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.
The home audio landscape has undergone quite a change in recent times. Where the living room hi-fi once ruled the roost, the expensive and carefully matched components are now dead silent and the once proud tower speakers have been repurposed as stands for photo frames or vases. Music lovers seem quite happy to accept an often huge drop in sonic quality for the convenience and wireless ease of the small Bluetooth speaker. But the folks over at Line 6 are looking to breathe new life into those dusty stereo system circuits with a new addition to the AMPLIFi range called the TT.
When musician David Packouz couldn't find a stomp-based drum machine that didn't sound, well, like a drum machine or one that could provide fills, changes and accent hits on the fly, he set about designing and building his own. He took his BeatBuddy project to Indiegogo in December 2013
and it went on to raise more than four times its funding goal by the close of the crowdfunding campaign. The first post-crowdfunding production run started shipping at the end of August and Gizmag was offered a system for review. But with my attention focused elsewhere during September (namely the IFA
trade shows), I had to hold off until mid-October to start spending some quality time with this nifty drummer-in-a-box pedal. And it was definitely worth the wait.
The folks behind the Mikme microphone are aiming to make recording inspired moments of creativity as easy as possible, whenever and wherever you happen to be when the muse strikes. Though you can
make use of the microphone on the ubiquitous smartphone, the captured audio probably isn't going to be a match for the Mikme's promise of studio-grade quality. The Mikme is also a versatile little beast, able to work as a battery-powered standalone microphone, be cabled to a computer via USB or wirelessly paired with a smartphone running a companion app.
Initially developed for kids with disabilities, Edinburgh-based Skoogmusic has spent the last four years delivering its colorful and tactile Skoog digital music-making instrument to almost 2,000 schools around the world. Now the company is eyeing the consumer space with the development of version 2.0, which benefits from a much-reduced cost of entry, new mobile companion apps, wireless capabilities and battery-powered portability.
It can take quite some time to sift through the many quality headphones available to the mobile music lover and, if you're anything like me, once you've discovered the model that's right for you, there's little that can shake you away from your faithful pair of personal audio throwers. Having to deal with a daily dose of cable tangle gets old really quickly though, and the urge to go wireless can become overpowering. With the BTunes plug you can enjoy the convenience of cable-free streamed music using your preferred headphones.
For a prized, and likely very expensive, instrument, touring can be fraught with danger. Threats from knocks, bumps and scrapes lurk menacingly at every turn so investing in some form of protection is vital, but not all hard cases are made equal. After noting stagnation in guitar case technology, Timbre Cases founder Peter McMath set about designing the next generation of instrument travel protection. It's taken two years of R&D, but the company is now readying its tough dreadnought-shaped DNone case for release, which features a shock absorbent, water-resistant outer shell, humidity control and recessed wheels.
About this time last year, the Woojer hit popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to raise production funds. Rather than merely massaging or enhancing the output from a mobile music player with the aid of a headphone amp, the so-called wearable woofer sends beat-driven vibrations throughout the region of the body where it's placed, adding a new dimension to the personal music listening experience. The matchbox-sized device entered the consumer space at the end of October, and Gizmag has been grooving to Woojer's polyphonic beat ever since.
IK Multimedia has announced that its iRig HD
guitar interface is breaking free of its iOS/Mac chains and moving into Android territory. Following hot on the heels of Samsung's Pro-Audio SDK 2.0 platform release, IK has now revealed the Android-friendly iRig HD-A and a special version of its AmpliTube virtual rig app.
Last month, Canada's UCIC announced the consumer launch
of the Ubi. As regular readers may already know, Gizmag has been following the progress of this ever-present, always-on, voice-controlled vault of internet knowledge since its successful crowdfunding outing back in 2012
. I was fortunate enough to get invited to join the beta program
, and have now spent the last couple of weeks trying out the new-improved version (and taking a sneaky peek at things yet to come).
As confirmed by a strong robot presence in our round-up of the best tech toys for kids
this year, there's something captivating and fascinating about interacting with robots. But rather than just play with a factory-assembled robot like the mesmerizing MiP
we got to control at IFA
back in the September, many folks want to build and customize their own. The Brighton, UK-based Maker Club has launched a project developed for the home and educational market that combines a custom control chip, a mobile app, an online learning package and 3D printing.