Following up 2021’s all-virtual expo with a much more muddied return to in-person product showcases, CES 2022 had a somewhat more restrained slate of audio product releases. But we’re not ones to shirk our responsibility to bring you the releases that matter — here are the best audio products as voted on by the Authority Media team.
Jabra Elite 4 Active
The Jabra Elite 4 Active offers a more affordable entry in the Elite Active line.
As far as audio products go, true wireless earphones are generally the best represented at CES 2022. Instead of going out of our way to award yet another samey set of buds, Jabra’s Elite 4 Active earphones offer a lot for their price — and that’s worthy of your attention. With an IP57 rating against dust and water ingress, these $120 earphones offer a more affordable option to withstand your workouts than AirPods or even the other entries in Jabra’s true wireless line. Jabra’s app allows those who are pickier about their audio quality to equalize their tunes any way they want. The ‘buds also support aptX and active noise cancellation. Not a bad value!
Sure, the high-end gets the attention, but times are tough. Don’t spend too much on true wireless earphones.
JBL Quantum TWS
True wireless ‘buds aren’t prized for their gaming ability, but the JBL Quantum TWS directly addresses their shortcomings.
True wireless earphones have a number of disadvantages in the gaming arena. Even so, the JBL Quantum TWS offers a strong advantage: it uses a USB dongle to eliminate the latency issues that are typical of SBC-using wireless audio products. Instead of having to deal with latencies of 180ms or more, the JBL Quantum TWS cuts that drastically. Sure, they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for gamers with long hair that gets caught in bulkier headsets, adding this kind of form diversity is a big deal.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it… but adding more power doesn’t hurt.
This headset is very much like the original fan-favorite HyperX Cloud Alpha — minus the fact that it’s now wireless. However, that’s not its main selling point; inside is a 1,500mAh battery, which HyperX boasts will last you about 300 hours of gaming. We actually had to do some scraping around to see if they meant 300 hours instead of 30, but no, that’s not a typo.
If true, this marks an awesome trend for wireless headphones we’d love to see continued. Typically, the battery and/or the charging ports are the first things to go bad on wireless headphones, so the more you can do to avoid charging your headsets too often will greatly prolong their working life. Should you get a headset with a cell, like the one in the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, it’ll last you some time. That’s one hell of a way to make your product beat everyone else in bang-for-buck.
Okay, you got us. We picked this mostly because it’s really fun.
The Roland VRC-01 enables the AeroCaster platform, which helps content creators get off the ground with minimal effort.
Roland expanded its line of tools to help out content creators and streamers, and compared to what else is out there, it’s competitively priced. In particular, the AeroCaster allows you to quickly use the main cameras of up to four smartphones or tablets to record an event. Several ports like dual XLR inputs, RCA inputs, and a headphone passthrough for monitoring are on the back.
Because you can mix several audio and video channels on the fly, this is a really good option to get into livestreaming in-person activities like D&D, family events, or a lesson for your colleagues or students. At $295, it’s a fairly affordable way to get decent results right out of the gate when you’re not an A/V pro.
TCL Alto 9 Soundbar
TCL’s soundbar offerings have competitive features at the entry level.
If you’re just starting out on your own and have a TV or projector, a soundbar is typically the next step. You might be aware of TCL from its smartphones or TVs, but its audio products are worth a look, too. In particular, the Alto 9-series soundbars offer high-end features at a very competitive price point.
The new Alto 9 offers a 7.1.4 channel setup, supporting several spatial audio standards like Dolby Atmos. Additionally, the bar supports TCL’s proprietary RayDanz feature: a clever feat of engineering that enlarges the “sweet spot” in front of the unit. While the final cost isn’t set yet, TCL isn’t exactly known for overpricing its wares, so expect the highest-end offerings to be somewhere below competing soundbars of similar specs.
That’s it for the best new audio products from CES 2022. Want to learn more about our favorites from the trade show? Check them out below.