Today, Audio Plus Services officially announced the upcoming availability of their new Focal Bird speaker system. They're marketing as "a new and innovative concept for high-quality lifestyle audio," pointing out that, while it projects clear audio, it's also compact and has a user-friendly interface. It also comes with a Focal Kleer Technology wireless dongle in the package, so wirelessly streaming media is also an option.
We've been banging on about Kleer and their CD quality Bluetooth-busting audio technology for ages now, and so it's good to see it trickle through into more mainstream platforms. Mercedes has announced that Kleer-based audio systems will be used in its 2010 E-Class and S-Class cars, offering a choice of two audio streams from in-headrest LCD displays.
The iPad accessory market is on course to mimic the wildly successful iPhone ecosystem, but what are the must-haves? If you're anything like us you're a music fan and you want to use your iPad with an existing iPod speaker dock; we've just tried out the D&A RX1 iPod speaker dock receiver dongle we reviewed back in February, paired with a Kleer S5T transmitter, and - despite the iPad initially saying the accessory wasn't compatible - we're now enjoying our iTunes music (not to mention Spotify and other streaming services) in high quality and with no cords.
Sleek Audio have been promising a new set of high-end in-ear monitors for some time now, and courtesy of Pop-Sci magazine we now have a better idea of what's in store. The Sleek Audio SA7 IEMs slot in above the SA6's, keeping the user-adjustable VQ system for tweaking treble and bass, but now machined from a single block of aluminum with a carbon fiber shell held on by titanium screws.
Awareness of the Kleer wireless alternative to Bluetooth A2DP is slowly growing, and the market for entry-level headphones (as opposed to, say, Sleek Audio's range) is broadening. Into the fray comes DigiFi's Digital Opera S5's, intended specifically for iPod owners. Mediocre sound quality let DigiFi's S2's down; can the reworked S5's pick up the slack?
Kleer wireless is gradually gaining momentum, and the D&A RX1 fills in another gap in the audio market: cutting the connection between your iPod and your iPod speaker dock without cutting out sound quality. A simple receiver dongle which plugs into an iPod dock and promises CD-quality wireless audio, we slapped the RX1 into our test system to see if this affordable Bluetooth A2DP alternative delivered on its promises.
More Kleer and less Bluetooth A2DP is definitely the way we'd like to see wireless music going, with the little-known lossless technology generally kicking the more common Bluetooth out of the ballpark. So we're glad to see TDK jumping on board, with their first Kleer wireless enabled TH-WR700 headphones.
We've made no bones about our love for Kleer's lossless wireless audio system here on SlashGear, far preferring its audiophile-pleasing quality versus Bluetooth A2DP. So far, though, we've only tested it when paired with Sleek Audio's high-end headphones, themselves equally impressive; how much of a difference, then, does Kleer technology make on more affordable systems? DigiFi sent over their Digital Opera S2 Wireless Headphones, a sub-£70 ($112) set that use the same Kleer technology - check out our review after the cut.
We're big fans of Sleek Audio here at SlashGear, and with the launch of the SA1 earphones the company's range is even more accessible than before. To celebrate the new SA1's Sleek Audio have given us two sets to give away to SlashGear readers, and they've also thrown in a grand prize of an SA6 W-1 wireless bundle - comprising a pair of SA6 earphones and the lossless Kleer Audio wireless system - too. Check out how you can win after the cut.