Wednesday, April 29, 2015
KICKER® CompQ™ Subwoofers and L7™ Loaded Enclosures Now Shipping
STILLWATER, USA – KICKER®’s second wave of 2015 Q-Class gear unveiled at International CES, which includes the preeminent CompQ™ Subwoofer and factory-tuned L7™ Loaded Enclosures, has begun shipping to domestic authorized dealers. Consumers can find a list of authorized KICKER dealers currently carrying Q-Class products at www.kicker.com.
The CompQ, a distinguished bass driver that retains a traditional round shape unlike the unorthodox square L7 Subwoofer, brings a payload of unequalled engineering and expertise from an industry leader of more than 40 years. It supplies all of the power and performance expected from KICKER’s supreme round-shaped woofer.
“The CompQ is the pinnacle of our round woofer designs, producing unsurpassed sound quality and performance,” said Steve Irby, KICKER president and co-founder.
Continuing to increase power handling and voice-coil excursion while improving on the cooling properties and overall durability, the CompQ Subwoofer certainly produces on every level. It gives the listener everything on the wish list, including high-caliber bass for whatever the music genre, huge voice coils for tremendous power handling and prodigious magnets for high SPL.
L7 Loaded Enclosures deliver on ready-to-install, satisfyingly deep bass, resulting from a combination of industry-honored L7 Subwoofers and stoutly constructed enclosures. With all models vented for supreme output, L7 Loaded Enclosures represent the ultimate level in ready-made bass. Three styles are available for whatever the install challenge.
KICKER Performance Audio products, a division of Stillwater Designs and Audio, Inc.®, are available for the mobile and home audio aftermarket at authorized retailers worldwide, and also as Original Equipment for automobile manufacturers. Consumers seeking more information on KICKER or Livin’ Loud® may call the Consumer Information Line at 1-800-256-5425 or visit the brand website at www.kicker.com. Follow KICKER socially at Facebook.com/kickeraudio, Twitter.com/kickeraudio, or Pinterest.com/kickeraudio.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The weather can be absolutely gorgeous in the Phoenix AZ area in the spring time. And when springtime comes, you know it’s also time for the Good Life Festival at Encanterra. For those of you who don’t know, you really should give the Good Life Festival a try. It really is the good life.
The Good Life Festival is put on by Encanterra, a country club community south east of Phoenix, in San Tan Valley, AZ. The venue is set up on the grass of the golf course. It consists of the stage, with fold up chair sections, and behind them are the General Admission lawn seats. That means you either sit on the grass, or you can bring a blanket or fold up chair to sit on. And behind the GA seats are the vendors and food trucks.
I love being able to go. It’s fun mingling and meeting new people, and just sitting down and watching everyone have a good time. The longer the beer and wine tasting goes on, the more and more people seem to be enjoying themselves. The Good Life Festival also does a good job of getting excellent bands. This spring they consisted of the Beach Boys, Rich Springfield and Foreigner! Those are some huge names!
When it comes time for the main event, the Good Life Festival delivers in spades there as well. The Stage is well set up for all of the gear for the musicians. There are the full sound boards, speaker array, lighting systems, including spot lights. Everything you would find in an indoor concert is found here. Only it’s under the cloudless blue skies!
It’s hard, if even possible, to find a better venue, when it comes to the seats! The GA lawn seats are a mere $35. And for being GA seats they are actually pretty close. For those that either don’t want to carry in a chair, or sit on the grass, the reserved seating isn’t much more. And to sit really close, the VIP seating is less than $100. Want to be right there up close with the band? You’ll have to jump on them early, but you can get front row for only $100! I know of no other venue where you can get front row or even 4th row for $100.
The performances were also excellent, from the local bands, to the cover band featuring Fran Cosmo. And of course Foreigner hit the ball out of the park, providing one of the best performances I have seen. It’s a night I won’t forget; especially with it being Kelly Hansen’s birthday! Hearing the crown sing happy birthday to him was pretty cool. The night was hit after hit.
Having experienced the Good Life Festival, I think the best word to describe it is synergy. After all, the sum of everything is more than the parts. The music, food, and environment equal an event that once experienced will keep you coming back. After experiencing it, that’s what I’m going to continue to do and keep coming back. After all, it’s worth it. Especially for the HUGE bang for the buck! I hope to see you all there, next spring.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Sennheiser make some amazing premium headphones. One of them is the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless. Last year we had the opportunity to review the Sennheiser Momentum. They were standard over the ear in ivory color that was just sexy looking! So when given the opportunity to review the new wireless version, we naturally jumped on it. They are an over the ear design, wireless, and active noise cancelling. They came in matte black that looked simply elegant! MSRP is $499.
Features and specs:
passive: 28 Ω (Article No. 506381)
active: 480 Ω (Article No. 506381)
- Frequency response (headphones)
16 Hz – 22000 Hz
- THD, total harmonic distortion
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- Contact pressure
Approx. 3.6 N
- Frequency response (microphone)
Wideband: 100 - 8,000Hz (Article No. 506381)
- Frequency response (microphone)
Narrowband: 300 - 3,400Hz (Article No. 506381)
- Pick-up pattern
Dual omni-directional microphone (2 mic beamforming array)
- Sensitivity as per 121 TR 9-5
-44dB V/Pa (1kHz)
- Bluetooth Version
Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
- Supported Profiles
A2DP + AVRCP + HSP + HFP
- Ear coupling
- Jack plug
3.5 mm, angled
- Cable length
1.4 m (Detachable)
- Transducer principle
Up to 25dB
- Charging time
Approx. 3 hrs
- Operating time
22hrs (HFP + ANC)
- Battery Specification
Rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer (600mAh)
- NoiseGard™ noise compensation
NoiseGard™ Hybrid technology with 4 pick-up microphones
They came shipped in a premium printed color box with photos and specs of the product. Materials used in the construction were metal, leather, and some plastic. Quality of materials used were excellent. The same can be said for the fit and finish. You can see the quality in the details, such as the screws in the metal hinges, for example. They feel like a well made and solid product in hand. Also included were the owner's manual, hard zippered case, cable so you can use through wired if you so choose, charging cable, and airline adapter. And now for what we have been waiting for: how they sound.
Fresh Aire: Going To Another Place, strings and percussion was extremely crisp and clean with excellent resolution and dynamics. Drums had huge depth with good impact and authority. Piano sounded very natural. Flute was extremely smooth with excellent air and resolution to hear the tonguing. Steve Miller Band: Swingtown, percussion was very crisp with excellent resolution. Kick drum had excellent depth, resolution, and impact with authority. Bass guitar also had nice low end extension. Vocals were silky smooth with excellent resolution and texture. No Doubt: Hella Good, percussion was extremely crisp and clean and extremely dynamic, without losing any of the details. Bass was very deep, in your chest impact, clean and with lots of authority. Vocals were amazing, so natural, smooth, excellent resolution, and just downright sexy! Eric Bibb: Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, guitar was very natural with great resolution. Piano sounded very natural. Bass was nice and deep with good authority. Vocals sounded smooth as honey with excellent texture. Maria Muldaur can really wail, and it all came through. Imaging was spot on, and they also threw a large soundstage.
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless is the real deal. The $499 price tag is not cheap, but you get what you pay for. These premium wireless headphones provide a lot of functionality. Whether it is sound performance, wireless performance, or active noise cancelling, they delivered in spades. The wireless performance was great. I was able to go about 40 feet before the connection was lost. Add walls into the equation and they are good for about 20 feet. The active noise cancellation also performed well, removing the low end rumble they are designed to do. And of course I loved the Sennheiser build quality of the metal and real leather, simple design, and elegant look of the matte black. And with the real leather, they were extremely comfortable to wear, even for long listening periods. Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless have earned our Editor's Choice Award. For more info, check out their website at www.sennheiser.com.
Up for review are the Kicker Tabor. Kicker, while fairly new to headphone products, they are not new to great sound. The Kicker Tabor appear to be built on that foundation. They are an over the ear design that are also wireless. MSRP is an extremely reasonable $180.
Features and specs:
Frequency response, Hz
1/8 in (3.5mm) stereo; Bluetooth A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, aptX
3.7V/600mAh Lithium-ion; 10 hours life; 2.5 hours charge time
5' USB-A to micro USB; 5' 3.5mm stereo cable; 5' 3.5mm stereo cable with microphone; KICKER travel bag
The Kicker Tabor came in a nice looking box that had its features, specs and pictures also printed on the box. They were made mostly of plastic, with some metal. Materials used in the construction were of good quality, as was the fit and finish. They felt like a solid well made product in hand. Also included was the soft carry case. Let's see how they sound.
Fresh Aire: Going To Another Place, strings and percussion were crisp and clean with good resolution. Piano sounded natural. Drums had really good depth and authority, as I would expect from Kicker sound. Flute was smooth with good air. Steve Miller Bad: Swingtown, percussion was crisp. Guitar sounded good. Drums played deep with good authority and dynamics. Vocals sounded natural, smooth, with good resolution to reveal the texture. No Doubt: Hella Good, percussion was very crisp and dynamic. Bass was deep, tons of in your chest impact and authority. Vocals were very natural and smooth, sounding sexier than expected at this price point. All the energy in the track came out well. Eric Bibb: Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, guitar sounded natural with good resolution and detail. Bass had nice low end extension and output. Vocals were smooth and natural with good texture. Sound stage was also good as was the imaging.
The Kicker Tabor proved to be another great value. With an MSRP of $180, you again get good bang for your buck. The large drivers not only gave good detailed sound, they also provided the signature kicker bass that many of us have come to love. The controls were easy to use, with hard buttons for track, volume, and power on the ear cup. The wireless performance was good for around 25 feet, which is reduced some when dealing with walls. And I liked the included tangle free cable for times when you need to go wired. They also proved to be very comfortable, so you are good to go for those long listening sessions. Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the Kicker Tabor has earned our Recommended Award. Fore more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.kicker.com.
JBL makes some excellent headphones. For review today is the more entry level IEM’s by JBL, the Synchos Reflect BT that have a low MSRP of only $99. Every year I am amazed at just how much bang for the buck we can get. They are designed for the active user, being both wireless and water resistant. And they are a perfect example of bang for the buck.
Features and specs:
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 22kHz
Driver: Premium 8.5mm
Control and Connection Specifications
Bluetooth®-enabled wireless connectivity
Built-in 4.0 Bluetooth connectivity gives you freedom from wires and up to 5 hours of your favorite soundtracks. It allows you to monitor volume and easily control tracks even while your smartphone remains safe in your gym bag – up to 40 feet away!
Reflective cord design and retractable tether
Make the play for safety - the Reflect BT's sweatproof cable provides high visibility in low light, perfect for night time runners. A retractable tether allows you to customize cord length.
Ergonomic ear-tips and angled ear pieces
Designed to stay in your ear no matter what you put them through.
Cable management system with serious attraction
Built-in magnets keep your buds on stand-by; when not in use, wrap the buds around your neck and watch them click together. No more loose cables!
iOS or universal remote control/mic
Connectivity. Convenience. Peace-of-mind. Take calls, control tracks and adjust volume with rugged inline controls.
Groundbreaking JBL-quality sound
Dual 8.5mm drivers give you thumping bass and clear vocals for the ultimate pump-you-up track.
They arrived in an attractive box, which had photos and specs of the product. They are mostly made of plastic, with some metal. Quality of materials used were good, as was the fit and finish. They felt well made in hand. Also included was the owner’s manual. How do they perform? Let's find out.
Fresh Aire: Going To Another Place, had crisp string and percussion that was clean and just a tad tinnie. Piano sounded pretty natural. Flute was smooth with air. Drums had nice dynamics. Steve Miller Band: Swingtown showed nice impact and depth from the drums. Guitar sounded natural. Percussion sounded clean with some resolution. Vocals were natural, smooth, with good texture. No Doubt: Hella Good, drums had good dynamics and depth. Percussion was crisp and clean. Vocals were natural and sounded only a tad shallow. There’s a lot of energy in this track, and it came through very well. Eric Bibb: Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, guitar sounded crisp with good resolution. Piano sounded natural. Vocals were very natural with good texture and resolution.
The JBL Synchos Reflect BT are a great product. You get a lot of bang for the buck, given the fact that they are also wireless and sweat resistant. Given this functionality is built-in at the low price, you get a lot. This functionality takes cost, meaning part of what you are paying for is more than just audio performance. However, they still managed to perform better than expected at their price point. I found the Bluetooth functionality to be good for around 10 feet. It's not very far, but it worked well and was easy to connect, and is far enough to have your phone in your pocket while exercising. Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the JBL Synchos Reflect BT have earned or Value Award. For more info, check out their website at www.jbl.com.
Having decades of experience in premium audio products, Westone makes some great ones! And the top of the line is the Westone W60 IEM’s, known as their signature series. It doesn’t get much better than these! They feature a detachable cable, as well as an exchangeable metal faceplate in red, gold or silver. Now you can have them match your outfit! The cable has built-in controls for your iPhone. They actually come with 2 pair of cables! One has the iPhone controls, and the other doesn't. SO you can actually use one of the cables as a spare! And for your aural bliss, they feature 6 balanced armature drivers and a 3-way crossover network. So the highs, mids, and bass all have 2 drivers dedicated to those separate frequencies.
Features and specs:
New Westone W60 with 6 drivers per earpiece and a 3-way crossover.
Metallic Faceplates - Multiple metallic color faceplates with secure attachment.
Mini Monitor Vault II - Constructed of a high-impact polymer, it’s the perfect size for travel and storage. Features a protective foam interior and weather resistant design.
The Westone W60 offers listeners an amazing six-driver system with three-way crossover. Dual drivers help produce a clear sound with rich detail in the highs, mids, and bass. The music sounds deep, powerful, and alive.
Balanced Armature Westone’s balanced armature drivers are far more efficient and produce a much more detailed sound than a traditional dynamic driver. The Westone W60 features six balanced drivers per earpiece with a three way crossover network. This setup provides enhanced audio detail and a clear frequency range that makes the music sound amazing and hard to replicate by others.
Westone True-Fit Technology Westone offers more than fifty years of experience with in-ear listening technology. The True-Fit Technology promises a lightweight and low profile earpiece with unmatched comfort and sound quality. Users can choose from five pairs of True-Fit foam tips and five sets of STAR silicone tips. True-Fit foam tips ensure a maximum seal and comfortable use and the STAR silicone tips precisely conform to your ear to eliminate unwanted noise.
Replaceable Cable The Westone W60 includes a new replaceable cable connection with a braided EPIC cable and a round MFI cable featuring a 3-way button control and microphone. Changing the cable is simple and this flexibility helps extend the life of the earphones.
Three Button Apple Control System and MicrophoneThe round MFI cable provides function control for Apple products and includes volume, tracking, phone answering, and Siri activation.
Multiple Faceplates Customizing the W60 earphones is simple! The W60 includes three metallic exchangeable faceplates to update and change the look of the earphones. Users can choose between metallic bronze, red, and silver and even mix and match left and right earpieces.
Two year warranty
· Sensitivity: 117 dB SPL @ 1 mW
· Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
· Impedance: 25 ohms @ 1 kHz
· Passive Noise Attenuation: 25 dB
· Driver: 6 balanced armature drivers with a 3-way crossover
· Weight: 0.445 ounces / 12.7 grams
· Cable: EPIC replaceable cable and MFI Cable
· Cable Length: 52” / 132 cm
The Westone W60 came in an elegant looking box, with photos and specs of the product. The materials used in the construction was plastic and metal. The quality of the materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. They felt well made in hand. And I love the interchangeable covers, that give them a different look. You can definitely tell that this is a premium top of the line product. Included were the owner's manual, multiple different size and styles of ear tips, cleaning tool and way loop, and extra cable without a built-in remote, and an extremely durable hard plastic case that looks to be waterproof. (Although may not be marketed as waterproof. So may want to test it first to make sure, if you plan to use them that way). And for you Apple product users, there is a Westone app that can be used to customize and improve the sound.
Listening to these beautiful deliverers of music nirvana is an experience to remember. Fresh Aire II: Going To Another Place, strings were extremely crisp and clean with excellent dynamics and resolution. The flute was very smooth with nice air and harmonics. Piano was extremely natural sounding and great tone. The kick drum was very deep, full, with nice impact and very good authority. Steve Miller Band: Swingtown, percussion was extremely crisp and clean with excellent resolution and dynamics. Kick drum was deep with authority. Bass guitar also had good extension and resolution. Keyboards sounded extremely natural. Vocals were smooth like honey with excellent harmonics and texture. No Doubt: Hella Good, percussion was extremely crisp, clean with excellent dynamics. Bass was extremely deep with good impact and authority. Stephani’s sexy vocals just sounded so amazingly silky smooth with amazing texture and resolution. I thought I was right there in the recording studio. Eric Bibb: Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, guitar was crisp and clean with excellent resolution and detail. Piano was very detailed, sounded natural with excellent dynamics. Vocals were silky smooth like honey, and their texture and harmonics were stellar! They provided the intimate sound of being right there in the studio next to Eric Bibb and having a mic in front of you. The Resolution was amazing. Imaging was also spot on, and they threw a big sound stage.
Their four figure price tag is not for everyone. I think Ferris Bueller said it best, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.” Their 6 balanced armature drivers deliver an extremely neutral sound that is jaw dropping, goose bump rendering aural bliss. I can see that some would ask the question: 6 Drivers? Really? Does it really sound that good? But before you can even finish asking the question, knowing what the question is, I would answer “Yes!!!” And to make things even better, Westone has an audio app for Apple products that helps you custom tailor and improve the sound even more. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the Westone W60 has earned our Editor's Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at www.westone.com.
For review today is a great 3-way driver product in the Audiofly AF160. The AF160 uses 3 balanced armature drivers, and a crossover network. Audiofly may be relatively new to the headphone scene, but these boys from Australia do know their audio stuff! They feature an elegant looking finish and a durable cable.
Features and Specs:
Driver configuration: Three balanced armature drivers with crossover Frequency range: 18-22kHz Sensitivity: 110dB at 1 kHz Impedance: 18 Ohms
Cable length: 1.6m / 64in
Plug type: 3.5mm gold plated, right-angle format
They came in an attractive box with a sleeve with photos and specs of the product. Materials used in the construction were mostly plastic, with some metal and cloth. Quality of materials used were excellent, as was the fit and finish. I love the look of the housing, which was a brown with a bit of a shimmering look to it. Also included was an extremely nice real leather case, owner’s manual, multiple sized and styles of ear tips, cleaning tool, ¼ inch adapter, and airplane adapter.
Listening to these gems showed off their amazing aural colors, that was on the warm side. Fresh Aire II: Going To Another Place, revealed very crisp strings with very nice dynamics. Piano was very natural sounding with great resolution. The flute was very smooth with a good amount of air, as well as resolution. The kick drum had nice depth with good kick and presence. Steve Miller Band: Swingtown, percussion was very crisp and clean with excellent resolution. Keyboards sounded natural. Bass guitar was detailed and played with good depth, as did the drums. The vocals were very good with very nice texture. No Doubt: Hella Good, percussion was very crisp and clean with excellent resolution and were very dynamic. Bass was very deep and played with good authority. Vocals were very smooth, sultry and just sounded amazing. Eric Bibb: Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, guitar was crisp and clean with lots of resolution. Piano was very natural sounding. The string bass had excellent low end extension with amazing resolution and authority. Vocals were pleasantly natural, with excellent texture and harmonics. Imaging was very good, and they threw a good sound stage.
Using multiple drivers takes the sound to a whole new level! Audiofly’s AF160’s with their 3 balanced armatures delivered in amazing sound. They tended to be more warm in sound, with excellent resolution, and very good imaging and sound stage. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the Audiofly AF160 have earned our Highly Recommended Award. For more info and complete specs, checkout their websites at www.audiofly.com.