I have no idea if the Smack Attack steering wheel drum machine is a joke or not. Is this real? Really?
“Put cover on any steering wheel, start the iPhone app, and wirelessly play drums with your iTunes over your car’s existing speakers. Red lights, traffic jams, and tailgates will never be the same again because tapping on your steering wheel just got way more awesome.”
I often thought to myself, “This car stereo sounds better than anything I hear in my home.”. So here’s an idea… why not put a car stereo in your home? I know the car’s acoustics is probably a large factor in its sound but could this be another way to check your mixes? In the late 80s I had an incredible Alpine system in my car. It was one of those units that the green buttons turned beige when you pressed them. Of course I had to take the faceplate with me everywhere I went and I had a “NO RADIO” sign on my window. Ah the old crime ridden yet a lot more fun NYC. Now if I can hack my bed to mechanically bounce…
“pioneer head unit with 2 clarion tweeters beatin” – subwoorferman
What do you think… good idea or just plain stupid?
I’ve been using the TomTom app for iPhone as my GPS. It really does the job and it makes me feel safe especially when I am traveling for my day job. At CES Garmin added a feature to GPS units that I haven’t seen before that allows you to record your own voice for the Nav system. I know you can get celebrity voices on some GPS units already but being a DIY guy when it comes to audio the “Voice Studio” feature looks cool. It’s a novelty I know and I can already imagine being picked up at the airport by a promoter and on the way to an event every time he needs to make a left turn the intro to Nitzer Ebb’s Violent Playground plays (the song starts with Douglas McCarthy screaming “To the Left!”. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJS847sh9RU. One can dream.
“Basically, it’s a PC-based app that lets you record your own nav instructions (which we’re guessing is going to result in some extraordinarily NC17-rated Nuvis). The company is saying it’ll take about 20 minutes to complete a set of commands.” – engadget.com
Good old AM/FM. The last time I listened to regular radio outside of my car was in the 80s. I used to listen to stations for hours just to catch and record a song I liked onto cassette. Lucky for me that habit created a giant box of tapes recorded from the airwaves which I will make digital someday. These days most radio is harsh, loud, repetitive and loaded with more than 60% commercials. Since I moved back to New York from Berlin I bought a car and so I’ve been listening and seeking through stations.
The craziest thing happened. I find myself stopping on 106.7 Lite.fm more than any other music station. Lite.fm is one of those you know adult contemporary stations playing elevator, oldies and love songs (Joe Cocker). You still can hear a lot of Korg M1 sounds on this station! I got to thinking what’s keeping me at this part of the dial. I think it’s the fact that these songs are full of melodies and clear vocals/lyrics I can understand. If I don’t know a song I like to follow along and hear the message. I’ve noticed a lot of songs I once thought were really horrible cheese are actually pretty good. I’m not leading this blog post to some profound point I just wanted to share. I know your going to say I’m getting old. That maybe but I still love me some kill evil music. They never really played any of that dark stuff on the radio anyway. Sometimes I check out 89.1 WFDU (Fairleigh Dickinson University) radio but it’s hit or miss depending on the DJ. When it comes to AM NPR is where it’s at.
My radio listening days are almost over as I finally ordered a new radio with an iPhone hook up. Pandora, Last.fm, Slacker, Simplify Media, podcasts, audiobooks here I come!
I was talking via IM to “Raytrace” who’s name you see all over music tech social media sites. We were talking about checking our mixing in cars and he said that the Volkswagen Beetle is known to have the best shape for audio playback. I never heard that before but on the surface it makes sense. I guess if the circular interior walls are matched with a killer Blaupunkt system right?
Here’s my check the mix workflow:
Adam P11A (nice monitors)
Yamaha NS10M’s + Powerful Amp (harsh but acurite)
Sony MDR-7506 headphones (loud cans)
Apple iPod in-ear headphones
Subaru Impreza (Japanese car)
Remember to listen from other rooms from where the speakers are playing with the doors shut. The next door effect can point out too loud mix elements. Try mixing with a fan or noise in the room. Check mixes in loud cars (see above) and in parked cars. Remember to mix with fresh ears before any other music making.
Here’s a list of all the cars I owned in my life: 1966 Chevy Nova, 1986 Nissan 300ZX, 1982 Cadillac Sedan Deville, 1985 Volkswagen Golf, 1996 Mazda 626 and a 1999 Saturn SC1. Most were hand me downs or bought used off a lot. Each car had something I loved and hated about it. The 66 Chevy had a V8 and no brakes. It had brakes but they rarely stopped the car. I remember flying through entire intersections with my brakes pegged to the floor. True I was usually going 80MPH+ but hey I was 17 years old (sorry). The Nissan had a digital display, beige leather and an awesome T-Top. Unfortunately, if there was one drop of water on the road the car would go flying off the street into the surrounding woods. It happened to me 3 times before the last instance of slippy fun when the car was totaled. Once I reached my 20s I gained an incredible sense of respect (fear!) of crashing so I rarely go more than 5 miles over the speed limit these days. I put a high powered amp and Alpine stereo into the Cadillac and whenever it would rain the lights would dim whenever the bass drum kicked. The VW handled great but everyday it took all my strength to squeeze the rusted door handle open. The Mazda was the best car of the bunch. It was fast, handled incredibly and never needed a repair. The only problem with it was it the color burgundy (maroon?). Not just the outside paint but the seats and every bit of plastic inside the car. I refuse to buy anything with that color on it to this day.
If your a musician there is a good reason to own a car which I appropriately call the “car test”. Car speakers range from suck badly to sick bass and testing your tunes in a range of cars will without doubt help you find the perfect mix. The following is six songs I like about cars. I wonder do you think the members of Kraftwerk took their song Autobahn and played it in a few Bimmers or VWs to check it’s mix?
My favorite online spot for car news is Autoblog. If you want to see something crazy take a look at Steve Green’s AMC collection: click here
The car you see above is the Aptera 2e all electric three-wheeled vehicle. It get’s the equivalent of 200 mpg, will cost less than $45k and will be available this year. It goes from 0-60 in less than 10 seconds and is comfy cruising at over 80 mph. Google is a major investor in Aptera.
So it’s April 2010 and you live in southern California. You head to the Aptera dealership and pick up the keys to your new 2e. You put your seat-belt on and reach for the radio. What song do you pick for your first drive?
My choice is clearly The Title Music from a Clockwork Orange by Wendy Carlos: