PCR's guide to audio hardware and software - PC Retail

PCR's guide to audio hardware and software

PCR put its ears to the ground for the latest audio products…
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Audio remains one of the most strongest electronics retail categories, with GfK reporting that Bluetooth speaker sales more than doubled in 2013. PCR put its ears to the ground for the latest products…

Plantronics RIG gaming headset

Contact: Plantronics

The Plantronics RIG stereo headset includes a mixer, which connects and mixes mobile phone with game audio. The headset also includes an interchangeable gaming boom mic and inline mic, plus three EQ profiles.

Specs: PC/Mac, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, smartphone and tablet support, three EQ profiles: Pure, Intensify abd Seismic, 40mm speaker drivers.

SRP: £119.99

Dynamode DH-01BT

Distributor: Scan

The Dynamode DH-01BT series of Bluetooth headphones have been designed with a long battery life in mind, with up to 12 hours battery life from a single charge, or, if using the stereo built-in FM radio, around 9 hours.

Specs: Bluetooth, up to 10m range, built-in battery, up to 12 hours playback, Nd speaker drivers.

SRP: £18.97 (excl. VAT)

Edifier Luna Eclipse

Distributor: Exertis Micro-P

The Eclipse can connect to a Bluetooth enabled device for wireless audio streaming, or by using the 3.5mm auxiliary cable. Touch sensitive controls are located on the active speaker for volume, track and power control.

Specs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm aux in, 2.0, touch sensitive controls, 19mm tweeter, three-inch driver, 74W, remote control.

SRP: £149.99

Microlab T1 wireless headset

Distributor: Smithie UK

The T1 uses Bluetooth technology to provide cable-free playback from a smartphone or media player. Using the A2DP profile, stereo music can be broadcast wirelessly from any Bluetooth-equipped device.

Specs: Bluetooth, aptX function, USB charging, 10m range, noise reduction function, microphone, 3.5mm jack.

SRP: £49.99

Sennheiser Mobile Business Pro 1

Distributors: Nimans, CorptelUK, Tech Data, Westcon, Westcoast

All MB Pro Series headsets use an ultra-noise-cancelling microphone with single channel noise reduction system. Standard, Unified Communications-optimised and Microsoft Lync-optimised versions are available.

Specs: Noise-cancelling microphone, Bluetooth, 15 hours’ talk time, quick charging, leatherette ear pad.

SRP: TBA

Razer Kraken 7.1

Distributor: VIP Computers

Adopting the shape of the Kraken Pro, the Kraken 7.1 adds virtual 7.1 surround sound. The headset features 40mm neodymium magnet drivers and a retractable, flexible and omnidirectional microphone.

Specs: 7.1 virtual surround sound, retractable digital microphone, Synapse 2.0 enabled, 40mm drivers.

SRP: £89.99

Mad Catz Titanfall FREQ 4D headset

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Distributor: Entatech

The FREQ 4D uses ViviTouch actuator modules to produce subwoofer-like bass effects on lower frequency audio with physical feedback. A 3.5mm adapter cable is included, as well as a set of Titanfall decals.

Specs: 50mm speaker diameter, in-line audio controls, USB or 3.5mm audio jack connectivity, Titanfall decal set.

SRP: £129.99

Turtle Beach Titanfall Atlas

Distributor: Exertis Gem

Compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC, the Atlas features full chat functionality on Xbox One via the Xbox One audio adapter. It also includes an in-line amplifier for Xbox 360 and PC and fold-flat ear cups.

Specs: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One and mobile device support, Xbox One audio adapter optimisation.

SRP: £119.99

Bayan Audio Soundbook X3

Distributors: Exertis Gem, Westcoast

Featuring aptX streaming technology and Bluetooth v4.0, the X3 is made from aluminium to reduce lost acoustic energy. The X3 includes audio codec technology which aims to provide CD-quality audio over Bluetooth.

Specs: Bluetooth 4.0, aptX, FM radio, brushed silver/turquoise and charcoal/burnt orange colour schemes.

SRP:£249

Microlab Solo9C

Distributor: Smithie UK

A pair of tower stereo speakers finished in wood, the Solo9C speakers are designed for use in a living room. The towers contain three-way speakers and wooden cabinets for reduced audio distortion. HDMI connectivity is featured, as well as Optical TOSLINK and Coaxial connections for digital inputs. Side panel controls offer users quicker access, and an infrared remote control is also included.

Specs: 140-watt, natural wood finish, PCM sound support through HDMI, Optical TOSLINK and Coaxial.

SRP: £179.99

Asus Vulcan Pro ROG headset

Distributor: VIP Computers

The Vulcan Pro features the Republic of Gamers Spitfire USB audio processor, while providing a driver-free hardware digital signal processor. The Vulcan Pro includes 7.1 virtual surround, one-click gaming sound enhancement modes and gaming-specific active noise cancellation, which reduces 85 per cent of low frequency noise – like sounds from PC components.

Specs: Spitfire USB audio processor, 7.1 virtual surround, active noise cancellation, memory foam cushions.

SRP: £99.99

Sennheiser Mobile Business Pro 2

Distributors: Nimans, Corpteluk , Tech Data, Westcon, Westcoast

The MB Pro 2 binaural series is the first range to use Sennheiser’s ‘Room Experience’. By externalising audio, Room Experience gives callers the impression that they are talking to a person in the same room. Standard, Unified Communications-optimised and Microsoft Lync-optimised versions are available.

Specs: Ultra-noise-cancelling microphone, Bluetooth, 15 hours’ talk time, ActiveGuard, Room Experience.

SRP: TBA

Dynamode DH-878

Distributor: Scan

The Dynamode DH-878 surround sound headphones feature a newly designed soft-padded ear cup. The headphones use rare-earth speaker drivers for bass and treble response, and are designed for use when gaming, either online or locally. The headphones are also suitable for use with VoIP applications.

Specs: High-sensitivity adjustable mic, in-line volume control, rare-earth speaker drivers, surround sound.

SRP: £5.99 (excl. VAT)

Wavemaster TWO

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Distributor: M2M

The TWO speakers include a built-in 60-Watt amplifier and Kevlar cones. The TWO detects the power of the audio signal coming in and dynamically adjusts the kind of amplification used.

Specs: Tweeters with silk dome and ferrite magnet, woofer with Kevlar cone and ferrite magnet, 2x30W output.

SRP: £199

Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2

Distributors: Kondor, Dynamic

An update on the Smokin’ Buds range of headphones, the Smokin’ Buds 2 line features Skullcandy’s Supreme Sound technology. Designed for active lifestyle use, the Smokin’ Buds 2 are constructed from moisture-resistant materials.

Specs: Off-axis design, oval port, universal in-line mobile control with mic and remote.

SRP: £29.99

Startech.com BT2A audio receiver

Distributor: Entatech

The BT2A Bluetooth audio receiver turns a home stereo (or any audio output device) into a Bluetooth-compatible media gateway, for wirelessly streaming music directly from a Bluetooth-enabled device.

Specs: NFC support, Wolfson DAC, aptX audio codec, 3.5mm audio jack.

SRP: £35.99 (excl. VAT)

Microlab FC50 subwoofer system

Distributor: Smithie UK

This 2.1 subwoofer system features Microlab’s HC2D technology, which is designed for use in short-range listening situations. The system also includes a digital signal processor and satellite speakers without enclosures. The system connects via a 3.5mm audio jack.

Specs: HC2D technology, 2.1 system with two-way stereo satellites, digital signal processor, 3.5mm audio jack.

SRP: £67.99

Tritton 720+ 7.1 surround headset

Distributor: Entatech

Tritton’s 720+ 7.1 surround headset aims to replicates the surround sound of high-end home theatre setups. Game and chat volume can be adjusted independently on-the-fly. Selectable voice monitoring allows users to hear their own voice through the 50mm speakers. A detachable and flexible performance mic is included.

Specs: Supports Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4, 7.1 surround sound, 50mm drivers, in-line audio controller.

SRP: £129.99

Microlab H50 BT streaming system

Distributor: Smithie UK

These Bluetooth speakers can connect to a smartphone or media player without the need for a cable. The speakers feature an A2DP profile, so stereo audio can be transmitted via Bluetooth. NFC standards also mean that smartphones can be connected by simply tapping on the speaker. A traditional analog audio connection is also included.

Specs: Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, A2DP profile, playback controls, bass reflex design, binding post connections.

SRP: £89.99

Wavemaster STAX

Distributor: M2M

The STAX provides three separate amplifier modules, with slim satellite speakers, integrated driver protection and wall mountable metal stands. With two line-in connections, users can connect an additional source.

Specs: Integrated amplifier with three separate channels, wooden cabinet with bass reflex technology.

SRP: £44.99

Fresh ‘N Rebel Rockbox Raw

Distributor: Hama

As the largest speaker in the Rockbox family, the Rockbox Raw features two drivers and a passive bass woofer. The portable and wireless Bluetooth speaker is finished with a honeycomb grille metal housing. The rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of non-stop media playback or speakerphone talk time.

Specs: Two drivers, passive bass woofer, honeycomb metal grille, rechargeable battery, 10-hour battery.

SRP: £84.99

Magix Samplitude Music Studio 2014

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Distributor: Exertis Gem

This software features multi-track recording, precise audio editing, sound design, mixing with sound effects, virtual instruments, mastering and publishing. Users can directly record vocals and instruments in high definition and mix up to 128 channels. Samplitude Music Studio 2014 is touch optimised, making it compatible with Windows 8.

Specs: Direct vocal recording, 128-channel mixing, touch-optimised, multi-track editing.

SRP: £79.99

Divoom Voombox Travel

Distributor: Westcoast

The Divoom Voombox Travel is designed to be a rugged, portable speaker. The Travel includes a carabineer for attachment to a rucksack for portability and up to six hours of wireless music playback.

Specs: Up to six hours of battery life, carabineer.

SRP: £39.99

Wavemaster MOBI-2

Distributor: M2M

The MOBI-2 features an integrated Class-D amplifier and 43mm wide-range driver, which aim to provide a 360-degree sound field. MOBI-2 measures 80mm in diameter, 38mm high and weighs 110g. Pushing the upper and lower part together will reduce the speaker’s size – making it easier to fit in a bag or pocket.

Specs: 4.3cm full range speaker driver, Class-D integrated amplifier, 3.8W output, rechargeable Li-Ion battery.

SRP: £24.90

Hercules WAE BT02

Distributor: Entatech

The WAE BT02 allows users to stream any music from Bluetooth-equipped smartphones, tablets or computers. A handle means the system can be carried from one room to another. The speaker is available in two colours: black or white, and will last up to 20 hours while playing at medium volume. One 3.5mm mini-jack line input is included for connecting an MP3 player or any other audio device.

Specs: Bluetooth, up to 20 hours of battery life, app compatibility, 3.5mm aux-in jack, available in black or white.

SRP: TBC

Marshall Stanmore

Distributor: Hama

The Marshall Stanmore is a compact active stereo speaker. The Stanmore is based on the design of Marshall’s guitar amplifiers, with analog interaction knobs, vintage-styled fret, gold details, gold piping logo and script logo. The speaker can connect via Bluetooth, with the included RCA input for a vinyl record player or with a 3.5mm auxiliary audio jack. The Stanmore also supports devices with an optical output.

Specs: Analog interaction knobs, Bluetooth, RCA input, optical input, 3.5mm auxiliary jack, black or cream.

SRP: £400

Skullcandy Crusher

Distributors: Kondor, Dynamic

The Skullcandy Crusher headphones are equipped with dual Sensation55 drivers that vibrate with bass, meaning users can experience tactile feedback from their audio. Originally released in 2013, the new line of Crusher headphones features new multiple new colour schemes: Urban Utility, Active Elements, Dungey, grey/lime, Microfloral and Grannyfloral.

Specs: Dual Sensation55 drivers, six new colour schemes, REX40 driver, acoustical porting, built-in amp.

SRP: £89.99

View Quest Hepburn DAB radio

Distributor: Exertis Micro-P

Equipped with Bluetooth, the Hepburn radio can be remote-controlled via the companion iOS and Android app. The radio features support for DAB+ digital and FM radio, and includes a USB port for charging devices. A 3.5mm jack is also included for a wired connection. The radio’s battery life will last for up to 25 hours of continuous play. The Hepburn DAB radio is available in a selection of colour schemes.

Specs: DAB+ (digital) and FM radio, Bluetooth, USB charging port, dual alam and kitchen timer.

SRP: £149

Nakamichi Portable BT Speaker With Mic

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Distributor: PXS Distribution

This mini speaker connects via Bluetooth and features an integrated microphone for hands-free voice calling. The speaker can deliver up to six hours of battery life on a single charge, and has up to an 8m range.

Specs: Bluetooth, hands-free function, built-in microphone, 8m range, 3.5mm aux-in jack, rechargeable Li-ion battery.

SRP: £49.99

Cakewalk Sonar X3

Distributor: Focusrite

Available in three different editions for varying levels of skill – standard (£79), Studio (£159) and Producer (£385) – the Sonar X3 family allows users to create music by recording, editing and mixing tracks, which can then be uploaded to YouTube and Soundcloud. The software runs on the 64-bit Double Precision engine, and includes features such as VST3, multi-touch and Gobbler cloud save.

Specs: Requires Windows 7 or 8, cloud save support, online sharing, Studio Instruments suite, unlimited mixes.

SRP: £79 to £385

Dynamode MX-878

Distributor: Scan

The Dynamode MX-878 surround sound headphones feature a newly designed, soft-padded ear cup. The headphones use rare-earth speaker drivers for bass and treble response, and are designed for use when gaming, either online or locally. The headphones are also suitable for use with VoIP applications.

Specs: USB connection, high-sensitivity adjustable mic, in-line volume control, rare-earth speaker drivers.

SRP: £9.99 (excl. VAT)

Pioneer SE-MX9 headphones

Distributor: Exertis Micro-P

These Pioneer headphones are designed with a soft rubber cushion for a comfrotable and stable fit. Finished in metal, the headphones include 50mm drivers developed from Pioneer’s popular HDJ-2000 headphones and come with an aircraft adapter and carrying case.

Specs: Lightweight design with metallic structures, 50mm drivers, tangle-free and detachable cords, in-line mic.

SRP: £249.99

Pure Evoke F4 Radio

Distributor: Midwich

The portable wooden-cased Pure Evoke F4 allows users to listen to over 20,000 worldwide internet stations and DAB digital radio, with further options provided by Bluetooth music streaming and a library of over 200,000 radio programmes and podcasts. The Pure Evoke F4 also has a USB socket for playback and touch-sensitive controls.

Specs: Wi-Fi, large high-contrast 128x64 OLED display, sleep and kitchen timers, 1.5kg.

SRP: £149.99

Audio Technica ATHM50 headphones

Distributor: Midwich

These professional monitor headphones are designed for home DJs and musicians. With 90-degree swivelling sound isolating earcups for one-ear monitoring, users can plug and play with no software required.

Specs: 45mm driver, detachable 1.2 to 3m cable, 15-28,000Hz freq response.

SRP: £99.93

Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 10

Distributor: Exertis Gem

Sound Forge Audio Studio can be used for recording, editing and restoring music and sound. Features include 24-bit and 192kHz support, vinyl recording and restoration and FLAC and AAC format support.

Specs: Windows support, sample editing, iZotope Audio Enhancer plugin, tutorial videos, AAC support.

SRP: £38.95

Divoom Voombox Outdoor

Distributor: Westcoast

The Divoom Voombox Outdoor is designed to be a rugged, portable speaker. The speaker is protected by a shock-proof, water and dust resistant housing, and features up to 12 hours of playback life.

Specs: Shock-proof, water and dust resistant housing, up to 12 hours of battery life. 

SRP: £79.99

Creative Airwave HD wireless speaker

Distributor: VIP Computers

The Creative Airwave HD is a portable wireless speaker equipped with NFC. NFC-enabled devices can be paired with one touch to the speaker, or via Bluetooth. The speaker also has a rechargable Li-ion battery.

Specs: Bluetooth, NFC, one-touch pairing, rechargable Li-ion battery, Creative Multipoint, Aux-in.

SRP: £129.99

Urbanears Plattan

Distributor: Hama

The Plattan headphones are full size headphones which can be folded down to the size of a fist. The headphones come with a 3.5mm socket ‘zound plug’ on one earcup, which allows the user to share music with a friend.

Specs: 3.5mm ‘zound plug’ socket, soft ear pads, in-line remote, integrated microphone, can be compacted.

SRP: £50

Lenco L-90 turntable

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Distributor: Exertis Micro-P

With this semi-automatic turntable, users can restore and digitise their vinyl record collection. The L-90 is constructed with a wooden design, and is also equipped with a USB to PC connection for converting vinyl records. 

Specs: Diamond needle, USB to PC connection, semi-automatic, wooden design.

SRP: £229

Monitor Audio WS100 multimedia system

Distributor: Midwich

The WS100 five-inch cube speakers deliver SKAA audio boosted by noise-free reproduction which reduces cross-talk, dropouts, clicks and pops. Instant and automatic connection through USB provides a wire-free performance.

Specs: Wireless range of up to 10m, for Mac or PC, remote control volume, play/pause and track change.

SRP: £199

Magix Music Maker 2014

Distributor: Exertis Gem

Featuring more than 2,000 sounds and loops from a range of genres, users can combine them to create songs as well as play and record virtual instruments. Users can also record their own vocals and tune them using Pitch Wizard.

Specs: 2,000 effects and loops, vocal recording feature, Pitch Wizard, range of genres.

SRP: £59.99

CONTACT

CorptelUK: 01942 262 526

Dynamic: 01242 820 000

Entatech: 0333 101 1000

Exertis Gem: 01279 822 822

Exertis Micro-P: 01282 776 776

Focusrite: 01494 462 246

Hama: 0845 230 4262

Kondor: 01425 284 000

M2M: 0208 676 6067

Midwich: 01379 649 200

New Dawn: 01420 592 499

Nimans: 0161 925 1980

Plantronics: 0800 41 00 14

PXS Distribution: 0844 879 4212

Scan: 0871 472 4747

Smithie UK: 01256 844 028

Tech Data: 01256 788 000

Westcoast: 0118 912 6000

Westcon: 01293 806 000

VIP Computers: 0871 622 7500

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