Posted by Alan Buckingham at 9:34 AM on February 7, 2013
Nuvo Tech is known for high-end, professionally installed home audio systems. Now the company is making a move to become more friendly to the masses with a wireless, consumer-based home audio system to compete with devices like Sonos.
The new setup is not weak either — it can simultaneously stream to up to 16 different locations. To do this, the system uses a dual-WiFi system with antennae. There are two different models of players, depending on the wattage you want. The higher-end version also has bluetooth for streaming content from a phone or tablet. The base station plugs directly into your router.
Prices start at $199 and head up, depending on the setup you want. For more information you can watch the video below and also head over to Nuvo Technologies.
At this year’s CES, Pure launched Jongo, the world’s most affordable (and colourful) multi-room music system. Vicky tells Todd all about it.
The Jongo range will shortly include a couple of wireless speakers and a hi-fi adaptor, all with both Bluetooth and wi-fi built-in. Music can be streamed using the Pure Connect app via wi-fi to any speaker in range or else smartphones and tablets can stream music directly to the speakers using Bluetooth. Both Apple iOs and Android devices are supported and it uses the existing wi-fi infrastructure: there’s no need for special transmitters.
The S340B speaker will be available soon and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Price is listed as $229.
The stereo speaker (T640B) and the hi-fi adaptor (A140B) will be on-sale in the summer with MSRPs of $329 and $119, respectively.
Posted by JenThorpe at 2:07 AM on January 15, 2013
Amazon has introduced a brand new service called AutoRip. This is a very different way of looking at music storage. In short, it takes the CD that you purchased from Amazon and puts it into your Amazon Cloud Player. It also will make that album available on your PC or Mac, Kindle Fire, Android phone, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Right now, this service is only available to customers in the United States.
This is a rather unexpected move in a time when record companies are screaming about pirating and copyright. Perhaps they aren’t complaining about AutoRip because it only allows users to put CDs that they really have purchased into the Amazon Cloud Player? I’m not sure.
It is clear that gifts of CDs that your friends or family purchased for you from Amazon are not eligible for AutoRip. There is also this interesting piece of “fine print”:
Some record companies require us (Amazon) to insert identifiers in the metadata that accompanies music when you download it from the Amazon MP3 Store or Cloud Player. This includes the music you have purchased from Amazon.com and matched music imported to Cloud Player from your device.
These identifies may include a random number Amazon assigns to your order or copy, purchase date and time, an indicator that the music was downloaded from Amazon, codes that identify the album or song (the UPC and ISRC), Amazon’s digital signature, an identifier that can be used to determine whether the audio has been modified, and an indicator whether the music was purchased from the MP3 store or imported to the Cloud Player.
Look for the AutoRip icon in search results and CD detail pages to find out if it is one you can use with this new service. The MP3 versions of your past AutoRip eligible CD purchases are already available in the Cloud Player, where they are being stored for free. CDs that you purchased through Amazon, from as far back as 1998, are eligible for AutoRip.
NASA Johnson Style is an educational parody of Psy’s Gangnam Style, produced by the students of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It’s brilliant and deserves as much attention as the original. I’m sure this will be all over the web in a few hours, combining great visuals and intelligent parody with the hottest hit of 2012.
Pringles are running a Pringles Tree competition in December and each day you can open a virtual Pringles can to reveal the prize within. The prizes are inexpensive but there seems to be a good chance of winning as I’ve picked up a Pringles Speaker and a voucher for 7digital already. Other prizes include on-line games and receipes.
The Pringles Speaker arrived yesterday and it’s much better than I expected. The idea is that the speaker is inserted into the top of a Pringles tube once the contents have been munched. Powered by three AAA batteries (supplied), the sound quality and output is surprisingly good. For sure it’s not hifi and the bass isn’t great but for an impromptu party, it’s perfect. Plug in your mp3 player or smartphone and away you go.
There’s 11 days left of Pringles Tree. Get popping, though it looks like this promotion is for UK residents only.
Posted by JenThorpe at 1:45 AM on November 28, 2012
Korg has something that I think every musician can use. It’s called the MicroStation. It solves a lot of the problems that many musicians face when they are trying to create and record music at home, (or outside of a professional music studio).
The MicroStation has a compact 61-key Natural Touch Mini-Keyboard that is way more portable than a standard sized keyboard could ever be. The proportion of black keys and white keys has been adjusted in a way that makes chords more comfortable to play. The smaller size is nice for musicians who do not have a dedicated studio to keep all of their equipment in.
It has an intuitive onboard sequencer for recording. New features include Loop Recording and Visual Grid Sequencing. It also has several hundred sounds that include a variety of drum kits and audition riffs.
This is useful if you want to add some drums or other percussion into a song, but don’t have access to a full drum kit to play it on, or knowledge about how to properly record a drum kit. It also allows you to drop a riff or a drum track into your song, and test it out. If you don’t like what you selected, you can easily remove it.
There are four real-time control knobs that can be used for convenient sound editing or for performing with the arpeggiator. Turn the External switch on, and the knobs can be used to control a MIDI device. It even comes with a joystick for more expressive potential.
The MicroStation is also bundled with helpful software: the “MicroStation Editor” and the “MicroStation Plug-In Editor”. The MicroStation also provides an SD card slot that you can save your Programs onto. You can also save the Combinations you selected and song data directly onto an SD/SDHC card.
It also comes with a nice price. The Korg MicroStation is available at a variety of retailers in the United States for $399. That’s a great price for a drum kit, a keyboard, and recording and editing software, all in one package.
Concrete has always been a popular product, but it’s not what you think of for display purposes – marble and solid wood come more readily to mind. Increasingly, designers are turning to this relatively cheap material with some very attractive polished concrete artifacts and recently I saw a lovely kitchen worktop in the material.
Concrete is a good choice for a hifi unit, as the high density and consequent mass makes it less vulnerable to vibration. Of course this is only still an issue if you listen to vinyl records: if you’ve gone all digital, it’s not really a concern. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty impressive piece of furniture and while the aesthetics may not suit everyone, it certainly makes a statement.
The are three basic modules, “O”, “C” and “E” which can be joined to make the desired configuration. The picture above shows and “OEO” config and there are more shots on the website. In a nice touch, the concrete can be coloured to match a particular decor.
Price on application. Promotional video below.
(My German isn’t what it should be so apologies for any mistakes in translation.)
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 9:38 AM on October 19, 2012
I own a lot of music. Well, the real truth is that it’s mine and that of my wife and kids, but all told it adds up to just over 95 GB. The music collection started off with albums and cassettes when I was a kid, but later on those were all replaced by CD, and I traded in the albums, with the exception of a few rare bootlegs and imports that are sitting in a storage room collecting dust. Later still, the CD’s were ripped to MP3 and also traded in and, since then, all purchases of music have been of the digital persuasion. Time, and formats, march on.
Today all of our music resides on an external hard drive hooked to a home theater PC and backed up by CrashPlan and Google Music. I use an Android smartphone as my MP3 Player, but it doesn’t actually have any music stored on it. Every song we own can be streamed by the Google Music player but, the truth is, I almost never use it. I work from home and I listen to something almost continuously but, the music we own just isn’t a part of my day because it just doesn’t command the importance it did before the digital era.
These days I listen to a lot of podcasts and, for that, I use Beyond Pod, but I also still listen to a lot of music. I pay for a subscription to Pandora One and I have used many of my favorite artists to create stations so that I don’t need to scroll through that massive collection to find them – they just pop up and play, along with the music of other related artists. It’s better this way. Sure, I still bookmark a really good song thinking maybe I will buy it later, but honestly…I don’t.
Every once in a while the mood strikes me to hear a particular song but, for that, there are an untold number of sources, including Spotify, Grooveshark, YouTube, etc. There are many others, but those three alone can provide almost any song you can imagine, even the most obscure tunes from your youth are there.
So, the question is, do we really still need to own music? With the ability to play almost anything, anytime and create streaming stations that are tailored to our tastes, do we still have the need to buy songs, even in a digital format? I may still be in the minority, but my answer is a resounding no. The world is moving on and there are now better, more efficient ways.
Posted by Andrew at 12:10 AM on September 24, 2012
Custom-fit earbuds and headphones can be scarily expensive because the price often includes high quality sound drivers as well as the custom moulding. Advanced MP3 Players have come up with a product that solves this problem by adding a molding to already-owned earbuds – the Sharkfin Self-Molding Earbuds.
Inside the somewhat Spock-esque package are two small pots of self-molding silicone that when mixed together will set in about 5 mins. There’s a choice of two colours at the time of purchase, white or gray.
The idea is that you mix the silicone together, wrap a small roll of the material round the outer part of the earbuds, pop the earbuds in your ears, then knead the silicone into the auricle (or pinna) of the ear, before leaving to set. Here’s a video of the process.
Once set, you have a pair of earbuds or headphones customised perfectly to your ears that stay in place even when you are working out.
Naturally in the interests of research for the readers of GNC, I used the Sharkfins on a pair of Sennheiser earbuds. There’s sufficient molding material to do three fittings, so if the first one doesn’t work out, you get a second chance….which you’ll probably need. On the first one, I didn’t get sufficient coverage on the earbud itself and the molding came away from the earbud. The second time I was more successful.
Here’s a picture of my earbuds with the molding in place. I admit it’s not that pretty and it would have looked better with white earbuds but they definitely stay in your ear. I never knew my ear was so wiggly!
Another tip from the fitting would be to keep them in your ears a bit longer that the suggested 5 mins. The silicone was still quite soft at 5 mins, but had firmed up nicely by 10 mins. Leave for a few hours to make sure it really sets.
Any downsides? Depends on your point of view….I think I might be too self-conscious to wear these in any circumstances other than at the gym or running. Putting in the expanded earbuds takes a little getting used to, but once they were in, they were in. Finally, the silicone didn’t stick to my earbuds which meant that the moulding was easy to remove when I wanted my earbuds back to normal. That may be a positive or negative.
The Sharkfin Self-Molding Earbuds cost just £4.99, which I think is a good deal. If you try them out and don’t like them, you aren’t out a lot of money. Similarly, if you break your headphones at the gym, it’s not going to cost much to replace them.
Overall, a good idea at an excellent price that suffers aesthetically but if function wins out over form, these are for you.
Disclosure – the Sharkfin Self-Molding Earbuds were provided free of charge by Advanced MP3 Players.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 10:12 AM on September 7, 2012
I am a sucker for trivia games. In fact, I pride myself on being what my wife has called “a fountain of useless information”. I think (hope) she means that lovingly. That being said, she’s not bad at these games herself and, in fact, is quite good at those involving music. When an Android app called “Songpop” came to my attention I had to try it out. As it turns out, you can also play it via Facebook and you can challenge others to a game.
The app is free (there’s also a $1.99 version), but you will have to purchase additional categories if you choose to play via the mobile version. The Facebook app appears to be totally free, or at least I haven’t yet encountered restrictions. There are categories for almost every imaginable style of music. Choose your favorite and then listen, and attempt to identify, each of the five songs you will hear a brief clip of. You will only get to hear a couple of seconds of each song, but you do get a multiple choice selection for the answer.
Once you have made your five answers then you can send the challenge to another person and they will get the same category and same five songs to try and identify. If you and your opponent both ID the same number of songs then whoever did it in the least amount of time will be the winner. Your opponent then gets to choose the next category and play the first round.