Posts Tagged ‘Music’

The lovely low-fi Philips AZ382 CD/radio speaker syste

August 18, 2009

Yeah, I’m usually more into expensive gadgets, like high-end phones. However, now and then I come across a cheap, low-tech piece of electronic equipment that merits a little attention.

Behold the Philps AZ382!

The Philips AX383

The Philips AZ382

Yes, this is the kind of device no one bothers to give a fancy name – like “iPod Nano” or “HTC Magic”. No worries – at least you know very few of the 500 NOK (80 USD) you pay go into branding the unit!

What’s so great about this sound system?

* It has a decent-quality FM radio and a large, reliable-looking antenna to go with it.
* There is a CD player there.
* You can put MP3 and WMA files on a memory stick and play them through the USB port in the front.
* It is small, and thus easy to place.
* It can run on batteries.
* Those speakers produce sound of mediocre quality, but they play pretty loud.
* And, best of all, there is a 3,5 mm mini-jack audio input port on the side! This means you can use those speakers to play from pretty much any audio source you have.

You get all this stuff for a very low price. Currently, this little utilitarian pebble of a low-fi system is playing news over FM in the mornings and podcasts and The Economist from my mobile phone when I’m working in the kitchen. The USB port works, but I haven’t had any use for it, as I prefer the user interface on my phone. Navigating thousands of MP3s through a numerical display is not ideal, but if you populate a memory stick with good stuff and set the player to shuffle, you’re good to go.

Apart from the less than fantastic MP3 user experience (which is really excusable when you consider the price), my only criticism is that the FM tuning dial is a bit too sensitive. In an area with lots of FM transmitters, finding the right one can be a bit tricky. Since the 3,5 mm jack is there, I’ve even sometimes just tuned my Nokia into the desired FM station and hooked that one up instead.

Overall, two thumbs up for the AZ382, my new everyday hero among sound systems and a fabulous example of a device achieving versatility through the use of standards!

Josh Woodward and how the music industry should work

October 10, 2008

 

Josh Woodward

Josh Woodward

About 30 minutes ago, as I was listening to a friend’s radio station on http://last.fm, I heard a song by Josh Woodward – “Midnight Blue”. I was doing something else entirely, but the song was good enough to make me task-switch over to my laptop and check who the artist was. In his artist’s description, it said he was giving his music away for free.

Fabulous stuff. I headed straight over there – http://www.joshwoodward.com/ – you can download 100+ songs in MP3 format. No hassle, just zip files and music. I decided I had to donate to this guy, considering his music is great and he’s letting everyone listen to it for free and share it as they like. Turns out I can’t actually donate – I mailed him about that and got a reply (within 5 minutes!) where he explained he didn’t want to make people feel they owed him anything. What a fantastic guy. 

Anyways – it is possible to order both CDs and lossless FLAC files of his music (which is awesome) for a fee, which you set yourself. I definitely don’t need the CDs, and the FLACs are also way overkill for me, but at least I can give something back to the man for creating such great music and sharing it with everyone.

I’m crossing my fingers and hoping other artists will follow his lead!