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Anthony Naples - Fog FM Music Album Reviews

Tough, upfront, and often bruisingly physical, Fog FM is the New York producer’s most substantial piece of work by a considerable margin.
American house and techno are in a remarkably good place right now. The underground is thriving, bolstered by a network of labels, club nights, warehouse parties, and off-the-beaten-path festivals, all with a staunchly independent spirit that’s a world away from the high-flying, big-ticket milieu of commercial dance music. It’s an especially welcome development given that house and techno’s well-defined parameters, combined with a retro-fetishizing reverence for the past, have sometimes left the music feeling cautious and conservative. But a new generation of artists is finding ways to tweak familiar templates, carving a zig-zag path between respect for their predecessors and a determination to do things their own way.

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Jam Voice Review (with Alexa)

A review of the Jam Voice Bluetooth speaker: a battery-powered gadget that also packs in Amazon's Alexa assistant.

SHOULD I BUY THE JAM VOICE?
If you’re after a battery-powered Alexa speaker, the Jam Voice is just as affordable as Amazon’s Echo Dot. It offers decent sound quality, but battery life isn’t amazing. Just bear in mind that you have to push a button before Alexa will take your requests, though.


PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • $49.99
Last year we reviewed Jam’s Double Down, which turned out to be a great-value little Bluetooth speaker.

Now, there’s a similar-looking gadget from the company which comes with Amazon’s Alexa assistant integrated.

PRICE
You can buy the Jam Voice for £49.99 from Currys. That’s more than the Double Down, and the same price as Amazon’s own Echo Dot.

FEATURES AND DESIGN
Compared to the Echo Dot, though, the Jam Voice has one big advantage: it’s battery powered and portable.

This makes it much more like the Echo Tap, a product that never went on sale in the UK. However, the Tap is a bigger, more expensive device.

The point here is that – as with the Tap - you can’t just say “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow”, but have to first push the button on top of the Voice speaker.
For some this will be a deal-breaker as one of the most convenient things about the Echo Dot is that you can use it completely hands-free.

But with the Jam Voice, you can take Alexa around the house (even in the garden) without having to plug in a mains power supply.

The Voice itself is a dinky little thing, just three inches across and just as tall. It’ll fit in your palm – and your handbag.

It’s well made and has rubber membrane-type buttons underneath and on the side. It isn’t waterproof, though.

Setting it up is a little complicated, because to use Alexa and certain music streaming services it needs a Wi-Fi connection. So after pairing it via Bluetooth, you have to install the Jam Wi-Fi app and make sure your phone is connected to your router’s Wi-Fi (and only the 2.4GHz band) and then enter the password.

After that you can set up Alexa by authorising Jam to use your Amazon account. And aside from having to push the button before speaking, Alexa can do everything she can do on an Echo.

The Voice has a few other tricks, too. One is that you can sync multiple units for multi-room use and – somewhat oddly – you can record a short voice message via the app which will play back on all your speakers.

The app can hook into your phone’s music library, but also lets you sign into your Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and more.

Don’t forget, too, that this is a Bluetooth speaker, so you can also use it on the move to play music from your phone when there’s no Wi-Fi connection.


PERFORMANCE
Audio quality is good considering the diminutive size. There’s a port at the rear which helps give a little bass, and there’s little distortion even at high volumes: there’s enough power to listen outdoors as well as indoors.

And if you’re choosing between this and the Echo Dot, we’d say audio quality for music is better on the Jam Voice.

Battery life could be better: it will run for roughly four hours before a female voice tells you the battery is low.

You can, however, use it while it charges, and since it will charge via microUSB, you could hook it up to a power bank for longer sessions away from the mains.



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