The MP3, the iconic music compressions format partly popularized by the iPod, has been declared dead by its creators.
Licensing of the technology has been the responsibility of German company the Fraunhofer Institute. In a statement, the institute revealed that it is terminating licensing patents and software related to MP3. It’s the end of an era!
When we download music from iTunes, or audiobooks from Audible, the files that get onto our devices are DRM-protected. That means they can’t be played on “unauthorized” devices. This, let’s face it, is pretty inconvenient.
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Amazon has today launched a new web app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to purchase more than 22 million tracks directly from the retail giant’s MP3 store. Amazon says the HTML5 app has been optimized to work seamlessly inside Apple’s mobile Safari browser, and any music you purchase will be transferred instantly to your Cloud Player library.
Amazon has today launched a new music service called AutoRip, which offers customers a free MP3 version of every album they’ve bought on CD from Amazon since 1998. The service currently boasts more than 50,000 digital albums from all the major record labels, and Amazon insists that new titles are added on a regular basis.
These Scosche Realm RH656 ($130) headphones compete in the same league as with headphones like the Beats (formerly Monster) Solo HD, the Incase Reflex and the Fanny Wang 1000 Series. These ‘phones have a lot in common: they have smallish earcups that sit on the ear, instead of over; they all have track and volume controls (remember though that the volume control won’t work on Android devices); and they’ve all had a dash of fashion added.
But there are some key differences too. And as you’re about to find out, the RH656 does pretty well against its competition.
Do you still own a collection of music stored on cassette tapes? Then I have some advice: STOP LIVING IN THE PAST! Those things’ll kill you eventually. If the wow and flutter doesn’t get you, or the ridiculous rewind times don’t drive you crazy, then the magnetic tape will probably spool out at nights and strangle you in your sleep. Probably.
But before you ditch those mix-tapes, you might want to transfer them to your iDevice. And wouldn’t you know it, but Hammacher Schlemmer will sell you a device almost as useless as your own (probbly perfectly-preserved) Walkman to do it.
We bumped into neophyte Australian headphones-maker Audiofly in January, during a press-only event at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and gave two models in the four-model lineup a whirl. Their mid-level AF45 set sounded great for $50; but the next one I tried — the top-of-the-line AF78 ($200) — left me slack-jawed with disbelief; its sound knocked my socks off, even amid the cacophony of noisy journalists.
What makes the AF78 unusual is its speaker arrangement.
Many mid-to-high-end canalphones are powered by tiny armature speakers, while moving coil drivers are found pretty much everywhere except the very high end. Armatures are generally better at producing clean highs and mids, but can lack deep bass; moving coils, on the other hand, are generally not as good at reproducing the clarity of an armature. But the AF78 is part of an elite group of models — like the Scosche IEM856m I reviewed last year — that employ both a moving coil speaker and a balanced armature in each ear, in an attempt to give the listener the best of both worlds. And it works spectacularly.