It’s impossible to discuss Grace Digital’s Mondo+ without thinking of the Logitech Squeezebox Touch. Though the Logitech was discontinued three years ago, its fans are legion, and still populate several websites on which they share ideas about how to tweak its performance and the like. The Squeezebox Touch is a great little device, and it’s still what I mostly use to stream files from my computer. The Grace Mondo+ won’t win in a head-to-head competition, no foul -- it was primarily designed for use as an Internet radio.
The relatively expensive ATH-DSR9BT headphones ($549 USD) are almost identical to Audio-Technica’s ATH-DSR7BT model ($299), which I reviewed in July 2017. They employ A-T’s new digital-transmission design, Pure Digital Drive. Instead of a traditional DAC feeding an analog amp, this method uses Trigence Semiconductor’s Dnote technology, in which, A-T explains, “the digital pulses of the chipset move the voice coil and diaphragm [of the drivers] forward and backward to create soundwaves heard by a listener.”
Audio-Technica is vigorously promoting its new Pure Digital Drive headphone models, the ATH-DRS7BT ($299 USD) and ATH-DSR9BT ($549). But lest you feel left out in the cold by those prices, A-T also offers the dandy ATH-SR6BTBKs for $199 -- $100 less than the ATH-DSR7BTs, which I reviewed in July, and an appealing alternative about which there’s much to like. One catch -- the ATH-SR6BTBKs are available only at selected Best Buy stores and Best Buy’s website.
JBL has upgraded its series of Everest Elite headphones with the new 750NC. A price of $299.95 USD might seem a bit much for a pair of headphones made almost entirely of plastic, but as I grew more familiar with the Everest Elite 750NCs, I began to think they might be worth it.
When designing a new model of loudspeaker, manufacturers can go with something totally innovative and different from anything they’ve done before, or with a “family” concept: a speaker of the same design as before, but of a different size, or with different refinements or features. JBL’s Flip 4 is of the second type. The Flip line of Bluetooth speakers has been very successful, and the latest addition, the Flip 4, fits right in with the family, as well as did the JBL Charge 3 ($149.95 USD), which I reviewed in March. The Flip 4 ($89.95 USD) is about two-thirds the size of the Charge 3, has the same cylindrical design and plays loud, and, also like the Charge 3, is not merely water-resistant but entirely waterproof.
Audio-Technica was perhaps a little late to the Bluetooth game, but since then the company has produced many headphones of distinction that include the wireless technology. Now they’ve come up with a new type of digital transmission that makes their new ATH-DSR7BT over-ear headphones ($299 USD) unique, and well worth considering as all-around ’phones that live up to the Hi-Res Audio badge printed on the box.
After reviewing the mammoth EcoBoulder speaker from Grace Digital last month, I was a little reluctant to return to the smaller, bass-shy Bluetooth models that are the norm. Strolling Walmart, I spotted G-Project’s G-Boom, which has been around a while and gotten a few top ratings. Another incentive was that I’d covered G-Project’s G-Go waterproof speaker four years ago and found it rather good. I took the plunge.
When the Grace EcoBoulder arrived, I was afraid it was broken -- its single carton (no double boxing) had been greatly damaged in shipping. But inside, sturdy pieces of Styrofoam top and bottom still held the EcoBoulder in position, safe and unharmed. When I’d removed these, I stared in admiration.
These wireless headphones seem to have been designed at the same time as the wired UR42i model, reviewed in January. They’re lightweight, with simple-to-use controls and very good sound, and their price of $99.99 USD makes them an attractive choice for those seeking wireless cans that can also be used wired.
This little outdoor speaker supplants JBL’s popular Charge 2 and sells at the same price: $149.95 USD. It’s available in black, gray, blue, teal, or red, and has a waterproof rating of IPX7, which means you can briefly but fully immerse it in water. It also plays loud, which makes it great for outdoor or poolside parties, and several Charge 3s can be paired for even greater SPLs. A free JBL app lets a pair of Charge 3s play in true stereo.