Gadgets :: October 16, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

You have a lot of choices in audio cables for connecting devices to get the best sound and performance. As a shopper, I’ve had this discussion with store employees who often tell me there are no difference between them.

Well, I’m here to tell you first hand from experience there is a difference.

The site, explains how audio cables transmit sound and the importance of audio cables — they provide the connection and the route by which the signal is transmitted.

You can read more about it if you want, but know there is a difference. You might not need the best, but there is a big difference from the top to bottom.

I recently tried a few cables from tech brand Austere’s new portfolio of home theater accessories, including audio and video cables.

As described by Austere, the HDMI-certified cables maximize home theater experience, three lengths including active HDMI at 5.0 m for optimal visual and audio performance.

The Audio cables have pure gold connectors, LinkFit connectors and grounded shields to reduce audio distortion.

I really stay away from putting down a product in this space, simply because I don’t feel like one user should have that much effect on a single product. But I was thrilled when Austere sent me an audio optical cable to test. I’ve gone through a few over the past year that connected my wall mounted TV to a sound bar. One came included with the products and a store brand replacement was offered when I told them about my issues. Neither has delivered what I wanted.

So I unboxed the optical cable sample as fast as possible and got it connected outside the wall for a fast sampling.  A few weeks later it’s still hanging outside the wall and ready to go on the other side since performance has been perfect. 

The optical WovenArmor cable made with Kevlar is flexible and can take some bending and curves and still perform like new (unlike other optical cables I’ve tried, which must remain straight). The Pure Gold connectors fit into my TV and sound bar securely without fear they will come loose.

The new line of cables includes connecting subwoofer cables, Audio Interconnect Cable, Banana Adapters, HDMI and more choices are on the way.

But if you understand one thing, there is a difference.

Prices vary by the type of cable and length, the 6.6-feet optical cable as tested is $39.99, the 16.4-feet V Series Subwoofer Cable is $79.99.

It wasn’t that long ago that you had to spend a lot to get a portable, nice sounding Bluetooth speaker. Often you had to sacrifice some sound quality.

I’ve had the Anker Soundcore Flare Mini, a cylindrical 360-degree speaker playing for a few weeks and it fits the bill for portability, sound and a fair price.

Setting it up and getting the sound going takes just a few seconds if you have it charged. A full charge of the 2600mAh battery should give you about 12 hours of sound.

As for the sound, I’m personally into clarity at decent volumes, I couldn’t remember the last time I blasted a speaker intentionally. With the Flare Mini, the sound was nice, smooth and crystal clear. I always make some adjustments on the sound with other apps but what’s important to me is the sound right out of the box, simply because that’s what almost every user will judge it by.

I poked around with a bunch of different playlists off of Apple Music and the Flare Mini didn’t disappoint. It’s built with IPX7 waterproof protection, which is stated by Soundcore to withstand rain, drinks, and even complete submersion for 30 minutes.

The 360-degree sound with BassUp technology is delivered from 10 watts of power from back to back 5 watt neodymium in a solidly built, portable and backpack friendly 3.4-by-2.8-by-5.6-inch body, weighing just 1.06-pounds.

If you get a Pair of Flare Mini’s, they can be paired with Bluetooth  to a single music source for an all-around stereo sound.

The bottom of the speaker has built-in LED lighting effects, for glowing effect to personalize the lights and sound to your music and party with eight individual LEDs and five lighting modes. $45.99

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