Category Archives: AMP3 Staff Picks

Every week one of the AMP3 staff will pick their favourite product of the week.

Introducing the Sonos One, with Alexa Control

  Sonos ONE Voice Controlled Smart Speaker

Sonos ONEPlay and control your music hands-free. Just ask. Sonos One blends great sound with Amazon Alexa, the easy-to-use voice service, for hands-free control of your music and more.

Use your voice to control music playing while you cook. Or even request a lullaby when you’re tucking the kids in. Do everything that Alexa does; play songs, check news and traffic, manage smart devices and enjoy all those other helpful Amazon Alexa skills using a single Sonos speaker.

Multi-room listening

Sonos One wirelessly connects to Sonos speakers in additional rooms, allowing you to expand your home sound system when you’re ready.

Built on the mini-but-mighty blueprint of PLAY:1, Sonos One is backed by a pair of Class-D amplifiers and custom-built drivers, meticulously tuned to the speaker’s unique acoustic architecture.

Pair two Sonos Ones together in the same room for instant stereo sound. Add a SUB for deeper bass. Or pair with your TV’s PLAYBAR or PLAYBASE for epic home cinema surround sound.HOMECINEMA

Control Your Sonos

There are many ways to control your Sonos system. With your voice, play and control your music hands-free. Just ask.

With touch, tap to turn up the volume. Swipe to skip a track. Mute the microphone for privacy. Sonos One’s touch controls are always a tap away.

Your Sonos system can also be controlled via the Sonos app, the deepest level of Sonos control. Manage everything you listen to in one place.

Control your entire home through Sonos. Turn on lights, adjust the temperature, and more… with Sonos One you can control your smart home devices with your voice.

There’s no need to worry about privacy either. An illuminated LED indicator light makes sure you always know when your speaker’s microphone is active. Or turned off. Sonos One is designed with extra security: the hard-wired LED connection ensures no one is listening when you want privacy.MICPRIVACY

Better Over Time

As Sonos is continually updating with new features, services and skills, your music and voice-control options will both keep getting better over time.

Alexa Now Compatible with All Sonos Models, All You Need is an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot

Echo dotWith an Amazon Echo or Dot, you can use your voice to play and control songs, playlists, radio stations, podcasts and more. On any Sonos speaker in any room of your home.

Not got your phone to hand? No problem. You can even request a lullaby when you’re tucking the kids into bed.

Sonos uses Amazon Alexa to make your entire home listening experience less touchy. But a whole lot more feely.

Use the convenient combination of your voice and the Sonos app to manage all your music in one place. Both Sonos and Alexa keep adding new features, enhancing sound, services and skills to make sure both your music and voice control options just keep getting better. For free. For life.Since Alexa responds to any voice, anyone in your home can take control of the music. Teens can tell Alexa to skip tracks or lower the volume while they study. Friends can share their questionable taste in music with you, no app required. And you can pause it all with a simple command.

The Sonos One and the Sonos PLAY series of speakers are all available from Advanced MP3 Players now! Buy the Sonos One and receive 10% off any other Sonos speaker!

Getting to Know… The Cowon Plenue Series

With their Plenue series of players, Cowon have been going from strength to strength, demonstrating a rich and powerful signature sound across a wide range of budgets to suit casual listeners and audiophiles alike. This article is intended to act as a guide to this excellent series of players, showing the differences between each model as we move up the range.

Plenue D – £199

COWONPDLARGECowon wanted more people to experience the beautiful sound of the PLENUE series. So they set out on a mission to share the pleasure of listening to music in perfect high resolution sound on mid-range PLENUE device while retaining all the benefits of portable Hi-Fi audio. The PLENUE D is small and light, yet its powerful performance is capable of faithfully reproducing original studio sound anytime anywhere.

Plenue R – £499

COWONPRLARGEThe Plenue R is described as Cowon’s ‘all-round’ player, which best exemplifies the versatility of the Plenue range, with features such as aptX high-quality Bluetooth, a 2.5mm balanced output and up to 17 hours of continuous music playback. There is also a USB DAC mode, expandable memory and a colour changing LED that changes according to the sound source.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PD:

-        128GB Internal Memory

-        USB DAC Mode

-        Balanced output

-        Convenient multi-button and intuitive control buttons

-        A colour changing LED that changes according to the sound source (normal, HD and DSD/DXD)

Plenue M2 – £590

COWONPM2-SILVERLARGEAs a successor to the PLENUE M, the sound has been precisely tuned for a more advanced HD sound. The PLENUE M2 includes the Burr-Brown PCM1795 (24bit/192kHz) stereo DAC used in the finest Hi-Fi audio systems as well as superior SNR, THD+N, and crosstalk specifications for a more evolved sound when playing high definition sources. Continuing in the prestige of the PLENUE series of DAPs, the PLENUE M2 delivers the impressions infused in music intact to listeners.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PR:

-        Burr-Brown’s high-performance DAC PCM1795

-        Improved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue 1 – £740

COWONP1LARGEThe Cowon Plenue P1 features the exceptional Burr-Brown PCM1792A Audio DAC for superb sound quality. Cowon have packed an impressive set of audio specifications into the P1, with a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of 120dB, Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of 0.0006% and Stereo Crosstalk of -134dB. The sampling rate of a player can fluctuate due to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. To reduce this effect the P1 is fitted with an adapted TCXO (Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator) which has an exceptional phase jitter of just 1.0ps allowing the P1 to perform flawlessly in any situation.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PM2:

-        Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) to improve phase jitter

-        Impoved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue 2 – £1,100

COWONP2-SVBKLARGEThe PLENUE 2 offers an unprecedented level of audio that delivers an unforgettable listening experience. The latest premium DAC AK4497EQ for optimized audio quality, SoundPlus amplifier integrated with newly improved technologies, Dual Control Wheels re-designed for the ultimate user experience, ultra-precise Dual TCXO for accurate and detailed sound reproduction, balanced output for clear, high-quality sound, and upgraded design to match its powerful performance. Sweeping changes using innovative technologies. Experiencing the performance of PLENUE 2 leaves audiophiles and casual listeners alike in awe.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE P1:

-        Dual TCXO for even more detailed sound reproduction

-        SoundPlus amplifier

-        Dual Control Wheels for more tactile control over player functions

-        Improved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved total harmonic distortion

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue S – £1299

COWONPS-TITANIUMLARGEThe Cowon Plenue Supremacy offers Cowon’s greatest sound to date. A new world-class flagship player, the Plenue S is one of the best Hi Res Music Players available, featuring the exceptional Burr-Brown PCM1792A Audio DAC for superb sound quality. No-conversion Native DSD 256, high fidelity Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC, high quality balanced output, high precision dual TCXO clock, and the powerful 3Vrms driving performance for perfect sound reproduction. The PLENUE S delivers indescribably perfect sound fidelity. PLENUE S has taken a giant step towards true sound reproduction. Check out the PLENUE S for the latest in sound reproduction technology. Get a PLENUE S for a totally new audio experience.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE P2:

-        Faster Cortex A9 1.2GHz dual core CPU, maximizing speed and performance

-        Pogo Pin socket terminal provides a high resolution balance line out output that can be scaled up with multiple devices using the micro USB terminal.

-        Cowon’s best sounding player to date.

We hope this guide will help clear up the main differences between these six excellent players. Need more advice? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Introducing new Shanling Products at AMP3!

We are happy to announce that as of this week, we will be taking orders for Shanling products!

Shanling are a high-tech enterprise specialising in research, development and manufacturing of high end audio products. The following Shanling products are now available for purchase from Advanced MP3 Players:

Shanling M2s Portable Lossless Digital Audio Player & DAC – £189.00

M2SLARGE

Packing cutting-edge technologies into a lightweight player with small dimensions the M2s can play most lossless audio files including DSD256 and PCM up to 384kHz/32bit. Comprehensive file playback makes the M2s highly versatile with support of DSD256 and PCM up to 384kHz/32bit, and supports MP3, WAV, FLAC, APE, WMA, ALAC, AIFF, AAC, ISO, DFF, DSF and DTS file formats. The player comes in both a black and a blue design. An incredible player for the price!

Shanling H1 Headphone Amp – £119.00

H1-BLACKLARGE

Combining two Burr-Brown amplifiers for output and pre-amp stages in the H1 makes for the highest quality sound. The Burr-Brown TPA6120A2 delivers high bandwidth, extremely low noise and a high dynamic range. Burr-Brown OPA2134 with wide output swing allows for increased headroom. With this formidable combination, the H1 headphone amplifier allows music to be heard in all its glory.

Shanling UP Portable DAC/Amp – £149.00

UPLARGE

Shanling UP packs lossless playback and powerful amplification into a miniature device to instantly improve portable listening. Suitable for Android and Apple devices this small amplifier and DAC combination provides an immense transformation to sound quality with any type of headphone or earphone. To make sure the Shanling UP amp & DAC is compatible with any smartphone it includes four cables that provide easy link-up via Lightning, microUSB, USB type-C, or standard USB type-A connection. Apple iOS system is perfectly supported with ‘Made For Apple’ certification.

If you would like any further information on these fantastic new products, please don’t hesitate to drop us a ticked or call us on 0343 289 6880!

Best Earphones for “On the Go” Use

A question we are frequently asked by our customers is “which earphones are good for travel/outdoors?”

It’s a fair question; those who listen to music whilst they commute, travel or exercise need to know that their purchase will be suitable and robust enough for their desired use. With that in mind, we have chosen 5 choice products available at Advanced MP3 Players that may make finding your next set of earphones a little easier!

FiiO F5 Balanced IEM Earphones Featuring Infinity Sound – £65.99

FIIOF5LARGEThe FiiO F5 Earphones are balanced, Hi-Res in-ear monitors. They would be great for the commuter whose cables always suffer from wear and tear, as the cables for these earphones are easily replaceable! The FiiO F5s come with a 2.5mm balanced cable for the audiophile, and a single ended 3.5mm with in-line controls compatible with both Apple and Android devices.

SoundMagic E10BT Bluetooth Headphones – £69.99

E10BT-BKLARGEThese wireless earphones feature hi-resolution sound, a light and comfortable design and a battery capable of 10-12 hours of continuous playback. There’s even a shirt clip to make the battery less intrusive. Perfect for travelling long distances!

Sony XB50BS Extra Bass Sports Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones – £49.99

MDRXB50BSBCE7LARGEThe Sony MDR-XB50BS earphones combine an elegant, sports-friendly design with powerful, bass-heavy sound. Durable and built to last, these earphones have also been designed to be splash proof. So even if it starts to rain outside while you’re on your morning run, you can continue enjoying your music!

Westone W10 Single Driver Earphones with built-in mic and removable cable – £144.99

10480LARGEThe Westone W series of earphones tick a lot of the boxes when looking for a robust pair of earphones. They are hi-res, have function controls for Apple products (including Siri activation), removable and replaceable cables, and come with a range of accessories including different faceplates, ear buds and even a hard carry case!

Sony MDR-1000X Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – £369.00

MDR1000XLARGENot a fan of in-ears? These gorgeous sounding Sony headphones are Bluetooth enabled, hi-resolution and even feature active noise cancelling technology; no more ramping up the volume to drown out the bus engine from now on!

All of these great models are available to order or pre-order now from Advanced MP3 Players.     If you need any further advice, we’re always happy to hear from you! Give our sales line a call on 0131 618 8533 for guidance on choosing your next purchase.

New Premium DAPs On AMP3

At Advanced MP3 Players, we pride ourselves on being able to provide a plethora of different DAPs to suit the needs of every customer. Be it something light and portable or something with more outputs than you could shake a stick at, we’ve got you covered. This also goes for those who are looking for something more premium… a cream of the crop DAP. Over the upcoming months, we will be stocking two fantastic new high end digital audio players that may pique your interests. Both are available to pre-order now, and we have all the details on these new models below.

Questyle QP2R Hi-Resolution Digital Audio Player

QP2RLARGE

Following on from Questyle’s acclaimed QP1R, the QP2R is an improvement over an already brilliant player, now with higher storage capacity, an upgraded and improved scroll wheel, and an ever clearer, immersive sound.

Questyle have always had audio performance and listening experience as their core values, and this hasn’t changed with the QP2R.

Features include:

  • More than 10 hours of battery
  • Accepts up to 200GB microSD card for external expansion
  • 3.5mm headphone/optical output, 2.5mm balanced output
  • Supports USB DAC
  • Linux OS
  • 65 x 134 x 14.5mm in size
  • Supports WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF and APE file formats

Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000 Digital Audio Player

SP1000E3L

Now this is how you make a flagship model! The A&ultima SP1000 is a one of a kind, high end, powerful high resolution music player equipped with the latest advanced features. The ultimate in sound quality, this is the first Astell & Kern player to feature an octa-core CPU for outstanding response and performance, a high definition HD5 display to create the best viewing experience, and an innovative new multi-function volume wheel and stainless steel or copper housing. An improvement over the already stellar AK380 model, the SP1000 really needs to be heard to be believed.

Features include:

  • Capable of 32/384kHz bit to bit playback
  • Native DSD 11.2MHz
  • Dual DACs
  • USB 3.0 Type C connector
  • Fast charging
  • 5 inch touch display
  • Octa-core CPU
  • Parametric EQ
  • 200fs VCXO reference clock
  • Stainless steel/copper body
  • Multi-function wheel key
  • Expandable memory up to 512GB

Both of these models are now available to be pre-ordered from AMP3 now. If you require any further information about either of these excellent models before you make the investment, do not hesitate to give us a call or an email. If you’d like to see either of these models bundled with another product you are interested in, but cannot see the bundle you’d be interested in, let us know!

 

A Crash Course in Hi-Res Audio

 

hiresWhat is Hi-Resolution Audio?

Hi-Resolution Audio is defined as “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources”. Hi-Res has a higher sampling frequency and bit depth than CD quality, which is 16-bit/44.1kHz. Hi-Res audio files usually use a sampling frequency such as 96kHz or even 192kHz, and a higher bit depth of 24-bit.

There are a few different file formats to choose from, such as FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF and DSD. ‘Lossy’ file formats such as MP3 or AAC files on iTunes are not Hi-Res.

Why is Hi-Resolution Audio Better?

Put simply, Hi-Res Audio files offer a superior, uncompressed quality over standard compressed audio formats. They can more closely replicate the sound quality intended by the artists and engineers who created the music you are listening to.

Where Can I Find Hi-Resolution Audio Files?

There are various places Hi-Res Audio files can be downloaded. Popular stores include HDTracks, 7Digital, and Qobuz. Some vinyl players offer a facility where you can rip your vinyl collection to Hi-Resolution Audio files.

What do I need to listen to Hi-Resolution Audio?

To get started, you will need a player that is compatible with the file formats, sample rates and bit depths discussed above. As Hi-Resolution becomes more popular, there is a growing number of models on the market that are suitable for playing Hi-Res Audio. Here are some of AMP3’s favourites:FIIOX5IIILARGE

  • FiiO X5iii – an excellent, Android based, lossless playback compatible music player, with rapid charging capabilities and a whopping 544GB maximum storage capacity.
  • Cayin i5 – a robust and user friendly player that offers 12 hours of continuous Hi-Resolution Audio playback. One of the smallest and lightest DAPs on the market, and a great entry level model for dipping your toes into the Hi-Res marketplace.
  • Sony NW-A35 Walkman – with a long battery life and a range of colours to choose from, you can now get the classic Sony sound in Hi-Resolution with a price tag that won’t break the bank.
  • Cowon Plenue D – small but powerful! A well-built player with expandable memory, 100 hour battery life, and a huge range of excellent sound enhancements and EQ filters so you can fine tune your Hi-Res files so they sound just how you like them.
  • iBasso DX200 – featuring what iBasso refers to as an ‘Audiophile Quality DAC’, the DX200 will be picking features out of your favourite records that you’d never noticed before.
  • Astell & Kern KANN – an extremely powerful portable music player, featuring balanced connectors and the capability to play files up to 32-bit/384kHz to deliver a perfectly detailed sound.

What about headphones?

For a set of headphones to be classified as Hi-Res, they need to be able to produce an upper frequency of at least 40kHz. Though this is far beyond the range of human hearing (20kHz), the sound information sitting outside of this range will allow the headphone to render the complete harmonic structure of the sound you are listening to, rather than clipping off the harmonics produced above the average hearing range of a human. You will only be able to get this frequency range from Hi-Res music files played back on a Hi-Res player. Here are some of our top picks for Hi-Res headphones and earphones that won’t leave you disappointed:MDR1000XLARGE

  • Sony MDR-1000X – a set of over ear headphones that provide a rich and detailed sound, with the added benefits of Bluetooth and noise cancelling.
  • Pioneer SE-CH9T Earphones – built from a solid combination of brass and aluminium, these earphones come with a detachable cable, meaning those with a player with a balanced port can use these earphones without having to use the standard 3.5mm input. We recommend the FiiO RC-SE1B balanced cable for this situation, which can be bought as part of a bundle deal from AMP3.
  • HiFiMAN HE-400i Open Back Headphones – for a pair of over ear headphones, these are both incredibly light and very efficient. No need for a powerful amp to drive these headphones!
  • Dunu DK-3001 Earphones – a pair of hybrid earphones boasting three armature driver units and an additional dynamic driver to produce a highly detailed sound across the entire frequency spectrum.
  • Westone UMpro50 Earphones – meticulously built by a staff of dedicated artisans and lab techs, these five balanced armature driver earphones feature Westone’s True-Fit Techology, guaranteeing you a comfortable fit.
  • FiiO EX1ii Earphones – a comfortable, lightweight pair of high quality earphones at a low price we’ve all come to expect from FiiO’s products.

If after taking this all in you still need further advice or would like to hear about different models from the ones we have recommended here, don’t hesitate to give us here at Advanced MP3 Players a call or a message. We’ll be happy to help!

DA3D04MINI

Damson Redefine Wireless Speaker Market with Oyster

OysterDamson Oyster

£179.99


As the latest portable Bluetooth speaker from Damson, the Oyster cements itself as the brightest and boldest product yet to come from the Yorkshire company. The Oyster’s stylish and innovative design houses sophisticated technology consisting of two 2in front-facing 10W midrange drivers, two side-firing 1.5in tweeters and a rear passive radiator subwoofer. The dynamic sound is unrivalled delivering unbelievably balanced and clear audio.

Measuring just 230 x 100 x 116mm the Oyster is perfectly portable: small enough to be stowed in luggage yet large enough to handle impressive volume. With a staggering 12 hour battery life take the Oyster anywhere or keep it as a stylish permanent fixture in the home.

Boasting both simplicity in design and simplicity in function, the Oyster makes Bluetooth pairing effortless; simply, pair and play.

 

Check out the epic product video here.

 

COWONC2MINI

Amp3 Tech Spot: C2 User Guide

C2 General User Guide

Getting started

There are no buttons on the front or bottom of the C2, these are all located on the top, as illustrated below:

The volume buttons (as shown above and circled in orange) also act as the ‘reset’ button, when both the ‘+’ and ‘–‘ are simultaneously held for 4 seconds. This reset only shuts off power in case of a device malfunction and does not affect the device’s performance. This will very rarely be required, however.

As shown in the image below, the built-in speaker is located on the back of the player.

The USB port (for charging the player and transferring data) is situated on the right-hand side of the player, underneath a plastic flap which lifts partially out to allow access to this and the micro SD card slot, which is located to the right of/above the USB port. The 3.5mm earphone socket is located on the left-hand-side. This is shown below:

Basic Navigation

The Cowon C2 is fairly flexible in that many functions can be performed in numerous ways.

Even the main menu can be viewed in different layouts, however when you first use your C2, the default layout will be as shown below. The default layout is referred to as the ‘Daily Life UI’ within the C2 manual. Swiping upwards or downwards will switch between the four menu pages in this view. To alter the menu style (and switch to the’ Visible Layered UI’), press the ‘theme’ icon, as circled in lime green, on the same page as the ‘rotate’ and ‘options’ icons. Many users may find the ‘Visible Layered UI’ menu layout more intuitive.


Visible Layered UI

Should you select an option and then wish to return to the main menu screen, simply press the ‘M’ button situated on the top of the player, between the ‘lock’ and ‘volume’ buttons.

Music Playback

The basic music playback screen can be seen below:


Tapping anywhere on the ‘now playing screen’ (as shown above) will show the following basic playback options:

Tapping ‘next’ in the bottom right hand corner of the screen (only after the screen has been tapped and the icon row above has appeared) will show a similar row of icons, in the centre of the screen:


Music Playback Settings


After selecting ‘settings’ a new screen will open showing:

If you select ‘next’ in the bottom right-hand corner of this screen, it will take you to the second page of music playback settings as shown below:


Selecting ‘next’ again (from the bottom right-hand corner) will take you to the third and final page of music playback settings:

Viewing ‘favourites’ and ‘bookmarks’


Video Playback

The basic video playback screen will be blank unless tapped in the centre. Tapping the centre of the screen whilst a video is playing will display a belt of icons along the middle (similar to the music playback screen), as well as the time, volume, battery metre and lock status, as shown below:


Tapping ‘next’ in the bottom right hand corner of the screen (only after the screen has been tapped and the icon row above has appeared) will show a similar row of icons, in the centre of the screen:

The video FAVOURITES and BOOKMARKS can be accessed in exactly the same way as the music favourites and bookmarks – by selecting ‘open’ from the middle belt of icons, and then selecting ‘next’ in the bottom left-hand corner.

SANS410CEKMINI

The future is bright, the future is WiFi

Sony SA-NS410

£229

The future is bright, the future is WiFi and at Amp3 we’ve got a lot to be excited about. This new  wireless speaker from Sony disperses 360 degree sound using a WiFi and DNLA connection.

 

The system is easy to set up and allows you to transmit audio files from your PC, phone or mp3 player. Wherever you’ve got WiFi, you can stream DNLA certified devices to this speaker. Better yet, with all Sony products your get access to Music Unlimited – your source for millions of free tracks.

 

WiFi is fast becoming the preferred method of connection for powerful speakers and another example soon to be gracing the shelves of Amp3 is the biggest yet from SoundScience, the Panetonne. This 2.1 speaker boasts a huge 250watts with left and right drivers and subwoofer. It will retail for around £300.

Keep your eye on the blog and website for updates of when the Panetonne will become available.

 

For more information about the Sony SA-NS410 click the image below.

 

 

 

NWZZ1060B4CEWMINI

New Sony Z series stuns with upgraded audiophile sound

Sony Z series

Sony NWZ-Z1060 32GB

£274

The Sony NWZ-Z1060 is the latest player from Sony that has been eagerly anticipated by the likes of us here at Amp3. A bigger screen and better video output make the Sony NWZ-Z1060 player great for videos; Android lets you browse and download a huge selection of apps and to top it all off, the sound has been improved to audiophile standard!

 

Sony has designed a high performing player engineered with technology that catapults it into the audiophile market directly competing with the likes of audiophile experts, Cowon. This is a seriously high tech player that will redefine your expectations of portable entertainment. A little larger than the previous A-series the Sony NWZ-Z1060 is just as sleek and boasts easy and efficient navigation.

Sony Z series

The Sony NWZ-Z1060’s secret to success is in its audio output. What makes the output so good is the technology behind it all. To give you a taste of what Sony sound engineers have been up to, read below.

 

Sony Z series

 

The Sony NWZ-Z1060 has been expertly engineered to reproduce sound with higher than ever noise and distortion reduction levels. S-Master MX technology typically used to power AV receivers, HiFi amplifiers and hi-end theatre systems, has been optimized for mobile devices where the Sony NWZ-Z1060 is the flagship model.

 

The Sony NWZ-Z1060 is available to pre order here for £274.

 

Pre order