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Audio News for October 18, 2016

Apple to Set Up Research & Development Center in China – Their chief executive said the center will be in the city of Shenzhen, China – a major global hub for electronics manufacturing. It is also the home of Foxconn, who make the Apple iPhone. Both it and a separate center in Beijing will allow Apple to attract top local talent. Amazon Expands Into Subscription Music – Amazon Music Unlimited already charges consumers $10 a month for an ad-free, on-demand catalog of tens of millions of tracks. If you have Amazon Prime, you get a discounted rate of $8 a month on top of the $99 yearly Prime cost. If you are willing to make Amazon’s Echo your only source for listening to streaming, you can get the service for the cheapest rate around, only $4 a month. This will help Amazon dominate music streaming in homes in a voice-command future, letting their rivals duke it out to win control of mobile listening. Giving access to Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, has also been a way to hook consumers. (The Echo is a very small single speaker with no bass and mono only.) In the year past, consumers have shifted to […]

ROAM Ropes Wireless Earphones & Amp

ROAM Ropes Wireless Earphones & Amp

Beautifully designed and packaged, but ear buds cannot equal good over-the-ear headphones. ROAM Ropes Wireless Earphones & Amp List: $199; $150 at Amazon Ropes are an attempt to equal the impact on the audio world of the Beats headphones in 2008. They are high-style earbuds with a built-in DAC (50 MIPS with 24-bit stereo), Bluetooth unit and a free companion EQ App that allows setting the EQ exactly as you want.  True, you can now buy Bluetooth earbuds (and the Ropes uses the latest advanced version of Bluetooth: 4.1) with no cable or separate amp at all, so a set with a big “pendent” (they call it the Audio Engine) seems a bit going backwards. In a way, they have “cut the cord” but only some of the cord – they are not wireless. The components are powered by an inbuilt lithium-polymer battery, which charges in about 15 minutes for an hour of playback. You won’t be able to listen to the earbuds while charging at your computer, because the cable is very short. The unit is beautifully packaged and designed, and with the red cables that came with my black unit could be quite a fashion statement. They seem […]