Audio Reviews

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Review – Dolby Atmos magic

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Review – Dolby Atmos magic

Sonos' original Beam wowed with just how much home theater audio it packed into its tiny footprint, and now the Beam (Gen 2) is adding Dolby Atmos to the mix. A little more expensive at $449, and a lot smarter inside, this new Beam sees Sonos double-down on targeting an audience that wants surround sound but doesn't want to be surrounded by speakers. There, with some qualifications, the surreptitious soundbar succeeds.

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Earin A-3 Earphones Review

Earin A-3 Earphones Review

With the popularity of Apple's AirPods and the congestion of the wireless earbuds market, it's no surprise you might not have heard of some brands like Earin. The Swedish company, however, launched what may have been the market's first truly wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds, predating the AirPods, and has gathered a small but faithful following through the years. This year, its big ambitions come in a small package, testing a different strategy to get it heard, so to speak. The Earin A-3 is aiming its guns at the Apple AirPods or the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and we put it through the wringer to see, or rather hear, whether its petite size could actually stand up to the giants.

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Focal Stellia Review: $3,000-worth of headphone purity

Focal Stellia Review: $3,000-worth of headphone purity

The Focal Stellia are $3,000 headphones, and I fear they may have ruined me for life. I wouldn't normally consider myself an audiophile but, like the most dangerous addictions, it only takes a sampling of the good stuff to get you well and truly hooked. While it's an expensive rabbit hole to find yourself descending, the Stellia do at least have a surprising degree of flexibility to help you make the most of your sizable investment.

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Sony WF-1000XM4 Review: Silence is Golden

Sony WF-1000XM4 Review: Silence is Golden

If silence is a true luxury, then perhaps the $279.99 which Sony asks for its new WF-1000XM4 active-noise cancelling earbuds isn't, in fact, all that lavish. The company which upended ANC - and gave Bose and others sleepless nights - with headphones like the WH-1000XM3 has returned to demonstrate just what you can achieve with earbuds, some fiendishly clever software, and a new chipset. Turns out, you can do a whole lot.

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Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) Review: Alexa and ANC on a budget

Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) Review: Alexa and ANC on a budget

As lockdown gradually lifts, the active noise cancelling earbuds which have made working from home more bearable are about to get a taste of the outside world. Amazon's new Echo Buds (2nd Gen) arrive just in time for that, pitching not only true wireless audio but hands-free Alexa and ANC with a head-turning $129.99 price tag.

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Sony SRS-RA5000 Review: Taking an expensive risk on 360 audio

Sony SRS-RA5000 Review: Taking an expensive risk on 360 audio

The Sony SRS-RA5000 doesn't blend into a room, and neither does the 360 Reality Audio music its oddball design is all in aid of. The promise is intriguing: immersive music just as the artists and producers intended it to sound, and all from one - expensive - speaker. $700 gets you seats at the bleeding-edge of audio, but that's also a front-row view of the headaches a new format faces.

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PadMate PaMu Quiet ANC Earbuds Review

PadMate PaMu Quiet ANC Earbuds Review

The proliferation of true wireless stereo or TWS earbuds like the Apple AirPods is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has helped make wireless earbuds and earphones more common, making the loss of the headphone jack feel less painful. On the other hand, it also makes it harder for some products to stand out if they don't have a big company behind their name.

That is definitely a shame, considering how you may sometimes find a rare treasure among a sea of similar-looking earbuds. PadMate's latest earbuds, the PaMu Quiet, promises to rise above the rest and we take it for a spin to hear it for ourselves.

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Phonak Audéo Paradise Review – Next-gen hearing aids

Phonak Audéo Paradise Review – Next-gen hearing aids

While the audio world might be obsessing over noise-canceling earbuds, Phonak just unveiled what could well be one of the most advanced medical hearables so far. The next-generation Paradise hearing technology is the heart of the company's new Audéo Paradise hearing aids, complete with a whole new chipset, motion sensor, speech enhancer, tap control, personalization, and last but by no means least, true multi-device connection to any Bluetooth enabled devices. These are about as far from your grandparents' hearing aids as you can imagine.

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Sony WH-1000XM4 Review: Noise-canceling headphones fit for 2020

Sony WH-1000XM4 Review: Noise-canceling headphones fit for 2020

Active noise canceling headphones like Sony's new WH-1000XM4 have quickly gone from a luxury to a must-have, as our homes evolve into remote offices and schoolrooms. At the same time, with most travel on hold, what we expect from a set of isolating headphones has changed dramatically. In some ways that fits the WH-1000XM4 just right, as Sony tries to refine its already well-esteemed flagship.

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PuroPro ANC headphones review: protecting your hearing

PuroPro ANC headphones review: protecting your hearing

The death of the venerable headphone jack and the rise of Bluetooth headphones and earbuds have made consumers suddenly more conscious of their audio consumption habits and accessories. Graduating from the serviceable but plain earphones that come inside smartphone boxes, people are becoming more discerning about the quality of their listening experience.

Unfortunately, most people are less conscientious about the volume at which they're listening. Most people equate audio quality with volume but the PuroPro volume-limiting Hybrid ANC headphones are here to prove them wrong.

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Nura NuraLoop review: The sound of custom earbuds without the price

Nura NuraLoop review: The sound of custom earbuds without the price

I'm cutting straight to the chase to flat out tell you that Nura's new NuraLoop earbuds are hands down the wireless earbuds I think you can buy right now. Superb sound quality across every type of music genre, long-lasting battery life on a single charge - making them ideal for long international flights, when we can take them again - and chock full of features to enhance your daily life. From the sound of it, you's be forgiven for thinking that the NuraLoop is the best thing since sliced bread.

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Apple AirPods Pro Review – Why less noise costs more

Apple AirPods Pro Review – Why less noise costs more

If the AirPods' convenience was enough to make Apple's fully-wireless earbuds a runaway hit, adding active noise cancellation could send them stratospheric. That's the theory behind the Apple AirPods Pro, anyway, instantly familiar at first glance but packing the sort of sound isolation that city dwellers, office workers, and frequent fliers dream of. At $249 they may not be cheap, but can the AirPods Pro make up for that in the ears?

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