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Save Internet Radio!

Internet radio is in danger. In March a new copyright law was passed in the US that obliges online broadcasters to pay a ridiculously high royalty, that could force a lot of popular online radio stations to close down. Free services like Pandora, Last.fm, Digitally Imported and Proton Radio (thankfully the electronic music record companies are more easy on this) may come to a halt. The online radio industry does not have a strong presence as to face legal situations like this. The industry is still in its young age coming up with new innovations in areas like music suggestion and social ratings. Now it has to deal with the some of the wackiest lawyers in the world. So what can the average listener do? Sign the petition of course.

Stay updated on this at saveourinternetradio.com and sign the petition at savethestreams.org

Listen to internet radio (my favorite services in order) Pandora, Proton Radio, Soma FM, Digitally Imported, Last.fm

Vinyl vs Digital DJing

Vinlys were invented in 1880 as an audio solution for the masses. It became the replacement for the phonograh cylinders because the disc type vinyls were much cheaper to produce, maintain and store. In addition, stereo recording was introduced about 80 years later, bringing yet another new experience to listening to music. As time went on vinyls was taken over by audio cassettes, introduced in 1963, and the cassettes were then taken over by CDs in the early 90’s. Ten years later, we are seeing digital recording formats such as MP3, OGG Vorbis, iTunes and Windows Media challenging the CD format. With these rapid developments in audio recording and distribution, there still is a niche that prefers to stay with vinyls, they are the DJs. Cassettes and CDs did not have the same flexibilities as vinyls when it came to DJing, and the vinyls had to stay. After many years, we are seeing digital formats at their best challenging vinyls, trying to change what DJing used to be. We’ve had MP3s for a long time, but only now shall we see good applications and futuristic equipment coming into play.

MP3 vs Vinyl Records

Let’s compare vinyls and MP3s. MP3s do not have a physical form factor. The audio quality is better. MP3 releases are cheaper and they do not carry the overheads like shipping charges and storage. MP3s do not loose quality over time, they do not get damaged or scratched and they do not break. A lot of MP3s can be stored on a single hard drive that takes less space than a small CD player. As for vinyls. The sound quality is low, hisses, pops and crackles are common. They are big and are not relatively very portable. They get damaged, lost, broken, unusable and care should be taken in handling them. They are more expensive to produce, transport and store. Needless to say, MP3s are simply better.

Native InstrumentsTraktor 3

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Traktor 3

When it comes to DJ software, Native Instruments is the father, the mother, and child of all DJ software. This is said for the quality and usability. Traktor is their DJ line of software and with version 3 they have gone beyond the traditional 2 deck setup that was previously found on all professional DJ software.

The catch this time is the integrated Allen & Heath - Xone:92 mixer, with the effects. Of course, you may not want to compare hardware with software. But this was done by the same team that developed Reactor, and you then have enough reason to believe that this piece is better than the hardware itself.

What the hell is traktor? It is a software based DJ setup that plays mp3, ogg, etc. You can use old school vinyl and CD turntables with Final Scratch, MIDI controllers, USB consoles, and of course your mouse and keyboard to control Traktor; so there is no need to complain that software DJ things suck. Interested in these kinds of things? Read more on Traktor 3.

Essential Product : Tapewire

The most annoying thing about home speaker systems are the cables. You place two speakers at the back, two infront, the woofer somewhere far and so on; only to find that you also need to deal with messy cables now running all over the place. Wireless speakers don’t have that much power, and battery issues are a headache in a class of its own. Hey, I thought of this thing years ago! Somebody has finally made it.

Tapewire, near invisible cables you can just tape on the walls, paint on it, put under the carpet, blah. Nice.

ReBirth Museum

ReBirth was the one and only software synthesizer of choice. That was before. It was taken over by big brother Reason and Propellerhead Software has done a nice thing by stopping ReBirth and creating the ReBirth Museum for our memories. They are inviting people to take away free goodies from the museum, including ReBirth itself.

ReBirth was used by many professionals. Many of the pop and r&b songs you heard would have at least a little bit of ReBirth in it. These were done by professionals, who create music in their own names. Unlike those guys doing “Fact Maldives” and “The Maldivian” under anonymous names, not being able to reveal their real identities. Okay. That was for Chopey.

Pandora - The Music Genome Project

Music retrieval/suggestion systems are still very new. None of it is perfect. This is for obvious reasons ofcourse. Even us human cannot properly express what kind of music we actually like. Even if you say rock, or jazz, does not mean that you like all the rock songs and all the jazz songs. But there indeed is a common element in the music preference of each and every one of us, and it sucks that we cannot say what it is.

Pandora is supposed to be the best there is. It has learned lessons from many other stations, and this project has been going on for 5 years now. I decided to give it a 10 minutes try.As a startup, I was asked for an artist name, so I typed in “Mara”. I had in mind one of Mara’s very darky tracks. I clicked the next button and this bloody thing suggested me that I should listen to Ricky Martin. It even dared to give me a list of other songs that were similar in rhythm, lyrics to Ricky Martin’s Maria. What the hell?

A second attempt, I typed in a more mainstream name, Satoshi Tomiie, and this time Pandora asked me to verify between two Satoshi tracks and I picked “Love in Traffic”. I clicked next and it suggested me a very pop and very vocal house song. Not good. I passed this track, and next came the very familiar “Travelogue”, ah. But still mainstream! Again there were more mainstream tracks.

As I went on, I did the thing I was supposed to do by saying if I liked a particular track or not. This was supposed to make the suggestion accurate and better. After 7 tracks passed, it still gave more bad music than good music. I clicked the button that said “Why is this song playing” for one funky type track I did not like, and the answer I got was.

Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features tremendous bass, a knack for catchy hooks, vocal samples, a repetitive song structure and use of modal harmonies.

Okay that doesn’t sound bad. But I really hate this track! As a final word I must say that for 5 years of research, this thing is not very accurate either.. I say it sucks for someone who has a taste for music that is not available at the stores and not seen on TV and not heard on radio, therefore not bothered by this project. As for the rest of you, give Pandora a try, you might like it.

Bob Moog

Bob Moog, has passed away. He invented the first synthesizer in 1964, inspiring a new genre in music - electronic music. The legacy synthesizer, the MiniMoog, is emulated even today and his signature tones are much respected in the instruments industry. As of today, the synthesizers have moved from hardware to software, making them more powerful and limitless in possibilities.

Propellerhead on Dr. Rex

Heard it before? In all likelihood, yes. Oddly enough, the use of loops still remains a somewhat controversial issue. It’s in the twilight zone, that fuzzy grey area between artistry and “pushing a button”. After all, a loop is the product of someone else’s efforts, talent and creativity. But then again, isn’t that true for any kind of art? Aren’t you using sampled instruments that have been recorded – and played – by someone else? And synth presets that someone else programmed? Who do you owe credit to when you play a violin trill on the NN-XT – the guy who sampled it? The conductor? The violinist? Antonius Stradivarius, who built it? The truth is, at the hands of a skilled artist a bunch of raw loops can be molded into a unique piece of artwork that holds its own against any other musical accomplishment.

Reason 3.0

Combinator.

More reasons.

Vote for Protonradio.com

Vote for Protonradio.com on the Winter Music Conference Ballot 2005. Respect to the masters on the forefront of the greatest underground progressive maestros.