Top Tips For the Perfect Speaker Setup

Monitor Audio Gold 2015

 

There’s certainly no shortage of audio equipment out there for you to choose from these days. However, unless you’re savvy when setting your system up, you’ll struggle to achieve the sound quality you’re after. With this in mind, here are some top tips to help you get the very most from your speakers.

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Buyer Guide: Best Outdoor Speakers

speaker cover photoWell, you have your grill picked out, but it just isn’t a summer cookout without tunes playing in the background. No not you, guy who brought his acoustic guitar; we need a good sound system to play our Willenium CD. I don’t care if you can play every song on the album. When picking out speakers for the outdoors it’s important to keep in mind that sound travels differently in open spaces than it does indoors. You’ll want to up the bass and coordinate your speaker location carefully. Depending on how you want to set up your speakers, you may want something wireless and easily moveable or fixed speakers that you’ll need to lay wire for the best possible sound quality. There’s a great article by our friends at CANADA HiFi that we definitely recommend taking a look at before making a purchase. Especially, if you aren’t sure how to go about installing them.  Below however, you will find Guydster’s recommendations on a few different outdoor speakers that we think should be on your short list, if you’re looking for good quality sound.

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Aëdle VK-1 Valkyrie Headphones

Aëdle VK-1 Valkyrie Headphones 01 (Custom)

The Aëdle VK-1 Valkyrie may just be the sexiest pair of headphones out there, offering elegance and style like no other.  Sculpted out of a virgin aluminum ingot using CNC machinery handsewn with genuine lambskin leather, the VK-1 is engineered and handmade in France.  But its gorgeous looks are only a part of the appeal.  The VK-1 offers state of the art audio engineering with custom developed Aëdle titanium-neodymium high-performance transducers at its core.  The VK-1 will play your music with enviable liquidity and realism, while their luxuriously soft earcups will pamper your ears.  We invite you to read a full review of the VK-1 over at the CANADA HiFi magazine.  $499.  www.aedle.net

GemWhere Smart Voice Watch

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Today, the sheer volume of online news can be overwhelming. The GemWhere smart voice watch hopes to solve this problem by sifting through the current events and information and deliver only the most important and relevant news items to the user. The company calls these streamlined news items “gems”. The GemWhere watch of course also keeps you up to date with your social media feeds and texts. The device’s built-in speaker allows it to ‘read’ the news items to you in addition to displaying them neatly on the screen, and can be connected via Bluetooth to your car’s audio system. Thanks to an onboard camera, owners will also be able to take pictures and videos with the device. $199+. www.kickstarter.com

Gibson Memory Cable Recorder For Guitars and Keyboards

Gibson Memory Cable Recorder For Guitars and Keyboards

 

If you play guitar, there are few things in life better than writing your own tunes while having a few beers. The trouble is, not remembering the chords or the lyrics – and don’t blame it on the beers. The Gibson Memory Cable is here to the rescue, making sure that you’ll never lose that creative moment again, at least the guitar portion of it. The cable’s built-in, compact recorder (designed by TASCAM) can save up to 13 hours of your playing, in CD-quality 44.1kHz/16-bit resolution, to a Micro SD card. You can then transfer it to your computer and use it with your multi-track recording software. Works with both guitars and keyboards. We dig it! $TBA.  www2.gibson.com

Lytro Illum Light Field Camera

lytro

 

We won’t even pretend we understand how this camera works but, to be honest, we aren’t a hundred percent on how any camera actually makes an image. It seems the Lytro Illum camera takes in light from all angles and allows you to adjust focal points, perspectives, and dimensions; in post. Being able to play with angles and focus after you’ve taken a picture will save a lot of time setting up your shots, but it also means you’ll never have an out of focus shot again (unless you’re trying to be artsy). The processing power is pretty impressive as well; on the same level as most tablets. By pre-ordering and submitting three of your own shots, you could win a trip to shoot alongside a “prominent photographer”. Pre-order price: $1,499. lytro.com

Otamatone Deluxe Electronic Musical Instrument

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Tired of playing the same old boring instruments, like guitars and saxophones? You aren’t? Okay well carry on then. For those of you still wondering what the little creature pictured above is, well; that friend is Otamatone. The funniest musical instrument we’ve ever seen. This wonder in musical engineering comes from the land of Japan, also known for their exports of video games, tentacle porn and nuclear waste. Otamatone is played by sliding one hand up and down the shaft, for pitch and squeezing its cheeks to play the notes. This of course, hilariously makes it look like Otamatone is singing. The instrument may look like a joke, but it has a range of three octaves, features all the necessary jacks, and it doesn’t sound too bad either. Check out NelsonTYC’s cover of “Let it go” from Frozen and then promptly order yours for $100 at ThinkGeek.com

Blackmagic 4K Studio Camera

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4K is barely even on most people’s radars and the guys over at Blackmagic have already created an affordable, studio quality 4K camera. While the camera doesn’t include a lens, it is compatible with all third party MFT lenses, mics and tripods. Blackmagic’s camera has the largest viewfinder at ten inches, allowing you to see everything you film in the extremely detailed 4K resolution in real time. To be fair, a decent lens, sound and lighting equipment will set you back another couple grand; but you can produce high quality content, with a greater resolution than current television, for under five grand. A sweet camera won’t make you Martin Scorsese, though you might be able to give Brett Ratner a run for his money. Ships this June at $2,995. blackmagicdesign.com

Goat Simulator

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We can honestly say this is the most realistic goat simulator that has ever been created. That said the games simulated physics are far from grounded in reality; which is the fun of it. In Goat Simulator, you are dropped in a world filled with hilarious glitches. You can jump, head butt, go ragdoll and slow motion. Not to mention fly around in a jetpack, head butt guys into space or climb a ladder while your goat’s neck flips around with every wrung. Coffee Stain Studios, the creators of the game, intentionally left in all of the strange glitches that developers usually try to weed out. Instead they have been integrated into the core of the gameplay to create a simple but enjoyable game; easily worth the price. $10. goat-simulator.com

MartinLogan Crescendo Speaker System

MartinLogan Crescendo Speaker System (Custom)

 

MartinLogan, the manufacturer famous worldwide for its Electrostatic speakers, is now allowing music fans to unleash the music stored on their smart phones, tablets and computers on a brand new premium wireless speaker system, the company’s first wireless Bluetooth and AirPlay system.  Aside from its exquisite design and top-notch construction, the Crescendo plays music with accuracy, resolution and detail – like all MartinLogan speakers, and unlike other wireless speakers out there.  Hidden inside the gorgeous cabinet are dual Folded Motion tweeters and a 5″x7″ mid-bass woofer.  At its core lies a powerful class-D closed-loop 100-watt (140-watt peak) amplifier, while the audio processing is handled by an advanced 24-bit 48kHz DSP (digital signal processing) based preamplifier.  Although the Crescendo delivers a deep, accurate bass response, those who desire more bass can hook up an external subwoofer via a dedicated subwoofer jack.  Rock on!  $899.  www.martinlogan.com

Rescape: Augmented Reality Gaming for iPhone

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Here’s a Kickstarter campaign from Sweden that may revolutionize the way we play first-person shooters. Designed to work with the iPhone 5, Rescape turns the real world into a battle map by overlaying the game textures in a perfect 1:1 match of the room you’re playing in. Your friends will also appear as game sprites when viewing them through the screen. Getting some exercise while gaming and avoiding paint ball welts makes Rescape a good purchase…for a group of friends that all love Apple. Android support has been promised for the future. The peripheral comes with one game, but 13th Lab say the mapping program can be patched to any existing mobile FPS. $39. Kickstarter.com

Sony Project Morpheus VS Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2

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If you haven’t guessed it by now, we really like virtual reality. Sony unveiled their prototype for a virtually reality headset at GDC this week. You may be thinking, “Didn’t they already make one?” No, the Sony Head-Mounted Display, which we covered a few months back, was more like having a giant screen in front of you; where Project Morpheus is a true competitor for the Oculus Rift. Industry impressions suggest the Rift DK2 has the edge when it comes to image quality and motion blur. That said, Sony’s VR headset is only a prototype and will likely see a great level of improvement as it gets closer to launch. Sony is a powerhouse and they are fully able to throw a lot more resources at the project. Morpheus also has Sony’s new 3D audio tech going for it; capable of producing omni-directional sound based on how you tilt and turn your head. A big downfall, and why we still think Rift is the way to go, Sony’s headset might only be compatible with the PS4 (at least at first), where Oculus is receiving a lot of support from Steam. Still too soon to tell and it will probably be a few years before all the motion sickness kinks are worked out on both sides of the ring. If Tropic Thunder has taught me anything, it’s that it will all come down to the support of the porn industry (that and never go full…well, you’ve seen the movie). No price point yet on the Morpheus, but it will likely have to compete with the Rift’s cost of $350. playstation.com / oculusvr.com

Jarre Technologies AeroBull Wireless Speaker

Jarre Technologies AeroBull Wireless Speaker (Custom)

 

Everyone loves music, but not everyone wants their speakers to look like, well… speakers.  This French manufacturer offers some very out-of-the-ordinary speaker designs ranging from a skull to something you would find on the set of a sci-fi film, and of course this bulldog speaker called the AeroBull.  The AeroBull sports two 2.25″ high/mid drivers along with a 5.25 bass driver, and a 100 watt amplifier.  It has a docking port with Apple’s Lightning connect on the head, which you’d probably only use to recharge your iPhone since the system offers wireless Bluetooth playback.  A 3.5 mm line-in audio input is also on-board for old school devices.  Comes with a sweet dog bone-shaped remote.  Available in 5 different colors.  The sunglasses make it look awesomely badass!  € 999.  www.jarre.com

360Fly Panoramic Video Camera

360FlyWe showed you a 360 panoramic camera before, but that was still shots. The 360Fly camera shoots video, which will likely be the final step to achieving virtual reality movies. 360Fly is not only waterproof up to five metres; it also only weighs 120 grams allowing you the freedom to film virtually anywhere (excluding water five and a half metres or deeper). The company is partnering with Voxx to produce a wide array of cameras with different specs and varying prices. Imagine strapping on an Oculus Rift and seeing what the skier sees as he barrels down the hill. Except you don’t see what he sees, you see more. You see everything; the snowy caps behind you, the cute ski-bunny that checks you out as you hit the jump, or maybe just take in the scenery without the fear of crashing into a tree and breaking your leg. There are a lot of exciting applications for this camera and only half of them involve pornography. Price is TBA, but the product should be available this summer. 360fly.com

Groopic iOS and Andriod Photo App – The Photographer is Always in the Pic!

Groopic iOS and Andriod App (Custom)

 

We don’t normally talk about apps on Guydster but this one is just too awesome to pass up. Groopic is a very clever app that allows you to take pictures with yourself, the photographer, in them. Simply snap a shot of your friends and leave enough space in the frame for yourself. Then ask one of your friends to swap places with you and they snap another shot, this time with you in it. The app then stitches the two images together and viola you’ve got a picture with everyone in it. We now wonder how we ever took pictures before this without this app. Best $0.99 you could spend on your phone.  www.groopic.com

Dash Wireless Smart Earphones

Dash Wireless Smart Earphones

As demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, 2014 is going to be a big year for wearable and smart technologies.  The Dash is the first pair of smart earphones that we’ve heard about at Guydster and the concept certainly sounds cool.  These lightweight earbuds do away with wires, instead offering complete wireless freedom thanks to a tiny 100 mAh battery built into each earpiece which promises 3 to 4 hours of music playback. There is also 4GB of on-board memory for music for times when you choose to travel without your phone. Thanks to the Ear Bone mic you can also answer phone calls while on the go.  And if all this wasn’t enough, the Dash earphones are also packed with a 3-axis accelerometer to track physical activity, a 5 field capacitive sensor for touch control, as well as heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors.  Rounding out the package passive sound insulation and 1m depth water resistance.  $200. www.kickstarter.com

Caseco Blu-Toque Bluetooth Beanie Hat

Blu-Toque Bluetooth Beanie Hats web

 

 

This may be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to a hat!  Launching a new  wearable technology category, the Blu-Toque is a beanie re-imagined for the modern times, allowing you to talk on your smartphone and listen to music without the need for any wires or earphones.  It contains a built-in Bluetooth headset/speakers, microphone and controls, and works with most iOS, Android and other smart phones and tablets.  Its lithium-ion battery powers it for 6 hours and has a standby of 60 hours.  The buttons on the outside allow you to answer calls and music playback.  The Blu-Toque  beanie is perfect when you’re walking your dog, taking the public transit, in your car and even when sitting through a really boring college lecture.  And when you want to wash it, simply remove the Bluetooth module and pop it in the laundry machine.  $50.  www.caseco.ca

HiddenRadio2 Bluetooth MultiSpeaker

HiddenRadio2 Bluetooth MultiSpeaker

 

The HiddenRadio2 claims to be one of the most advanced wireless multi-purpose speakers available today for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets.  Despite its simple and compact design, the company’s proprietary neodymium dual speaker system along with its software promise great quality sound in the highs, mids and lows.  Two HiddenRadio2 speakers can be connected to a single smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth to create a portable stereo, or each speaker can be placed in a different room for multi-room sound.  To power on the speaker, simply touch the cap or hit play on your phone and the cap will lift – revealing the 360-degree speaker within, while at the same time creating a larger bass chamber that delivers deeper bass than you’d expect from a speaker of this size.   Thanks to a  capacitive touch sensor in the cap, you can play music, pause, adjust the volume, skip forward or back, fast forward or rewind, answer a phone call, and even activate Sir.  Oh yeah, it can also be used as a speakerphone.  Pledge $149 to get yours.  www.kickstarter.com

Geneva XXL Sound System

 

Geneva XXL Sound System

If you don’t like to show off your audio video gear and the snake pit of cables behind it to everyone, then the Geneva XXL system is for you.  Its elegance lies in its simplicity. Hidden beneath its skin is a sophisticated home theater and high-fidelity music system consisting of six speakers, each housed in its own chamber for accurate and balanced acoustics, and an 8-inch subwoofer, powered by state of the art digital amps.  The Geneva XXL offers Apple Airplay and Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from your smart phone or laptop, as well as FM, DAB+ and DMB radio tuners.  The top deck is designed to hold a flat panel TV up to 65 inches, while the interior offers enough storage for a cable box, Blu-ray player and a gaming console.  Available in white, black, or red piano-lacquer.  $3,500.  www.genevalab.com

Anthem MRX 310, 510 and 710 AV Receivers

Anthem MRX 510 AV Receiver

 

Most of today’s AV receivers are jam packed with features, many of which you’ll likely never use.  Sadly because of this many manufacturers have put sound quality way down on the importance list.  Yet sound is what you listen to every time you turn on an AV receiver. This trio of AV receivers from Canadian manufacturer Anthem makes sound quality a top priority, while still offering a good number of features that you might actually use – and it does so without breaking the bank.  All three models offer industry leading Anthem Room Correction (ARC) which will ensure accurate sound in even less than ideal rooms.  The MRX 310 pumps out 60 watts per channel with all channels driven, while the MRX 710 jumps the power to 90 watts per channel.  Whether you’re watching a movie or listening to music these AV receivers will raise your entertainment to a whole new level.  $1,319 to $2,199.  www.anthemav.com

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