Preview: Blue Snowflake, US$79 Portable USB Mic You Can Clip to Your Laptop

Blue’s Snowflake USB claims to be the "first portable USB microphone to hit the market." (I thought they were exaggerating, and then picked up the "USB" bit — okay, fair enough.) It’s just US$79, plug-and-play on Mac and Windows, bus-powered, and comes in a cute case that doubles as a stand or screen clip. Blue’s mics are quite nice — I’m just a little skeptical in terms of how this performs in terms of quality, given its bargain price and small size. Hope to get one of these to try out, and we’ll see. Oh yeah, that and it costs …

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Rolling Your Own Blu-ray Discs: It’s Not Far Off

Photo: Billaday, via Flickr. I think the label says something about Blu-ray being awesome, and don’t stare into the laser, and go buy a PlayStation 3 because you really need one. During the high-definition wars, your feelings about new higher-capacity storage discs may have ranged from ambivalence to dread to simple disinterest. (Well, that’s how I felt, anyway.) But with Blu-ray triumphant comes this realization: "hey, brain, we’ve suddenly got increasingly-affordable ways of burning high-capacity media!" Drive upgrades on the PC side cost what DVD burners once did, and if you’re hooked up to a TV, the writer can be …

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Rolling Your Own Blu-ray Discs: It's Not Far Off

Photo: Billaday, via Flickr. I think the label says something about Blu-ray being awesome, and don’t stare into the laser, and go buy a PlayStation 3 because you really need one. During the high-definition wars, your feelings about new higher-capacity storage discs may have ranged from ambivalence to dread to simple disinterest. (Well, that’s how I felt, anyway.) But with Blu-ray triumphant comes this realization: "hey, brain, we’ve suddenly got increasingly-affordable ways of burning high-capacity media!" Drive upgrades on the PC side cost what DVD burners once did, and if you’re hooked up to a TV, the writer can be …

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Small and Light PCs About Ready for Mobile Music Making

Musicians have generally had to shy away from slim, light portable PC laptops, but watching the specs on these machines, I’d say that’s finally changing. Take the upcoming Lenovo IdeaPad U110. Like the Apple MacBook Air, you have to rely on an external optical drive, but otherwise, this machine comes pretty close to being a worthy mobile music machine. If shedding pounds and size is important to you, there’s no question you could make this box work on the road. Lenovo IdeaPad U110 [ Early Specs at GottaBeMobile.com] There’s not that much of a price premium: it’s US$1899. The specs …

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Resolume 3 Breaking News: Mac Compatible, Freeframe OpenGL, More

We will have more extensive coverage of this coming very soon as Toby*Spark brings us a write-up of the Node08, Mapping and Vision’R festivals. However, for those who like their news to be the breakingest: Le Collagiste has some stills and video of Resolume 3 at Vision’R, running natively in OS X on a Macbook Pro! [Ed.: In case you’re not clear why that’s big news, this version goes cross-platform after a formerly Windows-only existence.] The next version of Resolume also includes audio playback and other tasty treats. No word yet on a release schedule, but this looks like an …

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Asus Eee PC Gets SDK; Anyone Using Eee for Music?

While mentioning the OLPC XO laptop, I have to point, as well, to Asus’ Eee. Sure, it’s not necessarily designed for being in the middle of a sub-Saharan desert, but it has some of the other hallmarks of OLPC — low power use, light weight, extremely low cost, and open-source, Linux-based software. These little machines are underpowered for many digital audio tasks, but MIDI and basic live audio are certainly feasible. I’ve heard at least a couple of readers using them. Anyone using them for musical tasks? Asus has launched an “SDK” — a bit of a misnomer, as you …

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Abletonator: Ableton Live as Arcade Cabinet

It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s … not at all practical as a mobile controller. It’s the Abletonator: Ableton Live on a PC with custom controller and casing, transformed into an arcade game cabinet form-factor. Why? Because. (Thanks to comments by Gavin for the tip!) So, if you liked the Ambassador Live controller with arcade buttons, but wanted a full cabinet so it’s impossible to lift, you’ll love this. The creator is Jr Savage, who evidently created this in 2006. Install MAME on this, and you’ve got an all-Live, all-vintage-gaming dream machine. Specs: Custom-built plywood cabinet PC running Windows XP, Ableton …

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VJing, The Game: The AV Arcade Table, Powered by VJAMM

Guitar Hero? We want VJ Hero. And the AV Arcade Table, now part of the Boredbrands Digital Funfair, is exactly what you’d want it to be like. It’s got the hardware — a DIY, cocktail-style arcade table, just the like the one you spent playing Ms. Pac-Man on, slightly drunk. It’s got the software — a Windows PC running VJAMM. And it’s got the content — Guitar Hero and Rock Band have rock classics, so this has some classic clips from VJs. Official description: The AV Arcade Table is a simple hybrid, a table top arcade cabinet that has been …

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One-Fader Control Surfaces: A Cubase-Only Entry, vs. Everything Else

This is the new Steinberg control surface. (See the hands-on video at SonicState.) It’s built to integrate out of the box with Cubase 4, which if you’re a Cubase 4 user should be good. You or I might give it a name like “CubaseControl” or something, but Steinberg has seen fit to call it the CC 121, which sounds like it was lifted off of a MIDI specification. No matter — they can call it Eustice if it’s a good controller. But that’s not the only odd thing about the CC 121. There’s a little light that goes on to …

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Weekend Inspiration: NIN + Monome + Lemur, Trackers

In case you haven’t seen it, Nine Inch Nails has taken to the multi-touch Lemur control surface and More Buttons Than Thou top-end Monome. There’s a short video of an experiment combining the two with a real (MIDI-enabled) Yamaha piano. It’s just under a minute, but already evocative — I’m not entirely sure why Alessandro is manning the touchpad on his laptop given all this hardware around, but the cascading patterns on the Monome suggest both LED art and a digital take on a player piano. More videos on the official NIN YouTube page, which has recently launched a visuals …

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