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.
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.
The Jambé takes bits of electronic drums
, hand bangers
and finger tappers
and mashes them all up into one traditional-looking percussive instrument. Its makers say that a special combination of materials and sensors allow it to read every playing nuance, transforming the mighty wallop of a drum stick into thunderous sounds or a gentle tinkle from light finger taps with the help of an iPad or iPhone processing brain.
The (relatively) brave new world of digital music consumption can arguably more than satisfy the aural needs of most music lovers, but vinyl and CD collectors also enjoy a visual feast in the shape of album art. Sure, you might get some small pixel pleasure with your MP3, and if you're lucky perhaps even a PDF booklet, but you're unlikely to get anywhere near the satisfaction you'd get from some concept art and band info on a 12 inch square of cardboard or a glossy paper flip-book in a jewel case. The high fashion house of Astrella has linked the digital and the physical with a line of t-shirts where streamed music is part of the package. Next month, shoppers at two Bloomingdale's stores will be able to get access to music and more with the help of their smartphones.
The Industrial division at Phase One has revealed an 80 megapixel medium format drone camera that's claimed to be the world's smallest. The Phase One iXU 180 is aimed at gyro-copter and ultralight enterprise users such as aerial mappers, coastal surveillance and arctic researchers rather than your average quadcopter enthusiast and features a block body that's not much wider than the lens it accommodates.
There are many iOS apps that offer onscreen versions of musical instruments and, though a convenient way to practice chord positions or to quickly jot down a song idea, they can be a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. In 2013, Zivix launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring a backpack-friendly MIDI guitar designed for the mobile musician called the JamStik
to production. Now the company is back with an improved mini guitar that boasts better picking detection and processing speed, and uses Bluetooth LE instead of Wi-Fi to keep surfing channels open while playing.