Readers have from time to time requested a list of the "test" tracks I use to evaluate gear. It's a long list, mostly recordings I've used for many years and heard on hundreds of products, and recordings I made myself or from sessions I attended. They work for me, but wouldn't necessarily help you. More than any specific tracks, I recommend starting with music you know best, favorite tunes you've listened to for years, and then listen to how the speaker, headphones, etc., you're considering changes, improves, or degrades the sound of your … Read more
If video games truly desensitize us as much as some people would have you believe, then Australian Okan Kaya is a much more dangerous son-of-a-gun today than he was a week ago.
Today at the suburban Sydney offices of online retailer 4Cabling where he works as a sales manager, Kaya set a new Guinness World Record for longest video game marathon, after playing more than 122 hours of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
"This journey began nearly two years ago when I first heard about the record," Kaya said in an e-mail. "Back then it was 54 hours, and unfortunately earlier this year it skyrocketed to 120 hours."… Read more
Leawo Music Recorder is an app for OS X that allows you to convert your computer into a recording machine, taking inputs from any connected devices, the built-in microphone, or even the system audio. While we liked the concept, we found some flaws in the execution.
The Leawo Music Recorder interface is clean, and it's easy to get started, with the prominent red Record button at the top. Beneath that, the left pane holds a list of your recordings, and the right pane is used for prompts and a graphic animation that shows when recording is under way. It'… Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court spent this morning wrestling with an obscure section of copyright law that could curb listings of used DVDs, CDs, books, and even GPS devices through marketplaces including eBay and Amazon.com.
Large copyright holders -- including software companies, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America -- have urged the court to limit Americans' right to resell legally purchased products manufactured outside the United States.
Many of the justices seemed skeptical. Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that the copyright holders' reading of the law would invoke a parade of "horribles,&… Read more
Skype Recorder is, as you would expect, an audio recording application that can record and play back any Skype call. Despite the name, Skype Recorder can also work with most other VoIP based apps such as AIM, ICQ, MSN, and so on. Skype Recorder installs without a hitch, but .NET Framework needs to be in place.
The Skype Recorder interface is pretty basic (and not very attractive). There are three buttons to record, pause and stop recording. There's a section of the interface for setting the function hot key for these capabilities, as well. Finally, you have three options … Read more
eXtra Voice Recorder Lite is an audio recorder and audio file manager. The free Lite version is a subset of the full product available for $9.99. eXtra Voice Recorder Lite installs on your Mac OS device quickly and easily.
The eXtra Voice Recorder Lite interface is clean. The audio recording capabilities are simple to work with. The audio file manager lets you import audio files and see all of them in a simple window. Once you have an audio file selected you can annotate it with metadata, and a search function can examine the metadata as well as file … Read more
In the crowded DJ app world, VirtualDJ Home sets itself apart for the casual user. VirtualDJ Home is probably the widest-used home DJ app for the Mac, based on downloads, and there's a good reason for its popularity.
The VirtualDJ Home interface is like many others: two controllers at the top for two audio tracks, and a set of buttons, knobs, and sliders to control the mixing between the two. The bottom of the interface shows a track list and can display album art. There are some really attractive features to VirtualDJ Home, including beat matching, looping, and a … Read more
You've always wanted to see an animated cat say things in a squeaky voice, haven't you? If so, then Talking Tom Cat is for you! Talking Tom Cat is a free app that shows a cartoon cat onscreen that repeats whatever you say into the device in a funny voice. Talking Tom Cat also responds to pokes and strokes of the screen.
Talking Tom Cat lets you say anything into your microphone, which it then repeats with sound modifications, as well as onscreen animation. You can pet the cat and hear him purr. You can pour him a … Read more
I remember just before the CD was introduced 30 years ago thinking that digital audio would be a giant leap forward in fidelity, but as soon as I heard a few CDs I knew digital wouldn't do a thing to make music sound more realistic. The CD was vastly better than LPs and cassettes in terms of noise and distortion, but voices still didn't sound like they do in real life, and pianos didn't sound as big and powerful as they do in Carnegie Hall. That mystified me; those early digital recordings were compression-free, and I was … Read more
I was a huge Talking Heads fan and saw the band many times at shows in New York. That was a long time ago. Byrne is still a vital creative force, recording new music, performing, and writing books. He's worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He's still searching for new creative challenges, which is more than you can say about most aging rock musicians. Byrne's new book, "How Music Works" reads more like an autobiography than a how-to make it in the music business tome.
Byrne is hyper-aware of how technology … Read more