Sunday, July 28, 2019

Viper DS4+ SmartStart Pro With Remote Start Alarm System Review

There’s a saying: You get what you pay for. When it comes to electronics, this is usually the case. The best isn’t cheap, but it’ll last. And in the long run it’s worth every penny. When it comes to car alarms, one of the best is Viper. I’ve used Viper for almost 30 years. I’ve seen some great new features. I had a standard Viper alarm system on my first car. So when given the opportunity to review their new DS4+ system, we naturally jumped at the opportunity. It’s their new DS4+ system with SmartStart Pro.


Features and specs:

Remote Confirmation: Priority Icon Map with LCD Display

Remotes: Includes 1-Way Companion Remote

Range: Up to 1 Mile


Remote Start

Keyless Entry

Trunk Pop

SmartStart Compatible



Domelight Supervision

Stinger DoubleGuard Shock Sensor

Neo Revenger 6-Tone Siren

Failsafe Starter Kill

Anti-Carjacking (VRS)

Guaranteed Protection Plan (GPPP)

# of Auxiliary Channels: 4

6-Tone Mini Siren

Shock/Tilt Sensor


Viper SmartStart-ready

Viper SmartStart GPS Enabled

Location/Speed Tracking

Keyless entry

Virtually unlimited range!


Lock / Arm: Yes

Unlock / Disarm: Yes

Remote Car Starter: Yes

Trunk Release: Yes

Panic: Yes

Aux Channels Compatible: Yes

Viper Motor Club: Yes

SmartPark: Yes

Car Location: Yes

Car Speed: Yes

Speed Alerts: Yes

Lockdown Alerts: Yes

Social Media Check-in: Yes

SmartFence: Yes

HotSpot: Yes

Car Status: Yes

SmartSchedule: Yes

Approximate Weight:

Shipping: 1 lbs


Viper’s new DS4+ system is a simple system that is basically modular. You design it on what you need. You could just get remote start, or just an alarm. You could get both alarm, remote start, and SmartStart as well. Having a 2017 Nissan Titan, it came with just keyless entry. So for review Directed provided the D9756V alarm, DS4SU security upgrade, DS4VP Digital Remote Start, SmartStart Pro, and the THNING harness for Nissan. The D9756V provided two remotes, one of which is a 2-way LED remote. I love the 2-way LED remote. Just looking at the display, you can see if it’s locked or not. The DS4SU security upgrade provided the siren, as well as the digital shock, tilt and temperature sensor.


The remote start is a really cool feature, especially depending on climate. You can set a timer and the remote start will start your vehicle and have it idle for up to 12 minutes. After that time it automatically shuts down. That way if you end up not leaving and forget, your vehicle doesn’t accidentally idle all day! If you live in a hot or cold environment, the remote start is a great help, to get your vehicle cooled off or heated up, depending on where you live.
While these are all really cool features, things get really cool with the SmartStart! It works with not only GPS, but cellphone networks, so a plan is required. With SmartStart Pro, the Premium plan is required. Just download the app for your smartphone, and you will have all of the control at your fingertips. You get a lot of control, and security. It gives you alarm, and disarm, remote start, and a ton of other features. These include SmartAlert, Vehicle locator, Speed Alert, LockDown, and low battery alert. There’s even SmartPark, Parking Meter, and Social Media Check-in.


The Viper SmartStart Pro is definitely loaded with useful features. SmartAlerts will send you a text and email when something is not right, such as alarm trigger, or low voltage. Vehicle locator is a map that shows your vehicle’s current location. Speed alert will notify you via text and email if the designated max speed has been exceeded. Lockdown will notify you is the vehicle leaves the designated area. The SmartPark and Parking Meter features are also really cool. It remembers your vehicle’s location, just in case you forget. And it can even start a timer, that way you know how much time is left on your meter. Updating your location on social media is really easy with the Social Media Check-in.


If you have teenage drivers, the Viper SmartStart Pro can easily be seen as a necessity! After all, it can be your eyes on the road to monitor your teenage driver. You can be notified via text and email whenever they speed. Are they grounded from going to their girlfriend/boyfriend’s house? Just set up an electronic fence that does not have their house in the boundaries. So if they do go outside of the fence to see their girlfriend/ boyfriend…you’ll get a text and email. And if they took off in the vehicle without permission, you’ll also know exactly where they are.

I really love the versatility that the complete Viper alarm with SmartStart Pro provided. It’s foundation as an alarm is top notch. It’s SmartStart also worked great. And if you have teenage drivers that you want to be able to monitor, it delivers that in spades. And I absolutely love the app! Through the app, I can see the current status and see if the alarm had been triggered. If it ever gets stolen, I know exactly where it’s at. My wife also isn’t as good at remembering to turn on the alarm as I am, so if she takes the truck to the store, I can check through the app to make sure it’s armed. And if she forgot to arm it, I can actually arm it from home through the app!

The app itself is also very easy to use. From the home screen, you have options to lock, unlock, panic, trunk, map and SmartStart. They are all pretty self-explanatory. The map button pulls up a map to show where our vehicle is. The top left corner has an alert button that will take you to a screen with the alert history. At the bottom of the Alert Page is the Manage Alerts button. Pressing the Manage Alert button takes you to the Manage alerts page. Here you can choose to receive notifications for low battery voltage. You can also set up to receive notifications if the vehicle moves, goes over a set speed, or goes out of a set location boundary. And there are options to actually have two different smart fences for location boundaries. And touching the vehicle name in the top right corner takes you to a vehicle page, that shows you the last command, the current status, and vehicle settings button at the bottom of the page. The very top left corner holds the menu button. From the menu button you access SmartSchedule, where you can schedule to have your vehicle start automatically based on schedule or temperature. 

The Viper SmartStart Pro system doesn’t just have great features, it also works as advertised. The alarm worked great and was sufficiently sensitive. When it was triggered, I got both a text and email notification. The remote start also worked great. The map feature also worked well. The SmartStart app worked great! I was pleasantly unsurprised. I say that, because Viper has the reputation for delivering it in spades. And this shows that they continue to do so.


If you are worried about vehicle security, or just want to add functionality such as remote start to your vehicle, Viper should be on your short list. Not only does it work well, but it also has a great reputation. They also don’t just bask on their reputation. It shows with great quality new products. Based on it’s design, features, quality and performance, the Viper alarm with SmartStart has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For m ore info and complete specs, check out their website at

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless IEM Review

Beyerdyanmic has something special with their Tesla driver. They did a great job miniaturizing it for the Xelento in ear monitors. They sounded absolutely amazing, as you read in our headphone shootout last year. This year Beyerdynamic made them even better. They made them wireless! MSRP is $1199.

Features and specs:

Operating principle: Closed

Transmission Type: Wireless via Bluetooth®

Remote: Universal 3-button remote

Nominal impedance headphones: 16 ohms

Headphone frequency response: 8-48,000 Hz

Nominal sound pressure level: 110 dB (1 mW / 500 Hz)

Supported Bluetooth profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP

Codecs: aptX™, aptX™ HD, AAC, SBC

The Xelento Wireless came in a great looking color printed box with photos and specs of the EIM. Opening the box revealed well protected IEM’s held in place by a foam sleeve. Underneath the foam sleeve were slots that held the semi hard case, wireless adapter, multiple sets of eartips, and clip. The ear tips came in multiple sizes both in comply and silicone. The hard carry case has a magnetic closure. Inside the case were held the charging cord, a set of filters, and standard cable with built in mic and controls. Materials used in the construction of the IEM’s was highly polished stainless steel. Quality of materials was excellent, as was the fit and finish. They could definitely pass as jewelry! The cables were also a high quality with a soft plastic covering. Every thing was of a high quality in materials and fit and finish. This is obviously Beyerdynamics at their finest, and it shows! Also included was the quick start guide.

I really like the entire design of the Beyerdynamics Xelento Wireless. The polished stainless steel looks amazing, more like chrome. You have both wired and wireless cables for any listening needs. The hard case even has an elastic band with a snap to hold your cable and charging cord securely in place, and custom plastic moldings to hold the IEM’s securely in place.

When it comes to delivering your music to your ears, The Beyerdynamics Xelento Wireless provides the best available. It all starts with the Tesla driver. They are designed for Hi-Res audio tracks, so you get the best sound. And thanks to the Xelento Wireless supporting Aptx HD, you can even enjoy your Hi-Res Audio Tracks wirelessly!

You know a manufacture is serious about providing you the best possible sound when they include Apt X HD, which is still hard to find support for in a product. But Beyerdynamic didn’t just stop there, they also included their Mosayc Sound Personalization, and M1Y App Control. Unfortunately as you get older, you will typically start to loose your hearing. Thanks to the included software app, you get your own hearing test. It tests your hearing with a set of test tones at different frequencies, to see which was you have a hard time hearing. It then boosts those frequencies so you can get a fuller sound. It’s a truly innovative product that no matter if you’re 22 or 82 is designed to help you get the most out of your music. The software was easy to set-up and use with the app that walks you thru the whole process.  The Bluetooth also works very well, giving you a range of 30-40 feet, depending on if there are walls between you and your phone. Now let’s hear how they sound!

Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded extremely natural, vocals were very smooth with excellent texture and timbre, guitar was very crisp and clean with excellent resolution, violin was also silky smooth with nice harmonics. Tympani had great impact and dynamics as did the cymbals. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was extremely crisp and clean with excellent resolution of the strings. Kick drum had excellent punch and depth and played with authority. Piano was very natural. Cymbals and high hat were also very crisp. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Bass had excellent depth and played with authority. Drums and cymbals were very crisp, clean. Piano sounded very natural. Harmonica was silky smooth with excellent harmonics and dynamics. Vocals had tons of resolution of the texture ad timbre. Soundstage was big and imaging was spot on. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were extremely smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums, cymbals and high hat were crisp and clean with excellent resolution. Kick drum had real punch and played with really good low end extension and great authority. Sax had excellent harmonics, texture and resolution for the woodiness of the reed.

The Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless are not for everyone, as their price is pretty steep at $1,199.  But then again, not everyone can drive a Ferrari GT California like Ferris Buehler.  But if you have the means, it is highly recommended.  With 3.5mm, 2.5mm, and wireless cable, it’s the most versatile IEM I have seen in a long time.  And I love the included filters so you can custom tailor the sound without the use of DSP.  But they have that as well!  The sound is one that you have to hear to believe.  If I didn’t hear it, I would not have believed that sound this good is possible with a single dynamic driver.  But then again, their Tesla driver is a special driver.  Based on it’s design, features, quality, and performance, the Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless IEM Review

True wireless IEM’s can be seen just about everywhere.  Another company with a true wireless model is Sennheiser, with their Momentum True Wireless. Sennheiser has a long history of making excellent products. And the styling often tends to be on the elegant side. That elegant styling continues with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless IEM. With an MSRP of $299, they are also priced good as well.
Features and specs:
Dimensions: 78.6 x 45 x 35 mm (charging case)
Microphone: MEMS
Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0 compliant, class 1
Supported Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
THD, total harmonic distortion: <0 94db="" font="" khz="">
Ear coupling: Ear Canal
Weight: 69.8 g (earbuds and charging case), 13.2 g (both earbuds), 56.6 g (charging case)
Charging time: Approx. 1.5 hrs
Microphone sensitivity: 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz
Operating temperature: 0 to +40°C
Power supply: 5 V, 650 mA: USB charging via USB-C socket at charging case
Battery Specification Built-in Lithium rechargeable battery
Frequency range 5 Hz to 21 kHz (earbuds) 100 Hz to 10 kHz (microphone)
Sensitivity: 107 dB SPL (1 kHz / 1 mW)
Speaker type: Dynamic
Operating relative humidity: 10 to 80%, non condensing
Battery time: Up to 4 hrs (A2DP) with rechargeable batteries of the earbuds, Up to 12 hrs with rechargeable battery of the charging case
Water Protection Code: IPX4, splash resistant (earbuds)
Type of Codec: SBC, aptX™, aptX™ Low Latency, AAC

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless came in a nice looking color printed box, with photos of the IEM along with their features and specs. Opening the box showed a well protected product held in place by custom molded foam. There were 3 custom cut outs in the foam. 1 for each IEM, and then one for the charging case. I loved the elegant look of the cloth wrapped case. Materials used in the construction was mostly metal, plastic and some cloth. Quality of materials used as is the fit and finish is excellent.

I really like the design of the Momentum True Wireless. They have built-in mics for the Voice Assistance, and for phone calls. The touch control makes them simple to use. And I love the carry case which doubles as a charger. So once it’s time for a recharge, the case will give you 2 full charges. They also give you active noise cancellation. There’s even an app that will let you control the features as well as the sound. The Bluetooth range is also great at 40-55 feet, depending on if there are several walls between you and your phone.  Lets see how they sound.
Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded natural, vocals very smooth with very good texture and timbre, guitar was very crisp and clean. Violin was also very smooth with nice low level harmonics, tympani had good impact and dynamics, soundstage was also quite big. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was very crisp with very good resolution of the strings. Drum had very good impact, low end extension, and played with good authority. Cymbals were very crisp with excellent resolution. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals were smooth as honey, with excellent texture and harmonics, imaging was spot on with a large soundstage. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Brass had very good resolution and played very deep and with a ton of authority. Drums and cymbals were extremely crisp with excellent dynamics. Harmonica was silky smooth with very good harmonics and dynamics. Vocals were silky smooth with very good resolution of the texture. Piano very natural. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were very smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums, cymbals and high hat were really crisp and clean with very good resolution. Kick drum had punch and played with good depth and authority. Sax had very good harmonics, texture and woodiness of the reed.
I loved the styling of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, especially with the cloth wrapped case.  It’s aural sound deliverance was also excellent as well, with plenty of resolution for your tunes. Based on it’s design, features, quality, and performance,the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless has earned our Highly Recommended Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at

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JBL Under Armour True Wireless Flash IEM Headphone Review

True Wireless Products are getting more and more popular. And they are becoming available for all different uses. These are designed for the active individual. Whether you are inside on your treadmill or jogging outside in the rain, JBL has you covered with their Under Armour True Wireless Flash. With an MSRP of only $169, they are also a great value!

Features and specs:

General Specifications :

Weight (g): 16

Weight (oz): 0.56

Ear tip material: Silicon

Bluetooth version: 4.2

Audio Specifications :

Driver size (mm): 5.8

Number of drivers per ear: 1.0

Driver sensitivity at 1kHz/1mW (dB): 95dB

Impedance (ohms): 14.0

Control and Connection Specifications:

Bluetooth profiles: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6

Bluetooth transmitter power: <9 .5="" dbm="" font="">

Bluetooth frequency: 2.402GHz - 2.48GHz

Bluetooth transmitted modulation: GFSK, π/4DQPSK, 8DPSK

Dynamic frequency response range (Hz): 20Hz-22kHz


Battery Type: Lithium-ion polymer (3.7V,85*2mAh)

Charging time (hours from empty): 2.0

Speed Charging time (hours): 2.0

Talk time (hours): 5.0

Maximum music play time with ANC off (hours): 5+20

Play time (hours): 5.0

The box they came in was a premium color printed box with images and specs of the IEM. Opening the box revealed well protected IEM’s held in place by custom molded foam. Also secured in the foam was the charging case. Materials used in the construction of the IEM’s was mostly plastic with some metal and rubber tips that wrapped around the IEM. The charging case was mostly metal with a cloth wrist strap. Quality of materials used was very good, as was the fit and finish. Also included was the owner’s manual, charging cord and additional rubber tips.

I loved the design of the IEM’s. The rubber tip wrapped around the end of the IEM, and had a little rubber notch that stuck out, to help hold them in place in your ears. I also liked the design of the charging case. I love the way it does double duty. It holds the IEM’s but it also holds a built-in battery to charge them. The slots for the IEM’s are magnetic, so it also holds them in place while they are being charged. The LED is red while being charged, and turns off when fully charged. Turning them on and syncing to my LG V40 was very simple and fast. Bluetooth range was also very good at 30-40 feet, depending on if there are any walls between you and your smartphone. Now lets see how they sound!


Disturbed- Sound of Silence: Piano sounded very natural, vocals had good texture, guitar was crisp. Violin had good harmonics, cymbals had nice details and dynamics. Adele- Rolling In the Deep: Guitar was very crisp and clean with good resolution. Kick drum had good impact and depth with very good authority. Cymbals and high hat were very crisp with very good resolution. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals had very good resolution to the texture and timbre. Imaging was quite good and they threw a nice sized soundstage. Junior Wells- Why Are People Like That: Bass had nice low end extension and played with authority, drums and cymbals were crisp and dynamic with very good resolution. Harmonica was very dynamic with excellent harmonics. Piano sounded very natural. Vocals were silky smooth with very good texture. Soundstage was quite big. Liquid Soul- Spam Sucker: Trumpets were smooth and dynamic without being too brassy. Drums cymbals, and high hat were really crisp and clean with good resolution. Kick drum had really good impact, low end extension and played with authority. Sax had very good dynamics, texture and woodiness of the reed.


To some things up, these are all great products.  No matter your budget, these all provide great sound for their price.  The biggest surprise was the giving much better sound than expected for their price point. The JBL Under Armor True Wireless have earned our Highly Recommended Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at

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