Tag: speakers

Apple gets into speakers

lucas-cranach-the-elder-eve-offering-the-apple-to-adam-in-the-garden-of-eden-c-1520-25-oil-on-wood-detail-of-407328As sales of its iPhones and iPads falter, Apple is apparently working on a set of speakers activated by a Siri device.

According to The Information, Apple feels it’s being pipped to the post by Amazon’s Echo device.

The report claims that Apple will open up a software developer kit for app developers to extend its range in the overall marketplace.

Apple is notoriously a closed company so it will force developers to sign up to a strict set of rules.

Apple faces competition not only from Amazon but from Google too and is playing a frantic game of catchup so that it won’t be outflanked by its two major rivals.

There’s no information on when such a device will be available for you to spend your hard earned cash. But it plans a number of other introductions this year including an iPhone and another Apple watch.

PaloAlto's Cubik speakers reviewed

Here we have PaloAlto’s new laptop speakers which are arguably aimed at the Apple crowd. Compatible with both PC and Mac, PaloAlto says the Cubik speakers are a high end system that offers sound which is unmatched by other speakers in its class. 

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Palo Alto’s speakers is the design – a cube but at a weird angle – which makes fitting them on your desk kind of a pain if you live among clutter. I do.

But once you’ve figured out how to screw the base on (not hard) and plugged the things in, they complement a stylish laptop but look very out of place with a desktop. That was the idea. PaloAlto says that the way they are designed means you can place them anywhere in a room and get the same quality of sound – which you do. 

Unfortunately they are not particularly portable, so one assumes they are intended for the user with a desktop replacement laptop. Fortunately for Palo Alto there are a lot of those out there, and they’re available to buy on the Apple store, which shouldn’t hurt revenues. Again, the portability is testing for someone who moves around a lot but doesn’t like the  generally tinny sounds that come out of, say, a netbook. Headphones are still the best bet on that front. Especially because you’re going to need a power supply – these aren’t some flouncey USB powered speakers, they need proper juice.

Impressively, they handled Skream’s dub island and you could still hear the beats over the top. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eWnp_RwKCU It struggled about half-way through, but a worn out or elderly sub can give you the kind of wobble you don’t want to hear. The Cubiks have long-vent advanced enclosure, which is the technology that enables the rich sound and bass from a small system. 

A problem was the controls. They’re on the speaker itself, which is fine, but the way the individual speaker is designed and sits on your desk means you’ve got to reach around to turn the volume up or down. The buttons were not particularly clearly marked, so if you’re a forever alone basement dweller they will be no good for 2am bouts of Starcraft with the lights off. 

You can tell why when you switch them on. The design is incredibly clever. It manages to deliver a respectable amount of bass without totally muddying the music. Of course, it won’t compare to a real sub-woofer or high end gear, but in a touch, they’re an OK buy for what they can do. 

PaloAlto claims that the Cubiks are of a comparable quality to BOSE PC speakers and for half the price, at £179.49. Admittedly, there are similar options in the same class that cost a lot more – but we would still recommend a full set up for sound buffs regardless. Those are upgradeable. I have to say that my six year old Creative I-Trigue speakers, which have been used an awful, awful lot, still deliver clearer clarity and overall sound quality, with a fuller experience. Personally, the price tag seems a little high for the product you get. Although it is undoubtedly a smart design with impressive quality for what they are, music buffs will still probably prefer a more serious, fuller option.

We had a dubstep DJ and music producer give the speakers a run through. He was impressed with the punch they pack for the size and set-up, but ultimately, said in a pinch they wouldn’t do for basic sound engineering or, in his opinion, listening. But he still liked them, because they are a likeable product.

Mitsubishi develops carbon nanotube high-end speakers

Mitsibushi Electrics has developed a prototype speaker with carbon nanotube-based cones, which are said to offer the same audio quality as existing high-end materials but at a lower cost.

According to nikkei.com, the company hopes that the cones will set the ball rolling for less expensive speakers. It hopes to push these into the public domain for use in TVs and cars.

The speakers works by incorporating plastics and nanotubes, which are said to give the same sound quality as those which use metal and ceramics and are more expensive.  According to the company they also deliver high-quality sounds in a wide range of pitches.

The company’s high-end speakers, which cost several hundreds of thousands of yen, use cones made of boron carbide. And because they are produced in a vacuum unit, the process can become pricey.The carbon nanotube-based cones, however, can be manufactured at lower cost as the new materials can be incorporated into a plastic injection molding, which is comparable to a high-velocity metal diaphragm.

The company said the development of new materials and the optimum formulation of resin carbon several would make these speakers succeed. It said it’s new speakers were comparable to the widespread use of titanium metal diaphragm velocity higher than 5000m.

It also said these new speakers were closer to the source of sound reproduction unity thus accurately being able to reproduce the sound. They also have a woofer speaker vibration plate material for the equalisation of high notes in songs.