Audio Pro WF100 Wireless Transmitter

June 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Stream audio easily to and from any device. Is it too good to be true? Read an extract from my full review over at TrustedReviews below…

Audio Pro WF100 Wireless Transmitter

Our Rating

  • 8/10

Scores in detail

  • Value
    7/10
  • Usability
    10/10
  • Sound Quality
    10/10
  • Features
    9/10
Price as reviewed: £150.00

 

Wires, we hate them. Not only are they visibly unappealing they are physically restrictive. Most manufacturers recognise the demand for wireless equipment and yet in the audio sector the lack of a common standard has held back what in 2011 should be basic functionality. Audio Pro doesn’t have a solution to this problem, but it does offer an extremely elegant work around.

The ‘WF100′ is a wireless, lossless streaming solution which can stream audio from almost any source to any output. It works using a simple dongle system. The ‘TX100′ transmitter dongle plugs into the USB port of a source and the ‘RX100′ receiver USB dongle plugs into the destination.
bd1d84%7Cd117 main Audio Pro WF100 Wireless Transmitter

Should USB ports not be available at either end (likely at the destination) then each dongle can be powered from a wall socket and they both feature 3.5mm audio jacks to connect to devices via a simple stereo cable or RCA Y-adaptor. Audio Pro supplies two 3.5mm cables and a Y-adaptor as well as one AC adaptor to power one of the dongles. This should be enough for most setups, but an additional AC adaptor can be purchased separately (it works with any AC adaptor) and third party cables can used with each dongle’s 3.5mm jack.

a071de%7Cdc93 home setup Audio Pro WF100 Wireless Transmitter

The WF100 is PC and Mac compatible, the whole solution is driverless and pairing between the dongles is automatic making for a vast array of potential streaming combinations (some of which are visible here – PDF link). Audio Pro also has another trick up its sleeve: each dongle can transmit in three different network frequencies, which it calls ‘housecodes’. These can be adjusted on the dongles by simply sliding a switch between positions 1, 2 and 3. What this opens up is the ability to have either multiple WF100 streaming setups which don’t interfere with one another or a single TX100 transmitter streaming audio to either multiple outputs on the same housecode or being able to change where it streams from a simple flick of the switch. Additional TX100 and RX100 dongles cost £85 each.

This is all very clever in theory, so how does it work in practice? The good news is flawlessly. READ ON

Unique Melody Aero In-Ear Monitors

June 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

A triple driver IEM arrives to battle the ACS’ dual driver T2 for the crown of best £500 IEM. Can it win? Read the extract from my full review at TrustedReviews.

 

Unique Melody Aero

  • Reviewed by Gordon Kelly
  • 23 June 2011

Unique Melody is a company with ambition. After years as an audiophile’s secret, the high-end Chinese custom IEM maker is coming to the UK in conjunction with specialist distributor AmpCity. It is arriving with a bang. In March it announcedfour premium models: the £405 dual driver Marvel, the £475 triple driver Aero, £595 quadruple driver Mage and mind numbing six driver £795 Miracle (and they’ve just added a five driver model as well, the Merlin). We’ll have a review of the Mage for you shortly, but today it is the turn of the Aero.

It may be the entry level model, but with a current asking price of £455 (plus £20 to get some moulds of your ears taken) it is fair to set expectations high. Initial impressions suggest these will be met. Like any custom moulded in-ear monitor (IEM) the snag is you cannot try before you buy, but put your money where your mouth is and Unique Melody will let you choose any colour and any artwork you like inclusive in the price.

e8c2fe%7Cb24a card Unique Melody Aero In Ear Monitors

For our review sample we chose the colour British Racing Green and the astronomical symbol for Mercury (spot the speed theme). Once decisions are made you visit a local audiologist (map guide here) to have your ears moulded (this will cost you £20-£50 but should be reimbursed by Unique Melody) and then there is a waiting time of three to four weeks while the monitors are made.

How do they sound? READ ON

How Finland Brought Down Nokia and Revived Itself

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Never have country and company been so interlinked, technology bound them now it sets them free.

Read an extract from my feature on TrustedReviews of my thoughts following my trip to Finland…

How Finland Brought Down Nokia and Revived Itself

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 21 June 2011

“Anytime you have a very big duck in a very small pond there are effects that are not in the interest of the pond or the duck.”

It may sound a strange analogy, but Risto Siilasmaa knows what he is talking about. Once Finland’s wealthiest man, Siilasmaa is the chairman, founder and former CEO of Helsinki-based F-Secure, one of the largest security companies in the world. Since 2008 he has sat on Nokia’s board of directors.

“If you went to a Finnish university a few years ago the vast majority of graduates went to Nokia or into the public sector,” he explains. “There was always a job, there was security. Nokia’s success guaranteed it.”
3f52cb%7C54ca risto How Finland Brought Down Nokia and Revived Itself

This may sound extreme, but to understand it fully requires context. Nokia may be a technology heavyweight, but it has been in existence since 1865. Its founder, Fredrik Idestam, didn’t call it Nokia until 1871 when he named it after a small nearby town. Over the years it has made car and bicycle tyres, plastics, aluminium and chemicals, televisions, robotics and military equipment including gas masks. It didn’t move into the electrical business for nearly 30 years and only focused purely on telecommunications since the 1990s.

Despite its evolutionary nature the company has come to define Finland. It has 132,000 employees; Finland has a population of 5.4m. In 2003 it accounted for one quarter of all Finland’s exports. In 2007 it was responsible for a third of the market capitalisation of the entire Helsinki stock exchange. Its dominance is a unique situation for any industrialised country and its huge ‘Nokia House’ headquarters (pictured below) overpower its hometown of Espoo.
b1c8cf%7C9f3f Nokia House How Finland Brought Down Nokia and Revived Itself

“It created an attitude of complacency in the population that we are trying to change,” said Siilasmaa. “Nokia became a victim of its own success because over time this attitude then filtered through the company.” READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

GenevaSound Model M Speaker Dock

June 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

GenevaSound returns with a new version of its £550 Model M iPod dock. It looks like an enlarged Model S, but is bigger always better? Here is an extract of my thoughts for TrustedReviews

 

GenevaSound Model M Speaker Dock

  • Reviewed by Gordon Kelly
  • 15 June 2011

Our Rating

  • 6/10

Scores in detail

  • Design
    6/10
  • Features
    5/10
  • Sound Quality
    8/10
  • Usability
    9/10
  • Value
    5/10
Price as reviewed: £549.00

There must be a glitch in the Matrix because we’re experiencing an extreme case of déjà vu. In October we reviewed GenevaSound’s excellent Model S and now the company has released the updated ‘Model M’, the midrange offering in a product line of S, M, L and XL docks. We liked the Model S so déjà vu must be a good thing, right? Sadly it is more complicated than that.

2f8a74 ecd7 front black GenevaSound Model M Speaker Dock

Our sense of familiarity kicked in the moment we took the Model M out of its box. From almost all angles it looks indistinguishable from the Model S. It has the same minimalistic styling and angular corners, the same circular bulge in its speaker mesh and even the same LED display blinking through it to indicate the input source or (in standby) the time. The design provokes something of a Marmite love it/hate it response – one comment was it looks like the Model S’s box! – but it is hard to criticise the consistency in GenevaSound’s Russian Doll product line.

That said where the two products do differ, surprisingly it is the Model M which lets the side down.  READ ON

Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right?

June 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The UN thinks so and it also believes the UK’s Digital Economy Act should be illegal. I weigh up the pros and cons for TrustedReviews

 

Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right?

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 11 June 2011

Air, water, free speech, Angry Birds… there are many things over the years we have come to see as basic human rights. According to the United Nations this week we should all start getting used to another, perhaps more surprising one, Internet access.

“Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states,” said the report from Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the United Nations. La Rue wrote the report “on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

UN Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right?

He explained that “the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies.” He added that “the recent wave of demonstrations in countries across the Middle East and North African region has shown the key role that the Internet can play in mobilizing the population to call for justice, equality, accountability and better respect for human rights.”

Why write this report now? La Rue noted that the Internet has existed since the 1960s, but said its evolution was such that today there is “incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life”.

Is La Rue right? READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Apple Signals the Start of a Post-PC Era

June 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The talk surrounding Apple’s latest announcement may have been about new iOS and iCloud features, but ultimately the theme was the demise of the PC… Here is an extract of my thoughts for TrustedReviews.

 

Apple Signals the Start of a Post-PC Era

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 08 June 2011

At the start of May we wrote an opinion piece entitled iCloud.com: Apple’s most important development in years? On Monday night it proved to be so. Steve Jobs took to the stage of the Moscone Centre for Apple’s annual World Wide Developers’ Conference and unveiled iCloud, a service which will fundamentally change the company’s business model forever.

iCloud had long been rumoured, but for once Apple realised it was too important to play games and used the week before WWDC to declare: “At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch; and iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.”

3d3f66 288e iCloud sync Apple Signals the Start of a Post PC Era

If this was out of character then so is the theory behind iCloud itself: the beginning of a post-PC era. Until now Apple has built its iPod, iPhone and iPad product lines upon the strict practice that they must be tethered to a computer to sync with iTunes. The computer stopped these devices from being truly mobile and iTunes tied them to Apple’s software ecosystem. This methodology was so strong Apple had begun to fall behind its rivals leading us to discuss in March Why Apple Runs Shy of the Cloud. As we declared at the time: “the business model which currently serves Apple so well will increasingly become a noose around its neck if it keeps refusing to evolve.”

Well evolve it has and from a business perspective it has evolved brilliantly. READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Windows 8 Is Microsoft’s Riskiest Product to Date

June 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

A somewhat late link to my weekend TrustedReviews feature: Why there has never been a more exciting or more troubling product to emerge from the Redmond giant.

 

Windows 8 Is Microsoft’s Riskiest Product to Date

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 04 June 2011

We hadn’t seen Windows 8 until Wednesday, but most of us already had a decent idea of what to expect: a Windows/Windows Phone hybrid. It is exactly what we got and the reality is every bit as exciting and every bit as troubled as we had expected.

5a9e24 d17e TR start Windows 8 Is Microsofts Riskiest Product to Date
Having been a big fan of recent Microsoft moves we’ll start with the positives and the most positive aspect of Windows 8 is its ambition. Microsoft is calling Windows 8 a “new platform” and it is the first radical shake-up of Windows’ underlying code for more than 15 years. It offers both a Windows Phone-esque ‘Metro’ live tile touch friendly interface and a standard desktop experience with the ability to switch between and even merge them at will. According to Microsoft this is no mere skin, the live tile UI is a core part of the OS….

…Given Windows 8′s support of ARM chips… Laptop, PC and tablet can all coexist: three different form factors across two fundamentally different chipset technologies. In fact it makes Apple’s tablet policy – essentially ‘a big iPod touch’ – look limited and short sighted. The problem is: what if the reality is actually the other way round? READ ON

Can Intel Wrestle Arm?

June 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Intel aims to beat Moore’s Law, but that might not be enough to beat ARM… read an extract below from my feature at TrustedReviews.

 

Can Intel Wrestle Arm?

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 01 June 2011

I’m sure you’ve heard of Moore’s Law. It claims the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit will double approximately every two years. This is often incorrectly quoted as performance doubling every 18 months, but regardless it is a phenomenal technological achievement which has remained true for 46 years. Yesterday Intel revealed its latest roadmap will out accelerate Moore’s Law and the most remarkable thing is this might not be enough…

d3a038 b5ee 81b856 f94a asusux2011 05 28 1 Can Intel Wrestle Arm?

In unveiling its Ultrabook concept, Intel executive vice president Sean Maloney said its Atom line of processors will be getting a die shrink every year for the next three years. That means the 32nm Cedar Trail design will be succeeded by 22nm and 14nm versions by 2014. “Sandy Bridge is the first step in reinventing the PC,” proclaimed Maloney. “The second step is Ivy Bridge, which is built on our industry-leading 22-nanometer process. The third step is Haswell in 2013. We will double the battery life.”

The first Ultrabook will be the Asus UX21 (pictured) and Maloney believes the new sector will claim a whopping 40 per cent of the notebook market within 18 months. What Maloney didn’t address, however, is who will claim the remaining 60 per cent? If you believe the foke at ARM, the answer is them. READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

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