Just like that, IFA 2020 came and went, but there’s plenty to celebrate from the Berlin-based trade show. All of the announcements can be overwhelming, so in this roundup we’re focusing on the audio segment of the show. From premium speakers to noise-cancelling advancements, these are the most interesting audio-related announcements from IFA 2020.
Harman Kardon Citation 200
Harman Kardon introduced its latest portable speaker, the Harman Kardon Citation 200. This smart speaker looks and sounds great, but that’s not all: it has an IPX4 rating, meaning it’s water resistant and its blended wool fabric covering is easy to clean.
The Citation 200 supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Just say “Hey Google” to play your favorite songs, set reminders, and more. Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay are both supported, so you can easily access your favorite streaming services. A tweeter, midrange driver, and two passive radiators rest within the cylindrical housing. Battery life lasts eight hours on a single charge, and the package includes a sleek charging cradle. If you bring it to a friend’s place and need to top it up, you can use a USB-C cable instead.
Although we don’t yet have a release date for the Harman Kardon Citation 200, it will be available in Winter Gray and Classic Black for €349.
JBL Xtreme 3
The JBL Xtreme 3 is cut from the same cloth as the rest of the JBL Xtreme speaker line. It features a long cylindrical build with bass radiators on either side. Battery life is upgraded from the previous version: you now get 15 hours of playtime on a single charge. Although this is a large speaker, it’s portable and is meant to be taken outdoors, as indicated by its IP67 dust and water-resistance rating. Adventurers can pick up the JBL Xtreme 3 in November for $349.95.
Asus ROG Delta S with MQA
Asus broke new ground at IFA 2020 by releasing the first gaming headset with MQA Audio. This means the Asus ROG Delta S USB-C gaming headset reproduces engaging sound that emulates how you would hear it in 3D space, rather than in stereo mode. This is incredibly important for gamers, because it makes it easier to accurately identify where important sounds are coming from (e.g. an enemy’s footsteps). The ROG Delta S uses the ESS 9281 codec with a Quad-DAC converter, and can even be used to listen to MQA audio from music streaming services like Tidal.
We’ll update this article when we have more information on availability and pricing.
Sennheiser CX 400BT True Wireless
The Sennheiser CX 400BT True Wireless marries high-quality audio with a functional design. Sennheiser prioritizes audio quality first, but that doesn’t mean build and design fall to the wayside. Quite the contrary: these premium earphones use the same drivers found in the noise-cancelling Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, and a sophisticated, minimalist design. The earphones use Bluetooth 5.1 firmware, and support aptX, AAC, and SBC. No matter who’s listening, all can benefit from high-quality Bluetooth audio.
Touch controls are integrated into the earbuds’ flat panel housings, and allow for direct virtual assistant access. Noise-reducing microphones are embedded to ensure clear audio transmission. Listeners are promised an impressive seven-hour battery life, with an additional 20 hours of playtime provided by the case. The earphones will be available in black and white on September 15, for $199.95.
Qualcomm Adaptive ANC
Qualcomm has its hand in just about everything. The chipmaker recently announced Qualcomm Adaptive ANC, a dedicated processor that promises to improve real time noise-cancelling performance. This means that headsets featuring Qualcomm Adaptive ANC will optimize noise-cancelling regardless of how the headset fits, similar to how the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live operate. Producing a technology that intelligently adapts noise-cancelling intensity despite a poor fit is a technological feat. Noise cancellation will adapt to your specific surroundings and transitions will be smooth between noise environments. The technology will be available on the Qualcomm 514X series of Bluetooth SoCs.
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