Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

Nintendo of America Testers Allege Sexual Harassment, Report Says - CNET

CNET News - 47 min 20 sec ago
Female contract workers had run-ins with full-time employees and struggled to advance within the gaming company, according to Kotaku.

Klipsch's tiny T10 wireless earbuds arrive as a $2,500 'bespoke' model

Engadget - 49 min 14 sec ago

Klipsch has finally delivered the T10 true wireless earbuds it was supposed to ship in fall 2020... but they've changed a lot in the past two years. The company and Ear Micro have released the T10 Bespoke Ear Computers (yes, really) as a hand-built custom design aimed squarely at luxury buyers who refuse to own the same earbuds as everyone else. You can ask Klipsch to build the charging case using materials like gold, leather (vegan and otherwise) and wood, and the bud frames using pearl or ceramic zirconia. You can ask for special leather motifs, and even have jewelers add precious stones or carvings.

The T10 has some technical prowess to match the luxurious exterior, at least. Klipsch touts 96kHz/24-bit audio when using the LDAC codec, and believes the dual Cadence/Tensilica DSPs, class-D amps and Sonion transducers will make the most of your music. Despite the incredibly small bud size, you can expect nine hours of listening per charge as well as active noise cancelation.

Klipsch T10 Bespoke wireless earbudsKlipsch

And yes, Klipsch knows it would normally be ridiculous to spend a fortune on earbuds whose batteries rarely last more than a few years. The T10 design is built to be repaired and upgraded with relatively little effort. Provided Klipsch remains committed to support, you could keep using your one-of-a-kind audio indefinitely.

You will pay a steep premium, as you might have guessed. Klipsch estimates typical T10 prices between $2,500 and $5,000, and you can easily pay more to add gems and other unique touches. That's a lot more than the $649 the company targeted back in 2020. However, this might make more sense. Klipsch already has the $199 T5 II to court mainstream buyers who would otherwise turn to AirPods or Galaxy Buds, and it's not clear the original T10's promised AI features would have justified the price. The finished product targets a niche but largely unserved group — the same upscale audience that wouldn't flinch at a $3,400 Louis Vuitton smartwatch or an electric supercar.

Visible Is Updating Its Plans, But Party Pay Is Going Away - CNET

CNET News - 52 min 42 sec ago
Verizon's prepaid service is adding a faster tier but it is also removing its take on a family plan.

'Wednesday' Trailer: Murder, Mayhem and Other Addams Family Values - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 6 min ago
Netflix's deliciously fiendish trailer unleashes Tim Burton and Wednesday Addams on a new school.

2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Bison Is Ready to Hit the Dirt - CNET

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Better approach and departure angles are always nice to have.

1-Day Best Buy Deal Knocks $200 Off the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 25 min ago
Today only, you can pick up this lightweight and user friendly Windows laptop for just $700.

2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Is a 518-HP Track Monster With DRS - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 32 min ago
This race car for the road pulls much of its inspiration directly from Porsche's motorsport efforts.

'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II' pre-order customers can play the story a week early

Engadget - 1 hour 59 min ago

Do you feel guilty for playing a game's single-player campaign on release day when all your friends are jumping into the multiplayer mode? You won't have that burden with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. Activision has revealed that pre-order customers can play the MW2 story starting October 20th, a week before the game officially debuts on October 28th. You can get the solo content out of the way before you spend all your hours online.

As mentioned before, pre-order purchasers also get two-day early access to MW2's open beta sessions as well as instant use of special character and weapon skins. Splurge on the Vault Edition and you also get a Battle Pass for the first season as well as characters and cosmetics accessible in the open beta, Warzone and even the original Modern Warfare remake.

Activision is promising more details for MW2 and the next Warzone (including its new mobile version) at an hours-long Call of Duty event on September 15th. However, the advance access to single-player gameplay shows the company's priorities. While it's still committed to furthering the series' plot, it sees this latest game as the foundation for a new multiplayer experience.

Airbnb starts testing anti-party tech in the US and Canada

Engadget - 2 hours 10 min ago

Airbnb is starting to test anti-party technology in the US and Canada. It announced a permanent ban on all parties and events at host properties worldwide back in June. Airbnb brought in such rules on a temporary basis after the COVID-19 pandemic hit to abide by social distancing restrictions.

The company began trialing similar tech in Australia last October. Airbnb says it was able to reduce the number of unauthorized parties in areas where it was using the tools by 35 percent. It's now rolling out the system more broadly in that country.

The anti-party tools look at several factors to detect "potentially high-risk reservations." They consider elements such as how long the prospective guest has had an Airbnb account, how far away the listing is from where they're based and their history of positive reviews. The system will also bear in mind the length of the trip and whether someone is trying to make a booking during the week or at the weekend.

It may, for instance, flag a planned stay of one or two nights over a weekend in the same city where the guest lives. Airbnb says that users who are precluded from staying at an entire home because of these measures can still book a hotel room or a private room. The host is more likely to be at the property in the latter case.

The company says it's trying to tackle unauthorized parties to the best of its ability. This system builds on tools that had a narrower focus on guests aged under 25, particularly those who wanted to stay nearby and didn't have positive reviews. Airbnb noted that the tools can't entirely prevent parties from taking place at listings. It has a tip line for neighbors to contact staff if they believe a party is taking place at a nearby host property or they have other concerns.

"We anticipate that this new system will help prevent more bad actors on our platform while having less of a blunt impact on guests who are not trying to throw a party," Airbnb wrote in a blog post. "While we are consistently willing to make trade-offs in the interests of building trust, our goal is to make these systems as precise and fair as possible to support our hosts and guests." Looking ahead, the company says it will detail the results of the test in the US and Canada and reveal other measures it plans to take to stamp out unauthorized parties.

Save Up to 53% On New and Used Samsung Devices at Woot - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 13 min ago
Save on phones, laptops, tablet, smartwatches and more while supplies last.

Shop Big Discounts On Glorious and Altec Lansing Gaming Gear at Woot - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 20 min ago
Save up to 76% on keyboards, mice, headsets and more.

This 2-Day Sale at Fleur & Bee Offers 50% Off Skin Care Sitewide - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 25 min ago
One of my favorite budget brands is on sale with all the skin care you need to transition to colder weather.

Archetype: Rabea is an all-in-one virtual guitar rig that’s also a synth

Engadget - 2 hours 30 min ago

Neural DSP is best known for its high-quality amp models, whether that’s its $1,850 Quad Cortex floor modeler or plugins for your DAW. Its latest offering is the €139 (roughly $142) Archetype: Rabea plugin. The Archetype series is a collection of artist collabs where Neural builds out a set of amp sims and effects to capture the essence of that particular musician’s sound. While a variety of artists across genres have worked with the company, the Archetype series has definitely trended toward the heavier end of the spectrum, with names like Megadeth, Meshuggah and Gojira getting involved. Rabea Massaad definitely falls into that category with his band Frog Leap, and backing up Stormzy. But Archetype: Rabea adds an interesting new wrinkle to Neural DSP’s formula – a synth.

Before we get to the synth part, let’s run through the core features. There are three amp sims in Archetype: Rabea – clean, rhythm and lead, which cover everything from bright Fender chimes, to death metal chug, to unadulterated shred. There are around 100 presets included that make dialing in tones simple. Neural takes a very skeuomorphic approach to interface design, and if you’ve ever used a guitar amp before (which I’ll assume you have if you’re reading this), you’ll feel right at home. All three amps sound pretty good right out of the box and it’s easy to tweak them to your liking.

Archetype isn’t just a handful of amp sims bundled together, though. You can combine those amps with various different speaker cabinets, simulated different mic placements, and there’s a four-band EQ for further fine tuning the tone.

The bottom end is quite tight and the distortion satisfying. I don’t think anyone is likely to mistake Neural’s plugins for a real-deal tube amp. But that’s kinda beside the point, as long as it sounds good. The sound straight out of the box is very full and sounds great on its own, but needs heavy EQing to sit right in a mix. Also, the amp sims can get quite noisy, almost like you’re standing right in front of a real cranked amp. Thankfully, there’s a noise gate builtin – make friends with it.

The whole point of Archetype is to be a complete guitar rig, so you also get a bunch of effects with each installment, too. Rabea comes with a compressor, octaver, overdrive, fuzz, delay and reverb “pedals,” as well as pitch shifting and doubling effects. Again, while these cover a wide variety of tones, they really excel at the heavier end of the spectrum, which is where many other digital amp and effects sims can fall flat in my opinion.

All of the effects are pretty solid, but the octaver and reverb are easily my favorite. The octaver lets you blend in both an octave below and above what you’re playing, and has both a vintage and modern mode. The former is great if you’re looking for that dirtier, glitchier old-school vibe. The reverb has a freeze function, with independent pitch control which – when combined with the octaver and doubler – delivers truly lush pads that will drone on forever. You can even change the pitch while you’re playing over it to create progressions. It’s a fascinating way to start sketching out ideas for songs, but it’s not really practical for performing.

 RabeaNeural DSP

But what really sets Archetype: Rabea apart is the Overlord Synth. It’s a dual oscillator, monophonic, subtractive synth that follows the pitch of your guitar. This is a first for Neural DSP, and the company claims it’s a “world-first,” though I couldn’t independently confirm that claim. What I can say is that there are pitch-tracking guitar synth pedals and MIDI guitars that can control synths, there are also pitch-tracking tools that you can pair with a softsynth to control it with a guitar, but I wasn’t able to find an all-in-one pitch-tracking guitar synth VST.

The sound engine itself is nothing too fancy: two oscillators with four waveshape options, a low pass filter with four different modes, a fairly basic arpeggiator, and a pair of envelopes to control the amplitude and filter. You can coax dreamy and delicate plucks out of it, but it really shines as a synth bass machine. Because the options are limited, even someone new to synths should have a fairly easy time coming to grips with Overlord.

Of course, the big question is how well it tracks input from your guitar. And I’m happy to report that it’s nearly perfect. Now, it’s monophonic, so you can’t play big synth chords the way you might with a MIDI controller, but it had no trouble keeping up with groove metal riffs and mid-tempo pentatonic solos. The demos on Neural’s site even make it sounds like it can handle finger tapping, but my finger tapping skills are basically non-existent. There was rarely a stray note, or odd abrupt cut off. It’s easily some of the best pitch-tracking I’ve seen in a plugin. There is the occasional artifact when sliding around the neck, but once you adjust your playing style it’s pretty to minimize them.

All sounds in this demo, other than the drums, are created using only a guitar running through Archetype: Rabea.

Engadget · Archetype: Rabea demo track

The real magic starts happening, though, when you combine all these various elements together. You can blend in the synth with your guitar, pitch the oscillators one fifth and one octave below, turn on the doubling effect and create just a massive wall of sound. You can then freeze that using the reverb pedal, retune the synth to play the same note and an octave up, and solo over that drone in equally bombastic style. Archetype: Rabea is basically guitar tone maximalism at its finest.

If you’re already a fan of Neural DSP’s products, Archetype: Rabea is an easy sell. It’s a high-quality virtual guitar rig with a truly excellent synth built in. Even if you’re primarily interested in the synth side of things, the €139 isn’t too bad. Yes, the synth is fairly basic, but you get a handful of effects to process it, and the pitch tracking is top notch. You’re probably gonna pay at least $99 for any decent commercial synth plugin, so an extra $40 to be able to natively control it with your guitar is a small price to pay.

Logitech Chorus Upgrades Quest 2 VR audio for $100 - CNET

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The headstrap add-on's an alternative to BYO headphones.

Best iPad Deals: Latest iPad and iPad Mini at All-Time Low Prices - CNET

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You'll find big discounts at Amazon and Target right now on all of Apple's tablets.

Meta Reveals Strategy for 2022 Midterm Elections - CNET

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With US midterms approaching, the company unveiled its framework on its security measures and restricting misinformation.

Save Up to 50% on New Home Decor Styles at Urban Outfitters - CNET

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Get boho, casual and sporty home styles for less during this limited-time deal.

15 Best Food Sources of Zinc - CNET

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Zinc is a mineral that's essential for many bodily functions. Here are the best foods that are high in zinc.

Australia's top court rules Google isn't a publisher

Engadget - 3 hours 28 min ago

Google has prevailed in its long-running battle over potentially defamatory web links. Australia's High Court has ruled Google wasn't the publisher of a link to a 2004 story in The Age that allegedly tarnished state lawyer George Defteros, who represented people implicated in the Melbourne gangland killings and briefly faced charges himself. As The Guardianreports, five of seven court justices found that the search result link "merely facilitated access" to the story — Google didn't play a part in writing or distributing the content.

The High Court also rebuffed Defteros' claim that search results encouraged users to visit a story. Someone who found that link was already searching for relevant content, the justices said. Some of the justices said the case might have been different if it had been a sponsored link, but that Google's appeal didn't require an answer on the subject.

Defteros sued Google in 2016, accusing the company of defaming him. Google pulled the link in December that year, and lost its initial court fight, but tried to overturn the ruling by arguing that it could have been held liable for the content of any page it linked to — it was worried it would have to "act as censor" for the internet at large. The company didn't succeed with that first appeal, and in 2020 a Victorian supreme court ordered that Defteros receive $40,000 in damages. Google asked the High Court to intervene in January.

The decision could a wide-ranging impact on internet firms operating in Australia. They might not have to worry that search queries or other automatically-generated links could get them into legal trouble. A complainant would have to show there was a deliberate attempt to promote an unflattering piece.