Sunday, December 11, 2011

What happened to WireFreeHiFi? Who cares, they still sell the Opera S5 wireless earbuds

I stop paying attention for just a little bit and the world changes around me. 

WireFreeHiFi, aka Dipecomm, used to have a ton of Kleer-based wireless audio products. Now they're just down to the Digifi Opera S5 and the CyFi bicycle speaker. Both great products, but WireFreeHiFi used to have other products, my favorite being the one that essentially turned any MP3 speaker into an Apple wireless speaker. How? Well they had a dongle (transmitter) that fitted onto your iPod/iPhone and then the receiver component fitted into the cradle of your MP3 speaker. Then you could walk around your room, change tracks, etc. without the wires. I wonder if Apple finally caught up to them, that is, the Apple legal team did. Who knows, but the good news is that they're still selling the Opera S5 wireless earbuds via Amazon UK

Why is this good news?

Cause you can purchase the Opera S5 wireless earbuds that also come with the Apple-certified transmitter. Now the transmitter might be a bit old, that is, not too sure what iPods it still works with. But as I recall, the transmitter uses the Apple 30-pin transmitter so it plugs into practically all Apple devices. It's just you might get an error message, but just close that message and it should still work. As always, do due diligence and ask the retailer WireFreeHiFi what Apple devices it still works with (iPod, iPhone, iPad). 

So, you ask, why should I care that WireFreeHiFi still sells the Opera S5 wireless earbuds via Amazon UK?

Because, it is uses Kleer technology. 


Here's the kicker about Kleer technology that a lot of people forget about or don't use. All Kleer-based technology is interoperable. That means all the Kleer-based wireless headphones/earbuds/earphones/speakers and transmitters can all "talk" to each other. 

For example, you can use the AKG K 840 KL  Kleer-based transmitter to deliver music to Sennheiser Kleer-based headphones. You need to "pair" them together but this is a relatively easy process and the directions should be in the manuels of pairing extra wireless receivers (headphones, earbuds) to one transmitter/dongle. But in this case, instead of associating four Sennheiser Kleer-based wireless headphones to one transmitter, you're going to add the AKG K 840 KL wireless headphones, or the Opera S5, or the new Sync by 50.  

NOTE: You can only associate to a maximum of four wireless headphones, but those Kleer-based headphones can be any manufacturer. And, another note, the Sennheiser MX W1 true wireless earbuds (discontinued sadly) count as two as each earbud takes a spot.
To make a short story long, you can purchase the Arcam rWand iPod Wireless Stream Device that uses Kleer technology to stream to the Arcam rCube wireless speaker

But it costs  £49.95 (approx $78.12 USD) on Amazon UK. Someone is also trying to sell it on Amazon UK for £69.95 (approx $109.41 USD), but ignore them.

You can also purchase the Arcam rWand on (which is news to me but there it is) for $99.95 USD. 

Or, instead of buying the Arcam rWand, purchase the Opera S5 wireless earbuds on Amazon UK and you get a Kleer-based Apple 30-pin transmitter that can be associated with any Kleer-based receiver (headphones/earbuds/earphones/speakers) for £79.95 (approx $125.05 USD) and wireless earbuds.

Just saying, look for the value, and understand that Kleer-based products are interoperable: transmitters (dongles) can be associated to other manufacturer's Kleer-based receivers (wireless headphones/earbuds/earphones/speakers).

And then, one of the drawbacks of the Sennheiser RS 180 wireless headphones is that it is designed for listening to TV audio, not for walking around outside. 

Using a Kleer-based transmitter (one that uses the 3.5 mm audio jack or an Apple-certified transmitter), associate it with the Sennheiser RS 180 and you're mobile. 

Confusing in some ways, easy in others. Do some research, find out what you want from your Kleer-based technology (regardless of manufacturer), then mix and match appropriately. 

Opera S5 wireless earbuds still available on Amazon UK, can ship to States and Canada

Looks like you can still purchase the Apple-certified Opera S5 wireless earbuds from Amazon UK and that they'll ship to the States, Canada, Europe.  I thought they'd been discontinued as well, like the Sennheiser MX W1 true wireless earbuds.  If they haven't been discontinued, they've still have enough in stock on Amazon UK. Costs £79.95, approx: $125.05 USD. Shipped from WireFree HiFi, who has a 95% positive from 39 total ratings.

Because the dongle (transmitter) is Apple-certified, you have audio and track control directly to your iPod from the wireless earbuds. This means you don't need to fish out your iPod to change tracks or volume, you have the controls on your earbuds. 

Check out the price and product description on Amazon UK >>


Saturday, December 10, 2011

MX W1 true wireless earbuds discontinued?

Can't find the Sennheiser MX W1 true wireless earbuds on anymore. Looks like they've been cancelled, that they're not making them anymore. The MX W1 wireless earbuds were a great concept piece for Sennheiser and Kleer as they demonstrated the ability to deliver wireless audio in stereo. The amazing part about the MX W1 wireless earbuds is that they were "true" wireless as there was no wire between the left and right earbud. And they were delivered CD-quality, lossless, uncompressed digital audio in stereo. So you heard the music designed for the left speaker through the left-designated MX W1 and the right speaker through the right-designated earbud. Pretty sure that the success of the MX W1 laid the groundwork for the Sennheiser RS 160, 170, and 180 wireless headphones. The earbuds could be charged connecting to a wire or you could charge the cradle and you could could charge the earbuds there as the cradle could charge them independently for a while. Was a pretty cool design.

Guess you could still probably find them on eBay.

Kleer-based Sennheiser RS 180 review: "It really delivered"

Hey, the price of the Sennheiser RS 180 wireless headphones is dropping in price on Used to go for $389.95 USD, now $268.99 USD. That's a big drop, just in time for the holidays.

"I ordered these partly to be able to watch TV without disturbing others and partly in the hope of clarifying dialogue, particularly in the genre of dramas in which the characters tend to mumble or whisper in the background. It really delivered. Dialogue is crystal clear, even the background stuff. And the fidelity is stunning -much better than my surround sound speaker system and no noise at all. Unlike my speakers, they are absolutely silent during breaks between scenes. I did not experience any delay between the TV speakers and the headphones as some users have described. I suspect this problem may be more prominent with home theatre systems than with the TV speakers. My only quibble would be the tiny control buttons.

Setup was simple, except for a problem that was the fault of my home theatre system, not the headphones. There was no headphone jack on the back of the sound system! Moreover, while the home theatre setup had a setting for HDMI sound to go to the TV (and therefore out using the TV jacks), it automatically switched back to its own speakers and would not allow the HDMI setting to stay locked. After removing the system completely and plugging the headphones into the TV, I discovered a better workaround solution: connect the phones directly to the sound sources: The DVR/cable box and the DVD player. This worked like a charm, permitting the TV to be muted at will and still get sound through the phones. If you have more than one sound source, you will just need a couple of (1 female to 2 male) audio splitters from Radio Shack to plug into both sources. And you will never need a home theatre again!" 

The Sennheiser RS 180 wireless headphones were designed for watching TV as the latency is low enough on these wireless headphones so that you don't have any discrepancy between what you hear and what you see, i.e., what people say is timed properly with their lips. 

And, as the RS 180 use Kleer wireless audio technology, you hear uncompressed, lossless, CD-quality, digital stereo audio. 

Review: Kleer-based Harman AKG K840KL On-Ear Wireless Headphones

So the Harman AKG K840KL on-ear wireless headphones that use Kleer wireless audio technology are also coming down in price. From $359.00 USD to $198.36 on

Here's a section of the review on

"I decided to buy AKG for various reasons. Great product. Wireless connectivity is superb. Minimal hiss in idle mode. Once you start the movie or the music, you really cant notice the hiss. So far they feel solid. Comfortable on the ears. Everything is great, the sound quality is great but then I compared them to the QC sound and that is where QC wins. Specifically, Bose has more depth/Bass to it, while the K840 has a comparatively flat sound. Now that is highly subjective. I personally like slightly high bass (hence I prefer the QCs) but not everyone does. Besides this little difference, the sound quality of K840 is simply great. All frequencies are clear and crisp. I would buy them again if they last me longer than the QCs did. Never a Bose QC again."

The review's a little confusing, but he does like the AKG wireless headphones. And remember, these headphones use Kleer wireless audio so you get CD-quality, lossless, uncompressed, CD-quality audio. You hear the music the way the musician wanted you to hear it.

And the AKG transmitter uses a 3.5 mm audio jack so pretty universal and portable. You can also plug it into your laptop when you're at work. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

50 cents talks with TechCrunch about his new Kleer-based wireless headphones

Here's a photo of the new Sync by 50 (photo courtesy of TechCrunch).  Comes in three different colors: black, white, and blue. The article on TechCrunch just mentions white and black so who knows exactly what color options there'll be.

50 is releasing two new headphones, one wired, one wireless. The wired is called "Street by 50" for $299.95 and the wireless is called "Sync by 50" for $399.95.

Interesting to see the dongle (transmitter) using the 3.5 mm audio jack. I don't know why, but I was kinda hoping for some Apple iPod/iPhone integration. Oh well, maybe next rev.  But the good thing about the 3.5 mm jack is it is universal, plug it practically anywhere and listen to wireless goodness for up to 50 feet away. 

And by the look on the wireless headphones, you have audio and track control if I'm interpreting the symbols correctly. Now, the little bit I know, with the 3.5 mm audio jack, you have only local audio control, that is you're not changing the audio levels at the source (laptop, iPod, stereo system). But I don't think that you can have track control via a 3.5 mm audio jack. Maybe those symbols are for the wired? But that doesn't make sense either. I know the only wireless earphones/earbuds that have track control are iPod/iPhone certified and use the Apple-certified transmitter connected to an iPod/iPhone, etc. Who knows, maybe Kleer being bought out by SMSC introduced some new technology.

TechCrunch also has a video interview up with 50 as well. Great that he mentions Kleer wireless audio. And that's the big difference between any other rapper-based headphones: Sync by 50 wireless earphones offer uncompressed, lossless, CD-quality, digital stereo audio.

As 50 says in his interview, he wants people to hear music the way he hears it. Which is where Kleer wireless audio technology comes in as it streams it unchanged. You hear the music the way the musician intended it to be heard.

"50 Cent" talks about his new Kleer-based wireless headphones on Fast Company

 Photo courtesy of Fast Company
Well, well, well. 

So 50 is still bringing out wireless headphones that use Kleer technology. Thank goodness. I thought when the deal feel through between 50 and Sleek Audio, that he would also not use Kleer wireless audio technology for his wireless headphones. Good to see I was wrong. I still wish he'd gone with Sleek Audio as they make awesome wired/wireless earphones. Oh well, something went down that I'm unaware of between them. 

So 50's has built his headphones using SMS Audio, which recently purchased KonoAudio to support its sound technology. All good. And he's delivering up two headphones: Street by 50 (wired) and Sync by 50 (wireless).

Here's an excerpt from his interview with Fast Company:

"It uses Kleer technology, which is a higher level of technology than what's presented with Bluetooth," he says. For his Sync headphones, for example, up to four headphones can be wirelessly synced to one single source, enabling users to hear CD-quality music as far as 50 feet away, be it from an iPhone or stereo system"

Funny to me how they don't mention that Kleer delivers wireless audio that is CD-quality, lossless, uncompressed stereo audio. Those are still the key value statements for me about Kleer wireless audio.
And, FYI, Kleer wireless audio technology is also used in the Sennheiser RS 180, RS 170, and RS 160 wireless headphones; in the Harman AKG K840KL On-Ear Wireless Headphones, the TDK WR700, and the Sleek Audio SA6 Wireless Earbud Bundle. Used in some wireless speakers too. 

Street by 50 and Sync by 50 headphones are available now for $299.95 and $399.95 respectively.

Can't wait for these 50 cans to hit the street. Should be a serious boost for Kleer technology.