DuobudsFrom time to time we see good ideas which for all of that aren’t worth a story on their own. So we wait until we have a few and lump them together. That time has come; here are three.

Sharing’s caring

Now Duobuds may be a good idea but we’d dispute the breathless media release that calls them “the biggest revolution in headphone design since the Sony Walkman”. For a start the Walkman wasn’t a headphone.

These differ from conventional earbuds in two ways. Firstly the plug that goes into the music player’s 3.5 mm output has a second plug built in, so that a friend can share just by plugging their earbuds into that one. This of course can be taken to extremes if you buy lots of Duobuds and daisy-chain them. Call it an earbud power board.

It’s a neat idea, but splitter plugs that do just this have been around for yonks and cost a couple of dollars.

The second, more useful difference is that the right and left earbud can be clipped together so that when you stop listening you simply clip them behind your neck and let them hang, ready for further action at a moment’s notice.

They’re $39.95 a pair.

Big bar

Sharp makes the biggest television in Australia, a 230 cm, $20,000 monster LCD, and now it has unveiled a soundbar to match. It’s a 2.1-channel system that has been developed specifically for screens of 150 cm or more, and it’s almost 1.4-metres long. That means better stereo separation than most.

The HTSB60 connects to the television with a single HDMI cable and has a separate audio input if you want to hook in a CD player or iPhone dock. It’s $499.

If you’re wondering, 2.1 channels means the bar that goes under the screen has right and left speakers (that’s two channels) and the .1 is the separate subwoofer that can be placed anywhere in the room it will fit. In this case the sub is wireless, meaning no speaker cables, all it needs is a power point.

Simple sound

It’s a portable speaker with almost the same footprint as an iPhone. Just put in three AA batteries, turn on and put your smart phone on top. Bingo, the music is bumped up both in volume and sound quality.

It’s called the Contact by Kaiser Baas and while the publicity says it operates with iPods, iPads and whatever, we could only get it to operate with a smart phone with an in-built speaker, no go with an iPad or iPod Classic.

But with the phone it’s impressive. Even when cranked to max – when distortion threatens – there’s enough sound for a small room, the volume being controlled by the device sitting on the Contact.

It’s as simple as it sounds, in fact the Contact only has one button; the on/off switch. And it’s small enough to travel easily, addressing long, boring nights in lonely hotel rooms. $59.95.

Published March 2013