Audio Technology and Headsets Extravaganza CES 2014

The Consumer Technology Show in Las Vegas is an audio experience from top to bottom. Everywhere you turn, subwoofers rattle your bones and bad-ass speakers overwhelm you like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And that's just in the exhibits with new computing gear. The audio companies take it up another notch, with DJs and dancers and audio experiences like you've never heard. There's an audio tech zone, and audio technology companies in every pocket of every hall.

It's almost impossible to cover it all, and to be honest, at some point much of it starts to look the same, with a preponderance of Bluetooth headphones and speakers, WiFi speakers, and more. We tried to discover some of the truly new and interesting innovations, or at least some of the innovations from some of the bigger names.

We stumbled across a few products of note, like Yurbuds' Inspire Limited Edition Wireless earphones, Bluetooth in-ear stereo headphones made specifically for athletic activities. The company guarantees they'll never hurt, and never fall out.

Or the Dream One Wireless Speaker System, which lets you stream audio from your device over Bluetooth, WiFi, DLNA and Airplay. The secret sauce here, though, is that the Dream app tells the speakers to play a spatial test zone to try to determine the users' position in a given room, and then optimizes and customizes output based on what it learns. The system will be available in the fall for $599.

The Damson Jetstream I line of speakers attempts something similar. The scheme is called Optimized Room Audio (ORA). The speakers have little microphones that help learn the acoustic qualities of the environment and adjusts its frequency response for a more optimal listening experience. The speakers in this product line will also include the company's multi-zone technology, whereby up to eight speakers can be synced together without audible delay between speakers.

In the video below, we've showcased a handful of other technologies, with a particular focus on gaming headsets, like some new ones out of Turtle Beach. We saw the new TitanFall, for example, and the Z60. TitanFall is in the video, but the Z60 is also quite special, featuring a 60 mm speaker, and 7.1 surround sound.

We took a tour of Sennheiser's newest gaming headsets, a brand-new, first-ever gaming headset from Audio-Technica, and the latest from Plantronics. Both Turtle Beach and Plantronics include a module that lets you switch between game and call mode, even allowing you to simply adjust the volume on each. In other words, you can turn down (but not off) your game volume while you take a call. Finally, we also got a demonstration of Skullcandy's Air Raid drop proof, water resistant wireless speakers.

It's obviously difficult to get audio quality across in a video, but you'll get a general idea of what's new, enough to whet your appetite.

(Editors note: The video below is sponsored by DTS, which was showcasing its HeadphoneX and Play-Fi technology. DTS is featured in the video separately. The other products we covered were chosen independently by our editorial team.)

Fritz Nelson
Fritz Nelson is Editor-at-Large of Tom's Hardware US.
  • elcentral
    man the in video screen capture did not turn out good for this lady.
  • facevalue
    That video screenshot is priceless.
  • biggestinsect
    Feel a little bad for her. I've looked a lot worse but not as a screen shot on a fairly major tech site.
  • FritzEiv
    Editor's note: The default capture was horrible. We've updated it.