TLD – Top 5 Music Tech! (2014)

Jonathan Morris of TLD has been releasing a new Top 5 tech gifts video everyday in the run up to Christmas. His most recent episode goes over his Top 5 Music Tech gifts of 2014. In the video he covers microphones, audio monitors, MIDI controllers, DACs and more audio gear.

Meridian Unveil MQA – Efficient Hi-Res Audio

Meridian

Some recent advances in tech and new devices have pushed hi-res music closer to the public, but there are still a number of factors that are holding this shift from entering the mainstream. The size of uncompressed hi-res audio files greatly exceeds MP3s and other compressed audio. This is an issue with storage and bandwidth holding us back. British hi-fi company Meridian unveil a new format that’s spent years in researching and development. MQA: Master Quality Authenticated (according to Meridian) contains all the sound of the original uncompressed audio, but in a much more efficient package, ready to stream or quickly download.

MQAMQA is said to run at 1Mbps, which is easily streamable through modern 3G. This goes against the 4.6Mbps hi-res audio at 24-bit/96KHz will stream.

Meridian co-founder Bob Stuart claims MQA “brings together the three ideals of studio-quality sound, convenience and end-to-end authenticity. It uses a completely new concept of capturing the total essence of an original recording and conveying it all the way to the listener, assuring that what they are listening to is identical to the master recording”.

Many will pass this off as untrue. Real audiophiles will go to lengthy discussion to prove that the only way to gain true high quality audio, is through the original large file size files.

Bob Stuart is saying that existing formats are ‘doing it wrong’ right from capture – which means that any MQA file will need to be encoded direct from studio masters.

The next step for MQA is to gain support from record labels, producers, digital music stores and hardware manufacturers, and if all promises are true about the tech, high-res audio may come to the masses sooner than expected.

Meridian Explorer 2 – The MQA Friendly DAC

Meridian Explorer 2

With the release of Meridian’s recent new compact audio format MQA, they spend no time in releasing the second edition of their Meridian Explorer DAC. Making it the first device compatible with the format.

Forget the build-in digital-to-analog converter, hook this up to the USB in your laptop and plug some decent speakers or headphones in the other end. Although the files aren’t available yet, the Explorer 2 play nice with Meridian’s new lossless format ‘Master Quality Authenticated’, while all of your lower quality MP3s will be up-sampled to 192kHz.

At £200, this is reasonable compared to the high end DACs currently on the market. Only time will tell on the real world quality of the device. This is another step in the right direction to promote their new MQA technology and convince the rest of the world to catch up.

Visit the site for more information.

New Features and Capabilities Added by Steinberg for New Cubase 6

Steinberg has upgraded Cubase and released the new Cubase version 6. There are lots of new features and capabilities in the new Cubase 6. Features include VST Expression 2, phase-accurate multitrack drum editing plus a wealth of effects and instruments, Cubase 6 and Cubase Artist 6 aim to position the music sequencing and recording software as the new benchmark.

Cubase 6 and Cubase Artist 6 offer enhanced workflow features within the Project window. The newly introduced Track Edit Groups option refines the work with multitrack recordings, allowing related events on multiple tracks to be grouped and edited simultaneously, while the new Lane Track offers convenient multitake comping for selecting and consolidating audio parts to form the perfect take.

Steinberg’s Cubase 6 is available now for $599 / €599. More information on Steinberg Cubase 6.

Nextdayflyers.com: Affordable Flyers And Official Gig Tickets

Not too minutes ago in the town my friends and I were hounded in the street by people fund raising for the latest tsunami survivors of whoever asking for money, this is never fun. If you twin that with the fact that people like you and me always want something for free, people giving out flyers and postcards are still proving to be a great way to promote upcoming gigs and performances at local bars, festivals, nightclubs, theatres or even shopping malls, things even the mighty interwebs will never be able to do. Having a quick blast around the internet for something that was reasonable in price and convenient for both huge super groups, just-starting-out bans or any buisness at all for that matter. I bumped into nextdayflyers.com.

Next Day Flyers will print promotional/club flyers and marketing postcards in a wide variety of sizes from 1/8 of a page to full page (A4).

Tickets for performances can also be custom printed with the date and time of the concert, this I thought would give any local bands that extra push on other local acts to look that bit more professional. Paper options include a thick durable card stock which can have a glossy or matte finish, that seems to be the most serviceable  as a gig poster as well as a 100 lb glossy paper. Your own designs can be customized by a nice easy-to-use user friendly graphic design tool on-site and uploaded directly to the Next Day Flyers site, alternatively there is an option to create your layouts using an array of  defult templates in the ‘Online Design Center’. All these little easy to use helpful bits have made nextdayflyers.com RouteNote’s weapon of choice.

The turnaround on printed materials is quick and items can be ready as early as the same day. The website is user friendly, offering helpful tools such as online chat and instructional videos, naturally a customer service representative can also be reached by phone.

RouteNote Artists Can Now Use Amazon’s Artist Central – Add Your Banners, Videos, Twitter to Amazon Page

We thought that all RouteNote artists might be interested in a new free service from Amazon, called Artist Central.

Artist Central allows artists to add their own content to Amazon.com Artist Stores. This helps music fans on amazon.com discover artists and their work more easily, and leads to greater sales.

Users can upload photos, a bio, videos, and audio for promotional streaming, as well as utilize new features like a Twitter widget and customizable banners to create a robust, customized Artist Store on Amazon.com, ultimately helping customers discover artists and their work more easily. Check out the artist store for Band of Horses (www.amazon.com/bandofhorses) to see these features in action.

Artist Central is completely free to anyone selling their music on Amazon.com. Getting started is easy and only takes a few minutes. Just go to Artist Central (http://artistcentral.amazon.com) and sign in with your Amazon account to claim your artist. (If there is currently no artist store for your artist, you can click “Create a new Artist Store”.) Claims are usually approved within 1-2 days.

Once you have been approved, you can then add your photos, video, banners and more. Please review the Artist Page Banner Creation Tips and Guidelines when creating a banner for your artist store.  The Guidelines can be downloaded from the banner upload tool on the Artist Central site.

How To Sell Your Own Ringtones

It has never been so easy for bands to sell ringtones created from their tracks. Most services require no up front costs or long term commitments. Most bands feel that ringtones are pointless and that the market itself is in decline, but in fact there is still plenty of money to be made.

Thumbplay (who is partnered with RouteNote) has one of the best free music ringtones services available. Thumbplay’s Open platform allows artists to signup for free and create mobile content from their music. Thumbplay open is completely free for artists to use and will allow them to sell ringtones to 100 million US Verizon Wireless subscribers. For more information check out the Thumbplay Open website.