Wednesday, June 17, 2020

MP3 Players and More, a Mixed Media review

I get a lot of my music from Google Play, but I will shift to downloading via Bandcamp.  This is because Google Play Music may all become retooled into the YouTube Music app.  I don't know if Google will host individual tracks or album downloads with their service anymore.  Perhaps the service for online downloads to computer will stay functional. & It looks like the music section of the mobile phone google play store has already been axed... People might not talk as much about downloads these days, but Bandcamp is really cool.  I've already downloaded loads of cool music.  Bandcamp treats their artists very well!  Also there's still Apple Music/iTunes and stuff like Beatport.  Sites like SoundCloud, Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes, DatPiff, and ReverbNation have a lot of free downloads.  Bandcamp occasionally has freebies too!  People don't really download as much in this era of streaming.  But, like me, you may still really like getting music this way. Bandcamp app on mobile allows for unlimited streaming of your collection as well as letting you demo listening to other music.  Just got it myself, but seems nice!  I will be talking about other music streaming apps later.

Modern MP3 plays offer pretty good music quality especially if you use a higher bitrate.  I tried some of these song encoding formats on my MP3 players to see what I liked best.  WMA Pro works on Zune and Windows phone and sounds great.  But um, like, it only works on those 2 things besides in your computer.  And um, like, they are both discontinued.  Most MP3 players do not support WMA Pro.  Still it is a cool format for a high definition balanced sound but you'll want to be ripping the music off a very good condition CD.  I have the Zune so I got to use it and really liked it.  However I was frustrated when I tried it on Sony Walkman NWE394 and SandDisk Sportclip and it worked on neither.  Guess I learned the hard way Grrr.  Regular WMA has been around longer and therefor works on nearly all "modern" MP3 players.  These files also take up less space and sound better than MP3.  MP3's still sound pretty good at medium-high bitrate though, and if you are ripping off CD you can set this up properly in the settings.

There are several MP3 players under the walkman name.  The version I have, the NWE394 with 16GB is inexpensive but pretty good.  The sound is really good, nice punchy bass on my over-ear skullcandies, but there's not a lot of equalizers.  My favorite EQ is probably the "unique" EQ.  It is fast and easy to navigate my music library.  The power button is kind of touchy though, just bump it and it's turned on.  I don't know if the hold switch would prevent that, or just keep it on.  Also the manual was all in pictograms.  This is the budget version, for only around $75.  And if you can afford it I would recommend the higher end, high priced walkmans because you get what you pay for.  This MP3 player has never froze on me and it can be filled to the brim with your favorite tunes.  When it's all said and done this is an alright MP3 player and I give it a 8 out of 10.

I also just got the SanDisk Sport Clip 16GB.  This MP3 player also sound pretty good, but it is slower navigating my music library.  It has more built in equalizers than my walkman.  I probably like the "funk" EQ the best.  On my skullcandy over-ear headpones the bass seems a little wimpy though, probably because this is a small clip-on device, like a generic iPod shuffle.  You might get around this with the "hiphop" EQ.  On a pair of earbuds the sound is excellent!  The power is less touchy on this one you press and hold the middle select button for 3 or 4 seconds.  And it gets an A+ for price, mine, the non-bluetooth version was just $40.  Just don't fill this MP3 player all the way up.  It needs a little sliver of empty memory to run.  The SanDisk froze on me once, but this hasn't been a problem.  I just let the battery run itself down and I was fine.  I might even buy the bluetooth version just for kicks.  I give this MP3 player a 8 out of 10.

UPDATE! I also, also, also got SanDisk 16GB Sport Clip Plus with bluetooth capability.  The good news is that this MP3 player looks and feels better than the regular Sport Clip.  It also has flaps over the USP port and headphone jack which I assume makes it more water resistant.  As it is larger than the regular model it also kicks out a louder fuller mix.  Great bass on my wired skullcandies!  However, I don't like the bright-colored backdrop because it makes it harder to read which song I am playing.  Funny that the regular cheaper one had a dark backdrop I liked better.  Controls are pretty intuitive on both SanDisk devices.  Not all folders keep things alphabetized on either SanDisk which is kind of annoying.  Still, I really like this new MP3 player and for just $60 it's a great value!  I rate this MP3 player an 8 out of 10.   

The Microsoft Zune is discontinued.  The software to sync Zune from computer is discontinued.  They are very nice, but Microsoft killed it off entirely.  It pisses me off that they left the Zune fanbase high and dry.  I understand no longer manufacturing the physical device.  But how about still hosting the Zune software.  But nope.  Microsoft murked it just like they canned the good version of Movie Maker.  Apple did a much better job catering to the iPod fanbase.  In the past I have seen firmware problems when I tried to get music on "new" Zune for a friend.  We never solved that.  That said, I have a Zune HD and it is a priceless time capsule for me!  The display is excellent and I love having biographies and pictures of many of these musicians built right in.  And of course the sound is excellent!  But don't buy one unless you already have the Zune Software or you know somewhere online that securely offers the software for download.  I give it a 9 out of 10 for original quality but a 1 out of 10 for technical support.

There is an app for Smartphone called ZPlayer that recreates the feeling of Microsoft Zune very faithfully, mmhmm I really dig it!  I like having all the bios, podcasts, layout, and more precise control of my volume.  Other music apps keep me feeling like my volume is either to high or two low.  ZPlayer helps me get to that sweet-spot!  EQ's are good too, try bass boost and virtualizer!  I give it a 10 out of 10.

Want to turn your phone into a its own MP3 player?  Try Audiomack!  8 out of 10.  You can download as many songs as you'd like free, then just listen to them on airplane mode and you got no adds! #LifeHack

I have been streaming music with Deezer and I really like its variety, and direct nature!  Add aren't bad.  A sleek, no-nonsense music streaming app.  9 out of 10. 


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Source Code

I've been taking a breather, playing Webfoot Games, Star Gunner and Nux on my laptop + using windows media player with songs on shuffle as a soundtrack to the gaming.  I ran an HDMI cable from laptop to TV and hooked up a PC joystick.  Best way to do!  A day earlier I had a rad guitar lesson with Joe and he taught me some 'dirty' scales!  Mixolydian- creates Jerry Garcia quality.  Harmonic Minor- creates gypsy metal vibe.  Video Chat and rocking out sure eases the boredom and isolation. :)   

I thought it was rad that Hot Hot Heat got a cameo in Saint's Row 2 video game with their song, 'Let Me In'
When I heard that song come on my heart got a riser and then a drop.  It was amazing to hear a song that made
such a huge impact on my teenage years.  Yet it was bittersweet, "Why can't I do stuff like this?  Why aren't I this good?"
With some reflection I got back my pride in my work.  Everybody likes something different and some folks
might even hear my music and think it is better than that commercial song!  

I am exploring hook songwriting.  A catchy hook is a good way to capture that Hot Hot Heat style and make people want to sing along.

I will also continue making heavy hitting electronica works, in the mixed technique I call Fusion Techno.

<DIR>Full Sets including COVERS, Informal 'down-to-earth' JAM SESH clips with anyone kool to it, Poetic Cinema Rap, working in my Underground Supergroups...
My devotion to these objectives designs my destiny as Phrosty D, player 1!!!<TRIG@42=DISPLAY~DREAM>

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Bedbugs and Boredom

So it is well into social distancing season due to the corona virus.  I look at my extra time off work as an opportunity for more self examination.  It's also a bit of a holiday in my head.  But eventually it just feels like I have done all the hobbies and projects I can think of.  And I am left with bedbugs and boredom.  I know this is a small price to pay for the general health and safety of the greater good, but this old dog is out of new tricks.  My music goals are to create a fractal gallery video set to my song "Mandelbrot" + build my custom drum set + create catchy new original music + work on my live covers.  I have been watching psychedelic videos on YouTube and listening to visionary music to escape from bedbugs and boredom.  Xbox Kinect games, brisk walks, yoga, sit-ups, lifting weights are a means to stay fit although I'm a man yes I am I.E. laziness can fatten the cat.  As I am looking to develop more as a percussionist and some of you might just be like minded lemme just toss this in the mix: 5 tips for the self taught drummer-