The Next Era of Music

Direct_Drive_Turntable_System_SL_1200GAE_3.0

Hello old friend:  The new Technics 1200SL turntable.


 

On the playback side, not the creation side….

Turntables have been selling well the past few years but there was one big dark spot on that record – the iconic Technics 1200, the stratocaster of turntables, was discontinued a few years back.

This  made the so-called vinyl revival seem a bit gimmicky without the classic deck represented. Anyone that was anyone had 1200’s and probably half the other decks were knockoffs of the 1200. I own a decent 1200-clone from Gemini, the PT2000.


gemini-pt-2000-ii-direct-drive-turntable


 

The 1200 is back! Technics is bringing it back along with 1200 editions of a beautiful collectors version. Very nice.

There’s also this new turntable from Sony that takes your vinyl right to hi-res audio – very cool!  Of course you could do this before with a combination of gear – a turntable, an interface, a good DAC, a DAW, and knowledge of recording and sample rates, etc..

But the Sony PS-HX500 makes it easy, providing software to take you right into hi-res from vinyl. It even does both accepted hi-res formats – PCM/FLAC and DSD.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 11.32.14 AM

Son’y new turntable features the Hi-Res Audio badge because using included software it will transfer (rip) your vinyl into hi-res digital format (either PCM or DSD).

North Korea Calls Obama a Monkey, Again

The cray crays in North Korea are cracking me up. Like the average american white guy on Facebook these days, they can’t keep their racist opinions to themselves anymore.

I’m sure you have heard by now that the latest Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy involves North Korea and their ridiculous government, and a hacking group calling themselves “Guardians of Peace” scored a minor victory by frightening enough lawyers with terrorist threats to pull the movie from mainstream release across the US on December 25th. President Obama rightly called this a mistake and promised some sort of unspecified retaliation.

Sony Pictures relented and decided to release the movie through the internet and independent theaters and it’s starting to get some viewership. Also this week North Korea’s limited internet connection has been knocked out several times. This has prompted a round of announcements from the North Korean government that might be funnier than the movie itself:

“U.S. President Obama is the chief culprit who forced the Sony Pictures Entertainment to indiscriminately distribute the movie and took the lead in appeasing and blackmailing cinema houses and theatres in the U.S. mainland to distribute the movie,” North Korea’s National Defense Commission said Saturday, according to state-run media.

“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.”

Regarding the original hack on Sony Pictures being attributed to North Korea, they further added:

“If the U.S. is to persistently insist that the hacking attack was made by the DPRK, the U.S. should produce evidence without fail, though belatedly. If the U.S. persists in American-style arrogant, high-handed and gangster-like arbitrary practices despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK, the U.S. should bear in mind that its failed political affairs will face inescapable deadly blows.”

First off, how do you appease and blackmail at the same time? Or do they believe our president spends his time appeasing and/or blackmailing theater chains? Haha yeah right.

Then there’s the monkey comment, the second time in 2 weeks they have launched that racial firebomb. I do think rednecks and racists in the US will twist into a pretzel on this news, do they defend Obama or agree with the DPRK?

Finally, I love how they claim the US government are the “gangsters” when US citizens are allowed to both create and view comedy and art that deals with any number of controversial subjects without fear of arrest, much less death. Do you think gangsters give their prey a bill of rights?

Haha, North Korea you are so ridiculous. Ridiculous is also the word of the day on Sesame Street, a show you probably don’t allow your citizens to see. Oh and you don’t allow them to leave either, so shove it up your backwards-living asses.

Studio To Stereo

Here’s something really cool – a bunch of people are putting together an interactive event in London that details the process of creating music in the studio and then releasing it to the public, using iconic artists, classic albums, and high definition audio displays.

Who’s the consumer tech company behind it? Sony, a small Japanese startup you might not have heard of.

Sony stages Studio to Stereo high-res audio exhibition

Black Sabbath, The Doors, Pink Floyd — in the studio, behind the scenes and in HD, damn someone want to fly me to London?

The Doors in the studio

The Doors in the studio

Hi There I’m Walkman 2014

Neil Young’s preaching has been working — Sony recently announced their latest WalkMan, the 35th Anniversary model, and it’s pretty bad-ass. Save the Audio!

NW_Z__ZX1_01-1200

 

That little slab of gadget-lust has got hi-fi audio specs (DAC, amp, wiring, shielding), excellent build quality, and it plays high resolution digital!

This is the proof that there is a market for true music playback systems again. If Sony’s 35th anniversary walkman plays HD audio it immediately differentiates it from the “low-fi” phone and iPod world we’ve been in for the last 10 years.

Some general information, in case you are interested in purchasing one:

  • available in Japan and Europe late 2014, street price expected around $700 US
  • plays up to 24 bit, 192k FLAC and other formats
  • 64gb on-board memory, not expandable
  • runs the full android OS with app installation allowed, including outside music stores
  • wifi and bluetooth expected for non-audio features. not clear if it can send audio over bluetooth

 

Compared to the Pono player, I think we will have some choices in this emerging market:

  • available in the US late 2014, street price expected to be $400 US
  • plays up to 24 bit, 192k FLAC and other formats
  • 64gb on-board memory + card slot for swapping 64gb cards (128gb cards coming soon)
  • runs a proprietary OS with audio only features. no apps or internet connectivity
  • no wifi or bluetooth. Neil says you can’t take away the wires if you can’t replace what originally went through them 😉

 

There’s two other DAP’s I found on the market in the US, one from a company called Fiio and one from an upscale stereo maker whse name is slipping my mind. But the Fiio one was around the $400 price point and looked to be an impressive device. The other one is high-end all the way, with the player over $1k and even the cables were $100+, so no thanks on that.