For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!

Tag Archives: MP3

DIY MP3 Retro Alarm Clock

DIY MP3 Alarm Clock (Image courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

Don’t be fooled by the retro looks of this alarm clock. While it does feature a set of real metal bells, it actually wakes you up by playing an MP3 file of your choice. Hidden in the back of the unit is a 22 inch USB cable that allows you to connect the clock to your PC. Using the included software, you can configure the alarm using a small selection of sounds, or upload any MP3 file you want to wake up to. And by ‘any’ MP3 file I mean any file that’s under 45 seconds in length. It seems like a big limitation, since I maybe have a handful of MP3s that are under 45 seconds long, and I’ll probably never go to the trouble of downloading an MP3 editor just to make a particular song compatible with my alarm clock.

It’s available from ThinkGeek for $19.99. And as an added bonus they’ve preloaded a special ThinkGeek Monkey Song for waking up in true geek fashion.

[ DIY MP3 Alarm Clock ]

Scented Fruit Speaker Pillows

Fruit Speaker Pillows

By Evan Ackerman

I should probably not continue to be surprised by the weird combinations of concepts that come from China, but here we are again. These fruit shaped pillows have integrated speakers that I assume are either passive or battery powered; plug your MP3 player in, lie back, and relax to some tasty tunes. If that wasn’t enough of a fruit experience for you, the pillows also smell like fruit, thanks to some kind of integrated perfume. Personally, I have a thing for green apple, and I’d be seriously worried about eating one of these pillows (speaker and all) in my sleep. Yummy.

The pillows are about $10 each, but it appears that they’re only available directly in bulk. So, you’ll either have to devote an entire room in your house to scented speaker pillows (not that that would be a bad thing), or see what you can dig up on eBay.

[ Made-In-China ] VIA [ Technabob ]

iChime Digital Doorchime

iChime Digital Doorchime (Image courtesy iChime)
By Andrew Liszewski

I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I discovered there was a device that allowed people to use the same annoying ringtones they have on their cellphones, for their land line phones. But mankind seems adept at finding new ways to annoy each other, and the latest weapon in that arsenal would have to be the iChime. It replaces the standard ‘ding-dong’ of your doorbell with a pre-recorded song, sound effect or message of your choosing.

The device easily integrates with your existing wired door chime system and features a 2 wire ‘no mistake’ installation process that I’m sure people will still screw up. The control panel/speaker is where you actually make the recording, either through the built-in microphone or a line-in jack for hooking up an MP3 or CD player. It’s limited to just storing six-custom chimes at a time, but you can re-record them whenever you need. A USB connection and the ability to upload sound files directly to the iChime would have definitely been preferred, but their website actually spins that con as a pro, claiming it doesn’t need complicated USB software. So your potential clients can’t handle a USB connection, but they can install and properly wire their own doorbells?

You can order the iChime directly from the manufacturer’s website for $89.95. It also supports auxiliary speakers that can be installed in other rooms, and they run $24.95 each.

[ iChime Digital Doorchime ] VIA [ UberReview ]

MobiBLU Cube3 Coming May 1st

MobiBLU Cube3 (Images courtesy HYUNWOM Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

I still think it’s a slick piece of hardware, but the original MobiBLU Cube and the Cube2 never really became the iPod Shuffle killer that many people predicted. Even though it trumped the Shuffle by including a display at nearly the same price. However, it’s not like the MobiBLU Cube and Cube2 were dismal failures, and the fact that the Cube3 is just around the corner means that the company is still behind the product.

The Cube3 supports MP3, WMA and WMA(DRM) files and is ‘PlaysForSure’ certified making it compatible with many non-iTunes online music stores. The full color OLED display can be used for squinting at digital images and videos, but is probably better suited for navigating through playlists. It will only be available in a 2GB model, but you can supplement your music with FM radio since it even includes a built-in FM tuner and recorder. You can also expect to get about 10 hours of playtime with its rechargeable lithium polymer battery.

Come May 1st you’ll be able to pick one up for $99.

[ MobiBLU Cube3 ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

H4 Pocket-Size Multi-Track Audio Recorder

H4 Pocket-Size Digital Audio Recorder (Images courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

This H4 ‘Handy Recorder’ has a lot of things going for it. Not only does it look cool with its wire cage protected dual electret condenser mics, but it’s also extremely compact, especially when you consider they’ve managed to cram in 2 combination XLR-1/4-inch input jacks complete with phantom power. But it’s the H4’s feature list that has me reaching for the ‘Add to Cart’ button.

You can record 24-bit/96 kHz digital audio or up to 320kbps MP3s directly to an SD card or to your computer’s hard drive when connected via USB. With a 2GB SD card you can capture about 380 minutes of CD quality sound, or up to 34 hours of stereo MP3s. Unfortunately that’s considerably longer than the 4 hours of continuous recording time you’ll get with a set of 2 AA batteries, but an AC adapter is also included. I’m particularly impressed that the H4 can even be used as a 4 track recorder when capturing CD quality 16-bit PCM, 44.1 kHz audio. While the 128×64 pixel LCD display is pretty basic, it’s more than adequate for monitoring levels and is probably easy on the batteries.

You can get it from ThinkGeek for $299.99.

[ H4 Pocket-Size Digital Audio Recorder ]

Easily Convert Your Vinyl To MP3s

Sony PS-LX300USB Turntable

By Luke Anderson

I was born in the 80’s, so the first music format known to me was the cassette tape. I never really thought that they were all that cool, aside from recording my favorite songs off the radio (which were all missing at least a few seconds from the beginning as I raced to press record). I’m almost sorry that I didn’t get the experience of vinyl, as people that grew up on records claim that you’ll not find a better sound. Unfortunately, while it may have a great sound, your old 45’s aren’t exactly the easiest to to tote, so it might be worth your time and effort to put that music on a more portable format.

Sony has made the process of ripping music from vinyl to MP3 format about as simple as possible. Their new PS-LX300USB turntable hooks into your computer’s USB port and works with the included Sound Forge Audio Studio to bring your music into the digital age. You won’t have to spend a fortune on the equipment either, as it will only set you back $150.

[ Sony ] VIA [ SlipperyBrick ]

Retro Sound Model One Radio Adds MP3 Playback Capabilities To Classic Rides

Retro Sound Model One (Image courtesy Retrobelt USA)
By Andrew Liszewski

I prefer seeing a classic ride restored to its original condition, rather than being ‘updated’ with huge rims, ridiculous suspension systems and an over the top stereo. But I’ll also admit that being stuck with an original AM radio or 8-track player would kind of suck when you’re out for a ride. So a company called Retrobelt USA is now selling the Retro Sound Modern One which is basically a modern digital stereo designed to look like a classic stock radio.

The faceplate pictured above is designed for a 1967 or 1968 Camaro but there are others available for everything from a 1955 Chevy to a 1964-1966 Mustang to even a 1968-1976 Corvette. While the chrome knobs and faux wood finishes help it blend in to the rest of the interior, the stereo also includes a modern LCD display for viewing track names and other info, a USB jack for connecting a flash drive full of classic rock MP3s (or WMAs) and even an infrared remote. It also includes a flexible bracket system allowing the stereo to be easily installed on a wide range of classic cars.

You can get the Retro Sound Model One from the Retrobelt USA online store for $269.90.

[ Retro Sound Model One ] VIA [ Autoblog ]

Toshiba G450 – Phone, Flash Drive, Modem & MP3 Player

Toshiba G450 (Images courtesy Digital Drops)
By Andrew Liszewski

While I wouldn’t say Toshiba’s G450 4-in-1 mobile device is particularly innovative, I’ll at least give it credit for looking different. With only 160MB of storage I don’t think it’s particularly useful as an MP3 player or flash drive, but the phone functions and HSPDA/GPRS/EDGE modem capabilities make up for that shortcoming.

Those of you who’ve developed some muscle memory for dialing on a standard phone might get tripped up by the number arrangement on the G450’s double keypad, but it does help keep the unit small and compact. (It’s just 3.8 inches long.) It also uses a bright OLED screen and while it looks a bit cramped (it has a resolution of just 96×39 pixels) it should at least help with battery life.

The G450 should be available in the UK sometime in March for about $300.

[ Press Release – Toshiba G450 ] VIA [ T3 ]

Yamaha BODiBEAT MP3 Player Syncs The Music To Your Workout

Yamaha BODiBEAT (Image courtesy Yamaha)
By Andrew Liszewski

Music can be a great motivator when exercising, but some songs are better suited for it than others. So while you can use any MP3 player when you head out for a jog, the BODiBEAT from Yamaha is designed to automatically select songs that best match your current activity using both a built-in accelerometer to keep track of your footsteps, as well as a heart-rate monitor that clips onto your ear.

It has 4 different operating modes you can choose depending on what your goal or routine is. The Free Workout Mode will automatically choose songs that have a similar tempo to your walking or jogging speed. As you speed up or slow down, the player will select a different song that better matches your new pace. The Fitness Mode will try to provide the most appropriate music for an optimal aerobic exercise based on your heart rate. It will play faster songs if you’re moving too slowly or slower songs if you’re moving too quickly. The Training Mode is apparently designed for serious athletes, and it allows you to create structured exercise sessions with preset time intervals and specific targets for heart rate, running pace or song tempo. Finally there’s the standard Music Mode which will make the BODiBEAT function like any other MP3 player, playing music by artist, album or whatever you choose.

The BODiBEAT is expected to be available in Winter 2008, but I’m not sure if that means the beginning of the year, or the end of the year.

[ Yamaha BodiBeat ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]