| Cult of Mac

Sony makes its flagship over-ear headphones even better

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The new Sony flagship cans improve on their predecessors and cost about $50 more.
The new Sony flagship cans improve on their predecessors and cost about $50 more.
Photo: Sony

Few would dispute that Sony’s flagship wireless WH-1000XM4 active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones have been among the best on the market since they came out in August 2020. But Sony has improved upon them, offering its fifth-generation WH-1000XM5 headphones on Thursday.

The redesigned cans flaunt several impressive improvements over the previous model, making the XM5s an even worthier competitor to AirPods Max and other premium headphones.

Leak of Sony’s next flagship headphones shows sleek design, longer battery life

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Sony's next top headphones may have a sleek new design.
Sony's next top headphones may have a sleek new design.
Photo: Nils Ahrensmeier/TechnikNews

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 over-ear noise-cancelling wireless headphones are considered one of the best sets of cans in the business. Now a new leak shows what may be in store for the audio giant’s next version, the WH-1000XM5, in terms of a sleek new design and key specs.

Blowing half your budget on headphones and Lego sets [Setups]

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The college kid who owns this computer setup might be headed for an aerospace-related career.
The college kid who owns this computer setup might be headed for an aerospace-related career.
Photo: OolongCha@Reddit.com

College students, often not exactly made of money (yet), usually feel obliged to be super-thrifty. Their setups might feature entry-level gear, hand-me-down equipment, doors on cinderblocks serving as desks — that sort of thing.

But today’s featured setup, owned by a college student, comes with some frills. They’re courtesy of a lucrative internship the computer science major completed last summer.

Bose adds customizable EQ to QuietComfort 45 headphones

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A firmware update adds an equalizer so you can tweak the sound of your Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones.
A firmware update adds an equalizer so you can tweak the sound of your Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones.
Photo: Bose

Bose made a splash with its recent, long-awaited update to its popular QuietComfort 35 headphones. But while the company was probably smart not to change the QuietComfort formula much, that included not expanding the classic headphones’ limited customizability. Until now.

If you have a set of QC 45s, Bose said a new firmware update lets you access and adjust a new equalizer via the Bose Music app. So you can tweak the sound all you want with the new Adjustable EQ feature.

JBL has a new party in a box and lots of other big plans for your ears

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The JBL PartyBox Encore is a 100W speaker with a Lightshow and two microphones.
The JBL PartyBox Encore is a 100W speaker with a Lightshow and two microphones.
Photo: JBL

Every year Samsung subsidiary JBL rolls out a tempting raft of updated or new audio products at CES, but you can’t get them right away. CES 2022, held in Las Vegas earlier this month, was no different. The company showed its new JBL PartyBox Encore and a slew of other Bluetooth speakers, earbuds and headphones. We’ll round them up below. Some are coming in spring and others in summer.

6 brilliant but affordable AirPods alternatives

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AirPods might just be the best wireless buds you can pair with Apple devices, but they’re also pretty expensive. Plenty of more affordable options that deliver stellar sound and reliable connectivity in a neat design are available.

So, if you’re buying on a budget this holiday season, skip the Apple Store and check out these six brilliant but more affordable alternatives to AirPods.

Beats Fit Pro with active noise cancellation available now for $199.99

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Beats Fit Pro in black
Get yours in one of four color options.
Photo: Beats

Apple’s new Beats Fit Pro wireless headphones, which were last month spilled by Kim Kardashian, are now available to order in four color options. The new buds pack active noise cancellation and the Apple H1 chip for $199.99.

They also support spatial audio with with dynamic head tracking, like AirPods Pro. And like the more affordable Beats Studio Buds that launched back in June, they work just as well with Android as they do with Apple devices.

Ex-HTC design chief works on next-gen Beats headphones

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Apple Beats PowerBeats in red
A new head of design means Apple will offer plenty more headphones to follow these Beats PowerBeats.
Photo: Apple

The reports of Beats’ death are (reportedly) greatly exaggerated. Rather than phasing out the brand, as had been rumored, Apple put Scott Croyle, the former head of product design at phone-maker HTC, in charge of crafting new Beats headphones, according to an unconfirmed report.

11 deals on AirPods Pro alternatives to fill the void left by phantom Apple event

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AirPods
Take your pick of some of the best AirPods Pro alternatives out there.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Like most Apple fans, you’re probably disappointed that the rumored March 23 date for Apple’s upcoming event might have been a ploy to uncover leakers within the company. If you were eagerly awaiting big news about new products and redesigns, it looks like you’ll be waiting until April.

But perhaps a hot deal on top-rated Bluetooth headphones will satisfy your feelings of rejection. For your convenience, we rounded up the 11 best AirPods Pro alternatives that won’t break the bank.