose QuietComfort 20 Earbuds
Price: $299 
Available: August 1 (Pre-Order Here)



 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sony X-Factor Headphones

Back in September, we heard that Simon Cowell had announced his own X-Factor signature Headphones. Over the past few weeks, I have finally been able to test them out and I found some great features and some definite drawbacks.

First and foremost, I am not a fan of the overall design of the X-Factor Headphones. From the shiny metallic earcups to the "X-Factor" branding, these are too over-the-top for my taste. I especially don't like the headband which looks a little too futuristic for me. I asked myself, "would I wear these headphones in public?" I can't say that I would. They draw too much attention and I feel like people would judge me for wearing Simon Cowell Headphones. 

However, I loved the actual headphones. Although I am usually not a fan of on-ear headphones, the Sony X Headphones are easily one of the most comfortable headphones I have ever tried on. Without question, they can be worn all day without any ear fatigue. They still might cause your ears to sweat, but that happens with all large headphones. Sony has also done a great job making these headphones portable by making them easily collapsible.

The best part of the headphones is its sound quality. Every music genre sounded fantastic and I had absolutely no complaints. With a similar price, these headphones sound much better than Beats by Dre Studio's or Soul by Ludacris SL300's. If it wasn't for the gaudy design and high price tag, the Sony X-Factor Headphones fantastic sound quality and supreme comfort would have made them a top choice.

Price: $199.99

Pros
  • Sound Quality
  • Extremely Comfortable
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Metallic Finish
  • "X-Factor" Theme
  • Carrying Case

Overall Rating: 7/10





video


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Neon Colored Beats by Dre Mixr's

Beats by Dre has introduced its Mixr Headphones in an assortment of brand new Neon colors. Now, there's really no excuse for purchasing the Solo's over the MixR's. For a full review of the David Guetta Mixr Headphones, Click Here.

Available: Target stores nationwide May 19, elsewhere June 2

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Monster Debuts Sound Machine Headphones

Grammy Award-winner Emilio Estefan is the latest celebrity with their own headphone line. Monster Audio has teamed up with the Estefan's over their brand new Sound Machine Headphone line. The line is composed of 2 models: on-ear and over-ear models. The Sound Machine line is the first headphone line which is designed especially for Latin music. With the new inclusion of a latin specific headphone, there is now a celebrity-endorsed headphone dedicated to whichever genre of music you prefer including country music, rap and hip-hop, house or jazz. Target will sell the headphones exclusively for the first 60 days (debuts April 14), and national retailers will thus begin after. Stay tuned for a full review.

Price: On-Ear - $149, Over-Ear - $249
Available: April 14 in Target Stores, June 14 elsewhere



Monday, April 15, 2013

$25 Beets Headphones

Yes, these are Beets Headphones, but no, they are not by Dr. Dre. The Beets Headphones by OrigAudio were first launched as a April Fool's parody, but now are available for purchase. With each Beets Headphone sold, OrigAudio promises to donate a can of beets to the Second Harvest Food Back of Orange County. Since the headphones only cost $25, go ahead and buy 6 of your closest friends a pair of Beets Headphones and it will still cost you less than just one pair of Beats Headphone. Given Beats by Dre's history with trademark lawsuits, its got to be only a matter of time till OrigAudio gets a not so friendly letter in their mailbox from the headphone giant.

Price: $25







Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beats by Dre Executive Headphones

With the introduction of the Executives, Beats by Dre is finally trying to compete with Bose's control of the business professional crowd. Up to this point, I have never been a huge Beats by Dre fan due to the lack of quality products, however, the new Executive's are a definite step in the right direction.

In general, Beats products are known for their lack of sturdiness and poor construction. That has changed with the Executives, as they are made with a different material with a harder finish. The Studio's and Solo's feel flimsy and cheap, but the Executive's feel hefty in the best possible way. The finger-print prone glossy finish has thankfully been replaced with a scratch-proof metal surface. The Executives have a double hinge, which allows you to fold them flat and up for maximum portability. Comfort-wise, the padding on the headband and earcups is excellent. I felt no ear fatigue after hours of use.

The noise-canceling feature works well, but not at the same quality as a Bose Noise Cancelling Headphone. When the noise-cancelling feature is on, it produces a very slight hiss, which isn't noticeable when listening to music. So, if you are the type of person who likes to use noise-cancelling headphones for silence on airplanes or trains, these are not for you.

Overall sound quality is also much better than other Beats models. Since these are intended for a more upscale clientele, the headphones have a much more balance sound level, with less emphasis on bass. Anyone who enjoys rap, house, pop, rock music will surely be satisfied with the sound quality of the Executives.

Going in, I didn't think I was going to like the Executives, but I was wrong. The difference between these and the Studio's is night and day. Beats by Dre has done a great job updating their product with much better quality all around.

Price: $299
Available Now

Pros
  • New Design
  • Carrying Case
  • Hefty and Sturdy
Cons
  • Slight Hiss with Noise-Cancelling
  • Expensive

Overall Rating: 8/10





Monday, April 1, 2013

Munitio SV Mobile Performance Earphones


With every Munitio product I review, I'm more and more pleased with the results.  I started off with the BILLETS which I thought provided great value. Then, I reviewed the NINES which had great sound quality and a stylish look. Now, I'm pleased to report that the trend has continued with the SV Earbuds.
Design-wise, the SV's have a more traditional style versus the bullet design of the NINES and Billets. Personally, I like all three designs equally but conservative people will prefer these. The SV's have a flat cord which helps limit tangles. I only wish the cord's diameter was a little thinner because it felt a little large.
Munitio has always done a great job with sound quality, and these are no exception. I would put the SV’s more on par with the more expensive Nines than the Billets. Although the company doesn't describe them as noise-cancelling, I couldn't hear anything when using them, so these earbuds are probably best for the subway, gym or airplanes, and not so much for walking around a busy city. 
The big question now becomes: Which are the best Munitio earbuds: the Nines, Billets or the new SV's? Although you can't go wrong with any Munitio product, the SV's are my personal favorite, the reason being the SV's comfort. The earbuds felt great in my ears, more so than the Billets and Nines.  The SV earbuds are lighter than the other two, and this helps immensely with comfort. One of my biggest pet peeves with earbuds is getting ear fatigue from heavy buds, and while each of the Munitio's give minimal ear fatigue, the SV's felt the most comfortable after a prolonged period.
The SV Mobile Performance Earphones are another great product by Munitio, which is slowly becoming one of my favorite audio companies due to its consistent stylish look, good sound quality and best of all, affordability.
Price: $129
Available: Coming Soon

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Sound Quality
  • Noise Isolating
Cons
  • Thick Flat Cord
  • Carrying Case
  • Not Available in Stores

Overall Rating: 8.5/10







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Swizz Beatz Purchases Stake in Monster Audio Headphones

Monster Audio has announced that artist/DJ Swizz Beatz has purchased an undisclosed stake in the headphone company. The deal means Mr.Beatz (no pun intended) will join the executive board, and will have a say in corporate strategy. We probably won't know how much share he actually bought, but I assume it's not much. Swizz's wife, Alicia Keys, recently became the global creative director of BlackBerry, so it looks like hooking up with tech companies runs in the family.



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Skullcandy Crusher Headphones

In the past few years, audio companies have been making headphones with more of an emphasis on bass. Skullcandy has taken this trend to the next level with their brand new Crusher Headphones. They tried to recreate the feeling you get when your at a concert and can feel the music beat. Skullcandy claims they "will literally rattle your brain with bass." I'm not a huge fan of big bass, but I still can't wait to give them a try. Stay tuned for a full review as soon as they become available.

Price: $100
Available: April 1



Sunday, March 3, 2013

tokidoki / TKDK Sol Republic Headphones

With the interchangeability of Sol Republic Headphones, the company is constantly releasing special designs for its signature Tracks Headphones (Full Review Here). In the past few months, they have released 2 limited edition celebrity headbands: one for world-renowned DJ DeadMau5 and another for Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps. This time, Sol Republic has worked with acclaimed artist Simone Legno of the global lifestyle brand tokidoki to create 2 new designs. Since tokidoki's debut in 2005, the brand has exploded in popularity. For more information about the brand, Click Here.

Price: $150
Available Now




Simone Legno's Soundtrack of Life

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rory McIlroy Signs Endorsement Deal With Bose

The #1 pro golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy, has linked up with audio giant, Bose Corp. With the deal, McIlroy will serve as a global brand ambassador for the company. Until now, Bose has shied away from the idea of signing celebrities or athletes to endorsement deals, but I guess they too have given in to the celebrity endorsement trend. The deal seems to me like a perfect marriage, as Rory is a perfect choice for the upscale audio company. Now that Bose has entered the celebrity endorsement market, don't be surprised if we hear about another signing soon.





Video of Rory McIlroy trick shot at Bose Announcement.

Monday, February 18, 2013

James Harden Camo Skullcandy Mix Master Mike Headphones


With the 2013 NBA All-Star game being held in Houston, Skullcandy asked Houston Rocket James Harden, “If you could customize your own Mix Master, what would it look like?”  His one word response, “Camo.”  So that's exactly what they did. The Camo design has a silhouette of Harden's signature beard.  Only 50 of these special edition headphones were made, so be sure to get it while you can. For a full review of the Skullcandy Mix Master Mike Headphones, Click Here.
Price: $350




Monday, February 11, 2013

Beats by Dre sues Yamaha

Beats Electronics has filed a lawsuit against Yamaha, alleging that three headphones in their Pro series infringe on the company's signature designs. With the lawsuit, Beats wants a permanent injunction banning the sale of the headphones and damages. The three Pro series headphones were launched last August and range in price from $199 to $399. This isn't the first time that Beats Electronics has served one of its headphone rivals. Back in October 2011, Beats settled a design-patent case against Fanny Wang.

Who's side are you on?


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

QAK Thump Wireless Headphones

As made evident by the number of new products unveiled at this year's CES convention, the growing trend is bluetooth headphones and speakers. Another development has been the growing number of headphones made for athletes and runners.  With this in mind, today, I will be reviewing the QAK Thump Bluetooth Headphones, the Colorado-based company’s only product. 

I'm always a little apprehensive to use Bluetooth headphones for a number of reasons. First, wireless headphones mean that they need to be charged.  While this may not seem like the biggest deal, at the very least it's annoying to have to remember to charge your headphones, and, in addition, it will require purchasing and bringing along a second charger to travel.  That being said, I have to admit the Thump's charger is pretty small and the headphone battery life is pretty darn good. Their are a number of in-line controls next to the earbuds which I found worked well.


My favorite part of the Thumps is its durability and construction.  I've tested other around-the-head headphones before, and the Thumps have a much thicker plastic construction than the norm, making them more able to stand up to daily wear and tear.  Also, while the Thumps are not really adjustable, every person I had tried them on found that they sit comfortably and sturdily. My biggest issue rests with the ear tips.  After only about 15 minutes of wearing them, they started to cause discomfort and I had to take them out. As such, I wouldn't recommend these for runners, but they could still be a great fit for biking enthusiasts.  I hope QAK can alter the ear tips with the next generation Thumps.


As for sound quality, the Thumps are about what you would expect from affordable wireless headphones - not bad, not great. Personally, I prefer the tight seal you get from a good pair of traditional earbuds, but that's just me. However, if you're looking for a pair of around-the-head wireless headphones for biking or working out, the Thumps are a pretty good option.


Price: $79
Available Now

Pros
  • Durability
  • Affordable
  • Battery Life
Cons
  • Ear-tips
  • Not Available in Stores
  • Average Sound Quality




Monday, January 21, 2013

Able Planet Traveler's Choice NC190 Headphones

Able Planet's Traveler's Choice Headphones are a more portable version of the Extreme Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones, which I reviewed last year. Like the Extreme's, the NC190 Headphones have excellent sound quality for their affordable price tag. Since these are called the Traveler's choice, their big draw is their portability. While the headphones at first seem large, they can be collapsed into a small easy-to-carry headphone like ball.  However, I do have a few gripes with the headphones. While the headphones come in what seems like every color under the sun, I much prefer the design of the Extreme's. Since the design is based entirely on which color you choose, the NC190's could either be a little boring or outrageous depending on which color you choose. As you can see below, I chose to go with the outrageous lime green ones. Another minor gripe was with the ear cushions, as I wish they could be a little softer. Besides these minor complaints, the NC190's are an excellent option for those looking to spend under $100.

Price: $100
Available Now

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Sound Quality
  • Portable
Cons
  • Ear Cushions
  • Design

Overall Rating: 7.5/10