Genelec 8030C 5” active monitor Review

Genelec 8030C 5” active monitor Review

The Genelec 8030C 5” active monitors are a very good choice for transparent and accurate monitors for post production. Our…

More...
KRK 8s V2 Subwoofer Review

KRK 8s V2 Subwoofer Review

The KRK 8S V2 subwoofer is a fairly compact powerhouse with myriad connectivity options at a reasonable price making it…

More...
Secret Lab Throne Gaming Chair Review

Secret Lab Throne Gaming Chair Review

Secret Lab makes a variety of gaming chairs. These are essentially very nice office style chairs with attractive and ergonomic…

More...
FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor RNC1773 Review

FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor RNC1773 Review

The Really Nice Compressor or RNC1773 from FMR Audio in Texas is just that, really nice. FMR has been making…

More...
Other World Computing Dual Bay SATA Drive Dock Review

Other World Computing Dual Bay SATA Drive Dock Review

This USB 3.1 Gen 2 SATA drive dock is one of the better made USB docks we've tested that can…

More...
G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series 1TB Review

G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series 1TB Review

The G-Drive SSD R-Series includes a USB-C port and is USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible. It includes a couple…

More...
JBL 306P MkII Powered Monitor Review

JBL 306P MkII Powered Monitor Review

The JBL 306P MkII Powered 6.5" Two-Way Studio Monitor is a bi-amplified reference monitor that packs good sound at a…

More...
Best Hard Drives for your NAS or DAS and Video Editing

Best Hard Drives for your NAS or DAS and Video Editing

Yes the world is moving to SSD but when it comes digital content creation and video editing you're going to…

More...
Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD Review

Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD Review

The Crucial MX500 is a 2.5 inch SSD designed to be installed inside a notebook computer. We tested it by…

More...
Yamaha MSP5 Studio Monitor Review

Yamaha MSP5 Studio Monitor Review

The MSP5 studio monitor from Yamaha has been around forever and we still think it's an excellent studio monitor that…

More...
Original Pancake House Apple Pancake Recipe

Original Pancake House Apple Pancake Recipe

Mmm...tasty Apple Pancake. Nothing makes me feel more like Homer Simpson than a giant baked Apple Pancake. When I was…

More...
Best Router and Cable Modem Combination for Distance Learning and Work

Best Router and Cable Modem Combination for Distance Learning and Work

For great performance at a reasonable price we like pairing TP Link routers with Motorola cable modems. For example, the…

More...
Nvidia Quadro P4000 Review

Nvidia Quadro P4000 Review

We like the single slot GPU because it allows us to use all the available PCIe slots in our system,…

More...
SampleTank 4 Max Review

SampleTank 4 Max Review

SampleTank 4 Max is packed with instruments and effects wrapped in a workflow that is simple to understand and inspiring…

More...
Simply Speakers Foam Speaker Repair Kit for JBL 4408a Monitor Review

Simply Speakers Foam Speaker Repair Kit for JBL 4408a Monitor Review

A lot of our production and broadcast friends have these JBLs 4408a monitors and a Hafler P3000 in the rack.…

More...
A Good, Basic Office Chair for Working From Home

A Good, Basic Office Chair for Working From Home

The ÖRFJÄLL swivel office chair from IKEA is a good chair and good value at $49. We recently tested everything at…

More...

funkyfresh MP3 and Portables

SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip Review




















The SanDisk Clip Zip is a nice update to the popular Clip line of MP3 players.  It sounds great and weighs almost nothing.  It’s been our preferred player for taking on runs for several years now.  It’s hard to beat this player for under $50.

The Clip Zip adds support for AAC files so your non-DRM iTunes collection will drag and drop to the player just fine. It also includes a color screen. It can be hard to see in direct sunlight but works fine indoors.  It's good for quickly identifying tracks with album art but not much else. The buttons are very intuitive and separated a little more for ease of use.  The back button is elevated which helps it stand out more than previous designs and makes navigation very easy. You won't get lost while navigating menus on this player.  Funkyfresh did a series of videos with SanDisk for the launch of this product and everyone really liked the portabilty and ease of use.  The fact that you can can operate the player without looking at it was a  big plus for people on the go, especially those on bikes that really need to keep their eyes on the road and cannot be fumbling wth a touch screen.

The player wasn't perfect out of the box.  We noticed some strange white noise occasionally between tracks and SanDisk's own slotRadio cards caused some strange behavior.  However, after downloading the latest firmware the Clip Zip experience improved dramatically and everyone worked as expected.  So if you do pick one of these up be sure to download the latest frimware from SanDisk on the product page here. You can check out our videos too.

Mechanically, SanDisk opted for the micro USB connector, so you can use your smart phone charger to juice up the Clip Zip, which is very convenient.

The previous Clip already offered ridiculous value in a small player and that continues with the Clip Zip. The Clip Zip adds a sport timer, color screen, AAC file support (non DRM) and should continue to be the workout player of choice for anyone that finds their smart phone or other player too heavy or cumbersome to deal with while on the go. We like it in orange!



Visit SanDisk for more information.

Spotify Review: Still the Best Music Service on the Planet but Lame US Rollout


























When we reviewed the European version of Spotify back in October of 2009 we were blown away by the speed and simple design of the service. However, we figured by the time Spotify secured its licenses with the record labels and publishers in this region of the world, Rhapsody, MOG and others would improve the performance of their platforms.

Well, here we are nearly 2 years later and Spotify is still the most responsive and “live” feeling music service on the planet. It’s lightning quick, lightweight and simply addictive to use. The near instant response time is what makes it so fun. Other services are just too pokey and don’t provide that instant gratification that Spotify does.

Music services have met with limited success partly because people don't like monthly fees and partly because most of them just aren't very good. The user experience has suffered at the hands of taxonomy or music snobbery. Spotify changes all that. We literally laugh and smile when using this service.

Nothing’s perfect. In spite of Spotify’s efforts, there’s still quite a bit of content missing from its catalog of cleared tracks. But every music service has these challenges. Negotiating rights with Sony, Universal and Warner and artists is no easy task not to mention the smaller labels and myriad publishers. For the most part the catalog is pretty solid.

The lame "request an invite" rollout for the free version is very irritating. Really? You're just so inundated with requests Spotify that your system just can't keep up with demand? Yet, the umlimited and premium versions are open for business. Don't tout your free service and then artificially delay access to it or get ready for a class action lawsuit. This is America afterall, you're not Google, and paying for music just isn't happening much these days.

How the platform scales is critical. Spotify needs to grow significantly to survive while providing a consistent level of service. Clearly its offering is resonating within the industry because the new MOG, currently in beta, looks strikingly similar.

if Spotify does not survive, get acquired or merge with some other service we can probably officially call the subscription/ad based/ on demand music model dead.

Visit Spotify to check it out. It’s free with ads and $5 for the first tier of service.

Amazon Cloud Music Player for Droid Review

The Amazon Cloud Player is a nice idea but in our early testing is very slow and locks up on the Droid. After installing the Cloud Music Player, an Adobe AIR App, on our PC it was easy to upload a catalog of songs. We grabbed about 600 tracks, hit upload and walked away from the PC. These are all songs that we own on CDs that were ripped to MP3s at 256kbps.

We immediately fired up the Motorola DroidX to test the app. While the app launched quickly and we instantly were able to see our collection of music, getting anything to play was far from elegant. It started out okay with instant access to one song but subsequent tracks caused the app to lockup or simply show a spinning progress cog.

We tried it with both WiFi and 3G connections but to no avail. Concerned the connection might be spotty we fired up both Pandora and Mog and both provided instant access to multiple tracks. Next, we restarted the DroidX and tried the Amazon Cloud app fresh and got the same results. It barely worked and was only able to play a couple of tracks before it simply stopped responding. From a PC it worked fine but we're more interested in the smartphone app.

It’s nice to have 5BG or space online and an extra 20GB or whatever Amazon is offering as a reward for purchasing an MP3 album; however it gets gobbled up quickly. And when it comes to our own collection we really only listen to mixes we've made for working out or parties. Five GBs is a little over 1000 128kbps tracks. That's not a lot of music and frankly we'd rather listen to Pandora and Mog for music discovery and fast access to countless numbers of tracks. So the value prop here is marginal.

We buy a lot of stuff from Amazon and find it one of the best shopping experiences around, but this cloud music experience was very disappointing. Sure you could use the space for other stuff but in the age of 1TB drives how many people want to choose 5GB, 20GB or even 100GB of pictures that need to be backed up. Just back it all up and don’t bother me with the numbers. Plus we're not clear on what the monthly charges will be over time and based on what we've seen from other cloud providers it will probably change over time.

The issue is simple.  What consumers want and what’s a sustainable product are very different things. Mozy, Carbonite and others simply can’t do unlimited everything and make money. Amazon's offering right now isn't elegant and it's too small.  While the free 5GBs is nice we're simply rather stream channels from Pandora and be surprised with new tracks or seek out new tracks on Mog. It's a better experience.  Sure it's nice to "rediscover" tracks we own and make playlists and all that but it gets old quickly.

Visit Amazon for more information and to test the cloud offering for yourself.  As a back up solution it's cool for small amounts of data but as a music player Amazon has some work to do.

Reviews

Entertaining

Rush - Spirit of the Radio

Oct 28, 2020 Music Mix
Default Image
It's been a tough year in so many ways. This tribute to Neil Pert and some of the DJs…