Monthly Archives: March 2012

HISOUNDROCOOPMINI

HiSoundAudio Rocoo expected 6 April! Check out why it will blow you away here.

RocooHiSoundAudio Rocoo

£149

 

The HiSoundAudio Rocoo is set to arrive on the shores of Amp3 on 6 April!

 

This new little device couldn’t be more eagerly anticipated if we tried. The Rocoo is one of the most DAP music players that you can get and it comes housed in a rectangle of contemporary design. Taking design hues from ages past the Rocoo still emerges as a fresh faced player with a distinctly modern aesthetic.


Rocoo

Reproducing well balanced sound, the Rocoo will definitely blow you away. Modern, and particularly electronic music, positively shine with this player. Bass is peppered with detail and not lost in a muddied mess of noise as is typical of other players at this price point. The on-board DAP works hard to extract the true potential of your music so expect to hear your favourite songs in all their acoustic glory!

 

Reproducing well balanced sound, the Rocoo will definitely blow you away.

 

**As an exclusive offer with this player we at Amp3 are giving away a free set of Hisoundaudio PO PO In Ear Monitor Headphones worth £65.00.**

 

PO PO

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ACS_clear_mini

wired.co.uk review ACS T2 In-Ear Monitor headphones and give them 9/10!

ACS T2

ACS T2 In-Ear Monitor headphones

£499

That said for those who do have the means and the desire to take their music to the next level the T2s represent a powerful, enthralling and hair-raising leap beyond the competition.’ Read the full Wired.co.uk review here

 

These headphones are the crème de la crème of the headphone market. Made to produce premium sound they deliver the very best in audio reproduction. For all the technical jargon, visit the product page here. For a segment from the expert review, read below.

 

‘You’ll also never look at regular earphones the same way again once you start the music. What the painstakingly crafted moulds and their 27db seal create is a platform for ACS to unload a wall of sound. The effect is akin to sitting in anImax with bass, guitars, drums and vocals flying at you from all angles. The Prodigy’s Invaders Must Die has never sounded more rampaging.’ Wired.co.uk

 

 

Buy now

DSC_6315

House of Marley Exodus headphones reviewed by Headfonics!

Exodus

House of Marley Exodus

 

The range of House of Marley headphones produced by the family related to the legend, Bob Marley, have caused quite a stir in the audio world.

 

Ethically built and coming in a range of vibrant colours their sound is as loud as their design. Headfonics have reviewed the Exodus model stating:

 

Taking the headphones out of the box for the first time I literally had to caress and inspect the headband to believe it was a real piece of wood, the finish is immaculate and the stain really emphasizes the grain beautifully, this story was continued throughout the rest of the product.Headfonics

 

To see the rest of the review, click here and read more.

 

 

 

COLORFLYC4PROMINI

How does an MP3 player work? Check out this comprehensive Amp3 guide!

What makes an MP3 player tick?

The chances are you’ve got an MP3 Player tucked away in your pocket for listening to your favourite music when out and about or when just sitting back and relaxing, but have you ever wondered what’s inside one to make it function?

 

It’s time to unleash one of our technicians to strip down a MP3 player and let you see exactly what’s inside and what makes it work.

 

Please note this is certainly not something we would recommend you do yourself and it would certainly invalidate the warranty!

This particular player has a front bezel to protect the LCD screen and a metal back to give good protection of the circuitry within.

 

The first glimpse of the insides of the player itself, here we can see the battery, a few controls at the top and the main circuitry within the player.

 

Stripping further down, with space at a premium the circuitry is often split across several small circuit boards which are usually linked together by ribbon cables.

 

With MP3 manufacturer’s trying to cram more and more features into their players so ingenious techniques to split circuitry are often adopted to get as much as possible in a small case.

 

For example, with this MP3 player there is a total of three circuit boards squeezed into the case. The smallest is right at the top of the player.

 

This board has switches for ‘hold’ and ‘on/off’ as well as the connections for a small internal speaker, which is barely over one centimetre in size but still gives audible sound.

 

Unusually, this MP3 player also has a weighed motor attached to give a rumble effect, just like mobile phones, to give some feedback when options are scrolled through and selected.

 

The next circuit board is mounted onto the front section of the case, and is an array of touch sensitive buttons. A lot of manufacturers have shied away from having lots of mechanical push buttons which can be prone to wear and tear as they get older so with no moving parts touch sensitive buttons have their advantage.

 

Although over the last year or two, touch screens as part of the display are becoming the favourite means of input on players, more on that later.

 

 

By far the largest singe component inside the MP3 player is the battery. With manufacturers striving for the longest playback time possible the more space that can be reserved for the battery to occupy inside the MP3 player the better.

 

 

Modern MP3 Players use Lithium Ion batteries and to get the best performance and power capacity it’s best to keep the battery fully charged whenever possible. Unlike old NiCad rechargeable batteries Lithium Ion batteries do not suffer from a ‘memory effect’ and do not need to be fully exhausted before recharging.

 

 

The next component has to be the most important, the display. The majority of MP3 players, like the one being dismantled here, use an LCD display – just like a miniature version of what you are used to with your computer. Common sizes range from an inch in size to over 7 inches on some of the larger personal media players.

 

To get away from having buttons for selecting options, most of the top end MP3 players now have touch screens fitted over the display. There are two types of touch screens available to manufacturers. The first type is ‘resistive’ touch screens which rely on physically pressing down on them and they can detect a single press. The second type is ‘capacitive’ touch screens which detect the presence of a finger on them and can detect multiple presses across the whole screen area.

 

One advancing screen technology is now emerging into the latest MP3 players are AMOLED displays. Instead of relying on liquid crystal displays with a backlight, each pixel of the screen is made out of 3 light emitting diodes (red, green and blue) which generate the light themselves without having a backlight behind. This results in a far clearer and vivid screen which can be viewed from any angle.

 

The final piece of the puzzle (or MP3 player rather!) is the main circuit board which contains all the circuitry that does all the hard work of playing the music. The next photograph shows both sides of the main board.

 

 

Measuring just over two and a half square inches in size, this is the brains behind the MP3 player.

 

(1)  Headphone Jack – for the sound output

 

(2)  USB Port – used for both transferring music to the player from a computer and for charging the internal battery. Charging circuitry on the board converts the 5 volt supply from the USB to the correct voltage for charging the battery.

 

(3)  Microphone – a common feature in most MP3 Players is the ability to also record so most players will have an internal microphone and some will also have the ability to connect an input via a line in cable to record from other equipment.

 

(4)  Reset button – used to restart the internal processor.

 

 

If your MP3 player suddenly freezes or does not turn on then the first troubleshooting tip is to press the reset button. This will restart the internal processor. It’s a common misconception that pressing the reset button will also wipe the music stored on the player but that is not the case – your music will not be deleted by pressing reset.

 

(5)  Processor – this is the heart of the MP3 player. The type of processor used in MP3 players are quite specialised – powerful microcontrollers with a lot of built in hardware for interfacing to the outside world – memory, audio, USB etc.

 

 

 

Here’s the block diagram from the datasheet of the ATJ2236 processor used in the MP3 player we’ve been dissecting which shows just how many functions are achieved by this single integrated circuit – this single chip runs the software on the player, decodes the audio, records incoming audio, drives the LCD display, checks for any buttons being pressed, reads your files from the memory – the list is endless!

 

(6)  RAM – the first type of memory found in an MP3 player is a small amount of RAM (Random Access Memory), which is used as temporary storage by the processor while it is operating.

 

(7)  Flash ROM – the main memory of the MP3 player. This is the memory that is used to store your music, videos, pictures etc.

 

Depending on the total storage space in the player several Flash memory chips may be used in the design – which is one of the hurdles in creating high capacity players – finding the space to include as many memory chips as possible. The other hurdle is the costs involved for the memory.

 

Very few MP3 players are now available with hard drives, they are now only used in very high capacity portable media players. Flash memory has a number of advantages over hard drives – no moving parts and reduced power consumption extending battery life.

 

(8)  Memory Card slot – for expanding the storage space for your files. Common types used by MP3 players are SD cards and the smaller micro SD.

 

It’s always wise to check the type of memory cards your player can

support to make sure you get the right type. For example, there are

now three families of Secure Digital (SD) flash cards:

SD – the original specification was designed to handle up to 1GB of memory, but later expanded to support 2GB and 4GB cards.

SDHC – High Capacity, the second revision of the SD card family.    SDHC cards range from 4GB to 32GB in size.

SDXC – eXtended Capacity, the latest family of SD cards – for

64GB and beyond.

And that’s it, the entire MP3 player in pieces. A lot of technology packed into a small device. The only remaining question is who is going to put it back together!

 

 

 

 

Z2_WH1-300x300

In-depth review of Cowon Z2 has arrived from Amp3! Elliot puts the hotly anticipated Z2 through its paces.

Cowon Z2

 

£259 32GB

£219 16GB

 

The best way to describe the looks of the Cowon Z2 is to imagine that the Cowon J3 has had a baby with the Nokia Lumia 800 as the two look very similarRead Elliot’s full review here.

 

After what has been a period of intense testing, our very own, Elliot, has put the Cowon Z2 through its paces. The hotly anticipated Z2 device boasts the amazing sound quality that Cowon is renowned for. The video is presented on an AMOLED screen delivering high quality and crisp images when both still and moving.

 

Cowon typically produce high functioning devices with an aesthetic to match. They already have a long list of design awards and the Z2 has already done its part in contributing to it – winning the prestigious Japan Good Design Award 2012.

 

For more information on the Cowon Z2 click here.

 

Pre order

5510022MINI

FiiO E6 is the perfect portable companion for your smartphone.

E6

‘During testing, bass became cleaner, treble had more punch and volume was greatly enhanced.’ Read the full Custom PC review here.

 

RATED: 4/5

~ £18.99 ~

 

The FiiO E6 has been rated and reviewed highly by tech experts, Custom PC. Winning a place in their Custom Kit segment of the magazine the E6 proved its worth receiving a 4/5 star rating.

 

The portable amp is perfect for use with a Smartphone or mp3 player and is easily carried alongside your music playing device. The E6 provides differing options for bass and tidies up sound altogether making for a notable upgrade in audio.

 

For more information click here.

Buy now

 

XAM8MINI

X mini v1.1 rated 5/5 by Expert Reviews!

X miniX mini v1.1

£24.99

 

‘The speakers are surprisingly loud for their small size, but you’ll need two to fill even a small room with sound. The audio is remarkably well-rounded and the single 3.5mm driver copes with even the most complex rhythms, producing clear high notes and fleshed-out mid-range, but it can’t quite hit some deeper bass notes. The X-mini’s sound quality sets it apart from most portable speakers, so it wins a Best Buy award.’ Read the full Expert Reviews review here.

 

The X mini v1.1 has been given a 5 star review from Expert Reviews and rated as their Best Buy product! With up to 6 hours battery life and explosive sound it’s easy to see why the X mini has received such a glowing review.

 

The 3.5mm jack will connect to most phones or mp3 players. It’s small enough to throw in a bag or pocket but produces unbelievably clear sound – enough to get the party started. Get yours today.

 

Buy now

 

POPCORNC300MINI

Popcorn Hour C-300 reviewed by Wired.co.uk! Tested by the experts, see how it fared here.

C-300Popcorn Hour C-300

£341


The C-300 a tweaker’s dream with a feast of options for adjusting things just how you like them. Like its predecessor, it can stream media both from the internet and your computer via your network, but there’s also room on board to add a slim line Blu-ray drive via the slot at the front.’ Read the full Wired.co.uk review here.

 

The Popcorn Hour C-300 is a high functioning home entertainment system. With full HD capacity and a Blue-ray ROM drive, all your TV entertainment is delivered to you in super high quality playback. Even enjoy the delights of 3D with the C-300! The slick, Adobe Flash offers a quick and easy navigating experience made all the easier by a newly incorporated TFT screen.

 

Enjoy a multitude of apps easily available on the Popcorn Hour Apps Market where you can keep up to date with breaking news stories and stay connected with Facebook and Twitter. The C-300 will easily connect to the internet via Ethernet connection or by using a WiFi connection with optional dongle.

 

Why not join us on Facebook for exclusive deals and updates? Click the image below and ‘like’ us.

 

Facebook

 

For more information on the C-300 click here.

 

Pre order

QSBUSBMINI

QSB speakers featured in TechRadar top 10 portable speakers of 2012! Read more here

QSBSoundScience QSB desktop speakers

£109

 

Ideal for those either working away or wanting something substantial, this 30W two-cube system is heavy duty and highly accomplished.TechRadar

 

To read the full TechRadar review click the image below.

 

The QSB speakers are some of the best desktop speakers around. They pack serious sonic punch with crisp sound and impressive bass. The QSBs deliver maximum volume from minimum input. They connect to your laptop or PC via USB port and source their power from this connection too.

 

With minimum cables and a compact size not far exceeding the size of your hand, these speakers offer some of the best portable sound around. Coming with a handy carry case, the QSB speakers slot neatly in place making them easy to pop in a bag.

 

Check it out

Xmini2_mini

‘genuinely unbelievable’ – X mini II in TechRadar top ten portable speakers of 2012!

X miniX mini II

£17.95

 

Read the full TechRadar roundup here.

 

The X mini II has been rated by the experts at TechRadar as one of the best portable speakers in 2012. TechRadar were impressed with the X mini II’s sound quality, battery life and functionality which attributed to its inclusion in this prestigious roundup.

 

With sound that will blow you away it’s hard to believe a gadget so small can produce such power. Excellent sound engineering from X-MI have made this level of volume possible and even maintained a high quality of clear sound.

 

Click the image below for more information on the X mini II capsule speaker.

 

 

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