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Music

MIDI melody maker strikes a crowd-pleasing chord

Even the most creative forces can sometimes feel like the muse has taken an extended vacation, abandoning musicians to try and break out of melodic comfort zones or formulaic progressions on their own. A task made even more difficult if grasping music theory is still on the to-do list. The KordBot, which is in the closing stages of a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter, has been developed as both a digital music creation assistant and a music teacher, combining a MIDI chord generator, arpeggiator and step sequencer in a single unit.Read More

Portable Cobble caters to iOS audiophiles with MFi DAC/amp hardware

Just like sprinkles and cherries on ice-cream sundaes, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with amp tends to bring out the best of music collections. Most portable DAC/amps are readily compatible with laptops or Android devices, leaving few choices overall for iOS. The latest pocket-sized, MFi-certified device happens to cater to iPhone audiophiles. The Cobble audio amplifier is designed battery-free and ultra-light, while also preserving in-line microphone/remote functionality of headphones/earphones.Read More

Review

Review: u-Jays on-ear headphones offer easy repair and upgrade

Shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for a pair of high-end headphones is something of an investment, so if they turn out to be fragile or aren't comfortable, it can be a waste of money. Swedish headphone developer Jays has swapped the bells-and-whistles approach for one of comfort and ruggedness for its latest u-Jays on-ear headphones.We plugged in a pair to see how they performed.Read More

Review

Review: Nyne Rock portable Bluetooth boombox

There are plenty of portable audio devices to choose from these days, many of which conveniently fit in bags or backpacks for carrying. But sometimes a bigger beast is called for. We got the chance to kick back and crank up one of the latest wireless speakers from Nyne, the Rock.Read More

Vie Shair headphones swap cushions for air frames to improve comfort

Even the plushest headphone ear cushions can end up generating fatigue to the point where breaks are necessary. A new startup, based out of Tokyo, Japan, has come up with a headphone design that addresses the stress and heat buildup associated with typical over-ear units. The Vie Shair headphones feature a unique air frame that relieves pressure on the ears while providing more environmental awareness.

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Falling marbles make monstrous machine sing

Artist Martin Molin has spent the last 14 months designing and hand-building the Musical Marble Machine, a huge loom- or printing press-like contraption made from birch ply that makes use of 2,000 metal balls to play a tune. The musician-powered machine drops marbles onto the instrument surface, notes sound and the orbs are collected and re-used again. Read on to see this captivating machine in action.Read More

Aero earphones offer hi-fi on the move

Hong Kong-based Zorloo has followed last year's inexpensive but very capable Z:ero digital earphones with what's described as a complete musical system. Like the previous models, the Aero in-ears ignore the source device's own (often poor) audio system and route the signal to the earphones over a digital audio connection. Three interface varieties are being supported and, in a modular twist, users can swap out driver modules to change the sound being thrown down their ears.Read More

Battery-powered Soundboks speaker rocks parties, may require permit to play

Most portable speakers have a limit to size and/or output. Increases beyond that tend to require AC adapters or wall plugs to supply continuous power. But if you've been craving truly wireless music at extreme volumes, the latest crowdfunded speaker may be the wish come true. Soundboks is designed to deliver up to 30 hours of nightclub-level decibels off a single battery charge.Read More

Major release sees Marshall go unplugged

A little over 5 years ago, Marshall teamed up with Sweden's Zound Industries to break into the headphones market with the Major on-ears. Last year, the iconic British amp maker also entered the crowded mobile space with the audiocentric-but-mediocre London smartphone. Music lovers looking to tap into the phone's high quality streaming prowess no longer need to wander off brand, they can now go cable-free with the Major II Bluetooth headphones.Read More

Korg shrinks its Pitchblack tuner

Over the last few years, Korg's Pitchblack pedal tuner has built up a solid reputation for durability and accuracy. With a footprint not much bigger than an original iPhone, it's not exactly huge either. But with pedalboard space often at a premium, Korg has introduced the Pitchblack mini – a small stomp tuner with a large, easy to read display.Read More

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