The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

New IMN Podcast and Another Kind of Podcast

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2 Thursdays at 4pm.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is also putting together art exhibitions based on iPod Touch-driven tours, and I'll be lending my voice to the Sacred Spain exhibition. The whole shebang opens October 11th, so go enjoy the art and hear me break it down Revelations-style.


The Prince iPod

I've had to do some quick playlist-fu and switch files between my phone and iPod to get the contents of my iTunes library fully mobile and ready to go. It took some effort, but I've managed to stave off the purchase of another device for at least another 7 GB worth of music.

Even when the time comes, it probably won't be the Prince iPod, though. He's got the concept of giving the fans something unique and valuable in order to sell the music. The price point, though, is what kills it.

More like pulverizes it and pounds it deep into the dark, wind-blasted earth.


Tagged as: , No Comments

Hands Off The Volume, iPhone

A quick little blurb in the latest issue of Tape Op caught my eye and finally brought some things together for me. The writer was having problems with Pro Tools meters being dragged down, and it turns out the culprit is the iPhone. Transmissions from the device were pulling down the meters, causing the mixes to go off. This isn't some app gone wrong - it's the normal functioning of the device that's doing it.

As I'm not an avid (bad pun, sorry) Pro Tools user, I didn't notice the effects there. Where I did encounter this phenomenon was on my older iPod. If the two were in close proximity (say, my pocket) and the older iPod was playing while the iPhone was connected to a network (it wouldn't happen while in airplane mode), the volume on my older iPod would jump around erratically. I can't remember if the data transmissions from my old phone did that as well, but it's definitely happening here.

Add that to the lovely interference AT&T's EDGE network can add to audio (I've had at least one video's audio track ruined by a rogue Blackberry), and it makes sense to leave phones off when you're recording anything, either remotely or in the studio. They're just to unpredictable, whether they're turning down audio or adding unwanted noise.


Fun Happy Music Gadget Stuff

SimplifyMedia has put together a little package that allows music to be streamed from a home base computer to other devices, including the iPhone and other machines. My brief tests have encountered no problems, and it's a pretty cool thought that I can access music on the handset and not have to worry about filling up the hard drive (my 60GB iPod is currently bloated and staggering under its full conditions). My only worry is the portable battery life - heavy 3G usage would no doubt shrink my listening window. But it's a handy idea for work or scooting about town.

I'm a little less enamored with BeatMaker's potential, enough that I can't see purchasing it based on reviews that claim there's latency in the pads. Devices and programs like this are made or broken on their ability to provide real-time response to a musician's playing. It was the most frustrating part of working with older sound cards and MIDI devices for me, and I've got no desire to go back to square one.

To be fair, a lot of these programs seem like a land rush for prospectors, with the reasoning that it's better to get the apps out there and the name made familiar and then work on the finer points. And it's unfair to expect high performance from a handheld device right now. Hell, ProTools is just getting around to debuting on OS X Leopard, and that's on a full-fledged computer and operating system. So it's possible these things will get better - that's why software always seems to have new releases and updates. I'm just not panning these waters yet.


Is Qtrax the Real Deal?

The basic premise of Qtrax is that the service provides free and legal downloads of major label tracks to users' computers.  Stellar idea, no?  Especially if the artists involved are getting paid their fair share.  I'm getting conflicting stories, though.

  • This story claims that all the major labels are behind it, that it's not compatible with the iPod, and that DRM and proprietary software will be involved (fair note: I'm a user of iTunes and the iPod, which does include provisions for proprietary software and DRM - however, the files I've ripped from my CDs will transfer to other media players and software.  According to the article, the tracks won't move at all).
  • This story backs up the first article on every point but the major label support - the claim here is that nothing has been put in place yet.
  • This story claims that the deals aren't in place but could be soon, doesn't worry about the DRM or software issue, and claims that iPods WILL be supported (again, I'm noting iPods here only because they are a dominant product in the player market - I'd be interested in hearing whether other media players are compatible as well).

So I'm getting conflicting information, the PC service is still in beta, there's no Mac version yet (it's promised on 3/18), and there's still the issues of DRM and ad-supported music (how will the ad revenue be distributed to artists, if at all).  That's a bunch of red flags to me at this point.

Tagged as: , , , 2 Comments