I have something to admit to all of you. I'm a Star Wars geek. There, I said it. Now that I've gotten that off of my chest I've finally found an excuse to walk around all day with a lightsaber attached to my belt all day. I'm talking about a combination lightsaber and mp3 player. Ok, maybe it would be just a little much even for me to walk around with this on my hip all day.
At the time of writing, I'm not sure that this is an actual product. But the prospect of such a product was too good not to write about. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if George Lucas were to put his stamp of approval on it. Seriously, the man thought Jar Jar Binks was a great idea.
If it's a toss-up between making music or love instead of war, most people will go for love; however, if pressed I guess they'll make music. That's the target audience for the ravezooka, a mashup of the household bazooka and the deadly electric guitar - an ultrasonic range detector adjusts the frequency range of the sound it plays, while a movable trigger handle changes the distortion of the sound. Volume is managed by a simple knob on the side.
An LED on the front gives a rough idea of who you're targeting, while the sounds themselves are triggered on an attached computer by MIDI data from the ultrasonics. If you're having trouble visualising it, there are videos of it in action on the project page (linked to below).
More and more people are recognising that the iPod is not just an iconic, slightly-passé DAP but an ideal way to record your weekend band. The MusicJam holds an iPod and simultaneously plays music and records through the XLR socket (they even include a microphone), adding digital effects should that be your bag.
There's also free software which turns your iPod into a tiny karaoke machine, displaying lyrics and recording your wretched warblings so that you can upload them to the interweb and get featured on the next series of American Idol. Priced at $229, it comes with the iPod connector cable, RCA cables, AC adaptor, and music stand clamp and promises studio quality sound.
I was planning on writing the Eos Wireless iPod Speaker System off as another wannabe Sonos clone, until I saw the price. At $299 for the base station kit, which includes one wireless speaker, and $129 for additional speakers, makes this pretty good value if you're an iPod owner wanting to stream your music around the house. There's also a weatherproof outdoor amp option, for swish garden parties and those times you're locked out of the house due to a bust-up with your loved-ones.
Particularly clever is Eos' mounting system for the speakers - the power-supply is integrated, meaning the unit can mount directly on a wall-outlet without needing brackets, nails or ridiculously strong glue. The wireless technology is apparently "WiFi friendly", by which I assume that it's something proprietary that won't interfere with your network, and you can have up to four speaker units registered to each base-station.
For $39.95 these iPod DJ breasts Mixing Decks will add a variety of craptastic "digital mixing effects" to any music you pump through it - obviously they'd prefer you to use your iPod, but since other music sources do exist I guess you can route them through what is, I imagine, a perfectly standard 3.5mm stereo jack too. Then, you budding FatTong Tiestos, you'll be able to rub and scratch the discs to play up to six (read it and weep, Technics) backing rhythms and fill-in sounds, three drum-fills and three voice effects.
Independent source and effect volume controls let you minimise your wretched efforts at creativity to a bare whisper, while Hammacher Schlemmer (oh yes, you knew it) also highlight that it's Mac and PC compatible via the "appropriate audio connector"... surely not another stereo cable going to your computer's microphone input?
It runs on 4 AA batteries and hopefully drains them so quickly that you'll only get a few minutes of annoyance.
Perhaps the baddest and most expensive audio video preamp-processors on the face of the planet. The Halcro SSP-100 is a full audio and video processor with a video scaler. If you are not familiar with Halcro, don't fret. Halcro is an Australian company known worldwide for their amplifiers, digital circuitry, and sound innovation. For starters, the unit is huge, thick, with a satin-finished aluminum panel but weight doesn't matter when it comes to high-quality sound. The large LCD screen located in the front is not joke. It's a monitor that supports 480i sources so video is a snap. The unit features USB, RS-232 connections, 10 sources (six audio/video, four video). It also includes HDMI, component, six S-video, six composite and it goes on and on with connections.
The picture above is the exact model. As you can see Finding Nemo is playing on the processor's front display. The unit is professional grade so it comes rack mountable or free standing with a programmable touchscreen remote (seen below). As far as audio it features 7.1 channel balanced inputs and outputs, 4 programmable output channels which means you can literally play everything on the fly at any time. The audio features continue with the patented High Dynamic Bass (HDB) for superior, deep lows. I almost forgot it supports calibration, DTS, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic standards, THX, and it passed various tests to gain certifications.
Here's a dinky little curio bound to appeal to at least some of the distributed audio and Apple fans in the audience. Keyspan have launched their TuneView system, a dock and remote combo that allows you to control your iPod when it's connected to a hi-fi or multi-room setup. Rather than currently available remotes that offer basic transport controls and demand that you're either happy with the current playlist or can navigate without seeing the iPod's screen, the TuneView remote has a colour LCD display so that you can use it as if you were holding the DAP in your hands.
Multiple dock inserts allow the use of various iPod models, and outputs for stereo audio, video and USB mean that not only can you listen to and view all of your content but also sync with iTunes on a PC or Mac too. Most surprisingly, however, is the price: just $179.
So you saw SlashGear's review of the Sonos music streaming system and want some of that sweet wireless audio distribution for yourself. Thing is, at nigh-on $1000 for the ZP80 starter bundle, your pockets are just too shallow for you to splash out. So do you give up, resign yourself to listening to a tinny cassette tape of Wham in your living room, weeping pathetically into the sodden rags that used to be your trousers? Or do you go out and buy Logitech's Wireless DJ Music System, a comparative bargain at $250 list (or closer to $200 if you shop around)?
BlueTomorrow have taken a look at Logitech's offering and found that, aside from a disappointing lack of Mac support, it's a great way to enjoy music from your computer elsewhere in the house. If you're looking for a way to stream audio to four or fewer locations (you can buy additional receivers for around $80) then you'd be sensible to check this out before stumping up for the admittedly-delicious Sonos system.
Trust Hammacher Schlemmer to take that USB turntable for converting your vinyl to mp3s (which has been doing the rounds recently, despite SlashGear covering it last August) and knock it into a cocked hat. "You don't need a PC" they cry, luxury voices dripping with derision, "all you need is our retro-styled LP-to-CD Recorder." And I suppose, in the correct (read:hideous) surroundings it would blend in. Capable of playing 33s, 45s and 78s, you can easily burn an entire record to CD or - making judicious use of the pause-record feature - make compilations from multiple vinyl (or just put both sides onto one disc).
With an AM/FM radio for those times you can't be bothered playing DJ - oh, and with a remote control - now the PC-phobic can enjoy their old records in the car too. It's a wonderfully egalitarian society we live in, isn't it, although in this case equality costs $399.95.
When iPod was first introduced to the market, I hardly imagined that it would become the most popular in the market with tons of accessories. Now you can see devices that are designed for your iPod everywhere, but if you’re looking for something with a “classic” look, a new iPod speaker dock from Rockridge Sound is the answer for you.
The VTS-384 has a trio of tubes per stereo channel delivered “full analog” sound out a pair of 2x2W (8ohm) speakers. And nothing is better than the analog sound from tubes. The kit comes with a remote for controlling the iPod, wire protectors for those tubes, and RCA and USB jacks for sourcing non-iPod music or connecting USB speakers. When it hit in February, this gorgeous dock can be yours for an expected MSRP of $604 to $777.