The world’s favorite music streaming service Spotify has just added a bunch of new music apps. Spotify apps are widgets that run inside Spotify and let you access the music in various ways. The first apps launched a few months ago on the Mac (they’re still not on the iPhone), and the second wave has just dropped. I have taken a quick look, and there are a few gems in there.
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iPad-owning guitarists are going to love the Digitech iPB-10 Programable Pedalboard. It’s a stompbox with ten stud switches and a wah pedal on the side, all of which work with your iPad to give a range of music effects that you’d normally need a whole case of pedals to create.
On first sight, the Yaro digital audio system looks unpromising. It’s an amplifier/speaker set from Kanto AV Systems that’s small, black and looks like something Spinal Tap might use on a farewell tour.
But it turned out to be about the loudest, most responsive, richest, most faithful sound-media player I’ve heard.
Unless you really hate yourself, or are just plain weird, you probably throw up in your mouth a little every time you launch the iPad’s music app. Ugly, with tiny controls and no way to customize the various navigation buttons on the bottom row (terrible for podcast or audio book fans), it is worse in almost every way than the player it replaced.
So why not ditch it altogether? There are plenty of alternate players in the app store, but OnCue 5 has a great drag-and-drop interface, and will let you create (as its name suggests) play queues, along with a lot of other neat features.
ITunes has long given users the option of scaling music down to 128kbps upon sync to their iPod or other device in order to save space. The idea being, I guess, that you could keep your master collection at a higher bit-rate on the computer’s capacious hard drive, whilst saving space on the smaller flash storage on the iPod. Bit what if you liked this idea, but hated the low quality? Well, iTunes 10.6 has your back.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the iFrogz Boost, a magic box which amplifies the sound from an iPhone or other device just by being close. You put the iPhone on top and the battery-powered iBoost speaker goes to work, making everything louder.
The technology used is called near field audio, or NFA, but nobody would tell me how it works. Luckily, the iFrogz folks sent me one, so I took it apart to see what’s inside.
With the number of MIDI controllers on the market, the search for a great portable controller can be daunting.
Let me introduce you to the Korg microKEY, my favorite mobile MIDI controller.
It’s a first-world problem to be sure, but that doesn’t make tangled headphone cords any less annoying. Wrapping them around your iDevice helps, but you’ll probably do it too tight and end up breaking the cables. And those reel-em-in hand-cranked spindles so beloved of Sony in the 1990s have disappeared, probably because they’re too much hassle, or just kept getting lost.
Bluetooth promised to be the answer, but still sounds awful and requires recharging one more gadget. So Quirky’s new Wired tangle-free earbuds have got a lot to prove. Can they do it?
Korg debuted the nanoSERIES2 line following the success of its predecessor, the nanoSERIES line. The lineup consists of the nanoKONTROL2, the nanoKEY2 and the nanoPAD2. As a trio, they offer a truly flexible experience for musicians in the studio and on the go. The only thing you sacrifice with this slim-line MIDI controller series is the bulk and weight of traditional MIDI controllers. Korg and its educational arm, Soundtree, were generous enough to provide test units of the nanoSERIES2 line.
Oh man. €3,500 ($4,650) is a ridiculous amount to spend on an external digital-to-analog (DAC) for your iPad, but the Zodiac looks so sweet I’m still tempted. The top-of-the-line Zodiac Gold itself will only set you back €3,000 alone, but when purchased with the optional Voltikus power supply, you hit the bigger figure.