Posts Tagged: audio

Tidal adds a free tier and brings HiFi audio to its $10 plan

Tidal is adding a free, ad-supported tier as it seeks to expand its user base. The option, which is only available in the US for now, includes access to Tidal's entire library of 80 million songs as well as playlists. The service noted on Twitter that it's introducing the free tier to "remain competitive" with its rivals, eight months after Square bought a majority stake in the company. Tidal says the plan is rolling out on Android and "will be available on all devices in the coming days."

There are some trade-offs beyond occasional ads, of course. The audio quality tops out at 160 kbps, there's no offline listening option and it doesn't appear that you'll have unlimited skips. The later feature is mentioned explicitly as part of the revamped $ 10/month Tidal HiFi plan.

Tidal says users on that plan can now listen to music in HiFi quality — up to 1,411 kbps. There are no ads and you'll gain access to more than 350,000 videos. Users can listen to music in HiFi quality on connected devices through Tidal Connect, and they'll be able to track and share what they're listening to via a new activity feed.

In addition, there's a $ 20/month HiFi Plus plan. It includes everything from the HiFi tier, as well as master-quality audio at up to 9,216 kbps. The plan also offers immersive, spatial audio formats, such as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio, and early access to upcoming features. Both HiFi plans are available in all countries in which Tidal operates.

What's more, the HiFi Plus tier has a couple of new features centered around artists. One of those is direct-to-artist payments, which Tidal is rolling out today. Every month, 10 percent of a HiFi Plus user's subscription fees (i.e. $ 2) will go to the artist they listen to the most. That's on top of regular streaming royalties. It's another way for users to support their favorite artists.

Starting in January, Tidal will roll out a revamped artist payment system called fan-centered royalties. Every time a HiFi Plus user listens to one of their songs, they'll receive a "significantly higher" per-stream payment than other music streaming services' payouts. Apple Music pays a penny per stream, while artists have long been asking Spotify for a similar rate.

Tidal says "royalties attributed to HiFi Plus subscribers will not be aggregated." Payments will be tied to each individual user's listening activity, but only on that tier. HiFi Plus users will be able to see how those payments are divvied up through their activity feed.

In addition to revamping the payment model, Tidal is aiming to ensure "quick and seamless" payouts to artists around the world. It's working with Square, Cash App and PayPal to facilitate those.

These are bold, but perhaps necessary moves by Tidal as it aims to become more competitive with larger music streaming services. Tidal was one of the first major proponents of lossless audio, but as rivals started offering that option at no extra cost, it more or less had to bring that option to the $ 10/month plan.

Apple Music added lossless and Dolby Atmos spatial audio features in June. Amazon Music Unlimited dropped the premium fee for HD and Ultra HD streaming in May. It too offers spatial audio as part of the regular plan.

Meanwhile, many of Tidal's rivals have long offered ad-supported free streaming options, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer and YouTube Music. At the opposite end of the scale, Spotify announced plans in February to roll out a CD-quality audio plan, also called HiFi, in select markets at some point this year. It has yet to do so.

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Clubhouse finally makes audio shareable with 30-second previews of rooms

One week after introducing a new invite system, Clubhouse is introducing a host of new features. The first of those new is Clips, a tool people can use to share previews of public rooms. When creators and hosts enable the feature, you’ll see a new icon that looks like a pair of scissors. Tap it and Clubhouse will capture the last 30 seconds of audio, which you can then share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, iMessage or WhatsApp. Clubhouse says it’s rolling out Clips in beta to select creators today. In most public and open rooms, you should see the scissors icon there unless the host has gone out of their way to disable the feature.

Sometime in the next few weeks, Clubhouse also plans to introduce a way for people to share archives of past live rooms. The feature is called Replays. As with Clips, it’s something that people will be able to disable if they want. When active, however, it will make past rooms discoverable for as long as a host or creator wants people to find that conversation. Clubhouse says it plans to start rolling out Replays sometime in October.

Rounding things out, Clubhouse is introducing a search tool that allows you to look for specific people, clubs, live rooms and future events. Initially, that functionality will live in the Explore tab for about a week or two before Clubhouse moves it to the hallway sidebar. Last but not least, Android users can look forward to Clubhouse rolling out support for spatial audio. In many ways, the updates Clubhouse announced today address shortcomings that have been in the app for a while. The absence of a way to share audio was a particularly notable omission.  

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Galaxy Buds Pro leak reveals in-ear design and presence of ANC, 3D spatial audio, and conversation detection

The Galaxy Beans or Galaxy Buds Live as Samsung prefers to call them, looks to be the singular model to feature the bean-like design with the soon-to-launch Galaxy Buds Pro returning to the in-ear design of the Galaxy Buds+. Ahead of the rumored January launch, a leak reveals pretty much everything about the new Buds […]

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The Morning After: We reviewed Google’s new Nest Audio smart speaker

It’s finally time for Apple to unveil this year’s new iPhones. Invitations have gone out for the “Hi, Speed” event on Tuesday, October 13th at 1PM ET where we expect to see Apple introduce its first new devices with 5G and the A14 Bionic chipset. Ch…
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Blurams AI-Powered Smart Video Doorbell brings facial recognition, 2-way audio, and 1080p video to your front door

First announced during CES 2020, Blurams Smart Video Doorbell with AI facial recognition, free cloud storage*, two-way audio, and real-time notifications, is about to go live on Indigogo. Projected to launch with an RRP of $ 149, the Smart Video Doorbell is available for $ 99 on Indigogo. Thanks to the built-in AI technology, the Smart Video […]

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Google rolls out captions for audio and video messages on Duo

Google has started rolling out a new Duo feature that’ll make it easier to check video and voice messages even in a noisy place. In a tweet, the Made by Google account has revealed that captions have started going live for messages sent on the applic…
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Belkin’s SoundForm Elite combines audio, wireless charging, and Google Assistant all-in-one for $230/£280

As rumors point to a successor finally being developed for the original Google Home, Belkin’s SoundForm Elite that combines the Google Assistant, Bluetooth speaker, and wireless charger functions into a single device is now on sale in the UK. First announced during CES 2020, the SoundForm Elite is now on sale for $ 229/£279. With a […]

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Gamechanger Audio introduces an optical spring reverb pedal

Gamechanger may have only released two guitar pedals so far, but the company has shown that it can live up to its lofty name. Its Plasma Pedal, for one, stands out in an ocean of distortion effects, thanks to both a staticky, lo-fi timbre and its ast…
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Qualcomm is going to make Bluetooth audio way better at CES 2020

Qualcomm is best known for their high-end mobile processors, typically in Android smartphones, but that’s not all they do. In fact, they play a pretty big role in Bluetooth connectivity for your phone, too. They’ve announced a new aptX Voice Audio implementation for smartphones that should drastically improve call quality for headphones and headsets. This […]

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Deezer’s lossless audio finally comes to Android, iOS and the web

Deezer's lossless audio rollout has been slow, to put it mildly — it first reached connected speakers in 2014, didn't come to desktop apps until 2017, and has been a no-show elsewhere. It's widely available now, though. The service has launched its…
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Sony officially kicks off their new 360 Reality Audio format on the Xperia 1

Sony is no stranger to proprietary formats for audio and video. Sometimes that pays off, like with Blu-ray, but sometimes it’s just a massive headache for everyone before eventually dying off and leaving some devices useless, like Sony memory sticks for cameras and the PlayStation Vita. Is that going to stop Sony from trying the […]

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YouTube Music now lets listeners switch seamlessly between audio and music videos

Imagine listening to a new track by your favorite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video ⁠— no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple transition that keeps the music flowing. That’s exactly what we’re introducing! Today, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers can now make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and watching.

Switching between songs and music videos is as simple as the tap of a button. Users will notice a video button at the top of the screen as they start listening to a song, and with a simple tap, they can instantly start watching the music video or flip back to the audio at the same point in the track.

This new feature simplifies listening to songs and watching videos, plus more!

  • Discovering new music videos is easier than ever before. From recent mega-hits to deep cuts, if a song has a video, YouTube Music will surface a video button so switching between audio and visuals is just one click away.
  • YouTube Music has perfectly time-matched over five million official music videos to their respective audio tracks, so no matter when or how often you flip back and forth between the two, you won’t miss a beat.
  • When you flip from video to song, say goodbye to the other sounds that go with the music video — like those long introductions  and enjoy the song as it was intended.
  • Not into music videos? We’ve got you covered. To stick to songs 100% of the time, visit your settings and turn off the music video option by toggling “Don’t play music videos” to the “on” position.

Whether you’re listening to your favorites or checking out new releases, your music experience just got way more interactive. To check out flipping between song and video, along with all the other great features, download the YouTube Music app for Android or iOS, and start your trial of YouTube Music Premium.

Brandon Bilinski, Product Manager, YouTube Music. He’s recently been listening to “Happier” by Marshmello & Bastille.


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Denon parent Sound United now owns Pioneer and Onkyo home audio

The audio world just got noticeably smaller. Sound United, the parent company for brands like Denon, Polk Audio and Marantz, has reached a deal to buy Onkyo's home audio division, including everything from smart speakers to receivers and turntables….
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Google brings Duo audio calls to Google Home speakers

When Google released the Home Hub last year it (sort of) introduced the ability for Google Home type devices to make Duo calls without the video component, since the Home Hub lacks a camera. The screen can make a call and deliver audio to someone else, they just won’t be able to see you on […]

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Sony delivers better audio on the Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra

Sony has announced some new software updates that will be coming to the Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra to deliver an even more premium audio experience for users. Sony’s phones typically already try to offer better sound quality with the company’s own ClearAudio+ and Clear Bass technology, but now the devices will also support High-Resolution […]

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JBL Link View: A Google Smart Display that puts audio centerstage

Even though Amazon was the first to come up with the smart display concept (via the Echo Show), it's Google that transformed it into a whole new consumer category. Much of this is due to Google's hardware strategy: It partners with different manu…
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Qualcomm wants to improve wireless audio (again) with AptX Adaptive

Bluetooth audio on smartphones and other gadgets still really isn’t perfect; the audio quality has gotten much better recently, but it still can’t touch the quality of wired headphones, and I feel like we don’t even need to mention the potential for connection issues. Qualcomm originally created AptX as a means to make Bluetooth audio […]

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Yamaha’s latest turntable streams multi-room audio via WiFi

You can pair a turntable with a multi-room audio setup (Sonos even offers a bundle), but that usually means wiring your record player into that setup at some point. Yamaha thinks it can do better. Its newly launched MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable uses…
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Essential’s Audio Adapter HD module adds the 3.5mm audio jack to the PH-1

Despite canning development for a second-generation smartphone, Essential has announced a second module for the PH-1 called the Audio Adapter HD which brings back the audio jack. Yes, the same audio jack that the company chose to omit from the Essential Phone. Go figure.  Besides bringing back the audio jack, the module adds full MQA […]

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[TA Deals] Grab a 3 piece HyperGear wireless audio gift set for just $44.99

Whether you’re buying something for yourself or for someone else, this HyperGear wireless audio gift set makes an excellent bundle of audio products for just about anyone. You’ll get a pair of earbuds, over the ear headphones, and a portable speaker, and they’re all Bluetooth-enabled and wireless for convenience. That’s going to cover pretty much […]

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Google Home’s multi-room audio will now play through other Bluetooth speakers

It’s fair to say that smart speakers such as the Google Home and Home Mini have taken off in a big way in the last year or so, but there are still some notable frustrations to be experienced. One of these niggles was the inability to pair your Google Home, Home Mini, or Home Max […]

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Google Home finally gets Bluetooth audio, Deezer and Spotify Free support coming soon

The Google Home is much more than simply being a Google Assistant device, its built-in speakers are great for listening to music from. After confirming that Android 8.0 would indeed be known as Oreo yesterday, Google has also added more music options to its Google Home device, making it easier to stream your favorite tracks […]

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Take your music wireless and save $10 with Google’s Chromecast Audio

These days, there are numerous ways to enjoy wireless streaming at home, but few options can compete with the rock-solid reliability afforded by Google’s Chromecast Audio. Simple and affordable, the Chromecast Audio is currently $ 10 off.

The post Take your music wireless and save $ 10 with Google’s Chromecast Audio appeared first on Digital Trends.

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One step closer to reality: introducing 360-degree live streaming and spatial audio on YouTube

Growing up as a kid, my favorite basketball player was Magic Johnson. I wanted nothing more than to be able to watch him play in person, but unfortunately I never got the chance. Whether it’s a sporting event or a concert or even a family gathering, all of us have had the feeling of wanting to be somewhere we couldn’t. But these days, virtual reality and 360-degree video can help get you one step closer to actually being at those places and in those moments. Today, we’re taking immersive video even further with 360-degree live streaming on YouTube.

We first launched support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015. From musicians to athletes to brands, creators have done some incredible things with this technology. Now, they’ll be able to do even more to bring fans directly into their world, with 360-degree live streaming. And after years of live streaming Coachella for fans around the world who can’t attend the festival, this year we’re bringing you the festival like never before by live streaming select artist performances in 360 degrees this weekend.

Starting today, we’re also launching spatial audio for on-demand YouTube videos. Just as watching a concert in 360 degrees can give you an unmatched immersive experience, spatial audio allows you to listen along as you do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role. Try out this playlist on your Android device.

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To make sure all creators can tell awesome stories with virtual reality, we’ve been working with companies across the industry. We’re working with companies like VideoStitch and Two Big Ears to make their software compatible with 360-degree live streams or spatial audio on YouTube and more will be available soon. We’ll also make 360-degree live streaming and spatial audio technologies available at all YouTube Space locations around the globe, so you can take it for a spin.

What excites me most about 360-degree storytelling is that it lets us open up the world’s experiences to everyone. Students can now experience news events in the classroom as they unfold. Travelers can experience faraway sites and explorers can deep-sea dive, all without the physical constraints of the real world. And today’s kids dreaming of going to a basketball game or a concert can access those experiences firsthand, even if they’re far away from the court. What were once limited experiences are now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Are you ready to never miss a moment again?

Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer, recently watched “Dub360: Stephen Curry pregame warmup routine.”


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LG bringing its updated Tone Infinim HBS-910 audio headset to CES 2016

LG has revealed even more of its CES lineup by announcing it will be showing an update to its Tone Infinim audio headset, the HBS-910, at this year’s show. Unlike most wireless in-ears, these use an around-the-neck base unit that allows for much more battery life.

The post LG bringing its updated Tone Infinim HBS-910 audio headset to CES 2016 appeared first on Digital Trends.

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