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Clarity check [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
[March 02, 2014]

Clarity check [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) IT'S thumbs-up for these two audiophile must-haves, says Ana Korg.

For many audiophiles, there's bound to be a few default tracks to test an existing hi-fi system, a new piece of audio component or in my case, a new product that landed on my lap for review.

Personally, I find it gratifying when a new product such as the Bose QuietComfort 20 (QC20) is able to bring out details in my favourite tracks. Another Bose product that offers similar audio experience to share with friends is the SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker.

The QC20 looks pretty ordinary with its oval shaped in-ear pieces and muted colour finishing. When you factor in the silicone StayHear+ ear tips the design begins to look more funky. Beyond lending the set a distinguished finish, the silicone tips are extremely comfortable even to music listeners who are partial to big puffy headsets over in-ear types.

The QC20's package also includes a USB cable, carrying case and clothing clip.

Pairing the set with an Android smartphone is simple and this model also compatible with BlackBerry and Windows. The in-line remote also offers buttons to help you answer and end a call.

QC20 has Bose's proprietory acoustic noise cancelling technology that uses digital signal processing and it works beautifully. As many of us also listen to music while we walk, jog and do other activities, the Aware Mode button can be switched on to ensure you still get clean sounds without fully blocking the tinkers and honks from your surrounding.

The control module has an internal battery which can be charged for two hours to deliver 16 hours of play. Even if the battery dies, the earpieces still work though with lower performance. The device works well enough to satisfy audio lovers even without the control module in action.

Meanwhile the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker packs a punch in its petite body. The matte-finish speaker is suited for a small- to medium-sized room.

For a portable speaker, it is on the heavy side, weighing 670g.

I like that the volume buttons are tactile and very handy during night time listening. The speaker can take up to six devices which will automatically sync. The only thing missing is the speakerphone function that usually twins with a bluetooth speaker.

A charging cradle is included but if you opt to travel with the speaker just bring along the AC adapter instead. There is an auxiliary input for devices without bluetooth function and a micro USB port.

In terms of performance, the depth of the bass register is heavier than I expect in a speaker of this size. However, on some tracks, the bass tends to get a bit muffled in mid register. Changing the setting on the music player's equaliser will correct this.

It does not disappoint in an orchestral recording. The range separation is clear and bass response is adequate.

Set up your own mini theatre system by pairing the speaker with your tablet or iPad like I did and watch a movie online with a full range of sound effects.

At the rehearsal studio where my band works, the SoundLink Mini is handy for a quick reference as we do a lot of covers.

In short, the SoundLink Mini produces quite honest audio output to appeal to users like me who need to listen to tracks for work rather than pure entertainment.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Price: RM1,560 Enquiries: Atlas Hifi (Tel: 03-22875080) Pros: 1. Very comfortable tips 2. Aware mode to keep users alert Cons: 1. Expensive 2. No colour options Bottomline: Strictly for audiophile.

Specifications Headphones length/weight: 132 cm / 44 g StayHear+ tips: 3.2 (H) x 2.5 (W) x 1.3 (D) cm USB cable length: 30.5cm Control module: 8.9 (H) 3.2 (W) x 0.95 (D) cm Battery: 16 hours per full charge Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker Price: RM1,100 Pros: 1.Durable and user-friendly design 2. Big audio performance Cons: 1. No speakerphone function 2. A bit heavy to be fully portable Bottomline: Great audio performance that can suit music lovers and pro users.

Specifications Dimensions/Weight: 5.1 (H) x 18 (W) x 5.8 (D) cm / 670g Input/Output: 3.5mm auxiliary input, Micro-USB port Wireless range: 30ft Battery life: 7 hours (c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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