CNN recently reported on the "death" of the home stereo system, and while that's an exaggeration, few people -- young or old -- have "stereos" anymore. CNN was asleep at the wheel on this one; precious few folks have had stereos for decades. Music is now almost always consumed in cars, and over phones and plastic computer or Bluetooth speakers. If there's an imminent "death" on the horizon, it will surely strike MP3 players and iPods. Phones have already taken over as the portable music players of choice. Do you know anyone … Read more
I bought a Linn LP-12 way back in 1978, and used Linn turntables until five years ago, when I bought a VPI Classic. Turntables last practically forever, which is one of my favorite things about high-end audio gear: the best products have incredibly long lives. As I recall, the LP-12's initial claim to fame was conceptual; Linn promoted the idea that the "front-end," aka the source -- a turntable, CD player, or cassette deck -- would make or break the overall sound of a music system. If the source's sound quality was poor to start with, … Read more
"Another Self-Portrait (1969-1971)" is the 10th Bob Dylan Bootleg Series release. I've been a big fan of the series since it started way back in 1991, and this new Bootleg is one of the very best.
The original "Self Portrait" wasn't a high point in the Dylan oeuvre, but over the years I've come to take it on its own terms. Arriving just a few years after Dylan was at his creative zenith as a songwriter, "Self Portrait" was mostly a collection of old and obscure cover tunes, with a smattering … Read more
A gold iPhone 5S may be difficult to get at the moment, but making your old iPhone look like one is proving to be far easier.
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months.
- Update: Homeless guy accepted the NYC programmer's offer to learn how to code.
- "Boyfriend Tracker" app raises stir in Brazil.
- Whole Foods debases itself with social-media flash sales.
- Whole Foods has a record store now. Oh no?
- Whole Foods hack: Employees can give you free stuff at their discretion.
There's no sense denying vinyl's imperfections. First there are the noise issues -- pops, clicks, and rumble -- and they all get a little worse every time you play an LP. Then there are problems with speed stability, off-center pressings, warped records, less than accurate vinyl and phono cartridge frequency response curves, poor stereo separation, and limited dynamic range. That was all true back in 1983, and digital has only improved since then. So why are vinyl sales up year after year since the early 2000s?
Most formats wither and die soon after the replacement format takes over … Read more
When it comes to gadgets that are truly cool and useful, little red Corvettes have status.
iPhones, sadly, do not.
This, at least, seems to be the view of very beautiful musician Prince, who claims not to own a cell phone at all.
In a quite moving interview with V Magazine, Prince regally dismisses the question of whether he owns an iPhone: "Are you serious? Hell, no."
He then went on to utilize his very fine, high-pitched voice to allegedly mimic not himself, but a woman.
He shrieked: "Where is my phone? Can you call my phone? … Read more
Atomix Productions' Virtual DJ Free not only mixes and mashes beats from a classic two-deck console, but also it serves as audio central for your system since it also records audio and video, burns discs, and even broadcasts online using a radio server or your own PC as a client-limited server. A survivor, Virtual DJ has been making music for millions of users for more than a decade. The latest version adds new controllers and full compatibility with Windows 8 multitouch surfaces. And it's still free.
Like similar tools, Virtual DJ takes its functional and style cues from the … Read more
I covered the best-sounding new digital recordings last Sunday; this time it's the choicest new vinyl.
'The White Stripes' Most tracks are stripped down to the basics, just Jack White on vocals and guitar, and Meg White's minimalist drum kit. An amazing debut record, not exactly an audiophile classic, but it wins points for emotional honesty. It feels right, and White's analog loving roots are on full display.
VinylStudio for Mac easily converts all your favorite tapes and vinyl records to a more convenient digital format without losing sound quality. The program stores your recordings as a well-organized collection, which you can burn on a CD or simply copy to your MP3 player. Additionally, it lets you split your recordings into tracks and helps you clean up your audio with effective sound cleaning filters.
Upon startup you are prompted to create a name for your collection and the location where it will be stored. During the "new user mode" the speech bubbles will pop up to … Read more