Got an Apple, Mac, or iOS tech question? We have the answer. In this week's installment of Ask, we'll let you know what to do if your Mac's audio is playing through its speakers when you're trying to use headphones.
Mad Catz’s F.R.E.Q. M purports to be a gaming device — which the longtime peripheral maker is known for producing — but it’s actually a rather versatile all-purpose headset for iOS (or Mac) users. The foldable cans pump out great stereo sound with music and movies as well as they do with games, and the built-in mic means you can take calls with decently clear back-and-forth audio without having to shed the headset. But all of that functionality comes at a rather steep price — one that makes for a tougher sell than expected.
Anyone who lived through the ’80s will remember those ridiculously large “portable” boom boxes that were popular toward the latter half of that decade. If you’re still sore after years of carrying a briefcase-sized stereo on your shoulders, Logitech has a new wireless speaker so small and light that even your chiropractor would approve.
For those who capture audio out in the field — reporters, podcasters, musicians, etc. — a nice recorder is a must. One of the most trusted brands in the audio-recorder world is Zoom, whose H4n is the go-to gadget for podcasters such as Marc Maron and Chris Hardwick. Recognizing that folks may not want to carry a bulky recorder with them in addition to their iOS devices, Zoom has released the iQ5.
Beats Music made a nice splash into the streaming music service pool earlier this year with distinctive features and great recommendation functions, but the iOS version was previously limited to iPhone for its first few months of existence. Luckily, that changed today as the Dr. Dre-backed app became fully universal, delivering full-screen iPad functionality in the process.
Given that a vast amount of music enjoyment happens in the privacy of a comfy pair of headphones (or less-comfortable Apple earbuds, unfortunately), we’ve always wondered if there was some way to give the overall experience a bit more of the sonic “space” created by the physical phenomenon called “crossfeed.” That is, the acoustic energy typically associated with the temporal characteristics of how each channel of a stereo audio signal reaches your ears through open air. CanOpener promises just that, and thankfully delivers in many respects.
With the deluge of cool audio and synthesis apps on iOS, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack—but the long-awaited iVCS3 is raising eyebrows and potentially blowing out speakers across the land. While it’s billed as a software simulation of an analog synthesizer that found favor with bands like Pink Floyd and The Who, iVCS3 is really a virtual laboratory of sonic mayhem and aural outrageousness. It’s not useful for playing standard musical riffs, but is infinitely capable of generating insanely complex, dynamic, and downright chaotic soundscapes that will amaze, delight, and terrify, all at once.
Even if you have no musical abilities, your iPhone gives you the tools to create lush, multi-layered tracks in an instant, thanks to the proliferation of simple, speedy interfaces that require neither practice nor patience. Crossfader might be the best representation of this fact to date. With a brilliant concept that uses the iPhone's accelerometer to mix and mash popular tunes, the app won't teach you how to be a world-class DJ, but it will get your next party started quickly.
Today Neil Young revealed his Toblerone-shaped "PonoPlayer," which he hopes will launch a successful counterattack against (of all things) Apple's iPod. It seems Mr. Young has missed all the memos about the device's "declining business," in the words of Apple CEO Tim Cook, particularly in the wake of the emergence of integrated devices like the iPhone and iPad.
Sector is a totally unique, vastly powerful, and well-designed beat manipulation tool for iPad that stirs together audio and math in a way that astounds and delights. The description of a “stochastic sample slice sequencer” might scare some off, but fear not: this is a beauty of a beast. Imported audio files are mapped into a circular, looping display, and sliced into a specific number of sectors, or segments (from two to 32 chunks), each with its own color.