ICYMI: We listen to the latest headphones from Yamaha with 3D sound

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As we get closer to the end of the year, there are still plenty of interesting gadgets, instruments, and devices to consider. This week we have a new addition to the Halo series with Halo: infinite, which Jessica Conditt says fits perfectly with the rest of the franchise. Terrence O’Brien played the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster and reported that the hybrid instrument produces compelling acoustic tones that echo the original guitar. James Trew used the analog pocket and says it’s the best portable retro experience available right now, period. And Billy Steele listened to Yahama’s YH-L700A, which he found a bit heavy, although excellent for watching movies.

Billy Steele / Engadget

Billy Steele loves the look of the Yamaha YH-L700A headphones: he says the combination of leather, fabric, matte black and silver accents gives a refined look while the foldable square earcups make them easy to carry. The remarkable feature of these headphones is the 3D Sound Field function, which consists of seven presets to enhance music and movies. There is also a head tracking feature which makes the sound appear to be coming from a fixed point.

Billy says this latest feature added a cinematic element to watching movies, but he didn’t think that translated into listening to music. The seven 3D sound field presets also worked best for movies and TV where they created spacious sound. While testing the filters with music, Billy reports that they felt awkward and did not perform well in all genres. He says the active noise cancellation on these cans is good enough, if not impressive, and points out that the pick functions can be toggled on and off in the app. However, it was disappointed with the battery life – in testing, the headphones managed to last just under 11 hours, which is lackluster as most competitors boast of longer battery life. 30 hours. And at $ 500, they come at a steep price to boot.

Analog pocket

James Trew / Engadget

James Trew is a longtime fan of vintage games and is quick to point out that while the analog pocket is the best experience available right now, it isn’t for casual users either. At $ 220, it lets you play most vintage Game Boy handheld titles, as well as Game Gear, while adapters for Neo Geo Pocket Color and Atari Lynx are on the way. It also has more modern touches, like a backlit display. And besides being a quality gaming device, the Analog Pocket can also connect to a TV and has built-in music creation software.

Because of its FPGA “cores”, the Pocket can mimic vintage consoles at the hardware level – no more emulator quirks to suffer. It is also functional with original Game Boy accessories such as Game Boy camera, printers or rumble packs. And it can connect to an authentic Game Boy for a multiplayer experience. James liked the 3.5-inch screen made with Gorilla Glass as well as the save states, but wished the shoulder buttons were better and said some of the display modes sometimes obscured on-screen messaging. All in all, Analogue Pocket offers high retro gameplay with enough additional features to come to ensure that it will improve over time.

Halo: infinite


Jessica Conditt had high hopes for Halo: infinite, the first open-world game in franchise history. And she admits playing the new script brought back warm, happy feelings and a sense of familiarity. However, she also believes the game lacks surprise and intrigue – much of the innovation in vertical space has been achieved by other, more recent games, and the cramped map is designed for content and gameplay. linear.

That being said, Jessica reports that she had a lot of fun playing around with the new mechanics and tools available, especially the grappling hook. From climbing mountains to climbing buildings, the grappling hook provides a new vertical space for players to explore. Jessica says that while she expected a lot more from the Groundbreaking FPS title, she also thinks it is at its best when it provides users with a rich environment full of shots, armor and headshots in the lane. ‘air. Maze levels, military stereotypes and sarcastic robots, Infinite plays like a classic Halo game.

Hydrasynth Explorer

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Terrence O’Brien readily admits that the Hydrasynth Explorer offers a remarkable range of features and options in a portable, well-built device. For $ 600, you get a wave morphing engine with an eight-note polyphone, three oscillators per voice, a ring modulator, a noise source, and over 200 waveforms. There are also two filters which can be in series or in parallel to determine how much of each oscillator goes to each filter. He says the 88-page manual makes it seem like it’s only scratching the surface of what the synth is capable of.

However, you don’t need to be proficient in sound design tools to get started with the instrument – just dig into the 640 presets spread across five banks of 128 patches. In testing, Terrence found the Explorer easy to use thanks to the neatly labeled sections on the front panel. A few missing items on the versatile device are a proper sequencer, full-sized keys, and tactile strips instead of pitch and modulation wheels. There are also only three filter buttons instead of five. Despite this, Terrence still thinks the Explorer is well worth the price given its great sound, solid build, and plethora of tools to explore.

Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Terrence O’Brien also spent time with the new Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster, which cuts the price of the previous model by $ 800. For $ 1,200, you get a satin mahogany and spruce top finish with a rosewood fingerboard, two pickups, and a three-way switch with six sound options. Instead of a rechargeable battery, the reader runs on a standard nine-volt battery. Terrence reports that it consumes batteries surprisingly quickly, but is still practical.

When it comes to the sound of the instrument, Terrence reports that while there is less acoustic simulations on this model, the two offerings (Rosewood Dreadnought and Mahogany Small Body) cover a lot of ground. He says he prefers the electric sounds of the Telecaster to the more expensive Jazzmaster because it looks more like the original guitar and plays better with pedals. Terrence says that the two acoustic simulations provide depth and character, and that overall the hybrid guitar is a perfect sofa instrument.

Universal audio volt

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Terrence O’Brien considers Universal Audio’s first foray into the budget space a success. The company’s Volt series, five models ranging from $ 139 to $ 369, are affordable audio interfaces that share a 24-bit / 192kHz audio converter and a preamp with a “Vintage” mode that aims to recreate the classic sounds of the preamp. lamps. Terrence tested the $ 189 Volt 2 and the $ 299 Volt 276, both of which are two-input interfaces.

The differences between the two models are slight: the Volt 2 is simple and utilitarian, but performs well with limited space, while the “76” version has a built-in compressor and will require additional desk space as most controls are on. the top. Terrence says the compressor makes a big difference as it is capable of softer edges to tame the harshest frequencies. He also felt that the 276’s metering LEDs were easier to see, and the wood sides were a nice touch. While the base models were great interfaces at reasonable prices, Terrence said the 176, 276 and 476 stood out from the crowd thanks to their compressors, style and ergonomics.

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