Can run up to 24 threads on Mac Pro
Algoriddim has launched djay Pro, a new Mac edition of its typically iOS-based DJ software. In its new incarnation the app supports up to four simultaneous decks, rather than two, and can draw music not just from a local iTunes library but from Spotify, thanks to a partnership with the streaming music service. It also exploits Retina displays and multi-core 64-bit processors; on a 12-core Mac Pro, the app can handle up to 24 processing threads at once for track analysis.
Flat sound, minimum clarity holds Dell's speaker back from being a good buy
For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solutions. While consumers often compromise in battery life, design or sound, the sub-$100 market offers a wide array of choices. Computer builder Dell entered into the Bluetooth speaker market with a value model, looking to entice consumers with a long battery life and compact, minimal design. But is the Dell AD211 a good buy for consumers looking to get the most out of their money, or does it fail to meet modest expectations? Find out in our review.
CEO announces company's promotions have raised over $100 million since 2006
In a memo to all employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the recent (Product) RED campaign, which ran through app upgrade purchases, in-store items and online accessories during the run-up to World AIDS Day on December 1 raised over $20 million, which will be seeded to the Global Fund. The group fights HIV/AIDS, malaria and other health threats largely in Africa and other impoverished areas. Cook said that the promotion has thus pushed Apple's total contribution to over $100 million since 2006.
Library syncing software for iTunes packed with features at a great value
Apple's iTunes media player has been around since 2001 -- meaning that for many users, it's likely that their library has traversed multiple system upgrades, duplicating and splintering across a variety of drives and mobile devices along the way. For this, there is SuperSync, an app designed to provide access to all your music in one location, allow libraries to be accessed via the Internet, and organize multiple music libraries as to stay organized. Aimed at DJs, avid music collectors, and anyone with multiple libraries, SuperSync aims to get all your tracks in a row. Pricing is organized by license packs, starting at $23 for 2 computers. We took a look at SuperSync for ourselves, and took some of its features for a test run.
$200 off 11.6-inch MBA, now $900
This week at BestBuy.com save $20 on the current-generation 11.6-inch MacBook Air which has been discounted from $1,100 down to $900. That price break makes this the best price we have seen by around $80. Free 2-day shipping is included, and sales tax applies for residents of most states. This MBA features a 1.4GHz Intel 4th generation Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 256GB of solid state storage and comes with Yosemite pre-installed. Included is a 1 year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Amazon, Google Play, and Apple listed among the former employers of ideal candidates
The Algorithms & Cloud Experiences Group of Bose Corporation has posted an opening this week with the company, seeking a Senior User Experience Designer to work on "Cloud Music Services." It's unclear if the company intended to announce its intention to create a streaming music service or potential music "cloud locker" through the posting, but the move represents another attempt by Bose to compete indirectly against Apple, and to a lesser extent other streaming services.
Apple versus Real trial testimony concludes, jury deliberations begin next week
[Updated with additional context for Schultz' testimony] The Real versus Apple anti-trust trial continued on Friday, with an Apple engineer testifying that he worked on a project in 2006 that was "intended to block 100 percent of non-iTunes clients," though he later clarified that such actions were taken in the name of user security and OS stability. Former Apple engineer Rod Schultz was summoned by Real's attorneys unwillingly, and discussed his work on a project with the codename "Candy" which would "keep out third party players" who exploited flaws in the iPod's operating system.
One dollar app ensures you don't hear the same song too often
There are at least several apps that come to mind that aim to accentuate your iTunes experience. One that we're taking a look at today is Altunenator, a budget-friendly, $1 app that ensures the listener isn't subjected to the same songs (or other media content) too frequently. Altunenator skips tracks for you based on preset parameters such the duration between the last time a song was played, which is particularly suited for playing a large playlist or your full library on shuffle. Is it worth checking out?
Gift cards are impersonal. Get a gadget instead!
The rubber's hitting the road on the Christmas season, and if the throngs around you aren't in the holiday spirit (read "panicked about buying") then they will be soon! Fortunately, its not too late for online ordering, and we've got your back! MacNN and Electronista have been squirreling away ideas for the gadget and accessory freak in your life. We did part one of this list last week, so here's more ideas for those hard to buy for people instead of a boring gift card!
Reason behind disappearance still uncertain
Bose products have returned to Apple's online store and retail chain, reports say. These include products like the SoundLink III and SoundLink Mini speakers, and the QuietComfort 20i earbuds. Bose hardware vanished from the online store on October 17, and went missing from retail around the same time or shortly thereafter.
Crowdfunded, wood-enclosed speaker is more eye-catching than ear-pleasing
Bluetooth speakers are cropping up all over the place in a variety of sizes and styles. One such offering is Vers' 1Q, a Bluetooth-enabled speaker with a hardwood exterior. Vers took their project to Kickstarter, promising to create an attractive, portable product that takes advantage of wood's inherent acoustic properties. Upon their successful campaign, Vers brought two 1Qs to the market, one in ash and one in walnut. But how does Vers' 1Q stack up to other Bluetooth speakers? Find out in our review.
Real hunts for new plaintiffs in 10-year-old case
Judge Gonzales Rogers has ruled against an Apple request to dismiss the 10-year-long lawsuit by audio software maker Real, but has not denied that the case may soon be without a valid plaintiff. Following the dropout of the first of two women named in the original case, more evidence was presented in court today that the remaining plaintiff, Marianna Rosen, is also not qualified by virtue of not having directly bought an iPod in the relevant time window with her own funds.
Sound and style collide for loud, damaging results with the Blazar by Beacon Audio
Generally, when someone thinks of high-quality sound, their mind doesn't immediately go toward portable speakers. An even less likely candidate would be any Bluetooth audio device. Nevertheless, Beacon Audio undertook the noble goal of challenging consumers' skepticism. It set out to clear the name of Bluetooth speakers everywhere by creating a high-quality unit, and took the Blazar to Kickstarter because it believed in the product. Was the crowd's decision to back another stylized, compact speaker a good one, or would consumers be better going with a mainstream choice? Find out in our review.
Mysterious dispute resulted in Bose products taken off store shelves
A French enthusiast site has reported, citing anonymous sources, that Apple will soon return Bose products back to the shelves of the iPhone maker's brick-and-mortar Apple Stores following a two-month fallout in which Bose products were removed. The move was originally thought to be in response to a lawsuit Bose filed against Beats, its rival in headphones, or possibly a unilateral move by Apple to reduce competing products in its stores now that it owns Beats, but the truth of the matter has yet to emerge.
Sonos releases beta software update
Wireless speaker system producer Sonos has released a beta software update, bringing the latest version to 5.2. Featuring new sound enhancement for its Playbar speaker, the update improves the soundstage using stereo imaging, and also includes improvements to the EQ and volume balance.
Ditch the ads and stream unlimited music with SomaFM Radio Player
Streaming music online is hardly a new concept, but most online streaming radios are so riddled with advertisements that listening can become unbearable. The alternative is often paying a monthly subscription fee, which can be costly and hard to justify, unless it is used often. SomaFM Radio Player, by SomaFM, offers an ad-free alternative for fans of streaming radio.
User content, such as MP3s ripped from CDs, never at risk
Day two of the Real versus Apple trial over Apple's FairPlay DRM and alleged anti-trust actions potentially taken by the Cupertino manufactured concluded yesterday, after hyperbole from both legal teams. Real's attorney Patrick Coughlin claimed that Apple gave users the "worst possible experience" and would "blow up" music purchased from unauthorized stores. Apple defended itself, saying that the obtuse warning that iTunes gave when detecting hacked files didn't need to be more specific, and it was only protecting users from an array of attacks plaguing the device.
Real seeking $350 million in damages, declaration by Apple about decade-old issue
The Apple versus Real anti-trust trial centering around Apple's use of FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent piracy (or block other music stores, as Real claims) has begun, as expected. Lawyers for the complainants continue to claim that changes in iTunes blocking other companies' music stores from functioning on the iPod allowed Apple to raise prices. Real's attorneys seek $350 million in damages in the long-postponed suit that dates back nearly a decade. The trial, expected to last three weeks, is being held in the Oakland, California federal courts.
Clean audio gives consumers a surprise, but durability, part swaps keep them coming back
Headphones for professional musicians and hardcore audio enthusiasts are in a different class than most mainstream options that flood retail space. Many focus on the pure sound signature and comfort needed for long sessions, leading to a focus on over-the-ear designs. To fill the gap in the market for on-ear headphones, Pioneer introduced the HDJ-C70. But does Pioneer's crack at a professional-grade on-ear model pay off, or should musicians and music fans seeking the best audio quality look elsewhere? Find out in our review.
Versatile speaker system tackles games, music with ease, distortion a drawback
Complete speaker setups come in configurations for a wide array of uses, from multi-speaker home theater packages to compact desktop PC solutions. While there is never one set that covers every function perfectly, those looking for 2.1 speaker systems are confronted by a wealth of choices. One such option that tackles gaming, music and movies in good fashion is the SW-G2.1 2000 speaker system from GX Gaming, the gaming subdivision of peripheral manufacturer Genius. But does the SW-G2.1 2000 setup offer a good sound value, or would consumers be better off purchasing something like a 7.1 surround sound system? Find out in our review.
Maschine groove production software updated
Native Instruments has released an update of its Maschine software, a component of its integrated hardware/software groove production system. The update, version 2.2, adds a new melodic dimension to the Maschine workflow, called Smart Play. The Smart Play features include a new scale and chord engine, as well as a fully-functional arpeggiator.
Win a Skrillex X UE Boom Bluetooth speaker!
This next prize, we are sure, nearly anybody would be very thankful to receive. Last week, Ultimate Ears released the latest addition to their lineup, the custom-designed Skrillex Edition UE Boom. Ultimate Ears teamed up with Skrillex and asked him to create custom artwork for their award-winning Boom speaker. What they created is a speaker that combines high-end sound quality with a twist of rave-culture style.
Walmart deals on electronics available now
Black Friday sales have gone live at Walmart.com; however, if you plan on getting a head start on the deals at your local store, keep in mind it will be opening its doors tonight at 6PM. The company is offering three different door-buster events, which are outlined below. If you don't want to wait for the door-busters, or would just prefer to shop from the safety and comfort of your own home, we have highlighted a selection of deals that are available now.
Elecronista and MacNN's guide to gifts for the digital audiophile
Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest people to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we'll attempt to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.
Sing like a pop star with pitch correcting app ImproVox
Until recently, the average person could not get their hands on professional-level pitch-correction software. The software had a tendency to cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and required an engineering degree to use. However, there has been a surge of cheaper but quality voice software available to everyone in the last few years. Among these is ImproVox by developer MuseAmi, which is available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch -- and is a clever app that puts a simple recording studio in your hands.
Points out study did not use built-in car integration, ignored Apple recommendations
Apple has issued a statement criticizing a study conducted by the University of Utah for the American Automobile Association in October that rated Apple's Siri (and other naturalistic voice-command virtual assistants by proxy) as "the most" distracting in-car task compared to just driving, adjusting the car's radio or temperature, or using built-in car navigation or infotainment systems. In its response, Apple points out some serious flaws in the study, including the fact that it deliberately avoided using the driving-specific Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay options.
Streaming from Google Play Music, 13 other services no longer uses T-Mobile Simple Choice data allow
T-Mobile has expanded the range of its Music Freedom scheme to include more streaming services. The program, which allows T-Mobile subscribers to listen to music from specific services without using up any of their mobile data allowance, now has an additional 14 services for customers to choose from, bringing the total for the entire collection to 27 services.
Google Play Music All Access subscribers gain YouTube Music Key access
Google has rolled out its YouTube Music Key service to existing Google Play Music All Access subscribers. While the YouTube Music Key launch revealed its users automatically enrolled into the Google Play Music subscription, Google revealed yesterday that Music All Access users were also able to use Music Key as part of their existing subscription. The Google Play Music app has also been updated on Android, providing options to watch the music video with certain tracks.
Billboard introducing streaming plays, digital sales into album chart
The way the popularity of content is measured may be seeing some changes in the coming weeks, both for audio and video. Billboard will start to include streaming and digital track sales as part of the Billboard 200 albums chart, while Nielsen is said to be preparing to track content watched through streaming services starting from next month.
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC-enabled speakers offer 360-degree sound coverage, compact size
Accessory maker Rapoo announced the US release of two of its wireless speakers today, bringing the revamped style of the A500 and A300 models to a new audience. Both of the Bluetooth 4.0 speakers feature NFC pairing, a dual-mode that enables an auxiliary connection, and 360-degree sound coverage. Each speaker has its own construction features, as the A500 contains speakers made from bio-fiber materials, while the A300 has an aluminum alloy exterior.
Paid BitTorrent Bundles offer content creators 90-percent revenue share
BitTorrent is allowing more companies and content creators the ability to sell content packages across the peer-to-peer file sharing network, by opening up BitTorrent Bundle to more artists. A project using paygates which has been under development since last year, BitTorrent Bundle aims to make collections of songs and other media available to purchase, with content creators set to receive the lion's share of funds.
Spotify Premium subscribers can control Uber audio system during ride
Spotify is partnering with Uber, allowing passengers of the taxi app to play their choice of music via the cab's built-in audio system. At the same time as the audio announcement, it appears that code within the Spotify app itself points toward the future introduction of a podcasting service, alongside another unknown feature given the name "Magic."
Clerks expected to ditch lanyards
Apple is planning some minor changes at its retail stores in preparation for the holiday season, sources say. One of these includes dressing clerks in red holiday shirts. A permanent adjustment, though, will involve removing neck lanyards from the standard uniform; to compensate for the lack of ID, clerks will reportedly be asked to introduce themselves more often.
Technology additions, active noise cancellation make a the BackBeat Pro a fantastic buy
Looking for a pair of headphones that can do everything a user requires is a task that can take some study. Trying to decide on in-ear, over-ear, or on-the-ear model starts at user comfort and preference, but goes much further when features are thrown into the mix. When features like noise cancellation are tossed into the equation, the cost can weigh on the practicality and sound of the unit. It doesn't always need to though, as Plantronics tries to prove with the BackBeat Pro. Would these headphones be the right fit for most consumers, or are there enough small flaws that push them into being just another headphone set with active noise cancellation (ANC)? Find out in our review.
Bluetooth clock radio charges devices, uses ambient light, music to wake users
Audio company JBL has revealed a new clock radio that pairs the company's sound with a gentle way to wake up in the morning. The JBL Horizon is a compact alarm clock with an LCD display that uses ambient LED lighting that gradually brightens to wake users up. On top of the LED lighting, one of two alarms can be set to use a digital tone, music streamed from a smartphone, or an FM radio station to entice people to get out of bed. To keep with the basic needs of an alarm clock, the Horizon has a snooze/light bar.
Record label CEO claims Taylor Swift paid less than $500,000, not $6M
The battle between Spotify and Taylor Swift is continuing, with an executive at the singer's record label now stepping into the fight. Scott Borchetta, CEO of record label Big Machine, advises that Swift has been paid less than $500,000 in the last year, a significantly lower figure than the $6 million claimed to have been paid by Spotify to the label in a recent blog post.
YouTube music subscription removes advertising, adds Google Play Music All Access
YouTube has launched its often-rumored music service, just one day after a report claims it struck a major deal with independent record labels. YouTube Music Key is a subscription-based streaming service which offers advertising-free viewing of music videos on YouTube itself, as well as a few other features only paid subscribers will receive.
Alternative music player brings style and functionality to iOS
Listening to music is a very personal thing for most people. As a whole, we generally tend to think of our music collection as an extension of ourselves. Music fanatics often tend to demand a lot out of their personal music players, allowing them the ability to customize their experience fully, from playlists to organization to artwork and beyond. TunesFlow, by Hector Ricardo Garcia Peña, aims to meet and exceed the needs of the average music enthusiast.
Audio boosting app Boom 2 Beta released, built for Yosemite
Global Delight has released a beta version of its re-engineered audio boosting app, Boom (readers can check out our review of Boom from last month). Boom 2 introduces an ability to adapt and adjust to accommodate the type of Mac being used, attempting to intuit a suitable volume output, depending on the device. Support for 64-bit architecture is included, and users can switch between 10-band and advanced equalizer controls. Depending on the audio file, Boom 2 can recommend the type of 'boosting' to apply for best optimization. Those interested in trying out the Boom 2's beta version can subscribe online.
On-cup controls handle playback, calls
Apple-owned Beats has announced the Solo2 Wireless, a new pair of over-the-ear headphones. The unit is based on the original Solo2 headphones released earlier this year, but sports Bluetooth for pairing with devices up to 30 feet away. Buttons on the ear cups let users control volume and playback, and even answer phone calls.
Agreement between Merlin, YouTube said to have taken months to complete
Google's in-development YouTube music subscription service is another step closer to reality, as a deal with independent record labels has apparently been reached. One of the last stumbling blocks for launch, a report claims YouTube's agreement with rights agency Merlin will allow the service to include tracks from thousands of independent record labels, significantly expanding the library.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims Swift was on track for $6M in royalties this year before pulling music
Spotify has responded to claims by singer Taylor Swift that the service does not pay music producers enough, by revealing it has paid more than two billion dollars in music royalties. A blog post by CEO Daniel Ek following the removal of Swift's music from the service and a further attack in an interview also notes Swift was on track to receive $6 million in streaming revenues for this year alone.
Samsung Professional Audio required for Android version of iRig
IK Multimedia has made a version of its iOS-based iRig HD for Android Devices, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 being the first compatible device. The iRig HD-A digital guitar interface is also accompanied by an Android version of the AmpliTube app, the guitar processing app, which will also only work with Samsung mobile devices.
Smartphone users of Spotify can select songs on networked computers
Spotify has made another update to Connect, its controllable streaming music system it introduced last year, by letting smartphones control a computer. The latest addition allows a Spotify user to use a mobile device as a remote control for the desktop version of the app, through the same system which can select the music on Wi-Fi-enabled speakers and other devices.
Singer hints at revival of iTunes LP-style concepts
Speaking at today's Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, U2 frontman Bono dropped some more hints about the band's involvement in a new digital music format for Apple. The company "let us [U2] into the labs," he commented at one point, suggesting direct involvement in unreleased products. Apple is normally extremely strict about who it lets into its development labs, to the extent that even people with high clearance might be allowed in one lab but not another.
Free options to continue, Warner first major label to receive royalties from service
Audio distribution platform SoundCloud is on the cusp of launching its premium subscription service, adding another layer of offerings to help the company generate revenue. The premium ad-free service will be launched in 2015, with Warner Music Group signing on as the first major label to earn money from the sharing and streaming hub.
Thin Bluetooth keyboard features touchpad, allows users to configure 15 gestures
A new Bluetooth keyboard from Rapoo is bringing some of the functionality of a notebook to wireless keyboards. The E6700 Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard features a "touch area" on the right side of the thin keyboard, that has added functionality for gestures. The E6700 lets owners configure 15 different gestures, bringing the keyboard closer to the use seen in MacBooks and other notebooks. The "touch area" also has a glass surface, which Rapoo says makes it scratch-resistant and easier to clean.
Royalty collection company claims Spotify payments 13-percent higher than iTunes
Streaming services are heavily impacting music sales, with one report claiming Spotify's music royalty payments have eclipsed royalties earned through iTunes sales in Europe. Kobalt, a music royalty company representing over 6,000 songwriters and artists, claims that Spotify-derived revenues on the continent were higher that those earned from European iTunes sales by 13 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Bluetooth earphones, standalone Samsung Gear S smartwatch head to market this week
Samsung has confirmed it is bringing its Gear Circle wireless earphones to the United States this month, ready for the holiday shopping period. At the same time, it has been revealed the manufacturer's standalone Gear S smartwatch will be making its way to the United Kingdom, with the first units set to go on sale later this week.
New music player app seeks to supplant Apple's own player
While there's no doubt that Apple's built-in music player certainly does its job well, those who love music might find it a little basic for their needs. But what does one do when they want to find a music player packed with features the default music player lacks? Developer Christopher Lim has built the ffwd player, a music player for iOS that aims to create a better overall experience while listening to music.