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.
Last year, a team of engineers led by Olle Lindén launched on Kickstarter to bring the world's smallest wireless earphones into production. The Earin campaign raised almost a million bucks from folks wanting to pop them in and strut down the street like Ryan Reynolds in Definitely Maybe
. Though the slick ear bullets have yet to be shipped, they've already got some serious competition snapping at their heels. 21 year-old Australian Jonathan Zuvela has developed Nextear, equally teeny wireless in-ear headphones that come with a portable recharging case packing built-in storage and an LED flashlight.
Wren Sound Systems has added a new model to its V5 wireless speaker range. Where the other three units are geared toward either Bluetooth, AirPlay or Play-Fi, the V5US supports all three wireless technologies for "near-universal device compatibility" and lossless audio streaming.
No need for a second take, the company is indeed called Schiit Audio and it's pronounced just as you'd expect. Though rather suggestive of audio products best avoided at all costs, the company actually has excellent pedigree in the shape of Mike Moffat. The firm's co-founder is the inventor of the DS Pre, the first DSP-based outboard digital to analog converter on the market. Moffat and company have spent the last five years researching digital filter algorithms, a quest that has ended with Yggdrasil, a flagship multi-bit DAC with a true closed form filter.
In November last year, British headphone maker Reid Heath Audio (RHA) released a new flagship in-ear headphone model called the T10i that featured interchangeable tuning filters which altered the frequency response from the company's reference signature to focus on either lows or highs. The high fidelity, noise isolating earphones went on to earn the company a Red Dot Award in the Product Design category. RHA has recently added a sibling that's sonically the same but doesn't have an inline control and is a little cheaper, and it's this T10 model that Gizmag has been taking for a test drive.
If you fancy expanding your six-string sound beyond the reach of analog stomps, digital effects and power amps and into the world on sonic synthesis, there are a number of ways to go. You could create your own Frankenguitar hybrid like the Guitarduino
, or opt for less a less experimental approach by adding a special pickup to your existing axe, such as Roland's divided pickup
or the Tripleplay
from Fishman. Buying a new instrument with such technology already installed
is another option, but Boss has announced an analog-style synth floor unit called the SY-300 that's been designed to be used with any guitar pickup.
Though some headphone designs cater for replacing comfy foam earpads that have lost their memory or audio cables that no longer let the music flow, when a driver unit packs up it's usually time to hit the stores again for a new pair. With the launch of its TMA-2 headphones today, Danish audio design firm AIAIAI is offering another way. If users want to try out different drivers, they can just buy the component and swap out the existing ones. Likewise for headbands, earpads and cables. The modular headphones have arrived.
Just over a year ago, Livid Instruments ended a successful Kickstarter campaign
to bring its Guitar Wing wireless controller to life. The device is attached to the lower horn of an electric guitar or bass to enable wireless control of apps and DAWs running on a computer. After working closely with Apple engineers, the company has now announced support for the new Bluetooth LE MIDI protocol for Yosemite OS X and iOS 8.
When a high-end audio maker announces a new product, a high price tag is almost guaranteed to accompany its release. Indeed, NuPrime Audio's amps, preamps, DACs and heaphone amps are usually found in the four figure range, but not its new uDSD. The high resolution digital-to-analog converter and headphone amp will retail for under two hundred bucks.
Tiptoe through just about any online music synthesis forum and it won't be too long before you stumble across an Analog vs. Digital
debate. Both have their legions of dedicated followers, but if you're looking to dabble in some analog waveform manipulation and don't relish the thought of getting tangled up in patch cable spaghetti or having to sell the car and break your back to buy and install something like the Moog System 55
, futuresonus has developed a tabletop-friendly analog synth that features digital controls called Parva. The polyphonic synth offers eight voices, each with its own oscillators and filters, and is claimed the first analog synth to boast a USB master port.
Jackie Wu and Ritwik Ummalaneni are aiming to give some tiny flying quadcopters a new job in home security. The idea is to have a Jackie drone linked to a home Wi-Fi network charged up and ready to patrol. Using a smartphone app, the home owner can remotely activate Jackie and fly it around the house to see what's going on with the help of video feeds from its onboard camera. It's still early days for the project, but a proof of concept prototype system has already clocked up some flight time and a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to bring the idea to life.