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Paul Ridden

Music

Play It Loud: Kurv brings some realism to the air guitar experience

Just a few short months after the first ever Russian was crowned Air Guitar World Champion, a new wireless system has launched on Kickstarter that's aimed at giving virtual musicians the chance to play music of their own creation. The patent-pending Kurv Guitar system is made up of a large pick-shaped air strummer and a handheld virtual fingerboard, and combines touch, motion and gestures to generate tunes based on player actions.Read More

Bicycles

Piaggio's Wi-Bike can be tracked by GPS for peace of mind security

At last week's EICMA bike show in Milan, Italy's Piaggio Group unveiled a new range of technology-packed electric-assist pedal bikes designed to satisfy the needs to today's connected cyclist. The Wi-Bikes come in two classic styles, one designed for comfort and the other aimed at sporty types. All models feature a centrally-positioned motor and battery pack for user selectable assist up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and a range of up to 120 km (75 miles), the ability to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone running a companion app, and an always-connected satellite anti-theft system that lets owners know exactly where their ride is at all times.Read More

Computers Review

Review: ZuperDAC makes hi-res thumb-sized

With a few notable exceptions, you'd be forgiven for thinking that laptop audio circuitry is something of a manufacturing afterthought, with decisions on such things made at the very end of the design process when there's very little money left in the pot. Plugging a pair of top drawer headphones into a notebook's (often cheap and cheerful) audio out jack can therefore be a little disappointing, leading many music lovers to look to the USB ports for help. Though some USB digital-to-analog converters and headphone amps can be a good deal bigger than the laptop they're connected to, and have a suitably large price tag to match, smaller options are available. The successfully-crowdfunded ZuperDAC from Zorloo, for example, is about the size of a USB thumb drive and supports audio file resolutions right up to 24-bit/192 kHz. We've spent the last few weeks diving into our hi-res FLAC and WAV vault for some lossless easy listening.Read More

Music

Guitar Triller gives new meaning to hammer-ons

Said to have been inspired by the sight of Steve Vai pulling away a whammy bar from his Ibanez guitar and whacking the strings for some odd solo madness, the Guitar Triller offers players a different way to attack a stringed instrument. It looks like something you might use to assemble flat-packed furniture, but can help bring a hammered dulcimer vibe to a bass guitar, give shredders some new ways to speed-pick or add some expressive tap and scrape power play to ukes.Read More

Music

IK sounds out fingerpickers with the iRig Acoustic

For a good long while now, IK Multimedia has been helping to satisfy the mobile noodling needs of electric git-fiddlers with a succession of instrument interfaces that bridge the gap between a smart device hosting digital effects and amp simulations and a plank of wood, some pickups and a few strands of tensioned steel. Now the company is taking aim at dreadnought picker types with the iRig Acoustic, which is billed as the first acoustic guitar mobile microphone/interface specifically made for acoustic guitars and ukuleles, and one that's claimed to rival pro-grade studio microphones.Read More

Wearables

Revols earphones deliver a custom-fit in 60 seconds

Though a very few mobile music lovers will be lucky enough to own some perfect fit off-the-shelf earphones, for the rest of us, fallout is a frustratingly frequent problem. If you've got lots of time and patience, and a rather large budget, you could take a trip to an audiologist, get your ears scanned and then order a pair of in-ear headphones molded to precisely fit your ear canals. A startup running a Kickstarter campaign says that it's come up with a quicker, cheaper and simpler way. You just stick a Revols earpiece in each ear, wiggle it about and push it around until it feels snug and then hit "start" on a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone ... and a minute later you've got yourself some custom-fit earphones.Read More

Music

Nitro e-drums pack a professional punch without breaking the bank

Whether for private practice or full-on live performance, electronic drum kits offer a number of benefits over their traditional counterparts. They don't take up most of the room in the band's van, players can call on many different percussion sounds, and they're pretty neighbor-friendly when not cabled up to a PA system. But they can be just as pricey as a non-digital setup. The latest eight piece e-drum kit from Alesis promises responsive play backed up by professional features for a budget-friendly ticket price.Read More

Wearables

V-Moda taps sporty audiophiles for Zn in-ear headphones

For its first in-ear headphones in four years, V-Moda is offering a heady mix of toughness, good looks and the promise of great sound. Zn is, of course, the symbol for zinc, which V-Moda says has a "unique hardness and resonance nature to deliver a balanced sound." Each dynamic driver is wrapped in solid yet lightweight zinc alloy housing, and the limited edition Zn in-ears boast a signature that's been fine-tuned to appeal to the modern and mobile audiophile. The earphones also come with detachable ear hooks reported capable of keeping them in place no matter the physical demands of the sport-loving, high resolution music lover.Read More

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