Yes, that's my earwax on there. Sorry, but that's life with custom-fitted earbuds. Photos Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
Custom molded headphones are — it turns out — pretty great. But what a pain to visit an audiologist and get silicone injected into your ear-holes. What if there was a fun, geeky way to do it yourself, in the comfort of your own home?
Thanks to SonoFit Eers, there is. I tested out the $300 PC250 headphones and found the fitting process to be kind of freaky and fun, and the results to be quite excellent. Read on to see just how they work, and how good they sound.
If you have been reading Ken Segall’s new book about Apple, Insanely Simple, then you’ll recognize the hallmarks of simplicity all over JawBone’s work. Even the e-mail containing the press release for its new speaker reads as little more than “Jawbone just released a BIG JAMBOX.”
That’s what it’s called. The BIG JAMBOX. And from its name, you know almost all there is to know about it.
Jean Michel Jarre might be laying off the lasers, the lightshows and the spectacular outdoor concerts, but he’s not letting his 63 years catch up with him: he has simply switched his ostentatious attentions to high-end iPhone and iPad docks.
The latest is the AeroPad Two, a 30-pin dock connector-equipped behemoth of a home stereo which could probably shake your house to pieces.
I don’t hate the iPad’s speaker as much as I used to. The rear-firing grille on the iPads 2 and 3 doesn’t sound that bad if you lay the iPad face down and let it blast its vibrations straight at you. But as most of us use the iPad to watch movies, or to listen to music while reading, this adequate-sounding speaker simply sends its sound off into the nothingness, hoping that a nearby wall might reflect a little of it back to your ears.
My current answer is a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker, but that’s battery powered. And heavy. The Amplifiear, on the other hand, is lightweight and requires no power.
AirFoil now has full iPad Retina support along with AirPlay streaming
Rogue Amoeba’s AirFoil started out as a way to stream any non-iTunes audio to your AirPort Express mini-router, back when AirPlay was still called AirTunes. Then it was expanded with a free iOS app which would let you stream music from AirFoil on the Mac to AirFoil on your iPod or iPhone, handy for hooking up to a stereo.
Now we have AirFoil Speakers Touch 3 for iOS, and it adds in proper AirPlay support, letting you send music from pretty much any iDevice you own.
For anyone who spends a lot of time in trains and planes, noise-canceling headphones are pretty much essential. But if you’re walking the streets, then noise canceling can be a pain or even a hazard, isolating you a little too much from your environment.
Luckily, the Able Planet Linx Audio Clear Harmony headphones sound pretty good with noise cancelation both on and off. And they’re also comfy enough to keep on throughout a long journey.
SleekSpeak is the bike speaker I have always wanted
Cyclists: Imagine that you could buy a speaker that combined the Bluetooth-connected, rubbery boxiness of JawBone’s JamBox speaker with the stretchy go-anywhere strap-and hook of Knog’s bike lights and cyclocomputers. Well, imagine no more, for a mere $70 will get you a SleekSpeak, a handlebar-mounted bike speaker over on Kickstarter.
Braven’s new Bluetooth speakers are like feature packed JamBoxes, only with a slightly more confusing product lineup. They are all marked by a great 12-20-hour battery life, can also be used to charge your USB-powered gadgets and — here’s the neat part — can be daisy-chained together using their 3.5mm audio-in and audio-out jacks.
Described simply, the Apogee Jam ($99) is a just little gadget that lets you plug your guitar into your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. But in this pairing of instrument and iDevice, the Jam unlocks a wonderful world of musical possibility that is nothing short of magical.
Stream any audio from your Mac to your AirPlay speakers, not just iTunes
Porthole is a Mac app which will stream all the audio coming from your computer to AirPlay speakers, instead of just the music from iTunes. It’s kind of like Rogue Amoeba’s excellent AirFoil, only much less fine-grained in terms of control.