Tag Archives: music

speeCup: The Bluetooth Speaker with gesture control!

Gesture control makes this Siri and S Voice enabled bluetooth speaker unique!


I’ll admit it: I love technology.  Sometimes it really helps a mom out!  Just recently, we got a second car, and this changed a lot for our family!  Now I can take my toddlers out while my husband is at work.  We are no longer confined to our home during his work hours.  In the past few weeks, we have taken several trips to local indoor play places here in Central Illinois which have let my toddlers socialize even when it is too hot to play at the park.  A few weeks ago, we had a late start and headed to some stores first.  As we finished up and headed to the mall’s play place, I realized that my husband would be off work soon.  I wanted to give him a heads up so he could meet us there.  Since he was at work, a phone call may disrupt, but a text would not.  However, there was one problem – many states, including Illinois have created new laws that all cell phone use must be hands-free…not to mention how dangerous it can be to text and drive!  So either I had to pull over and park to call or text him, or break the law while endangering my kids as I drove.  << I’m not one to put my children in any unnecessary danger, or break laws, so naturally, I pulled over instead…for any of you who wondered! >>

Had I known about the speeCup at this time, my day would have been a lot easier!  I could have simply pressed a button, told Siri to text my husband a message, and been on our way.  Talk about convenience!

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Bluetooth headphones for kid’s – a safer solution from Lil Gadgets!

These bluetooth headphones by Lil Gadgets are a safe choice for your children!


When I was pregnant with my oldest, my mother joked that my son would be teaching her how to do things on the computer by the time he was 5 years old.  Honestly, that’ll probably be true!  My 3 year old has picked up how to use the iPad extremely well and loves technology.

With some somewhat long road trips in our near future (3 hour drives are LONG for a toddler!) I started looking for kid size headphones that might help us all keep our sanity on the road.  When I searched online and in stores, I found nothing but corded headphones.  So many scenarios start running through my head when I think of kids with corded headphones.  The easily distracted may forget they are hooked up to a device and start to run off, pulling the device off the table, damaging it as it drops to the ground.  Young children may unintentionally get a cord wrapped around their neck which could become uncomfortable or worse, cause strangulation.Continue Reading…

FRENDS Headphones Review: stylish, comfortable, quality sound

My family loves music. I mean, LOVES. My husband plays instruments and listens to every genre you could possibly name. My three year old dances and sings to himself all day, and 18 month old starts dancing and laughing whenever he hears any music. And as a blogger working from home, sometimes I need music to drown all of them out while I am ‘away’ working.  My three year old has a comfortable pair of Lil Gadgets Bluetooth Headphones for Kids but I needed my own mommy size pair.  A pair with quality sound that block out noise around me, and are comfortable. In my pursuit of the perfect headphones, I realized it was difficult to find headphone reviews that were written by someone other than audiophiles and company representatives. Where are the reviews for the average user? My husband and I will provide information relevant to the typical family, without all the technical detail and electrical specs. Because, let’s face it, telling us how large the driver in the speaker is just doesn’t tell us whether they’re any good.

Frends is a relative newcomer to the headphone world. Founded in 2006, their designs are based on fashion and the idea that your music should both sound and look great. I received the Rose Gold collection, including the Ella B, Layla, and Taylor designs in order to write this review.



Ella B

The Ella B is an in-ear, or earbud, style headphone with an elegant design, soft cord, and multiple tips. The outside of the earbuds are white, surrounded by a hand crafted metal design. The cord is soft and made of fabric, which I especially like because it doesn’t tangle or coil and seems more durable than a thin plastic cord. All of the headphones in this collection include a three-button microphone compatible with mobile phones and mp3 players, as well as a 90 degree tip to keep the cord right next to your device without bending it.

Frends' Ella B rose gold earbuds are stylish, comfortable, and have great sound!


One of the features that stood out about the Ella B is the interchangeable tip.  Many companies offer multiple tips with their earbuds, allowing comfortable fit no matter your ear size.  Frends took a different approach.  Their two included tips aren’t for size, but for function.  The “Traditional tip” conforms to the inside of your ear, sealing music in and ambient sounds out.  The “Ambient tip” has a smaller size designed to leave space between the tip and the inside of your ear.  This means there is no seal created, and you can hear what is going on around you.  It’s a great feature if you’re using the headphones at work or with kids in the house, but watch your volume. Since sound can escape, you’re likely to turn the volume higher than with the traditional tip, and people around you will be able to hear your music too.

The sound quality is great for the typical user.  There’s plenty of bass and treble, neither drowned by the middle sounds.  Much of the sound quality depends on the tip you select.  The traditional tip makes the bass stronger, while the ambient tip allows the treble to come through a bit more.  This feature makes these a good option for multiple types of users.  Whether you want sealed in sound and strong bass, or you prefer more treble.  Want to be separated from the world around you for a while, or prefer to be aware of your surroundings?  Either way you’re set.




The Layla design is an on-ear headphone with a compact form.  The white leather headband is very small and minimalist and the outside of the headphones are hand-crafted metal, which looks great.  The Layla headphones are on-ear style, resting on the ear with a soft flat pad.  A three button control with microphone is included on the cord as well as a 90 degree plug on a soft and durable, tangle-free cord.  The ear cups slide down from the headband and fold in to fit into a compact carrying case, which is included.

 Frends Layla On Ear Rose Gold Fashion Headphones


The sound quality is similar to the Ella B, but slightly richer.  The design of on ear headphones lends to sound being able to escape, so with these you will want to watch the volume if you use them at work.  Similar to the ambient tip of the Ella B, they allow you to hear what is going on around you, but you must turn them up slightly louder to drown out the world.

Layla is a great looking design, keeping the size to a minimum without sacrificing sound.  I personally do not like on ear headphones because they tend to hurt my ears after a short time of use.  These were soft and padded enough to enjoy longer than most on ear sets, but I prefer an over the ear pair, so I began testing the third pair, the Taylor.




Frends’ over-the ear offering of this line, Taylor, looks like a slightly larger twin of the Layla.  The design of the headband and ear cups are the same, though the cups are slightly larger.  Instead of a flat pad, these have a circular pad to go around the ear, with the speakers resting back inside the cup.  Just like the Layla, these fold in to fit into a surprisingly small carrying case, and include the same three button mic and 90 degree plug.

If you're looking for a fashionable pair of over ear headphones, the Taylor Rose Gold set is beautiful with great bass!

Songs had a bit more bass and depth than with the Layla, and the sound did not escape to the environment as much.  If you like bass, you’ll like these.  If you need studio headphones that reproduce sounds exactly, without emphasizing bass or adding to the richness of the sound, these aren’t for you.  I personally prefer a decent amount of bass.  Not car-rattling bass, but just enough to make my ears smile.  My only complaint about the Taylor is the fit.  While they’re designed like over the ear headphones, I’m not positive they’re really meant to be such.  The circular design is too small to fit completely over and around the ears of an adult (my two year old was a perfect fit).  If your ears tend to hurt after wearing on ear headphones, these aren’t quite large enough to help.




Overall I’m undecided on the Frends line.  There’s no denying they’re good headphones, and they are quite beautiful too.  The metal did not hold fingerprints or smudge like I expected, and the leather and minimalism is gorgeous.  However, like many of my readers, I’m a mom on a budget.  There’s a cost associated with fashion and beauty, and these even have a well-made box and packaged presentation.  If you’re in the market for a high brand headphone, these are in line with the price of other major brands currently available.  The Ella B is $99, Layla $199, and Taylor $299.  I suspect the costs associated with the beauty of these headphones makes them a little over priced for the sound quality.  Though the sound was great, the Ella B, for example, had a similar quality to the JVC Marshmallow which runs at $15 (Granted the Frends sets are much more durable and better looking).  Frends is a great line of headphones, especially if you want something that stands out and looks stylish.  If you’re short on money or are picky with headphones, be sure to test out a pair at a local music shop or Best Buy before purchasing.


Connect with Frends

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Find them on Amazon



Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.


Looking for headphones for your kids?  Check out our review of Lil Gadgets’ Untangled Pro Children’s Bluetooth Headphones!  



IK Multimedia releases the iRig HD!


Press release written by IK Multimedia.  


IK Multimedia ships iRig HD – rock out anywhere with studio quality sound

 Now practice, play and record guitar and bass on any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, with superior digital quality sound



May 30, 2013  –  IK Multimedia, a leader in mobile music creation apps and accessories, is proud to announce that iRig® HD, the highly anticipated guitar and bass premium digital interface for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac, is now available from electronic and music retailers worldwide. Guitar players around the globe can now plug into their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, and rock out with studio quality sound. The new iRig HD also comes with IK’s AmpliTube App and software for a complete “out of the box” playing experience.




iRig HD is a high-quality, compact digital interface designed so that guitar and bass players can easily plug their instrument into an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, and rock out with studio quality digital sound. iRig HD features a compact ultra-slim design, fits in any gig bag, backpack, computer case or pocket, and comes with interchangeable adapter cables to provide universal device compatibility. As with many other IK accessories, iRig HD is manufactured in Italy using only premium components and rigorous quality standards.


Lightning compatible — all cables included

iRig HD is a Lightning compatible mobile guitar interface that comes with all the cables you need to make the right connections with your devices.  It is a simple “plug in and play” interface, featuring a 1/4” instrument input jack, and plugs directly into the digital input of any iPhone or iPad via the included cables. Not only is the iRig HD perfect for mobile guitarists, but players can also use iRig HD with a laptop or desktop Mac computer, thanks to the included USB cable.


Supports your favorite mobile music-making apps

While iRig HD offers great performance with any digital audio processing app, it comes with the AmpliTube App, a superior sounding “ready to go” expandable guitar rig complete with virtual effects pedals, amplifiers, speakers and a recorder, plus four new virtual amps and effects available exclusively for HD users. AmpliTube FREE can be greatly expanded via in-app purchase with the entire range of AmpliTube apps including officially licensed versions based on Fender®, Jimi Hendrix™ and Slash sounds.  Guitar and bass players now have the widest range of amplifiers and effects at their fingertips with over 55 outstanding mobile gear models for jamming and recording on the go. iRig HD is class compliant, so it can be used with any mobile app, like Apple’s GarageBand, that supports digital audio processing.


Supports your favorite studio setup

Not only is iRig HD the perfect interface for guitar and bass players on the go, it can also be used on Mac laptops and desktops and take advantage of the superior processing power of the Mac OS platform. For Mac users, iRig HD comes with AmpliTube Custom Shop**, IK’s free amp and effects application and DAW plug-in, which allows players to choose from hundreds of top quality amplifiers and effects from world’s top manufacturers like Fender®, Ampeg®, Orange®, and Soldano®. Players can purchase this gear à la carte, as they need it, thus creating a truly customizable software rig.


Plus, exclusively for iRig HD users, AmpliTube Metal**, the definitive collection of the world’s best high-gain amps and distortion stomp boxes for every imaginable metal tone, is also included for free. AmpliTube software can be used as a standalone amp and effects processing powerhouse, or as a plug-in with many popular digital audio workstation (DAW) programs, such as GarageBand or Logic.


iRig HD at a glance:

• High-quality instrument-level 1/4” Hi-Z input jack 

• Detachable cables for Lighting, 30 pin and USB connector compatibility

• Preamp gain control
• High-quality, low-noise, high-definition preamp
• High-quality 24 bit A/D conversion

• Powered by the iOS device or USB 

• Ultra-compact and lightweight
• Comes with AmpliTube FREE* app plus 4 new HD exclusive gear models – The Metal 150, the Metal W, the Wharmonator “whammy” pedal and the X-Flanger

• Comes with AmpliTube Custom Shop and AmpliTube Metal** software for Mac laptops & desktops


Price and availability

iRig HD is available now from music and electronics retailers worldwide, and costs $99.99/€79.99 (excluding taxes). For a complete set-up, also check out the other IK mobile products including the iKlip™ iPhone and iPad supports for stage and studio, the soon-to-be-released iRig® BlueBoard wireless foot controller and the iLoud® range of musicians’ portable speakers.


*Download from the App StoreSM. Four free gear models are available after an iRig HD is plugged into the device. **Register and download from the IK Multimedia web site.


For more information: 








Watch the video for iRig HD and AmpliTube Studio and share!


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