Music System

Samsung squeezes Dolby Atmos into slim CES soundbar

Samsung squeezes Dolby Atmos into slim CES soundbar

Samsung has baked Dolby Atmos into its latest soundbar, kicking off CES 2016 with a fresh batch of music and movie focused audio tech. The HW-K950 Soundbar is Samsung's first model to include the Dolby "overhead surround" system, not to mention the first soundbar on the market to include a set of Atmos-compatible wireless rear speakers.

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BoomStick Review: $99 headphone upgrade

BoomStick Review: $99 headphone upgrade

For a while, it seemed like the bitrate war might prove some sort of salvation for audio quality. Turns out, though, that the average listener can't actually hear much difference beyond a certain point, and that's even if they're willing to pay for higher quality downloads and streams.

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Sonos PLAY:5 reborn as $500 smart speaker: Hands-on

Sonos PLAY:5 reborn as $500 smart speaker: Hands-on

It's been six years since Sonos launched the original PLAY:5, the first all-in-one speaker for its streaming music platform, and now it's time for the second-generation. In the intervening period products like the PLAYBAR - which attempts to create surround sound from a single speaker - and the PLAY:1 - with its tiny footprint - have given the company plenty of opportunity to refine its processes.

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ROLI Seaboard RISE is like 3D Touch for musicians

ROLI Seaboard RISE is like 3D Touch for musicians

Instrument manufacturer ROLI has revealed its latest electronic oddity, the Seaboard RISE, a keyboard controller that does to piano keys what 3D Touch does to the iPhone. Distilling 2013's Seaboard GRAND into a portable form-factor, the RISE hooks up to your software synth via Bluetooth and can be played not only as a keyboard but as a continuous touch-surface, with no differentiating between the keys.

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Yamaha Reface reboots classic synths for mobile

Yamaha Reface reboots classic synths for mobile

Yamaha has put four of its classic synths through the shrink-ray, coming up with the Reface series of portable keyboards intended for on-the-go noodling. Each of the four new models targets a very different style, from the reface DX that's inspired by the DX7 - the sounds from which are memorable from Toto's Africa - through the reface YC with the tones of Yamaha Combo organs from the 60s, the reface CP with electric piano sounds, and finally the reface CS, heading back to the synths of the mid-70s.

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Devialet Phantom Review – Delectable French aural oddness

Devialet Phantom Review – Delectable French aural oddness

Devialet’s Phantom resembles something from Portal, has audiophiles by turns fuming or fawning, and squeezes up to 3,000W into a casing some physicists say shouldn’t work. The first all-in-one music system from the polarizing French firm, Phantom’s odd looks are, Devialet claims, merely the side-product of its homegrown pressurized drivers and hybridized analog/digital amplifiers. That means the big story is in the sound, but can this sci-fi prop of a speaker really be worth its $2k price tag?

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SuperTooth takes on Sonos with Multiroom speaker system

SuperTooth takes on Sonos with Multiroom speaker system

There's no shortage of options if you want to spread music around your home, but SuperTooth thinks its Multiroom System has an edge by virtue of its affordability. Offering three zones for under $300, the system eschews WiFi in favor of a combination of Bluetooth and its own, proprietary radio connection, piping through audio from whatever sources you have on your phone or tablet. It's a tough segment to break into, though, especially when you consider well-regarded rivals like Sonos are already established.

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Musical Fidelity Merlin 1 gives vinyl a Bluetooth chaser

Musical Fidelity Merlin 1 gives vinyl a Bluetooth chaser

Vinyl enthusiasts may not have a reputation for embracing modern technology, but Musical Fidelity clearly believes at least some record lovers are willing to entertain more than one way to get their audio fix. The new Merlin 1 system is built around the British company's Round Table turntable, but the companion digital amp not only caters for vinyl but supports Bluetooth aptX streaming for pulling over digital music from a phone or tablet, among other sources.

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MOD Duo hands-on: Breaking the effects pedal cartel

MOD Duo hands-on: Breaking the effects pedal cartel

Of all the instruments and accessories in a musician's arsenal, the guitar pedal may be the one that most resolutely refuses to get with the electronic times. Musical Operating Devices (MOD) decided there was a better way than daisy-chaining numerous single-effect pedals, and so came up with the MOD Pedal, effectively putting a tiny computer in a box and running open-source effects for far more flexibility. With a MOD Duo Kickstarter launching today, I caught up with MOD's Gianfranco Ceccolini to find out more.

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Roland targets TB-303 and live musicians with gadget gush

Roland targets TB-303 and live musicians with gadget gush

Roland has gushed a bevy of new audio products, including a sync box that helps laptop musicians play nicely with classic kit like the SH-101 and TB-303, a S1LKi-based mobile audio interface, and a UFO-styled session mixer. Meanwhile, Roland also targets the entry-level with a new V-Drum kit intended to fit more discretely into smaller spaces like bedrooms, and a Boss looping pedal that aims to take some of the complexity out of sampling.

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