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Tag Archives: Music

MechBass Is A Robot That Plays The Bass

Back in 2011, the British rock band Muse was honoured to have one of its tracks, Hysteria, named as MusicRadar’s Best Bassline Of All Time. It’s a fantastic bassline, to be sure, and Christopher Wolstenholme is a wonderful bass player. But it’s even more impressive when it’s being played by MechBass, a robotic contraption by New Zealand-based engineering student James McVay. The elaborate device is MIDI-controlled, and “consists of four string units on an aluminum frame with sliding pitch shifters that alter the pitch of the strings, which are then struck by rotating pick wheels.” It’s a little convoluted to explain, so feel free to just watch the video below, or hit the jump for a much more detailed account of what went into MechBass’ construction.

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Paperclip Headphones: Getting Clippy With It

Paperclip Headphone

Headphones and portable music players let you take your music with you anywhere you want to, and that’s all good. But one problem I frequently encounter is earphones getting tangled in my hair (I honestly don’t understand how that happens sometimes) or on my shirt buttons or on the strap of my sling bag.

Headphones with clips were eventually released to solve that problem, but none of them are as ingenious as these Paperclip Headphones. The paperclip portion is hollow, so you can slide it up and down into position. The best part is that you can use the paperclip to ‘clip’ the cords in place so they don’t get in your way. Whether you’re working, surfing the web, or out jogging, the Paperclip Headphones will keep the cords in order so you won’t have to deal with a tangled mess.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]

The Shredder Cheese Grater Looks Like Fun

If you’re going to be playing the air guitar, why not be a little productive in the process? The Shredder Cheese Grater looks like a Flying-V but features a stainless steel grater. It’s quirky and fun. And it’ll likely make a mess of your entire kitchen if you use it the way we imagine someone would. We don’t care.

$10.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ HolyCool ]

Shimi Music Robot Kicks Music Bots Up A Notch

It’s one thing to have a robot shaped music dock that accepts your iPhone and plays some tunes. It’s quite another to have one that does the kind of stuff Shimi does. Developed by a team of roboticists from Georgia Tech, IDC, and the MIT Media Lab, Shimi (once connected to your smartphone) is able to bob its head to the beat, tap its “foot”, follow you around the room using face recognition, and even understand your speech. You interact with it by either asking for a specific song or even clapping a beat with your hands and waiting for Shimi to deliver the closest match from your collection. What’s more, the robot’s abilities are tied to its related smartphone application, meaning that with each update of the software, the bot can gain more features. And since Shimi is the product of the collaboration of some world class roboticists, you’re not looking at some cheap and generic Chinese toy, the complexity and fluidity of Shimi’s movements and abilities has to be seen to be appreciated. The clip below should help.

In the meantime, if you want your own, you can pledge $149 to the Kickstarter campaign and expect delivery… in February of 2013, a little late for the Holidays.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Create Your Own Arcade Music With Pianocade

Pianocade

As expected, 8-bit games come with 8-bit music. I don’t know about you, but I always feel a strong sense of nostalgia every time I pass by my local arcade. It’s not just seeing all the arcade games that I used to play when I was still a kid; it was just the atmosphere, the sounds of the place, that reminded me so much of the childhood that once was.

If you’re missing the good old chiptune sounds of your old arcade gaming days, then you might want to check out the Pianocade. It’s a chiptune synthesizer that looks like an over-sized, extended version of your regular arcade game console. You’ll also be pleased to hear that the Pianocade is more than just a novelty product, as it boasts of a 128-note range and a MIDI connection.

Hit the jump to check out a video of the Pianocade in action!

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gTar Is Yet Another Entrant To The Educational Instrument Game

By David Ponce

There’s a growing trend where companies marry new technology to old instruments in order to help us learn how to play them. There’s a few examples: Ion Audio’s plastic LED fretboard guitar, which has a limited number of frets and is not a real instrument. There’s Tabber, which adds LEDs to a real guitar. There’s Rocksmith, which uses a real guitar but requires you to be tethered to a TV and a console. And now there’s gTar. It’s sort of a compromise between a fake plastic instrument and a full fledged guitar. It’s made of wood and has strings, but there are no pickups. The sound is instead generated by the iPhone you have to insert. The companion application has tunes you can play along, in three difficulty settings. The fretboard is covered in LEDs which light up at the right time, so you just put your fingers in the right place and strum. Since there are no pickups and the sound is generated by an app, they’re able to have this feature called SmartPlay which mutes out whatever wrong notes you play. This makes you feel like you’re better than you really are and could help keep you motivated.

The product is not complete yet. It’s going through a round of financing on Kickstarter and you could have pre-ordered yours for $350 if you’d gotten in early enough. Now it’s $399 for 85 more units, and $450 afterwards. Yeah, that’s a lot of money but don’t forget you’re not getting a toy controller here, but the closest thing to a real guitar without the need to carry a TV and console with you everywhere.

[ Project page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

This Air Guitar Has Frickin’ Lasers

By David Ponce

There are those that learn guitar and there are those that play it. Or at least pretend to play it. Or at the very least make an attempt to appear to play it… We’re not sure where the air guitarists fall, although if they buy the above tool they will be able to have at least a little bit of sound to accompany them. Granted, the point of air guitar playing is to appear to play along with a song that’s already playing so our analogy is off the mark somewhat. But you’ll still technically be playing with air as you strum the infrared laser coming out of this toy with one hand, and depress buttons with the other, belting random tunes in free play mode. And guess what, it even comes pre-loaded with ten songs so that you can play along with music if you want to, and you’re not just strumming cords willy-nilly. Some of these songs include: Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet), Walk This Way (Aerosmith), Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple), and Let It Be (The Beatles). There’s a little speaker if you want your friends to hear you plain, or a headphone jack if you wish to be merciful.

That’s a lot of fun for $20.

[ Product Page (affiliate link) ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

Follow Up: Presenting Philips’ New Talent Competition Winner

By David Ponce

Some of you may remember that Philips brought us to Amsterdam last year to witness the production of a musical piece titled “I’m No Prototype”. It was part of their Obsessed With Sound campaign and was meant to highlight the company’s commitment to excellence in audio products. As part of the campaign, they were also sponsoring a musical talent discovery competition. This effort led to the submission of over 1,400 entries and the selection of a winner. They got the chance to have their winning piece mastered by U2′s producer, Steve Lillywhite and the Metropole Orchestra from Amsterdam. The result is the video above, and the winning band is a group from Brazil called Inky. The piece is called “No One’s Town” and we happen to think it’s pretty darn awesome.

We’re doing a follow up on this not just to help spread the word on the company’s efforts, but also to make a short statement about the way music is being discovered these days. It’s a slow shift away from the traditional record label orchestrated path that artists have taken over the decades. With shows like American Idol, YouTube and now multinational-sponsored competitions, artists can be discovered in more ways than ever before. It doesn’t necessarily mean that being selected as a winner will sad to commercial success, as we don’t know if there’s a distribution arrangement in place for Inky. Still, exposure is something, and we applaud Philips’ efforts in this area.

Hit the jump to read an interview with Inky.

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Jack White Releases 3RPM Record To Celebrate Label’s 3 Year Anniversary

By David Ponce

Jack White, you’re one quirky sumbitch. But that’s alright, because at least there’s some talent to go along with the quirk. See, to celebrate Third Man Record’s 3rd year anniversary, there was a party. And at this party a very limited edition LP was given to all in attendance. It contained all 29 Blue Series singles, but happened to be recorded at 3RPM. Yeah. 3. Of course, there’s an obsession with the number 3 here, and after the break you can read the official statement on this most strange of records.

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