In the age before digital music, we were forced to listen to music one CD at a time. I had a sweet Aiwa 3-disc changer system, complete with high-end JBL speakers and a powered subwoofer. It was cutting edge at the time (circa 1994), but by the year 2000, this system was collecting dust in the corner of my room, as the MP3 had taken over and I no longer had use for CDs.
Fast forward to 2015, and thanks to my trusty iPhone, I’ve always got 1500 songs at my disposal at any given moment. But what we’ve lost in the process is a way to truly appreciate quality music. Most of us listen to our music through headphones, computer speakers, or portable Bluetooth speakers, none of which are great options for those concerned with high fidelity.
That’s where the Griffin Twenty Digital Audio Amplifier comes in. Redesigned and unveiled at CES a few weeks ago, the new Twenty connects to your speakers and streams music from any handheld Bluetooth-enabled device, giving you the convenience of streaming music wirelessly throughout the home or office.
In addition, the Twenty also has an optical input, so you can listen to audio from your computer, tuner, home theater, turntable, or other audio source. So, whether you’re streaming from your phone, gaming, or watching a movie, Twenty delivers the best sounding Bluetooth and digital audio that you have ever heard.
With 20 watts per channel, Twenty provides ample volume through non-powered speakers, and even has an output for a subwoofer. Twenty’s crisp, clean playback is courtesy of high-end AAC / aptX audio streaming digital codecs.
Setting up Twenty is simple. Connect your favorite speakers to Twenty’s speaker posts, then pair your phone or tablet and hit Play. And with Twenty’s single-button design, all you have to do is press the Quick Connect button on the front to reconnect a previously paired device and start listening immediately.
Twenty looks as beautiful as it sounds. Whether you place it next to the stereo, on your desk, or between the speakers, Twenty’s sleek good looks fit in anywhere. The clean minimal visual aesthetic combines thoughtful industrial design with recognizable function, all the way down to the brushed aluminum volume knob.
I’ve been using Twenty for the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’m able to enjoy my music like never before, with dynamic, clear sound engulfing my room like never before. My neighbors might not be as happy about it, but that’s their problem..
I’ve only got one minor complaint, and that’s the fact that you have to physically adjust the volume. While this won’t be a problem for most since you can control the volume through your Bluetooth device, if you plug your HDTV directly into it and need to raise or lower the volume during a show or movie, you’ve got to get up to do that. But it’s a small price to pay for a superior viewing experience.
The new Twenty is now available at store.griffintechnology.com/twenty for $149.99.
Libratone’s TRACK+ Wireless Headphones Keep The Chaos Out And The Music In
When the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones were unveiled at CES earlier this year, I was intrigued by their Smart Noise Cancellation technology, which lets you control how much of the world you want to let in or out.
Now, active noise cancelling headphones are nothing new, and they’ve long been a must-have for frequent travelers like myself who want to “get away from it all” and just enjoy their tunes.
But Libratone has taken it a step further, with the TRACK+ offering 4 levels of adjustable noise cancellation so you can control how much you hear of the world around you. You can even let Smart Mode do it for you automatically, adjusting based on your environment and activity.
When the TRACK+ detects movement like running or a workout, it will automatically allow in slightly more ambient noise so you’re aware of your surroundings. Because let’s face it, the last thing you want is to get hit by a car or bike because you couldn’t hear them coming!
Similarly, when you’re sitting still in a loud place (like an airplane or train), the earphones will cancel the maximum amount of outside noise so you can focus on the music and nothing else. And in that respect, they work incredibly well.. assuming you read the directions.
You see, during my first testing session, I wasn’t all that impressed with the TRACK+, as there was too much ambient noise coming through, even on the highest noise cancellation (-20dB) setting. The problem? The eartips weren’t forming a perfect seal with my ear. Once I switched to a larger eartip (four different sizes are provided), the difference was night and day, with the outside world completely disappearing.
Since then, I’ve taken the TRACK+ on a few flights, on a train ride to New York, and even into a crowded Starbucks. And in every case, they performed amazing well, allowing me to focus on my music, movies, podcasts, and such without being distracted by the outside noise.
Those planning on hitting the gym will be pleased to know that they have a splash-proof IPX4 rating, that the earbuds are sweat-proof, and the included sport fins allow you to run on the treadmill without concerns about them falling out. And thanks to the ANC, you can drown out those grunting meatheads and focus on what you’re there to do.
Overall, there is a lot to like about the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones, and I’d highly recommend them to anyone who’s looking to drown out some of the outside chaos. At $199, they’re not to cheapest option out there, but they’re well worth it. These wireless eadbuds offer high quality sound, 4 levels of adjustable noise cancellation, long battery life (8 hours), and a sleek, minimalist design. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Visit www.libratone.com to learn more about the TRACK+ earphones.
Alpine Unveils 9-Inch Aftermarket Head Unit With Floating Design At CES
Many of today’s newer cars come with huge infotainment screens (like the Lexus LC 500 with it’s 10.3″ dash-mounted screen). But if you’ve got an older car and want that big screen experience, you’re pretty much out of luck, as most single DIN and double DIN radios only give you so much space to work with.
Alpine Electronics came up with a unique solution to this common problem with their new 9-inch iLX-F309 in-dash system, which they debuted at CES this week. This AM/FM/audio/video receiver uses a 1-DIN chassis for installation, with a 9-inch touch screen “hovering” in front of the vehicle’s dash, allowing the oversized screen to be added to a variety of vehicles without the need for custom installation.
Installation of the Alpine iLX-F309 sounds like a breeze, as described here:
The 9-inch screen is attached to an adjustable mount connected to a 1-DIN chassis. Once installed, the screen and mount are fixed to the chassis for a sturdy installation. The screen hovers over or in front of the dash while its rear housing tapers off cleanly at the edges for a thin, modern silhouette. At its default position, the screen’s sliding mount is pushed out, sitting at a 90-degree angle and the bottom of the screen is centered with the 1-DIN chassis.
At this point, the screen can be angled at select positions to assist during installation, help with visibility, or move it away from other items on the dashboard. The screen can be positioned 20 mm back from its default position, to move it closer to the dashboard. It can be moved up or down 30mm from its default position and can be tilted up/down at a maximum of 45-degrees, depending on the position of the up/down location.
The iLX-F309 has a suite of entertainment features sure to please the most discerning of techies, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming audio, HD Radio, SiriusXM, Alpine TuneIt App integration, AUX, HDMI, and rear camera inputs, and more. The system doesn’t include a CD or DVD slot.
If you’re interested in getting the Alpine iLX-F309 for your vehicle, you won’t have long to wait, as the system will be available at authorized retailers in February, with a suggested retail price of $1,100.
What do you think of the Alpine iLX-F309 with it’s 9-inch floating screen?
This Is The Gravity-Defying Death Star Speaker You’ve Been Looking For!
Unbound from the laws of gravity, Plox is bringing the might of the Empire to your home with the Official Star Wars Levitating Death Star Speaker. Amaze your friends and yourself as your Death Star speaker delivers 360 degrees of uncompromising sound for up to five hours on a single charge.
The gravity-defying orb combines 360° Bluetooth sound projection with an out-of-this-world levitation system using Plox’s force technology. This exclusive Star Wars collectible is the Death Star you’ve been waiting for.
This is a great sounding speaker that any Star Wars fan would want. Sadly, this model does not come with the planet-destroying super laser. Hopefully, they can add this to their later models. For now, you can only ‘blast’ some cool tunes.
The Empire’s ultimate weapon can now be yours. May the force be with you!