With the Republican National Convention taking over Cleveland this summer, the Alternative Press Music Awards was forced to find a new home for this year s show. Alternative Press will stage our own Punk Rock Convention, and what better place than the state capitol of Columbus, Ohio? This year s event will broadcast live from the Schottenstein Center1 the evening of July 18. The 2016 APMA s will go head to head live on TV and via social media against the Republican National Convention. Although many of Alternative Press young readers may not be able to vote in the upcoming U.S.
election, those same readers can let their voices be heard by voting for their favorite artists for the APMAs. After last year s non-stop volley of infectious jokes, witty anecdotes and charming introductions, All Time Low s Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat were welcomed back to host this year s event. The duo will face off election style throughout the show.
“We are so happy to be returning to the APMAs this year to host,” say Gaskarth and Barakat. “Last year we didn t make a lot of new friends (sad face emoji), so this year, we re coming back as something no one can hate, politicians! We look forward to being part of this Punk Rock Convention. Get ready to vote Stay tuned.
Last year, the Journey s Alternative Press Music Awards, Fueled by Monster Energy shut down rock n roll city, taking over Cleveland s Quicken Loans Arena with ground-breaking performances and an exciting, star-studded red carpet, all with the support of devoted alternative music fans from across the globe.
“Fans are going to be blown away by all of the surprises we already have planned for this year’s APMAs,” says Alternative Press Founder and CEO Mike Shea. “We’ve been working on the 2016 show since right after last year’s ended, and I already cannot wait to start announcing the initial line-up in the upcoming weeks.”
Don t miss the 2016 APMAs and your chance to cast your vote for your favorite bands! Check our site2 over the coming weeks for new announcements and information. Tickets for the third annual Alternative Press Music Awards will be available through Ticketmaster. Details regarding tickets and VIP packages, nominees, honorees, performers, voting, pre-show parties, red carpet appearances and more will be available soon von our website3. Last year s event earned the title of The GRAMMYs of Alternative Music by TIME Magazine.
The APMAs will once again be supported by returning title sponsor Journeys, a leader in the teen specialty retail scene focused on lifestyle-driven branded footwear and accessories in over 800 stores across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. In addition to Journeys, the APMAs welcomes back fellow sponsors Monster Energy, CreativeLive and DW Drums. Will you be at the event?
Good hardware let down terribly by software and connectivity!
Update #1 (Feb 7, 2016): Sony dropped an update today (1.3.A.0.9) and it seems they were indeed paying attention. Almost all of the annoyances seem to be taken care of.
The connectivity has improved by bounds to the extent where I can use Tasker to flawlessly connect and disconnect the headset based on various scenarios. There were intermittent instances of failure to re-connect after manual disconnection, but the whole situation is monumentally better now. Another thing that Sony has addressed is the low output volume of the speaker. It is much easier to hear the other side now when using only the headset. However, the headphone volume continues to be on the lower side, ostensibly as some sort of loudness protection. Also, the mic continues to disappoint to the extent where one of my friends likened my conversation to an astronaut speaking from space. The best thing about the update for me is the fact that notifications finally seem to work. I can see the notification count on the headset screen and read the messages as a single line scroll.
Two or more messages from the same app like GMail can’t be read, but otherwise having a feature finally function deserves some elation. On the whole I am inclined to rate this device something like 3.8/5. If Sony keeps up with the update a bit more, I am sure the device will realise its full potential.
I have previously used MW600 from the erstwhile Sony Ericsson and found it a really convenient option when travelling or even roaming around the home. However, the screen gave up on me after a couple of years due to some drops it had encountered over its life. Although it is still functional, it is quite a pain to use it without the screen and hence I logically decided to purchase the latest iteration of Sony’s Bluetooth Headset. The setup was initially done on whatever version the device was shipped with but the performance review is based on firmware version 1.3.A.0.6. Design and Aesthetics: (4.5/5)
Sony has always been a company that excelled in industrial design and that stays true for the SBH54 as well. It is a mix of metal and plastic but elegant nonetheless. The specifications to pay attention to here are: Weight: Core unit with upper part: 26.8g; Dimension: 17.7 x 16.8 x 70 mm incl. clip. This makes it quite a convenient thing to carry in your shirt, trouser pocket or even clipped to the collar or shirt border.
The clip extends to about 2/3rd of the length and gives quite a secure fit unless it is subjected to a substantial pulling force.The micro-SB© USB port and 3.5mm socket are located on either sides. I really do appreciate the volume buttons after coming from the enormously fidgety slider control of the MW600, but 8 buttons (2 volume, 1 power, 1 back, 1 call and 3 media controls) spread all across the body is a bit too much to handle when operating on the basis of touch alone, which is something you would do a lot when travelling.
The device comes with NFC for a quick setup. However, although I could feel the vibration of the NFC contact being recognised, there was no response on my phone running Android 6.0.1. I had to manually connect the device using Bluetooth. However, after I installed the accompanying app from the Play Store, it wouldn’t detect the device as being connected. Pairing again didn’t help and I finally restarted my phone to get things working.
One word to sum it up would be “flaky”. It is grossly inconsistent and sometimes disconnects randomly. I hate the fact that the device loses connection to my phone if I switch to FM. On switching back to the phone, it fails to reconnect automatically and I have to manually disconnect and reconnect Bluetooth for it to be recognised.
Why Sony continues to use Bluetooth 3.0 across its devices is still a mystery to me. For one, it certainly sacrifices battery life and range. Speaking of range, it seems to barely extend to 15 metres before I lose connectivity. I can’t even use it to listen to music on my phone when roaming around my house. The headset does connect to more than 1 device at a time using the multipoint mode. In this, you can select a primary device to receive notifications from and a secondary device to stream media from. The switching was at times troublesome but it worked for me on most occasions. Battery Life: (3/5)
The specs state 8 hours of playback time or 4 hours of talk time or 300h stand-by time. The figures may be true but with my usage this translates to less than 2 days of battery life.
Having yet another device to charge every day seems quite a burden. Audio Quality: (3.5/5)
It seems to bifurcate the audio quality to music and speech. Being Bluetooth 3.0 (A2DP 1.2) without aptX, it isn’t the top of the line specification, but the “HD Voice” seems to be enough for most discerning ears. On the other hand, call quality is a troublesome affair. Only in few conditions did I get clear voice from the other end and the single mic (with noise cancellation) results in the other side being barely able to hear you when you are using it in the mini-phone mode. Features and Display: (4.5/5)
Half baked it may be, but it certainly packs in a lot of the features. The mini-phone mode I referred to previously allows you to use the headset as a phone which seems cool, at least when you see it in pictures. It even allows you to stream music to the ear speaker if you so wish. The FM comes in handy with phones foregoing that feature now-a-days (though you need to attach earphones as an antenna).
The two-line display is more than useful, although it is slightly recessed and hazy because of the overlying cover. The fact that you can see the track, artist when playing music and the caller name and number when receiving calls is to be appreciated. You can change the orientation of the display if you prefer one side over another. The app says it is capable of displaying notifications but that hasn’t worked for me yet, so I don’t know whether it a compatibility issue because I certainly given notification access to the app and selected the apps from which I wish to receive the notification. The vibration intensity is quite adequate and notifies you of any requisite alerts.
Considering Sony’s (including Sony Ericsson’s) heritage with such headsets, you would be naturally inclined to pick this. Sony has done a good job of incrementally adding features to each iteration which makes an upgrade worth it. However, time and again, Sony’s hardware is let down terribly by the software. The fact that a wireless device can’t flawlessly retain its connectivity significantly reduces its utility. Sony’s app too seems to indicate the device’s potential if it actually manages to do what it is supposed to.
Towards the end, it becomes an exercise in frustration. There is hope that Sony can fix things since this device is capable of receiving updates unlike the old MW600. However, that is a big hope to rely upon. Even with this drawbacks, when the device works it is a pleasure to use. Too bad, such moments don’t last long.
Still a good bet if you are in the market for a Bluetooth headset that allows you to use your own earphones.
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