DIY Portable Game System

The Mignon Game Kit lets you build your own portable game boy system, with a stunning 7 x 5 pixel resolution. (No, that's not a typo, but those individual red lights look gorgeous!) The kits come with different amounts of components, price EUR 29 – 69 plus shipping (no distribution outside Europe as near as I can tell). Here's where it gets cool: you can hard-wire simple games. And since this device makes sound in the video, it could be used live for chiptune music. (via Pixelsumo)

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Laptop Musicians Do Battle

NPR Morning Edition's David Malakoff yesterday covered the Laptop Battle phenomenon: competitive laptop composition contests that are spreading across North America, thanks to fourthcity's LAPTOPBATTLE.ORG. NPR caught the recent Mid-Atlantic laptop battle. Players are given a time-limit and are actually forbidden from using external controllers. The music must be laptop-only. Then it's a slam — whoever wins over the judges with their musical mastery and energy wins. So, how can you get on the action? April 1 (Friday!) is the next contest in Seattle. (Any Seattle readers? Hit comments and let us know if you make it!) And the contest …

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ThinAmp Portable Amp Fits in Laptop Bag

The ThinAmp from AXL, introduced in January at NAMM, is a portable amp packed into the size of a laptop: only 2" thick and just 5 lbs. (!) You can literally fit it into a laptop bag — in fact, you can probably fit it and your laptop into a laptop bag. The amp is geared at guitarists, but Synthtopia reviews it and finds it suitable for laptop, too. Of course, you can't expect a whole lot of sound out of a 2" amp; while it has EQ and DSP presets for reverb, vibrato, flanger, chorus, and the like, the …

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R4 Ships, DAT Dies

DAT tape is as over as eight track cassette. Edirol is shipping its R4 portable digital recorder. What's not to love? 40GB HD, 24-bit/96kHz (though we'll stick with 16-bit and 44.1 / 48, thank you), 4-channel recording, and even onboard effects and wave editor. Connect it via USB 2.0 to your computer and download files, or even swap them on CompactFlash. It even sync to cameras for video production, and now supports Broadcast WAV (BWF), which I hear means something to video people, even if it means squat to the rest of us. And, of course, the whole package is …

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R1: Tricked-out Portable Recording

If you're lucky, your portable audio player has some lousy recording capabilities. Or it may have none at all. So many people resort to MiniDisc recorders, which are decent, but employ lossy compression — and do you really want to be swapping tapes and manually copying to your computer in the year 2005? Edirol's R1 is the answer to all this nonsense: Portable 24-bit recorder Use built-in mic (sounds surprisingly good, actually), or mic or line input Built-in effects, tuner, metronome, and mic simulation Record to CompactFlash Connect via USB 2.0 (or S/PDIF out) The only bad news is recording …

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Wear your Shuffle on your Shirt

PodBrix, who brought us the "Lego" Steve Jobs keynote playset, now have the world's geekiest way of toting around your iPod Shuffle. The Brixwear 1000, due to go on sale at 9 PM Eastern time Monday 3/21, uses a magnetic clasp to keep your Shuffle on your chest and not on the sidewalk. US$28.99, and yes, we expect them to sell out. Still not satisfied? Pressure Drop's Deco Dock is also $28.99 (actually, $24.99 pre-order) and looks like it escaped from the Joker's lair. Batman-style Art Deco? Priceless. Even if Gizmodo's Joel doesn't like it.

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Portable Turntable and Other Retro Electronics

Ektopia points to an obsessive Japanese database of product designs, with extensive audio gear. Plenty to satisfy your fetish for metal and knobs, but most intriguing is the Sony Flamingo portable record player. No, not a CD walkman — think the turntable equivalent. Bet that worked really well. eBay?

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Echo Goes FireWire: AudioFire

Long known for its PCI and CardBus audio interfaces, Echo Audio has finally made the leap to FireWire with the AudioFire 8 and 12. Rather than put ourselves to sleep with more specs in this already-crowded category, what makes it cool: Looks: It's really, really pretty in its aluminum case Psychic powers: 2 inputs are auto-sensing universal inputs — they 'know' whether that's a mic, guitar, or line in Brains: 1.6 gigaflop DSP for digital mixing, extremely low latency hardware monitoring and drivers I/O: Nothing left out here — two FireWire, onboard MIDI, 24-bit 96 Khz with full-duplex 10/10 And …

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PowerBook G5: Snowball’s Chance?

Those of you looking for better laptop performance on the Mac, don't expect it to come in the form of a PowerBook G5. AppleInsider reports in its conference call notes that Apple's CFO calls it "the mother of all thermal challenges." That statement has plenty of precedent, as Apple has cautioned impatient Mac laptop fans that G5 PowerBooks are unlikely before, as noted by Macworld UK. So, while Apple is very competitive with its desktop G5 products, does this mean the Mac will still continue to lag somewhat in digital audio laptop performance? Not necessarily: relief could come in the …

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Multiplayer Wireless Music and the Nintendo DS

Band Brothers, a Japanese launch title for the new Nintendo DS, looks like just another music game. Press the button for your 'instrument' at the right time, a la a game of Simon, and try to keep in rhythm. What makes Band Brothers unique is its wireless multiplayer, which allows your DS-owning friends (all your friends DO have DS, right?) to get together for a big wireless jam session. (See a very amusingly formal demo by Nintendo's execs below.) IGN Reviews Band Brothers (Japan release) Video of multiplayer 'music-making' Why not blur the line more between gaming and music? Read …

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