Tag Archives: Hardware

AKG Perception mics in April 2009 issue of RAP

In the April 2009 issue of Radio & Production magazine I’m taking a look at the AKG Perception line of microphones.akg_perception_mics

AKG has a long and storied reputation for producing some of the best studio mics around — can you say 414? — but can their latest line of inexpensive Chinese-made microphones maintain that reputation? How well do they stack up against the competition?

The short answer is yes, mostly. Read RAP for the whole story.

Teeny little controllers from Korg

In the midst of recording and editing dialog for a new videogame (whose name I unfortunately cannot divulge), I caught wind of these new workstation controllers from Korg, cleverly grouped together as the nanoSERIES:Korg nanoSERIES USB controllers for laptops.

There are three of them, and each is designed specifically for laptop use. They connect to your computer via USB, and appear to be bus-powered (at least for one at a time use. Don’t know if you can connect more with a hub or not). They all speak MIDI, so it should be possible to program them to perform various functions, as most Mac and PC software editors now support MIDI controllers and Continuous Controller (CC) messages. The music keyboard and drum pad units look like fun, but the money piece is the mix controller, shown below.

The nanoKONTROL comes with nine very short throw faders, nine associated knobs, and eighteen buttons for (I presume) mute and solo. It also features a transport section that lacks only a jog/shuttle wheel, and speaks MIDI Machine Control (MMC). A software app called Korg KONTROL Editor promises to provide a friendly interface when it’s time to program this Bad Boy, and the ability to store programs and settings on computer for later recall. I’ll def have to get my mitts on one of these mix controllers for review in RAP, ASAP.

Pricing and delivery information is not yet available, of course. But you can get firsthand info at Korg’s USA website here, or if you’re fluent reading Japanese you can check it out at the source here.

May’s product reviews in RAP magazine

I haven’t decided yet, actually. In fact, I just figured out that I have another couple weeks to finish writing it (joy!).

But I’ve been playing with two very kewl products… the MicPort Pro from CEntrance and Magix’s Samplitude 10. Actually I’ve been playing with both at the same time. MicPort is a USB-to-audio converter that so far sounds great, unlike some others out there. Most of the existing converters are noisy and sound like crap, but the MicPort actually sounds very good, and does 96k/24 bits to boot. I think I’m keeping this one.

Samplitude 10, like previous versions (the last one I reviewed was version 8 back in 2005), is very deep. My concern with it is finding whether it’s still a resource-hog… I’ll be checking that this week. More later.

Disassembling a MacBook Air

Apple says their MacBook Air can only be serviced by the Mothership. While that’s smart while it’s under warranty, at some point the Air will become fair game for DIY fixing. You knew someone was going to ignore Apple’s FUD regarding opening the Air, and make it public to boot.disassemairlg

The nice folks at ifixit.com in Atascadero, CA have documented a complete teardown of a MacBook Air, including photos. Click this thumbnail to see it all:

BTW, iFixit is my first stop when I’ve got an Apple-related hardware problem. Their how-to guides have walked me through more than one laptop teardown. Others sell hard drives and memory for less, but if you need other bits for an Apple product you need to go there. Seriously.

Bellyin’ up to the Genius Bar

The power adapter for my MacBook Pro shorted out at the MagSafe connector yesterday. It was not a spectacular failure, but it did involve a wisp or two of smoke and a blackened hole in the insulation behind the plug. Time to get Apple to replace it, which brings us to the topic of Apple’s Genius Bar:

The Genius Bar

If you’ve never been to an Apple Store, the Genius Bar is where you take your Mac or iPod when it is misbehaving. The friendly (and uniformly young/hip/gen-Y) technicians will examine your machine, answer your questions, and run some diagnostic software to see what’s troubling it. It’s a busy place, and you have to make an appointment and get in line to see an Apple Genius. You can make an appointment via Apple’s website before you leave for the Store, or you can do it in the Store on one of the (surprise) Macs on the retail floor. Your name and place in the waiting list is then displayed prominently on one of several large plasma displays in the Genius Bar area.

This should clue you that This Is Going To Take A While.

Continue reading Bellyin’ up to the Genius Bar