ExpressCard FireWire that Actually Works for Audio?

ExpressCard slots on new Mac and PC notebooks look tantalizing, but buyer beware: adding FireWire audio can be perilous. Multichannel FireWire interfaces work beautifully with the proper drivers and controller, but get some element of that equation wrong, and you may find your high-end interface is rendered unusable (think glitches and dropouts). The chipset in the controller and in the laptop can have an impact, but having a TI (Texas Instruments) controller in your ExpressCard seems to be a good start. Speaking of Rain Recording, Rain is about the only vendor I’ve found that offers a 2-port FireWire ExpressCard known …

READ MORE →

XLR to USB: CEntrance MicPort Pro Reviews

Unintentional CEntrance logo on whiteboard. Photo: Tsega Dinka. Blue Mic’s new Icicle and subsequent discussion of alternatives like CEntrance’s MicPort Pro has generated some interest and chatter. Matej Isak sends over a review he did of the MicPort Pro: CEntrance MicPort Pro review [Mono & Stereo] CEntrance links to some other good reviews online on their product page. Highlights: Craig Anderton writes a detailed review for Harmony Central and in March did a short round-up of “fun stuff to plug into your USB bus.” Steve Fortner at Keyboard is quite fond of the thing. MusicTech gives it a perfect score, …

READ MORE →

XLR to USB Adapters: Better Options than the Blue Icicle?

I’ve personally always been happy carrying around any one of a number of portable USB/FireWire audio interfaces. But as readers pointed out following Blue’s announcement of the Icicle yesterday, various solutions have offered direct mic – to – USB hardware with preamps for connecting a single mic to a single USB port. And several tech blogs picked up on the Icicle announcement, so clearly there’s a need for someone. The major oversight of the Blue Icicle is that (as near as I can tell) it doesn’t have a headphone jack. Result: the only way to monitor the microphone would be …

READ MORE →

Blue’s Icicle: Plug XLR Mics Straight to USB

Ever wished you could take any mic you wanted and plug it directly into your computer? With Apple nixing FireWire and the whole size issue, it’s not quite practical to expect an XLR jack on your computer. You could use a USB mic, but they’re useless in other situations. Blue Microphones has a new product called the Icicle, which is a small, pen-sized gadget that has XLR on one end, USB on the other end, and a preamp and a converter in the middle. Price: US$59.99. No drivers required.

READ MORE →

MacBook, PC Notebook with No Analog Output? Tested Solutions

So, you’ve got a shiny new MacBook / MacBook Pro — or any number of newer PC notebooks — and suddenly you realize you have no analog video output. Sure, you might be happy to output to VGA/DVI or even HDMI when you can, but for those Special Moments when that isn’t possible and you need to go a bit oldschool, you need a solution. Short of a pricey scan converter (see extended discussion on our last post on this topic), what to do? There’s been plenty of discussion about these questions over on the Apple support forums: Mini DisplayPort …

READ MORE →

Did Apple Just Eliminate All S-Video, Composite Video Output?

It appears that, with the shift to the DisplayPort, Apple has eliminated adapter accessories for S-Video and composite video output. We’ll need to properly confirm this, but of course, you will want a way of being able to do this for maximum flexibility on the road. DIY solutions, anyone? DisplayPort does have the ability to pass through analog signals, so there’s no reason, in theory, this shouldn’t be possible, as far as I know. And you should be able to use an adapter that translates VGA to S-Video / composite. (Apple DOES offer a VGA output adapter for the new …

READ MORE →

Crazy Idea Watch: A Guitar Player’s Stand for iPhone Tablature

Brian Kane sends along this whimsical proposal for iPhone/iPod Touch users reading tab. "It’s a portable practice device, also suitable for performance," says Kane of his concept. It’s like a harmonica holster, but for your tab. Attach this to yourself, pull up tab of a song, and fake your way through any tune you like. (Brian also suggested "Practice anywhere; get laid quicker." I’ll leave that to you to determine.) No, you can’t buy this yet. But never say never. It’s certainly not the strangest idea for an Apple accessory I’ve ever seen. Study for musical assistive device [at Brian’s …

READ MORE →

Less is More: 35mm Adapters on Prolost

Prolost has some interesting discussion of 35mm DV Adapters, prompted by the release of a new option: the G35. Some of the most cinematic digital images I’ve seen lately have not been from a Panavision Genesis or a Dalsa Origin, but rather from a Panasonic DVX100a equipped with a device that would have engineers screaming in protest — a lens adapter that allows 35mm SLR lenses to be mounted on a DV camera. The lenses make an image on a VistaVision-sized vibrating groundglass upon which your DVX’s lens is focussed. The result is the kind of shallow depth of field …

READ MORE →

Visualist Couture: SCART Shirt

SCART doesn’t seem to be utilized widely in Australia. I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but in Europe it’s the king of interconnects. Maybe that’s the reason that Spreadshirt don’t ship to Australia (or the US), they think that because our cultures haven’t embraced SCART we just won’t get their cool iconography. Well I’ve got news for you Spreadshirt. SCART is underground in the southern hemisphere. You start shipping down to us and you’ll be streetwear before you know it. European readers: You should buy this shirt, because I can’t. via qbus

READ MORE →