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Digital music

There are many iOS apps that offer onscreen versions of musical instruments and, though a convenient way to practice chord positions or to quickly jot down a song idea, they can be a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. In 2013, Zivix launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring a backpack-friendly MIDI guitar designed for the mobile musician called the JamStik to production. Now the company is back with an improved mini guitar that boasts better picking detection and processing speed, and uses Bluetooth LE instead of Wi-Fi to keep surfing channels open while playing. Read More
Among the raft of new consumer audio products that Samson Technologies took to CES last month was a desktop speaker system for computers, laptops and tablets. The company says that the Meteor M2 stereo speakers promise studio quality sound that breaks barriers in desktop audio at volumes that go "well beyond its compact size." We got our hands on a review system and have spent much of this month putting those claims to the test. Read More
As far as equipment bulk goes, digital DJs can have a much easier time of it than their vinyl spinning and scratching counterparts. But even if your groove controller of choice is something as portable as Pioneer's DDJ-WeGO3 or as compact as IK Multimedia's iRig MIX, the loudspeakers that will get you heard above the party chatter can add significant weight to a gig bag. The UK's Tibo Electronics has taken an all-in-one approach with its new Urban 500 DJ station, which sits a media controller atop a 500 W speaker tower with wheels on the bottom to help you trundle to your next gig. Read More
Though certainly convenient, listening to music through earphones plugged into a smartphone is not always a satisfying experience. Some music lovers, like myself, prefer to carry around a dedicated high quality audio player, while others who like to groove on the move might give the source audio a welcome boost by using a mini middleman like Cambridge Audio's DacMagic XS. Either way, higher quality comes at the expense of increased pocket bulk. The folks at Hong Kong-based Zorloo claim that they've managed to shrink down a digital-to-analog converter, headphone amp and control board to dimensions small enough for integration into the inline playback/volume controller of the company's upcoming Z:ero earphones. Read More
As you might expect, Bang & Olufsen's take on the one-stop-shop wireless music system for the living room is both stylish and expensive. The two part BeoSound Moment system comprises a hub that's compatible with B&O's entire range of wired and wireless speakers, including those boasting the company's Immaculate Wireless Sound technology, and a tablet-like wireless touch interface. When used together, they integrate digital music collections and streaming services into one unit that can match tunes to a listener's mood. Read More
Google has announced that the Cast technology on which its Chromecast is based will soon be used in speakers. Google Cast for audio will allow users to stream audio services wirelessly to compatible speakers. Users will also be able to control the speakers via a computer or mobile device. Read More
Though many mobile workstation users will "make do" with less-than-satisfying audio output from the notebook's built-in amplifier, high res audioholics will likely seek the help of an external DAC headphone amp. Where once you could expect to shell out quite a tidy sum for a quality sonic massager, there are now a good number of affordable devices on the market, from desktop bricks like the Sound Blaster X7 to pocket-friendly beasts like the DacMagic. The creators of Miyo are promising world-class, studio quality sound in a small, portable and affordable package and believe their DAC to be a cut above the rest. Read More
It's been another strong year for instrument innovation, making the task of choosing a top five quite a challenge. Though many excellent examples of envelope pushing have popped up on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo during 2014, including the Hammer Jammer and Aalberg's Ekko and Aero, we allowed those to fall gracefully to the cutting room floor in favor of tech that's available now. Join Gizmag as we take a look back at some of the top groove gadgets of the last 12 months. Read More
Nearly 3 years ago, Japan's CyberStep Communications revealed a prototype all-in-one synth, sequencer and multitrack audio editor called the KDJ-ONE that could be held in the palm of the hand, had built-in storage and offered Wi-Fi connectivity. Then, after well-received demonstrations at trade shows like NAMM and Musikmesse, all went quiet. Now the company says that a redesigned portable music studio is finally ready for release and has launched two simultaneous crowdfunding efforts to bring the device to market. Read More
The folks behind the Mikme microphone are aiming to make recording inspired moments of creativity as easy as possible, whenever and wherever you happen to be when the muse strikes. Though you can make use of the microphone on the ubiquitous smartphone, the captured audio probably isn't going to be a match for the Mikme's promise of studio-grade quality. The Mikme is also a versatile little beast, able to work as a battery-powered standalone microphone, be cabled to a computer via USB or wirelessly paired with a smartphone running a companion app. Read More
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