Marshall Mode II – true wireless in-ear buds from Marshall

Marshall headphones has released its first true wireless, Bluetooth in-ear earphones, the Mode II. Built with the signature looks that Marshall fans will know and love, the buds feature custom-tuned dynamic 6mm drivers that create a rich audio experience with growling bass, natural-sounding mids and crisp treble.

The buds deliver 5 hours of wireless playtime on a single charge whilst the charging case offers another 4 charges equalling 25 hours of music playback. Once the case is out of battery, it can either be charged wirelessly or via USB-C.

Realistically, people who buy Marshall products love the design theme that runs throughout their product line-up and the Mode II are no different. The rugged design and embossed Marshall script mean that the charging case works hard while looking iconic. The earbuds display the Marshall “M” for a subtle but noticeable nod to the legacy of rock ’n’ roll.

Mode II offers a truly wireless experience with Bluetooth 5.1 technology. Easily control your music and phone calls, and activate Transparency mode and native voice assistant with just a touch of your finger.

The buds are IPX4 water-resistant and will be available online from 18 March at a price of £159.99 here in the UK.

Melomania Touch – new wireless earbuds by Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio, a British brand well known for its high-end audio equipment, has released its latest version of wireless earbuds – the Melomania Touch building upon its first version the Melomania 1.

These new wireless earbuds have custom 7mm drivers further enhanced with graphene to help provide the dynamism and response needed for the sound quality of deep controlled bass, realistic voices and clearer highs. Built with Bluetooth 5.0 and the latest AAC and aptX codes allowing for high-quality audio streaming.

The engineers have included two microphones and Qualcomm’s Clear Voice Capture noise cancelling technology to ensure that phone calls remain focused on the voice rather than the surroundings. Perfect for all those Zoom/Teams meetings.

All-day wear isn’t a problem, with each earbud tipping the scales at just under 6 grams and three power modes will allow up to 9 hours of use on a single charge. And if your day goes longer, the supplied charging case will offer up to a further 41 hours of listening.

As with most new headphones and earbuds, the Melomania Touch earbuds offer Transparency mode which feeds in ambient noise so you can be aware of the surroundings whilst still enjoying the high-fidelity music. The Melomania app allows you to customise the sound just the way you like it, through EQ settings and tailoring music playback to your individual style as well as locating the buds if you ever misplace them and check each bud’s battery life.

Melomania Touch is readily available priced at £129.95 and is offered in either black or white.

KEF reveals Mu3 True Wireless earbuds

KEF in collaboration with Ross Lovegrove, Welsh artist and industrial designer has announced its new noise-cancelling earbuds – the Mu3 Noise Cancelling True Wireless Earphones.

Tuned by the same team that create the award winning Hi-Fi systems, the ear buds feature active noise cancelling with up to 24 hours of use from the charging case with built-in wireless charging. It is capable of getting one hour of listening from a quick five minute charge.

It features a splashproof design and bluetooth 5.0 connectivity allowing the earbuds to connect to multiple devices at the same time. The earbuds will be going for £199 and will be released soon.

JBL launches Tour headphones for business professionals

JBL is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and has been releasing a foray of products including a new range of headphones targeted at business professionals.

The market for noise-cancelling headphones is pretty crowded as it is, with the Sony XM4s wearing the crown, Bose’s 700s, Microsoft and Sennheiser among a number of others so these JBLs will need to stand out to leave their mark.

The Tour series have already been awarded the CES 2021 Innovation Awards “Best of Innovation” honors. The series includes two headphone models, the JBL Tour ONE over-ear noise cancelling headphones and JBL Tour Pro+ true wireless in-ear headphones.

The Tour One (over ear) offers True Adaptive Noise Cancellation technology, which monitors environmental sound and adapts to the perfect level of noise cancellation for the user’s environment, eliminating distractions in real time. JLB’s ‘SilentNow’ feature also gives users the ability to simply touch the dedicated button to activate noise cancellation mode without activating Bluetooth. Along with ‘SilentNow’, the headphones also have ‘Smart Audio Mode’ which allows the user to optimize the Bluetooth connection for “normal listening”, increase fidelity in “music mode” or watch videos with the low latency “video mode”.

The headphones have 50 hours of battery life, that is reduced to 25 when using ANC and Bluetooth but can be boosted with a quick charge where 10 mins of charging will offer two hours of music playback.

If in-ear headphones are more your thing, the JBL Tour Pro+ is the set for you. Offering the same technology as the over ear headphones, the Active Noise Cancelling shuts out all outside noises or lets in background audio if users need to stay aware of their surroundings. Both sets of headphones have fast pairing with Android devices and the in-ear buds allow use with either one, allowing users to take calls and listen to music in whichever ear they prefer. These offer 30 hours of music playback and have wireless charging compatibility.

Both sets of headphones will be available from May 2021 with the over ear Tour One coming in at €299 and the Tour Pro+ coming in at €199.

Sony WH-1000XM4 – MUST HAVE

That headline might look like a typo, but I guarantee that these are the new gold standard for wireless headphones. The 4th generation of over-ear Sony wireless noise-cancelling headphones is finally here.

Carrying on from the third generation, the XM4s are more intelligent, able to adjust ambient sound automatically based on your preferences and location. As we know, the XM3s have been the ones to beat for comfort, noise cancelling, sound quality and clarity when using the microphone.

One thing that will be noticeable is the ability to connect to two devices at once, meaning when a call comes in, the headphones know which device is ringing and connect to the right one automatically. You can also switch your headphones to either of the two devices at a single tap.

Battery life is up to 30 hours of use with noise cancellation or 38 hours without and you can fast charge them to give five hours of use with only 10 minutes of charge.

Some other interesting features – ‘Speak to Chat’ allows the headphones to recognise your voice and pauses the music whilst letting in ambient sound so that you can order your coffee or have a short conversation without taking your headphones off. But if you do choose to remove them for whatever reason, the XM4s will know that they have been taken off the head and will automatically stop the music and resume playing when you put them on again.

The headphones are already available to order, priced at £350 in the UK and available in either black or silver.

REVIEW: JBL J56BT Headphones

Searching for a new pair of headphones? Fed up of having to untangle wires? JBL have released a set of Bluetooth wireless on ear headphones known as the J56BT. Usually when dealing with Bluetooth connectivity in headphones, prices start creeping past £250. But not all bluetooth headphones should cost silly amounts of money. These JBL J56BT’s cost under £130.

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Having used these headphones for a few weeks, it is safe to say that they are pretty great. Connection to my smart phone in my pocket is seamless and sound quality is immense with the signature PureBass performance, allowing you to really hear the deep bass lines in the music tracks.

The ability to skip songs, adjust the volume and answer calls without having to take out your phone is an added bonus which most people will appreciate. It does sit a little wide on the head, feeling a little like a gaming headset than a sleek pair of headphones. JBL have fitted this set of headphones with aluminium accents on the bridge of the headphones along with the logo on each arm and blue covers on the cups which house the controls on the left side. The cups are soft, supple and include noise cancelling elements meaning you can listen to music for hours on end without getting uncomfortable. They also fold into the bridge, clicking when you hit specific points into the turn, allowing you to pack them into the neoprene case for travelling.

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The headphones are supplied with a soft neoprene case and two cables, one for charging and one to wire it up to your device if ever needed.

Battery life is great, I have used my headphones for a few days without a need of a charge, so people using them for their daily commutes will be able to get a week or so of play if they remember to turn them off.

A few problems i have found with these headphones; the controls on the headphones tend to be a little slow when talking to my phone. When using the headphones for a call, I realised that a lot of external noise is filtered into the conversation sometimes making the person hard to be heard. So if you are looking for a set of headphones with the added bluetooth connectivity, look no further.

Audio Specifications

Driver 40 mm
Frequency Response 20 Hz—20 kHz
Maximum Input Power 30 mW
Sensitivity 115 dB SPL/V

Misfit Shine

On this blog, I have looked at a few activity monitors including the Nike+ Fuelband and LarkLife. Here is a new and completely different activity monitor. most monitors have chips embedded into bracelets as do the Nike+ and LarkLife. The Misfit Shine is something completely different, looking like a a thick coin with a halo of lights.

In the same way the Nike+ fuelband works, it gives you fuel for your daily activity which you can track by tapping the Shine and the lights will shine through somewhat in the same way Apple shows off its battery lights on its Macs.

The Misfit Shine’s party trick is that you can sync with your smartphone just by placing it on your phone screen.  Wear it how you want, wherever you want. There’s no cables, no bluetooth pairing, no charging stations – just an easily replaceable battery that lasts about six months.

When buying this activity tracker you have the option to get it with a bracelet or leather clip,  it can be worn just about anywhere, even when wearing next to nothing.

the company that came up with the idea and product opened its doors in 2011 and this is their first product. For a new company to come up with a product that will look good rubbing shoulders with most Apple products must breed success. we can only wait and see.