Organise Your iPod/ iTunes Music Library

Music in digital formats has changed the way we discover music. Our approach to owning and storing music must change as well. We come across multiple new tracks that we like everyday or think we might like, and since acquiring them has become so easy, we end up with a huge pile of junk in our music library.

Do you remember the time and effort it took to find that record/ tape with that song we liked on radio? A few days probably went by just looking for the artist, album and track name. Today, we have apps like SoundHound and Shazam for those one-off listens, and anyway all music is pretty much discovered on TV or the Internet where finding track information is easy. Owning the track is just a matter of visiting a website and clicking for a quick download.

Acquiring music has become so easy now. We download it before we know if we will even listen to it

Acquiring music has become so easy now. We download it before we know if we will even listen to it

This has brought about one BIG problem – too much music media stored in every computer, music player and phone. We don’t have time to decide whether we actually like the track before we buy/ acquire it. In fact, I have been on the music hoarding bandwagon since the digital era began, with well over 100GB of music in my library. All this gets on to my iPod classic (love the classic for that). I’m pretty sure I haven’t explored even half of it.

Over the last few years, Continue reading

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Best Android Mobile Apps, 2015

Here is a list of android mobile apps that I use regularly and are still relevant today:
1. aWallet Password – Store passwords securely
3. Snapdragon BatteryGuru – battery saver for snadragon base phones
4. BubblerGPS – best trip logger app I bought till date. Road trippers blessing.
5. Business Calendar – great for prople who use multiple calendars in google calendars
6. Carousel – Dropbox camera uploads app. Easy to view photos uploaded to dropbox as a time line.
8. Easy Phone Sync – Sync music from iTunes on my mac.

IndiEarth – XChange 2014

The IndiEarth Xchange this year kicked off on 5th December 2014 in Chennai. It was lined up with great sessions, industry veterans, films and music acts.

I was invited as a panelist for a discussion on the evolving role of technical directors at music festivals. It is an interesting topic to touch upon, especially with an audience filled with festival makers and active independent art promoters. The session was curated by Guru Somayaji (Program Director, Counter Culture) and the panelists were Yotam Agam (CTO EarthSync – IN), Fali Damania (NH7/SulaFest – IN), Nikhil Pai (Freelance Sound Engineer – IN), Rahul Samuel (FreeLance Sound Engineer – IN) and Marion Joly (Sakifo, Les Rockomotives – FR).

The discussion was about how the role of sound engineers in India has changed into that of technical directors in the recent years. We, as sound engineers, are now making technical decisions that traditionally, festival management or a equipment rental company made. The discussion dove into lack/availability of skilled crew for setups and stage management. We also discussed some issues faced at music festivals and shared some technical advice.

Key take-aways:
1. Sound engineers are not the decision makers for all things sound/technical that need to be procured for a music festival.
2. There is no lack of quality equipments available in India now.

3. Skilled crew is available provided they are compensated rightly.
4. A festival/concert usually doesn’t sound right due to management decisions made at earlier stages and of course poor crew.
5. With proper technical planning, work during the festivals can be smooth and reduced to a great extent.

Sway, will this be the next big presentation software? (Microsoft launch)

Microsoft announced Sway, the new kid in the Office. Presentation software, storytelling software, interactive website builder, call it whatever you like, it does everything with ease. Like the Sway vision video below depicts, it will probably be the most versatile presentation software out there.

It works across industries, and due to its intuitive user interface, users can range from school kids to design professionals. And they all still get what they need.

The key features of this software are:
1. Its built-in media manager lets you add media like videos, images from within the app. It handles formats and converts sizes automatically for you.

2. Seamless integration with OneDrive.

3. Seamless integration of content across devices. It automatically re-arranges content depending on the device.

4. If you are stuck trying to work a layout, it automatically creates templates depending on the content included.

The video above says it all, and yes, this is still in preview mode. If, you would like to try it out immediately, head over to www.sway.com and sign up for a preview invite. If you are impatient, like me, tweet and share to get the invite sooner.

Express yourself!

 

Audio-Technica ATH M50 User Review (Anniversary Edition) (Updated)

I got the Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE 50th Anniversary Edition about a year ago. I retired my old Sennheiser cans which I reviewed here. The Audio-Technica M50’s have been around for a long time and people swear by them. This is a straight cable 50th Anniversary Edition which is in a metallic silver-blue finish instead of the regular black-grey. In all other ways, it is exactly like the regular ATH-M50’s and has the same specifications.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE Anniversary Edition

Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE Anniversary Edition

It was a big leap from the budget friendly Sennheiser’s that served me for many years. I have used various headphones on the road including Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Shure SRH840 and more in the past few years, however I never tried an Audio-Technica ATH M50 which had numerous good reviews. Based on this, I had short listed the DT770 Pro and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 as final options. 

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Make the most of Sound Check for a Chorale or Acapella

A reader asked me about sound check for a choir and acapella performances after seeing my blog post on sound check for bands. Because sound reinforcement for choral music works very differently, I realized the topic requires a separate blog post. I have worked with numerous gospel choirs and acapella groups and here are my observations on what usually goes wrong.

A few pointers before I dive in to the technicals:

1. Most musicians from choirs and acapella groups are also a part of rock/pop bands. They spend more time with the bands and assume things work the same way for a chorus on stage, but it doesn’t.

2. The reason you have a choir/acapella is because you intend to use ‘voices’ as an ‘instrument’. If you have an army of other instruments ‘backing’ your group, you better have voices that can be heard over them, of course without sounding like they are straining.

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