Music and such

Music that I am listening to now, have discovered, or am into at the moment.

Caruso is Not Just an Opera Singer.

Caruso-64Leave it to the Italians to come up with a Bluetooth speaker named after a famous opera star that looks like a piece of art. Caruso designed by New Black is a Bluetooth 4.0 enabled speaker that just screams “Look at me”. Clean, contemporary, fun, and unfortunately pricey. For your money though, you get a hand made wood cabinet and ceramic horn. Each piece is made to orderby Italian masters in Meolo (Venice) which also helps to explain the $2700.00 price tag. As Bluetooth speakers go the specs are pretty solid. Caruso has a frequency response rate of 50-19 khz, and pushes out 75 watts of blazing power to help make all the digital files stored on your phone or computer sound amazing. The cabinet comes in lacquered wood finishes in 6 different shades. The ceramic horn in 6 contrasting shades that you can mix and match with the wood to your hearts content. I simply love the look of it. Finally someone is making a speaker that doesn’t look like the cheap plastic crap you see everywhere these days. Plus it has enough power to fill your space and then some.

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Small Dog, Big Bark.

Unlike all the hipsters out there that are discovering vinyl and record players for the first time, I’ve been there and done that. I grew up on vinyl, and spent years working in record stores. As a DJ on the radio, I’ve spent countless hours spinning records and have a massive record collection that stopped growing and converted to high quality digital a decade ago. Yes I stopped buying vinyl and CD’s and started buying hard drives. It doesn’t mean I don’t buy music, it means vinyl and CD’s take up way to much space. Seriously, thousands of records and CD’s take up a lot of room, as does the equipment to play them back.

Then there is the convenience of having tens of thousands of tracks at my disposal in digital format that I can call up and playback from multiple devices in any room in my house. (no I’m not streaming anything through Spotify or a like service.) With all that said, it doesn’t mean I don’t want quality sound, and playback. I don’t have any over compressed MP3’s in my collection, and everything is set up to playback with as much dynamic range as my “went to to many loud rock concerts in my youth, damaged hearing can make out” ears can handle. So I am always on the lookout for decent audio tech that is designed to maximize sound quality from digital music on my computer, phone, tablet, AppleTV etc.

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Jerry Cmehil is the founder of Well Rounded Sound, an audio company that has made it its mission to bring audiophiles the best quality equipment housed within beautiful, eco-friendly designs since 2011. Like most of us Cmehil was frustrated with finding an affordable, good sounding system so he set out to build high quality speakers that deliver a naturally crisp sound in a package around the size of an old school pencil sharpener. The speaker line up is named after compact and feisty small dog breeds, “Yorkie”, “Jack Russel”, “Corgi”, and the larger “Boxer”. Each set of speakers utilizes conical geometry which is paired with full range HD drivers that are housed in a cylindrical enclosure. The housing is finished in premium wood, that is helps play a key role in providing the best sound possible. Even the integrated solid wood stands help to reduce bass energy transfer and are designed to give you a perfect near-field listening angle. Each speaker features a patented cylinder sealed enclosure eliminates distortion from port noise.

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When paired with the WRS C5i amplifier you begin to have a solid foundation on which to build a solid and affordable audio set-up for your home. The C5i is a hybrid speaker and headphone amplifier with a blend of classic and modern features. Audiophiles will love the vacuum tube input stage combined with a solid state amplifier. People like myself, will love the integrated USB DAC, so you can connect it directly to your computer or other digital music device. I personally love the design that brings together retro vibes, modern accents and trending industrial chic in a balanced product that stands out from the crowd.

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The YouTube Music App. Its Going to be Bigger Than People Think.

If you are old enough, you might remember when MTV and VH1 actually played music videos. You might remember a time when all of the reality TV crap they show now didn’t exist. Some of us even remember seeing The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star” on MTV and realizing that MTV was going to change how we looked at music forever.

Fast forward 30 years, and MTV is nothing like it used to be. Neither is the way we all take in music. From satellite radio, to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, Vimeo, YouTube, on every device, anywhere we want to listen or watch. I watch a lot of music on YouTube. From vintage 1950’s TV programs on Jazz with live performances by people like John Coltrane, to new release music videos.

A few days ago, YouTube launched the YouTube Music app, and in many ways it felt like MTV during its golden era. The comments section for the video is filled with a boat load of people bashing it and not understanding the point. The way I see it, YouTube is trying to remain relevant at a point where Facebook is getting ready to launch it’s own dedicated video service. The advantage YouTube has is the vast size of it’s catalog, and the fact that it is tied to Google. Content is king in the streaming business, and YouTube has it in spades.

Predominant.ly Searching for Music.

I used to spend hours in record store sifting through stacks of new and used vinyl searching for something new and unique. Just like book stores, record stores were a place to discover old favorites and new gems. A place to find music that you could share with your friends and so much more. there was something about the experience that will never be captured by an online experience, no matter what your source is, be it iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, etc.

Predominant.ly designed and built by Open Work wants to change that. They want to bring to the online world the spontaneity of stumbling across a new find or an old favorite while searching for music.  The concept is really pretty clever. Based on color choices Predominant.ly  serves up groups of albums where the covers match your color choices. The data is pulled from iTunes which makes the entire catalog available.  The experience definitely lends itself to the concept of exploration in the digital space.

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I’ve Been Hypnotized.

Here is four minutes of fluid animation and a jaunty little soundtrack from Mirai_Mizue and Takashi Watanabe to start your week off right. It’s actully quite hypnotic and extremely fun.

Digital Habits Osound

I’m a big fan of design that blends into the environment, or hides in plain sight looking like something it’s not. I think it’s one of the reasons I like OSOUND from Digital Habits. This wireless speaker looks like a piece of minimalist wall art, yet delivers some pretty impressive audio for a small wireless speaker.

OSOUND features gesture controls, and streams your music via Bluetooth 2.0 specs. The gesture control interface lets you run the system with simple swipes of the hand without touching the device surface. There is also an iOS and Android app if you don’t feel like getting up.

The acoustic box is wooden to help create a more natural tone from the speaker. Designed in Milan Italy, Digital Habits not only thought about the acoustic quality of this speaker, they also considered how to help it blend into the environment. OSOUND COMES IN A variety of color tones (aqua, black, grey, white, burgundy and brown) to compliment your space.

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AUDIO DATA
Speaker System: 3.5” speaker low/mid range and 2” tweeter
Power amplifier: 2×6 W (12V)
Response Frequency: 85 Hz to 20 kHz

COMPATIBILITY
OSOUND connects via Bluetooth for wireless high quality audio. The product is compatible with any Bluetooth 2.1 and higher devices.

ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENTS
Power: 100-240 AC 50-60 Hz

SIZE AND WEIGHT
Size 16 inches diameter x2. 75 inches thick
Weight 5 pounds

INCLUDED ACCESSORIES
AC/DC 12 V 2 A

Carboni Studio Mind Boggling Animation for Cruisr’s “All Over”.

OK this animated music video for Cruisr’s “All Over” by Carboni Studio is insane. First off it was animated in Photoshop and finished in After Effects to keep the hand crafted feel running through out. That’s right animated in Photoshop, Comped in After Effects. Now you watch it you’ll notice that each scene has to blend into the next as it ends. Not an easy task, and something that requires a lot of pre visualization and very talented animators to pull off.

Now, how many movies can you name here? The entire video is a montage of movie characters and scenes. I stopped counting after 20.