discoipod

The iPod is Dead; Now Stop Being So Weepy and Start Looking at the Future

It happened just as Apple was giving us one thing many of us couldn’t imagine wanting (a watch), and one thing we definitely didn’t ask for (“buying” U2’s new record for us). Apple quietly killed the iPod Classic. That is, the iPod touch lives on as an iOS handheld minus a cellular radio, and there’s an app on iOS. But there is no standalone device, with the as-expected discontinuation of iPod Classic. Correction: there is one. The US$49, 2GB iPod shuffle is still available. But it’s a pale shadow of the iPod line. This is a big deal. It means …

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A bare-bones UI belies a powerful engine - and a tool that could finally jump-start sound designers embracing an open format. Proprietary lock-in, no more.

Software Instruments, Freed From Sampler Formats: SFZ, Free Sounds, Free Sample Player

“Free As In Free Me From Proprietary Formats.” If you’re ready to explore sounds – as a novice sampler user or as an advanced sound developer – SFZ brings tidings of great joy. When they move from defining mere sounds or samples to describing whole instruments, sound designers need file formats. The problem has been that those formats tend to be particular to one sampler or another – just Kontakt, or just Logic’s EXS24, or just Gigastudio. Yes, there are converters, but because these samplers have different capabilities, converters cause problems. Being able to create instruments for these samplers is …

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Ten Years into iPod Era, the Big News: Apple’s Dedicated Player Survives

Rocking it old skool… sort of. The iPod Classic, the true successor, ten years on. Photo (CC-BY-ND) Mac User’s Guide. The tenth anniversary of the iPod debut means you’ll find plenty of commentaries on Apple’s iPod and how it has changed music. It’s an issue that’s been talked to death enough, continuously, in the past ten years that I’m literally uncertain there’s more I can say about it. Here’s one good, compact commentary from Daring Fireball, inspired by Macworld’s sharp review from the 2001 debut of the hardware. Instead, let’s consider what hasn’t happened: Apple hasn’t discontinued the standalone iPod, …

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Radiohead King of Limbs in 24-bit FLAC; How to Listen Lossless on Any OS, Device

Why shouldn’t a digital download be better, not worse, than a CD release? Sit in a studio as most of your favorite albums are recorded, mixed, and mastered, and odds are the digital material is being recorded at higher bit depths and sample rates. And while the perceptual record is more mixed, there’s also no question that, in terms of data, lossy compression schemes like MP3 do demand some loss in audio information. (Lossless schemes like FLAC, by contrast, use less data but do so without sacrificing sound information.) All of this means that it’s news that you can get …

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Life After Giga: SONiVOX Now Doing Their Own Development, Among Others

What do you do if Tascam lets you down, and you’re a sound house dependent on their GigaStudio/GigSampler player? For major soundware development house SONiVOX, the answer was: make your own software. Somerville, Mass-based SONiVOX has announced “announced the existence” of an in-house software development team. Read: the team has been there already, but they haven’t wanted to talk about it until news broke that Tascam’s GigaStudio was going away. SONiVOX says they have developed “a universally compatible player technology that focus on intelligent MIDI performance, intuitive interfaces, and the highest sonic fidelity.” It will support not only SONiVOX’s own …

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CES: Pacemaker DJ Mobile Gear to Cost $700?!

Darth Vader, your garage door opener has arrived. We first took a look at the Pacemaker DJ when it was announced in May. The idea is interesting: it’s a mobile 120GB hard drive with touch controls for internal mixing/cross-fading, effects, a separate cueing output, and pitch control, along with rich format support (even OGG, FLAC, AAC). That’s all well and good, but the device will apparently cost US$700. Barb Dybwad at Engadget optimistically offers that “it’s a relatively low-cost convenient practice setup for DJs on the road or an attractive option for aspiring amateurs.” Hmmm … I normally agree with …

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Like iTunes for DJs: Free Beatport Sync, Powered by Traktor

Beatport Sync, now an easy, free way to play OGG/FLAC files, browse external drives, and cross-fade. Beaport Sync is a free, DJ-friendly music player / librarian / mixing app for Windows and Mac. On its surface, it looks like a hook for online music store Beatport and a beginner-friendly DJ mixer (two tracks, auto tempo detection and time stretching, pitch control) — and it is that. But aside from the ability to mix and cross-fade, Beatport Sync has some features Apple’s iTunes lacks, which makes it potentially worth a download for just about anyone. First, it has real file format …

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Pacemaker: 120GB Pocket DJ MP3 Player

We’ve seen DJ parties with iPods and now handheld remote controls for DJ software. But what about building mixing features into the portable player itself? That’s the idea of the Pacemaker, a new portable player promised for Fall. Pacemaker site (Warning: auto-plays music) Tonium, the mysterious manufacturers’ site DJ features and mixing are internal to the player, and there’s rich playback support in general. You can cross-fade on the unit itself, and add effects, with dedicated headphone and line out jacks and cueing features. There’s a multi-function touch control for all these features. As a player, it looks great on …

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DIY Portable Music Player Kits

Enough of whining about Apple, Microsoft, and other hardware players: make your own media player instead. Co-Editor Jaymis has been hitting nasty firmware issues with his iPod, and I’ve been having issues with oddities on Zune. So let’s do things the DIY way and build a player that’s exactly what we want! yampp, “Yet Another MP3 Player”, is a completely open sourced project. It’s designed to hook up to the commonly-available Nokia 3310 LCD, uses standard parts, and connects and charges via USB. The most recent generation runs off of the ATmega161 CPU, a familiar chip to hardware DIYers. You …

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More Zune Coverage; Why Hobble Wi-Fi?

Now that the Zune has been unleashed on the wild, we’re getting some more coverage on the player and this mysterious deal with Universal Music Group. (Incidentally, I am hoping to get someone from PR to explain to me what that deal is for, whether it’s intended to cover pirated music played on the device, music ripped from UMG CDs, or just the general music-y-ness of the device. Of course, shooting my mouth off may or may not make people want to talk to me.) Microsoft To Give A Cut Of Every Zune Sold To The Recording Industry — Though …

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