Some of the biggest changes in the world of technology have touched upon products and services related to music. Just as the digital format has taken over from its analogue predecessor, so the music-playing gadgets have undergone a sea change. They have transformed not just the way we listen to music, but the creative process of musicians as well. Listed below are the latest items in a crop of cutting-edge audio gear that’s revolutionising the business of composing and consuming
By Zulu Audio
Zulu Audio, a Denver-based brand, is now world famous for its audio gear. Its products stand out for their quality and durability. And the latest Zulu Audio offering, Wearable Bluetooth Speakers, is no exception. This gadget is designed for health-conscious users who like to listen to music while working out but are averse to using noise-isolating earphones or earbuds. Zulu Audio’s wearable speaker is extremely lightweight (220gm), and can be easily attached to your jacket or shirt collars. This way, users can listen to their favourite tracks while still being aware of their surroundings. The speaker is also water-resistant and its battery can provide up to four hours of backup after a single charge. It is priced at Rs 12,395 in India.
Over the last few years, the California-based company JBL has managed to gain a strong foothold in the Indian market. Every once in a while they launch an audio product here that becomes an instant hit. Soundgear, a wearable Bluetooth speaker, is JBL’s latest offering for audiophiles who like to be on the move.
This lightweight, horseshoe-shaped speaker is designed to rest on the user’s shoulders. With the push of a button, installed on one side of the gadget, you can regularise the volume output of the speaker, as well as attend phone calls. The device can also take your VR experience to the next level, thanks to its 360-degree sound feature. You can also connect the speaker to your laptops and tablets, for a hands-free and ears-free experience that can last for up to six hours after a single charge. It may seem that the downside of the product is its price, at Rs 14,999, but considering what JBL’s competitors are offering for similar devices (Bose’s wearable speaker is priced at Rs 25,600) Soundgear totally sounds like a steal.
By Polk Audio
In Boom Bit, the emphasis is on “bit”. It is a super-tiny speaker that weighs only 32 grams. The speaker is ideal for people who like listening to music outdoors. The device is simple to carry around and yet it provides a big sound. Users can control the volume output with the buttons installed on one side of the product. It also comes with a clip, so users can attach the speaker to their shirt collar to even to their pocket. The biggest USP of Boom Bit is that it is, at Rs 4,673, among the more affordable wearable speakers around.
At first glace, it looks like a regular pair of sunglasses. But actually Bose’s new Frames is a hi-tech gadget with loads of audio playback and AR features. Launched in December 2018, Frames is basically a pair of smart glasses fitted with high quality speakers. It has a battery backup of up to 3.5 hours and can be linked with smartphones, tablets or laptops via Bluetooth. According to Bose’s official website: “Bose Frames are the first commercial product embedded with the Bose audio augmented reality platform. Unlike other augmented reality glasses and platforms, Bose AR doesn’t change what you see, or use a lens or phone camera to superimpose objects in your sightline. Instead, it knows where you are and what you’re facing using a 9-axis head motion sensor and the GPS from your iOS or Android device—and automatically adds a layer of audio, connecting that place and time to endless possibilities for travel, learning, entertainment, gaming, and more.” Frames is expected to be launched in February. Its India-specific price points are yet to be announced, but in America it costs $199.