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.
Since launching in 2005, Sonos has pretty much dominated the multi-room wireless speaker scene. But it may surprise you to learn that Yamaha customers could stream music around their homes at least a couple of years earlier courtesy of the company's MusicCAST network audio system. Originally comprising a CD ripper/hard drive server and receiver stations, Yamaha revamped the digital audio streaming platform in 2009 and included a touchscreen remote controller, the ability to connect to a portable music player over Bluetooth and support for streaming music services and internet radio. Now, MusicCast has been updated again, with Yamaha promising a range of more than 20 enabled products by the end of 2015.
Not so long ago, music on vinyl looked set to go the way of the audio cassette tape. But, despite an overall dip in first half year physical album sales in the US, the latest figures show that vinyl is bouncing back. Unsigned artists, part-time musicians or karaoke champions wanting to ride the new vinyl wave could invest in a desktop cutter like the crowdfunded (but yet-to-be-shipped) DRC for limited production runs, but a new service launched in the Netherlands earlier this year caters for custom groove creations instore. Now Vinylify has launched a streamlined web portal and opened its doors to international orders.
Players wanting to change the sound or timbre of an acoustic guitar, or just clear up any nasty tone issues or feedback, can look to digital processing or post-production for help. But Keeler Sound's Performer Series sound processors for nylon and steel string instruments make use of pipes and ports for the promise of an as-the-music-happens "perfectly balanced tone." Swapping out a unit's diaphragm, or not using one at all, will also alter the tone of the guitar.
When we caught up with French high flyer Stephane Rousson at the Paris Green Air Show 5 years ago, in addition to showing off his helium-filled Zeppy 3 sail balloon, he also detailed a pedal-powered personal submarine called the Scubster. In 2011, the Scubster team took part in the International Submarine Race at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in the US, and managed to snag an Innovation Award. Now Rousson and designer Minh-lôc Truong have launched an electric version of the single pilot carbon fiber sub on Kickstarter.
After raising more than four times the project goal on Indiegogo, David Packouz began shipping his BeatBuddy drum machine in a stomp to backers in August last year. Gizmag got to call on the realistic-sounding and very responsive percussive skills of Singular Sound's virtual bin basher at commercial release time and we were mighty impressed. Now the company has announced a less expensive, and slightly less capable, version called the BeatBuddy Mini.
Some time around 1973, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, then members of British pop/rock group 10cc, invented a device for guitar and bass that brought a bowing sound to selected strings when a key or keys were pressed. The Gizmotron, or Gizmo for short, was famously used by Jimmy Page on the intro to In the Evening on Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door and went on to make its public debut at NAMM 1979. But it was not a commercial success due to its rather temperamental nature. Now over 40 years later, the Gizmo has been revised and revived, with version 2.0 due for release by the end of 2015.
Back in May, British headphone maker Reid Heath Audio (RHA) announced a new pair of in-ear headphones that debuted something called DualCoil dynamic driver technology. The company had managed to install two independently-powered dynamic voice coils on a micro ring magnet, one to handle lower audio frequencies and the other to take care of the higher end. The T20s promised a true-to-life reproduction and support for high resolution audio. We got to plug in for some hi-res, and lo-res, listening.
Instrument interfaces like IK Multimedia's iRig or Apogee's Jam opened the door to an almost infinite world of real-time digitized tone on mobile devices running apps like GarageBand and AmpliTube. But, frustratingly, selecting a virtual stomp on a tablet screen still involves taking a playing hand away from the guitar to tap the screen. South Korea's Wifo Corporation is currently crowdfunding the RemoFinger, a foot controller that sits on the floor and can wirelessly activate onscreen stomp switches via surrogate "finger tips" attached to the tablet display.
We were mighty impressed with V-Moda's Crossfade M-100 closed back headphones when we reviewed them just over two years ago. Wouldn't it be great, though, if we could just unplug the bright orange cable with inline mic/controls and enjoy the same spacious soundstage and top notch signature with wireless freedom? The successfully-crowdfunded BTunes plugs into the audio input jack on the headphone cup and gives Bluetooth superpowers to previously wired-only cans. One of the first very limited batch of production units made its way to Gizmag, and wireless music has been on the menu ever since.
You may not know of Dr. Harold Hildebrand, but you'll almost certainly have heard the results of his sonic tinkering. Introduced in the late 1990s, Auto-Tune went on to make performers who can't hold a note into international sensations, but has also given new vocal expression to artists who could already belt out a good tune. In 2011, Antares announced that it was bringing its pitch correction technology to the electric guitar and we got to play in perfect tune with the AT-200 in 2013. Now the company is aiming for broader adoption with the introduction of the ATG-1 Floor Processor.