Tag: Music

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It’s Early Spring for Apple Software

My Apple love-affair started with the allure of hardware—the original Bondi Blue iMac in December 1998—but stayed true because of software. I found Mac OS 8.5.1 to be substantially more satisfying than Windows Me and to support broader range of applications than NT 4. The experience carried forward, particularly during the iLife era and priority placed on content creation that matters to most people. The company caught the transition from documents to digital media as main content created by most people

Over the past couple years, Apple apps and operating systems feel stuck in the last decade. They’re directionless. But as 2016 slowly advances, i see hopeful hints that software innovation will rise to the standard set by the company in the early 2000s. Fresh example, which is but a curiosity to some, foreshadows much: Music Memos; released yesterday. 

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A Legend Leaves Us

The seeming suddenness of David Bowie’s death yesterday cannot be overstated. He hid his liver cancer from most everyone, and he left this world with remarkable dignity—externally living normally as could be nearly up to the end.

The singer celebrated his 69th birthday on January 8th—yes, two days before his departure—when his last studio album, 7-track “Blackstar” released. The song that surely will be a meme is “Lazarus”, which issued as digital download the week before Christmas; in my listening to the song is epitaph to all the people he leaves behind. From first stanza to the last, unrequited fate is transcendence.

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The Pricey and the Priceless

Christmas came early this month, with the acquisition of Google Pixel C tablet and Master & Dynamic MW60 wireless headphones. So Santa rightfully pulled only a few items from the sack—and they are more than I deserved. The pricey: Sunglass clips for my spectacles and Hard Graft Atelier Hang Camera Strap (pictured) for my Fujifilm X-T1. Priceless; Necklace made by my wife.

The strap is in some respects more than the X-T1 needs, being such a compact, mirrorless camera. But the accessory commands more respect, hangs the Fuji better around my back, and easily pulls up for hand carrying. A last-minute purchase, Hard Graft shipped from United Kingdom on December 22nd for Christmas Eve delivery. I must thank DHL for calling that day to ensure someone would be home and by ringing allowing me to provide the apartment complex gate code. 

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The Beatles escape from Apple Prison

If Christmas Eve 2015 is remembered for nothing else, it will be the gift given to anyone wanting to listen to The Beatles anytime, anywhere, and on anything. As I write, the group’s last recorded album, “Abbey Road”, streams from Tidal in the glorious 1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec. Listening with Master & Dynamic MW60 headphones, detail is super fine, such I can appreciate Ringo Starr’s drumming and hear just how tight is the Fab Four’s playing. I haven’t heard The Beatles like this in years, if ever. You go on and listen to 256Kbps AAC from Apple.

My introduction to the group came from the soloists, following the breakup. I was too young when Beatlemania stormed England, the United States, and most everywhere else. My first record album was Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Band on the Run”, which title song is metaphorically appropriate for The Beatles’ escape from Apple prison. 

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Six Headphones for Christmas

As Christmas comes closer, it’s time to think about rewarding your ears, or someone else’s, with exceptional audio experience—headphones that I would ask Santa to bring for myself or deliver to another. If big, booming bass is your thing, read no further. Buy Beats, Sony, or another brand boasting barreling lows that shake your skull as well as eardrums.

My picks deliver broader audio range, each with warmer mids and highs and amazing detail, depending somewhat on the source of your content. Highly compressed AAC or MP3 tracks lack lots, but these cans will get a little more fidelity from them. CD or lossless source might change how you listen to music forever. 

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Indochine My Morning

I can’t speak, nor do I comprehend, more than ten words of French. But I love this band’s music, nevertheless. At 10:45 PST this morning, Indochine streams live from Paris, and I am so down for it. Maybe I’ll Chromecast to the tellie from one device, while working on another (got lots of writing to do).

The live stream is one of the many benefits subscribing to Tidal, which now sells lossless albums, too. Oh la la. The $19.99 monthly service gets better and better. I hear the difference listening to tracks encoded with the 1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec versus AAC or MP3. 

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Painful Parting

Last night, I returned to Amazon the Sennheiser Momentum 2 wireless headphones received on Nov.8, 2015. The retailer promises full refund. My ears ache from using them, even with the volume low. The problem is bass response, which is too intense for my aged ears. At the same time, I removed the Grado Labs RS1e from Craigslist. I will keep the wired cans.

I let go the Bluetooth set reluctantly. I like the design, construction, materials, and controls. Wireless connects easily and provides ample volume. But bass booms, and the devices on which I listen have limited graphic equalizer or none at all. 

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‘Paris, I Love You’

I haven’t quite abandoned Tidal, despite bassy boom when using my new Sennheiser Momentum 2 headphones. Lossless listening is otherwise enjoyable; the problem starts with the cans and ends with the music streaming service not providing a graphic equalizer. I understand there being no EQ, if the point is high-fidelity that fairly accurately represents the original recording. That said, I really need to throttle back bass, or my ears ache. Aging sucks.

Tidal’s playlists are consistently fresh and superbly curated. Today’s delight: “Paris Je T’aime“, or “Paris, I Love You”, which timing isn’t coincidental, following Friday the 13th terrorist attacks that killed 129 around the city. “Memoria”, by Indochine, is the 22-track playlist’s standout.