Wednesday Wrap: Sky Q update, Sol Republic headphones, acoustic panels and more

Sol Republic has three new pairs of in-ear headphones it wants you to know about, starting with the Shadow Wireless. As the name suggests, they’re a wireless pair of in-ears with a neckband that’s said to be so light “you’ll forget that it’s there”. They have a built-in rechargeable battery that claims to be good for eight hours of playback and they're available now in black, navy or silver for £99.

The Jax in-ear headphones are the cheapest pair of the new trio at £25, although they're on sale at a promotional price of £20 for now. They’re a relatively simple pair of in-ears but do come with an in-line mic and control buttons for answering calls and adjusting your music.

The third pair comes in two different versions. The Relays Sport and Relays Sport Wireless are designed for gym-goers and runners alike and claim to deliver “deep bass and clear vocals”. They feature Sol’s FreeFlex technology, which claims to help ensure the in-ears stay snug in your ears. The wired version is available now for £40 while the wireless version will be available from October for £99. We gave the original Sol Replublic Relays four stars, so they could be worth checking out.

MORE: Sol Republic Relays review

Fostex headphones and headphone amps.

Fostex also has three new products for your attention. The first are the TH610 closed-back reference headphones. They’re inspired by the Fostex-made Denon D5000 and sport a matte walnut finish on the ear cups. Inside the ear cups you’ll find 50mm driver units which claim to offer a “wide dynamic range, low distortion and high levels of detail”. There's a detachable cable and the option of a balanced 4-pin XLR if you prefer. The Fostex TH610 headphones are available now for £569.

The second product is the HP-A4BL balanced headphone amplifier and DAC. It’s built on the company’s HP-A4 model and now comes with a 4-pin XLR balanced output connector and an external power supply. In comparison, the HP-A4 is USB-powered only.

Fostex says the new HP-A4BL has three times more output power than its predecessor and features a +10db high/low gain switch to better match different headphone types. Under the hood there’s a Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC which supports hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD 11.2MHz. The HP-A4BL is available now for £375.

MORE: Best over-ear headphones 2016

But what if you want to improve the sound from your PC or Mac and in a compact form? Fostex has you covered with the catchily-named PC1000USB-HR2 USB DAC and headphone amp. The compact unit supports hi-res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz and is powered by a USB connection. You can connect to it via USB, RCA or 3.5mm auxiliary and there's a large metal volume dial on the front. It’s available now for £85.

MORE: AudioQuest DragonFly Black review

Sky Q Online Video content

Sky Q isn't all about 4K, Sky will also be releasing a slew of new content to the Online Video section of Sky Q. The Online Video menu is exclusive to Sky Q and is integrated into the interface, with content grouped together by theme. There are currently eight themes available: Food & Drink, Quick Laughs, Entertainment, Sports, Style, Feel Good, Fitness and Awesome.

New content includes Tastemade, which joins Jamie’s Oliver’s Food Tube in the Food & Drink section, Comedy Central in the Quick Laughs section and Copa90 in the Sports section. You can read more about the new additions on Sky’s website.

MORE: What is Sky Q? When will Sky 4K launch? Here's what we know

Artnovion acoustic panels

Artnovion has announced a new High End collection of acoustic panels to help improve the sound quality in residential and commercial rooms. The panels in the new collection have multi-dimensional finishes and include absorbers, bass traps and diffusers that Artnovion confidently says are “engineered to perfection”.

You can use the Impulso app to choose the panels you’d like and the app will show you how the room’s acoustics will improve. It will also help tune your room once the panels are installed. You can find more information on Artnovion’s website.

Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.