Altec Lansing MUXZ range headphone review

Altec Lansing, makers of the first iPod dock and all round audio experts have dived headfirst into the world of headphones with interesting results. We had a play with their new MUXZ range.

Altec-Lansig

At the low end there are 3 bargain basement £19.99 fashion earphones – the Mesh, XX and XY. The chromosome pairs, are as the name suggests, tailored to appeal to masculine or feminine users and to outrage gender theory academics. The Mesh a gender neutral bass heavy pair completes the trilogy.

The £29.99 Core has inline voice controls and the £49.99 Extras have enhanced bass and full Apple compliant inline controls.

The top of the line pair, however are the MUXZ Ultra which look … well a little bizarre. As you can see from the image above they have a chunky barrel design to them and poke out of the ears a little. The wire also pops out a little bit in an odd little loop. This isn’t just difference for difference sake, and the quirky design is supposed to alleviate cable strain – which can be fatal for some headphones. All this is of course, secondary to the sound, which is fantastic – which at £99.99 it would have to be.

The balanced armature drivers provide excellent well-defined audio – it’s not bass heavy and if anything is quite restrained on the bass front. The supplied rubber tips should fit most ear types to provide and snug fit, which is when the background noise cancellation really kicks in. My standard bass heavy test tunes sounded a little muted, but other more varied sounds fared excellently. This review is a day late as I got side-tracked listening to Bitches Brew on the Ultras then enthusiastically raving about how good it sounded to any poor soul who would listen.

There are also inline iPhone controls, which are a little on the large side, but easy to grab on to without looking when answering calls or skipping a track.

From the cheap and cheerful Meshes to the quite swanky Ultras the Altec Lansing headphone range managed to impress at a range of price points.
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UPDATE

The Muzx Ultras price has dropped to £79.99, and the Muzx Extras to £39.99. They will be available 15th October from all the usual retailers including Apple, DSGi and Amazon.

TWIG: Lecci Headphone Splitter, Artificial Moving Ski Slope and iPad USB charger

The Week in Gadgets

Camera makers were unveiling new models at a dizzying rate during this week’s Photokina and we’ll be taking a look at some of these in the coming week. We’ve also got a chance to play with some of the “hot” new Christmas gadgets coming your way – including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, though we still can’t tell you what it costs.

Y-headphone-splitter

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and I fell in love with the Lecci Headphone Splitter. Sometimes one of the best thing about new music is sharing the experience with a friend – it’s at the core of Apple’s new Ping social network or Last.fm. For those of you with more conventional friends, that you actually meet in the flesh, it’s easier to share music with but also loaded with it’s own challenges. How well do you have to know someone before you share earphones? Especially a nice deep pair of inner ears? Instead of choosing between that and menacing everyone else on the bus with your tinny built in speakers, Lecci have made a little Headphone Splitter with a keyring attachment. Simply plug it into your PMP and … well you’ve seen the picture you can work out how it works. Yours for £5.95 from Gizoo.

Sometimes simple ideas get complicated. Ideas like “I want a ski slope in my living room.” We’ve all thought about, sure. But Skiplex Ltd went a little further and made the Artificial Moving Ski Slope – a continous moving ski slope that can mimic baby slopes or black runs. You will of course need a spare room the size of a squash court. And £176,250. You can probably pop it next to your F1 Simulator. Yours from thepresentfinder.

LINDY-iPad-USB

Love your iPad, hate the way it refuses to charge on certain USB ports? LINDY electronics would like you to part with £9.99 to solve that problem. The LINDY USB charging adaptor (which works with all Apple devices) does what it says on the tin. Whilst you can adapt some motherboards to charge iPads you probably can’t be bothered and £9.99 isn’t a great deal for restoring “charge anywhere” convience.

Panasonic DJS400, HX40 and HX45 DJ headphones: Supafly Hi-Fi

Panasonic are about to release some rather cool looking DJ headphones – DJ culture is slowly penetrating the mainstream and to this end they have three new fashionable headphones – DJS400, HX40 and HX45.

With headphones becoming a fashion statement, Panasonic have gone to town on the look and quality of the design and would look pride of place on any fashion conscious music-lover.

Panasonic-DJ-headphones

Compared to in ear buds, over ear headphones wipe the floor with their minimal cousins. The DJS400s come in white with an orange finish. Featuring Tuned Bass, a feature, which drowns out the background noise to give you a crisp, clean, punchy sound – something integral if you are a bedroom DJ or just want to a Hi-Fi quality sound through a pair for headphones.

The HX40s go for a more minimal design, even with the compact design. Panasonic has adapted a unique Hybrid Diaphragm. The speaker diaphragm (moving part) is made from soft material (PU) on its rim part, and hard material (PET) on its inner part. The combination of PUs smooth movement and PETs rigid sound vibration results in wide frequency range without distortion.

They both featured the clever swivel flat folding mechanism allowing both sets of headphones to be stored within a minimal space.

The HX45’s not only offers superb sound quality, but its sleek polished design is also highly desirable and creates the perfect match with iPhone and iPod classic. They have a comfortable Head pad and Soft Ear pad for long periods of use, HX45 are also adapted with synthetic leather head pad and ear pads. The noise isolating ear pads also contribute to the reproduction of Hi-Fi sounds.

If you’re a fashion conscious person and want some great sounding headphones, you can’t go wrong with any of Panasonic’s new range, whether you’re a DJ, someone who wants something more comfortable than ear buds or just want to look cool.

Jabra CHILL, RHYTHM and ACTIVE – cheap and cheerful choice

With the seemingly unstoppable popularity of multimedia phones, the demand for listening to different forms of sound such as music, phone calls, podcasts and audio books, has never been so intense. Fumbling around with ‘hands free’ kits, struggling to jog with headphones that keep falling out, and trying to talk above a muffled interference as we chat with earphones on, does not do the pinpoint quality and technological perfection of our iPhones and other smartphones any justice whatsoever.

GN Netcom, world leaders in producing pioneering and creative solutions to our many headset niggles, created a series of products designed in bringing quality, comfort and style to the corded headphone market.
Jabra’s three latest editions the Jabra CHILL, RHYTHM and ACTIVE claim to be able to meet the demands of users in the most diverse of situations, whilst retaining the quality, comfort and design multimedia smartphones are becoming increasingly synonymous with.

Jabra-headphones

Jabra CHILL
Its name ‘Chill’ is actually an unfair depiction of these headphones, because they are designed for being on the go. By using Jabra Ultimate-fit Eargels, a Jabra CHILL headset is designed to endure the most forceful of movements and will not fall out of your ear. Unlike most headphones, the Jabra CHILL will stay comfortably and securely sitting in your ear regardless of how strenuous or passive your activity, whilst seamlessly connecting to your smartphone, enabling you to listen to quality sounding music or phone calls whilst being on the go.

Jabra ACTIVE
Do you ever get the urge to run faster when you are listening to music? If so than the Jabra ACTIVE may be the headphones you need to train with a renewed vigour in order to smash those personal bests. Essentially Jabra ACTIVE utilizes the same technology as the CHILL, including Jabra Active Eargels, ensuring sportsmen and women are not plagued by the distraction of fiddling with their earphones whilst training. Being waterproof, sweat and water will not hinder an athlete’s performance the way other headphones can.

Jabra RHYTHM
‘Stylish’ and ‘headsets’ are not usually connected. Determined to challenge the headsets-equal-unattractiveness association, Jabra have launched the RHYTHM, which not fit comfortably into the ears, but look stylish too. This new stereo headset uses noise isolating ear buds and microphone wind-noise reduction technology and in doing so produces crisp and clear sound, enabling users to privately jive along to their favourite tunes whilst never failing to answer a phone call.

In addition you can kiss goodbye to having to fumble with your iPhone to skip tracks, turn the volume up or answer calls, as all three of Jabra’s latest headsets come equipped with a control box, permitting for more effortless control whilst being on the move.

The Jabra CHILL and RHYTHM are currently available at selected retail stores for a suggested retail price of £19.99 and £24.99 respectively.

Quick look: Sony DR-GA500 PC gaming headset

dr-ga500

Sony has announced two new gaming headsets, the DR-GA500 and DR-GA200. The headsets have apparently been designed with the user in mind following user research showing what gamers want from the perfect headset. Both the DR-GA500 and DR-GA200 have 40mm drive units, which provide premium gaming sound. They also have a ‘triple enfolding‘ design to allow for those marathon WoW sessions in comfort.

The major difference between these headsets is the DR-GA500 features 7.1 digital surround sound, ideal for first person shooters when what you hear is just as important as what you see. The sound is sharp and clear as the DR-GD500 uses a Dolby Dolby Pro Logic IIx decoder with Sony Virtual Phones Technology to create realistic 7.1 channel 3D surround effects enabling you to pinpoint your enemy. There is a separate signal-processing unit which comes in a compact external unit with the DR-GA500.

Features of the DR-GA500 are:

  • 40mm driver unit
  • 7.1ch 3D effects – Dolby Pro Logic IIx decoder with Sony Virtual Phones Technology
  • Boom mic – High quality, compact boom microphone is built-in

Unfortunately, the DR-GA200 does not have the 7.1 surround feature or the signal-processing unit. If you are after a more entry-level headset, the DR-GA200 is definitely an option. Both models have a compact boom microphone for clear communication with your teammates. The headsets are quite stylish and I would certainly put these to good use. There is a very noticeable difference when you have played a game previously without the headset and when you replay a game with the headset as you will hear sounds you never heard before, providing a much more immersive experience.

These headsets rival the Logitech G-Series, which I recently reviewed. Sony’s headsets are not quite as customizable as Logitech’s and they also lack the noise-cancelling feature. The headsets will be available from 15 October along with the much anticipated Medal of Honor as a promotion.

With many gaming accessories competing for your attention in the next few months, what will be your weapon of choice? Let us know in the comments.

Logitech G-Series: A high price for victory

Logitech have added 3 high-end peripherals to the award-winning G-Series line for gamers. The Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930, Logitech Wireless Gaming Mouse G700 and Logitech Gaming Keyboard G510 are designed for performance and to provide you with that extra edge. If you are as competitive as me, these are right up your alley.

Logitech-GSeries

The Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 provides 7.1 Dolby surround sound so you can hear every footstep and explosion and precisely determine the location of your foes. You will definitely hear your opponents before they see you with this. It has a noise-cancelling microphone so your teammates hear your commands clearly and it automatically mutes when rotated out of the way. The G930 is equipped with 3 programmable G-keys enabling easy control over music, voice-morphing and chat clients.

The Logitech Gaming Keyboard G510 comes equipped with 18 programmable keys with 3 mode states providing 54 possible macro settings. Exclusive to Logitech, the keyboard has the GamerPanel LCD screen which shows real-time game stats and PC performance data. The keyboard can be personalised using the custom backlighting and highlight any keys you want.

The Logitech Wireless Gaming Mouse G700 has 13 controls which can each be programmed with a function. A quick-connect cable lets you plug in fast and continue your campaign without pause. Designed to fit comfortably fit your hand, you can play as long as you like. All the peripherals are gaming-grade with a fast wireless connection for lag-free performance.

The new G-Series products are available for preorder here and will be available soon with major retailers. The Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 will cost a hefty £149. The Logitech Wireless Gaming Mouse G700 and The Logitech Gaming Keyboard G510 are £89.99. They are pricey but they are also high-end, high-quality products.

Who can put a price on victory?

TWIG:Robot arms, GEKKOLinks and Blackbox M10s

The Week In Gadgets

This week saw the launch of the Blackberry Torch 9800 and Blackberry 6 OS to a lukewarm press reaction. We also saw the release of the call-me-anywhere satellite phone – the iSatphone Pro and a cloud based music service from the Carphone Warehouse. There were also some guitars made from paper.

The good people at thepresentfinder.co.uk pointed me in the direction of the frankly amazing Remote Controlled Mechanical Arm – a build-your-own remote control robot arm.

robotic-arm

I can’t believe I just typed “build-you-own remote control robot arm” but apparently they not only exist but can be yours for £39.99. Billed as an educational tool, the Remote Controlled Mechanical Arm lets you learn how machines work and it is a great insight into the basics of control systems. Get one from here. And get me one too.

Last week we looked at Blackbox’s i10 silencer earphones and this week they released their M10s which have the same Active Noise Rejection technology but in an overear cup style (which rotate so they are ideal for DJs). They also have a similar price to the i10 silencers, retailing at £89.99.

Travel bloggers should check out GEKKOLinks, a new service from the save@gekko people that automatically converts mentions of hotels on websites into affiliate links and makes a small box appear with relevant information including availability and prices from multiple booking engines.

GEKKOLinks

In theory, the GEKKOLinks service should improve sites for readers – you could be reading a review of Hotel Yoruba, decide you like it and book a room without leaving the site. And publishers should get a cut of any bookings as well. You can sign up here.

Over the course of next week we should have reviews of some new and exciting iPod docks, a 3D camera for under £200 (well £199.99) and some spy cameras. Should be wild.

Currys and PC World Christmas range preview

LatestGadgets were invited to a preview of the new Christmas ranges for Currys and PC World.

3D is very much in demand for TVs, gaming and cameras with an explosion of products set to launch this year and it is expected that 25% of TVs at Currys and PC World will be 3D by December. Sky are launching their 3D channel this year. The PS3 has the capability for 3D now and there are 3D cameras launching this winter.

The most outstanding 3D TV was the Samsung 55C9000. The Samsung UE55C9000 55″ Full HD 3D LED TV has a 3D HyperReal Engine and mega contrast technology and at 7.98mm thin, it is one the slimmest televisions around. However, at £6999.00, it is also one of the most expensive. We also got to see Devil May Cry played in 3D on a laptop. There was real depth to the image and brought a whole new experience to playing Devil May Cry and made me want to play it all over again.

This month, Currys and PC World are introducing a new range of exclusive home electronic brands, which will include basic utility products as well as higher end technology. The brand is designed to combine functionality and aesthetics without the big brand price tag. Think “the IKEA of technology”. For example, the Sandstrom S40LDIB10 is a 40” Full LED TV with High Contrast Dynamic technology, which at £749.99, is pretty decent value.

Advent, the well established range of PCs and laptops at PC World, will be launching a range of personalised laptop covers. Unlike the skins which you can currently get to cover the casing, these replace the casing and look durable. You can select an image from 500 options or upload a photo and have it put on the case, so you can have a picture of your family or holiday on your laptop.

Digital cameras have seen considerable innovation with manufacturers developing features to differentiate from the competition. Here are some the most innovative cameras. The compact Samsung PL100 has not 1 but 2 screens. There is 1.5” LCD display on the front of your camera as well a screen on the back so you can take self-portraits. Casio’s Z335 shoots in High Definition and for the ladies out there, it has a make-up mode, which automatically eliminates blemishes and highlights the face. No bad for £99.99 The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Micro Four Thirds Camera + 14-42mm Zoom Lens SCS also caught my eye. The successor to revolutionary G1, the camera adds an intuitive touch-screen, which allows the photographer to both focus and release the shutter by touching the on-screen subject.

There were some standout audio products on show for music lovers. The Amethyst Superpig iPod Docking Station is a statement piece with a bling look. It has a 4” subwoofer with 25 watts of crystal output so it packs a punch in a small package. For headphones, Monster Cable Lady Gaga Heartbeats Headphones are high-end performance headphones inspired by Lady Gaga’s unique and ultra-fashionable sense that will definitely turn heads. Monster Beats Active Noise-cancelling Headphones by Dr Dre are also available, which hold a noise-cancelling feature to eliminate outside noise and noise from your headphones so no one will hear your music. The sound is of premium grade, enabling you to hear all the bass and detail just as the artist intended. If you like the sound of anything, why not buy yourself a very early present?