After months of impatience and even a few pangs of longing, music fans in the U.S. can finally use Spotify, the European music-streaming phenom that promises access to any song, any time, anywhere. But of course even the latest and greatest in online streaming isn’t terribly impressive when you’re listening through the equivalent of a tin can and some string, so we were pleased when Sennheiser’s CX880i iPhone headset arrived just in time for us to pull some double duty testing them both.
The Mac|Life editors’ favorite new pastime (besides fiddling with our Apple gear, of course) is playing DJ. Most days, we can be found at turntable.fm/maclife spinning tunes and nerding out on music while we work. But office decorum dictates that we wear headphones while rocking out. Yes, technology has made it extremely easy for Robbie to go on a Smiths bender and take the rest of us along for the ride -- but Paul’s ban on Morrissey in the office is still very much in effect, and violators are punished swiftly.
Want to win a sweet pair of headphones? We're giving away a pair of SteelSeries Siberia V2 headphones to one lucky Mac|Life Show viewer. The headphones feature optimized soundscape technology and are made specifically for your iOS device, with controls on the cords and everything. There's even a pull out microphone! All you have to do is leave a comment below with your favorite band, and we'll pick a winner at random at the end of this week. If you win, we'll send you an email! Happy playing!
Unlike other earbuds that you just cram into your ears, rocking a pair of JH16 in-ear monitors requires some advance planning -- and no, we’re not talking about the overtime you’ll need to clock to be able to afford them. JH Audio custom-builds each pair to fit you and you alone, which requires a trip to an audiologist to take molds of your ear canals. The molding process only takes about 15 minutes, but it involves cold plasticky goo being stuffed deeply into your ears. It wasn’t painful, but “weird and uncomfortable” sums up the experience pretty well. At $1,149, the resulting earbuds are beyond pricey, but the audio results are, well…priceless.
Bowers & Wilkins’ first step into the world of portable audio is less like a step and more like an orbital leap. B&W has always been applauded for rich sound and contemporary design, but its first headphones to hit the market, the P5s, are so far ahead of the times that they feel avant-garde.
These are Scosche’s most expensive headphones at $99.99, but don’t let that list price scare you away--we found them at Amazon for closer to $50. The sound quality is excellent, and the 11mm drivers pump out full, accurate sound with strong enough bass to keep us from scrambling for our EQ settings.
Papa Sangre by Somethin’ Else may be about the strangest game you’ll play this year. Built entirely around the concept of sound, with an incredibly simple visual interface (just a directional wheel and two foot icons to use to walk in that direction), the game places you in a series of scenarios where you’ll have to escape from various rooms using only the acoustic information available to you.
That being said, here are some tips, tricks and somewhat-sensible-advice for mastering one of the strangest games yet for the iPad.
Active noise cancellation is meant to reduce unwanted sound--the drone of an airplane’s jet engine, the hum of your office air conditioner, that kind of steady background noise. A tiny microphone detects the sound waves outside your headphones, then the headphones play an opposite sound wave which cancels out the original noise. That’s why they need a battery to work.