I empathize with the folks who are peeved that the remote control and microphone included on these headphones won't work on older iPods. I also get the frustration about the in-line volume rocker switch not working with the first two generations of iPhones (the iPhone 3GS is fully supported). That said, these are still a great set of headphones, and anyone who owns a new iPod should grab these without hesitation. If you own a first- or second-generation … Read more
Coolfer has an interesting post this morning, responding to Peter Kafka's suggestion that it's getting too hard to buy music because fewer retailers are stocking CDs. I think Kafka's confusing cause and effect--if retailers were still making lots of money on Britney and Rihanna, CDs would be sold front and center. But regardless of the chicken-and-egg question, Coolfer makes the very good point that most music purchasers don't seek out music and aren't willing to sift through the racks at their local record stores, but rather pick up a CD as an impulse buy on … Read more
I've only been listening for a few minutes, but so far, it looks like Apple has delivered a worthwhile pair of headphones. They don't quite have the crisp, high frequency detail of the Etymotic HF2 headphones I had at my desk, but they blow away Apple's stock earbuds (not too difficult a feat) with a buttery low end and pleasant mids and highs.
We're happy to see … Read more
Songbeat, a new start-up that takes aim at the file-sharing industry, has launched in the United States. Although it claims that its stream-recording functionality is legal because it doesn't use peer-to-peer technology to bypass copyright protection, it may not be so clear-cut.
Songbeat's software is downloaded to the user's Windows-based machine and allows the user to search for any music they desire, and then stream it directly to their computer through services like SeeqPod and Project Playlist. They can then record it to their hard drive or burn the song directly to a disc.
The software also … Read more
A new report suggests that Apple and three of the "Big Four" record labels are in talks to bring DRM-free tracks to iTunes, and once and for all do away with copy protection on the world's largest music store.
I applaud the companies for finally coming together and trying to remove draconian policies while adapting to our changing times, but this news even surprises me a bit.
To me, the bigger news here is not that Apple is trying to bring DRM-free tracks to iTunes--it needs to, thanks to Amazon.com's DRM-free store--but rather that iTunes is an unbridled success, even though DRM abounds on the service.
Any tech lover will tell you that buying songs from Amazon is preferred. After all, why would anyone want to support DRM? And although demographic data isn't readily available, I don't think it's much of a stretch to say Amazon's customers have a heavy population of individuals that are knowledgeable about tech and realize that buying copy-protected tracks only hurts us over the long term.
iTunes customers are entirely different, though. Unlike Amazon customers, I think the majority of iTunes customers are mainstream consumers that don't possess strong tech knowledge, and they're more concerned about convenience and impulse than doing what's best for consumers. After all, if they really cared about what the Recording Industry Association of America is doing to us (and the artists, by the way), they wouldn't buy songs from iTunes, would they?… Read more
There are a million ways to experience music, but for the purpose of this blog let's just break it down to two categories: live and recorded.
I don't know about you, but if I get to hear live music more than twice a month, that's pretty good. Sure, I can look back and remember some great concerts in my life, like the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden in 1969, Miles Davis in a tiny club in Greenwich Village in the early '70s, and Stevie Ray Vaughan in the '80s. The Pixies in the '90s were definitely a high point.
I recently attended a concert with the Chelsea Symphony at St. Paul's Church in Manhattan. Sitting in the top balcony, the sound was simply awesome; I've never heard anything close to that sound reproduced by even the very best high-end audio systems. The orchestra certainly didn't need amplification; it was definitely loud enough. Not quite rock concert loud, but the Chelsea Symphony's eight percussionists can make a strong impression.
Better yet, the sound never hurt my ears. But the orchestra was far more viscerally dynamic than any rock band, and the sound of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion filling the acoustic space of the church was a thrill I won't soon forget. That is, you don't so much hear the sound of each instrument, you hear it filling the church. The sound of the entire orchestra floated, like a cloud, above the pews. The sound was beyond what I've ever experienced from an orchestra in a large concert hall.
In those and other experiences, the music connection was stronger than it could ever be from recordings, but for the most part I actually prefer recorded music. First and most obviously because it's a repeatable pleasure I can have any time I want it. Next, recorded music is, after all, perfected and approved by the artist(s)--live music is subject to the vagaries of chance.
Recorded music's production can't necessarily be duplicated in concert. Depending on where you sit, and how good or bad the sound system is, live music is a crap shoot. With a decent hi-fi at home, you can get better sound than most live gigs. Oh, and you can play it at exactly the volume you want.
"Live" recordings fall between the two extremes, and if the band's up for it, may be the best of live and recorded. … Read more
Slightly larger than a pack of gum and weighing less than 7 ounces, the MovieStick easily fits into your pocket and can be taken anywhere. It uses a removable microSD card (not included) to store recorded footage, up to 2.5 hours of video on a 2GB card. The device supports only older microSD cards (cap at 2GB). It can't handle high-capacity microSDs like those ScanDisk recently announced.
The … Read more
TechSmith raises the bar with version 6 of Camtasia Studio, which was released Wednesday. While the essentials remain the same in this feature-stuffed software for creating and producing screen recordings, a few well-placed adjustments and capabilities make their mark in creating overall faster screencasts.
Among the changes, support for high-definition (Blu-ray) video, independently editable audio and video tracks, and time-saving hot keys are the most critical.
The ability to produce HD-quality screencasts (for the Web and mobile phones) is cool for those with HD computers, but on the technical side, the HD-friendly format (MPEG-4 AVC format with H.264 compression) … Read more