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.
Twenty fifteen has been a helluva year for instrument creation, bringing a torrent of new ways to make sweet, sweet music with a bang, pluck, tap or scrape. Choosing a handful of tasty tone-tastic highlights from the last 12 months has been tough, really tough. But after much ruminating, we've managed to stealthily avoid picking from a hat and have come up with a select bunch of monstrous melody-making favorites.
Noodling away on an unplugged electric guitar is a great way to practice chops any time, day or night. But the raw sound can be a bit disappointing, lacking body and volume. DelSonix says that its clip-on guitar speaker can give a solid body electric a 10 dB sonic boost, which can be directed straight at the player.
After a good deal of pre-release positivity from audio community reviewers and industry pundits, V-Moda's flagship Crossfade M-100 headphones were finally made available to buy at the end of 2012. Though many market competitors have since embraced the music-buying public's increasing desire for wireless freedom and added Bluetooth models to their ranges, V-Moda has stubbornly resisted the call to ditch the cable. That all changed in September, however, with the launch of the Crossfade Wireless headphones – the company's Val Kolton calling them the "best sounding and most versatile" Bluetooth headphones he'd ever tried. Gizmag has spent the last few weeks finding out if mobile convenience can be as sonically fulfilling as cumbersome cables.
Texas-based startup 660 Guitars hit Kickstarter in November to help fund the production of a new line of aluminum-bodied guitars. Though the crowdfunding effort was not successful, founders Drew Emory and Myke Wilkerson are forging ahead with a company and first product premiere at California's Winter NAMM show in January.
Almost 6 years ago, a video showing a new guitar-shaped digital instrument went viral and plans were hatched to bring the Misa Digital Guitar to market. The instrument was further developed, renamed the Kitara and unveiled at CES 2011. We got to spend some quality time with the futuristic axe later that year, and were suitably impressed. Production ended in 2013, however, with the introduction of the Misa Tri-bass. The latest project from the embedded systems engineer behind all of those creations, Michael Zarimis, offers an alternative take on the step sequencer.
Vinyl records are growing in popularity, with Nielsen reporting a 260 percent growth in US sales since 2009. So now might be a good time to cable up your old turntable again and bring down the once treasured collection from the attic. When the cartridge coughs up a fur ball big enough to rival the household cat, though, it may be time to consider a vinyl cleaning machine. The VC-S from Austrian audio house Pro-Ject is claimed capable of washing and drying a 12-inch disc up to three times faster than the competition.
Unwelcome color, nasty distortion and unnatural reproduction. Those are the kind of annoying qualities that loudspeaker housing made from cheap materials can add to the listening experience. This has led some audio designers to look for a high density and weighty solution to the cabinet vibration problem. Concrete. Though that does perhaps produce images in the mind of boring and ugly monoliths dropping through the living room floor to the basement below, Germany's Concrete Audio and Italy's Digital Habit(s) would beg to differ. Now Los Angeles-based Hult Design is hoping to join the concrete party with a crowdfunding effort aimed at bringing its Pavilion speakers to market.
Yamaha is coming up to its 50th anniversary in the guitar business, and has launched a new series of solid body electric guitars inspired by café racer style motorbikes of the 1960s to celebrate. Of the eight RevStar models, seven include Yamaha's new Dry Switch tone enhancement technology that essentially replaces coil split wiring found in some guitars with passive circuitry for single coil-like tone from humbucking pickups.
At CES 2009, Sennheiser launched what was to become an audioholic favorite – the HD 800 open-back headphones. We got the opportunity to go ears-on at IFA a few months later and were duly impressed. This month, the German audio house is releasing an improved model, the HD 800 S, with the promise of bringing listeners "one step closer to the perfect sound."
Back in January, South Africa's Hans Fouche demonstrated the capabilities of his custom-made Cheetah 3D printer by creating a full-sized lawnmower. Last month saw the release of the Cheetah 2, which Fouche celebrated by printing a working car jack made from plastic and now an acoustic guitar. What makes this dreadnought stand apart from instruments printed by the likes of Olaf Diegel and Customuse is that the whole guitar (apart from steel strings and tuners) has been produced by the printer, not just the body.