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Review: V-MODA Zn In-Ear Headphones

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Over the years, I’ve reviewed a number of V-MODA headphones, and I can’t say enough great things about them. V-MODA’s sound quality is second to none, and I wouldn’t trade my trusty Crossfade LP headphones for the world. But when I’m traveling, I typically leave them back at home.

Why? Because space is usually at a premium when I’m flying, and I don’t feel like lugging around a set of full-sized headphones.. Especially when I’m already carrying a laptop, iPad, and other junk in my backpack.

So when I heard V-MODA was releasing a new in-ear headphone (their first in four years) that was designed for the modern audiophile, I absolutely had to try them out for myself. And the verdict? The new V-MODA Zn headphones absolutely exceeded my expectations in every way!

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V-MODA set out to build an audiophile-grade in-ear headphone that would offer unrivaled sound quality and unmatched durability in an elegant Italian design, and they delivered that in spades. The bass is rich, deep and tight. Mids are brilliantly vibrant and lively. And the highs are crystal-clear. I’ve never experienced such depth, dimension and balance from earbuds before.

A newly developed, outstanding dynamic 8mm driver boosts tonal accuracy with very low distortion, all “hand-tuned” to complement the human hearing limit variance (+/- 2dB). The zinc alloy metal housing is casted by a patented process, which allows for a unique design and microscopic precision necessary to deliver consistent acoustic quality. For a perfect and neutral sound, “made in Italy” tuning filters are built only for V-MODA in limited quantity, making Zn even more unique. Designed in Milano, the Zn boasts futuristic technology and are packed in master crafted materials which will serenade any pair of ears.

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Four ergonomic sizes of patented BLISS 3.0 (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) buds were tuned by focus groups to be more conical than other brands. They naturally block out background noise and feature the tightest bass, best fit, stability and sound. The V-PORT airflow system mechanics has been optimized for a 3D life-like soundstage and to bring out subtle sounds not heard through run-of-the-mill headphones.

The custom-designed Diamondback cable is alluring and impossible to get into a tangled mess. Up to 20x stronger than the industry average, it’s reinforced with Kevlar to give it a serious edge. There’s also a high-sensitivity microphone for crystal-clear phone calls, plus controls to manage playback without touching a smartphone or music player. Play/pause, skip or go back a track with ease. Hold it down to command Siri, Google Now or Cortana and record voice memos or audio messages on the fly.

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It’s hard to believe that the V-MODA Zn headphones retail for just $180, as they rival other headphones that cost much more. I was blown away the first time I listened to them, and I highly recommend them for anyone who’s in the market for some great sounding earbuds. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Photo Credit: Jackie Korang for Guys Gab

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, and one of the biggest automotive enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

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Music

Libratone’s TRACK+ Wireless Headphones Keep The Chaos Out And The Music In

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Libratone TRACK+ Wireless In-Ear Earphones

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.

Libratone TRACK+ Wireless In-Ear Earphones

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.

Libratone TRACK+ Wireless In-Ear Earphones

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.

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Music

Alpine Unveils 9-Inch Aftermarket Head Unit With Floating Design At CES

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Alpine HALO9 iLX-F309 in-dash system

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?

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How Cool Is This

This Is The Gravity-Defying Death Star Speaker You’ve Been Looking For!

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Star Wars Levitating Death Star Bluetooth Speaker

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!

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