Audio

Tech

Cinder Speakers

The lowly cinder block isn’t good for much other than building. But Cinder Speakers, a collaboration between industrial designer Daniel Ballou and Dashdot, turns a pair of concrete cinder blocks into high fidelity speakers. Since concrete minimizes vibrations the material is a logical choice, or at least from that perspective since you’ll need to find a relatively solid surface on which to rest such hefty speakers, and perhaps line the base with a felt pad or similar to avoid scratches. The kit, still in development stage and with a target price of roughly $150, ships as pre-assembled panels that attach to either side of the blocks and feature a 5-inch driver, a tweeter, a crossover, and an input jack on the right side of the front panels. Where you get the cinder block, on the other hand, is your problem.

Learn more at Daniel Ballou. [via]

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Tech

q-JAYS Anniversary Edition Earphones

Built around the same high-resolution armature drivers as their q-JAYS, the q-JAYS Anniversary Edition earphones manages to refine the already spectacular-sounding reference earphones while commemorating the brand’s 10th year making audio equipment. The compact metal injection molded stainless steel housing of each earphone is polished repeatedly for a slightly sooty but reflective shine and paired to sound isolating silicone ear tips in five sizes as well as one pair of memory foam Comply tips. Each side packs in two armature drivers — one for lower frequencies and another that handles midrange and highs — behind an acoustic filter that cleans the sound for precise acoustics with stunning clarity that can accentuate otherwise overlooked and unheard details in music you’ve listened to for years. Despite their compactness the included high-purity oxygen-free copper cables (also twisted to minimize external electromagnetic interference), distinct to the Anniversary Edition, can be unscrewed and removed if they ever need replacing, avoiding you the need to toss the pair should the cables eventually fail. And the same goes for the laser-cut protective filters that block dust and dirt from entering.

Find them at JAYS – $349

GET IT: $349

Audio

Koss Porta Pro Limited Edition

For how it sounds, the iconic Koss Porta Pro is amongst the best bang-for-your-buck headphones around. Perhaps that’s a little less the case for the Koss Porta Pro Limited Edition since there’s a premium to be paid for the two new color schemes — Black Gold and Rhythm Beige — but in an age where headphones go for a month’s worth of groceries these are still a steal. Along with the color change both include an inline mic, a remote with attenuating volume control, and a play/pause button, as well as two carrying cases: the same soft bag that comes with the classic model plus a hard case better suited to the bottom of an overstuffed backpack. They otherwise have the same open-air cushions, adjustable design, and distinctive adjustable tension switch on either side to transfer the pressure to its temporal pads for greater comfort.

Snap one up at Amazon – $60

GET IT: $60

Audio

Hoerboard Com.Four DJ Table

Hoerboard’s Com.Four is about as minimal as DJ Table’s come. The retro-styled piece of furniture combines an upper surface that integrates flush-fitting DJ equipment (not included) with three compartments good for storing a solid vinyl collection of about 350 records. Its inserts can be swapped out with one that accommodates CD players instead, and other accessories can be added to the Com.Four including a sleek laptop clip and chrome speaker stands to make more room for your sound system. Comes in either Night Black or Traffic White.

Find it at Hoerboard – roughly $1,975

GET IT: ~$1,975

Audio

RokBlok Portable Record Player

Vinyls are big. Turntables, even bigger. The RokBlok Portable Record Player is turning the turntable inside out, shrinking it down to a handheld device and requiring nothing but a flat surface on which to place your record. When ready, place the RokBlok on top of your record, sync it to a nearby Bluetooth speaker, and pull its lever up. It’ll start making rounds, turning at either 45 or 33.3 RPM, for up to four hours on a charge. To stop, hold your hand above the device to knock its lever back down, cutting the motor. It’s otherwise equipped with a built-in speaker if you’re got no other options and automatically slows down its actual speed as it approaches the center of the record to maintain proper timing (and revolutions per minute).

Learn more at Kickstarter – $60

GET IT: $60

Audio

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bang & Olufsen’s latest toy, the Beoplay H9 Noise Cancelling Headphones, feature active noise cancellation like their H8, only now with an over-ear fit that’s conducive to both better passive sound insulation and improved comfort thanks to large, soft lambskin-covered memory foam ear cushions. Switch noise cancellation on or off; either way the H9’s precise audio capabilities are in line with what you’d expect from Bang & Olufsen. They otherwise feature touch controls that let you control the headphones via intuitive gestures, include the latest low latency Bluetooth 4.2 hardware with aptX for full quality wireless streaming, and last for up to 14 hours with both noise cancelling and Bluetooth on.

Get them in Argilla Grey or Black at Amazon – $500

GET IT: $500

Audio

Lamborghini Ixoost Esavox Speaker System

So maybe you could buy a car for the same price. But definitely not the car that the Lamborghini Ixoost Esavox Speaker System is designed to evoke. The 117-pound speaker features a multitude of supercar-like characteristics including a polymerized carbon fiber monocoque, a variable valve opening exhaust system that controls subwoofer pressure, passive shock absorbers to dampen vibrations, and adjustable ceramic supports. At its core lies a 15-inch down firing subwoofer that’s accompanied by two 6.5-inch full range drivers, two 8-inch woofers, and two 1-inch Mylar tweeters to cover the full range of frequencies (and likely a large range of volumes, too). Twin amplifiers, one of 600W and one of 200W just dedicated to the sub, drive the speakers, and two 24-bit DSPs handle filtering. Connectivity includes a traditional auxiliary jack, RCA, and Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, so you’ve got options. Comes in black, red, orange, or yellow.

Learn more at the Lamborgini Store – $24,000

GET IT: $24,000

Audio

Mass Fidelity raD Wireless Speaker

Mass Fidelity’s Core packed a seriously expansive speaker into a compact package. Their new raD wireless speaker — its name short for radial dispersion — takes a similar sound and compresses it down even further to the point of portability. The speaker is ruggedized to withstand rain and dirt to IPX5 standards and packs along a rechargeable battery that endures 8 hours of playtime. More importantly, though, it’s powerful and clear, dispersing the sound from its four 1.5-inch tweeters and 3-inch woofer in such a way that it fills larger rooms that previous required multiple speaker setups. Should you decide one isn’t enough it’ll wirelessly link up with other raDs and Cores (totalling up to 8) with the push of a button — and same goes for the Core Sub for deeper bass.

Find it at Indiegogo – $170

GET IT: $170

Audio

AIAIAI Wireless TMA-2

Dividends from AIAIAI’s TMA-2 Modular Headphones are starting to pay off. If you’ve got a pair, all you’ll need to go wireless is to swap in their new cord-cutting H05 Bluetooth headband instead of the standard wired ones. Inside the sleek headband lies a battery good for 16 hours of playtime, an omnidirectional microphone, buttons for volume and play/pause on the temples, and a Bluetooth 4.2 chip with the aptX codec for better audio quality from devices supporting it. It’s comfortable thanks to a thick cushion and flexible since it’s made of the same nylon as the other components. And if you don’t have a TMA-2 already start configuring one yourself with your choice of earpads and speaker units alongside an H05.

Check it out at Kickstarter – roughly $90+

GET IT: ~$95

Tech

Roli Blocks

Roli Blocks is a bit unusual, just like the brand’s extremely unique piano-like instruments. But the system is undeniably versatile. It’s based around the colorful Lightpad block which boasts a pressure-responsive silicone surface that’s illuminated as a grid to guide you to notes and sounds. Connect it to your iOS or Android device, download Roli’s Noise app, and start making music, with the Lightpad helping you build sequences and loops while also doubling as a finger drum that responds to pressure and hold duration. Thanks to magnetic sides it interfaces with other Lightpads as well as both the Live Block and Loop Block, the former for live performances (by letting you switch scales, octaves, and for sustaining notes) and the latter simplifying song recording. The result is an intuitive and powerful music-making tool that’s customizable to your needs and that works well in live settings, too.

Learn more at Roli – $180+

GET IT: $180+

Audio

Master & Dynamic MW50 Wireless Headphones

Doubling down on comfort and sound quality, Master & Dynamic’s MW50 Wireless Headphones are like a modern thinking cap that goes everywhere you do. Firstly they’re 30% lighter than the over-ear MW60 and boast rotating hinges that fold down flat for carry. An exposed all-aluminum antenna on the cup boosts Bluetooth range to a best-in-class 100 feet and Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX ensures high quality sound is piped through even without wires. Top that off with a machined aluminum design, heavy grain premium leather in black or brown, plus custom 40mm Beryllium high-performance drivers behind soft lambskin-wrapped memory foam earpads and you’ve got yourself one hell of a pair of headphones that you could listen to from morning until bedtime without needing a recharge.

Learn more at Master & Dynamic – $450

GET IT: $450

Audio

Alpine Ice In-Cooler Entertainment System

Where there’s music outdoors there’s bound to be drinks. The Alpine Ice In-Cooler Entertainment System ticks both off your list in the form of a single big white box. Inside you’ll find a surprisingly generous 56 quart capacity that’ll keep up to 72 standard cans cold. One look at the outside and it’s obvious this thing’s loud, with dual 5.25-inch drivers, two 4″x8″ bass drivers, and two 1-inch tweeters, all powered by twin 90W amplifiers and all water resistant to IPX5 standards. Use it with a Bluetooth device or plug straight into its auxiliary port. It’s got no built in battery, though, so it needs to be plugged to a car or external battery like Goal Zero’s Yeti.

Find it at Alpine – $1,500+

GET IT: $1,500

Audio

Shinola Runwell Turntable

Shinola’s portfolio so far spanned luxury watches, bicycles, and leather goods. Now they’ve added audio equipment to their repertoire with the Shinola Runwell. Conceived in collaboration with turntable manufacturer VPI, the Runwell is build in Detroit and features a friction-free tonearm made entirely of metal, an integrated phono preamplifier, and an built-in Ortofon 2M blue phono cartridge. Structurally, it combines a machined aluminum plate atop a hefty oak base, giving it an instantly recognizable aesthetic that’s in line with Shinola’s other pieces.

Hit up Shinola for details – $2,500

GET IT: $2,500