Stereocilia Armor: Protect Your Hearing With Etymotic ER-20 Earplugs

I don’t think it would be presumptuous of me to think that readers of this site probably spend quite a lot of time at gigs. Whether on stage or in the audience, musicians (and VJs) spend plenty of time in loud environments. I find it quite surprising then, that relatively few of the artists I know use any kind of hearing protection. Stereocilia damage in mammals is permanent, and tinnitus is no fun. Most people know that cheap foam earplugs can help prevent damage, but few seem aware that a slightly larger investment can make gigs considerably more enjoyable. Etymotic …

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Mom Asks, Live or Logic for a Beginner Teen?

What’s the best way to help get someone started on computer music making? From comments, we get this request from a mother looking to buy the first software on a budget for her teenage son. I’m, uh, hoping your son isn’t reading this (actually, he probably won’t mind – just remember, act surprised). I am completely new to this kind of software, but my teenage son is requesting the likes for Christmas. I started out looking at Ableton Live 8, but am a bit wary of the price. I’ve also looked at Reason and Apple’s Logic Studio. The price is …

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Obsessive Windows 7 Under-the-Hood Guide for Music; Can You Finally Dump XP?

Windows 7 running on a laptop, as photographed by / (CC) Luke Roberts. Windows 7 makes far subtler changes than Vista did, which gives it an opportunity to refine features by the ship date. And it’s been tested unusually widely, by testers like Luke. Windows matters. It’s what roughly half of CDM readers use, and – for all the attention Apple gets – it’s a big part of the computer music world. Windows today also faces many of the same under-the-hood challenges that other operating systems do, so even if you’re a die-hard Linux or Mac user, you may want …

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Simple Snow Leopard Advice: Wait, and Claim Disk Space with Monolingual

We return to our normal, non-Snow Leopard-specific coverage next week. You can continue to follow http://createdigitalmusic.com/snowleopard for updates. In the meantime, I offer this editorial. I’m going to make this as straightforward as possible: I recommend running the current Mac OS X 10.5 over other versions of the operating system, including 10.6 launched today. The experience of an operating system is the sum total of performance, compatibility, and reliability. The best way for Mac users to guarantee that is to stick with Mac OS X 10.5. Snow Leopard looks like a promising upgrade for Mac users. Most importantly for music …

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Making it as a New Artist: Trent Reznor and Techdirt Founder on What to Do Now

We’ve all watched and commented on bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails releasing free albums and still profiting by them. Will this model still work for new artists, though? Trent Reznor posted yesterday that the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication reissue is “how you sell music today”. As a rebuttal to the usual “that only works for established artists” replies, he’s followed this up with an extended post on what artists who haven’t reached the Beasties or NIN level of profile can do to get established. NIN’s $300 deluxe edition of Ghosts sold out in under two days, grossing $750,000. …

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Cellist Zoe Keating on Quitting Your Day Job, Going on Tour

Should you quit your day job and go on tour with a rock band? That’s the question answered by cellist Zoe Keating at Ignite, the 5-minute hyperpresentation series put on by O’Reilly. (At an NYC event, I gave a talk explaining why understanding basic programming concepts was as important as calculating your tip on a bill.) Zoe Keating on Should you join a rock band? [Ignite’s Brady Forrest] Zoe debunks the myth of the glamorous tour with some sobering realities with which I’m sure at least some readers here are already far too familiar. The presentation is snappy, sharp, and …

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Recession Specials: From Tenori-On to Little Phatty, Costco Blue Mic Deal to Soft Steinway

Illustration (CC) Dani Armengol, who just became my hero. Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Who need them? The entire month of December seems to be on sale when it comes to music tech. Christmas (and Hanukkah, for that matter) are nearly here. Whether it’s economic pressure or just some aggressive holiday pricing, there are some big deals out there that could make excellent gifts – or might just give you a nice list for shopping for yourself before or after the holidays. (Yes, it’s true: most of what readers suggested in our “gift guide” for the CDM Winter 08 special wasn’t …

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Laptop Choices: Rain’s New LiveBooks

A LiveBook on the test bench at Rain Headquarters, photographed for CDM. One of the things that attracts me to computers: choice. So it’s worth noting that you do have choices when looking to laptops, PCs included. (This sounds like those lame “We know you have a choice in your travel plans” announcements you get on airplanes. Unlike those choices, though, these are genuinely different – thankfully.) So let’s cut straight to the chase: there is a choice between Mac and PC, and there are choices on PC that keep it competitive (to say nothing of Linux). If you’re looking …

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Aud’s Ode to Music Technology: Rant Haiku

Aud is either a “Music Industy insider with a finger on the pulse of more than BPM” or “consummate psuedonisticmusictechnophilosoph” or both. I got hip to his music through a friend who may soon be publicly identified, and have heard some really terrific productions (some not yet on the MySpace page yet). But I bring Aud to everyone’s attention in this case for his run-on rant poetry about the relative value of certain technological acheivements. If you could condense everything you feel about music technology into a 60-second speech in the local pub, it might come out something like this. …

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