from the audiovisual dept
This week, we're taking a look at some new crowdfunded gadgets for music lovers and creators.
It's a piece of audio gear, but its real appeal is purely visual. The Atmo Sfera is a new "platterless" turntable from a team of Italian designers, and boy is it nice to look at. In use, the vinyl record floats and spins on the central pivot while the sleek carbon fibre arm glides across it, and suddenly other turntables seem clunky by comparison. Of course, this design innovation isn't solely about style: going platter-free is an alternative approach to reducing unwanted vibrations in a turntable, basically taking the opposite route from the more common method of using a hefty, dense, high-quality platter. The Atmo Sfera is also a totally self-contained, ready-to-play device that doesn't require additional pre-amps and other audio gear, which can't be said for all quality turntables.
Though earbuds reign supreme for casual listeners in their day-to-day life, not everyone is willing to make that sacrifice when on- and over-ear headphones deliver such staggeringly superior sound. But those big head-cans come with downsides: they are extremely isolating, and even the most comfortable pair starts to hurt after a while. The VIE SHAIR aims to solve this with a unique "frame" design that lifts the headphones off your ears while still directing the sound where it needs to go, for the double benefit of being able to hear what's around you and not ending up drenched in ear sweat. Now, if only they could figure out how to make them roll up into a tiny ball like earbuds...
Looping is a tremendously fun digital music technique, and one that a lot of creative people have done some amazing stuff with. Usually the gear takes one of a few forms: a single pedal in the standard design of stage pedals everywhere, a multi-pedal monster, or a tabletop looping "station". None of these things do the job alone: they need to be hooked up to instruments, microphones, etc. The Loopa puts one of the most entertaining looping workflows into a single package: it's a self-contained looper microphone with on-board controls, so the entire process can be held in one hand. It's got some solid specs, too: 24-bit digital audio, up to 12-minute loops, and unlimited layers with multiple levels of realtime undo and redo. Wait until you see what beatboxers can do with something like this.