Bowers & Wilkins scoops four gongs at What Hi-fi Awards

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Its official: P7 Mobile Hi-fi headphones set a new standard for sound quality on the move. An ambitious pair of headphones for B&W, but that ambition pays off in spades, said the What Hi-fi? Sound and Vision Awards judges as they named P7 Best portable on-ears 300+. Were extremely proud of this, the first award for P7. What Hi-fis five-star review of P7 says The P7s arent just the pinnacle of Bowers & Wilkins headphone range, they represent the height of headphone performance at this price level.

Meanwhile three of our critically acclaimed home cinema speaker packages scooped What Hi-fi Awards for the second year running. Bowers & Wilkins CM9 Theatre won Best traditional package 3,500+, with What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision judging the speakers: Wonderful A satisfyingly high-end listening experience at a fairly attainable price.

MT-60D was also awarded Best style package 1,800+ with the judges verdict: A true all-rounder: its adept at everything youd want a 5.1-channel surround speaker package to do, confident in stereo, beautifully built, and versatile when it comes to installation. And MT-50 scooped Best style package 1,000-1,400? with judges particularly impressed by the combination of Small package [and] hugely impressive sound.

Plantronics Headsets Offer Exemplary Gaming Experience

My basic review of the new earpiece it begins well, looks pretty awesome, is simple to run and really energy resourceful, the radio earpiece is a excellent item. I’m happy I bought it, read more underneath.

earpieceThe 1960’s bore witness to the creation of a lightweight, highly functional aviation headset. This, no later became the first model endorsed by Plantronics Inc. If it were not for the ingenuity of 2 men, airline pilots would still be stuck with the big and uncomfortable headsets they had back then. Courtney Graham and Keith Larkin, the mastermind behind this invention, made sure that the first portable headsets was endowed with airline standard technology to make it useful during flight. With the backing of government agencies, further improvements were made and Plantronics headsets soon found their way to space. With its unparalleled design and technology, these headsets now dominate the telecommunication industry, occupying big and small corporations, as well as homes all across the globe. Furthermore, they have broadened their scope from correspondence to gaming and entertainment, giving users the satisfaction of pristine sound quality even for plain Xbox gaming.

With today’s increasing technology in gaming and in audio, Plantronics has manufactured a new set of headsets made exactly for these type of entertainment. Its’ hottest gaming headsets are the GameCom X30 and X20 made for the Xbox 360 console.

Console games have two important elements working for them: graphics and sound. The picture displays the story. However, the sound is what makes players feel it. It is what hints them a sudden plot turn. It gives them an instinctual overview of what to expect. Without hearing the progressively intensified beats as you approach you target in Assassin’s Creed or the loud cheers of fans as you put a close to the fourth quarter in NBA live; you wouldn’t have any idea that you are actually nearing your goal. And you wouldn’t feel excited. Hence, o fully enjoy your gaming moment, there is a need for both excellent graphics and sound.

Players get the most out of their gaming experience with the GameCom X30’s sleek design. This plantronics headset puts users in the midst of their game, melding them with the game’s lush environment. Users will not feel any discomfort while using the GameCom X30 even during long periods of game play. The lightness of this product gives the impression that it is not there when being used. This kind of headset can be used all night long without having to bother other people with the noise speakers make. It’s single ear design also permits gamers to be fully aware of their actual surroundings at the same time keeping them immersed in the game world. The X20 and X30 designs have a custom fit that is flexible enough for all to enjoy.

The noise-canceling feature makes plantronics headsets a great product since it eliminates any unnecessary background noise whenever a user is talking to the players through the microphone. The feedback voices of these players will also not overcome the actual game audio. The volume and mute controls of the GameCom X30 and X20 headsets are easily accessible so that users will not have to deal with the annoying gaming disruptions while trying to adjust the sound. A variety of colors, styles and designs are available to fit the preferences of all types of gamers.

There’s no need to worry about the budget because gaming headsets are more affordable compared to office headsets. But before buying one for your gaming needs, you must first identify some official plantronics distributors. This is the only way to be certain that you’ll be able to bring home a genuine plantronics headset.

Top gaming headsets

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Gaming headsets are a necessary tool in the toolset of any gamer. A gaming headset can save you a lot of trouble, heartache, quarrels and embarrassment. Except you are living alone or you are otherwise playing your games in a sound-proof room, you will definitely experience challenges whenever you try to play your games after sunset. Your only option is to get a gaming headset, and the sooner you do this, the better off you will be. As an added benefit, you also get to immerse yourself more in your games; you will now be able to hear people trying to sneak up on you in an FPS game, you will also hear subtle sounds you never got to hear on your normal speakers, and you will also experience the joys of positional audio, just to name a few.
There is a large variety of gaming headsets in the market, but I would like to group them into three categories for the purpose of this article, namely; budget, mid-range, and high-end. Budget headsets should go for less than $60, mid-range headsets will go for between $60 and $200, while high-end headsets will cost more than $200. Without further ado let us sample the various gaming headsets on offer.
See all 6 photos Earforce X12 Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 Gaming Headset and Amplified Stereo SoundAmazon Price: $46.26
List Price: $59.99Budget (Less than $60) Are you on a tight budget? These headsets will make you smile.
Ear Force X12 Amplified Stereo Headset with chat The Turtle Beach Earforce X12 is an update to the extremely popular X11. The X12 is sturdy and feels strong enough to withstand some abuse and it has big, comfortable ear cups. The microphone is good and has an appreciable level of sensitivity although it uses a 3.5mm connector, and there is a microphone monitoring feature which enables you to hear what you say into the microphone. There is an inline amplifier which sports controls for; chat volume, game volume, bass boost and microphone mute. Audio output is also top notch for this price, making this headset a fantastic update to the X11.
What’s hot:

Microphone monitoring

Variable Bass control

Sensitive microphone

Inline amplifier
What’s bad:

Only 3.5mm microphone connector
See all 6 photos Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage USB Gaming HeadsetAmazon Price: Too low to display
List Price: $79.99Creative Soundblaster Tactic 3D Sigma USB Gaming Headset Creative are well known for their stellar sound blaster cards so it is no wonder that they also have some nice headsets. The 3D sigma headset has a good build; it has a steel core headband, swivel ear cups, and unlike many other headsets it has a ribbon cord (which easily prevents knotting). The microphone is of the noise-cancelling variety, is detachable, and is quite good for this price point. Connectivity is achieved either through the 3.5mm connectors or through the included USB adapter. The 3D sigma outputs high quality, 3D audio which even rivals the surround sound output from more expensive headsets. The headset is also comfortable and has inline volume and microphone controls, the only let down is some slight issues with some versions of Windows 7.
What’s hot:

3D audio

Ribbon cord

Option of USB or analog connectors

Detachable noise cancelling microphone

Swivel ear cups

Voice morphing application
What’s bad:

Might have issues with some versions of Windows 7
See all 6 photos Logitech G35 Logitech G35 7.1-Channel Surround Sound HeadsetAmazon Price: $91.70
List Price: $129.99Mid-range (between $60 and $200) If you want to up the ante but have a budget ceiling of $200, then this is your spot.
Logitech G35 7.1-Channel Surround Sound Headset The G35 is a surround sound headset from Logitech, the popular accessory manufacturer. It is well built, although I have to admit it does look a wee bit geeky and futuristic. All the headset’s controls are conveniently located on the ear cups; microphone mute, volume controls, surround sound adjustment, and three programmable G keys. Ear cups are of the ear enclosing variety and are comfortable, you also get three changeable headband pads for added customization. The microphone is a noise-cancelling type and can be muted by raising the boom arm, the tip of the boom arm also has a mute indicator to let you know when you have muted the microphone. Audio output is 7.1 channel, Dolby powered, surround sound and is of a very high quality. Topping off the design is a 10ft braided cable and a USB connector.
What’ hot:

Dolby powered 7.1 ch surround sound

Three changeable headband pads

Audio controls on ear cup

Noise cancelling microphone

Braided cable

Microphone Mute light

Voice morphing software
What’s bad:

No equalizer
See all 6 photos Tritton TRIAX-720 AX 720 Mad Catz AX 720 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming HeadsetAmazon Price: $119.99
List Price: $129.99Tritton TRIAX-720 AX 720 Dolby Digital Surround Sound The Tritton AX 720 is a mid-range gaming headset that retails for just over $100. For this price you get a headset with a decent build, and replaceable ear pads. There is dolby digital 5.1 audio, although it is emulated 5.1 channel surround sound it does a good emulation in both games and movies. There is an inline controller and it has a master volume control, master volume control mute, chat volume control, and microphone mute switch. The inline controller is also detachable. The microphone is decent enough and is detachable. Apart from the inline controller there is also a digital audio control box which has a host of ports (like optical input) for devices like your PS3 and Xbox360. All in all a decent mid-range gaming headset.
What’s hot:

Removeable microphone

Dolby powered 5.1 ch surround sound (simulated)

Separate game and chat volume controls

Optical connecion available

Also compatible with PS3 and Xbox360
What’s bad:

Not optimal for music

So many cables
See all 6 photos Beyerdynamic MMX 300 Beyerdynamic 715565 PC Gaming Premium Digital Headset with MicrophoneAmazon Price: $397.79
List Price: $459.00High-end (above $200) For professional gamers only. Spending more than $200 on a gaming headset is no mean feat, and It is for this reason that I have listed the following headsets; get one of these and you will be satisfied.
Beyerdynamic MMX 300 PC Gaming Premium Digital Headset with Microphone
The Beyerdynamic MMX 300 is a top notch gaming headset and it is my top pick. The MMX 300 is based on Beyerdynamic’s HS 300 aviation headset and it provides excellent sound isolation. The headband is flexible and feels comfortable on the head while the ear pads completely cover your ears. The attached microphone is adjustable and also very sensitive, you might need to reduce the sensitivity a bit. The two connectors on the headset are the standard 3.5mm connectors, but Beyerdynamic have thoughtfully included a USB converter for those who would rather connect through their USB ports. To top it off there is a mute button, a volume control, and it comes with a carrying bag.
What’s hot:

Nice sound isolation

Quality sound output

Sensitive microphone

Comfortable

Choice of analog or USB connectors
What’s bad:

Might require a headphone amplifier

See all 6 photos Sennheiser PC 360 Sennheiser PC 360 Headset for Pro GamingAmazon Price: $166.60
List Price: $249.95Sennheiser PC 360 Headset for Pro Gaming
My second choice is the Sennheiser PC 360, a decent alternative to the the Beyerdynamic. The PC 360 has a good build with velvet ear pads and a cushioned headband, the volume control is ingeniously located on the the ear cup for easy access. The microphone is an adjustable, noise cancelling microphone and it is quite good, even reportedly better than the one on the beyerdynamic; in a touch of brilliance, raising the microphone boom all the way up will mute the microphone. There is no sound isolation as this headset is of the open air variety, although this will prevent you from having sweaty ears when you go on marathon gaming sessions.
What’s hot:

Noise cancelling microphone with boom arm acting as mute switch

Accessible volume control on ear cup

Quality sound output

Very comfortable

Open air design
What’s bad:

No sound isolation

Might need a headphone amplifier
Summary You can not go wrong with any of the headsets I have highlighted above because they are some of the best headsets in their class, and there are also numerous customer reviews attesting to their quality. Most users have also reported improvements in their gaming sessions because of the new range of sounds they can now hear, if you want to hone your gaming skills and you also want to engage in extended gaming sessions; I would seriously consider getting one of these headsets.

Riveting, Nimble & Elegant Thriller ‘Grand Piano’ Starring Elijah Wood & John Cusack

Riveting, Nimble & Elegant Thriller ‘Grand Piano’ Starring Elijah Wood & John Cusack
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A welcome reminder that high-concept thrillers neednt rely on stupid coincidences and even stupider characters in order to succeed, Grand Piano turns the unlikeliest of scenarios into a riveting battle of wills. The story of a concert pianist whose comeback performance gets hijacked by a sniper with a secret agenda, director Eugenio Miras latest film breathlessly combines artistic anxiety and personal desperation, providing its character with a journey as intense emotionally as it is physically. In fact, probably the best Brian De Palma movie he never made, Grand Piano expands the boundaries of single-location, real-time mysteries like Phone Booth and Panic Room with a brilliantly simple concept and nimble, elegant style.

Elijah Wood plays Tom Selznick, a master-class pianist set to play in public for the first time in five years. Having famously choked during a performance of a piece by his late mentor, he is understandably nervous about his return to the stage. But shortly after he begins playing, he discovers that someone has marked up his sheet music with threats to murder him and his wife Emma (Kerry Bish) unless he performs flawlessly. Receiving an earpiece (www.monvans.com) that allows his would-be puppetmaster (John Cusack) to communicate with him, he’s confronted with a challenge that has multiple repercussionsnamely, in delivering a performance that not only saves his career, but his very life.

As loath as I am to describe the music in the film as another character, the concerto written by Victor Reyes is absolutely essential, providing a (no pun intended) meticulously orchestrated through line that frames and enhances each new development in the story even as it serves as a ubiquitous reminder of Selznicks past failures. That it occasionally allows him to depart the stage mid-performance constitutes great planning on Miras part, but the fact that it provides a parallel line for Selznicks emotional state as he embarks on this unexpected rollercoaster is truly masterful. There are few modern examples of music being truly integrated into storytelling, certainly as well as this film does, and even without an appreciation for classical composition, theres much to admire about its use and effectiveness.

As the man behind the keys, Wood carries the film, finding a believable and compelling arc for a character whose default setting might in lesser hands be desperation. Selznicks paralyzing fears of choking a second time are echoed repeatedly in dialogue in opening scenes, first during a particularly contentious phone interview commemorating the performance, then from virtually everyone he encountershes not allowed to forget how grandly he flopped five years prior, even if he could manage to forgive himself. But through Wood, the character convincingly evolves over the course of the film, initially aiming for perfection out of fear, and then slowly building his confidence as he begins to devise a way to turn the tables on his unseen adversary.

Wood is an ideal casting choice for a role like thishandsome and obviously gifted, but overshadowed physically by the actress who plays his more-successful movie star wifeand he turns an otherwise self-contained journey into an opportunity for personal empowerment and professional redemption. Meanwhile, Cusack has less to do physically as the voice on the other end of Selznicks earpiece, but he nevertheless communicates a palpable sense of danger that his victim is right to take seriously. Together, they create a psychological duel worthy of the films theatrical pitch, cementing its intensity as the final, crucial notes of Selznicks performance rapidly approach.

Serving as more than a welcome contrast to the handheld, improvisational camerawork of too many other movies these days, Miras direction is a marvel of fluidity and poetry. The careful composition of each shot enhances the films melodramatic sweep without distracting from the story and performances; whether simply taking inspiration or outright stealing pages from (classic) De Palmas playbook, Mira distinguishes his film with a classical, muscular visual style that suits its high-society backdrop, and mirrors Selznicks mental scramble to focus on his performance and his potential murder at the same time.

Although hes occasionally distracted by expository or plot-lengthening devices such as the snipers accomplice and Selznick’s wifes obnoxiously self-involved friend, Mira makes a breakthrough here as a storyteller and visual stylist that should pay great dividends, regardless of whether or not he chooses to migrate from Spain to Hollywood. But regardless of his own future, Mira makes Selznicks comeback a remarkably immediate experience by dropping the audience into the middle of his implausible, heightened concept and then enabling them to identify with the characters anguish. Ultimately an expertly timed, painstakingly assembled and endlessly engaging game of cat and mouse, Grand Piano succeeds as a whole for the same reasons that Selznick doesnamely, because Mira brings all of its elements to work together in concert, and then executes them like a virtuoso.