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.
MIDI music scientists will doubtless be very familiar with sequencers, hardware or software used for recording, editing and playback of a series – or sequence – of notes, chords or rhythms. Many will also have come across an arpeggiator in their tune creation travels, which, in simple terms, is a feature of many synthesizers that takes the notes being played and turns them into a looped pattern. The Arpeggio brings sequencer, arpeggiator and synth together in one portable package designed for music melody composition, storage and performing on the fly.
Many guitarists are also gear-head collectors and will likely have more than a few instruments lying about in a spare room, basement studio or loft conversion. The tidier among us may even have our most-used axes lined up and ready to rock in a guitar rack. But a rack in the living room? Unlikely. However, DRS Racks' modular storage system may just be attractive and practical enough to take center stage in the home's main living space.
A few years back, while making my way under the streets of Paris aboard a packed Metro train, I witnessed a light-fingered opportunist start to help himself to the contents of a fellow traveler's backpack. She had no idea that anything was amiss until the alarm was raised by myself and other passengers, much to the annoyance and obvious disappointment of the would-be thief. Needless to say that ever since that episode I've taken to removing my gadget-filled backpack when commuting and holding onto it. Tightly. The successfully-crowdfunded Wolffepack Metro was designed so that commuters can keep their belongings close to their chests or access a bag's contents without having to remove it from the shoulders. Gizmag has had one in for review and spent the last couple of weeks in full orbital swing.
Gizmag first heard from Claudio Capponi about two years ago when he told us that he'd started working on a new musical instrument. Development has continued apace ever since and now the Liutaly iV electric violin is ready for its place in the spotlight. There are already a good many electric violins on the market of course, but the iV stands out from the crowd by packing its own amplified speaker system, having its own power source and making use of a docked smartphone running music creation apps to access an almost infinite arsenal of digital sounds.
Los Angeles-based StudioFeed first came to our attention in 2013 when it launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at putting some low end rumble in your seat. The Kickstarter campaign was successful and the SubPac tactile bass technology has since been further developed, and also pushed beyond the immersive music and gaming experience. It's been integrated into Peugeot's Fractal concept car, for example. It's also added a more engaging, physical dimension to a VR-enhanced premiere of the movie Jurassic World, and allowed deaf and hard of hearing festival goers in Brazil to feel the music at this year's Rock in Rio. Now the company is aiming to put some bottom end on your back with the upcoming SubPac M2 wearable sound system.
Over the last few years, Chinese audio maker Fiio has made a name for itself producing high end audio players, headphone amps and earphones that don't necessarily come with the expected luxury product price tags. Though its current line of portable music players certainly deliver on the audio front, they're not particularly stylish or easy to use. Hell, they even have an early generation iPod-like click/scroll wheel. The new X7 is different. Not only does the chunky smartphone-sized high resolution digital audio player feature a multitouch screen and quad-core processor, but it runs Android KitKat.
Earlier this month, Bang & Olufsen revealed a monstrous 90th anniversary wireless speaker called the BeoLab 90 costing US$40,000 and capable of throwing out 8,200 watts via 18 drivers. The company has now followed this with something a whole lot cheaper, a good deal smaller and a touch more personal. B&O says that the BeoPlay H7 premium over-ear headphones offer users gesture-based touch control of music playback and will deliver its Signature Sound whether the wearer opts to listen over Bluetooth or via the supplied cable.
Though many of us watch music videos or listen to digital radio via the living room TV, it's probably not the first home entertainment device that springs to mind when considering music streaming. That's usually the domain of wireless speakers, smartphone apps and services like Spotify or Pandora. But premium service signups and associated costly tariffs, yet more logon details and passwords to remember, and regular app updates across different mobile platforms can be something of a turn off for many music lovers. London-based Electric Jukebox Company is now offering a less complicated way, one that's aimed at changing the way music is played at home forever by leveraging the goggle box as an audio entertainment hub for the family.
Guitarists use a capo to raise the pitch of an instrument but still play familiar chord shapes and fingerings. But what if you don't want all the strings to change pitch or want a different starting point for each string? You could get on the waiting list for Ben Ryan's CapoSonic, or get busy on your fingerboard installing some Fretlocks.
There are few visuals that sum up the essence of rock guitar better than an image of the legendary Jimmy Page aiming the headstocks of his doubleneck Gibson EDS-1275 skyward. It's just badass cool. Imagine how much more entertaining your extended Stairway to Heaven tribute would be, though, if you could snap off the lower part of the weighty doubleneck hanging from your shoulders, perform some 12-string magic with just the top half and then pop it back on for the solo. That's essentially what the Flux Guitar will allow players to do, though there's no requirement to learn Led Zeppelin's back catalog to use it.