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.
Fishman's TriplePlay MIDI controller and pickup gives guitar players access to a world of digital sound generation, whether it's playing a funky vintage synth from your fretboard or blowing a haunting melody on a flute. The controller wirelessly links to music creation software running on a laptop, which then outputs the tones via the audio jack to headphones, powered speakers or even an instrument amp. But you don't really want to be leaving your laptop, which may contain personal information, just off stage when touring small clubs, so Fishman has launched the FC-1 Floor Controller. This allows players access to patches and presets from connected sound modules and synths.
The humble audio jack has served music lovers well over the years, but listening to tunes on mobile devices can be something of a disappointment for budding audiophiles. Manufacturers naturally concentrate on upping processor performance, squeezing more pixels per inch into the display and extending battery life, while audio components often appear something of an afterthought. Folks who like to groove on the move to high quality playback can opt for a portable DAC like the DacMagic XS, but the P5 Digital Headphones and Z1 Digital Earphones have their own hi-res DACs and are compatible with both USB and Lightning connections.
Last year, British high-end audio house Naim launched the gorgeous Mu-so wireless music system. Now the same engineers responsible for its design have developed the Mu-so Qb, an equally good-looking compact wireless system. Despite its bookshelf speaker proportions, the Qb is reported capable of throwing out 300 W from its five speaker drivers.
In what's reported to be a first for Digital Audio Players (DAP), Onkyo's new DP-X1 features two digital-to-analog converters (DAC) and two amps with balanced headphone output for greater power and control. The device supports hi-res digital music playback in WAV and FLAC formats, has native DSD, too, and is one of the first to support the MQA standard. It runs an Android-based OS and features two micro-SD slots that take its storage potential right up to 432 GB.
Denmark's Bang & Olufsen has been showing off a rather lengthy all-in-one music system in Las Vegas this week. Crafted in aluminum and sporting soundbar-like styling, the pentagonal BeoSound 35 is a meter long and comes with the promise of premium sound, with a price tag to match. In fact, you won't get much change from US$3,000.
If you're looking to divebomb and squeal like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, but your vintage guitar doesn't have a vibrato system, you could avoid losing chunks of tonewood by installing a top mount system like the FRX from Floyd Rose. But switching from hardtail to whammy will still involve slamming your axe on the maintenance table for a while. Sydney, Australia-based Fomofx says that its Virtual Jeff can be installed in just 30 seconds on just about any guitar, and easily removed when not needed.
After looking like they were going the way of the audio cassette tape, vinyl records are on a bounce back. Just this week, Nielsen reported that sales of 12-inch discs in the US rose for the tenth consecutive year, accounting for 9 percent of total physical album sales. Though there are portable turntables like those from Pyle Audio and Crossleys, enjoying vinyl on the move isn't exactly pocket-friendly. But converting records to run on an MP3 player means an inevitable loss of precious fidelity. Fortunately, Sony's new HX500 turntable boasts a built-in 24-bit analog-to-digital converter that allows audiophiles to transfer their beloved vinyl collections to high quality digital formats.
Flir Systems has announced two new additions to its Lepton-based range of thermal imaging solutions. The pocket-sized Scout TK is aimed at outdoor types like campers and hikers, giving them the ability to take in their surroundings even when it's pitch black outside. Meanwhile, the entry-level TG130 is heading for home and small business use, to aid in DIY building projects or assist with office energy efficiency measures.
Like the Dash and Dot from our round-up of last year's best tech toys for kids, the upcoming Code-a-Pillar has been designed to teach kids how to code in an entertaining and engaging way. Fisher-Price's effort sees a wheeled caterpillar head sporting a constant smile and blinking eyes that can be connected via USB to a number of segments. The order in which the segments are connected determines the actions of the completed bot.
Back in 2014, Panasonic reanimated the not-dead-just-sleeping Technics brand with the launch of two high end audio ranges. We got a brief ears-on in the listening room and liked what we heard. Very much. But there was something missing. For many party animals of a certain age, the good times were fueled by discs spun on the DJ weapons of choice – a pair of Technics SL-1200 decks. The brand confirmed plans to appease vinyl lovers at IFA 2015 by introducing a new direct drive motor assembly for an upcoming turntable. Now, the picture is complete with a CES reveal of the brand new Grand Class SL-1200G.