IFA 2016: Audio at IFA 2016: the coolest cans, speakers and soundbars from this year's show

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02 Σεπτεμβρίου 2016

Audio announcements at IFA 2016IFA has traditionally been a show that's all about televisions, but IFA 2016 saw a number of interesting audio announcements. From the world's first in-ear planar magnetic headphones, to two of the most distinctive high-end speakers we've ever seen, IFA 2016 has been a great year for audio. We also saw what felt like every headphone company under the sun release a pair of wireless cans. It's almost as though a certain phone company is rumored to be dropping the headphone jack next week.So read on for our pick of the best audio announcements to have come out of IFA this year. Bang and Olufsen BeoSound 1 and 2Bang and Olufsen is a brand that's all about combining high fashion with high-end tech, and its new BeoSound 1 and 2 speakers are no different. The BeoSound 1 is the smaller and more portable of the two and runs on batteries, while the BeoSound 2 is mains powered and contains an extra three power amplifiers. Both speakers offer 360 degrees of sound, and are controllable from your smart phone where you'll be able to make use of a full suite of streaming services including Google Cast and AirPlay.Audeze in-ear planar magnetic headphonesWhen it comes to headphones, most use the industry standard dynamic drivers, which use a small coil of wire to produce sound. Planar magnetic headphones meanwhile use a thin film to create sound. The problem is that as well as being expensive, this driver type is also quite big, which means that until now it's been exclusively found in bulky over-ear headphones.That's change this week with the announcement of the first in-ear planar magnetic headphones from Audeze. The headphones come in three configurations, the iSINE 10, which will retail for $399 (around £300 / AU$530), the $599 (£450 / AU$800) iSINE 20 and the high-end $2,495 (£1880 / AU$3300) LCD i3. We're excited to try out the new headphones, not least because planar magnetic headphones are notoriously hard to drive from the kind of portable devices you would normally pair with a pair of in-ears. Bowers and Wilkins P7 WirelessFollowing in the footsteps of the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones, Bowers and Wilkins has taken its flagship headphones wireless with the P7 wireless. From what we've seen so far the P7 wireless follow many of the industry-established best practices when it comes to wireless headphones including charging via micro-USB, a three-button remote and aptX Bluetooth support. We'll have more details in a full review to be posted soon. A new multi-room speaker system from KlipschTaking a break from headphones, Klipsch used the show this year to announce a brand new multi-room streaming system. The system, which is known collectively as Klipsch Stream, features six products including two hubs (the Gate and PowerGate), 2 soundbars (the RSB-14 and RSB-8) the RW-1 wireless speaker and the Three tabletop audio system. Of the two soundbars, the main difference is in the wireless subwoofers. The RSB-14's is a side-firing 8" driver, while the 8's is a 6.5" downward firing driver. Sony Signature SeriesSony's Signature series, which was announced at this year's show, consists of a pair of headphones, a headphone amplifier and a new series of Walkman music players.The headphones and headphone amplifier are a fairly standard affair. The former, the MDR-Z1R headphones, offer hi-res audio playback with a frequency range that stretches up to 120kHz, while the TA-ZH1ES headphone amp supports audio up to DSD 22.4MHz / PCM 768kHz / 32-bit. However product from Sony's new series to generate the most amount of buzz was the NW-WM1Z Walkman which is literally a gold-plated music player that will cost $3,200 (£2,500 / AU$4,200). Apparently the gold chassis improves the player's sound in addition to making it look bling-tastic, but for the less discerning music listener there's the NW-WM1A which is a much more modest $1,330 (£1,000 / AU$1,750). LG PH2, PH3 and PH4 Bluetooth SpeakersLG isn't a brand you'd normally associate with Bluetooth speakers, but this IFA the company unveiled three, the PH2, PH3 and PH4. All three speakers are splash-proof, while the PH2 and PH4 include straps to allow them to be connected to a variety of surfaces, though the PH4 is touted as having slightly better bass response in addition to an overall increased level of sound quality. Meanwhile the PH3 is meant as more of a style piece, with a number of different lighting modes. Sony MDR-1000XAt first glance the Sony MDR-1000X looks like yet another pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones, but on closer inspection they contain a couple of pretty unique features. First is the way their sound and noise-cancellation will adapt based on your head shape and your wearing style. Apparently it's clever enough to recognise if you're wearing glasses or not, and we can't wait to try them out. Second is a 'quick attention' mode, whereby you can temporarily disable the noise-cancellation to quickly hear something in your environment, which should be perfect for hearing train announcements or speaking to a flight attendant. We'll be trying out the headphones as soon as we can get our hands on a pair for a full review. Jabra Elite Sport Wireless EarphonesThe Elite Sport Wireless headphones from Jabra want to be the most feature-packed workout headphones around. As well as being completely wireless (wireless as in there's not even a cable between the earbuds), the headphones will also track your heart rate, distance covered, route taken and calories burned. No word yet on whether the headphones will have any space left to pack a decent pair of drivers for sound quality, but we look forward to trying them out in our full review. Monster iSport Monster's iSport headphones have been around for some time, but this year's IFA saw a refresh of the lineup. There are three wired models available, which range from the basic $30 iSport Achieve, through the $40 iSport Strive v3 (which adds the company's SportClip ear hooks) to the $50 iSport Compete comes complete with the ability to make hands-free calls. The wired models are joined by three wireless models, the iSport Achieve BT, the iSport Intensity and the iSport Victory BT. Finally, the range is topped off by the iSport Freedom v2, which is the company's only over-ear model. The Freedom v2 can be used as a wired or a wireless pair of headphones.Sennheiser PXC 480 and HD 500With the Sennheiser PXC 550 headphones having launched so recently, you might be confused to see another pair of Sennheiser PXC headphones arrive so soon. The PXC 480 are something of a slimmed down 550s. They contain the same noise-cancelling technology as their older brother, and are visually very similar. The main difference is the wired connection, as opposed to the wireless connection on the 550 headphones.Meanwhile the HD 2, HD 4 and HD 500 headphone ranges have also seen an update from Sennheiser at this year's show.

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