Awesome Stuff: Auds & Ends

from the hear,-hear! dept

For this week’s awesome stuff, we’ve got some assorted pieces of new crowdfunded audio gear.


The folks behind the waveBlend make a pretty good point: rigging up a house-wide wireless audio system is still a lot more annoying than it needs to be. The best systems out there are expensive, proprietary and always centralized around some sort of master unit. The waveBlend system does away with that: each modular cubic speaker connect to existing WiFi network and teams up with all the others (up to a dozen — however many you need, wherever you need them) to create a no-hassle home audio setup.


On the one hand, the gMIX isn’t as big a deal as the creator might want to make it sound — a four-channel audio mixer that runs “without batteries” is just a passive line mixer and not a technological breakthrough. That said, the best products aren’t always revolutionary, and gMIX does appear to be filling a gap: pro audio gear is expensive, there aren’t that many choices of passive mixers around compared to active (powered) ones, and most such gear includes lots of additional features that aren’t needed for a lot of applications. The gMIX, on the other hand, is cheap and simple and gets the job done.


A lot of the innovation around live streaming focuses on video, while audio is often left to languish in “good enough” territory. That’s fine for meetings and conferences and speeches, but not so great for music. Enter the Gigcaster: a compact, standalone unit with the sole purpose of making it easy to broadcast quality live music online. This initial model is built using Raspberry Pi, and there are plans to move towards a more fully-featured production model — but there’s also a huge focus on hackability, with the device running open source software and allowing for user-made firmware pushes.

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Auds & Ends”

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Since the 80s

A backwards splitter will work just fine as long as you don’t mind quality loss, possibly damaging all your gear, and general defiance of all sensible electronics principles 😀

But, it’s true, there are basically no simple passive mixers on the market — on the other hand, building your own for about $10 is pretty close to chapter one in most electronics textbooks.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Minor niggle

I have a Sonos system at home… and while it is expensive and proprietary, it’s definitely not centralised. Any Sonos unit can be plugged in anywhere, and as long as any of them is connected to wifi, and all of them are within (proprietary) wireless range of at least one other device, they’ll all coordinate and cooperate together happily.

The waveBlend looks interesting, but is targeted at people who want a home audio network and already have the speakers and the network, and just need the audio controller? I think it’s neat, but possible a little too niche…

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