Denon’s $499 cable vs Brilliant Pebbles.

This week a few blogs have mentioned Denon’s ridiculously priced $499 Ethernet cable. In fact one of my favorite cartoon strips User Friendly did a take on the subject: click here to read it Don’t we all know by now not to pay large sums of money for cables?

Made from high purity copper wire and high performance connection parts, the AK-DL1 will bring out all the nuances in digital audio reproduction from any of our Denon DVD players with the Denon Link feature. –

This reminds me of the recent test at which pit a $60 Monster 1000 Cable vs a coat hanger. Guess which won?

The test was conducted. After 5 tests, none could determine which was the Monster 1000 cable or the coat hanger wire. Further, when music was played through the coat hanger wire, we were asked if what we heard sounded good to us. All agreed that what was heard sounded excellent, however, when A-B tests occured, it was impossible to determine which sounded best the majority of the time and which wire was in use. –

If you really want to improve your sound check out Machina Dynamica’s Brilliant Pebbles. These cost $129 but actually do make a real difference in your audio quality. You can see what they look like in the top photo of this post. Highly recommended.

Follow amazonmp3 on Twitter for daily deals.

Do you remember my post about Twitter titled “Use Twitter as a promotion tool for your music.“? Here’s another reason to sign up. has created a user profile on the service and each day they they post a link to a few great MP3 deals.

6/18 Daily Deal #2: Daft Punk’s Musique Vol 1. Yesterday’s price $9.49, today’s price $2.99.

Another example of a music related service on Twitter is sidelinemag. There you can find mini updates to all things EBM and Goth. Don’t forget to follow me too: thingstocome

Are there any music/pro-audio companies or people you follow on Twitter?

MySpace 2.0 redesign and applications are here. has remained an important place for musicians. Sure there are thousands of places to discover new music but when I want to get a quick jist of what a band is like I head right to their MySpace page. The original MySpace design and platform has been around for a long time with barely any noticable changes. So what’s new?

If you ever used Facebook you understand the idea of Applications. These are small programs you can install into your own profile. They are designed by third party developers so there is a wide variety of apps available.

Games, photo slideshows, hooks into services like, polls, anything you can imagine adding to your profile is probably available. For the most part I find 95% of these apps useless but there are a few gems. For example Happy Flickr allows you to have your latest flickr photos displayed on your profile.

The site has also been redesigned and looks cleaner. Menus have been reorganized so you can get to your profile’s option easier.

There’s a spanking-new interface, heightened security, availability on mobile and instant-messaging services — and the ability to create categories of friends at work, school and family, among dozens of other new features.

“It cleans up the user experience,” says Dave McClure, a start-up adviser and angel investor in Silicon Valley. “It is a streamlined, easier-to-use version of MySpace.” –

MySpace said it had drastically overhauled the look and feel of its searches, which it said currently ranked third in total number of searches by any site.

It said it was working with Lucene Open-Source engine and community, marking the first time MySpace has contributed to the open-source community.

MySpace, with about 110 million users worldwide, claims to be the most trafficked website in the United States, adding that about 300,000 people sign up each day. –

Are there any MySpace applications you find useful? Is there one you want that does not exist yet?

Vintage toy keyboard shopping in San Francisco.

I was in San Francisco for a friends wedding yesterday. Walking around the city with a bunch of females means we had to stop in every Good Will store for some reason. After I few minutes I quickly realized there was stuff for me to play with too!

First, I discovered the old boombox’s. There was a Panasonic very similar the to the one I had in College. Then I discovered two old toy keyboards. Both were in great cosmetic shaped and worked perfectly. They had batteries in them so I was able to jam out a bit.

The Casio SA-10 had a nice “Super Accompaniments” feature that lets you switch the drum presets with your left hand while playing sounds with your right. They wanted $9.49 for the SA-10 and after considering it’s small size would allow it to fit in my carry on luggage I came very close to buying it.

The other keyboard called the “Techno-Beat Electronic Keyboard” has full size keys and was decked out it awesome bright blue and red plastic. It had five drum “pads” on it. I love the way this thing looks. I made my friend Leslie pose with the thing. I realized there must be people who collect these things. Then I realized I want to be one of them! The Techno-Beat was $14.99.

By some stoke of luck we got a phone call from my brother yelling at us because we were late to meet them so we had to run out of there empty handed. I have fond memories of a Casio MT-40 I owned a child. I think I want to leave it at that. These toy keyboards are fun to play with but I don’t need a pile of junk in the studio. Am I wrong? Should I have bought these 80s wonders?

Ready set go. Five ways to start off a song.

If your a song writer you probably write hundreds or maybe thousands of songs over your lifetime. To avoid the Nickelback controversy it’s a good idea to arm yourself with an arsenal of tools and ideas to help yourself from self repetition. A good place to start is the beginning. How do you start your songs? What’s the first thing the listener will hear? Here’s five different ways you can kick it off:

1. Solo vocal. The human voice is the most powerful instrument of all. If you have a strong opening line having it solo will focus the listener on your message. You can even start with the chorus. Example: Killing me Softly by Roberta Flack.

2. Record the count in. One. Two. Three. Four. Say it. Say it in German. Put some guitar feedback behind it. Click the drumsticks four times. Record four finger snaps. Record your voice staying, “Start the tape!”. Example: Showroom Dummies by Kraftwerk

3. 16 bars of beats. If your music is headed for the dance floor is a nice thing to help the DJ out. How? Give him at least 16 bars of steady drums to help him mix in your song. In fact, by doing so your increasing the chances of your song being played at all.

4. Fade in. This is an unusual way to start a song especially in modern times. Before hard disc recording you heard this more often as producers would ride faders up in a song that was already in progress. Do you remember my related post titled “Bring back the song fade out.“?

5. Full on. A lot of times I start my songs by adding in one or two instruments at a time. Sometimes thats a sign of the amateur. Many songs just start off with most of the instruments and even the vocal already going. Load up an old song you did and just chop the intro off. Maybe it works better that way?

What’s your favorite what to start a song?

photo credit: Jon_Marshall

The Voice of Saturn Synthesizer & Sequencer.

The Voice of Saturn – Synth & Sequencer from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

Here is a video of my latest toys. The Voice of Saturn Synthesizer & Sequencer. They are from Curious Inventor and available as a kit or pre-built. I’ve been able to also control the synth using my Kenton Pro-2000. I’ve also been able to lock the Saturn Sequencer to Ableton Live also using the Kenton Pro-2000.

Loosely based on the Atari Punk Console with some custom tweaks and an LFO front end, this box makes a ridiculous amount of different sounds (mp3 coming soon), all from three 555s. (synth) –

This is a 10 step analog sequencer, which basically steps through 10 different voltage levels that are set by the black knobs. The output control voltage and trigger signals are typically used to control pitch, filters, drum triggers and an endless number of other parameters on other synths. (sequencer) –

There not too much for me to say other than these are great, cheap, dirty and fun. What more do you want?

Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity and the blind phone.

The Kurzweil K2000 is a classic synthesizer/sampler workstation. Everyone I know who ever owned one still has it in their studio hooked up and running. Every few months I hear someone and talk about it’s magic sound and abilities. One interesting tidbit you may not know is that the synth division of Kurzweil is owned by a Korean parent company. You could say Kurzweil is like the Hyundai of the keyboard world.

The K2000 uses V.A.S.T. (Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology) which allows you to take any multi-sample, noise or waveform and process it using just about any synthesis technique. The source of these multi-samples are from the 8MB of ROM which hold tons of authentic and superb quality samples. The internal processing is 32-bit with 18-bit DACs. The K2000 uses 31 sound-shaping algorithms to provide a variety of resonant filters, EQs, continuous panning, amplitude modulation, crossfade, distortion, digital wrap, waveshaper, pulse width modulation, high frequency enhancement, low frequency oscillators, hard sync oscillators and mixing oscillators, all with real-time MIDI control. –

Ray Kurzweil is also a well known futurist with a pretty interesting track record. This week the NYTimes ran an article about Kurzweil’s latest predictions titled, “The Future Is Now? Pretty Soon, at Least“. Kurzweil says we will soon have the magic eat whatever you want and don’t get fat pill, cheap solar energy and within a decade we will fuse with technology and live forever. He calls that last bit “the Singularity”. Check out his book, “The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology”: click here.

About 20 years ago he predicted blind people would be able to read anything by using a mobile device. knfbReading Technologies, Inc. in partnership with Kurzweil now sells such a product. Check it out here:

So a name we all associate with a special synth is jumping around in the future. Do you own a Kurzweil workstation keyboard? Do you like them? Did you own one and miss it now?

Kurzweil on ebay: click here
Photo by Michael Lutch. Courtesy of Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

Aquasky and Ohmforce shake hands.

Remember my post a few days ago “Busted red handed using cracked plug-ins.“? In the post I mention how the jungle and breaks group Aquasky got caught with a crack of Ohm Force’s super distortion plug-in Predatohm. Well this story has a happy ending. Ohm Force took the time to let me know that Aquasky apologized and purchased both Predatohm and OhmBoyz. It’s a good outcome and goes to show you that level heads usually win.

Get ready for the iPhone music app offensive!

By the end of today Steve Jobs will most likely announced newer, better, cheaper iPhones. In addition to the hardware the iPhone application store will launch. Being a gorgeous hand held device with a touch screen makes it perfect for music software. I suspect over the next few months we will see dozens of touch screen sequencers, synths and drum machines. Will we see any power players like Ableton jump on board early on? I doubt it but you never know.

Today a company called Intua announced BeatMaker (what a unique name!) which will be one of the first “for sale” apps. It’s a “Sampler Interface” which leads me to believe it can’t sample via the iPhone yet but I could be wrong. BeatMaker is also a sequencer and has eq, delay and bit crushing capabilities. Here’s a screenshot:

Another music app for the iPhone ready to launch is Moo-Cow-Music’s “Band” (oh god another great named app!), This has a virtual band of drums, bass, guitars and keyboards ready to play. The key feature of course is, “Multitouch – press up to five keys at once for complex chords.”. Here’s a video of “Band” in action:

photo credit: tnkgrl