Audio News

Audio News for August 3, 2012

Audio-Technica “Flagship” Turntable; Partners Develop Devices to Use Roku Stick; Amazon Upgrades Its Cloud Player

Published on August 3, 2012

Audio-Technica “Flagship” Turntable – Audio-Technica has launched what it calls its flagship turntable, the AT-LP1240USB, which may have audiophiles chuckling at that appellation. It is designed for both hi-fi fans and mobile and club DJs. The gloss black and silver TT uses a direct-drive 16-pole motor for quiet operation at all three speeds. The tonearm is S-shaped with adjustable tracking and anti-skate forces and a removable universal cartridge mount. It has locking height adjustment to dial in the vertical tracking angle. A built-in switchable phono preamp allows use with a variety of AV components, and its USB output allows connection to a computer without needing special drivers. It comes bundled with both PC and Mac software. (The specs mention nothing about moving-coil, so the phono preamp must be only for moving magnet cartridges.) DJ-friendly features include a slip mat, stroboscopic markings, an illuminated speed indicator, adjustable pitch control, a removable stylus target light, and a hydraulically-damped lift lever and locking tonearm rest. Audacity software is included for digitization of vinyl records plus some audio editing features. While most of the USB turntables are near worthless, it looks like this one may be of useable quality for converting to digital.   The turntable is available online for as little as $289.

Partners Develop Devices to Use Roku Stick – Eight consumer electronics firms have signed on to develop devices for the Roku Streaming Stick. The gadget was unveiled in January as a tiny wireless streaming player the size of a USB flash drive. It has a processor, memory, built-in Wi-Fi, and software updated on a regular basis. Once plugged into an enabled device, it streams music or video and casual game play from Roku’s 500+ entertainment channels. When paired with a TV the Stick integrates Roku functionality into the TV user’s interface, allowing the TV remote to access streaming services. The Stick is not yet available and its price will be announced when it is.

Amazon Upgrades Its Cloud Player – In an effort to be more competitive with Apple’s iCloud, Amazon is upgrading its music-locker service to make it easier to upload to the cloud computer-stored songs for streaming or downloading to multiple mobile devices and networked home devices. Thru agreements with the four major music labels more than 150 independents, Amazon is adding Scan and Match technology. The upgrade will enable Amazon to scan users’ iTunes and WMP libraries, match the songs on their computers to Amazon’s catalog of 20 million songs, backup the songs in the cloud, and let users stream or download the songs to multiple mobile and home devices, including Kindle Fire tablets, smart phones and any device with a web browser. Previously, users had to manually upload stored songs to the cloud, including even those purchased from Amazon. Cloud Player is available in free and premium ($25 a year) versions, and customers can store up to 5GB of files free—above that there are storage plan prices.




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