Unlike many revered audio brands, old school Brooklyn outfit Grado Labs hasn't yet stooped to deploying rappers, athletes, or style icons to market its awesome headphones and phono cartridges. But before you dismiss its first foray into the world of branded products out of hand, you should know two things. The partner is whiskey, and the headphones are pretty amazing.
Usually, if you're building your own synthesizer you have aspirations of composing the next great techno track. But this kit—available from the Maker SHED for just $20—lets you build a wonderful toy ray gun that generates electronic 'pewpew' sound effects. And instead of just cycling through various sounds like a cheap toy, you can use the gun's three adjustable knobs to tweak the 'wub', 'bwoop', and 'bip bip' sounds however you like.
Jawbone's portable Bluetooth speakers are great to use pretty much anywhere but if, like me, you're tempted to take one into the bathroom when you shower, its new water-resistant models might just be up your street.
Welcome to our coverage of all the best Black Friday deals. Deals are continuing to pour in, and this post will be constantly updated right up to the point when our Cyber Monday guide goes live. These deals are all subject to change and subject to price-matches (especially online price matches), and we can tell you that there are lots of deals still embargoed or not yet announced.
For the past few months, I’ve been testing Underwater Audio’s waterproofing service for Apple’s iPod shuffle. As the name implies, Underwater Audio is a company that created a technique to waterproof the iPod shuffle without changing the design, form-factor, size, overall weight and thinness of the wearable, lowest-cost iPod…
Underwater Audio sells both a brand-new iPod shuffle that is waterproofed and offers the ability for fourth-generation iPod shuffle owners to send in their device for waterproofing. A new, waterproofed shuffle costs $149 for 2GB in any color, while the service to convert an existing iPod shuffle costs $120. A pre-waterproofed Shuffle takes a couple of days to ship, while the process of converting an existing unit takes 3-4 weeks.
To waterproof the iPod Shuffle, the company uses proprietary materials and stuffs it inside parts of the iPod so that water cannot seep through into the internal electronic elements. Before shipping out the waterproofed iPods, Underwater Audio does extensive testing to ensure that the device cannot be damaged by water. In my unscientific tests, the iPod shuffle faired well, did not stop working, and audio quality did not degrade over time.
Unlike some other services, this service is true waterproofing, not a service for the iPod to become “water-resistant.” The iPod shuffle following conversion can be submerged into water, swam with, surfed with, and more. Everything about the iPod shuffle worked for me just like a non-converted iPod shuffle would. However, the materials needed waterproof the iPod do create one downside: the controls of the iPod shuffle become difficult to press. They feel like they are stuck into the iPod, but they still work. It can get annoying at times, but users will likely get used to it after a few days or weeks of use.
The earphones that come with the standard iPod shuffle work with the waterproofed Shuffle, but those earbuds are obviously not designed to be submerged into water. To solve that part of the issue, Underwater Audio sells waterproof Swimbuds either alone or in a bundle with a waterproofed Shuffle.
The other potential downside of the waterproofed iPod shuffle is the price. The Shuffle direct from Apple costs $49, so users will have to decide if a waterproofed version is truly worth the price of three regular Shuffles. It’s also worth noting that there are several much more cost effective solutions for those seeking a waterproof MP3 player. However, the ease-of-use, iTunes compatibility, design, wearability and ecosystem for a waterproof iPod shuffle will likely be an interesting solution for many people.
Even with its over-hyped 'blast processing' on the Genesis and the much-loved Dreamcast, Sega still ended up losing the console war to Nintendo, Sony, and eventually Microsoft. The company still survives through its software, but if you want new Sega hardware in your home you'll have to settle for this Bluetooth speaker from Tommo that pays tribute to the 25th Anniversary of the Genesis.
Boombotix, a startup based out of SF building rugged speakers for active lifestyle use, today launched a new Kickstarter campaign, this time for a new technology it's building to complement it hardware products. The Boombotix Sync tech manages to synchronize audio from multiple mobile devices over 4G and Wi-Fi, allowing those to output to Bluetooth speakers and have the playback match for surround sound results.
The tech was developed in response to user input – many asked the Mission-bases startup for a way to sync up a number of units for output to multiple endpoints at once. That's not something that's possible over Bluetooth, and I've seen other Kickstarter projects attempt and fail to make it happen with a custom-coded solution. But Boombotix saw another possible way: Building a protocol that allows multiple apps on multiple devices to playback audio simultaneously, so that more than one speaker can join in on the action. It works a bit like FM radio, Boombotix VP of Product Management Chris McKelroy says, so that more than one user can tune in at once and here the same feed played back at the same time.
It's not a perfect solution (they're building in TrueWireless for two speaker, single device connections), but it's one that will help users reach “critical mass” according to McKleroy, which means a whole team going out for a mountain bike race, or a group of kayakers, for instance, can all bring their speakers and listen along to the same stuff at the same time, as you can see briefly in the video. McKelroy says it's amazing witnessing huge groups of people riding by, with “Boombots in perfect sync pumping 90+ db.” Also, you can flashmob with this pretty perfectly, if that's what you're into.
McKelroy says that this tech is going to be kept proprietary to Boombotix products in the short term, rather than being made an open protocol, for instance.
“we're planning on keeping this proprietary, focused on creating the best experience for our users as we continue to improve the speed and scale of our syncing technology,” he said. “The next hurdle we face is aligning with key content providers in the music space, to increase the availability of content and enhance the user experience further.”
And this is just the first step in terms of networking hardware. Boombotix is keenly aware that users want to use one device to broadcast to many speakers at once. “A fully networked device ecosystem is paramount to our goals,” he says, and suggests watching for more hardware developments from the startup to help make this a reality in the coming months. For now, the Kickstarter project for the music sync app is seeking $15,000 to help finish development, with Boombot speakers available to backers starting at the $55 pledge level.