high fidelity Stories January 6, 2014

Audio specialist Blue promises true hi-fi quality wireless audio by the spring

I take the view that wires are evil: anything that can be wireless should be wireless. My iOS devices sync via wifi, my keyboard and trackpad are Bluetooth, I have Wemo-controlled lighting, Tado-controlled heating and love cloud services.

But there’s one thing in my living-room that still relies on a wire: the connection between Mac and hifi system. I tried a Bluetooth link, and the quality just wasn’t there. I quickly reverted to the 3.5mm cable that runs around the skirting board.

Enter microphone specialist Blue. The company is teasing a true hifi-quality wireless connection between digital devices and headphones (and presumably hifi systems) under the name Mo-Fi.

Where digital music technology has advanced, headphones have lagged behind. We’ve seen dramatic advances in the quality and convenience of digital music, yet headphones –designed specifically to bring us closer to sound— have failed to bridge the gap from hi-fi to mobile. Headphones are the last barrier between us and the audio trapped in our digital devices. What if we liberated our music from overhyped lo-fi to true mobile hi-fi? We can. Blue is offering the first sneak peek at CES 2014.

We’ll bring you more details when we have them.

high fidelity Stories June 24, 2013

Sony’s ‘Music Unlimited’ iOS app adds offline playback & high-quality 320kbps AAC streams

A nice update is landing any minute now for Sony’s Music Unlimited iOS app, which is continuing to improve thanks to some nice improvements coming with PS4 and PlayStation Plus. On top of some big discounts for PS Plus members, Sony announced today that iOS users will soon have the ability to download tracks for offline listening (something already available on Android devices):

Another improvement coming in version 1.3 of the  Music Unlimited app is “crystal clear 320kbps AAC high fidelity audio while streaming.”Users can access the feature by turning on “High Quality Audio HQ Streaming”.in the app’s settings. The new high-quality audio will not, unfortunately, be available for offline playback.

Similar to the Music Unlimited Android app, iOS users can now download individual albums and tracks, as well as any playlists they have created to their device and enjoy music even when a cellular or Wi-Fi connection isn’t available, or when they want to conserve battery life or curb data usage.

Sony hasn’t picked up a ton of traction with the service among smartphone users, but it will certainly attempt to attract more users as it adds new features and closer integrates it with its revamped PS Network arriving alongside PS4.

As for deals:

If you’re not a subscriber to the Music Unlimited service, this is a great time to jump aboard!  For a limited time, a 12 month Premium subscription to the Music Unlimited service is just $41.99 for PS Plus members – a discount of over 65 percent from the regular monthly price.  Those who don’t have a PS+ membership can also take advantage of a special rate of $59.99 for the 12 month Premium subscription.  More information about the offer can be found at PlayStation Blog.

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