A great-sounding recording will sound its best only when it's properly mastered to LP, SACD, DVD-Audio, or a high-resolution file. Those formats will reveal the full glory of the music in ways that lower-resolution formats like MP3 or analog cassette always miss. But if you didn't have access to the high-resolution file to compare it with, a great recording will still sound pretty terrific as an AAC, M4A, or 320kbps MP3 file, because the recording's innate quality would shine through. On the other hand, a heavily compressed, processed and crude recording will always sound heavily compressed, processed … Read more
Gone are the days when you had to haul expensive, large equipment to a wedding or party to crank out the tunes. Now that music has gone digital, you just need your computer and an expansive MP3 playlist. And with Virtual DJ, you can mix and scratch your tunes like a professional to be the life of the party.
Now, we don't have a lot of experience with DJ software, but we think it speaks to Virtual DJ's smart design that we were able to immediately drag and drop a track to play. The program immediately pulled our … Read more
The Compact Disc format changed the way we listened to music in the 1980s. Sony's first player, the CDP-101, went on sale on October 1, 1982, in Japan, and six months later here in the U.S. At $1,000 it was pretty expensive, but supplies were limited, so every one sold for full price. Before the CD arrived, the mainstream music market was split between vinyl albums/singles and cassettes, and strangely enough, it wasn't just CD's sound that won over the masses, it was digital audio's no-wear durability and noise-free sound that drew raves. … Read more
Face it, most of today's shiny new gizmos will be hopelessly out-of-date in a few years and taking up space in landfills not so long after that. The iPhone 5 may be a marvel of engineering and marketing genius, but like iPhones of years past it's doomed to be cast aside when legions of Apple fanboys and girls stand in line to buy the iPhone 6 sometime next year. And so it goes.
Records, aka LPs, have been around since the 1950s, so there are lots of them out there. I've bought great records for a buck or two at thrift shops and yard sales, and found them on the street for free, but records aren't yesterday's news; lots of young bands are releasing LPs. The way things are going, the LP will probably outlast the CD as a mainstream format.
Speaking of yard sales and thrift shops, you can probably find dirt cheap turntables in those places, but the chances of finding a turntable in good working condition there … Read more
The CD player's days may be numbered, but we're seeing more and more turntables. They all share the common design features of a base, platter, and tonearm, but the Townshend Audio Rock 7 turntable is decidedly less common.
In addition to those three components I just mentioned, the Rock 7 employs proprietary features, mounted on the front of the tonearm, ahead of the phono cartridge. The cartridge and its needle are designed to convert the record groove's tiniest wiggles into electrical signals, but on other turntables the tonearm is unsupported and free to vibrate at the cartridge … Read more
Photo taking apps are a dime a dozen in the App Store, but if you look a little deeper, you can make some really cool projects as long as you use some creativity.
Instead of simply giving your photos a retro look like many of the popular camera apps, there are a number of options that turn your images into a creative project in which you can use your imagination to come up with something unique.
This week's collection of apps are all about doing something different with your images on your iPhone. The first quickly turns your photos … Read more
Shure is one of the leading professional microphone manufacturers, and it makes terrific headphones, but my first brush with a Shure product was with one of its phono cartridges in the early 1970s. Shure cartridges were known for their superior tracking ability, and had lower distortion than most competitors. Shure now offers a full line of consumer and DJ phono cartridges.
I recently chatted with Shure's Michael Pettersen to learn more about how to get the best sound from any phono cartridge, and his first order of business was keeping the "needle" in the groove.
Pettersen says … Read more
Fan favorite music-streaming and discovery service Turntable.fm is available on Android, and it does a great job of packing its full desktop experience into your mobile device.
The first thing you notice about Turntable.fm for Android is its absolutely stunning interface. The listening rooms look slick, with the DJ booth and speakers up top and the familiar rating controls on bottom. And of course, the hypnotic little avatars bumping their heads in rhythm fill out the rest. Tap an avatar to view that listener's vitals or hit the speech bubble to see what listeners in the room … Read more
The resurgence of vinyl as a preferred music format may baffle some who can't get enough of their Spotify subscription, but for those who get the experience of digging for records at your favorite local music store or prefer the warmer sounds provided by a vinyl LP, keeping track of your music collection is a priority.
If you're anything like John Cusack's character, the obsessive music-file, Rob Gordon from the movie "High Fidelity," you might categorize your albums chronologically one day and biographically the next.
If you want to keep better tabs on your 7-inches, … Read more