Allen & Heath aren’t bombarding the market with products. They’re not hopping on lots of new gimmicks. What they are doing is quietly releasing well-designed mixers that dominate the DJ scene. And the Xone:43 looks nothing if not eminently sensible – enough so that I suspect some might eye it as a mixer for live sessions, as well as the obvious club installs and DJ rigs.
A&H are serious enough about this tool that they’re releasing a new flagship — on the first of April. (No fooling.) But they can do that: because there’s absolutely nothing silly or far-fetched about this box.
There’s not too much to say about the 43. The big selling point is its filter, which is switchable between high pass, low pass, and bandpass modes with resonance.
And there’s the effects send. Sure, it’s got a stupid name (X:FX) – yeah, kind of sounds to me like an unknown hip-hop band. (Whoa. I’m actually not wrong.) And it makes some of us think of computer gaming graphics cards.
But X:FX works the way you wish effects sends always worked for live setups – you just get a stupidly-simple wet/dry control with a dedicated control on each channel for adding to your outboard effects. And you can route it to the filter, too.
The next time you’re facing a life-threatening fire in, say, your kitchen, you may simply shout, “where’s the drop?”
George Mason University engineering seniors Seth Robertson and Viet Tran have made a fire extinguisher that works entirely using sound. If you haven’t seen it making the social media rounds yet, of course, it’s worth posting here. Not only is it absurdly cool to watch, but it’s the latest reminder that music, sound engineering, and science can go hand in hand. That is, music is made of sound, and the study of sound overlaps with engineering and physics.
In fact, this is a sound engineering problem: it’s an amplifier, coupled with power, sound generation (think oscillator), and a tube that focuses that sound.
Best of all, here’s what most people would think was a chemistry problem solved by a couple of electrical engineers. 30-60Hz sounds work, with regular oscillations. (They say “music” doesn’t work well, but… well, is anyone else tempted to turn this into a musical composition?)
The Washington Post has a detailed story that’s well worth reading – not all the practical applications are yet worked out yet. (As the video suggests, one idea is drones fighting forest fires – and of course, then you need only electricity.) But it’s still a fascinating project, all built with just US$600 in parts: When it comes to putting out fire, GMU students show it’s all about that bass
After a press event briefly quoted famed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, I’m pleased to announce that the Ghost of Friedrich Nietzsche today will make his review of Tidal, the new streaming service. It’s a surprise, of course – the master of perspectivism doesn’t normally take time out of his day for something like this! So I’m honored. Here’s Fred:
Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.
Did you see how they ripped off Spotify’s interface? Here, look at this image from Twitter. Shameful.
I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
Seriously, this lineup of ultra-celebrities is pretentious as f***. Kanye, I’m looking at you. What, you think you’re some kind of Übermensch, or what? Continue reading »
littleBits’ Synth Kit began as a lot of fun. Snap together small bare boards connected by custom magnets, and you can create basic synthesizers, or mix and match more exotic littleBits modules light light sensors. No soldering or cable connections are required.
But while you could use various littleBits components, your options were comparatively limited as far as connecting to other gear. That changes today with the release of new modules for MIDI, USB, and analog Control Voltage (CV), ranging $35-40 each.
There are three modules, each made in collaboration with KORG:
You can also buy a US$139.95 “Synth Pro Pack” that includes two of the CV modules, a MIDI module, a USB module, mounting boards, and cables.
So, in case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new “hifi” streaming service called Tidal.
Don’t waste your time watching the weird press event with Madonna and Daft Punk, congratulating themselves like they’re at the Grammies. Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by the desaturated music video in which Jay Z’s friends all get together to drink champagne and talk about “making a stand.” Don’t worry about the European startup that made the tech, or sweat the pricing. Don’t even hand over your credit card in order to start a free trial.
No, the only thing you need to do is this:
1. Get your favorite pair of headphones or listening rig. (If you’re reading this site, I expect you have something decent.)
3. If you didn’t like the tracks they offered, you might also grab a friend. Sign up for two free trials – one with Hifi, one without. Open up different browser windows with the Hifi and non-Hifi accounts. Now, randomizing which is ‘a’ and which is ‘b’ (your friend will have to take notes).
There. You can even stop reading now if you want, because whatever conclusion you reach is the only one that matters.
And actually, if you really do prefer the higher quality in an A/B test and want to spend another ten bucks or ten Euros for it, great!
Analog is back. Boutique synth makers have entered Eurorack, one by one (Dave Smith, Tom Oberheim). KORG has remade analog hits of yore, and now produces hardware like the SQ-1 sequencer that interfaces with analog gear. Arturia, once known only as a plug-in vendor, has analog Control Voltage ins and outs on its new hardware gear.
Now, Roland seems next to climb on board the analog renaissance. The question is, just how far are they going to go? The answer should be coming in April at Musikmesse, and the first hint has just leaked out.
Just a few years ago, such a possibility would have seemed ludicrous – maybe even in the pre-AIRA world. Roland’s idea of legacy had to do with vague product name references and a full embrace of digital modeling as an improvement on the original – mostly in the interest of creating traditional instrument sounds. But then, AIRA happened, and it became clear that Roland was willing to create independent, new products. That led to the SBX-1 sync box, first seen by us at last year’s Musikmesse. At the time, I thought it indicated a new direction for the country. But I didn’t necessarily expect this. Continue reading »