Ferrari fans everywhere should be queuing up for the new audio collection from Logic3. Primarily featuring the famous Prancing Horse emblem on a crimson red colour scheme, the new range of earphones and headphones are sure to appeal to the petrol heads amongst you.
Split into two different distinct collections, Ferrari and Cavallino, both ranges all deliver eye-catching design with outstanding audio quality. The iconic Ferrari badge is a guarantee of the high standard of workmanship that has gone into each item in the collection, and is everything an F1 fan could wish for. Unless, of course, you happen to that peculiar breed of Lewis Hamilton fans who hate Fernando Alonso.
The complete collection includes over-ear headphones, earphones, on-ear headphones, and price-wise range between £99 for the S100 earphones right up to £229 for the T250 headphones. The majority of products feature TFAT and noise isolating technology, and all deliver superior sound quality.
Logic3 have also announced a range of Ferrari-emblazoned speakers and Active Noise Cancelling headphones to add to the collection, which will be released in the coming weeks. Blimey. Where will it all end?
As a committed city dweller one of my most important accessories is a pair of headphones. Where it’s radio, podcasts or music it’s amazingly liberating and powerful to be able to escape the confines of the tube, bus or office and be truly alone, even (or especially) when you’re sharing a small amount of space with seven million people.
Philips are aware of the importance headphones have to modern “urbanites” and have launched a new Citiscape range, which consists of three headband headphones: Uptown, Downtown and Shibuya as well as the inner ear St. Germain.
Philips starting point when conceiving Citiscape range was to recruit more than one hundred of the most creative inhabitants of New York, London, Berlin, Shanghai, Paris and Tokyo – although at no point was I consulted. The goal of the range was complete sound immersion in even the loudest city environments.
The Citiscape range have a MusicSeal system, with a double layer wall inside the ear shell to seal the edge between cushion and housing. I tried out all of the range in a noisy London nightclub packed with tech journalists and could hear every word of the Doug Loves Movies podcast I was listening to at the time. The headband range also features comfortable memory foam ear cushions, which isolate unwanted noise. It’s quite easy to keep them on for extended periods of time without experiencing discomfort or getting sweaty ears.
The range also features inline controls, a built-in microphone and neat volume slider. Playback control is via a single button so you can skip and pause tracks or activate Siri without looking. The volume slides I used were a little lose but very easy to use.
If you’re used to throwing your headphones into a bag and then rushing off you’ll be used to dealing with a mess of cables so the 1.2m flat, anti-tangle, cable should be a relief.
The over-ear Uptown headband model has premium 40mm drivers rigid aluminium architecture, super soft memory foam cushions and air quilted headbands. They are quite large and retro looking – a fellow journalist quipped that I looked like Princess Leia when I tried them on – and are available now in black with brown cushions, or brown combined with light grey cushions and with an RRP of £89.
The on-ear Downtown range is a little less imposing and lightweight spring-steel construction that’s wrapped in heat sealed soft foam. The Downtown range comes in brown, light grey and purple with an RRP of £59.
If the Uptown is “70s Dad-rock” the Shibuya headband headphone is “bubble gum pop”. Constructed from lightweight plastic, a breathable headband and soft, supple auto-fitting cushions, the Shibuya range comes in a variety of colours including brown, blue, pink, purple and white all with an RRP of £45.
If like me you’d rather not advertise to the world that you don’t want to talk to them there are the St.Germain, which have magnetic fluted ear buds and 10mm drivers. Available in brown and purple with an RRP of £45.
The nature of my job means I see an awful lot of headphones. It’s become a very crowded marketplace of late so when I was invited to take a look at yet another pair of “revolutionary headphones” you’ll understand my eye-rolling cynicism.
However this was no ordinary pair of “revolutionary headphones” and the Parrot Zik brought a lot more to the table than a celebrity endorsement and a flashy launch party.
Crammed to the gills with more technology than you can shake a USB stick at, the Parrot Zik wireless bluetooth headphones are the latest from the French company famed for their skill in wireless communications.
The Parrot Zik are designed by legendary designer Phillipe Stark and look incredible. There’s a leather band over the top as you’d expect but the arms on either side look like metallic bone and really help the headphones stand out.
“Despite its simple and humble design, Zik is certainly today one of our most successful products in terms of intuitive ergonomics,” says Philippe Starck. “The headphones are perfectly balanced and almost seem fused looking like a mere extension of the human body and all its needs. Sound and consequently music are just a search of one’s own world. The more the sound is close to you, the more you’ll like the music and feel comfortable. An object like this is a universe.”
Fortunately these aren’t just good looking but are carefully designed to work with modern smartphones. A sensor, located in the cushion of the left earpiece, detects and analyses jaw bone vibrations and compares them to the all the surrounding noise. By matching the users’ movements with their speech, Parrot Zik is able to extract and separate the speech from the surrounding noise. Two microphones record sound and determine its direction, in real time. The digital signal processor of the Zik can then determine the origin of the unwanted noise and eliminate it.
The engineers have also incorporated active noise cancelling technology to filter out external sound. I was stood in a crowded room filled with whinging tech journalists (is there any other kind) but was able to disappear into a bubble of sound when I put the Zik on. Sadly I had to take them off, but that was an opportunity to sample another of the Zik’s features – sensors detect when you remove the headphones and automatically pause the music. I tried this a number of times and was unable to catch the headphones out. Clever stuff.
There’s also a touch panel on the right side of the headphones that allows you to pause, skip tracks, adjust volume and answer (or reject) phone calls, all in a button-less natural manner.
The Parrot Zik will be avaliable from July 2012. The price will be annouced at a later date but you’d probably want to start saving now.
Recently, Urbanista, the Stockholm-based design concept shop which produces products geared towards the needs and fashions of urban living (they’re “wicked” cool…), released something that looks (and feels) rather awesome creating the ultimate in on t’move (Yorkshire speak…sorry) aural pleasure, in the form of the London headphone.
This is indeed a pretty gosh-darn slick piece of kit; an “in-ear” headphone (10mm speaker size) with microphone and nice overall design with a steel surface, and six bright colours (from Crispy Apple green to Red Snapper erm… red) to choose from.
Urbanista London comes wrapped in a particularly functional “cuff link”-box with cable management for easy storage when not in use (the box and product together only weighs in at 250g… easy.
To fit modern urban life (and catering for the rushed, stressed and somewhat well-dressed), the cord has an integrated microphone and a 3.5 mm plug that works with most phones and music players on the market (so even the ol’ Sony Ericsson will be covered alongside an iPhone or iPad). As an added bonus, a hands-free (with microphone) option is available.
This London headphone is the perfect accompaniment to your busiest day – it’ll soothe your ears before and after work. To be fair (direct your eyes to the nice image above), you’re going to look pretty swish through the journeys as well.
The London Headphone series is available at SRP £44.99 from http://uk.urbanista.com/
Looking for stocking fillers, or struggling for inspiration for the office Secret Santa? Here’s a few ideas that shouldn’t leave you out of pocket…
Joystick for iPad
More gaming fun can be had on an iPad with this clever little add-on, which attaches with suction cups for easy setup and removal. The coiled spring provides force feedback that automatically returns it to the centre position and the joystick can be stored in the included carrying pouch.
Santa Speaker Blanket Have a laugh on Christmas morning with this Santa Speaker Blanket – from Sound Asleep, it features hidden speakers in the hood, which can be connected to iPods, TVs, radios and so on – the sound simply plays through the item without uncomfortable headphones or messy wires. No batteries required; powered from the connected device.
Doodle iPhone Case For anyone arty, they’ll enjoy the opportunity to personalise their own iPhone cover with the Doodle Case. Don’t like the design or fancy a change? Just wipe it off and create a new design.
Can’t guaranteed the children a white Christmas this year? Not to worry, grab a Snowimal and keep the kids entertained creating their very own miniature snowmen. Made from malleable putty, the Snowimal comes with a range of accessories to make lots of different snowpeople.
Actually – these blow our budget, but they’re so cute we wanted to include them somewhere. At only three inches high, these are the funkiest portable plug-in speakers around, which plug in to any Ipod, MP3 player, mobile phone, computer or computer game console. They come with a USB charging cable, connection cord and a key chain loop. Choose from characters include the yellow Smiley, Sumo and Ninja.
Even though he died before I was born, the music of Bob Marley has stood the test of time. In this day and age where we ascribe the moniker “legend” to anyone who can polish off a 15″ pizza, it’s pretty impressive that 30 years on he’s still synonymous with reggae music, is the ambassador for a tiny Caribbean island and has songs that are known by many people across the world.
So what’s a good way to preserve the legacy of a musical icon? Lots of poor quality T-shirts, lighters and bongs? If you were loiter in Camden Market then yes you might be forgive for thinking this was the only way. But the Marley Family have put their dreads together and come up with a much better way to carry on their father’s work – the House of Marley MARLEY branded headphones.
The House of Marley, will provide products of superior quality in both sound and design, with all products being made from eco-friendly materials that embody the Marley Family‘s value of equality, unity, authenticity, sustainability and charity. MARLEY is comprised of three collections — Jammin’, Freedom, and Destiny — featuring noise isolating in-ear and, active noise cancelling over-ear headphones. Docking stations and portable audio systems should follow in the UK soon afterwards. And in the Marley spirit of inclusion, the suggested retail prices range from £19.99 to £249.99, offering superior audio products for ?young gongs to ?conscious connoisseurs.
“Our father shared his vision with our family and his fans through the gift of the messages in his music and it is our mission and responsibility to push the movement forward”, said Cedella Marley, Bob Marley‘s daughter. “The House of Marley and the MARLEY audio products that bear our family name were created to spread our father‘s music and vision to a new generation.”
So how do they sound? We were invited down to try on a range of House of Marley headphones and the quality as you expect varies with the price. The budget range are passable (but – like most things – better than Apple’s supplied range of iPhone headphones)
The new range will be available in HMV stores throughout the UK, through Dixons Travel in airport locations, independent action sports specialist retailers and other leading retailers from autumn 2011.
The loneliness of the long-distance runner is something I’m intimately familar with (And the middle distance runner. And the short distace runner. And when sprinting for the bus. Basically I’m very lonely). I not a big fan of running in the best of circumstances but I **hate** running when I’ve left my headphones behind. The endless monotony of the task in hand (especially on a treadmill) is borderline unbearable. But not all headphones are up to the task of keeping me entertained why I try to jog myself thin. Sweat has been know to attack certain headphones of mine. Even worse poor fitting earbuds have been prone to fall out. I should probably mention that I’m an amateur traceur as well so I’m a little more demanding than your average runner, and the last thing I need on a jump is worring about headphones falling out of my ears.
Enter AblePlanet’s Clear Harmony Sport Earphone (the SP1150 to be precise). It’s pretty clear from the moment you lay eyes on them that AblePlanet take their sports earphones pretty seriously. The Clear Harmony has an incredibly well designed earloop that feels more like a hearing aid than an earphone – I mean that as a compliment. The ComfortFit sound isolation tips block exterior sound and create as you’d expect a custom fit. There’s a very secure feeling as it clicks behind your ear and I tried a variety of shakes, wiggles and even a headspin without managing to dislodge them. Much like a telemarketing campaign, that’s a ringing endorsement.
So the sports part is pretty rock solid. How about the earphone side of the equation? Well the SP1150s come loaded with Patented LINX AUDIO®, Hear the Difference® technology, which is “Award-Winning”. In practical terms, this means that they sound pretty fantastic, with full rich bass sounds, clear high tones and intelligible speech (unless of course you have your mumblecore playlist on full blast).
All in all, a thunderingly good pair of earphones.
AblePlanet’s Clear Harmony Sport Earphone SP1150 are yours for $189.99 from AblePlanet.
I love a serious pair of headphones. I spend a lot of time working in audio production, editing radio shows and podcasts, creating music beds or jingles and also just listening to loud bass-heavy tunes. It will never cease to amaze me how Apple’s love letter to Dieter Rams, the iPhone 4 (and let’s face it the iPhone 4S as well) ships with such low quality headphones. I’m far from a snob, but iPhone headphones are on the long list of things I refuse to put in my ears.
You might remember the Australian brand BlueAnt for their high quality bluetooth headsets from earlier on in the year, as well as some pretty great in-car devices. When review some of the bluetooth in-ear headsets I remember thinking “wouldn’t this be great in both ears.”
BlueAnt have answered my prayers (and then some) with the new BlueAnt Embrace, a high end pair of headphones for stylish audiophiles.
So what do you get? I popped on Music for Airports and gave them a twirl. The big (but not ostentatiously big) 40mm dynamic drivers are impressive at delivering sound the way God (or in this case Brian Eno) intended. I then tried mixing a few tracks, composing a few beats and monitoring the leves on a live recording I had to do, and the Embrace headphones performed admirably on all fronts – these are a lot more than toys.
It’s worth noting that they are super comfortable – like having a pair of slippers on your head. The soft leather earpads block unwanted noise and keep your pretty snug, and the supple leather headband means they can pop on the largest of heads without discomfort.
It’s not just the headband that makes the Embrace a flexible pair of headphones. The mix and match cabling system means you can pop on a straight through cable or a cable with an Apple Remote and OMTP adapter. It also means if your cable snags, you haven’t just destroyed a super expensive pair of headphones. And to help you keep them safe the Embraces come with a tough leather case, which the earpads twist to fit inside.
If you’re interested in high-end design and high-quality audio it’s definitely worth give the BlueAnt Embrace a whirl.