Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!

Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "music"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Speakers So Good You Need Gloves To Set Them Up

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:00 PM

"To say the Klipsch G-17 Air exceeded our usual expectations of an Airplay-enabled speaker would simply be an understatement -- it's clear that the folks at the company put a great deal of work into what was merely a concept on the CES floor nearly eight month's ago. The speaker itself is built like a (glossy) rock, and the sound that comes through is as solid as the foundation."

As you probably know, AirplayAirPlay allows you to play media from your iOS device-such as an iPod, iPhone or iPad-and stream it wirelessly to another device, such as a set of speakers, TVs and audio/video receivers (assuming the are properly configured, of course). AirPlay speakers are starting to proliferate, and the promise of wireless connections seems enticing. Klipsch is a well-known and respected speaker manufacturer. I have a set of their desktop speakers myself, and I can attest that they are excellent. So, I was certainly curious when I saw this review by Engadget on the new Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air soundbar.

In a somewhat tantalizing move, when you open the box to take out your new speaker you are first presented with a set of white gloves to assist in your work. According to Engadget this is no gimmick as the glossy fit and finish of these stellar speakers lends itself to a respectful handling that results in a delightful listening experience. Engadget walks us through the setup, configuration, and sound tests that shaped their evaluation. Be careful though - only proceed to the Read link if you plan to spend $600 today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Online Music Stores Compared

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 PM

"Each music store is a little different. This showdown is all about the music stores that these companies offer-not their respective players, applications, or services. We can't help but mention them in terms of usability and integration with the store and the user experience, but we're going to try and focus on the features of the stores and steer clear of the bugs or quirks of each player."

Online music stores have garnered attention of late for a number reasons, including the recent launch of the new Google music store. Lifehacker has done another nice job comparing products, this time focusing primarily on the iTunes store, the new Google store and the Amazon music store offerings. If you are outside of the US you may not even have access to all of these stores and their related services, but the review is still useful as you get a feel for what the offerings encompass, and in the future you may indeed get to use them. There is something unique, positive, and negative about each store. The Read link will provide that insight for you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM

Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Sweet Sound of Quality: Win a Set of $399 Audioengine A5+ Speakers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 09:00 AM

I may be selling these sites and working full time for HTC now, but who says I can't have a little more fun giving away a great prize before I go? Last week I posted about the new Audioengine A5+ powered desktop speakers; the generous folks at Audioengine have offered up a set of these new speakers for a contest. With dual inputs (3.5mm and RCA, the latter of which is easily converted to an addition 3.5mm input with a cable) and a USB charging port, the A5+ speakers are a great companion to an endless variety of devices: desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and yes, even the humble Zune. Ringing in at $399 USD, these are high-quality speakers that I guarantee will blow you away.

How do you win this contest? Simply post a comment to this discussion thread (one entry per person) telling me what your current audio solution for speakers is and how the Audioengine A5+ speakers will be better. One winner will be randomly selected from amongst all the entries and they'll get to chose either a set of black or white A5+ speakers. Due to the size and weight of this prize, it will only be shipped within the continental USA. The contest will remain open until Friday the 28th at 12 PM mountain time (GMT -7).

Best of luck everyone, and I look forward to reading some interesting entries. :-)

UPDATE: The contest is now over, and the winner is ITforSmallBiz. Thanks to everyone for entering!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pogoplug Mobile Offers Anywhere-You-Go Streaming

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

"Looking for a drop-dead simple solution for streaming media (photos, music, video) and accessing files from home on your smartphone or tablet? Or how about backing up your smartphone's recently taken photos and video? Well, Pogoplug's new $79 Pogoplug Mobile product offers to do just that."

There's definitely something very appealing about having access to all of your music, videos, and photos anywhere you go. I've solve this by by uploading every photo I've ever taken to Smugmug, every song I have to Amazon's Cloud Drive, and videos...well, I don't have a good solution for that yet. I can access them remotely via my Windows Home Server, but only when that works (the last time it didn't). This is rather appealing, especially given the $79 price point. What solution do you use for everywhere-you-go media access?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

(Re)Discovering Music - A Guide For Today's Options

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"Luckily internet services abound for discovering, trying, and buying new music. Unfortunately, your choices can be a little overwhelming, not all tools fit your needs, and few of them actually integrate with one another. Here's how to work new music into your life in a post-MP3 age, from discovering it to integrating it into your library."

Discovering new music and artists is one of the real joys of life. If you're like me, you may get frustrated from time to time when you hear a song while driving, working, or otherwise focusing on an activity that is not the music itself and wonder who the artist is and what the name of the song is. Often, before you figure it out, it's gone. You may also be spending some time exploring music on the web or on conventional radio or satellite radio, and find that it's a tedious, non-scientific, endeavor. Fortunately, with a little planning and experience, you can leverage all kinds of music resources, tools, and repositories, and experience that wonderful feeling of finding a great song. Lifehacker has put together a three-step process for effectively exploring the world for music using present-day options: discovering music you like, on-demand streaming, and buying. If music is a big part of your life, read this posting and take advantage of the options available to us these days.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lifehacker Compares Cloud Music Services

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:00 AM

"Having to sync all your music between devices is annoying. Luckily a number of cloud music services allow you to stream your music to nearly everything—laptops, tablets, smartphones—with minimal effort or tech know-how. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on your needs; here's how to figure out which one's best for you."

Lifehacker takes a good look at the various cloud music services out there, and has a pretty balanced write-up on each of them. I do wonder, with data plans becoming more restricted in the US, and with most of the services aimed at the US market, would anyone really want to stream their music to their phones instead of just storing it on them?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

IK Multimedia's Amazing Music Tools for Your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Accessories" @ 11:30 AM

For some of you, none of this will be new - but if you're like me and hadn't heard of these impressive products before now, check out these videos...

There are three products that are particularly exciting for musicians/vocalists who own an iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch: the iRig Mic, the iRig, and the iKlip. They also have some impressive software that goes along with these products. Any Laptop Thoughts or Apple Thoughts readers using this hardware or software? What do you think of it? I play bass guitar and sing, but no longer have an amp in my the idea of being able to plug into my iPad and play is really appealing, not to mention being able to lay down a vocal track if inspiration hits!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ever Wonder How To Better Manage Your Music Collection?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"This question is a little like the onsite backup one we answered last week, and what methods you can use depend on how simple, expensive, and extensible you want your centralized music collection to be. Clearly, there are a ton of ways to tackle this problem, and this answer does not aim to be comprehensive. Rather, we're just throwing a few ideas out there that newbies to networked music sharing should investigate further."

"Ah", you are thinking. Finally. The answer to that pesky problem you have been dealing with for the last five years. Unfortunately, you may not be happy to hear that we don't have the definitive answer. What we do have is the observation that the options for you are ever expanding. Ars Technica was recently posed the question "How can I liberate my music collection from my single PC, store it somewhere central on my LAN, and access it from multiple locations?", and in their response they listed a least a half a dozen options. The comments on their article listed more. There is certainly no consensus on how to address this common need, primarily because each potential solution has some limitation or lack of flexibility that people wish was included.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Music From The Clouds For The Digital Home

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:44 PM

"Amazon has just pushed out its very own music streaming service, which is conveniently dubbed the Amazon Cloud Player."

Every digital home needs music that streams from the cloud. Luckily for you, Amazon has just introduced Cloud Player for web and Android. Cloud player utilizes Amazon's Cloud Drive online storage to stream your uploaded music or those purchased from the Amazon MP3 store from the cloud to any connected computer or Android device. Users are given 5GB for free with the possibility of up to 20GB based on album purchases. Additional paid plans are also available for those with big music libraries.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Altec Lansing InMotion Air Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"Every year the gadget world is swamped by new buzz words, technological breakthroughs or product types that we simply must buy into. For music fans the must-have gadget is a dock and the buzz word it must now have is 'AirPlay' - Apple's wireless streaming connectivity capable of supporting lossless audio. So can we take a wireless speaker with none of this functionality seriously? Actually yes..."

Bluetooth-based speakers tend to be more on the "suck" side of the spectrum than the "awesome" side, but it seems Altec Lansing has pulled a rabbit out of their hat here and delivered a system that actually allows Bluetooth-transmitted audio to sound good. Go figure! If you've got a Bluetooth device and want to listen to music without having to connect it to a speaker dock, this looks like a good solution.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sonos Controller For Android Released

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:30 AM

"You can exhale Sonos fans, it's finally happening. The Sonos Controller for Android is official. After almost a year in development, the free WiFi music remote finally gives Sonos owners control over their whole-home audio system from any Android 2.1 and above device with a screen size of HVGA 320 x 480, WVGA 480 x 800 or WVGA 480 x 854."

If you've made the rather hefty investment in a Sonos music system (reviewed here), and you have an Android phone, this is a clever way to maximize the functionality of that system. You might not have a Sonos remote handy, but if your phone is nearby, you have an even better tool for controlling music all around your house. I really like the Sonos system, but it seems so expensive to me so I've never made the jump. Any Sonos owners out there that feel the investment is justified?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Field of Streams: Ranking the Best Streaming Music Services

Posted by Todd Klein in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"The era of listening to any song, at any moment, in any location is fast approaching. While we're not quite there yet, a handful of on-demand music services have come close."

Gizmodo has done some heavy lifting sifting through various streaming music services. After narrowing the list down to 4, they rank Grooveshark, MOG, Rdio, and Rhapsody along a continuum that includes features, catalogue size, monthly service cost, and the breadth of devices the service can be played on.

Based on their rankings, relative upstarts MOG and Rdio seem to have overtaken industry stalwart Rhapsody despite the latter's longevity (still barely passable Chrome functionality, really?). All of these have yet to carve out profitable niches, and still must compete against personalized radio services like Pandora. That said, the true winner is a service you can't get in the US. Spotify is touted by industry pundits as the best streaming service not available in America. Why? No deals with the labels. Someday, all of this will integrate with each of our devices wherever we are. Until then, we're on our own to create an individualized music experience.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are We All Digitally OCD Now?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:30 PM,00.html

"We are all OCD now. We do these things not just because digital filing gives us the satisfaction of cleaning without the unpleasant feeling of getting up from our chairs. It's because we're constantly confronting the onslaught of information, and our brains are trying to make patterns out of the randomness. We believe that if we just finish a list of every movie we want to see, we can finish that task, despite the fact that Rob Schneider is going to make more films."

Photo Credit: Gizmodo

This is a humour column, but there's some truth to the idea that sometimes we spend more time organizing and fretting away over the details of our digital collections than actually enjoying them. However, unlike the author of this column, I've always been detail-oriented and I appreciate creating digital order from digital's almost soothing to me to see things organized properly. I don't think I could ever embrace digital chaos the way the author is suggesting - could you?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did Digital Kill the Radio Star?

Posted by Todd Klein in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:00 AM

"The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a trade group based in London, said last week that sales of music in digital form had risen only 6 percent worldwide in 2010, even as the overall music market had shrunk 8 percent or 9 percent, extending a decade-long decline. In each of the past two years, the rate of increase in digital revenue has approximately halved. If that trend continues, digital sales could top out at less than $5 billion this year, about a third of the overall music market but many billions of dollars short of the amount needed to replace long-gone sales of compact discs. “Music’s first digital decade is behind us and what do we have?” said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Not a lot of progress. We are at one of the most worrying stages yet for the industry,” he continued. “As things stand now, digital music has failed.”

The New York Times reports this astonishing indictment of an industry that's produced iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Lastfm and several other services with millions of engaged worldwide users. Yes, digital killed the CD business by undbundling songs from albums, and by extension struck a fatal blow to bricks and mortar music retailers. Yes, piracy is a problem that must be managed if artists are to be supported. But to declare that an entirely new medium, digital delivery of music, has failed because the established players have suffered economically while consumers have experienced a technology tsunami of music discovery, sharing, choice, and purchasing models seems to put the cart before the horse.

Tell me, has digital killed your music experience?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nokia Shuts Down "Ovi", Music Streaming Service, in 27 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Competition" @ 04:06 PM

"Nokia Corp. has announced it will be shutting down its Ovi Music unlimited subscription service in 27 countries. The service - similar to Microsoft Corp.'s Zune Pass - allowed people to pay a set fee to access as much music as they wanted, legally and conveniently. Originally launched with much fanfare in Britain in late 2008, and seen as a major threat to the iTunes dominated market with Nokia securing all four major music publishes [sic], it has seen a sad decline in most markets."

Subscription music is a hard sell, so it's not surprising to see Nokia giving up on it - I have to commend them on getting it all up and running in so many countries in the first's something Microsoft hasn't been able to do with Zune as of yet. Hell, I can't even buy music from the Zune Marketplace in Canada, let alone have a Zune Pass subscription. A key problem with Nokia's Ovi approach was that it locked the music to the handset - I don't think there was a way to get it onto the user's computer. The concept of subscription music is also hard for people to wrap their heads around, even though it's similar to a cable TV subscription.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sony Wants to Satisfy Your Qriosity

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 PM

"The service, called "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," will initially be available in the U.K. and Ireland, but Sony plans to expand it to more countries in 2011. It expects to add at least Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and the U.S. next year."

Look out Pandora! Watch out! Sony is coming for you! Well, maybe. Qriosity is a new service to be offered by Sony that offers music streaming. Supported on various Sony (Surprised?) devices, it looks like it will offer music not just from Sony, but several other record companies. Aside from the obvious vendor lock-in and lack of ability to save your music for offline listening, one thing that is not mentioned is whether the service offers automatic playlist generation.

I believe that one of the reasons why Pandora and are so popular is because they make customized stations to listen to catered to your own tastes. If Qriosity does not include that, it will be a serious advantage for its competitors. Access to over 6 million songs is great, but without any way to organize and listen to what you want in that 6 million can become quite a challenge.

Of course, that does remind me of the hours, or even days, I would spend as a teenager making mix-tapes. I guess those days are largely gone and we have decided to let technology do our mixing for us.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roxio Creator 2011: A Suite 3D Solution

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Digital Home Software" @ 02:00 PM

Product Category: Video, Graphics, Photo & Music Software
Manufacturer: Roxio
Where to Buy: [Affiliate]
Price: $82.98 USD
System Requirements (Minimum):Microsoft® 7 (32- or 64-bit), Windows VistaTM SP2 (32- or 64-bit), Windows® XP SP3 (32-bit), Windows®XP SP2 (64-bit), Intel® 1.6GHz Pentium 4 processor or AMD equivalent, 512MB RAM for windows XP and 1GB RAM for Windows Vista and Windows 7, 1024x768 DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card with at least 16-bit color setting, sound card, DVD-ROM drive, Hard drive with at least 3GB free space for the installation process.
Specifications: External Link


  • Fun, quick, and easy;
  • Huge, capable, fully loaded suite;
  • Learning Center.


  • 3D features won't please everyone;
  • Not all applications in the suite have been improved;
  • Retail price double that of iLife.

Summary:There is a third dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and between Roxio Creator 2010 and 2012 - which indecently is Roxio Creator 2011. I have taken some liberties with Rod Sterling's famous words (see The Twilight Zone), and Roxio has taken some liberties with the notion that two dimensions can be converted into three. But really, how cool would it be to do just that - convert your 2D photos and video into 3D? I put on the included 3D glasses and took a look for myself. Spoiler alert - it's pretty cool! Read more...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Music Metadata: It's Here to Stay

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 01:00 PM

On a private mailing list I'm a part of, the issue of music metadata was brought up - specifically, that the Zune desktop and device software relies on metadata for everything, and if you're the kind of person who has a collection of digital music stretching back 10+ years, there's a good chance it's missing proper metadata. Many people have worked around that by organizing and playing back their music like they would a Word document; via the file system. This is a habit that you should seriously consider breaking, and I'll tell you why. Read more...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bing Spring 2010 Update: New Features Galore

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 02:30 PM

"Moving to the updated Bing web site, we see the biggest changes. And the most important of these, I think, is a rethinking of the overall Bing user experience, with Microsoft moving to more of a dialog-driven model. (Where "dialog" here means a conversation with the user, not a PC-type dialog window.) The impetus for this was the way the Bing user interface had evolved and become somewhat cluttered over the past year, with the left column, or "rail" in Bing-speak, losing its focus and becoming, on many pages, too long to be useful. (Microsoft has found that once the navigational pane extends past the "fold," or the bottom of the initial screen height, that many users simply stop paying attention.)"

The new Bing update is out, there's lots to like - of particular interest is the entertainment/media options. When you look up an artist and flip over to the music tab, you'll have an option to hear a full version of the track - as in, the entire song, once - after that, you'll get a 30 second preview. Zune Pass subscribers will get to hear the whole song as many times as they want. I haven't been able to see/test this feature, even when I manually go to the US version of Bing. Anyone else had any luck with this?

Featured Product

The Canon PowerShot S100 - The incredibly fun and small camera that offers you 12.1 megapixels with a bright f/2.0 lens and full 1080p video recording . MORE INFO

News Tip or Feedback?

Contact us

Thoughts Media Sites

Windows Phone Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts

Zune Thoughts

Apple Thoughts

Laptop Thoughts

Android Thoughts

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...