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Is the AKG Lyra the USB mic for you?

For those who have pivoted to content creation

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The Coronavirus pandemic has forced people to be more creative with their income flows. Several industries were hit, leaving plenty jobless. This has led some to reinvent themselves as content creators. For those that are looking to level up the audio on their content, the AKG Lyra USB mic might be the solution.

USB mics are pretty straightforward. They’re all literally plug and play. The same is true for the AKG Lyra. So, what you’ll be looking out for mostly are sound quality along with build and design.

Build and Design 

The AKG Lyra unmistakably looks like a mic. Up front you’ll see the AKG logo, and the knobs and ports are pretty straight forward too.

AKG Lyra

The base is pretty heavy and sturdy so you know it’ll stay in place on your desk or wherever you place it.

AKG Lyra

The front panel has the volume and mute controls. It also has the LED light indicators to let you know what mode it’s currently on.

AKG Lyra

Flipping over to the back, you’ll see two knobs: One to control the mode, and the other to control gain. The latter is key to determining how much of the background noise is captured by the mic. More on this later.

On the bottom are its two ports: One USB-C out to that connects to the USB device where you’ll be recording, and the other is a 3.5mm jack that functions as an input so you hear yourself and the sound on the computer.

Here’s how it looks with a USB-C cable and headset plugged in.

You can also do away with the stand and connect it with any standard or boom mic stand. AKG made sure it can have versatile mounting options.

Sound quality

I used the mic for voice calls, video calls, and presenting during zoom events. In all of the activities mentioned, the people on the other line said I came off very crisp and clear.

Of course, you don’t have to just take my word for it. I recorded very quick sample clips to illustrate the differences between no mic, with a lapel mic, and with the AKG Lyra. There were supposed to be more but I had unfortunately lost most of the recordings along with a few other treasured files while migrating from one review device to another. I digress. Here are the samples:

No mic:

With USB-C lapel mic:

With AKG Lyra:

 

I also tried recording with a guitar and on Tight Stereo mode:

No mic:

With USB-C lapel mic:

With AKG Lyra:

I wanted to do even a snippet of a song but my overall singing and playing isn’t up to snuff right now so these will have to do. Getting the obvious out of the way, the audio quality is very similar to what you can get with what I think is its closest competitor — the Blue Yeti.

 

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This track below was recorded (with some post processing) on the Blue Yeti and I’m pretty confident you can get the same quality with the AKG Lyra.

One thing I would say the AKG Lyra has over the Blue Yeti is the USB-C connection. I’m unsure if there’s now a USB-C version of the Blue Yeti but making the port USB-C makes it more useful if you happen to lose the cable packaged with the device. It’s just easier to look for USB-C cables now versus the micro USB Type-B on the Blue Yeti.

I’m also trying to retrieve a recording of the quick presentation I had during a product launch. I’ll include the clip here if retrieval is successful.

I had a grand time using the AKG Lyra as the pleasantly surprised reactions I got clearly showed that the device was doing its job of providing better audio. Of course, you’ll have to adjust a few settings to get things right. These were pretty easy to do thanks to how the AKG Lyra was built and designed.

Different recording options

The AKG Lyra is pretty versatile with its multiple recording modes or patterns. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each one does.

Front — Easily the most commonly used recording pattern. In this mode, the AKG Lyra captures anything from the front of the mic. This mode also reduces the sound captured from the back and the sides. It’s great for voice overs, podcasts, vlogs, gaming livestreamers, vocalists, acoustic instruments, or even just voice and video calls.

Front and Back — This is great for one-on-one interviews where you’re directly facing the person you’re interviewing. The mode captures the front and back of the microphone while reducing sound from the back. It also works for recording music where one person could be singing in front while the guitar player sits on the opposite side.

Tight Stereo — This mode uses the two microphone capsules to capture sound. AKG says it’s ideal for recording instruments with stereo spread. It’s best for when the performers are situated alongside each other.

Wide Stereo — This mode utilizes all of the microphone capsules on the AKG Lyra. This is great for ambient recording. It provides better stereo separation compared to Tight Stereo.

Is the AKG Lyra your GadgetMatch? 

As of writing, it’s currently priced at PhP 7,199 on onward.ph and US$ 149 on the official AKG website. That’s quite a price for a very specific tool. But if you find yourself needing to produce better audio, this is a gadget that will surely up the quality of your content.

For solo live streamers, this can certainly be of help but you might be better off with mics that are cheaper and don’t have the other extra recording modes. But if you do require something versatile that you can pull out during quick sit down interviews or perhaps a quick jam session, this most certainly fills that role.

If you happen to be dealing with a lot of recording or live presentations, though, this is a worthy investment. Sound quality is superb and, with the right cables, will work with most computers and smartphones you likely own and currently use.


For more great products and accessories like the AKG Lyra, visit OnWardPH or follow them through their Facebook and Instagram accounts (@OnWardPH) for you to keep posted.

Accessories

realme launches Watch 2 Pro, TechLife Robot Vacuum

While teasing more devices

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realme

This hardly comes as a surprise anymore as every brand is coming out with their slew of smart devices. realme is, likewise, venturing outside the smartphone arena as they launch the realme Watch 2 Pro and realme TechLife Robot Vacuum.

realme AIoT

The company is transitioning from their 1+4+N strategy to the 1+5+T strategy. Still tells the normal everyday person nothing at first glance but realme explains it as:

1 — smartphone, as realme’s smartphones are at the center of its AIoT ecosystem
5 — key categories for realme’s AIoT products. These include the True Wireless Stereo (TWS), Wearables, TV, laptops, and tablets.
T — stands for TechLife. This is realme’s open partner platform. It aims to support innovative and dynamic AIoT startups through the sharing of realme’s own sales channels.

TechLife focuses on three product categories: Smart Entertainment (TV boxes, projectors, speakers and game accessories), Smart Care (vacuum robots, air purifiers and body fat scales), Smart Connect (smart sockets, smart light bulbs and cameras)

After announcing the realme GT to take care of “1”, realme is covering “5” with the realme Watch 2 Pro, and the “T” with the Techlife Robot Vacuum.

realme Watch 2 Pro

If you follow tech news a lot, you know how this goes. The realme Watch 2 Pro is supposed to be your partner for an active and healthy lifestyle.

It comes with a variety of monitoring features. These are an accurate GPS system, an Sp02 monitor for blood oxygen tracking, and a heart rate monitor. For an active lifestyle, it comes with 90 sports modes.

It’s also larger than its predecessor. It has a 1.75-inch (4.4cm) display with 600 nits of peak brightness. It’s also again promising up to 14 days of power with its 390mAh battery. You’re also offered over 100 different watch faces so it’ll never feel old.

realme TechLife Robot Vacuum

This device is kicking off realme’s whole TechLife line. It has the LiDAR Smart Mapping and Navigation System, the same state-of-the-art technology used in the navigation systems of modern electric vehicles and aircraft. Sounds overkill for a vacuum but if you want your space spic and span you wanna make sure the vacuum can get to all areas that it should.

The realme TechLife Robot Vacuum has a super-high suction and mopping power of 3000Pa. This means it’s capable of cleaning large amounts of high-density garbage while keeping noise levels as low as 55dB on quiet mode.

It also features a 5200mAh battery, a 600ml dust bin and a 300ml smart electronic water tank, ensuring that users do not have to constantly charge and empty the vacuum during cleaning.

It’s designed to fit into any home with a maximum height of just above 10cm. It has a sleek and classy design with the top cover of the device made from an impact resistant tempered glass.

More TechLife products coming

realme also teased a media-focused realme Pad tablet and their first laptop — the realme Book.

Price and availability

The realme watch 2 Pro will be available starting June 16 for EUR 74.99. The basic realme watch 2 retails for EUR 54.99.

The realme TechLife Robot Vacuum price and availability details to follow.

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Nanoleaf launches new Elements Line

A wood look for smart light panels

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Nanoleaf announces new Elements Wood Look Hexagons, inspired by nature. The wood-like panels have backlit technology and can add an aesthetic to your room. Coming from a successful line of color-changing smart panels, Nanoleaf combines nature and modern technology.

Each of the panels has a wood grain-like texture and is something worth considering if you’re into these types of modern design. Even when powered off, Elements still stands on its own as a design. The panel is also ultra-slim so it may be a hassle-free experience installing the panels.

The Nanoleaf Elements also have a unique glowing effect as each apex of the panel lights up independently. Nanoleaf said that the panels can imitate embers on a fireplace or a moving cloud. Additionally, the panels also glow from the back adding a double-lit effect.

The Nanoleaf Elements also create more comfort and balance as the panels have a wide range of cool to warm white options. The range is about 1,500-4,000K, also with 11 preset lighting Scenes. The Scenes include “Organic” motion, from a fireplace to waterfalls, you can also create a personalized experience with the provided app. You can also select the 1,000 RGB Scenes in the Discover tab.

The panels also include Rhythm Music Sync, Schedules, Touch capabilities, and Circadian lighting. You can also schedule the time for the panels to turn on or off depending on your liking. Circadian Lighting adjusts the light’s color depending on the temperature throughout the day. You can the Rhythm Music Sync at night or any time of the day, play some relaxing jazz music or a coffeehouse playlist as the lights move with the melodies.

Price and Availability

Nanoleaf Elements come in Smarter Kits (7 light panels) and Expansion Pack add-ons (3 light panels).

The panels are Wifi-controlled with the Nanoleaf App, voice commands, or manually with the physical Controller. They are also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT integrations.

Nanoleaf Elements will be available on June 3rd at the Nanoleaf Shop. Elements will launch globally in Apple stores online later this year. SmarterKits will retail for US$ 299.99 (Smarter Kit) and US$ 99.99 (Expansion Pack).

 

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Sony unveils the WF-1000XM4 with smaller design, better ANC

There’s also a significant improvement in battery life

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WF-1000XM4

Sony has unveiled the WF-1000XM4, the latest product in the company’s long lineup of truly wireless earbuds. The successors to the wildly successful Sony WF-1000XM3, the earbuds come with a range of upgrades that push the ceiling further.

It comes equipped with a more capable Sony V1 chip and a redesigned body outside for maximum comfort, isolation, and fit. The processor, coupled with a pair of microphones on the sides of both earbuds, delivers best-in-class noise cancellation. Sony says the mics aid beamforming technology, making the earbuds bone conduction capable.

to reduce noise cancellation while talking or focusing on your surroundings, the ambient sound mode can be toggled. Lastly, there’s automatic wind noise suppression to prevent any leak. It’s keeping an eye on your voice, disabling ANC automatically when needed. Sony boasts it’s the first in the world to support Hi-Res audio over the LDAC codec.

It gets improved 24-bit amps, redesigned driver units with 20% larger magnets, and an improved diaphragm. There’s also EQ adjustment available with tonnes of presets and has space for customs ones too. It’ll automatically optimize those music streaming apps that offer 360 Reality Audio or Dolby Atmos.

Voice Assistant friendly

The WF-1000XM4 can be connected to your phone via the Sony Headphones Connect app. It’ll let you set up location-based profiles for Adaptive Sound Control. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri can all be summoned by earbuds. Touch controls allow you to adjust your music playback, activate your preferred voice assistant, and toggle between active noise cancellation modes.

While it’s packed with more features, the overall size of the earbuds has come down by 10 percent. It can deliver up to 8 hours of playback with noise cancellation enabled, and 12 hours without it. The case can recharge the earbuds twice, providing total support of 24 hours with ANC switched on. Thanks to quick charging technology, a five-minute plug-in can deliver up to 60 minutes of playback.

Other features include low latency listening, Fast Pair, speak to chat, and Bluetooth 5.2. The Sony WF-1000XM4 is IPX4 rated.

Price and availability

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are available in Black and Silver and are priced at US$ 279 in the US and available for purchase now via Amazon, BestBuy, Sony’s website, and other retail partners. In Singapore, they retail for SG$ 379 and are available in all Sony Stores, Sony Store Online and Sony Authorized dealers.

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