Portable Audio/Video

Monster DNA Pro Wireless Headphones: Big Sound, Even Bigger Price Tag

January 9th, 2014 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer


Monster is celebrating its 35th anniversary the best way it knows how — by launching a ton of audio products, including the DNA Pro Wireless headphones. The over-ear cans are the company’s latest edition to its DNA line. As the name suggests, the DNA Pro Wireless headphones are Bluetooth-compatible. In fact, Monster has outfitted the cans with advanced Bluetooth with APT-X technology for high quality lossless audio. Quality comes at a cost however with the Pro Wireless breaking the bank at $449.95. Compare that to the original DNA Pro that costs $279.95.

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Aside from the new wireless capabilities, the DNA Pro Wireless headphones don’t look much different than the original DNA Pro headphones. The cans are still made from glossy plastics and feature the triangular shape that’s come to define the DNA series. However the Pro Wireless over-ear headphones can fold for easy storage. The foldability has a second, more important benefit. A sensor hidden in the hinge detects the headphones opening and closing which will automatically turn the cans on and off, and enable the Bluetooth.

Monster DNA Pro Wireless Headphones

The DNA Pro Wireless headphones house a touch sensor interface embedded in the earcup. In addition, the headphones feature USB Direct digital audio and active noise cancellation. USB Direct have a pure bypass mode for listeners that prefer a wired connection delivering a better audio experience than the Bluetooth connection while simultaneously charging the headphone’s battery. Wired listening also activates the active noise cancellation feature for clean audio reproduction.

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We tried out both modes at Monster’s booth. Both sounded loud and clean with deep lows and nicely balanced mids and highs. Wired mode, with its active noise cancellation, had the advantage in the noisy cacophony of the CES show floor. It did a good of shutting out most of the ambient noise while delivering rich, deep audio.

Music fans looking to score a pair of DNA Pro Wireless headphones will have to wait until Q2. However that should be enough time to save up the wallet-bruising $449.95. 

Fugoo Stylish, Sporty and Tough Bluetooth Speakers Push Big Sound

January 8th, 2014 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer


The Bluetooth speaker market is growing at such a rapid pace, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. That is, unless your dealing with the Fugoo Bluetooth speaker line, comprised of the Fugoo Style, Fugoo Sport and Fugoo Tough.

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This trio of durable devices, priced between $199 and $299, are teeming with versatility and customization options. Set to hit store shelves sometime in February, Fugoo is the brand to watch in 2014 and we got some one-on-one time with these little audio powerhouses. 


Each of the Fugoo speakers begins with the core, the black aluminum casing is integrated with shock absorbers and co-molded seals, making these devices very durable. The air-tight seals protect against water, dust, sand and snow. Plus, the speaker ends sport caps to protect against life’s inevitable scrapes and falls. But it’s the outer jacket that makes these speakers pop. Each device will have a set of interchangeable jackets that easily slip over the core. The bright red sleeve was our personal favorite, because it immediately drew the eye.

Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker

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Each Fugoo model features six drivers, including a pair of neodymium tweeters, aluminum cones and passive bass radiators. The drivers are placed on a upward slant helping to bathe the listener in 360 degree sound. Despite the non-stop din of the crowd, the Fugoo Tough speaker we demoed deliver booming bass with richly balanced highs and mids. Each speaker possesses speakerphone capabilitie,s thanks to their omni-directional mics. Fugoo speakers also work in concert with Siri and Google Now.

Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker

Bluetooth and Battery

Fugoo speakers utilize Bluetooth 4.0 and have an expected range of 33 feet. Each device sports a built-in lithium-ion battery that Fugoo reps claim will get up to 40 hours of battery life when played at half volume. The battery life drops significantly at full volume, lasting only 7 to 8 hours.  


Aside from the swappable sleeves, the Fugoo speakers have some interesting accessories, the most impressive of which is the wearable Bluetooth low energy remote. The device which can be worn as a watch or around a person’s neck on a lanyard, has the ability to play music on the speakers or activate Siri or Google Now. Upping the cool factor is the bottle opener hidden on the bottom of the remote. We see this particular feature being very popular at a party or a sporting event parking lot. Fugoo also has some more practical accessories such as the Multi Mount used to attach the speaker to a backpack or purse. The bike rack is pretty straightforward, but there’s also a pole mount to secure the speaker to a pole or tree.


When the Fugoo speakers launch in February, consumers should expect to shell out $199 for the Fugoo Style, $229 for the Fugoo Sport with Remote and $229 for the Fugoo Tough. 

Sennheiser G4ME Headsets Make Games Feel Real

January 7th, 2014 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer

Sennheiser G4ME Series Gaming Headsets

Any gamer will tell you that there’s no sweeter sound than hearing a vanquished opponents cries of agony. That sound is about to get even better thanks to Sennheiser’s newest gaming products: the G4ME One and G4ME Zero headsets. Designed to provide an immersive gaming experience, both headsets are targeted at both professional and couch gamers.  

The G4ME One headset features an open design, which will work best in a quiet home environment. The resulting airflow will help keep gamers ears cool during those brutal fights. Players can expect a super lux feel thanks to the cushioned headband and large velvet-covered earcups. The G4ME Zero headset offers a closed design and a revamped earpad design that the company says will make for a more immersive gaming experience. The padding and memory foam blocks out sound from the gamer’s environment while simultaneously locking sounds in, keeping those loud explosions and trash talk where it belongs — in the headphone. The G4ME Zero is foldable making it very travel-friendly.

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Sennheiser is keeping pricing and availability details as well as specs pretty close to the vest, so far. However the company has revealed that both headsets will feature noise-cancellation technology in the built-in microphones and utilize its PCV 05 Combo audio adapter. That means both devices can be used with Macs and the PlayStation 4 in addition to PCs. Using proprietary transducers, Sennheiser claims that each set will deliver “extremely accurate reproduction of gaming audio.”

The headsets also have a number of smart features such as integrating the volume buttons into the earcup. Lifting the mic boom will automatically mute the sound. Both headsets will also have some variation of Sennheiser’s ergonomic design enabling hours upon hours of comfortable play. Stayed tuned for our ears-on experience at CES 2014. 



Braven BRV-X Speaker Prepared for Camping and Charging Gadgets

January 7th, 2014 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer

Braven BRV-X Speaker

Some gadgets aren’t built to withstand the rigors of the wilderness. Braven’s $229.99 BRV-X Bluetooth speaker is an exception. The speaker has IPX5 certification meaning that it’s splashproof and weatherproof. It’s also shockproof thanks to the rubber overmolding and the high-impact plastic casing. Similar to the Braven BRV-1, the octagonal BRV-X can take a serious licking and keep on ticking. 

The BRV-X should get more than 12 hours of wireless play, according to Braven and the built-in 5200 mAh battery . The speaker may also be used to charge smartphones and other devices via USB. As with most Bluetooth devices, you can expect to get a range of approximately 33 feet.

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Whether you’re in an office or at a campsite, the BRV-X should deliver loud rich audio thanks to the custom HD audio drivers. There should be a reasonable expectation of booming lows from the passive bass radiator. But if that’s not enough sound for you, you can always wirelessly pair another BRV-X with the TrueWireless technology for stereo sound. The speaker also has NFC so listeners can quickly pair their devices and get the party started.

Braven’s also included an Outdoor mode which delivers a louder sound to accommodate the open-air environment. The BRV-X has speakerphone capabilities and is compatible with Facetime, iChat and Skype. No word on availability, yet.

Turtle Beach Z Seven Ears-On: PC Gaming Gets an Earful

June 13th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer


Of the many new headsets on display at Turtle Beach’s booth here at E3, the one pair that really caught our eye was the company’s Z Seven for Mac and PCs. Priced at $249, the Z Sevens are the first PC headphones to offer uncompressed surround sound audio. Naturally, we had to go ears-on with the Z Sevens to hear just how good they sounded.

The Z Sevens include a variety of interesting features including their own audio control unit (ACU) that lets you configure things such as volume, surround sound and chat settings. The ACU also offers its own presets if you don’t feel like customizing your audio experience. Turtle Beach says this is the first time a PC headset has included an ACU, and it certainly paid of during our testing, allowing us to setup and save our own audio profile quickly and easily. The feature even works when listening to music, so you can set audio profiles for specific genres like rock, country or hip-hop. Read the rest of this entry »

DTS Headphone: X Ears-on: True Surround Sound Audio in Your Headphones

June 12th, 2013 by Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer

 DTS Headphone X

Audio technology developer DTS’s new Headphone X is a new mobile audio solution that promises to faithfully recreate the sound of specific listening environments using even the simplest pair of headphones or smartphones. The software, which will be deployed in a variety of devices ranging from headphones to smartphones and tablets, allows listeners to hear music, movies and, most importantly for E3, games as their creators always intended. To see just how good audio using this solution could sound, we visited DTS’ booth here at E3 for a private demo session.

To give us a good idea of how accurately Headphone X can reproduce audio, DTS reps set up a meeting room with a 7.1 surround sound layout, that includes speakers up front, on the sides and around back, and placed four chairs in the center. We then put on a pair of headphones and listened to a prerecorded voice do call outs from each individual speaker. Why the speakers if we were going to listen to audio from a pair of headphones? It turns out, DTS set up the speakers and then scanned the room to determine how audio would sound when seated in the chairs between them. The company’s reps then programmed its Headphone X technology to reproduce exactly how the speakers would sound using a simple pair of headphones. Read the rest of this entry »


PDP Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Headset Gets Immersive With Dolby

June 11th, 2013 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer


It’s a case of gaming with no strings attached. PDP, a third-party video-game peripheral maker, has unveiled its latest creation on the E3 2013 show floor — the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Dolby 5.1 Wireless headset. A refresh of last year’s model the $179 headphones are packing Dolby 5.1 surround sound technology for a more immersive gaming experience. The headset is universal which means they’ll work with your PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. However there’s no word if the headset will feature Xbox One support.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bose SoundLink Mini and QuietComfort 20: True Audio Breakthroughs

June 5th, 2013 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer

Bose doesn’t release new products very often, but when it does, you know you’re in for an earful of awesome. Such is the case with the company’s latest Soundlink Mini Bluetooth speaker (coming July 11th for $199) and the QuietComfort 20 headphones ($299 later this summer). Both devices excel at putting big sound into compact packages, but they out-innovate the competition in their own ways. Read the rest of this entry »

SuperTooth Announces 15-Hour Bluetooth Headphones

May 20th, 2013 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer


SuperTooth is sinking its teeth into the Bluetooth headphone market. Ahead of CTIA, the company has announced the launch of the Freedom headphones, a pair of over-the-ear, NFC-enabled wireless headphones. Available this summer for $149, the cans will be featured with a high-gloss finish in white, black and blue.
Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing the World’s First Modular Headphones

March 20th, 2013 by Sherri L. Smith, Senior Staff Writer

Myth Labs Pro Headphones Genesis

Sure, you’ve seen headphones with customizable headbands or earcup shields. But what about headphones with speakers personalized to your listening tastes? The new Myth Lab Pro Headphones let people choose their own headband and speakers, creating a look and audio that’s truly personal.

The Myth Labs website features two speakers, Genesis and Eclipse with six headband colors. The Genesis speakers are lightweight and work best with lower-quality mp3s, YouTube videos or analog devices. The Eclipse are more versatile, focusing on playing up the intricate parts of a track that are usually buried by lower-quality headphones. Read the rest of this entry »

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