The fashion headphone market has grown exponentially over the past five years, and SOL Republic has carved its niche into the game with headphones that are incredibly customizable and focused on great sound for your dollar. The company started with the Tracks on-ears and Amps in-ears, and over time, has added new models that offer better an increase in sound fidelity and features.
The SOL Republic Master Tracks are the first over-ear headphones from the company, matched up with the new "X3 Sound Engine" ear cups, all of which are backwards-compatible with the other SOL Republic headbands. Are the good enough to warrant your attention? Read on for our full SOL Republic Master Tracks review for the answer.
The SOL Republic Master Tracks headphones are in impressive pair of over-ears. While we're busy working on our full SOL Republic Master Tracks review, check out the collection of images we put together in our Master Tracks unboxing gallery.
Sonos has formally announced the new Play:1 wireless speaker, bringing the price of entry into the Sonos world down to $199. This is a welcome addition to the lineup of what Gear Live considers to be the best speaker system on the planet, making it more affordable to get into. Even better, those who pick up the Play:1 between now and the end of 2013 will also get a free Sonos Bridge thrown in ($50 value) to get the system going.
A custom-designed mid-woofer and tweeter deliver deep, rich and surprisingly big sound. With a powerful low-end and crisp mids and highs, new smart processing technology pushes Sonos’ drivers further than ever before, minimizing distortion even at full volume. Plus, PLAY:1 projects a wide field of sound, delivering a great listening experience no matter where you are sitting in the room.
The new Sonos Play:1 is available in two colors (black and white,) and maintains the same feature set as the other Sonos standalone wireless speakers--it's just smaller, with two drivers (despite the name) powering the sound. There's a 3.5-inch extended-throw mid-woofer paired with an extended-throw tweeter. You can grab two of them and create a true stereo pair with audio separation for even better sound, or pair two of them with a Sonos SUB for even better bass. Heck, throw two Play:1 units, the SUB, and the Sonos Playbar together and you have a fantastic 5.1 wireless surround sound system that you can also use to play your music (see our Sonos Playbar review.) Or, just grab one Play:1 and put it in the kitchen or bathroom as an extra Sonos zone--they're wall-mountable and humidity-resistant.
The Sonos Play:1 is available now throughout the US, and will see its international release on October 29. Again, you can pick up the Play:1 now and get a free Sonos Bridge thrown in if you buy before the end of the year.
Read More | Sonos Play:1
This morning Apple added a few new apps to the Apple TV, bringing VEVO, The Disney Channel, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel to the streaming set-top box. As far as VEVO is concerned, the company released a statement that confirms that the entire 75,000 music video library is now available on Apple TV:
Apple TV users are sure to recognize the intuitive and efficient design. VEVO viewers are able to quickly browse videos by featured artists including all of the latest premieres. VEVO includes multiple modes of discovery – you can watch on-demand videos from any genre or simply select any video that piques your interest. If you have something particular in mind, perform a search and we will surface what you’re looking for right at your fingertips.
The Weather Channel allows you to see current weather conditions and forecasts, and access to featured content from the channel as well. The Smithsonian Channel lets you stream on-demand content. The two Disney apps require cable authentication to view the live and on-demand content, and is available through supported providers: AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, and Verizon FiOS. You can pick up the Apple TV for $99 from Apple.
Rdio is one of Gear Live's favorite things, and the recent revamping of its Stations feature has brought the music streaming service to a whole new level. Rdio users can now create up to ten different stations that focus on an artist, song, or one of 400 different sub-genres of music. Additionally, there's a custom station called You FM that takes cues from your listening history, Facebook likes, track votes, and Twitter follows to create a station that is specifically tailored to what you like. When listening to You FM, you can also choose between five levels of familiarity, allowing you to stick with what you know, or be more adventurous when you want to discover something new. A player redesign rounds out the rest of the update, which applies to the iOS, Android, and Mac apps, as well as the in-browser experience.
If you're an Rdio user (and you should be,) be sure to follow Gear Live's Rdio station.
Read More | Rdio Blog
Have you always wanted to be a DJ, but didn't have the skills? JAKKS Pacific introduces the EZ Pro DJ, a $50 accessory that works with your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad that allows you to mix beats while sounding like a pro. You get the two turntables and fader in a unit that connects to your device over USB. It can pull in tracks from your iOS device, letting you manipulate them to your hearts content, even automatically matching up the beat of both songs. There's also an optional microphone accessory that lets you bring your voice into the mix, and a headphone jack so you can sport the right cans to complete the look.
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Apple has just announced iTunes Radio, the new streaming music service for iOS, iTunes (Mac and PC,) and Apple TV. The service looks to compete with Pandora, and will be built right in to the iOS 7 Music app. Apple will have a bunch of curated stations available at launch, and will also allow users to create their own custom stations as well. You can give a track a star to signify that you like it, share the station with a friend, and ask for more like that song. Led Zepplin is even available, a first for streaming. iTunes Radio will be free with advertising, but iTunes Match subscribers get it completely ad-free.
Hot on the heels of releasing OS X 10.8.4 Mountain Lion, Apple has gone ahead and released additional maintenance updates to iTunes. Update includes bug fixes for improved syncing and eliminated a sign-in bug some users were experiencing.
The syncing fix remedied an issue that some users were experiencing when switching between wireless and wired syncing. The new version is available in the Mac App Store's update section. Direct link for iTunes update for Windows PC and also for OS X.
Read More | iTunes
According to The New York Times, Apple is going full-force in negotiations with record labels in an effort to get its new streaming music service (which many refer to as iRadio) in position to be announced, and possibly launched, at WWDC next week. The report states that Apple has already signed deals with both the Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group for rights to recorded music and publishing. The holdout is Sony Music Entertainment, which seems to want a bigger cut of the profits. Of course, if Apple can convince Sony to sign, then its music service will be stocked with all the popular music users will expect, without any glaring holes.
There are no solid details on Apple's streaming service, and there won't be until it is formally announced by the company itself. That said, rumors point to it being similar in vein to Pandora, rather than a Spotify/Rdio competitor. In other words, it will be a radio service rather than one where you get to pick and choose exactly which track(s) you want to listen to at a given moment. The service would be supported by iAd, with advertisements interspersed into the listening experience, like Pandora.
Fingers crossed for WWDC!
Read More | The New York Times
Rdio has updated its web and Mac apps with the new Now Playing view. Click the list icon at the bottom right, and the entire app becomes a stylized, blurry album cover in the background, with the actual art up front to the left, and the album tracks or playlist over to the right, allowing you to see what's coming up in your queue. We are big fans of Rdio here at Gear Live, and find it to be superior to Spotify in many ways. Rdio charges $4.99 per month for desktop and web browser access, while mobile streaming can be added, costing a total of $9.99 per month. Hit the Read More link to download the Rdio app.
Read More | Rdio Apps