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Sennheiser Launches the HD 490 PRO Reference Studio Headphones

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Sennheiser today launched its brand-new open-back HD 490 PRO reference studio headphones, purpose-built for producing, mixing and mastering. The circumaural, dynamic headphones feature highly precise sound reproduction and a very wide and realistic sound stage. This superior accuracy and range give producers, mixing and mastering engineers, as well as musicians, the transparency they need for critical mixing decisions and for confidently resolving any panning placement issues. The HD 490 PRO and HD 490 PRO Plus (includes additional accessories) will be available from the end of January 2024.

“If you compare today’s music productions with that of ten, 20 years ago, you will notice how the massively increased computing power and complex parameter automation have changed how music is made,” shares Jimmy Landry, Category Market Manager for MI at Sennheiser. “In every genre, engineers and music creators are continuously pushing boundaries, creating extremely complex mixes that can be prone to so-called ‘audio blind spots’. Mixes can be crowded and muddy, with too many instruments sitting at the same position and their frequencies competing. For the engineer or musician, it becomes difficult to hear each instrument or voice distinctly. This goes to show the importance of a good pair of studio headphones.”

To tackle this complexity, the Sennheiser engineers have given the HD 490 PRO an extremely wide, dimensional sound stage for precisely localising the components of a mix. Ultralight voice coils ensure a fast and authentic sound reproduction. The frequency response is uncoloured and honest across the entire audio spectrum, with the low end being full, accurate, and clearly defined thanks to a special low-frequency cylinder. The open-mesh ear cup covers reveal Sennheiser’s Open-frame Architecture, which minimises resonances and distortion. For an optimal listening experience, the transducers sit at a slight angle, thereby emulating a typical monitor loudspeaker setup.

“All these features combine to enable music professionals to identify and resolve any panning placement issues and troublesome low-end frequencies – ensuring clear mixes and superbly refined masters,” explains Gunnar Dirks, Sennheiser Product Manager. “The HD 490 PRO studio headphones put you in full control of every detail.”

An excellent pair of studio headphones would only be half as good if it were uncomfortable. Therefore, the Sennheiser engineers have put decades of experience in professional headset design into the HD 490 PRO. Their lightweight, ergonomic design eliminates any pressure points, as the headband does not press on the sensitive parts of the head. Also, the circumaural ear pads feature a Sennheiser-patented soft comfort zone for the temples of glasses while maintaining good sealing.

A patent has also been applied for regarding the special axes geometry of the HD 490 PRO. This design makes sure that the headphones optimally adapt to the head when they are put on, and maintain an equal contact pressure no matter what the shape of the user’s head.

“When you’re creating music, the last thing you want is to be focusing on the fit of your headphones. The HD 490 PRO lets you feel the music and forget about the headphones,” says Landry. “The development of the HD 490 PRO was preceded by the biggest professional headphone survey we ever did, where users voted neutral and flat reference audio as the most important feature,” explains Dirks. “However, when we took a look at market figures, we discovered that a slightly warmer sound was preferred over a 100% neutral response. Therefore, we decided to give our customers two headphones in one – by providing two different sets of ear pads that were carefully designed to shape the sound differently.”

The producing ear pads (velour) of the HD 490 PRO have a slightly warmer response to create perspective and help users make a holistic judgement of the sound. The mixing ear pads (fabric), on the other hand, allow for a very flat, neutral sound that helps dive into detail when a sound reference is needed in finishing off a mix. Both ear pads are washable – a solution that is both hygienic and sustainable.

The HD 490 PRO includes a free licence for the innovative dearVR MIX-SE plugin from Dear Reality. The plugin turns a DAW into an ultimate virtual mixing environment, simulating the carefully designed acoustics of ideal mixing studios. Not only is the engineer or musician placed in the sweet spot, but dear VR MIX-SE also helps them ensure a balanced and consistent translation of their mixes on different systems.

The meticulous design of this top-of-the-range studio model does not stop with the accessories. For example, the headphone cable can be plugged into the right or left earpiece of the HD 490 PRO to cater to different studio setups and preferences. A patented cable coil structure ensures that the headphone cable does not transmit any noise when it hits the desk or rubs against the clothing. The left/right designation is visible on the inside dust covers of the transducers, while for the visually impaired, the ear cups carry braille information.

Each HD 490 PRO is delivered complete with two different sets of ear pads (mixing and producing) plus a 1.8 m headphone cable and a dearVR MIX-SE licence. It retails at AED 1503 ex-Vat. The HD 490 PRO Plus, priced at AED 1803 ex-Vat, additionally includes a 3 m cable, a transport case, and an extra fabric headband pad in addition to the standard velour headband. All Plus extras are also available as individual accessories. A balanced headphone cable (EUR 39 MSRP, USD 39 MAP) is available as an optional. “If you are looking for studio headphones that give you the transparency and excellent localisation needed for crafting outstanding mixes, the HD 490 PRO are your choice,” says Jimmy Landry.

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Audio Devices

Sony Intros ULT POWER SOUND Series of Speakers and Headphones

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Sony Middle East and Africa has launched ULT POWER SOUND series – a new series of wireless speakers and headphones designed to make you feel like you have dived into the front row of the arena. Built for music lovers, it produces powerful deep sound designed to make your heart tremble. The new range consists of wireless speakers ULT TOWER 10, ULT FIELD 7, ULT FIELD 1, and wireless headphones ULT WEAR. All models in the series include the ULT button, providing signature sound quality by enhancing the music with one or two different sound modes.

ULT TOWER 10
Turn your home into party central with massive bass, 360° Party Sound, 360° Party Light and karaoke, thanks to a supplied wireless mic. You can even connect the speaker to your TV to boost the sound of the things you love to watch.

ULT FIELD 7
Liven up your day with punchy bass and expressive lighting wherever you go. The ULT FIELD 7 lets you take the party anywhere thanks to the waterproof and dustproof construction plus a long battery life means you can party for longer. You can even connect to a mic for karaoke on the go.

ULT FIELD 1
Bring your favourite tunes anywhere with enhanced bass built into a compact package with the ULT FIELD 1. Complete with a multi-way strap for ease of use, take your waterproof, dustproof and even shockproof speaker anywhere for longer, thanks to a long battery life.

ULT WEAR
With exceptional bass and improved Noise Cancelling, Sony’s new ULT WEAR headphones let you bring your favourite festival or club feel with you, everywhere you go.

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Audio Devices

Sony Inzone H5 WH-G500 Review: A Deep Dive for Discerning Gamers

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Sony has entered into the competitive gaming headsets industry by launching the new Inzone H5 WH-G500. This headset promises an immersive audio experience, long-lasting comfort, and clear communication – all crucial aspects for the dedicated gamer. But how well does it deliver on these promises?

 

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Let’s deep dive into the promises H5 brings along to understand its functionalities and strengths.

Unboxing and First Impressions
The H5 arrives in a sleek, PlayStation-inspired package. Inside, you’ll find the headset itself, a boom microphone, a 2.4 GHz wireless USB dongle with a PC/PS5 toggle switch, a short USB-C charging cable, a 3.5mm audio cable, and a user manual.

The design leans towards minimalism, with a matte black plastic build and white accents adorning the earcups and headband. While not the most visually striking, the materials feel sturdy and lightweight at 260 gms.

Comfort and Fit
The H5 prioritises comfort for extended gaming sessions. The plush earcups are crafted from soft, breathable nylon fabric that conforms well to the ears. The headband padding is generous, and the clamping force is gentle, ensuring minimal pressure on your head. However, individuals with larger heads might find the earcups slightly snug.

Technical Specifications and Connectivity
The H5 uses a 2.4 GHz wireless connection for low latency and a stable connection. The included dongle offers a convenient plug-and-play experience for both PC and PS5. You also get Bluetooth connectivity. A 3.5mm jack is also available for wired connectivity to other devices if needed.

Battery life is impressive, boasting a maximum of 28 hours on a single charge, on paper. In real-world tests, we were able to clock a bit longer than 24-hour battery life, which is great. This translates to a day’s worth of worry-free gaming before needing to reach for the cable.

Audio Performance
The H5’s core feature is its 360 Spatial Sound technology. This software-driven solution aims to recreate a surround sound experience, allowing you to pinpoint the direction and distance of in-game sounds. While effective for enhancing immersion, there is a slight lack of detail and a somewhat “hollow” sound compared to traditional stereo setups.

The bass response leans towards the neutral side, which might not be ideal for those seeking a punchier sound profile. However, the H5 comes with the “Inzone Hub” software, offering an equaliser with several presets and the ability to create custom profiles. This allows for some level of sound personalisation depending on your preference.

Microphone
The boom microphone features noise cancellation technology to filter out background noise and ensure clear voice communication. During our tests, the microphone performed brilliantly by eliminating most background noise.

There is a dedicated volume rocker, which allows you to easily access controls located on the left earcup for quick adjustments during gameplay. The left earcup also includes the 3.5mm audio jack and the USB-C port. The right earcup includes the Game and Chat buttons. The microphone automatically mutes when flipped upwards, offering a convenient way to mute yourself.

The H5 seems tailor-made for PC and PS5 gamers seeking a comfortable headset with a strong emphasis on in-game spatial audio. Its lightweight design and long battery life cater to marathon gaming sessions.

Verdict
The Sony Inzone H5 WH-G500 offers a compelling package for a specific audience. Its focus on comfort, long battery life, and 360 Spatial Sound makes it suitable for dedicated gamers seeking an immersive audio experience during extended gaming sessions. Its compatibility with both PC and PlayStation makes it a versatile choice for gamers across platforms.

Price: AED 549

Sony Inzone H5 WH-G500 AED 549
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The H5’s core feature is its 360 Spatial Sound technology. This software-driven solution aims to recreate a surround sound experience, allowing you to pinpoint the direction and distance of in-game sounds.

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Audio Devices

TOZO HT2 ANC Wireless Headphones Review: Affordable Excellence in Sound and Comfort

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At Gadget Voize, we’ve previously reviewed a couple of TOZO audio products such as the Golden X1 Wireless Earbuds and the Open Buds. Both offered commendable build and sound quality at a reasonable price.

Recently, we had the opportunity to test the new HT2 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones from TOZO. These over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones deliver quality sound, active noise cancellation (ANC), and equalizer (EQ).

What’s in the Box?
The package includes the TOZO HT2 Hybrid ANC Wireless Headphones, a 3.5mm analogue audio cable, a charging cable, a quick start guide, and a user manual.

Design and Comfort
The review unit we received was black with a matte finish. The headset is primarily made of polycarbonate materials, with the glossy TOZO logo offering a striking contrast against the matte backdrop.

The HT2 features an adjustable band with a brushed metal finish, allowing you to customise the fit. The right ear cup houses the power and volume buttons at the back, and the noise cancellation button at the front. Additionally, an audio port and a USB Type-C charging port are located at the bottom of the right ear cup, providing flexibility for wired or Bluetooth connections.

The headphones are extremely comfortable for prolonged use. The notably soft earmuffs enhance the overall comfort. The plastic build contributes to a lightweight design, making them an ideal travel companion.

Review of the TOZO Golden X1 Wireless Earbuds in the UAE

Sound Quality
The TOZO HT2 headphones offer a very good sound quality, characterised by deep bass, clear mids, and sharp highs. Although they might not meet the high standards of audiophiles, they provide a good sound signature, with a strong soundstage, and powerful bass response.

One of the standout features of the TOZO HT2 is the customisable EQ, available through the TOZO app. The app offers 16 EQ sound profiles, allowing you to adjust the sound to your preference. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who appreciate a personalised audio experience.

The TOZO HT2 comes with Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which effectively minimises low-frequency noise. While it may not be top-tier, the ANC is adequate and does a good job of blocking external noise.

Connectivity
The HT2 is equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, offering a reliable range of up to 10 meters. Beyond that range, the audio may start to stutter. The headphones also come with a built-in microphone. During testing, the call quality was quite good for a headset of this type. It’s also worth noting that the HT2 can connect to multiple devices simultaneously.

Battery Life
The TOZO HT2 headphones come with a 500mAh battery. At default settings with 50% volume, these headphones offer an impressive playback time of up to 60 hours without the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature.

Review: TOZO Open Buds

However, when ANC is enabled, the playback time decreases to around 40 hours under the same conditions. Such extensive battery life is remarkable, especially considering the price point at which the HT2 is available.

Verdict
The TOZO HT2 headphones deliver great value for their cost. They offer commendable sound quality, adjustable EQ settings, satisfactory noise cancellation, and a comfortable design. Whether you’re a budget-conscious audiophile or a casual listener, the TOZO HT2 headphones make for a reliable choice.

Price: $50

TOZO HT2 ANC Wireless Headphones $50
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The headphones are extremely comfortable for prolonged use. The notably soft earmuffs enhance the overall comfort. The plastic build contributes to a lightweight design, making them an ideal travel companion.

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