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Dragon Anywhere for iOS Review

Dragon Anywhere for iOS has been a long time coming but details have been scare till now with Dragon Anywhere getting it’s release on a monthly payment system.

I’ve been a huge fan of Dragon Dicate products for years now. Once you get used to talking to computer and mastering Dictation commands it really is so much quicker and easier than typing.

Dragon Anywhere is the portable sibling of its desktop counterpart. Scheduled to be released I managed to get on the beta testing program and so far, it’s looking very solid experience.

Continue reading → Dragon Anywhere for iOS Review

Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers

Edifier Luna Eclipse Hero Image Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers

When your speakers go from oomph to pfft, sounding like the old biscuit tin sounding speakers of old there’s no two ways about it, it’s time to look for a replacement. A quick search later and the Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers have been given consistently good reviews, so we grabbed a set and started listening.
Mainly marketed as Bluetooth 2.0 >speakers there’s one thing about the Edifer Luna’s, these are a stunning, if yet Cylon looking from behind, a set of speakers which wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery.

  <a href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0b74e8d647193e2cbc/1465045800029/Edifier-Speakers-Shot-1.jpeg" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0b74e8d647193e2cbc/1465045800029/Edifier-Speakers-Shot-1.jpeg" alt="Edifier Speakers Shot 1"/></a>




  <a href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cc0/1465045805399/Edifier-Speakers-Shot-2.jpg" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cc0/1465045805399/Edifier-Speakers-Shot-2.jpg" alt="Edifier Speakers Shot 2"/></a>




  <a href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cbe/1465045813029/Edifier-Speakers-Shot-3.jpg" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cbe/1465045813029/Edifier-Speakers-Shot-3.jpg" alt="Edifier Speakers Shot 3"/></a>

Finished in matte black, red and white colors are also available, these Edifier speakers, definitely stay away from the boxy shape of traditional speaker fare. Elliptical in design the front is sliced off at an angle, exposing the main speaker and tweeter at an angle. An angle I’m guessing to help you gauge the height and distance for best placement of your Edifier’s.

   
Edifer Luna Eclipse Ports Left Speaker Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers
Edifer Luna Eclipse Ports Left Speaker
Edifer Luna Eclipse Ports Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers
Edifer Luna Eclipse Ports Left Speaker

Around the back of the right speaker there is a connection for a 3.5mm auxiliary cable, a power port and a proprietary 6-pin connector for the left speaker. The other satellite only has the 6-pin connector. All cables are of a decent length so you can have them suitably spaced apart to enjoy the sound.

Edifier Luna Eclipse Bluetooth Mode

When paired and connected via Bluetooth you can also control your music to a certain extent. When connected via Bluetooth pressing all three buttons at once pauses and plays what you’re listening to, and swiping your finger between the Power and Volume Down buttons moves switches to the next.

   
Edifier Speaker Controls Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers
Edifier Speaker Controls
Edifier Remote Control Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers
Edifier Remote Control
Edifer Propriety Audio Cable Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers
Edifer Propriety Audio Cable

Bluetooth Speaker Controls.

When connected up in Bluetooth mode the Edifier’s allow basic track control when your tunes are playing, as long as they are playing via iTunes.

To skip to the next track swipe from power off to volume down. To revert back to the previous track slide from volume down to power off.

Disconnecting Bluetooth is a simple process of touching and holding all three buttons at the same time. When you disable this mode it’ll revet to using the Aux input. A remote control is supplied to take care of volume duties but unfortunately theres no track control via remote. A2DP and AVRCP is supported.

A tale of two speakers.

The convenience of having a wireless speaker system isn’t without its pitfalls. Sure, it’s great to be able to place your speakers away from your main PC or in entirely different room but this does come at the cost of sacrificing sound quality.

Bluetooth audio may have come some way but it still has a long way to go as Bluetooth has limited bandwidth capabilities that in turn means audio has to be compressed to fit within those constraints. With that compression a fair bit of fidelity is lost from the source just because of the transmission method. There are Bluetooth audio specifications like aptX, an audio codec designed for CD-quality audio transfer over Bluetooth but I couldn’t find if the Edifier Luna Eclipse supports these.

  <a href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cc2/1465045896293/Edifier-Luna-Eclipse-Left.jpg" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cc2/1465045896293/Edifier-Luna-Eclipse-Left.jpg" alt="Edifier Luna Eclipse Left"/></a>




  <a href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cc4/1465045904746/Edifier-Luna-Eclipse-Right.jpg" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752bc0c74e8d647193e2cc4/1465045904746/Edifier-Luna-Eclipse-Right.jpg" alt="Edifier Luna Eclipse Right"/></a>

All in all this means if you are going to use these speakers you really aren’t going to be hearing the best these speakers have to offer unless you go via the traditional cable route. On bluetooth bass was distinctly lacking in any depth and sounds are more muddled in general, lacking overall fidelity. This isn’t the fault of the speakers at all, which do a brilliant job of compensating for this.

If you an audiophile, listen to already compressed online streams, watch TV, music listener but aren’t obsessed, Bluetooth mode will do you fine.

It’s when you use the supplied auxiliary cable the speakers really come alive. Make the most of that 6ft cable when you set your speakers up as you’ll appreciate a good setup speaker system/

Use The Edifier Luna Speakers With The AUX Cable

If there is one bit of advice I could empart on you, other than sunscreen (Everbody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) Baz Luhrmann), It’s to go old school, plug in the supplied AUX cable and then the Edifiers really start to shine, allaying any quality issues I had when using them over Bluetooth.

Edifier Auxillary Cable Review: Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Bluetooth Speakers
Edifier Auxillary Cable

What we use for testing.

As with all my audio testing I go for the same music as I have a degree of familiarity and know what I’m listening out for. Being the “average user” all music I have is purchased from iTunes and downloaded and not streamed to get the most from.

Taking things up a notch to really test speaker refinement I managed to find a few FLAC files and for that I’m playing with VOX, a high fidelity music player

Sweet Home Chicago – The Blues Brothers 192 kbps, 44.1 kHZ, Mp3 Why this track? Well it has everything. Horns, trombones, a bass guitar solo and being mainly instrumental covers all of the highs and lows of a speaker range.

The start of this song fades in with people clapping in the background, something that was completely missing when connected via Bluetooth yet when using the cable suddenly the song came alive. Both my colleagues and I agreed that the science on this particular occasion sounded very “live” as if they were playing just ahead of you in my front room. All of the instruments, the subtle nuances and may ring you find in this song came through cleanly but with a touch of warmth. Sometimes you can get a clean sounding set of speakers that sound incredibly sterile and bring nothing to do music. With the amount of action happening in this song at no point did any level get washed dates, sometimes the Saab and bass speaker can try and overcompensate a little too hard blowing out some of the mid range. None of that happened with these speakers happens with the speakers.

Wish You Were Here (Remastered) – Pink Floyd 256 kbps, 44.1 kHZ, AAC One of the finest tunes ever created. Again this is quite a busy and complex track and another good test for the speakers. Once again they passed with flying colours with the opening guitar riff coming through as if Dave Gilmour was there sat next to you playing just for you.

The Trooper (Live) Iron Maiden 256 kbps, 44.1 kHZ, AAC Never let it be said that my musical tastes to test with arent diverse. Being more bass heavy than the other 2 songs here’s where a seperate sub woofer can make the difference to a track. The bass guitar along with the drums could of done with just a smidgen more oomph. kicks and snares are pronouced enough and like the other tests so far nothing sounds bad or off just in some small areas just a little more would push the listening experience towards perfection.

So far the Edifier Luna Eclipse’s cope with everything nicely but to tend to lean slightly more towards acoustical, guitar instrumental styles.

Overall Thoughts On Edifier Luna Eclipse.

f these were just Bluetooth only speakers, the price point would be justified as they also have the all important AUX socket these defiantly justify the price along with the high reviews over on Amazon.

These are a decent set of rich sounding speakers, clear enough yet not coming across as sterile. Thumping bass monsters these are not, but that being said I’d have liked just a little more oomph in the bass area. When cranked up to 11 or annoy the neighbours, everything remains distortion free with nothing in the way of crackle.

The Edifier Luna Eclipse speakers look great, sound great and if you look as the Bluetooth as an additional feature, not a main one, you’ll be searching harder than you should for a better set of speakers.

Treat yourself to a set of Edifier Luna Eclipse speakers and you won’t be going away disappointed.

Given the lack of any separate sub woofer speakers are left to do all the low-end work on their lonesome and whilst they do an adequate job it did make me end up wishing for a little bit more in the lower end department. Thankfully it doesn’t muddle up other sounds and retains enough separation to be clear. It was only when I push the speakers to the absolute maximum with a bass heavy track that the speakers did show the faintest crackle of distortion.

Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Price and Availability

There are several retailers on Amazon selling the Edifier speakers at £129.99 for a new set and hugely discounted prices as well.

 

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors. Listen to live streams of new and upcoming artists, shared and rated by MixPal.FM users. There’s features a plenty along with a wide variation of electronica, dance, house, hard house banging house (think Kevin & Perry) to choose from. Ever tuned into Di.FM? You’ll be happy here.

If your musical tastes are that of tuning into Di.Fm them you’ll be at home here in a nicely presented way with the ability to rate, share, review tracks and artists and skip forward AND backwards through track listings.

As seems to be the trend now you get a walk-through of the UI and features before being dumped into the app but it’s good to be aware of the features as the UI is text free, relying on icons to for getting to settings, some of which aren’t completely obvious to press.

MixPal.Fm steps in where Turntable.fm has closed it’s doors. Listen to live streams of new and upcoming artists, shared and rated by MixPal.FM users. There’s features a plenty along with a wide variation of electronica, dance, house, hard house banging house (think Kevin & Perry) to choose from. Ever tuned into Di.FM? You’ll be happy here.

MixPal Music Offerings

If your musical tastes are that of tuning into Di.Fm them you’ll be at home here in a nicely presented way with the ability to rate, share, review tracks and artists and skip forward AND backwards through track listings.

As seems to be the trend now you get a walk-through of the UI and features before being dumped into the app but it’s good to be aware of the features as the UI is text free, relying on icons to for getting to settings, some of which aren’t completely obvious to press.

Scrolling and navigation through the menus is silky smooth with no problems encountered during testing on iDevices from the iPhone 4s up to the 5s. Track loading time is pretty much instantaneous on both Wi-Fi and 3G connections and in most circumstances quicker than the MixPal.FM website.

As most people who read reviews here know that we like to do our testing anywhere and everywhere and when MixPal came in for review I was on the beach and so what better place to listen to chilled out melodies whilst strolling on Newgale beach.
It wasn’t smooth sailing at first. Bizarrely pressing play whilst only on 3G you won’t hear anything despite the “Radio EQ” away at the bottom of the screen. No amount of tapping or trying different stations would produce anything in to my headphones. Other music apps would work and in my haste I fired off a bug report to the developers

It’s not until you head into settings and enable a streaming bit rate you’ll be able to use 3G. Confusion which could be easily avoided with a simple notification.

Update The developers have gotten back to me saying this will be addressed in a soon to be released update.

The Social Element

Social interaction is taken care of with the usual Twitter, Facebook integration with the ability to thumbs up or down tracks, leaving a small review for as well. It’s not 100% clear on where the review shows up or what rating tracks actually does as it made no difference to anywhere in the app.

When you register for an account both Facebook and Twitter icons looked grayed out but oddly the Facebook icon works but not twitter. Another oddity is there’s no way to book mark a track that’s playing for later or to share with others.

http://essentialapple.com/mixpal-fm-ios-its-like-di-fm-for-your-iphone

Fan membership comes in at $1,99 month / $9.99 for 6 months. This nets you 96k sound quality, no ads and repeats some tracks. For the best experience including high quality audio, full play features, no adverts, no voice overs and the ability to kill your 3G data plan streaming up to 320 KBIT/s will set you back $4.99 a month or $24.99 for 6 months.

When you look at the more generic music based offerings such as Spotify ($9.99 per month) or Pandora ($3.99 per month) MixPal.Fm make for an interesting proposition as long as your preferred music tastes are catered for.

Update. MixPal.FM will give you 1 months PREMIUM features for FREE simply by registering the app.

Running MixPal.Fm for the first time takes you through the now standard how-to slash screens getting you familiar with the app. Once done you’ll end up at the station lists to get on with some listening.

All that being said if you’re a fan of the genres of music offered by MixPal and don’t mind stumping up the extra cash for decent quality this isn’t a bad app at all to consider.

Overall Thoughts on MixPal for iOS

It’s a cracking little up and if you’re into these genres of music you won’t be disappointed with the features on offer once you’ve stumped up for the more premium offerings. The social integration side does need more work on as it’s not clear what happens to your review or rating after you go to the effort of it all.

Being able to scroll backwards is a nice unique feature that to my recollection hasn’t been implemented in a decent fashion before and there is a LOT to choose from.

http://web.archive.org/web/20140827130852/https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mixpal.fm-music-radio-network/id704407028?mt=8&uo=4&at=10lt3D&ct=EA-Review