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.
One of the best sounding travel guitars we've tried is Yamaha's Silent Guitar, which offers a choice of modeled simulated tones or piezo-sourced sounds routed to headphones or an external amp. It doesn't have its own amp and speakers built-in though, like, say, a Vox Apache. And there's no Lineage-like smartphone integration to mix in some digital effects. In fact, you might struggle to find all three in one instrument. Unless you stumble across the Fusion Guitar from Melbourne, Australia-based designer and guitarist Dave Auld, which combines an iPhone dock, amplifier, battery and speakers in one futuristic-looking axe.
Optoma has today released the BE6 earphones, its fourth since acquiring the NuForce brand late last year, and its first wireless models. The stylish bullets are reported smaller than Bluetooth market leaders and are being aimed squarely at mobile music lovers with an ear for quality. Gizmag was sent a pre-release pair for review.
The rather clunky, chunky steampunk looks of the Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4 pro won't be to everyone's taste, but the high-end portable music player has attracted rave reviews from industry experts and hi-res music lovers alike since first being outed at CeBIT 2010. Where the C4's supported audio resolution maxes out at 192,000 samples per second, each at 24-bits, Colorful Technology's new C10 player bumps the res up to 32-bits/192 kHz and supports native DSD128 decoding.
When Dmitry Morozov was offered a pyrite disc in the US, it was given free of charge on condition that the Russian media artist, circuit bender and musician create something sonic with it. He came up with a combination of optical media reader and digital music instrument called Ra, which uses a laser to scan the uneven surface of the pyrite sun and produce synthesized sounds.
Personal music players have liberated us from the home hi-fi system and made music mobile. But there is a downside, particularly for younger listeners. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion young music lovers risk hearing loss by exposing themselves to unsafe volume levels when grooving on the move or having a good time at noisy bars and sporting events. The Aegis Pro headphones from 16-year-old Kingsley Cheng are designed to ensure that audio output never strays above a safe level, while also promising optimum sonic quality.
Think of an e-bike that sports pedals and something like Rimac's pricey Greyp G12S or the cheaper, but not quite as stunning, Hard Tail from Dyson Bikes may pop into your head. The scooter-like Chameleon from Daymak probably wouldn't even register a blip on your brain's radar. Yet this LED-packing, smartphone-controlled, PV-boosted electric bike is being pitched as the "most enjoyable e-bike you'll ever ride," and features a turbo mode that allows a rider to pop the kind of wheelies Gary Rothwell would be proud of.
For some players, faulty cables, abused amplifiers and neglected instruments can be a source of surprisingly gratifying sonic output rather than a performance or recording nightmare. But if it's true grit you're after, only actual topsoil will do. Such is the thinking behind the ERD modular Eurorack series distortion unit from Martin Howse, which has a box a real dirt at its core. Buyers of the strictly limited module are even being offered discounts for providing the creator with earth from locations linked to the macabre.
Back in March 2013, UK-based startup Roli introduced a new kind of expressive musical instrument called the Seaboard Grand. From a distance, it had the look of a digital piano, but getting closer revealed a playing surface that looked like a plastic keyboard cover had melted over the keys after being left in the hot sun for too long. The whole of this SEA interface was actually one continuous, pressure-sensitive playing area with pitch, volume and timbre controlled by strikes, presses, glides and slides. The company has been working to improve its Keywaves expression technology ever since, and has now revealed a new portable member of the Seaboard controller family called the Rise.
Just over 35 years ago, Bowers & Wilkins hit the right note with the introduction of its now iconic 801 loudspeakers, which quickly became a recording studio standard. The various incarnations of the 800 Series flagships that followed have both visually and sonically impressed industry critics and high-end audio lovers alike. Then in 2005, top of the range models were given some added sparkle with the inclusion of the company's new diamond tweeter, which eventually rolled out to all speakers in 2009 for the launch of the 800 Series Diamond. Now B&W's engineers have been let loose again, with the company insisting that the latest refresh is not so much an update, but rather a legend re-imagined.
For the last few years, RHA's earphones have gone from great-sounding blasters for the budget conscious to top notch high resolution audio throwers like the impressive T20s we reviewed back in July. Fast approaching its fifth anniversary, the company now feels that the time is right for a move beyond earphones and gave a glimpse into its near future vision with a still-in-development DAC/headphone amp on show at IFA 2015. Gizmag dropped by the RHA booth for a quick look.