All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, regardless of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn a commission for the partners.
As the year draws to a close, there are still plenty of interesting gadgets, instruments and review devices. We have a new add-on this week Halo series with Hello: infinite, which Jessica Conditt says fits in well with the rest of the franchise. Terrence O’Brien played the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster and reported that the hybrid instrument produces compelling acoustic sounds that resonate with the original guitar. James Trew used Analogue Pocket and says it’s currently the best available retro experience in hand, period. And Billy Steele listened to the Yahamin YH-L700A, which he found a bit difficult, albeit great for watching movies.
Billy Steele loves looks Yamaha YH-L700A headphones: says that the combination of leather, fabric, matte black and silver details gives a refined look, while square folding earphones make travel easier. A noteworthy feature on these headphones is the 3D sound field feature, which consists of seven preset settings to enhance music and movies. There’s also a head tracking feature that makes the sound seem to come from a fixed point.
Billy says this last feature added a cinematic element to watching movies, but he didn’t think it translates when he listens to music. Seven preset 3D sound fields also worked better for movies and television where they created spacious sound. While testing filters with music, Billy reports that they felt difficult and did not work well in a variety of genres. He says active noise removal on these cans is sufficient, if not impressive, and points out that frame features can be turned on and off within the app. However, he was disappointed with the battery life – during testing the headphones managed to last a little less than 11 hours, which is weak when most of the competition can boast a battery life of close to 30 hours. And for $ 500 they have a high price tag.
James Trew has been a fan of vintage gaming for many years and quickly points out that he is Analog pocket is currently the best experience available, also not for casual users. Priced at $ 220, it allows you to play most vintage portable titles from Game Boy as well as Game Gear, while adapters for Neo Geo Pocket Color and Atari Lynx are on the way. It also has more modern accessories, such as a backlit display. And in addition to being a quality gaming device, the Analogue Pocket can also be connected to a TV and has built-in music making software.
Because of its FPGA “cores”, Pocket can emulate vintage consoles at the hardware level – no more emulator whims. It is also functional with original Game Boy accessories such as Game Boy Camera, printers or rumble packages. And it can connect with an authentic Game Boy for a multiplayer experience. James liked the 3.5-inch screen made with Gorilla Glass as well as the storage status, but wished the buttons on the shoulders were better and said some of the display modes sometimes obscure the messages on the screen. Overall, Analogue Pocket offers an enhanced retro game with enough upcoming extra features to ensure it gets better over time.
Jessica Conditt had high hopes Halo: Infinitely, the first open world game in franchise history. And he admits that playing the new story has brought back warm, cheerful 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 done by other, newer games, and a cramped map made for limited and linear play.
With that in mind, Jessica reports having a lot of fun playing with the newly available mechanics and tools, especially the catch hook. From climbing mountains to scaling buildings, the catch hook provides new vertical space for players to explore. Jessica says that while she expected a lot more from the pioneering FPS title, she also thinks it’s best when it provides users with a rich environment full of grappling, protection and head-to-head shooting. From levels like mazes, military stereotypes and sarcastic robots, Infinity play like a classic Halo game.
Terrence O’Brien immediately admits that Hydrasynth Explorer offers an outstanding array of features and options in a portable, well-built device. For $ 600, you get an eight-note polyphonic wave morphing motor, three voice oscillators, a ring modulator, a noise source, and over 200 waveforms. There are also two filters that can be in series or parallel to determine how much each oscillator goes to each filter. He says that in the 88-page manual, it seems as if he is just flipping through the surface of what synth is capable of.
However, you don’t have to master sound design tools to get started with the instrument – just dig into the 640 preset settings arranged in five groups of 128 patches. During testing, Terrence found the Explorer easy to use thanks to the neatly marked parts on the front panel. A few things missing on the versatile device are the correct sequencer, full-size buttons, and touch-sensitive straps instead of tilt and mode wheels. There are also only three filter buttons instead of five. Despite this, Terrence still believes the Explorer is worth its price given its great sound, solid construction and plenty of research tools.
Terrence O’Brien also spent some time with the new one Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster, which lowers $ 800 compared to the price of the previous model. For $ 1,200, you get a satin mahogany and spruce finish with a rosewood extension, two pickups and a three-way switch with six sound options. Instead of a rechargeable battery, the Player runs on a standard nine-volt cell. Terrence reports that it consumes batteries surprisingly quickly, but remains convenient.
When it comes to how the instrument sounded, Terrence reports that while there are fewer acoustic simulations on this model, the two offerings (Rosewood Dreadnought and Mahogany Small Body) cover a lot of terrain. He says he prefers Telecaster’s electric sound to more expensive Jazzmaster, because it is more reminiscent of the original guitar and plays better with the pedals. Terrence says the two acoustic simulations offer depth and character, and overall the hybrid guitar is the perfect couch instrument.
Terrence O’Brien believes that Universal Audi’s first breakthrough into the budget space has been successful. The company Volt series, five models ranging from $ 139 to $ 369, are affordable audio interfaces that share a core 24-bit / 192 kHz audio converter and a preamplifier with “Vintage” mode that aims to recreate those classic preamp sounds. Terrence tested the $ 189 Volt 2 and the $ 299 Volt 276, both of which are dual-input interfaces.
The differences between the two models are small: the Volt 2 is simple and utilitarian, but works well with limited space, while the “76” version has a built-in compressor and will require extra desk space as most controls are on top. Terrence says the compressor makes a big difference because it is capable of softer edges to tame sharper frequencies. He also felt that the LEDs on the 276 were easier to see and that the wooden sides were nice to the touch. While the base models were excellent interfaces at reasonable prices, Terrence said the 176, 276 and 476 stood out from the pack thanks to their compressors, style and ergonomics.