This cable could let you take all your music gear mobile

It’s about time to solve this power problem on music gear once and for all. Here’s the thing: USB has quietly simplified powering everything else. Look at your phone. Now, a USB cable not only means you can charge from your laptop, but also various travel adapters – and, crucially, from battery power. With mobile batteries getting steadily better, that’s huge. You can just pack a battery and not worry about finding a wall socket, for hours or (with high capacities) even days. And those batteries are getting better as products, too – you can buy some nice looking, nicely …


You Want to Stare into Schneider’s Giant Rotating Eurorack Modular [Video]

Round and round and round it goes… It’s the motorized rotating pillar of Eurorack modular synthesizers from Berlin’s Schneidersladen, which served this evening as backdrop to an excellent workshop from the boys of Bastl Instruments of the Czech Republic. And, well, we’re not sure what happens to your brain if you keep watching this. Here, seen at twelve times normal rotation speed, thanks to Hyperlapse and my iPhone. This being Berlin, you can get this and falafel within a fairly short walk. Follow the Schneiders blog here: http://www.schneidersbuero.de


MIDI and Audio Over iOS Cable: Here’s How, Available Now

We’ve seen the future, and it’s … back to wires. First, we saw midimux connect any MIDI app or hardware on your iOS device to any MIDI software or hardware connected to your Mac. Plus in a 30-pin or Lightning cable, run some software on each end, and connect anything. Then, we saw the promise of audiomux – doing the same thing for audio streams. Now, audiomux is available on the App Store, not only individually, but as a bundle with midimux. (The developers initially asked midimux users to wait while that bundle became available, to avoid overspending.) And, as …

One hole that should stick around. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook.

No, Apple Should Not Eliminate the Headphone Jack

Is Apple coming for your headphone jack? It’s a question I’d seen bouncing about publicly. Now, Macworld’s Marco Tabini goes as far as suggesting that the end of the analog headphone jack is a likelihood, and even “might be a positive change.” Hit the road, jack: Why Apple may say goodbye to the headphone plug [Macworld.com] See also Forbes’ Gordon Kelly, though that story isn’t as balanced as Tabini’s, and gets muddled on the subject of “digital” outputs and “exceedingly high lossless” output – whatever that means. The difference in output is 48KHz instead of 44.1KHz, which amounts to very …


25FPSFTW: Small Cheap PAL Security Cameras Now Available on DealExtreme

My favorite purveyors of cheap stuff have finally added a sub-$15 PAL video camera (NTSC version) to their inventory. 25FPSers rejoice! This seems to be the same or very similar model to the cameras I’ve been using for my various Vixid experiments, and as the core of the Herovision setup. The quality of these can be a bit varied. They have a tendency to change colour temperature as they “warm up”, and of the 16 I bought (from a different supplier), 2-3 had problems with colour, exposure or contrast. We managed to kill another couple over the course of putting …


Cheap Live Video: 16 CMOS Security Cameras Arrive from Hong Kong

We covered a source for cheap visualist miscellany last week. It included cheap NTSC CMOS cameras, but unfortunately DealExtreme doesn’t seem to stock much PAL gear. I had gone looking and placed an order with another site, but didn’t want to recommend it until that order had arrived intact. That order has arrived intact. The source for these cameras is DHGate, which is a “marketplace” rather than a direct merchant. DHGate provide a database of products and act as an escrow for payment, it feels a little like eBay. Terms are set by the individual seller, so it’s not a …


Visualist Touring Kit: Gear and Organization Overview Video from Deepvisual

UK touring visualist Deepvisual (who is currently kicking around the UK with The Orb) has posted a 3-minute overview into his touring rig. There’s a lot of great tips packed in to 3 minutes of video, so pay attention. I wish someone had told me “take some chocks along to help angle your projectors” before I wasted countless hours over the last year searching around various venues for scraps of wood. I swear by baluns, which allow me to use readily-replacable CAT5 cable for video runs. Also an inexpensive power inverter is a great addition, to keep your laptop, mp3 …


Cheap, Cheerful, Chinese: Bits and Pieces Delivered for Not Much Money

As a visualist I have an incessant appetite for gear. The inaugural Plug N Play Brisbane on Tuesday reminded me that it doesn’t have to be this way, however. While I rocked up with bags and boxes of computers, cables, cameras, controllers and hardware, others arrived with a single laptop, and of course were able to put equally compelling material on the screen. Or, to be perfectly honest – more-compelling material, as I struggled to remember which icons were required to get 3L‘s automation chains working. Debilitating addictions aside; everyone present was interested in my source for cheap security cameras, …


CME: Plug Mics, Guitars, MIDI Directly into USB

Manufacturers have attempted to make USB connections for audio and MIDI more transparent before. We’ve seen mics with USB cords instead of XLR, and USB cables with little humps in the middle with built-in circuitry for MIDI connections. But new cables announced this week by Chinese manufacturer CME go further: a USB/MIDI cable that’s as thin as a standard USB connection, a USB mic interface with integrated +48V phantom power, and a guitar/bass/keyboard USB interface.


Better quality projection over longer wires: S-Video to CAT5 Baluns

Over the course of a conversation with Peter I became aware that he was oblivious to the existence of video baluns. This made me wonder, how many other VJs are going through life as he is: Anxious and empty, unsure whether the venue he’s playing at will be able to do justice to the imagery he creates, or if they’ll push his feed through some kind of horrible, unshielded composite cable which has been draped over hot lights and snacked on by rats since the last refit in 1982. There’s no shame in this, I too was living under this …