Next-gen Logitech G Astro A50 X headphones boast HDMI passthrough switching between gaming consoles and PC audio/video

Gone are the days when passionate gamers used to swear by only a single gaming console. In fact, in the current age is not uncommon to find gamers have a multi-console setup to keep them covered for all the gaming frenzy the tech world has to offer. If you are from this camp then switching your headphones to connect to the PlayStation or Xbox seamlessly is still a craving.

That’s about to change with the Logitech G Astro A50 X Lightspeed wireless gaming headset designed for this very purpose. Unlike Bluetooth multipoint connection available on most flagship headphones, this one employs HDMI connection routed to a base station to do the seamless switching of audio and video to the TV right from the headset with the touch of a button.

Designer: Logitech

The high-resolution audio headphones designed on the original A50 are the fifth generation of the popular Astro A50 console gaming headsets. That no-nonsense switching between PS5, Xbox series X|S and PC is attributed to the in-house Logitech PLAYSYNC technology. The headphones are as good as they get when it comes to satisfying demanding audiophiles and gamers. The 40mm PRO-G Graphene Driver and 24-bit LIGHTSPEED Wireless technology deliver crisp audio performance that’ll make you hear every minute detail.

This flagship gaming headset with an impressive 24-hour battery life (on a single charge) boasts super comfort with an open-back design that promises long hours of gaming without breaking a sweat. The hub of the headphones is the base station that supports 4K 120Hz HDR, VRR and ALLM. Players can mix the game chat and in-game audio to the preferred levels with the on-ear controls and adjustable sidetone. The headphone base also supports multi-connection Bluetooth so that you can take up calls, listen to music, or attend Discord chats without even moving a muscle.

Logitech is also mindful of the environment, hence it gets Carbon Neutral certification too. The A50 X’s body is made out of 35% post-consumer recycled plastic and the paper packaging is sourced from FSC-certified forests. For $350 the headphones are value for money given it’s also a 3-in-1 HDMI 2.1 switcher with wireless audio output and Bluetooth input. You can pre-order them right away in  Black or White finishes with shipping promised by the end of this month.

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Kiss’ final show ended with a performance by digital avatars made to immortalize the band

Kiss’ final live performance at Madison Square Garden in New York last night also turned out to be the first for the band’s successors — four digital avatars that will play on in the real members’ retirement from physical shows. Kiss concluded the last show of its “The End of the Road” tour by introducing the new virtual band, which then performed “God Gave Rock And Roll To You.”

The avatars weren’t just straight replicas of the current band members — Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer — but interpretations of them “as fantasy-based superheroes,” said Pophouse Entertainment, which partnered with George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic for their creation. And, it says that’s just “one of the many and varied ways in which Kiss will live on as digital performers through their avatars in the future.” Industrial Light & Magic also created the digital avatars of ABBA (or ABBAtars) for the ongoing ABBA Voyage show in London.

No specific plans for the virtual band have been announced just yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see similar Kiss experiences pop up in the near future. Gene Simmons, who founded Kiss alongside Paul Stanley, said the move will keep the band “forever young and forever iconic,” while Stanley called it a way to “see Kiss immortalized” and take the group “to a completely different level beyond being just a music band.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Harley Benton Introduces DIY Kits To Personalize Your Guitars

In the realm of musical craftsmanship, Harley Benton has raised the bar with its recent unveiling of a captivating range of do-it-yourself guitar kits. This innovative lineup not only offers musicians the opportunity to assemble their own instruments but also encourages a unique and personalized approach to guitar building. The collection includes four distinct models, each designed to cater to the diverse preferences and styles of guitarists. Among them, the standout is the unconventional square guitar, accompanied by a thin-line T-style model and left-handed S- and T-style models.

Designer: Harley Benton

Guitars are not just instruments; they are extensions of a musician’s identity and style. Recognizing this, Harley Benton’s DIY guitar kits acknowledge the personal connection individuals have with their instruments. These kits provide a canvas for musicians to express themselves not just through their playing but also through the process of building a guitar tailored to their preferences.

Each DIY kit is meticulously curated to include all the essential components required to build a complete instrument. From strings to pickups, body, and more, these kits are designed to offer a seamless and satisfying building experience. The standard Rengas body, with variations in wood color, is accompanied by maple necks, providing a sturdy foundation for creativity. Musicians can choose to paint the body or leave it in its natural state, with the added convenience of pre-prepared routing for pickups, tuners, bridge, and electronics.

Harley Benton recognizes that true creativity lies in customization. The kits come with bodies and necks finished with a wood sealer, facilitating easy application of lacquer for those who wish to add a personal touch to the aesthetics. The square model, for instance, comes with 22 frets, one volume and one tone control, a three-way switch, a Tune-O-Matic bridge, and two humbuckers, offering versatility and the potential for musicians to craft their unique sound.

There’s a special connection that comes with creating something with your own hands. Building a guitar from scratch provides not only a sense of accomplishment but also a deeper understanding and appreciation for the instrument. When musicians invest time and effort into crafting their guitars, they naturally develop a stronger bond with their creations. This hands-on experience allows them to see every inch of their instrument, fostering a sense of pride and ownership.

As someone who has owned a guitar since the age of 15, I understand the evolving relationship one has with their instrument. The idea of having a DIY guitar resonates deeply with me. I believe that if I had embarked on the journey of building my own guitar, I would have treasured it even more. The process of creating something from scratch adds a layer of intimacy that goes beyond the joy of playing; it becomes a testament to one’s creativity and craftsmanship. However, it may also leave room for some errors.

While the kits provide a solid foundation, it is the individual touch and craftsmanship that will make each guitar truly one-of-a-kind. Whether it’s the choice of color, the style of finish, or the selection of pickups, the creative journey of building a DIY guitar allows players to develop a deeper connection with their instrument. Each scratch, mark, and detail tells a story, making the guitar a unique reflection of the musician behind it.

Harley Benton’s DIY guitar kits are more than just a collection of components; they are a gateway to a world of musical creativity and self-expression. By providing musicians with the tools and guidance to build their own instruments, Harley Benton encourages a hands-on approach to music that goes beyond playing notes on a fretboard. These kits represent a bridge between the technical and artistic aspects of music, allowing musicians to shape not only their sound but also the physical embodiment of their musical journey.

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TikTok’s new profile tools are just for musicians

TikTok has introduced the Artist Account, which offers up-and-coming musicians new ways to curate their profiles in ways that boost discoverability. The new suite of tools are not just meant for rising stars: established pop icons can also add an artist tag to their profiles, giving their music its own tab next to their videos, likes and reposted content.

To be eligible for an artist tag, TikTok says you will need at least four sounds or songs uploaded to the app. Artists can also pin one of their tunes so it appears first in the music tab. If a musician drops new content, the app will tag songs as ‘new’ for up to 14 days before and up to 30 days after it goes live. Any new tracks will automatically be added to a profile’s music tab.

TikTok says over 70,000 artists are already using the new tools. The app has proven to be a breeding ground for content to go viral for new artists and established music makers alike thanks to the lightning speed of dance and lifestyle video trends. TikTok’s impact on the music industry has been so massive that even streamers like Spotify have looked into experimenting with video-first music discovery feeds.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

YouTube Music brings personalized album art to its 2023 Recap

YouTube Music users who have seen their Spotify- and Apple Music-using friends share their listening stats from this year can now join the party. YouTube Music Recap is now live and you can access it from the 2023 Recap page in the app. You'll be able to see your top artists, songs, moods, genres, albums, playlists and more from 2023. There's also the option to view your Recap in the main YouTube app, along with some other new features for 2023.

This year, you'll be able to add custom album art. YouTube will create this using your top song and moods from the year, as well as your energy score. The platform will mash together colors, vibes and visuals to create a representation of your year in music.

YouTube Music Recap custom album art
YouTube Music

YouTube says another feature will match your mood with your top songs of the year. You might see, for instance, the percentages of songs you listened to that are classed as upbeat, fun, dancey or chill. Last but not least, you can use snaps from Google Photos to create a customized visual that sums up your year in music (and perhaps your year in travel too).

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Portable sound monitors helps you create music from the comfort of your room

Gone are the days when you will have to book studio time and spend a lot of money to be able to produce, mix, and create your own music. One tool that artists and producers need to be able to create music is to have great studio monitors so they will be able to fine tune the music they’re creating. We’re now seeing these monitors become more portable and lighter to cater to those who want to produce music from the comfort of their own homes.

Designer: AIAIAI

The Unit-4 monitors by Danish audio makers AIAIAI is one such tool that these indie music creators can use to produce their works of art. These studio monitors portable (weighing at just 2.5kg), battery-powered, and completely wireless. This means you can lug it around to wherever you are working in your house and you will not be bogged down by cables and power cords. Well, at least until the battery runs out after around 20 hours.

When it comes to quality, it can be comparable to the boxy, bigger sound monitors that studios use. It has Flat +/-2dB frequency response from 50Hz to 20kHz and can give a bass extension down to 40Hz with its 2-way active sound monitors. It has a 4-inch woofer and 1-inch silk-dome tweeter with crossover at 3kHz. It is also eco-friendly as the bass reflex enclosure is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic which also contributes to the sound quality since it minimizes resonance.

If you want to use the speakers the old school way, there is a 3.5mm mini-jack and 6.3mm balanced TRS inputs. It comes with a magnetic steel grill to protect the woofer and tweeter but you also have the option to not use it if you feel it interferes with the sound. You can get a pair of the AIAIAI UNIT-4 for $800.

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Spotify Wrapped returns to reveal your 2023 streaming stats

As December nears every year, Spotify reveals all of the artists, genres, songs and podcasts you listened to most in the last 12 months. The 2023 installment of the streaming service's Wrapped year-in-review debuts today on the Spotify app with an all-new design alongside the familiar story-style format. For the first time in a while, you can also view your streaming stats on desktop via the web. As always, the company gives you a look at what you listened to most during the year with a few new additions to freshen up the annual tradition. 

Spotify has been giving you a list of your top artists, genres, songs and podcasts for a while now, but this year the company will assign one of 12 "listening characters" that best fits your streaming habit. The feature is called Me in 2023 and those "characters" range from the Shapeshifter, someone who moves from one artists to another quickly, to the Alchemist, someone who's more prone to create their own playlists. Another new tool called Sound Town matches you to a city based on your listening and top artists. For example, if you stream a lot of Bad Bunny and Peso Pluma, the app will pair you up with Mexico City. 

Spotify Wrapped 2023

In terms of the usual lists, Spotify has given them a refresh to make things a bit more interesting. Your top five artists will now also show you when your listening peaked for each one and next week Spotify's AI DJ will to give you commentary about those top artists, genres and songs on your lists. Spotify has also integrated its Blend tool with Wrapped so you can easily see how you match up with friends with a mix all of the music you listened to most. Artist Messages also return, with over 40,000 of them giving users shout-outs if they're one of your top listens. 

Of course, Spotify is also using Wrapped to reveal the platform's most-streamed artists, songs, albums and podcasts — both globally and in the US. 2023 was truly the Taylor Swift era as she took the stop spot on both the global and US artist charts. "Flowers" by Miley Cyrus was the most popular song globally while Morgan Wallen's "Last Night" was tops in the States. Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny was the most-streamed album around the world, but Wallen's One Thing At A Time was the biggest in the US. And in the least surprising development ever, Joe Rogan's podcast was once again the most popular on both the global and United States charts. It's the fourth year in a row The Joe Rogan Experience has been the top show of the year on the global chart. That's a stat the polarizing host is sure to mention as his current contract with the service is almost up

Spotify Wrapped is now available inside the company's iOS and Android apps as well as the desktop and mobile web. As is typically the case, a lot of the content is shareable, so get ready for your social channels to be flooded with Wrapped lists and graphics for the rest of the week. If you're an Apple Music listener, that service's Replay tool is already available reliving 2023 on that platform. 

Update, November 29, 12:10PM ET: This post has been updated to clarify Apple Music's year-end feature is called Replay, not Rewind. We regret the error.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Apple Music’s year-end Replay is here to expose your listening habits

Apple Music’s full year-end Replay experience has arrived. Although elements of the personalized recap are available year-round (including a continually updating playlist), the company spruces up its web interface this time of year for a sleeker presentation as you reflect on your 2023 listening habits. Apple Music also announced its Artist of the Year (Taylor Swift, who you may have heard of) and subscribers’ top choices in various categories.

If you listened to Apple Music this year, you can head to the service’s Replay 2023 website and log into your account to view a rundown of the music you enjoyed during the last 12 months. It lists your most-streamed artists, songs, albums, genres, playlists and stations.

It also includes a highlight video summarizing your habits, which you can share with friends and family or on social channels. If you reach any milestones, like listening to 25,000 minutes of music, it will reveal exactly when you hit them. Apple says Replay 2023 will also tell you if you rank among an artist’s top listeners.

Photo of Taylor Swift looking into the distance in front of a bluish-gray sky. The text

Taylor Swift had a busy year, and her Apple Music streams unsurprisingly reflect that. The platform’s Artist of the Year had 65 songs reach its Global Daily Top 100, more than any other artist. The pop icon was also the most streamed artist on the platform in 2023, setting a record for the most listeners in a single year. Meanwhile, Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” took the top spot in Apple Music’s Top Songs of 2023: Global list. It was the first country song to top that chart since “Old Town Road” four years ago. “Last Night” enjoyed the most days at number one on the service’s Global Daily Top 100 chart.

World music has grown in popularity on the platform. Nigerian breakout artist Rema had the most Shazam’d song of the year with the Afrobeats tune “Calm Down.” Meanwhile, “Idol” by J-Pop duo Yoasobi was the most popular karaoke song using Apple Music’s Sing feature, and it also hit number seven on the year-end top songs chart, joined by fellow J-Pop track “Subtitle” by Official Hige Dandism. Música Mexicana also did well, with four tracks on the top 20 global songs list. These include “Ella Baila Sola” by Peso Pluma and Eslabon Armado, “un x100to” by Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny, “PRC” by Peso Pluma and Natanael Cano and “Bebe Dame” from Fuerza Regida and Grupo Frontera.

Year-end rewinds have become a popular feature for streaming services, as people enjoy the self-expression and comedy that can come from sharing their tastes on social media. If recent years are any indication, you can expect Spotify and YouTube to reveal theirs within the coming days.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

World’s First Programmable Music Box can play anything from Christmas Carols to the Latest Pop Hits

Nostalgia Upgraded – The Muro Box brings a fond childhood music instrument into the future with App Support and MIDI Connectivity

The second you hear a music box, your mind is taken to a fairytale land. Music box sounds have been used in cinemas to transition to dream sequences, showing exactly how rooted the sound of a music box is in childhood nostalgia. In the past, most of these mechanical musical instruments were found inside toys like snowglobes, jack-in-the-boxes, or other wind-up toys. You can still find music boxes today, although most of them just play fixed tunes like your odd nursery rhyme or Happy Birthday (some novelty stores even sell music boxes that play the Harry Potter or the Game of Thrones theme)… but the folks behind the Muro Box are doing something absolutely unusual. The Muro Box is the first customizable music box that can play pretty much any tune you want it to play, thanks to app connectivity and a MIDI interface. You can use Muro Box’s app to either compose your own tracks or browse through a library of pre-composed tracks… or better still, hook it to a MIDI synth and play music directly from your keyboard onto the Muro Box. The result is a charmingly nostalgic rendition of pretty much any song. Whether it’s a Christmas Carol or a Slipknot song, it’s sure to sound positively delightful and just incredibly dreamy!

Designer: Muro Box Global

Click Here to Buy Now: $299 (Ships Before Christmas) Hurry! Only 7 Days Left!

The way most music boxes worked was simple. Each box would come with a rotating cylinder that had studs on it, and a metal comb placed strategically near said cylinder. When the cylinder would rotate, the studs would ‘pluck’ against the comb, creating notes. Based on the cylinder’s pattern, you could play elements of any song. The problem with the music boxes of the past, however, was that A. You couldn’t change the song and B. The drum’s limited circumference meant you could only play a small portion of the song over and over again, which would become a little annoyingly repetitive after the first few times. The Muro Box solves both those problems thanks to a patented dynamic cylinder that can change while it rotates. This game-changing innovation allows the Muro Box to not just play different songs, but also play ENTIRE songs.

While the Muro Box is built to be a treat for one’s ears, its beauty starts with that gorgeously nostalgic design, echoing the steampunk aesthetic of the good old days. The mechanical parts of the box are surrounded by gorgeous brass detailing, sitting on top of a single-piece maple or acacia wood platform. Zinc-alloy components help create a warm, pleasant sound, while the acacia platform comes with an acoustic chamber that amplifies the music box’s sound. A glass enclosure seals the Muro Box’s internal components, preventing dust, dirt, or fidgety children from toying with the box’s delicate assemblies. Quite like the Muro Box’s sound transports you to a simpler time, its design is a hallmark of the simpler years before electronics, circuit boards, and internet connectivity.

That being said, the box itself has some seriously impressive tech underneath its hood. It’s designed to be entirely programmable, which means you can choose what to play, thanks to a variable cylinder design that can pluck on the resonating comb in a variety of ways. The box connects to an app that allows you to either choose from a library of songs, or design your own melodies using a MIDI-style interface (think Guitar Hero, but with more notes). A single-button interface lets you twist to toggle between songs in the app’s playlist (left for previous, right for next), and pressing the button toggles the play/pause feature. If you’re looking to push the Muro Box to its absolute limit, a MIDI port on the back lets you connect your Muro Box to a synth or a laptop running a DAW, so you can play more complex melodies directly off music production software.

Most users will be more than content with running the Muro Box off its app. The vast library contains user-submitted tunes from all around the world, featuring classics, latest hits, and even local/regional tunes. Pick a tune and the box begins emitting a gentle whirr that’s punctuated by the melodious clinks of the cylinder’s studs hitting the resonating comb. The Muro Box’s different variants come with single, double, and quadruple-comb arrangements, allowing you to play simple tunes or even incredibly layered musical compositions.

The Muro Box comes in three variants, ranging from simple to complex. The catalog starts with the N20 Lite, a redesign of the company’s first N20 music box from back in 2020. The N20 Lite comes outfitted with one 20-note music comb, limiting the number of notes you have to play with. Designed to be smaller than its siblings, it also ditches the MIDI feature for app-only control, and comes with a battery-powered design that lets you carry your music box with you, unlike the larger models that are wired.

The next step in the Muro Box journey is the N40 Standard, with two 20-note combs, giving it a total of 40 notes. This allows the N40 to cover more notes and more octaves, allowing you to play more complicated songs with a lower baseline and upper melody. The final music box in the series is the N40 Sublime, a more complex version of its standard sibling with four 20-note combs instead of two. However, instead of offering 80 different notes, it sticks to 40 notes, but has duplicates for each note. This makes each individual note sound richer as it’s played twice, creating more resonance. The phenomenon is called Sublime Harmonizing, and the best way to understand the difference is to think of a solo singer versus a choir.

Both the N40 variants come with a DIN 5 and USB-C MIDI input, and there’s even a 6.5mm (1/4 inch) audio output with a transducer pickup system. The N40 Standard comes with a Maple box, but you can upgrade to the high-quality Acacia for an extra $90. The N40 Sublime, on the other hand, is outfitted with the acacia-wood box and even has a laser-engraved metal plaque that you can customize with a message of your own.

The Muro Box starts at a commendable $299 for the N20 Lite, going up to $996 for the N40 Standard or a hefty $1,826 for the N40 Sublime. It’s difficult to put a price on nostalgia but the Muro Box definitely doesn’t make things cheap! The music boxes are all made in Taiwan, and ship globally as early as December 2023.

Click Here to Buy Now: $299 (Ships Before Christmas) Hurry! Only 7 Days Left!

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Porsche Design Unveils the PD S20, its First Outdoor Wireless Speaker

Porsche Design, renowned for its sleek, high-performance products, has recently unveiled the PDS20, marking its first foray into the realm of outdoor speakers. This move comes after years of producing other acclaimed audio products, underscoring Porsche Design’s commitment to expanding its portfolio and catering to a wider range of audiophile needs.

Designer: Porsche Design

Porsche Design has always been about blending top-notch design with serious tech and adding a sprinkle of automotive joy; their audio line is no exception. Take the 911 Speaker 2.0 60Y 911 for instance,  a limited-edition speaker modeled on the Porsche 911’s iconic tailpipe, proving Porsche Design knows a thing or two about exclusive, high-end audio gear. And if you’re in the mood to splurge, there’s the 911 Soundbar 2.0 Pro. This baby will set you back a cool $12,000.00, but it quite literally transforms an original exhaust pipe from a Porsche 992 GT3 into a staggering 300W sound system… But here’s where things get interesting with the PDS20. This isn’t just another high-end gadget in Porsche Design’s arsenal. Priced at a respectable $245.00, it’s their first outdoor speaker, and it’s a game-changer. Unlike its predecessors, the PDS20 is built for the great outdoors, with a tough, weather-resistant design and a sound that’s just as impressive in the open air as it is indoors. It’s like Porsche Design decided to take everything they knew about premium sound, throw in a dash of adventure, and voila – the PDS20 was born.

The PDS20 comes crafted from anodized aluminum and gray acoustic fabric, presenting a minimalist and durable design. This cylindrical speaker is equipped with two passive radiators and a 1.75″ woofer, ensuring exceptional sound quality, particularly in the bass department. Its IP67 rating guarantees resilience against dust and water, making it an ideal companion for outdoor activities such as hiking or for enhancing open spaces with premium sound. The PDS20 also boasts a 10-hour battery life and quick USB-C charging, ensuring all-day uninterrupted listening. An integrated microphone facilitates easy interaction with voice assistants for playlist control, call management, and messaging, all controllable via the haptic buttons built into the PD S20’s fabric grill. For an immersive stereo experience, it can easily pair with a second speaker via Bluetooth, perfect for larger gatherings or home entertainment enhancement.

The PD S20’s blend of design styles allows it to easily transition between being a haute home speaker or an outdoor-friendly audio device. That anodized aluminum enclosure is undeniably classy, although it gets a slight hint of rugged when you slide that silicone ring in (which comes in 2 color options that you can alternate between). With its sleek design, robust build, and superior sound quality, this speaker is ready to take on any adventure, be it a backyard barbecue or a hike in the hills. It’s a refreshing addition to the otherwise relatively unattainable Porsche Design lineup (10 grand for a soundbar?!), combining their trademark elegance with outdoor-friendly functionality so you can carry your love for Porsche with you wherever you go. And the best part? You can snag one of these for $245.00. Starting from November 15, 2023, it’s up for grabs at Porsche Design stores, their website, and selected retailers.

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