Category Archives: Music

Become an Instant Guitar Hero with Airiax



Airier glovesYeah, it’s an April Fools’ joke in a sea of April Fools’ jokes. It’s April 1st. We get it. But I thought this one was particularly amusing.

Musical instrument and equipment manufacturer Line 6 is currently touting its new Airiax gloves on the company’s homepage. Airiax is a nice takeoff on the company’s line of electric guitars called Variax. These guitars are unique because they contain special electronics that “model” the tones of other guitars. The Variax is loved by some guitar players (like me) who appreciate its versatility, and it’s hated by others who believe it’s inauthentic and lacks the soul of the instruments its replicating.

Line 6’s Airiax gag does a nice job of parodying this dichotomy. Airiax carries the tagline “Air guitar never felt this real.” Yes, that’s right. Airiax gloves make you a great air guitarist. Just plug the Airiax’s wireless connector into any guitar amp and you can shred with the best of them:

Ever since the birth of rock guitar heroes, the general population has envied the class, style, attitude, energy and mating potential of those revered guitar players. Emulation of the player’s sounds, poses and facial expressions has led to the birth of air guitar as a favorite hobby, bar activity and competitive sporting event. Historically, air guitarists were never able to coax convincing tones out of their ethereal instrument, which severely limited true creative freedom and hindered prospects for attracting a complimentary member of the species. After several years of exhaustive research and a few broken fingers, we are proud to present a revolutionary solution to the air guitarist’s biggest problem.

When used in tandem, Airiax gloves faithfully translate finger and hand movements into highly convincing guitar licks and tones, allowing anyone with guts and a few choice moves to churn out the best licks in any style – be it swinging jazz, twangy country, classic rock, or searing metal. Pack them conveniently in any carry-on bag so that you don’t miss those impromptu international jams that only require the slip of a glove. You can even play bass with the ever-convenient finger style bass setting.

This really made me laugh! Click the link above for the Airiax page and watch the embedded video. Nice job with this April Fools’ bit, Line 6!


Nervana is Changing the Way You Feel Music



Nervana playerMusic fans have explored many options over the years to heighten their experience while listening to their favorite jams; Hi-Fi stereo sets, finely tuned components and speakers, and mind/mood-altering chemical substances to name just a few. But what if you could truly enhance your music experience using only a handheld media player and a set of earbuds? That’s exactly what Nervana is hoping to do.

Nervana is self-described as, “The World’s First Consumer Product to Stimulate the Body’s Pleasure Center in Synchronicity to Music.” The prototype Nervana player resembles a classic iPod. It uses special internal technology along with a unique set of earbuds to stimulate the user’s Vagus nerve:

NERVANA is a wearable device that sends a gentle electrical wave through the left ear canal to stimulate the body’s Vagus nerve, while syncing with music. This elicits a calm, relaxed feeling for most users in a natural way, which stimulates the brain’s pleasure center, known to release neurotransmitters (the body’s feel-good messengers).

In more technical terms….A central signal-processing circuit receives both music and stimulation signals and routes those signals appropriately to the two ear buds. The right ear bud receives only the right channel of the music signal, which is output to a hand-picked, high-fidelity speaker in the right ear bud. The proprietary left ear bud, in comparison, not only receives the left channel of the music signal at its speaker, it also receives the stimulation signal within the ear bud material itself, to deliver electrical stimulation to the inside surface of the ear canal and, thereby, the Vagus nerve.

Nervana is currently running a fundraising campaign thru Indiegogo. The campaign has been incredibly successful, having raised 445% of its $75,000 goal with a month left to go. A contribution of $279 will guarantee you a complete Nervana player/earbud system which is a slight discount from the device’s anticipated retail price of $299.


Music Sharing App Nuziki becomes Noted



Noted homepageLast Fall, I wrote about a new social music sharing app called Nuziki. Since then, the folks at Nuziki have been busy updating and improving the service. This month, Nuziki announced it would be changing its name to Noted:

You spoke and we listened. We’re making some major changes based on the feedback you’ve given us. The biggest news of all is, we’ll be doing it under a new name… Noted.

Your username / password will be the same and all of your history will transfer. If you have ANY problems, let us know immediately and we will correct it.

Update the app to get Noted and don’t be scared when nusiki.com redirects you to noted.fm.

Noted exists to solve the problems that you’re having… so please continue to tell us what you want and we’ll continue to build it.

Until then, enjoy the new noted.fm and we look forward to what the future holds!

Indeed, my old Nuziki bookmark takes me straight to the new Noted website and my old account carried over without any problems. I have been using Noted a lot lately. I’m finding it to be a good place to go when I’d like to be exposed to new music. Noted creates a “news feed” style playlist of songs that have been posted to the site by other users I’ve followed. I’ll admit, I haven’t been very picky about who I’ve followed on Noted. I’ve pretty much followed every account I’ve come across. But for a service like this, that’s kinda the point. I’m there to experience things that I wouldn’t normally choose for myself. And since most of my connections on Noted are strangers, it offers some great opportunities for real music discovery.

Noted is free and is available on most major platforms. Feel free to look me up if you decide to check it out.


Jamstik Uses BLE MIDI



Jamstik LogoThere are many people who dream about learning how to play the guitar. Jamstik can help you make that dream a reality. It is a portable mini controller that was designed around the idea of making music more accessible to everyone.

Nick spoke with Senior Producer Matt Cannon from Jamstik. It is a mini controller that has a sensor that knows where your fingers are at. It shows you on screen in real time either on your iPad, iPhone or Mac. (Android compatibility is coming). First timers can use the Jam Tutor app to go from knowing nothing at all about playing guitar to being able to pluck strings, fret their first chords, and more.

What makes Jamstik unique is that it is one of the first devices to connect through Bluetooth and use BLE MIDI. It is lightning fast and has no latency. Another unique feature of Jamstik is that it feels natural and has real strings and frets.

Musicians who travel, and cannot take their guitar with them, can bring Jamstik along instead. It comes with a travel case and fits in carry on. The ideas they get while traveling can be played and recorded in Jamstik.

Jamstik is available via the Jamstik website, at Amazon, and at Apple stores. It is priced at $299.

Nick DiMeo is an audio engineer and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Gibson Guitars and G Force Self Tuner at CES



Gibson LogoGibson produced their first electric guitar back in 1936 and since then, the name has been synonymous with the instrument. This doesn’t mean that Gibson trades on its history alone and the company remains at the forefront of instrument innovation. The latest “High Performance” series is the most innovative guitar they’ve ever made. Daniele Mendez gets a demo of the latest axe from Christopher Oliphant of Gibson.

These new SG-standard guitars have a range of new features, from physical changes to the contour of the neck heel through to auto-tuning. The new G Force tuning system self-tunes to both standard and alternate tunings, and the new version is faster and more accurate than before. Extremely easy to use, all the guitarist needs to do is press a button and strum the strings. The guitar will take care of the rest, tuning only one string or all strings. It’s not just for electric guitars either as the G-Force system is now fitted to high-end acoustic guitars too. Amazing to watch in action!

All the guitars are available now with prices from US$1,099 for the “High Performance” models.

Daniele Mendez is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Jamstik Brings MIDI to the Guitar at CES



Jamstik LogoKeyboard players have had a wide range of options for creating all kinds of sounds for years, thanks to MIDI (musical digital instrument interface). MIDI takes input information from a control device, such as the keys of a keyboard, and translates it into audible sound, usually by triggering sounds in a sample bank. If you’ve ever played an electronic keyboard or synthesizer, then you’ve experienced MIDI in action. And while using a keyboard to play MIDI notes makes sense, it’s always been a challenge to transfer MIDI control to other instruments, such as guitar. Jamstik is working to change that.

Chris Helle, Senior Music Product Specialist at Jamstik, stopped by the TPN booth to meet with Jamie and Nick. Chris showed off the latest version of Jamstik and demonstrated how it uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to an iPad. Jamstik can be used to control apps on iOS, Mac OS, and soon Android wirelessly. Jamstik uses infrared light to track a player’s movements on the fretboard, sending the data in near real time to the host device. This allows for fast responses, perfect for all kinds of musical performances. Jamstik is currently on the market for $299.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly which can be found at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic, and health journalist.

Nick DiMeo is an audio engineer and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Been wanting to try Spotify Premium? You can get a free Chromecast if you do it now



Spotify logoMusic streaming services are becoming ever more prevalent in the market these days. One made news this week by getting an exclusive deal, but those types of deals also have become common. Perhaps the most popular these days is Spotify, which can be used for free, though a premium subscription brings more functionality.

Now Spotify is trying to pull in more customers with a special deal. The streaming service is offering a free Chromecast to anyone who purchases three months of its Premium service.

To sell this deal, the company points out “With Chromecast, listening at home is easy. Simply plug Chromecast into your TV, connect it to WiFi and cast music directly from your phone or tablet. It works with Android, iOS and laptops, too. Play, skip, browse and search using the Spotify app. Oh, and feel free to make calls, watch a video or play games – the music will keep playing”.

There’s only a brief window of time to take advantage of this deal. You’ll need to act quickly because it’s only running through February 28th. You can grab the offer by visiting here. It will set you back $29.97.


Flicks Lets You Watch Movies Outdoors



Dashbon logo TwitterHave you ever wanted to watch movies outside during a backyard party or a camping trip? Dashbon, a start up company that makes mobile audio visual products, can turn the idea of outdoor movie watching into a reality. Flicks, the first product from Dashbon, is available now.

Marlo and Todd spoke with CEO of Dashbon, Andrew Lin, at CES 2016. Flicks is an all-in-one, Bluetooth enabled boombox that combines a high-fidelity audio system with a cutting edge 720p HD LED projector. Use it to stream your favorite tunes from your smartphone or to watch movies via HDMI from your smartphone or media devices.

Flicks comes in two models. The 140WH model has a 140Wh built-in lithium-ion battery, 4 hours of movie playtime, 28 hours of Bluetooth music playback, 28 days of standby time, and weighs 6.17 lb (2.8 Kg). The 280WH model has a 280Wh built-in lithium-ion battery, 8 hours of movie playtime, 56 hours of Bluetooth music playback, 56 days of standby time, and weighs 7.72 lb. (3.5 Kg).

Flicks 140WH is priced at $599. Flicks 280WH is priced at $699. Both are available now through Dashbon.com and also through Amazon.

Todd Aune is bridging the technology gap with The Elder Divide.

Marlo Anderson is rounding up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Aumeo Audio – World’s First Tailored Audio Device – At CES 2016



Aumeo AudioAumeo Audio is the world’s first tailored audio device. It was designed to unlock your best hearing solution. Aumeo has been fully funded on Indiegogo and will be at CES 2016.

The main concept is that not all ears are built the same. Everyone hears differently. Your audio equipment has no way of knowing exactly how differently you hear. As such, it cannot take your unique hearing into account when it delivers sound to you. It just assumes that everyone hears the same across all frequency ranges.

Connect your phone and any pair of earbuds or headphones to Aumeo. Create your unique audio profile with the companion app, AumeoPlayer. It is available for iOS and Android. They suggest you create your profile in a quiet place.

Your audio profile will be stored on Aumeo. It will adjust your music based on your audio profile. Aumeo lets music lovers hear all the music without ear-straining or ear-damaging volumes. Aumeo is available for preorder via their Indiegogo at $149.00 and will begin shipping in January of 2016.

Visit Aumeo Audio at CES 2015 in Sands, Hall G, # 82026


Pandora Launches Thumbprint Radio



Pandora Thumbprint RadioPandora has launched something new called Thumbprint Radio. They describe it on their blog as “a hyper-personalized station for each listener”. Your unique, individual, Thumbprint Radio station will include music based upon your thumb.

That is to say, it is going to select music for you based upon every thumbs up you have provided throughout the entire time you have listened on Pandora. Give a track a thumbs up, and your station will update and evolve to include it.

Another cool thing about Pandora’s Thumbprint Radio is that it will enable listeners to rediscover songs that they thumbed up years ago. That awesome song that you were in love with for a week, and then forgot about, might return to you via your Thumbprint Radio station.

You can share your stations with a friend. Once you share it, your station is going to dynamically update for your friend as you give thumbs up to songs. This is something to be aware of if you have given a thumbs up to a song you like, but would be embarrassed to have friends know that you like.

Your Thumbprint Radio station will be made available to you once you have at least three stations “with four thumbs on each”. If you have been using Pandora for a long time, it is possible that your Thumbprint Radio station is ready for you now.