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 …

READ MORE →

Watch Elektron and Roland AIRA Sing, Live: Dark, Dubby Techno by Phelios [Video, Listen]

There was a time when “live” or live PA meant “I’ve hauled a bunch of gear to this gig and made a mess of cables and I’m going to improvise live for you.” Now, too often, it means “I’m going to DJ with Ableton Live instead of Traktor or CDJs.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much about a laptop or hardware. But there is a spectrum – a useful spectrum, applicable to different artists at different times. And if you really want “live,” you want an artist who constructs music before your eyes out of building blocks. Electronic …

READ MORE →

Numark NV for Serato: Every Digital DJ Control Method in One Box?

In the digital age, the metaphor for DJing has been fragmented. You’ve got big wheels, but they represent missing turntables and don’t provide visual feedback. You’ve got CDJs, but then the waveform and the wheel are still separate. You’ve got vinyl records, but then you have to look at a computer screen to see where you are in the track. (A recent presentation at the NIME conference projected images on the record – see below – but projectors lack enough resolution for cue points on the vinyl.) The iPad is the one device that seems to get it right. It …

READ MORE →

Apple is Still Going Pro, from Hardware to Pro App Updates [Editorial]

There’s an oft-repeated conventional wisdom about Apple that I think is just plain wrong, and it goes something like this: The success of the iPhone and iPad means that Apple is now a consumer company, and doesn’t care about pros. Now, let’s parse the above statement and say Apple sometimes makes decisions pro audiences don’t like. Well, that’s certainly true; it just happened to be true prior to the success of iOS. It’s time to face this question again, partly because of the widely-noticed demise of Apple’s Aperture for pro photography workflows, but also because of significant and under-appreciated updates …

READ MORE →
One hole that should stick around. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook.

No, Apple Should Not Eliminate the Headphone Jack

Is Apple coming for your headphone jack? It’s a question I’d seen bouncing about publicly. Now, Macworld’s Marco Tabini goes as far as suggesting that the end of the analog headphone jack is a likelihood, and even “might be a positive change.” Hit the road, jack: Why Apple may say goodbye to the headphone plug [Macworld.com] See also Forbes’ Gordon Kelly, though that story isn’t as balanced as Tabini’s, and gets muddled on the subject of “digital” outputs and “exceedingly high lossless” output – whatever that means. The difference in output is 48KHz instead of 44.1KHz, which amounts to very …

READ MORE →

Video Explains Why Difference Between Analog, Digital Isn’t What Most People Think

“Analog versus digital” – the discussion, it seems, is everywhere. The problem is, many people simply don’t understand what these terms mean. In one 25-minute video – engaging and entertaining to watch straight to the end – the biggest myths all get busted. In short: 1. 16-bit, 44.1 kHz really is okay for many tasks. (You’re saving that data for the computer and processing rather than your own ears. Hope to talk about this question in more detail soon.) 2. Digital audio doesn’t involve stairstepping. 3. Digital signals can store and be used to reproduce sound that’s identical to what’s …

READ MORE →

Traktor DJ for iPhone, iPad Are Free Through Sunday; Use Them to Promote World Peace

If you’ve been pondering picking up Traktor on iOS, now is probably your moment. Both the iPhone and iPad versions are completely free. Native Instruments confirms with CDM that sale will end Sunday. (The sale celebrates the fifth anniversary of the iTunes App Store.) Traktor DJ for iPhone Traktor DJ for iPad By the way, while it’s not free (unless you, uh, steal it from a friend), the Z1 hardware NI is touting as a mix controller for Traktor feels really terrific. I’ve been messing about with it a bit and the hardware is really top-notch, not the chintzy business …

READ MORE →

iTunes Radio, and Apple’s Solution to the Future of Music: Stream, then Buy

While they were busy not killing the Mac and the Mac Pro, it seems Apple also had some ideas about how to not kill music. Amidst hair pulling and gnashing of teeth over how streaming will impact the future of music business models, Apple’s answer is spelled out in their press release: “It’s the music you love most and the music you’re going to love, and you can easily buy it from the iTunes Store with just one click.” Whether iTunes Radio specifically works or not, this seems an obvious model. Music recordings as a business work so long as …

READ MORE →

As Touch and Laptops Converge, Finally Potential for Music Making? [Prelude]

“Where are my touch laptops?” It’s becoming the “where are my flying cars?” of the laptop music age. And so it is that I’m here in Taipei, Taiwan, having spent today hanging out with Acer as they talk about what they’re doing with touch on their computers (laptops and tablets). The touch laptops are here in force – not a couple of netbooks or tablet PC oddities, but with the full-blown force of the PC industry behind them. The question now is whether we actually want them. 2012 was a little early to ask that question for the music audience; …

READ MORE →

Daft Punk Addendum: Help, The Computer Made Me Use Presets!

I hadn’t actually seen this quote from Daft Punk. I don’t want to beat this issue like a low-polygon future Derezzed horse, but I realized I missed a very important quote from Billboard. Bangalter: We really felt that the computers are not really music instruments, and we were not able to express ourselves using a laptop. We tried, but were not successful. … The problem with the way to make music today, these are turnkey systems; they come with preset banks and sounds. They’re not inviting you to challenge the systems themselves, or giving you the ability to showcase your …

READ MORE →