2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Paul Ridden

Stephen Henderson playing a new Ruach Music Live Series cajon

The percussive sound of folks sitting atop a cajón de embalaje and banging out a rhythm has accompanied traditional music for years. Many, many years. Often called a drumkit in a box, many of today's examples come with built-in snare sounds, bass drum pedal attachments and all manner of jingle-jangle accessories, but the basic instrument remains true to its Peruvian ancestors. Teenage cajon maker Stephen Henderson has designed and built a new series of wooden boxes with a 5-way snare lock mechanism and integrated kick pedal.  Read More

Customers will get to choose from four types of OwnPhones, though thousands of different d...

Like many music lovers on the move, OwnPhones founder and CEO Itamar Jobani became frustrated when his off-the-shelf earphones kept falling out during sporty activity. He gathered a team of expert programmers, electronics engineers, 3D modelers and industrial designers and launched a new effort to develop custom-fit wireless earphones. The tailored personal audio throwers will range from simple plugs that stay put when you're out for a run to ornate jewelry that's sure to create an impression.  Read More

The RT-AC87 home router from Asus

At CES 2014 in January, Quantenna Communications revealed that the first consumer product to include its new QSR1000 4x4 Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) chipset would be the Asus RT-AC87 home router. The second generation (or Wave 2) 802.11ac Wi-Fi device, which promises potential throughput of up to 1.73 Gbps, is now being readied for shipping.  Read More

The Modulus.002 hybrid polysynth

Though still in demand, classic analog synthesizers from decades past can be a bit of a nightmare to keep in good working order. Many modern digital emulators do a decent enough job of recreating the epic sounds of artists like Jean Michelle Jarre, Kraftwerk and Soft Cell, but some believe that they just don't have the same iconic sound qualities. Such is the thinking of a team of designers and engineers led by Philip Taysom and Paul Maddox, which has created a next gen music synth named Modulus.002. The boutique polyphonic sound machine mixes classic analog sound creation techniques with some digital magic to give musicians access to the kind of sounds made famous by vintage instruments of yesteryear.  Read More

The Pioneer PLX-1000 professional turntable for DJs who prefer to spin and scratch vinyl

Despite many digital music tools being available these days, there are a good many DJs who would rather break out a pair of old school turntables than use systems like the XDJ-AERO or DDJ-SX. To help satisfy the desire for a gorgeous slab of 12-inch black vinyl, Pioneer has today announced the DJ quality PLX-1000 direct drive analog turntable.  Read More

Gizmag visits the Paris HQ of Keecker for a chat with CEO and Founder Pierre Lebeau (Photo...

Back in January, French startup Keecker made a bit of a CES splash with a cute and curvy home entertainment computer capable of moving around on its own or as instructed by an app-based remote, and transforming any wall, door or ceiling into a huge projected screen. Gizmag dropped in on the company's Paris home at the weekend for a chat with CEO and Founder Pierre Lebeau, and a one-on-one with the multi-talented Keecker prototype.  Read More

The servos are controlled by a cabled foot pedal via an Arduino running custom code

Though mostly associated with country music, there's a pretty good chance that you've heard the sweet singing tones of a lap steel guitar in whatever modern genre floats your boat. OK, maybe not techno or electronica, but certainly blues, rock, jazz and folk music. Rather than gently stroke the six to ten high action strings of an electric lap steel with a glass or metal bar though, Dean Miller opted to recreate the sound using four servos controlled by a modified foot pedal array and an Arduino running some custom code. The result is pretty astounding.  Read More

The earform cap of the Normal earphones are 3D-printed to provide a snug fit

If you enjoy music on the move, there's a very good chance that you've been troubled by earphones popping out of your ears just as you're getting into the groove. There are high-end earphones or professional in-ear monitors available that require the buyer to pop along to an audiologist and go through an uncomfortable custom fit process to ensure the buds won't keep falling out as you run through the park or jump around the stage. Or you could look into having a custom set of earphones made. This is precisely what Normal founder Nikki Kaufman did, but the significant cost and long shipping delay she encountered prompted her to find another way. She came up with a way to tailor each pair of earphones to the wearer using a free mobile app and a 3D printer.  Read More

The HummingBoard computer comes in three configurations

Since shipping in 2012, Raspberry Pi boards have found themselves the brains of such diverse DIY projects as a mobile phone, a touchscreen computer or even a treat dispenser for the family dog. Now there are three new boys in town that promise faster processing, more system memory and more connectivity options. Yes indeed, SolidRun's new HummingBoard family has all the makings of a serious Pi killer.  Read More

The Hammer Jammer installed on an electric guitar

With what's got to be one of the shortest campaign pitches on Kickstarter, Ken McCaw is putting second production run hopes for his Hammer Jammer percussive guitar attachment in the hands of players. Described as essentially turning the guitar into a new instrument, the fretting hand is still used to form chord shapes or single-note runs. But players tap, stroke or bash the big raised "buttons" at the picking end, causing soft or hard hammers to sound the strings.  Read More

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