Tag Archives: microphone

Singing Machine SML385 Makes Your Party More Fun

SML385

SML385

The Singing Machine company certainly lives up to its namesake, having rolled out different kinds of karaoke machines in the past, with the Singing Machine iSM990BT being one of the more recent releases. Having said that, here we are with their latest model that is called the Singing Machine SML385 which ought to be able to spruce up just about any party and make it a whole lot more fun. After all, when you have some drunk guests take over the microphone, that is when they bare (and sing) their heart out – and you will be able to see the “real” them without any pretenses.

With the Singing Machine SML385 being the most recent addition to their range of at-home entertainment products, those who are interested will be able to pick it up from Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. for $49.97 a pop. At that price point, which is a whole lot more affordable than spending the evening out at a fancy restaurant, the SML385 certainly starts to look as though it offers plenty of value for money. In fact, it will come with a top loading CD+G player, as well as a pair of microphone jacks so that you can belt out duets.

Not only that, to spice things up even further, the SML385 is touted to arrive with disco lights in order to bring up your performance by a few notches, and the built-in speaker will be able to deliver huge sound to your party while doubling up as a voice projector for really large groups.

Using the SML385 is a snap – all that you need to do is to plug it into a power source, place one of your favorite CD+Gs and hook it up to your TV or monitor through the included RCA cable so that you can check out the scrolling lyrics on screen. It takes a matter of seconds for the music to start playing through the speaker as the lyrics make their way across the monitor screen for easy viewing, so that you can belt out those greatest hits without a hitch.

SML385

Pure Mayhem Pure Flexi Headphones

Pure Mayhem

The Pure Mayhem Pure Flexi headphones are some distance from the finest build quality; they’re simple and plastic-y, but with a rate tag of £25 (from morecomputers.com) it’s simplest to be expected. The design is a simple black plastic headband, with a yellow pleather cushion on the top and earpads produced from the equal fabric, incorporating the Pure Mayhem monogram on the outsides.

The design and colour scheme are immediately reminiscent of the classic Sennheiser HD414 headphones, but there are absolutely worse models one might ape. They’re no longer overly garish in the method of some Skullcandy or Beats with the aid of Dre offerings, and they’re more than stylish adequate to wear in public.

Remedy-shrewd, they fit quite good, with protracted use offering no annoyances. You won’t suppose as if they may be no longer there with the aid of any manner of means, however they equally won’t clamp down hard ample after just a few hours to make you suppose like you’re in whole don’t forget both.

Some of the key features of this pair of headphones is the infinitely adjustable nature of the earcups. rather than the ratchet procedure customarily implied via most over-ear headphones, the Pure Flexi’s method is a sliding motion that can be used to position the cups in any role, together with detaching them altogether will have to the mood take you. nonetheless, effortless though this can be, the lack of outlined settings will pressure any person with OCD traits to the point of distraction.

Pure Mayhem Pure Flexi Headphones: Audio great and Specs

They’re also now not wonderful at reducing out ambient noise. There’s no lively noise-cancelling technology, and the seal over your ear isn’t excellent enough to block out what’s occurring round you. moreover, which means that listening at any type of high quantity is going to intent audio leaking, so these would now not be the great guess for taking up the tube.

Audio excellent was moderately spectacular for the reason that the cost – it wasn’t radically tinny, and the tonal stability was once pretty good. the only thing we noticed used to be a moderate tendency closer to distortion on the low finish, however it’s so moderate as to be barely valued at citing. The treble and midranges are all vibrant, clear and punchy ample, and the Pure Mayhem cans fared as well with classical as they did with guitar and vocal-led rock tracks.

They don’t have the depth of the Sennheiser HD 429s, which also have sharper treble. nevertheless, with the exception of that, there isn’t nearly as much of a drop in high-quality from the more pricey brand as you’d expect.

The Flexis additionally rivaled the low-priced-watching, bass-heavy Skullcandy UpRocks both in terms of design and audio capabilities. Bearing in mind that this is the first effort of a tiny design collective, it’s a reputable fulfillment.

The headphones have a 1.2m lengthy twine that’s a just right dimension for cellular gadgets and private stereos, providing a cozy length with out extra trailing cables, despite the fact that users wanting to plug them right into a computer or hi-Fi process could struggle. they arrive geared up with a standard 3.5mm jack, as well as a one-button far off and microphone for handsfree calling.

In terms of tech specs, the Pure Flexi headphones boast a frequency response of 15Hz~20KHz and a sensitivity of 113dB+3dB, with 40mm drivers and an impedance of 32 ohms.

Pure Mayhem

 

HTC RE Camera Review: Fun Concept, Patchy Implementation

HTC RE Camera Review: Fun Concept, Patchy Implementation

Many believe that smartphones have turned us into trigger-happy zombies who would rather capture an entire concert on video than actually enjoy the show. We don’t really want to discuss about their beliefs here, but we’d like to highlight one thing: the convenience of fishing out your smartphone from the pocket to capture a moment is unparalleled. Additionally, this candybar-shaped device inside your pocket is fast becoming a quite capable shooter that can at times give many digital cameras a run for their money.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are sports and action cameras like the GoPro Hero series which can be a great companion for people who want to dabble in a little bit of adventure videography. Here again, the focus is on hands-free operation.

In short, there is no dearth of convenient shooters that can get the job done in a swift fashion.

htc_re_camera_box_ndtv.jpg

Now, entering this fray, is the recently announced HTC RE. What sets the RE apart from your regular smartphone camera is the fact that it has a handier design, it ditches the viewfinder and is devoid of manual controls. Some might call it an action camera, but that categorisation might be slightly flawed. The HTC RE, if anything, is a lifestyle device.

HTC is trying to make capturing photographs a non-intrusive affair. Using the RE one should ideally be able to soak in the music playing at a concert and at the same time capture an image without worrying if the framing is right. As a concept, we are intrigued by the RE. Here’s hoping the implementation is pragmatic.

Design and specifications
One look at the HTC RE and its design immediately reminds people, and us, of an upside-down asthma inhaler or a periscope. Like HTC’s claims, the unique design of the RE is indeed a natural fit in the palm and feels comfortable to hold. Although, the polycarbonate body of the RE might cause it to feel slippery at times. The 65g weight of the camera makes it pretty light as well.

htc_re_camera_shutter_ndtv.jpg

The fairly large wide-angle lens peeks out of the front. The shutter button is placed on the rear and by design the thumb naturally reaches for it when the camera is held in the hand. We’ve not seen such a practical design on a product in a long time. Click it once to capture an image and press it for two seconds to capture a video. There is also an LED indicator on the shutter. Another button lies in the underside of the lens on the front. This button is a toggle for slow-motion video capture. Below this button, is an LED indicator light for battery level. On the top of the RE, is a microphone for capturing sounds in video. The Micro-USB port for charging, a microSD card slot (HTC bundles an 8GB card with the RE and it supports cards upto 128GB in capacity), and a standard 1/4-inch tripod socket – all sit at the bottom of the RE.

The 16-megapixel HTC RE has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor by Sony. The sensor inside the RE is larger than almost all smartphone cameras. However, the f/2.8 aperture size is much smaller in comparison. The lens can go as wide as 146-degree in Ultra-Wide mode and in default mode it captures 100-degree wide-angle pictures. The camera can also shoot 1080p videos at 30fps and 4x slow motion video at 720p. There is no optical image stabilisation but HTC compensates for it by providing electronic image stabilisation, which can be switched on from the companion app. HTC also provides an option for time-lapse video capture a la Hyperlapse by Instagram.

htc_re_camera_bottom_ndtv.jpg

The coolest aspect of the HTC RE is the fact that it doesn’t really have a power button and instead there is a grip-sensor that wakes up the RE upon grip-detection. It works flawlessly every single time. There is also a gyroscope which comes into play when the camera is turned upside-down and switches the orientation of the image accordingly. There is an option to disable this feature in the companion app. The HTC RE is also IP57 compliant which means that it can be submerged up to 1m inside water for a maximum 30 minutes. One can also pick up a waterproof cap which increases the rating to IP58 and keeps the RE protected under up to 3m of water for 120 minutes. Additionally, there are many other accessories for the RE, including a bike mount.

Performance
HTC has a companion app for both Android and iOS, which is great since the RE can be tethered to two of the most popular mobile ecosystems in the world. Having said that, pairing the RE with an Android device is much easier than pairing with iOS because it uses Wi-Fi Direct for the process. When connected to an iOS device, one cannot use the Internet from the default Wi-Fi. This is because the RE creates a Wi-Fi hotspot of its own that connects to the smart device.

The companion app can be used as a live viewfinder. It is not lag free but gets the job done. One can also view images and videos on the app or save them to the device for viewing later. Video playback on the companion app is always choppy. The app can also be used to update the RE’s software. In our time with the unit we got a 6.6MB firmware update. The RE can only be switched off using the companion app. All the camera settings, which are very few to begin with, can be accessed from this app. For example, one can mute the camera sounds, change the photo/ video capture resolution, switch on Ultra-Wide angle mode and format the SD card. If your phone has HTC Zoe installed, then the companion app integrates directly with it to create interactive videos. In the future, HTC promises that the RE will get the ability to directly stream videos to YouTube.

htc_re_camera_sample_1_ndtv.JPG

By virtue of its ergonomically great design, we found ourselves capturing a lot more images than we normally would have with a smartphone or any other camera. Of course, we were shooting blind with no idea of what the final image would look like. Also, whatever anyone says, we can assure you that there is absolutely no way one can predict the framing of the image even after prolonged use. If and when you do get a chance to use the RE, remember that all the knowledge you absorbed in that ‘Photography 101’ class will have absolutely no use here. Please remember to click on all the images to view them in full size.

Despite the addition of a dedicated shutter button, there is a very evident shutter lag that is annoying. Also, the absence of a dedicate OIS is a major drawback here since the EIS is of no help. Of the total number of shots that we took, at least 20 percent were blurred. This is a pretty subjective evaluation that will eventually depend on the use-case scenario.

htc_re_camera_sample_2_ndtv.JPG

Coming to the actually quality of the captured images, thanks to the wide-angle lens the RE shoots images where the subjects are closer than they appear in default mode or otherwise. Moreover, the test shots had a lot of barrel distortion. While this does add a lot of drama to the image, like you’ll see in our sample images, it might not necessarily allure all users. The captured colours were natural, the details were intact and we didn’t notice much noise either. Sometimes though, a few images had an unmistakable pinkish hue to them which is generally because the auto white balance setting is slightly off. Also, the exposure was high in a lot of photos, especially if there was direct sunlight involved. In low-light, noise starts creeping into images and the entire image has a water-coloured effect.

The quality of the 1080p video captured by the RE is passable at best. However, the microphone does a fairly decent job of capturing the sounds. But, what’s worse is the quality of the 720p slow-motion video – it is choppy and unusable. So is the time-lapse capture. Overall, we aren’t satisfied by the video performance of the RE.

HTC rates the 820mAh battery inside the RE to last 1 hour and 50 minutes of continuous FHD video recording. We got close to 1 hour and 46 minutes of footage, which is quite close to the HTC’s claims. In a different scenario, we shot close to 800 odd photographs and the battery still had some juice left, which is a number much higher than what traditional compact digital cameras can claim, let alone achieve. In any case, HTC claims that RE can capture close to 1200 images.

Verdict
We laude HTC’s efforts to innovate and create a fun, unique device that could evolve into a niche of its own. The industrial design of the RE is a perfect blend of good looks and supreme ergonomics. However, there are a few of flaws that HTC needs to address by going back to the drawing board. We think that HTC should include OIS in the next version and improve the quality of video capture.The fact that there is virtually no direct competition at the moment for HTC, could be a boon and bane at the same time. Boon because it will still have time to bring in the essential changes, and bane because there might just not be a market for such products, at least at this very moment. Also, the price tag of Rs. 9,999 might be a bit too much for HTC to attract first time buyers.
Price: Rs. 9,999
Pros

  • Great ergonomics
  • Fuss-free operation
  • IP57 certified

Cons

  • Video recording quality isn’t good
  • Too expensive
  • Lack of OIS

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Build/Design: 4.5
  • Image Quality: 3.5
  • Video: 2.5
  • Battery Life: 4
  • Value For money: 3
  • Overall: 3.5

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Original Article

Jaybird Sportsband Headphones hands-on

Jaybird Sportsband

Taking a page right from the 1980s, the Jaybird Sportsband Headphones surely stand out from most Bluetooth headphones we tend to normally see – mainly because of its blended 80s style design mixed in with a sleek, modern look. Even better, it also comes along with a lifetime warranty against sweat, so yeah, you can get through some extreme workouts with this one.

There’s no denying it whatsoever, but the Jaybird Sportsband Headphones simply has a stylish look with its design. Nowadays, we tend to see Bluetooth headphones that wrap around the back of our heads, but with this, it pays homage to the old-school style look of yesterday’s headphone style. Available in a wide array of color options, our luscious red model simply shines brightly under the sun thanks to its glossy plastic materials – though, it’s prone to the usual set of smudges and fingerprints. Luckily, it’s also adjustable to fit just about any head size, but then again, we worry that it might not be enough to accommodate extraordinarily large heads. Nevertheless, anyone flaunting this will surely attract a lot of attention.

All of its navigational controls are found on one side of the headphones, which provide us functions for pause/play/call, track forward, track reverse, volume up, and volume down. Additionally, there’s a concealed microphone nearby as well to enable the wearer to seamlessly transition to a phone call from listening to music. However, it requires a proprietary port to charge its internal battery via any USB port. Still, we’re comforted by the punchy tones emitted by its two speakers – as it never sounds shrill or irritating. Moreover, the cushions that are placed over the speakers ensure that it never feels too loose to use.

At its heart, it’s also able to deliver a robust audio listening experience that’s sure to keep those using it motivated to exercise and work out.

 

[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”]

Jaybird Sportsband

Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism Review: Gaming in Style

Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism Review: Gaming in Style

The growth of the gaming scene in India has led to a massive upsurge in the availability of quality gaming peripherals. One particular segment that has benefited from this is gaming audio. A steady stream of personal gaming audio products has been making its way to the market, including products from top brands such as Kingston, Asus, Razer, and Steelseries.

Speaking of Danish manufacturer Steelseries, one of its latest products in India is the Siberia Elite Prism. At Rs. 16,999, it’s a fair bit more expensive than a lot of competing products such as the Kingston HyperX Cloud II and Asus Strix Pro. Unlike Kingston and Asus however, Steelseries is a specialist in gaming peripherals and is closely associated with electronic sports and professional gaming around the world. Does that give the Siberia Elite Prism a leg up over its competitors? We find out in our review.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_logo_ndtv.jpg

Design, fit and specifications
The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism has a frequency response range of 16-28,000Hz, with an impedance of 32Ohms and a sensitivity rating of 120dB. The standard cable that is permanently attached to the headset is 1.2m long, but a 2m extension cable is also included in the box. Both of these cables are flat and tangle-resistant.

The standard connector is a UC-E6 pin, which connects to the included Steelseries USB soundcard. A couple of adapters have also been included, which convert the UC-E6 signal to either a combined 3.5mm headset plug or individual 3.5mm microphone and audio plugs. The headset has a retractable and flexible unidirectional microphone as well. The Siberia Elite Prism is compatible with Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, and the Sony PlayStation 4 out of the box, while Xbox One compatibility requires an adapter which is sold separately.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_software_ndtv.jpg

The included USB soundcard is housed inside a compact piece of plastic that takes over digital-to-analogue conversion duties from your PC when plugged in through USB. It has no controls whatsoever on it; only ports for the UC-E6 and 3.5mm plugs and a small indicator LED. You can choose to bypass the soundcard and just use one of the 3.5mm adapters to plug the headset directly into a source device, or another soundcard or DAC. However, the included soundcard ensures Dolby virtual surround capability and a few other sonic improvements, so we suggest you stick to using it.

Controls for volume and the microphone are on the headset itself. The left casing has a switch that turns the microphone on or off, while the right one has a volume knob. The casings themselves are plastic, but feature a matte finish. The cushioning on the earpads is thick and plush, stuffed with memory foam that makes the headset an absolute pleasure to wear even for hours at a stretch. Although there is no active noise cancellation, the thickness of the padding offers effective sound isolation.

The lower headband is self-adjusting and has its own padding, while the upper headband is exposed steel, holding the entire headset together. It’s a comfortable, well-built and well-designed affair, and even though design is a matter of personal preferences, we think anyone with good taste will agree that this is a beautiful pair of headphones.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_main_ndtv.jpg

The only real flaw is the size of the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism, which makes it difficult to carry around. This is a big headset with no folding mechanism and no included carry case. Although light and comfortable enough, it’s still an immensely large product that might prove to be inconvenient if you’re used to taking your headphones everywhere with you.

One of the most unique features of the design of the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is its two 16-million-colour LED bands. Each casing has an LED band which lights up and glows when the headset is plugged in. You can use the included software to customise the colour or select pre-programmed colour combinations and light patterns. The light effects are impressive, and this is something that really makes the device stand out. It’s sure to get you a lot of attention if you use the headset in public.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_headband_ndtv.jpg

Steelseries recommends that you install its Steelseries Engine 3 software to optimise the experience of using the Siberia Elite Prism headset. Although the headphones will work fine without it, it’s still a good idea to get the software installed. It’s an efficiently designed application, and it recognised our review unit immediately on Windows. All settings reflected immediately, from changes in the LED colour to equaliser tweaks. The software is also necessary to switch on Dolby mode for virtual surround sound, and to adjust specific microphone settings such as noise reduction, auto compression, sidetone, and volume.

The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is Dolby-enabled for virtual 7.1 surround sound. Although there are just two channels, the tuning ensures that there is a decent and fairly immersive sense of where the sound is coming from. This is particularly useful in FPS games, since being able to accurately pinpoint the location of enemies by their sound can make all the difference between (in-game) life and death. We go more into detail on how the Elite performed in the next section.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_soundcard_ndtv.jpg

Performance
We tested the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism with a handful of sources and material, including our hardware review rig running Windows, a standard Windows laptop, an Android smartphone, and a Sony PlayStation 4. Games used in the review were GTA V, FarCry 4, The Crew, and Destiny, while media used included a selection of movies and music across genres.

We started out with GTA V on our review rig. The game is known for having some of the best audio design and engineering of recently released games, and we were fairly impressed. The sound was clean, detailed and immersive. The impressive sound imaging and soundstaging abilities of the Siberia Elite Prism made for realistic depth and separation of sonic elements. The sonic signature has been properly tuned to achieve as much detail as possible, and you can hear every bit of audio with realistic depth and feel.

Moving on Far Cry 4, we were able to test the headset’s virtual surround sound capabilities. The effect can definitely be felt – turning slowly on the spot while a firefight was taking place a short distance away gave a proper sense of the effect. Although you can definitely feel the direction and depth of the sound, there’s just a little bit missing in terms of accuracy. The virtual sound stage is excellent, but it leaves the origin of the faintest sounds feeling just a little too wide and unspecific thanks to its subtlety. Most experienced gamers will still be able to pick up on these cues, though, so the slight lack of accuracy is definitely not a deal-breaker.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_led_ndtv.jpg

We used The Crew to test the tone of the sound. The roar of car engines and other loud effects such as police sirens and car crashes were punchy and powerful for the most part, although there was a little bit of thump missing. Once again, this can be attributed to the subtlety and the finesse of the sound, which keeps the audio toned down a hint and doesn’t quite let it achieve the aggression and attack that is sometimes needed to bring out the excitement in game audio.

The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is also great for use with movies and TV shows, thanks to its virtual surround experience. Sound was a bit soft, but comfortable nonetheless. Since the tuning is geared towards amplifying mids and highs, it works well with movies and shows. The surround isn’t quite as effective as it is in-game, but it’s still satisfying. The headset’s only real weakness is its handling of stereo music. The sound is weak and lacking in any excitement whatsoever, feeling forced and boring at times.

Finally, the microphone is particularly neat in how it retracts and can be switched on and off, but there is nothing really special about it except that when extended, it is close enough to your mouth to ensure your words are picked up clearly. It functions well, of course, but we didn’t find anything about the microphone that sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill microphones that are on most stereo headsets these days.

steelseries_siberia_elite_prism_mic_ndtv.jpg

Verdict
The Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism is undoubtedly one of the best looking gaming headsets on the market right now, thanks to its sheer size, styling, and the eye-catching LED bands. It comes with its own soundcard and software, both of which work well, and plenty of adapters and extension cables to make sure that you don’t have any connectivity issues. The sound is also excellent for the most part, with detailed and immersive audio performance with games and movies. The virtual surround effect is also fairly satisfying and detailed.

There are some minor weaknesses, such as a slight lack of accuracy with the faintest of sounds in surround mode, and poor performance with music. While the latter would be a serious concern with most headsets, it’s important to remember that these headphones are designed for gaming and music wasn’t meant to be a strong point. Furthermore, this can be improved a little bit by playing around with the equaliser settings.

On the whole, the Siberia Elite Prism is a comfortable, good looking and sonically capable headset. While it is a bit on the expensive side, rest assured that you are getting a decent return on your investment. We highly recommend the Steelseries Siberia Elite Prism to gamers looking for an immersive, detailed and good-looking pair of gaming headphones.

Pros

  • Looks good; well designed
  • Extremely comfortable to wear
  • Soundcard, software and adapters included
  • Detailed, clean sound with excellent depth and soundstaging
  • Virtual surround sound works well for the most part

Cons

  • Slight lack of accuracy in the virtual surround
  • Could do with a bit more aggression and excitement
  • Poor performance with music

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4.5
  • Performance: 4
  • Value for money: 4
  • Overall: 4

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Original NDTV Gadgets