At Pixar Animation Studios, which will release "Toy Story 3," its 11th feature film, on Friday, each new movie is an opportunity both to notch huge box office numbers and to break new ground in the technique of using computers in digital animation.
To veteran Pixar watchers, the latter dynamic should by now be very familiar. With "Finding Nemo," the studio had to figure out how to use its technology to craft believable underwater scenes. With "Monsters Inc.," the challenge was animating the characters' lush fur. In "Cars," it was determining how … Read more
It might be said that the best people to create audio products such as headphones are musicians. That was certainly Monster's feeling when the cable company teamed up with Dr. Dre to create a line of headphones vetted by the hip hop legend. The Beats line encompasses everything from full-size studio cans to a pair of glittery 'buds from Lady Gaga.
Now, Monster and Dr. Dre have brought Sean "Diddy" Combs into the fold, and he has introduced yet another model to the line, the Diddybeats High Performance In-Ear Headphones. The $150 earphones certainly reflect the rapper'… Read more
Move over "American Idol," the Audiophillie Music Awards for Excellence in Recorded Sound contest winners are way more talented. They don't just sing--they play instruments, write, and record their own tunes.
Zachary LeFeber's band Magnet South entered "Move On," and I'm glad they did. Zach's the drummer and a very talented audio engineer. A nice fella by the name of Matthew Winner handled vocals and guitar. Magnet South has a blog, where you can see how the music takes shape. The band has been together for two and a half years, but they have real jobs so they haven't played around all that much. Zach recorded "Move On" in his house, using a Sonar digital workstation. He considers himself something of an audiophile, so I wasn't surprised to hear he's getting into vinyl.
Alan Carter wasn't planning on entering the contest, but he had just bought a new Woodpecker ribbon microphone and wanted to record something to try it out. He used the new mic to record everything but the lead vocal and guitar on "Georgia," which was written and sung by Phil Palma. Alan's studio partner Jake played electric guitar; Phil was on acoustic guitar; and Alan played bass.
Alan works for Sweetwater Sound and sells equipment to recording studios,--no wonder "Georgia" sounds so fine. The song was recorded to half-inch analog tape, and, obviously, I didn't know that when I first picked it as a winner. Alan feels that even the best digital recordings never sound as sweet as analog. That's not to say he avoids digital completely--"Georgia" was digitally mixed in Pro Tools, before bouncing it back to analog tape. He concedes there's a lot that you can't do in analog, so he takes a hybrid approach.… Read more
OK, maybe the name of the contest, "The Audiophillie Music Awards for Excellence in Recorded Sound" is a little intimidating. If that's what's holding you back, rest easy; record some tunes from an unsigned band, or your uncle playing Grateful Dead tunes on a banjo and you could win. A recording of a tuba playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" might be a contender.
Sure, iPods and Zunes can sound perfectly fine, but no one ever claimed they were bona fide portable high-end audio devices. Their "good enough" sound isn't entirely their fault: they're too small to house a battery potent enough to power a high-quality headphone amplifier and a high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz digital-to-analog converter.
The Hifiman High Fidelity Music Player HM-801 is the Hummer of portables; it's big enough to get the job done. It's 3 inches wide, 4.5 inches high, and 1 inch thick; that's about the size of an old Walkman cassette player from the 1980s. Hifiman doesn't say how much the HM-801 weighs, but it feels substantial.
If Apple wanted to build something as good or better, it could, but the potential market for something that sounds better than an iPod is probably insignificant, and certainly too small for Apple or Microsoft to bother with. They're too busy jamming more features into their players, and sound quality never makes the cut. Besides, the market demands ever cheaper products, and real quality is never cheap. so the HM-801 is downright pricey.
That's another way of saying it's aimed at the sort of music lover who's already invested in a set of top-of-the-line Etymotic, Grado, Klipsch, Monster, Shure, or Ultimate Ears headphones. If you have and you're using an iPod or Zune, you're not hearing all the sound quality you paid for with those headphones.
The HM-801 was conceived as an audiophile player, so non-sound-oriented features are pretty scarce. The HM-801 has a user removable headphone amplifier circuitboard/module that makes future upgrades easy as pie. Hifiman already has one such upgrade in the works, a $170 board specifically designed to maximize detail and resolution of high-end in-ear headphones. Looking inside the HM-801--it has removable panels--so you can see it features top quality components, like a Burr-Brown PCM1704U digital-to-analog converter and Burr-Brown OPA627 Op-Amp. This is a level of technology normally found in audiophile home componentry, and never before used in a portable music player. … Read more
This week, Donald and Jasmine discuss a monumental smackdown between the Beats Solo by Dr. Dre and the Bose On-Ear Headphones. OK, maybe not quite monumental, but it is certainly interesting. Of course, if you think we're going to reveal the outcome without making you suffer through all three judges' rantings on the matter, you're sorely mistaken. Also on tap for this week: Cowon trots out a new video player, V-Moda makes an appearance with some new iPhone-friendly headphones, and Real takes a huge, industry-changing beating from the MPAA-holes. Plus, what exactly do the MP3 Insiders think about keeping all our media in the cloud? Tune in to find out.
We have no idea what today's show title means, so we're happy to welcome Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg back on the show to spell it out for us. He's also here to officially kick off "The Audiophillie Music Awards for Excellence in Recorded Sound" contest! Read Steve's blog on the contest here. Keep in mind that this is not "American Idol," so entries won't be judged by musical talent, but on the quality of the recording itself. This is your chance to prove your recording skills and promote your favorite unsigned band, so submit your entry on a CD and you'll be entered to win a pair of Monster Turbine Copper or Monster Turbine Gold in-ear headphones!
Click here for official rules and entry form (must complete and send along with CD). The contest ends on April 17, so good luck everyone!
The phrase "private Web browsing" has always been a bit of an oxymoron, but a new site called Have Your Friends Been There? threatens to broadcast your NSFW surfing to your closest friends and family. We're not exactly sure how it works, but the site works like this: you create a customized list of "naughty" Web sites, HYFBT generates a link that you can send to friends, and you wait for the results to come in, essentially catching your friends in the act. Think before you click on random URLs and don't forget to clear your history, people!
We've got plenty more to talk about in today's rundown, including a wrap-up of last night's spectacular hockey game, an update on the massive PSN meltdown and a segment we like to call, "What the hell did Justin do in his sleep last night?"
Finally, our hearts go out to the victims of the Chilean earthquake, and we urge all our listeners to join us in donating money to help. It's super easy; just text "Chile" to 25383 for Habitat for Humanity, 20222 for World Vision, 85944 for the International Medical Corp, or 52000 for the Salvation Army, and your $10 donation will automatically get added to your monthly phone bill.EPISODE 527 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
There have always been good- and bad-sounding recordings, and advances in technology haven't really tilted the balance all that much, but they've changed the playing field. Musicians and bands no longer have to go into a high-priced studio to make a decent recording. If you fancy yourself as any kind of recording engineer here's your chance to strut your stuff.
The Audiophillie Music Awards For Excellence In Recorded Sound contest is hosted by The Audiophiliac and my friends Jeff Bakalar, Wilson Tang, and Justin Yu over at The 404 podcast. Winners will receive either a Monster Turbine Pro Gold or Pro Copper in-ear headphone, a review on this blog, and we'll play the winning songs on The 404. There will be six winners in all.
This isn't "American Idol"; we're not looking for the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, it's all about the recordings' sound quality.
I like natural-sounding recordings, ones that sound as realistic as possible. Voices should sound like voices, guitars like guitars, etc. You could record your tunes in your bedroom or basement; low-tech, uncompressed, unprocessed sound quality is a plus. Or make yours in a great-sounding space like a church, concert hall, or club.
I wouldn't rule out recordings made on an analog cassette deck (but the entry must be on CD). Or use a portable digital recorder like the Zoom H2. Or your laptop.
Point is, you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make a credible entry, just skill and knowledge of what good sound sounds like.
But I also love recordings that don't bear any relationship to reality. The creative use of effects and processing that take the sound to another level are just as welcome. Go nuts and push the boundaries. Make a sound I've never heard before.
Music categories range from rock, blues, folk, soul, jazz, acoustic, and world music.
The Audiophillie Awards, selected solely by the Audiophiliac, will be reviewed in the Audiophilac blog, and winners will receive (1) set of Monster Turbine Pro Gold or Pro Copper in-ear headphones. Approximate retail value is $399 for the Turbine Pro Copper, and $299 for the Turbine Pro Gold in-ear headphones. I'll review the winners here, and we'll play the winning songs on The 404.
To enter this contest you need to (PDF link) download, print, and complete the contest entry form, which you can also get it from The 404 .
Read the full contest rules to enter after the jump.… Read more