Philips’ noise-canceling Lightning headphones don’t need batteries

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Photo: No noise, just signal. Photo: Philips

It was Philips that managed to beat, err, Beats to the first Lightning headphones last year, and at CES the company has taken it to the next level: announcing a new $299 pair that also offers noise cancellation.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Called the Fidelio NC1L, the battery-free headphones plug straight into iOS devices using the Lightning connector, and boast their own integrated 24-bit digital-to-analog converter rather than the one Apple builds into its devices.

Monster hits Beats with lawsuit for allegedly stealing headphone technology

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Monster is looking for its cut of the Beats acquisition. Photo: Beats
Photo: Beats

Monster Inc, the company that help co-design the original Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, is suing Beats Electronics along with cofounders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for allegedly stealing its headphone technology.

The company, known for its overpriced audio cables, filed a lawsuit this week in San Mateo California, claiming Beats and its founders screwed the it out of millions of dollars before the company was sold to Apple last year for $3 billion. According to court documents obtained by USA Today, Monster says Beats concealed its role in the designing and engineering the headphone line, as well as its part in the manufacturing, distributions and selling of the headphones.

‘Sound, design and simplicity’ guide creation of world’s first Lightning headphones

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Philips M2L headphones will be the first to use Apple's Lightning port. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Philips M2L headphones will be the first to use Apple's Lightning connector. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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LAS VEGAS — The wait for the world’s first Lightning headphones is almost over.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Philips’ upcoming Fidelio M2L bypasses the analog headphone jack, instead sending the digital audio signal through the Lightning port used in late-model iOS devices.

“You keep the digital signal as far as possible until you have no choice,” Benoit Borette, a Philips audio engineer, told Cult of Mac.

Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones will dazzle your ears and your eyes

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Bowers&Wilkins P5 headphones in for review. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones sound as sexy as they look. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

It’s ludicrous but true: How headphones look can be nearly as important as how they sound. Luckily for anybody who slides a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P7s over their ears, these high-end headphones do double duty. They will bamboozle your ears as well as your eyes.

With a stylish design and sturdy construction of gleaming metal and luxurious sheepskin leather, these aren’t a pair of big, cartoon-like plastic puffballs for your head. The P7s whisper quiet refinement rather than screaming “look at me.” If Beats Electronics’ brightly colored models are like those candy-colored iMac G3s from the ’90s, the P7s are like this year’s stunning iMac with Retina 5K display.

But really, looks are only skin deep. When it comes to music at its most intimate — when the sounds are piped straight from the source and directly penetrate your ear canals — it’s the quality of the audio that matters most.