Category Archives: Audio

TIBO Sphere 2 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Multi-Room Speaker Review

Welcome to my review of the TIBO Sphere 2 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Multi-Room Speaker which retails for around £199 and is available in several colours black, white, green, red and orange.

Key Specifications

– 30W RMS, Portable Speaker
– Direct pre-sets for internet radio
– Bluetooth & Wi-Fi streaming
– Up to 8 hours battery playback

The 30 Watt Sphere 2 is a Multi-Room Wi-Fi Bluetooth speaker, which allows Hi Res audio Playback. The Sphere 2’s High Resolution audio is delivered by 30W of RMS power supplied by a class D Amp 4 Ohms at 88 dB 60Hz-20KHz.

You can have 5 direct presets for streaming thousands of internet radio stations and playlists. The built in lithium rechargeable battery allows a minimum of 8 hours playback. The sphere 2 allows playback in single, stereo or group mode. Comes with wireless or LAN connections and has USB for charging you mobile devices. The speaker is controlled and initially setup by the free Tibo App. The video review has more details on the app. Within the app you can setup Spotify Connect, Tidal, Tunein radio and more services. You can also play locally stored music, connect to it via bluetooth or even use the aux input. The key here is versatility.

Video Review

Conclusion

A great sounding portable speaker, with lots of versatility. Recommended.

Useful Links

The latest prices and more info on the TIBO Sphere 2 on Amazon UK

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TIBO Kameleon Touch Wireless Bluetooth Multi-Room Speaker with Amazon Alexa Review

Welcome to my review of the TIBO Kameleon Touch Wireless Bluetooth Multi-Room Speaker with Amazon Alexa. The TIBO Kameleon retails for around £149.

The Key Specifications

– 30W RMS, Tap to talk – Multi-play speaker
– Direct pre-sets for internet radio
– Bluetooth & Wi-Fi streaming
– Amazon Alexa near field VAS built-in
– 3 changeable sides: Walnut, White, Grey

The TIBO Kameleon Touch is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Multi-Room speaker with Amazon Alexa built in. With Amazon Alexa the speaker takes on a whole range of smarts. It is also able to link with ease to other TIBO Smart Audio products.

The Smart Audio capability is controlled by the free TIBO App. Setting up the speaker using the app was a breeze. The app then allows you to link other TIBO Smart Audio speakers and the various music streaming services from Spotify connect, Tunein Radio, Tidal and others. Refer to video review for more details. You can also stream music stored locally on your phone. Versatility is the name of the game here. The Kameleon Touch can be used to playback audio in single, stereo or group mode at the touch of a button. High Resolution audio streaming via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth makes music from a wide range of sources immediately available. Plus, the speaker has five pre-sets which can be toggled through for thousands of internet radio stations and playlists. This saves a lot of time and to also include an aux in is another nice touch.

Amazon Alexa is available at a touch of a dedicated button. For styling purposes the speaker comes with 3 sets of interchangeable panels, white, dark grey and walnut, which is a neat touch.

Video Review

Conclusion

A very versatile and great sounding speaker, recommended.

Useful Links

TIBO Kameleon Touch Wireless Bluetooth Multi-Room Speaker with Amazon Alexa on Amazon UK

Focal Elear Headphones Review – A Dream Pair of Headphones

The Focal Elear headphones cost around £800 and are an open back pair designed headphones. The Focal Elear feature many innovations from Focal.

For starters the Elear offers the world’s first, full range and fully open back loudspeaker, built-in to a pair of headphones. They are made from an Aluminum-Magnesium blend, in a formed shape, brand new “M” shape dome speaker. This new dome shape has originated from the research performed during the £3,500 Focal Utopia headphone. In fact the Elear also benefits from a lot of the R&D done on Utopia.

The acoustic quality and design of the Elear means that Focal menaced to avoid the use of any crossover or passive filtering process in order to achieve a frequency response from 5Hz to 23kHz.

So what does all this fancy tech mean. Quite simply the headphones virtually disappear and provide a truly unique high-fidelity audio experience. The headphones are also very comfortable too.

The Key Specifications

– Impedance 80 ohms
– SPL 104db
– Frequency Response – 5Hz to 23kHz
– Loudspeaker – 137⁄64“ (40mm) Aluminum-Magnesium “M” shape dome
– Weight – 450g

The Musical Experience

One word for these headphones. Incredible. And like nothing you have listened to before. The Focal Elear headphones are also relatively easy to drive but do need a separate amp for optimum performance. My LG V30 and even my Fiio Q1 mk2 were powerful enough to drive these. However, upping the ante to a £400 Audio-gd USB DAC/Amp and the bar gets raised again.

What makes the Elear so special to listen to? Everything appears as if its being performed in the room. The headphones disappear. Singers appear in front of you, instrument separation and soundstage is off the charts good. Bass is fast, deep and impactful. The experience is staggering. Every genre I tried was a new experience and rediscovering every song in my collection.

Video Review

Conclusion

In your lifetime you owe it to yourself to own a pair of these. Highly highly recommended.

Useful Links

Focal UK
Focal Headphones on Amazon UK

Sound & Vision – The Bristol Show – Now in its 31st Year is next month – Full Details

Sound & Vision – The Bristol Show 2018 is happening next month on Friday 23rd thru to Sunday 25th February 2018.

This is the 31st year for the Sound & Vision Show and is not to be missed. There are many reasons to visit the show –

– Experience the Latest Hi-Fi and Talk to the Manufacturer’s
– Exclusive Product Launches
– Your Chance to Win Over £10K Worth of Hi-Fi
– Exclusive Deals & Special Offers
– FREE Headphones For Students

There will be over 180 exhibitors all under one roof which will provide a great day out. The show is so popular that tickets are available for one, two or even three days.

I have attended the shows several times and each time it has been an enjoyable experience hearing and seeing some amazing HiFi. Watch out for the show report too.

More info Sound & Vision Bristol Show website

Focal Listen Wireless Headphones Review – Stunning sound from Focal

Welcome to my review of the Focal Listen Wireless headphones which sell for around £200. Focal are renowned for some of their audiophile headphones like the Focal Utopia that cost £3,500. So using the audio expertise, Focal have delved into the world of bluetooth audio.

Key Specifications and Features

– Portable headphones & comfortable, passive isolation
– Exclusive cone technology offering outstanding sound quality
– Bluetooth 4.1 for moving around freely up to 50 feet (15 metres)
– Up to 20 hours of battery life
– “Clear Voice Capture” double microphone system for even greater intelligibility of speech and conversations
– Bluetooth® wireless technology 4.1, Range 15m
– Battery Up to 20h
– Impedance (passive mode) 32Ω, Sensitivity (passive mode) 122dB SPL @ 1kHz – / 1Vrms THD @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL < 0.4%
– Frequency response 15Hz -22kHz
– Driver Electrodynamic (137/64“) Mylar Titanium
– Microphones – 2 Omnidirectional (Clear Voice Capture)
– Net weight 300g

Main Review

The Focal Listen Wireless consist of high density memory foam pads, that are not only comfortable but heat-sensitive. The headphones possess good dynamics, tight bass and a lovely tonal balance. No matter what genre of music I threw at these headphones, I was presented with a lovely sound and musicality. Bass was tight, mids and treble were well balanced and with a reasonable sound stage. Bear in mind these are closed back, so the soundstage is not massive.

To keep the weight down, plastics have been used, but at least the headphones fold into the cloth bag which is included in the box. If for any reason the power runs dry, Focal also provide a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable to plug into a headphone socket. Unlike many bluetooth headphones, in wired mode, these are relatively easy to drive too. Review now continues with the video below.

Conclusion

A surprisingly lovely sounding wireless headphone from Focal. Recommended.

Useful Links

Focal Listen Wireless headphones latest pricing and more info on Amazon UK

Optoma NuForce BE Free8 – Truly Wireless Wire Free Earphones – Review & Comparison with AirPods & Sony WF-1000X

Welcome to my review of the Optoma NuForce BE Free8. These are a true wire free and wireless headphones. The quick review. The best ever truly wireless wire free earphone. Now read on to find out why and how they compare to other top earphones.

Key Specifications and Features

– Cable free – true wireless earphones
– Stable and reliable signal/connection – Bluetooth and NFMI technology
– Superior sound quality with deep explosive bass – enhanced with AAC and aptX for Apple, Android and Windows
– Non-stop listening on the go – 4 hour battery life with three additional full charges using the charging case
– Rain and sweat resistant – IPX5 rated

Main Review

The Optoma NuForce BE Free8 combine advanced audio coding and connection technologies including AAC, aptX LL and NMFI. This enables superb Hi-Fi sound with no lag or connection issues. One of the issues with a lot of wire free wireless earphones is lag and connection drop outs. The Sony WF-1000X suffer from drop outs and lag as do many others, which makes watching YouTube frustrating. AirPods do not suffer lag or drop outs and finally Optoma nailed this common issue with the BE Free8. I was able to walk around my whole house and not miss a beat.

In terms of fit, these fit snug in the ears without any discomfort. I was able to walk and jump and they did not fall out, Being IPX5 would be ideal for the gym.

Sound. Deep enhanced bass is one of the characters of these earphones. On some tracks the bass did interfere with the treble and midrange but overall the quality is excellent. Reasonable soundstage too. Compared to the audio quality of the Sony WF-1000X, the BE Free8 are far superior to the Sony’s. The BE Free8 are also superior in sound to AirPods, with more bass and passive noice cancellation.

The battery lasts 4 hours with another 3 full charges from the battery case. Also, the earphones are black which is a much better colour than white. So lets continue my review below.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a wire free in ear headphone, the Optoma NuForce BE Free8 are in a league of their own. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Optoma NuForce BE Free8 – latest pricing and more info on Amazon UK

LG V30 – Audio Review – Speaker, Bluetooth, Type C, Wired – Over 12 Different Headphones Compared

Welcome to my LG V30 Audio Review. This review covers the loudspeaker, bluetooth headphones, type c headphones and wired headphones. Over 12 different types of headphones used for the review.

To recap, the LG V30 embraces the 3.5mm headphone jack and adds a Quad Dac. The Quad Dac can drive headphones up to 600 ohms. However, I would recommend up to 300 ohms max and dependant on the sensitivity of the headphone as well. Over 50 ohm headphones trigger the high impedance mode of the Quad Dac to ensure proper amplification. Sub 50 ohms and a wider dynamic range is engaged.

The Quad Dac features high end options from being able to choice digital filters, an equaliser and even supports the new high resolution streaming format MQA.

So now sit back and enjoy the LG V30 Audio Review!

Useful Links with Latest Pricing

High Impedance Headphones

VE Monk Plus – http://amzn.to/2mtZdZj
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80 ohm – http://amzn.to/2AYqk42
Sennheiser HD 660s – http://amzn.to/2FARBxd
Sennheiser HD 579 – http://amzn.to/2DaDNer

Bluetooth Headphones

Sony WH-1000MX2 – http://amzn.to/2DaDT5N
Sony WF-1000X – http://amzn.to/2qZfafE
Optoma NuForce BE Free8 – http://amzn.to/2DbXRhn

In Ear Headphones

Sony In Ear headphones – http://amzn.to/2DfPAb8
Sennheiser In Ear headphones – http://amzn.to/2DaOSgn

Sennheiser HD 660s Headphone Review – The legend continues

Welcome to my review of the new flagship headphone from Sennheiser. The £429 Sennheiser HD 660s replaces the legendary HD 650 which was first sold over 10 years ago. So can the new HD 660s take the crown. Short answer is yes. But here’s why?

Design

From a design point of view the HD 660s look nearly identical to the outgoing 650’s. In fact, all the spare parts from the 650 will fit the new 660s. From a longevity point of view you are buying an investment and should you need to change pads, cable, in fact anything, you can just order the piece you need. The 660s take on a black paint job, with the Sennheiser logo on the grills and instead of the name Sennheiser spaced out across the top of the headband, it’s just placed on the left side. See video for visuals.

Comfort

The headphones are massive. Large ear pads comfortable fit over any ear. However, the clamping force is reasonable and due to the larger size might cause some people a little discomfort. With care it is possible to gently stretch the headband. I can wear these for hours and hours. However, I do find the cheaper HD 598s lighter and more comfortable.

Sound and Specs

The outgoing HD 600 and HD 650s were 300 ohms and therefore required some decent amplification to extract the most out of them. The 660s are now an easier to drive 150 ohms with a sensitivity of 104db. The frequency response is 10 – 41,000 Hz. Sennheiser designed these to work from some of the newer portable music devices like the LG V30 or Fiio Personal music players. However, these really need beefy amplification with decent voltage outputs to fully obtain music nirvana.

Before I tested these headphones, I gave them a 200 hour burn in. However, as you do, I had a quick listen straight out of the box and was instantly impressed. Now after 200 hours this is my verdict. The 660s are extremely detailed. Huge soundstage which has great positioning too. Speed and attack are present as well. With some of my favourite jazz, I had the hairs on my arm raise. There are very few headphones that can recreate that level of atmosphere and musicality. Bass is precise and not overdone. Being open back, you can hear everything around you and likewise anyone in the same room will hear what you are listening too. The open back design is what helps provides such a huge soundstage.

Video Review

Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD 660s are highly recommended. They have a legendary musicality and will deliver you years and years of satisfaction.

Useful Links

Sennheiser HD 660s latest pricing and more info on Amazon UK

USB C to 3.5mm Adapters Reviewed & Explained

USB C audio is a complicated mess. Very few manufacturers have adopted the format is the same manner, some doing their own thing and others following the system incorrectly. In my video below, I take a look at several different types and explain the differences, what works and what doesn’t. Due to the changing landscape, this is still an evolving landscape too!

Useful Links

USB C to 3.5mm adapters on Amazon UK

Razer HammerHead USB C Headphones Review vs Sennheiser Momentum

Welcome to my review of the Razer Hammerhead USB C headphones. Whilst these are made specially by Razer, these are quite unique at the moment being terminated with a USB C connection. Razer also has included a special DAC for an improvement performance.

I tested these with the Razer phone, Huawei Mate 10 Pro and a MacBook Pro and then compared then to the Sennheiser Momentum in ear headphones. So it back any enjoy the review.

Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless Headphones Review – Audio Nirvana without the wires

Welcome to me review of the Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless Headphones.

The Key Features

– Adaptive noise cancelling
– Advanced Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX-HD for hi-res streaming Natural UI, APT-X , SBC & AAC
– Built-in sensors handle functions like stopping audio playback when you remove the headphones
– World class acoustics from 40mm full range drivers Premium materials and build quality
– Rechargeable battery (up to 22 hours of battery life)
– Mobile companion app for personalising audio playback
– Inputs: 3.5mm stereo jack for optional wired playback USB-C (Audio, Battery charging, and Firmware update)
– Drive units: 40mm diameter Full Range Drivers
– Performance: 10Hz to 20kHz Frequency Range
– 22 ohms (passive) Impedance
– <0.3% (1kHz/10mW) Distortion (THD) 111 dB/V at 1kHz Sensitivity 1V Maximum input power
– 335g weight
– 4 x mics for ANC
– 2 x mics for telephony clear voice communication

Video Review

Useful Links

Bowers & Wilkins latest deal price on Amazon UK

Sony WF-1000X review vs Google Pixel Buds vs AirPods – The Battle of the Headphone

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Key Features

– Industry-leading wireless noise cancellation
– Chargeable carrying case for up to 9 hours battery life (3 hours battery life and 2 x 3 hours charges with case)
– Truly wireless hands-free calls, listen free from wires and unwanted background noise with one of the industry-leading noise cancellation
– Smart auto-settings to optimise listening settings automatically based on user’s behaviour

Video Shootout

Useful Links

Apple AirPods latest deal on Amazon UK

Sony WF-1000X latest pricing and more info on Amazon UK

Google Pixel Buds on Google Store

Google Pixel Buds review – Google’s headphones with Google Assistant & Translate Built-in

Welcome to my review of the Google Pixel Buds. In this review, I am going to cover off how to pair, use and a number of tips and tricks as well as my verdict on the sound quality.

Key Features

– Earbuds length: 20.4 mm, Earbuds width: 20.4 mm, Earbuds height: 20.5 mm
– Charging case length: 66.2 mm, Charging case width: 65.5 mm, Charging case height: 28.6 mm
– Weight: Earbuds: 14 g, Charging case: 57g with buds, 43g without buds
– Battery: Earbuds: 120mAh, Charging Case: 620mAh
– A single charge of Google Pixel Buds gives you up to 5 hours of listening time. the case provides up to another 20 hours
– Sensors: Microphone, Accelerometer,Capacitive touchpad

So for the full rundown, now take a look at my video review.

Video Review

Conclusion

The Google Pixel Buds are a surprising package, with good audio, Google Assistant and more. Recommended.

Useful Links

Google Online Store
Amazon Tech Deals

Roth Audio Zero III Sound bar Review – 90W of Sound!

Welcome to my review of the Roth Audio Sub Zero III Soundbar. This Roth Audio Sub Zero II retails for about £130.

Main Features / Specification:

Design:
– 4x 2.75-inch 4 Ohm Ferrite Drivers
– 2x Passive Radiator Bass Drivers
– Thick Wall 3.6L Reinforced Polymer Case
– Cloth Grill
– Wall Mount Capable
– LED Display with Auto Dimming

Performance:
– Wide Frequency Response 40-20,000Hz
– High Power Class D Amplifiers
– 90 Watts Peak Output Power

Inputs:
– HDMI x2, plus 1x HDMI output (ARC)
– 3.5mm Analogue Stereo Connection
– Optical SPDIF Format (Toslink compatible) – Stereo
– Bluetooth aptX A2DP Audio
– Power Input: AC 230-240V, 50 Hz

Dimensions:
– 85cm (W) X 8cm (D) X 8.8cm (H)

The Roth Sub Zero III has been designed to provide high definition for your TV. It has HDMI (2 in/1 Out, ARC enabled), Optical, Bluetooth and Analogue inputs. This means the Sub Zero III will connect easily to any TV or audio source – even wirelessly from your laptop, mobile phone or tablet. So lots of versatility.

There is no need for a separate subwoofer as the Sub Zero III has two built-in Ultra-Bass passive drivers, 2 bass drivers and 2 full range drivers, allowing full frequency range audio in a single discrete unit.

The Roth Audio Designed to perform in any room large or small. It features the Roth MA DSP sound processor, which provides a powerful sounding home cinema experience. With the additional modes, you can select between movie, music and voice. Sometimes, you don’t need lots of bass! Considering its size, the sound bar rocks and makes a huge difference over the built in TV speakers.

The Sub Zero III can be wall or table mounted. In the box is a right angle HDMI adapter which is handy as the connections end up fairly close to the wall or table top. It would have been a nice touch if a HDMI cable was included.

Video Review

Conclusion

A superb and versatile sound bar. Recommended.

Useful Links

More info on Roth Audio Sub Zero III and latest pricing on Amazon UK