Sonos have released their first official app for the iPhone and iPod touch, which adds controller functionality to the touchscreen devices and allows them to manage the company's networked audio players. The software, which is a free download through the AppStore, brings not only the full functionality from the official Sonos controller but adds touch-control and text-driven media searching.
Since vinyl purists are such, well, purists, it comes as no surprise that they favor different needle cartridges depending on the type of music they're listening to. No problem if you only play, say, jazz, but if you're also partial to some reggae, string quartet and classic ABBA, that's a whole lot of switching and tweaking each time. New York audio pros High Water Sound may have the answer: a modified TW-Acoustic Raven AC turntable with four separate, independent arms and cartridges.
Sprint have announced another dual-sliding handset, the Samsung Highnote, aimed primarily at music fans. The Highnote slides up to access the standard numeric keypad, or down to reveal a pair of stereo speakers; it also features the same One Click customizable GUI as on the LG Lotus.
Altec Lansing have unveiled a number of new audio systems, including a high-quality portable speaker dock for the iPhone 3G, a combination speaker dock, FM radio and clock (with color changing mood light), and a desktop speaker system with integrated dual subwoofers. The inMotion MAX Portable Digital Music System uses the company's proprietary ESS technology with XdB bass-enhancement and twin stereo speakers. It's fully WiFi and cellphone shielded, so can be used with the iPhone 3G (or original iPhone) without needing to flip off the phone functionality. Music is automatically paused if the phone rings.
Turntables with USB connections are nothing new – we’ve covered quite a few before – but this is the first I’ve seen that can not only record into your PC but directly onto a PMP or even an SD memory card. Made by ION, one of the first names in USB turntables, the LP 2 FLASH can be connected to an external hard-drive or flash memory stick via the USB port, and also has a built-in SD slot; tracks can then be recorded straight onto that removable storage.
If you’re more reliant on your computer for your digital music than Numark‘s standalone DJ products would allow, the company has three new control surfaces to offer. The MixMeister, OMNI CONTROL and NS7 all offer varying degrees of hands-on tweaking for use in both studio and live situations. The MixMeister Control is a USB-powered surface that comes with MixMeister’s Fusion software; all 94 knobs and buttons correspond exactly with those on-screen, with Fusion handling the technical side of beat-matching, setting cue points and re-pitching. Power and connectivity is handled by a single USB cable.
Numark have taken the wraps off of two new digital DJ products, the HDMIX and the ARC 3. The former is a complete DJ system in a single box, requiring only powered speakers to complete the setup; sources include an onboard DVD drive also compatible with MP3 CDs and DVDs, an internal hard-drive in a removable caddy, and connections for hooking up an iPod or a USB storage device. Tracks can be ripped directly from CD to the hard-drive, and setup is straightforward with the full-color display and included USB keyboard.
It’s not often we see concepts based on peas, but there’s a first time for everything. Designer Lu Le has borrowed the idea of a pea-pod for this wireless “dynamic audio environment” Pea Speaker system: seven Bluetooth-enabled speaker spheres, that can be distributed around a room for unusual stereo separation.
Logitech have introduced the Squeezebox Boom, in effect the company’s Squeezebox network music player with built-in amplification and speakers. Setup is straightforward – plug into the mains, enter your WiFi password – and then you have the pleasure of bi-amped 3-inch woofers and 3/4-inch tweeters (with a 24-bit Burr Brown D/A converter behind the scenes) to enjoy either music stored elsewhere on your network or streaming from Rhapsody, Last.FM, Slacker, Pandora and Sirius.
Sony has announced a new high-end SACD player in Japan, the SCD-XA5400ES, catering to wealthy audiophiles still with a fondness for the technology. Based on a twin R-core transformer and D/A system – individual components rather than rolled into the general chipset – Sony are calling the parts the best the company has produced to date.
Sonos have announced upgrades to its wireless music streaming range, including two new ZonePlayers – the ZP90 and ZP120 – and new software, both firmware for the ZonePlayers themselves (introducing support for SonosNet 2.0) and version 2.6 of their computer app. Perhaps most interesting of all, both new and existing users upgrading to v2.6 will receive $200-worth of music from various download services.