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Paul Ridden

Paul Ridden

While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.

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— Music

Guitar-Jo brings banjo sound to electric guitar

By - August 28, 2015 5 Pictures

One of the most memorable moments in the 1972 film Deliverance is the banjo/guitar duel of Billy Redden and Ronny Cox. Musicians looking to add some of that plucky magic to their own compositions could nip out and buy a banjo and lock themselves away while learning to play. They may choose to follow the lead of Bow Thayer and create a new hybrid instrument. Or they could seek some digital emulation wizardry. After being unsatisfied with the latter, guitarist Jon Langberg came up with another way. The Guitar-Jo accessory gives an electric six-string an identity crisis by making it sound like a banjo.

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Backpack adapter delivers battery power to stomp's mains port

If you run a lot of effects pedals, opening up hatches or unscrewing housings to replace 9 V batteries can be a bit of a chore, with many guitarists opting to build a pedalboard and juice up all of the stomps from one mains-supplied power pack instead. The 9 V Backpack from Züe Engineering allows a musician to quickly add battery power to a stomp without having to open up the casing.

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— Home Entertainment

Yamaha breathes new life into MusicCast multi-room music streaming

By - August 21, 2015 13 Pictures

Since launching in 2005, Sonos has pretty much dominated the multi-room wireless speaker scene. But it may surprise you to learn that Yamaha customers could stream music around their homes at least a couple of years earlier courtesy of the company's MusicCAST network audio system. Originally comprising a CD ripper/hard drive server and receiver stations, Yamaha revamped the digital audio streaming platform in 2009 and included a touchscreen remote controller, the ability to connect to a portable music player over Bluetooth and support for streaming music services and internet radio. Now, MusicCast has been updated again, with Yamaha promising a range of more than 20 enabled products by the end of 2015.

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— Music

Vinylify presses and posts custom records to your home

By - August 17, 2015 5 Pictures

Not so long ago, music on vinyl looked set to go the way of the audio cassette tape. But, despite an overall dip in first half year physical album sales in the US, the latest figures show that vinyl is bouncing back. Unsigned artists, part-time musicians or karaoke champions wanting to ride the new vinyl wave could invest in a desktop cutter like the crowdfunded (but yet-to-be-shipped) DRC for limited production runs, but a new service launched in the Netherlands earlier this year caters for custom groove creations instore. Now Vinylify has launched a streamlined web portal and opened its doors to international orders.

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— Music

Jumbo and Shorty plug up guitar's soundhole for improved tone

By - August 11, 2015 5 Pictures

Players wanting to change the sound or timbre of an acoustic guitar, or just clear up any nasty tone issues or feedback, can look to digital processing or post-production for help. But Keeler Sound's Performer Series sound processors for nylon and steel string instruments make use of pipes and ports for the promise of an as-the-music-happens "perfectly balanced tone." Swapping out a unit's diaphragm, or not using one at all, will also alter the tone of the guitar.

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— Marine

Electric Scubster personal sub dives into crowdfunding pond

By - August 7, 2015 9 Pictures

When we caught up with French high flyer Stephane Rousson at the Paris Green Air Show 5 years ago, in addition to showing off his helium-filled Zeppy 3 sail balloon, he also detailed a pedal-powered personal submarine called the Scubster. In 2011, the Scubster team took part in the International Submarine Race at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in the US, and managed to snag an Innovation Award. Now Rousson and designer Minh-lôc Truong have launched an electric version of the single pilot carbon fiber sub on Kickstarter.

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— Music

BeatBuddy drummer in a stomp gets a baby brother

By - August 5, 2015 4 Pictures

After raising more than four times the project goal on Indiegogo, David Packouz began shipping his BeatBuddy drum machine in a stomp to backers in August last year. Gizmag got to call on the realistic-sounding and very responsive percussive skills of Singular Sound's virtual bin basher at commercial release time and we were mighty impressed. Now the company has announced a less expensive, and slightly less capable, version called the BeatBuddy Mini.

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— Music

Gizmotron 2.0 brings a bow to your axe

By - August 3, 2015 5 Pictures

Some time around 1973, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, then members of British pop/rock group 10cc, invented a device for guitar and bass that brought a bowing sound to selected strings when a key or keys were pressed. The Gizmotron, or Gizmo for short, was famously used by Jimmy Page on the intro to In the Evening on Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door and went on to make its public debut at NAMM 1979. But it was not a commercial success due to its rather temperamental nature. Now over 40 years later, the Gizmo has been revised and revived, with version 2.0 due for release by the end of 2015.

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— Home Entertainment Review

Review: Hi-Res-capable, DualCoil-packing T20 in-ear headphones

By - July 28, 2015 8 Pictures

Back in May, British headphone maker Reid Heath Audio (RHA) announced a new pair of in-ear headphones that debuted something called DualCoil dynamic driver technology. The company had managed to install two independently-powered dynamic voice coils on a micro ring magnet, one to handle lower audio frequencies and the other to take care of the higher end. The T20s promised a true-to-life reproduction and support for high resolution audio. We got to plug in for some hi-res, and lo-res, listening.

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