iHome FIT Sport Ear Buds – Review

On July 9, 2014, in Features, Review, by Vicki Stokes

iHome FIT Sport Ear Buds
Company: iHome
Price: $24.99

iHomeFIT

The iHome Fitness Innovation Technology, FIT, is a line of audio products for active use or while lounging on your sofa. The iB11 2-in-1 sport ear buds that I reviewed are on the lower end of the line which made me curious about the higher end ear buds.

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Recording your Mac’s voice

On January 7, 2014, in Features, How-To, Mac, Mac OS X, by Guy Serle

Jerad

Apple doesn’t always make things easy. Especially when it comes to audio. However with a little bit of searching, you might find that all the tools you may need are right at hand and totally free. A free Apple solution? Say it ain’t so!

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JBL Flip – Review

On May 1, 2013, in Review, by Asher Weisberger

JBL Flip-Review
Company: JBL
Price: $99.95

JBL has been trying to get into the market of portable wireless speakers with several different types of products. These products include ones like the Micro Wireless and the Flip Wireless Speaker. The JBL Flip gets its name from its unique design to either be set horizontally or vertically in a small package while packing enormous, clear sound.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 6.24.02 PM

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Vienna Symphonic Library’s MIR Pro
Company: Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH

box

Serious music composed and/or played on your computer can still risk sounding squeaky, scrappy… just plain artificial.

MIDI files can be all very well; but there’s a danger that every instrument sounds like a tin bassoon!

Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s) and notation software like Finale and Sibelius have made great progress towards realism in recent years. But they still need to reach into the real acoustic world in two long and deep ways in order to pass muster.

First, they must have credible-sounding professionally-sampled virtual instruments (VI’s). But just as importantly, there must be a sense of acoustic space: reverberation, three-dimensionality, distance from (perceived) source – and, ideally, the very essence of a venue’s “personality”.

Such sampling technologies are areas in which Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) leads the field by a long way. The Austrian company of dedicated musicians and acoustic, technical and audio experts produces MIR Pro – recently upgraded to become, without doubt, the front-runner of a tiny clutch of similar products.

By co-incidence, the MIR Pro range is also on sale for the whole of this month, April 2013.

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The Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder — High Quality Sound On The Go
Company: Olympus
Website: Olympus America
Price: $199.99 USD

For most of us who are fans of iOS devices, the recording features in GarageBand for iOS or the built-in Voice Memos App suits our needs just fine. There are some people for whom the quality of recorded audio needs to be at a level that exceeds the capabilities of your favorite Apple gear. One possible solution lies with the Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM recorder. The quality of recorded audio is beyond CD-quality, all in a portable handheld form factor.

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iStreamer
Company: HRT

Price: $199.99

I must admit it, I am a big cynic. I have seen so many advertising and marketing claims about self-proclaimed great products that turn out to be just outright lies and misrepresentations, I have a hard time believing such pitches any more. So when HRT (High Resolution Technologies, Los Angeles, CA.) talked about their iStreamer at the last Macworld | iWorld conference, I just rolled my eyes in disbelief.

I connect my iPhone and iPodTouch to my rather high-end audio system all the time with a simple headphone jack to RCA stereo cable, and for the most part, it sounds fine. Yet, here was this company telling me that I was not getting the full experience of my music from my iOS device. Really? Just how so? So when I was given the chance to borrow an iStreamer unit and test it, I jumped at the chance. I was ready to prove them wrong.

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Ivory II Grand Pianos Review

On December 15, 2011, in Audio, Music, Review, by Mark Sealey

Ivory II Grand Pianos
North American distributors: 
ILIO
Price: $349 + $49.99 iLok Key from ILIO

Continuing our look at the very best music software, Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), sequencers and samples/Virtual Instruments (VI’s), Synthogy’s Ivory II is found firmly to earn a place at the top of the list.


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Sibelius 7
Review

On October 11, 2011, in Audio, Book Review, Review, by Mark Sealey

Sibelius 7

Sibelius 7

Sibelius 7

Avid (North American distributors)
Price: $599 ($149 upgrade)

Review by Mark Sealey dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

When Sibelius 7 was released recently, its appearance was sufficiently different from that of Sibelius 6 to have thrown some (long-time) users. Avid was criticized on those listservs and forums which do such a sterling job of supporting Sibelius owners and prospective owners. Since so many creative professionals and enthusiasts have so much invested in a piece of software which they use for extended periods each day and to the ways of which their muscle memories had become fully used, change seemed particularly hard.

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Vienna Symphonic Library Solo Strings Review

On August 15, 2011, in Audio, Review, by Mark Sealey
Solo Strings

VSL's Solo Strings

Vienna Symphonic Library Solo Strings Bundle

North American distributors:
ILIOPrice: $660

Virtual Instruments (VIs) allow you to work with lifelike sounds in sequencers and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Apple’s Logic and notation packages like Avid’s Sibelius. (Avid has just announced Sibelius 7: watch for a review here shortly.)

VIs are collections of acoustic/sampled and/or electronically synthesized sounds with varying degrees of realism and flexibility of use. Formerly hardware-based, VIs are now available almost entirely as software. They range from the cheap, barely tolerable and tinny to… well, to those produced and sold by Vienna Instruments.

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Transcribe!
Review

On June 28, 2011, in Audio, Review, Video, by Mark Sealey

Transcribe! 8.1.0
Price: $50 for single users;
contact Seventh String for pro-rated discounts

Transcribe! claims to be the “world’s leading” tool to help musicians extract music from recordings. It can also be used to transcribe speech and even allow musicians to play along. Does British firm, Seventh String, get credit for trying what’s difficult to do well but really end up as little more than an “also ran”? Or do they have a winner that works in almost every way?

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2011-06-16
Mark Sealey
Groove 3
Price: $49.99 for single users; contact Groove 3 for groups specials and (educational) discounts

MIDI Orchestration Explained, using strings

MIDI Orchestration Explained, using strings

Although an older technology and simple in conception, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) can be complicated to implement and make the most of; and particularly challenging to use in effective music making. But the clear explanations and expert perception of Eli Krantzberg and the Groove 3 team are well up to the task of making MIDI orchestration both plainer and pleasurable for users.

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Xsample Chamber Ensemble
Winkler und Stahl GbR
Xsample

Amselweg 6
32756 Detmold
Germany

BestService
Sound on Sound
Price: $738.33

Xsample Chamber Ensemble

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Groove 3
http://www.groove3.com
Price: $39.99 for single users. Contact Groove 3 for groups, specials and (educational) discounts

Although Logic began as music notation software, its Score Editor has recently been overshadowed – outpaced even – by its other features; and outshone by the richer feature set of the dedicated music notation software, Sibelius. We’ve looked previously at Johannes Prischl’s excellent book covering the Score Editor. Now Groove 3 has released an equally useful, well-structured and expertly-written and presented set of nearly 60 video tutorials on the subject.

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Sibelius 6
Review

On April 6, 2011, in Audio, Features, Review, by Mark Sealey

Sibelius 6
CompanyAvid
Price: $599 (Sibelius 6 Educational: $295; upgrade: $169)

 

 

Sibelius 6 from Avid

Sibelius 6 from Avid

 

There are standards, industry standards – and gold standards. Sibelius 6 is all three. It’s certainly the most comprehensive, robust, easy to use, well-designed, flexible, and satisfying score-writing/notation package available for the Mac (or indeed any platform) currently available. Sibelius 6 has several major enhancements: it’s hard to believe it’s even better. But it is.

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Olympus LS-7 PCM Pocket Recorder
Review

On March 15, 2011, in Audio, Digital Recorder, Review, by Mark Sealey

Olympus LS-7 PCM Pocket Recorder
Company: Olympus
Price: $199

Olympus LS-7

If you want more functionality, capacity and quality for your on-the-move sound recordings than are offered by the several (excellent) “memo” systems available on your iPhone, yet do not want to stretch to the hi-fi quality of a unit like the Edirol R-09HR, which is almost in a class of its own, Olympus has a number of offerings. The new LS-7 “Pocket” Linear PCM recorder may well fit the bill.It’s compact, was reliable in testing and has a lot of easy-to-use features, offering better-than-average quality.

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Logic Notation Guide
Book Review

On March 10, 2011, in Book Review, by Mark Sealey

The Logic Notation Guide
By Johannes Prischl
Price: available directly from the publisher
See the pricing page on Johannes Prischl’s site for price structure; usually approximately $50

LNG cover
Apple’s advanced Digital Audio Workstation, Logic, actually began life as software written by C-Lab, Emagic’s forerunner, to enable musicians to use the computer for conventional music notation. Indeed, it was originally called ‘Creator‘, then ‘Notator Logic‘ and now, of course, ‘Logic‘. Along with Logic‘s ‘Environment’ (an immensely powerful way to have elements in the music-making process link together), Logic‘s Score Editor is perhaps the least understood and generally most underused component of the software.

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Toast 11

On March 9, 2011, in Features, First Look, by Mark Sealey
Toast 11 Titanium from Roxio

Toast 11 Titanium from Roxio

Roxio’s Toast began as a simple way to burn optical media, CDs then DVDs; it slowly became the preferred way to do so until Apple built more reliable such functionality into its operating systems. Then, for a number of its iterations, Toast somewhat lost its way; it failed to offer features compelling enough that all but the most demanding (and loyal) users to choose it over Apple’s way of doing things and that of a clutch of decent shareware apps which met most people’s needs. The last two versions of Toast, however, have changed things. Now Toast 11 Titanium introduces a number of new features; and it works in ways that make it once again stand out. Toast 11 includes (from its Extras menu) the other apps, Disc Cover 3 RE, DiscCatalogMaker RE, Get Backup 2 RE, Mac2TiVo and TiVo Transfer and a new version of Spin Doctor (formerly CD Spin Doctor), but not Streamer.

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Ubercaster
Review

On June 13, 2007, in Macintosh, Review, by Guy Serle


Ubercaster V 1.1
Company: Pleasant Software for the People

Price: $79.99
ubercaster.com

I’ve been following Pleasant Software for the People’s (no, I’m not making that name up) Ubercaster with great interest for some time. From the very first, the layout for workflow and the potential for what it could accomplish piqued my curiosity and as the betas flowed forth, I was with them every step of the way. Unfortunately each time I was disappointed by what it was actually able to do. I was greeted with crashes and poor quality recording, along with echos from some of the different inputs. Not much of a recommendation right? Well, I’m singing a different tune with the latest version. Before I go on, I’ll get what the program is out of the way.

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HarmonyAudio
Review Review

On March 6, 2007, in Review, by Guy Serle

HarmonyAudio
Company: Miglia

Price: Varies quite a bit. Not more than $100
http://www.miglia.com/

The Miglia Harmony Audio is a FireWire based audio input device for your computer. It has a very simple design (which is a plus) for recording two devices as long as those devices use 1/4-inch input jacks. It interfaces easily with Apple’s GarageBand and (unlike most USB devices) allows you to have two unique tracks fully editable within that program.

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