Today marks the 10-year birthday of today’s digital audio standard - MPEG Audio Layer-3. 40 engineers from Fraunhofer IIS in Germany started work in 1992 to create a compressible format of digital audio. On July 14th, 1995, the .mp3 extension was born. Happy Birthday MP3 - we don’t know what life would be like with out you.
We’ve reported on many gadgets that allow you to play your MP3’s through your car stereo, but now there’s a car stereo that allows you to plug in either a USB memory stick or SD card directly into the stereo itself, cutting out the need for any adapters. The stereo will also play CD’s and CD-R’s, meaning pretty much all your musical media will be accommodated. It’s only available in the U.K. right now, retailing for about £150 (approx. $260 USD), but I’d expect to see other companies follow in these steps sometime soon.
Read More | Dr. Gadget
This is a pretty awesome project involving some electronics and a musical instrument. The guitar player is composed of two mechanical systems that interact to play a range of 29 musical notes. A plucking mechanism with six independently controlled picks is mounted over the body of the guitar and a fingering mechanism with an array of 23 fingertips is mounted over the first four frets of the fingerboard.
Read More | Crazy J Guitar Playing Machine
One of Gear Live’s favorite audio manufacturers, Denon, has released their new S301 and S101 high end audio receivers. Both of them have the much requested feature of including a true iPod dock. You can plug your iPod into the system and control it fully though the remote control. Now like most Denon equipment, this blend of great audio and stunning functionality won’t come cheap - $999 for the ‘low end’ S-101 and the S-301 commands a $1599 price tag. The perfect solution for the bleeding edge early adopter.
Read More | Playlist Magazine
Using data from Alexa, senior analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray announced that his findings where somewhat unsurprising when calculated out to a “web traffic report card” style examination of the top four legal music download sites. Apple’s iTunes got an “A” rating after a healthy 11% increase in web traffic and an 11% increase in reach. Napster came in second, also with an “A” rating.
“We believe that Apple.com is the clear winner in our second grade report on the audio download industry,” Munster concluded. “Apple has the highest web traffic rank (64) of the four and also has seen the most increase in web traffic rank and reach over the past 3 months.”
Do note that Alexa rankings do not include any Mac users - they are tabulated only from people using Internet Explorer with the Alexa Toolbar installed.
Read More | iPodLounge.com
AppleInsider is reporting that the phone pictured could be the Motorola iTunes phone that we told you about here. While it hasn’t been confirmed to be the phone in question, reliable sources have confirmed the mostly-unedited image did originate from Motorola company documents dated this month. Black is the last color in the world I would have expected for something bearing the Apple name, and it does seem a bit bulky, but it may just be a mock up and not resemble the final product at all. Only time will tell, and hopefully July 7th will give us a better picture, if not sooner.
Read More |AppleInsider
Although there has been a lot of debate about whether or not the Motorola iTunes phone would ever see the light of day, it now seems that we are closer to an actual ship date. Mark Sue, an analyst with RBC Markets, claims that “Motorola’s iTunes phones are now ready to ship according to our sources, with Apple working out the final details with Cingular for revenue sharing.” This could just be more speculation about the first iTunes phone, but Sue believes that Motorola ended last quarter on a high note (due in part to the fact that 3.5 million RAZR phones have been sold) and that releasing the new phone could only continue to raise Motorola’s sales as the next quarter passes.
Read More | GigaOm
Meet the VR3 MP3 FM Modulator. While there are quite a few FM transmitters on the market today, the VR3 has the ability to turn any flash drive into an audio player. Simply load your flash with as many songs as you can, plug it into the VR3, then plug the VR3 into your cars’ cigarette lighter port and listen to your favorite songs on any FM frequency you desire. It also has an audio-in jack if you feel the need to listen to DVD’s, CD’s, or any other audio players while you’re on the open road. A similar model came out last year in Japan that sold for $115, but you can get this model for only $30 and finally have a use for those extra flash drives you’ve got lying around collecting dust.
Read More | engadget
An online research company called Entertainment Media Research has recently released the 2006 Digital Music Survey. The survey, using information collected from 4,000 people, says that 35% of consumers now download tracks legally thru the Internet. They estimate the number will continue to climb and eventually surpass the 40% who continue to obtain music illegally online. The main reasons cited for using legal downloads were fear of prosecution, viruses, and low quality.
Read More | Reuters
Panasonic just went retro on us and announced their very first car deck that includes a tube amplifier! The Panasonic CQ-TX5500D features dual tube amps to give that old fashioned warm sounding sound stage. The CD deck can read CD-R and CD-RW discs and play MP3’s. Now I realize that true audiophiles really like tube amps and think they offer the cleanest warmest sound (and I have to agree) but can anyone figure out why you would care when you are listening to digital audio with it? If you are listening to an MP3 that’s been compressed to begin with why would you care about how natural sounding the amp is? Well if you do care you can pick one up later this year for a little under a grand and be the first guy on your block with this awesome looking deck.
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