Marshall's London smartphone is an interesting animal. On the one hand, it's a pretty mediocre smartphone with a high price tag, but on the other, it's a musician's dream, with hi-def playback and recording, dual headphone ports, and more. Read on for our thoughts on the audio-focused smartphone.
The rather clunky, chunky steampunk looks of the Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4 pro won't be to everyone's taste, but the high-end portable music player has attracted rave reviews from industry experts and hi-res music lovers alike since first being outed at CeBIT 2010. Where the C4's supported audio resolution maxes out at 192,000 samples per second, each at 24-bits, Colorful Technology's new C10 player bumps the res up to 32-bits/192 kHz and supports native DSD128 decoding.
When Dmitry Morozov was offered a pyrite disc in the US, it was given free of charge on condition that the Russian media artist, circuit bender and musician create something sonic with it. He came up with a combination of optical media reader and digital music instrument called Ra, which uses a laser to scan the uneven surface of the pyrite sun and produce synthesized sounds.
For some players, faulty cables, abused amplifiers and neglected instruments can be a source of surprisingly gratifying sonic output rather than a performance or recording nightmare. But if it's true grit you're after, only actual topsoil will do. Such is the thinking behind the ERD modular Eurorack series distortion unit from Martin Howse, which has a box a real dirt at its core. Buyers of the strictly limited module are even being offered discounts for providing the creator with earth from locations linked to the macabre.
Back in March 2013, UK-based startup Roli introduced a new kind of expressive musical instrument called the Seaboard Grand. From a distance, it had the look of a digital piano, but getting closer revealed a playing surface that looked like a plastic keyboard cover had melted over the keys after being left in the hot sun for too long. The whole of this SEA interface was actually one continuous, pressure-sensitive playing area with pitch, volume and timbre controlled by strikes, presses, glides and slides. The company has been working to improve its Keywaves expression technology ever since, and has now revealed a new portable member of the Seaboard controller family called the Rise.
For the last few years, RHA's earphones have gone from great-sounding blasters for the budget conscious to top notch high resolution audio throwers like the impressive T20s we reviewed back in July. Fast approaching its fifth anniversary, the company now feels that the time is right for a move beyond earphones and gave a glimpse into its near future vision with a still-in-development DAC/headphone amp on show at IFA 2015. Gizmag dropped by the RHA booth for a quick look.
At IFA 2014, Panasonic woke up its Technics music entertainment beast from a 6 year slumber with the launch of the first Reference Class R1 Series and the Premium Class C700 Series high end home audio products. The company revealed more additions to the new Technics family at this year's show, including an all-in-one hi-fi system, some new headphones and an early look at an upcoming turntable. Gizmag took time out from a buzzing IFA to have a look and listen.
Since launching in 2005, Sonos has pretty much dominated the multi-room wireless speaker scene. But it may surprise you to learn that Yamaha customers could stream music around their homes at least a couple of years earlier courtesy of the company's MusicCAST network audio system. Originally comprising a CD ripper/hard drive server and receiver stations, Yamaha revamped the digital audio streaming platform in 2009 and included a touchscreen remote controller, the ability to connect to a portable music player over Bluetooth and support for streaming music services and internet radio. Now, MusicCast has been updated again, with Yamaha promising a range of more than 20 enabled products by the end of 2015.
Not so long ago, music on vinyl looked set to go the way of the audio cassette tape. But, despite an overall dip in first half year physical album sales in the US, the latest figures show that vinyl is bouncing back. Unsigned artists, part-time musicians or karaoke champions wanting to ride the new vinyl wave could invest in a desktop cutter like the crowdfunded (but yet-to-be-shipped) DRC for limited production runs, but a new service launched in the Netherlands earlier this year caters for custom groove creations instore. Now Vinylify has launched a streamlined web portal and opened its doors to international orders.
Back in May, British headphone maker Reid Heath Audio (RHA) announced a new pair of in-ear headphones that debuted something called DualCoil dynamic driver technology. The company had managed to install two independently-powered dynamic voice coils on a micro ring magnet, one to handle lower audio frequencies and the other to take care of the higher end. The T20s promised a true-to-life reproduction and support for high resolution audio. We got to plug in for some hi-res, and lo-res, listening.