Ubergizmo: If you were a kid growing up in the late 70s and 80s, you would have been part of the boombox generation, and probably owned one or two yourself. Well boomboxes aren’t too common anymore, due to the fact that people stopped listening to cassettes and blasting music out in public is considered more of a nuisance than anything. Well TDK has plans to bring you back into that era with their upcoming Boomboxes. Coming in 2 speaker and 3 speaker variants, TDK’s new Boomboxes have been designed to look retro as well as provide warm and vibrant music, just like how it was delivered back then. But instead of reading cassette tapes, these music players will play your music from USB drives, and MP3 players and iPhones with its built-in auxiliary ports. There’s even a port for musicians to plug in their guitars or microphones in the event that they would like to kick out the jams on the streets. No prices have been announced for the Boomboxes, but you can expect them to go on sale this April.
Gizmag: TDK has announced the release of its Life on Record range. The new line of premium audio gear includes two- and three-speaker Boomboxes and a 360-degree Sound Cube. Each member of the line-up mixes retro styling with modern functionality, and even allows users to plug in an electric guitar or microphone for some play/sing-along fun.
Arguably the most noticeable of the forthcoming releases is the three speaker version of the Boombox. A modern take on the kind of audio blaster which sat on the shoulders of folks compelled to share the latest hip hop grooves with everyone in a three block radius during the 1980s, TDK’s flavor sports a 6-inch subwoofer and a couple of 6-inch coaxial drivers which knock out 35 Watts of full range power.
In addition to the built-in AM/FM radio, music can be sourced from media players like the iPod via the included 30-pin to USB cable or 3.5mm line-in jack. A guitar or microphone input jack also joins the party, which can be mixed in with other audio sources for impromptu performances. The retro rotary dials are joined by touch-sensitive controls, which can be used to access and play audio files on a connected external flash or hard drive, and there’s an innovative equalizer which “gives your music a visual heartbeat.”
The two-speaker Boombox enjoys similar good looks and operation, but loses the subwoofer. Consequently, the full range output is rated at 20 Watts RMS.
Both devices run on either AC power (adapter supplied) or battery power – not the rechargeable Li-ion kind as you might expect these days, but weighty D-class ones. Perhaps taking the retro design a little too far, the three-speaker system needs a dozen batteries and the two-speaker unit requires ten.
If room-filling, multidirectional sound is more your cup of tea then the 9.8 x 9.8 x 9.8-inch (250 x 250 x 250mm) Sound Cube could tick all of your requirement boxes. There are two 5.25-inch, high dynamic range drivers and two 5.25-inch tuned, passive radiators facing outwards from this neat little sound box.
The active left and right coaxial drivers are set 180 degrees to each other, and the same goes for the passive radiators, which results in sound coming from front, back, left and right. This unusual configuration is said to result in fairly wide sound stage possibilities, without the user having to give much thought to positioning.
It benefits from the same AM/FM radio setup, audio source connectivity and similar retro styling of the Boomboxes, but has a more compact design. It pumps out 20 Watts RMS and also runs on either AC power or 12 D-class batteries.
The Life on Record range will be available in the U.S. shortly. The three-speaker Boombox is priced at US$499, the two-speaker Boombox will cost US$399, and the Sound Cube comes in at US$299.
Dvice: True tech classics never die as exampled by TDK’s new Three Speaker Boombox, a slick mutation of an old school favorite.
The Boombox features an AM/FM radio, and a USB port for media stick playback and iPod or iPhone music playback. Composed of two 10 watt speakers and a 15-watt woofer, the Boombox is scheduled to go on sale in January for $499.
The Guardian: If you want to be wired for sound without any wires, TDK’s WR700 wireless headphones are a decent – if pricey – option.
TDK’s Life on Record WR700 wireless headphones sounded much better than I expected, but I admit I’d feared the worst: wireless headphones are not generally known for high fidelity. TDK has got close by following Sennheiser and using the Kleer (PDF) wireless system, which can carry full CD-quality sound. This is impressive, and depressing.
As with MP3 files, you need clever technology to get the sound quality back to the level that you could easily have started from.
With the WR700 headphones, the benefit is that your movements are no longer encumbered by a physical wire from your MP3 player, hi-fi, laptop or whatever – basically, anything with a headphone socket. And in general, the greater the distance between you and your source, the nicer it is to be wireless.
There are also drawbacks. The most obvious is that the transmitter must be plugged in to your MP3 player to send the signal to the headphones (or to several WR700 headphones). The transmitter is bigger than some low-end music players, does not lock into place and, annoyingly, has a rounded base so it doen’t stand up. If you carry it around, it’s one more thing to lose.
Another disadvantage is that you become dependent on four AAA batteries: there are two in the transmitter and two in the headset. No power, no sound.
Plug in the transmitter, turn on the headphones and the sound comes though in a second or two, but you can still run into problems. You can listen to music while roaming the house, but the sound drops out when the signal runs into the wrong arrangement of walls. Using the headphones walking around town, I suffered dropouts even with my Sony MP3 player in a shirt pocket.
The WR700 headphones have a cushioned on-ear design: they don’t enclose your ears to shut out external sounds, so you can still hear people talking. Also, there’s no noise cancelling system to reduce tube or train sounds. This means you tend to turn the sound up (there’s an up/down volume control on one earpiece), and find it sounds a bit too loud when the train stops.
The sound quality will impress people who are used to the sort of earbuds shipped with Apple iPods and iPhones. The WR700s have good midrange definition, don’t overemphasise the bass, and provide a moderate but acceptably realistic stereo soundstage. However, they’re expensive at £129.99. You can get better sound quality from wired headphones that cost less, or you can get better sound quality plus noise cancelling for a similar price.
In the end, it boils down to how much you value cordlessness. TDK’s WR700 wireless headphones certainly do the job, but they’re not a cheap option.
Pros: wireless operation; comfortable to wear; smart appearance; good quality sound.
Cons: large transmitter; need for AAA batteries; don’t exclude external sounds; no noise cancelling for travel use; expensive relative to sound quality.
Heise: When arguing about what is to succeed the DVD the proponents of the Blu-ray Disc like to point to the fact that their format has a considerably greater capacity than its competitor HD DVD. Thus according to the versions specified to date the capacity of a double-layer BD-ROM disc amounts to 50 gigabytes, whereas that of an HD DVD is a mere 30 gigabytes. The additional storage capacity of the Blue-ray Disc can be used, for example, to store movies with a higher data rate or market these with additional high-resolution extras.
The HD-DVD camp now means to put an end to this unfavorable state of affairs: As outlined in a statement by the HD DVD Promotion Group at some time in the near future a new HD DVD with a capacity of 51 gigabytes, which was developed by TDK and features three instead of two layers, will be available. Moreover each layer in turn now has a capacity of 17 as opposed to 15 gigabytes. As the results of the tests carried out with a prototype are said to have been satisfactory, the HD DVD Promotion Group expects specification of the new HD-DVD-ROM to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2007.
Ubergizmo: TDK has unveiled mini Blu-ray discs that measure a mere 8cm in diameter. These mini BD-R and BD-RE discs are currently being developed for commercialisation.
The company hopes that future High-Definition camcorders which support Blu-ray media will pick these up. Naturally at a smaller dimension, these 8cm wide discs will come with a reduced capacity, clocking in at 16.5GB when compared against the standard 25GB single layer discs.
However, there’s still the possibility of dual-layer mini Blu-ray discs being developed in the future which will boast 33GB of storage capacity.
Macsimum News: TDK says it’s achieved a capacity of 200GB that will double the capacity of their current 100GB Blu-ray prototype. One 200GB disc could store approximately 18 hours of high definition video.
The initial Blu-ray Disc standard allows for 25GB single layer Blu-ray Discs and 50GB dual layer Blu-ray Discs. However, a recent signal processing innovation stretches the physical limits of optical media, realizing 33.3GB capacity for each of the disc’s six layers. As with the 100GB disc, and other Blu-ray Disc media, TDK’s 200GB blue laser disc is single-sided.
The company’s 100GB prototype disc uses four 25GB layers to reach 100GB capacity. For the 200GB technology development, TDK has stretched the physical margins of the Blu-ray Disc format, enabling a disc to store up to 33.3GB per layer while staying within the tolerances of the BD playback specifications, according to Bruce Youmans, vice president of product research & development.
A single-layer Blu-ray Disc can hold 25GB, which can be used to record over two hours of HDTV or more than 13 hours of standard-definition TV. There are also dual-layer versions of the discs that can hold 50GB.
TDK has already begun shipment of its single-layer 25GB recordable and rewritable media in the first quarter of 2006. 50GB discs, which are dual layer, have now just begun shipping, retaililng at €35 for a write-once, and €45 for a re-writeable disc.
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