Sony holds 40th anniversary event for iconic Walkman music player – Japan Today

Sony Corp marked Monday the start of a two-month long event in Tokyo celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Walkman, with interactive exhibits showcasing various models of the iconic portable music player.

The highlight of the event, dubbed “#009 Walkman in the Park,” is an exhibit called “My Story, My Walkman,” which chronicles each year of the hit music player’s history with nostalgic stories by 40 creators, artists and other public figures of that generation. Visitors can listen to songs chosen by the celebrity on each of the Walkmans on display.

The event starts from ground level, where a 2.5 meter tall Walkman modeled after the yellow waterproof sports model introduced in 1983 stands, and continues across all four basement floors of Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo’s shopping district. Other exhibits include a “Walkman Wall,” which displays all 237 models of the Walkman over the years and a “Custom Walkman” corner featuring Walkman skins designed by artists.

The Walkman ushered in the biggest change in the way we listen to music. Shortly before the first Walkman was released, I had a Sony Pressman, which was much larger than the first Walkman, because it had stereo microphones – it was designed for reporters to use recording in the field – but also a big battery pack; I think it held four AA batteries. It was about as heavy as a brick, but I used to walk around with that and the ability to have my own personal soundtrack – something we now take for granted – was revolutionary.

I must say, it was hard to find a photo of the device I had. Even Sony doesn’t have a photo of this on their website, where they have an archive of their products, but I found a Time Magazine article with a photo.

Source: Sony holds 40th anniversary event for iconic Walkman music player – Japan Today

The Next Track, Episode #152 – Flogging a Dead App: Is it Really the Death of iTunes?

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400px“iTunes is dead!!!” claim a number of websites and publications. Even on the TV news they were saying that “Apple has discontinued iTunes,” that “it’s the end of an era.” Apple made big announcements at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in early June. Did they really kill off iTunes? We look at this subject, yet again, for what will be the last episode about the future of iTunes, at least until the next one.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #152 – Flogging a Dead App: Is it Really the Death of iTunes?
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Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

The Next Track, Episode #115 – App Developer Peter Chilvers on the new Travis & Fripp Apps

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxPeter Chilvers joins us to follow up on last week’s episode, where Theo Travis discussed his new apps built around Travis & Fripp performances, that Peter developed.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #115 – App Developer Peter Chilvers on the New Travis & Fripp Apps .

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

The Next Track, Episode #114 – Theo Travis on His New Travis & Fripp Apps

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxFlautist and saxophonist Theo Travis joins us to discuss the three new Travis & Fripp apps he has recently released, and his various music projects.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #114 – Theo Travis on His New Travis & Fripp Apps.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

The Next Track, Episode #113 – Liner Notes, Lyrics, & Ephemera

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxRemember how, back in the day, you used to get cool stuff with your records? Lyric sheets, liner notes, stickers, and other things?

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #113 – Liner Notes, Lyrics, & Ephemera.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

Archimago’s Musings: MQA: “Final” thoughts… On Politics & Paradigms. – Archimago’s Musings

It’s just odd to think that some in the media are so apparently taken with what amounts to faith in a DSP algorithm. And when others come along and try to demonstrate why it may be deserving of criticism, a grand conflict threatening the very foundations of scientific thinking gets invoked! We might as well drag Heaven and Hell, or virtue and sin into this earth-shaking dialogue. Is it any wonder that audiophiles sense this gross dissociation? Is it also not fair to ask why is it that folks who could benefit from industry incentives (not just financial incentives) seem to be so supportive of this “technology”? To not question these so-called “experts” who provide mere opinion would be obviously foolish!

To end off, I think it’s important to remember what’s happening here with MQA. In an unregulated free enterprise system, the arguments, tests, debates are necessary. The consumer is trying to figure out whether what is being sold to us has merit. In an age of free speech with online forums and blogs, the consumer has a powerful platform to express itself; much different from the landscape of years ago when magazines can print whatever they wanted with consumer discontentment expressed in the short “Letters to the Editor” section. It really doesn’t help when the press – especially a publication like this one – appears so grossly one-sided and out of touch. As I have said before, I believe that the press should really be independent and aligned with consumer interests in mind. If in this day and age the audiophile press is nothing more than the advertising arm of an industry, then let’s be transparent about that as well.

Archimago is a science-based audiophile, who has carried out extensive testing on a number of audiophile devices, and, in particular, the new MQA codec, which is supposed to somehow sound better than high-resolution files, while taking up less space. It’s a combination of lossy and lossless compression algorithms, along with some wishy-washy explanations of vague ideas that don’t quite make sense.

It’s about influence, control, and money. MQA is a business, it needs to generate revenue, and to do so it must gain adoption of course. In contrast, the average audiophile when presented with another “new format” cares about the utilitarian aspects of what is presented (actual sound quality potential) and value from the purchase if adopted. The frustration I think this new file type brings is a result of this dissociation.

Indeed. Follow the money.

See the results of a blind test he organized, where the results – asking people to determine which file sounded better – were roughly the same as if everyone guessed. That article links to previous articles presenting the test protocol, and discussing the results.

Source: Archimago’s Musings: MQA: “Final” thoughts… On Politics & Paradigms.

The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll – de Young Museum

In the mid-1960s, artists, activists, writers, and musicians converged on Haight-Ashbury with hopes of creating a new social paradigm. In the summer of 1967, this small portion of the city would attract as many as 100,000 young people from all over the nation. The neighborhood became ground zero for their activities, and nearby Golden Gate Park their playground. This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of that legendary summer.

Great website presenting an exhibit about the Summer of Love. You need to scroll a lot to see the whole thing.

Source: The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll | famsf-digital-stories

Women In Classical Music: Some Good News, Some Bad News – Sharps & Flatirons

The growing numbers of women in professional orchestras at every level can be traced to a single innovation that began around 1970: “blind auditions,” where competing candidates for open orchestral jobs play behind a screen. The selection committee does not know if it is hearing a man or a woman. The rapid change in the makeup of orchestras since 1970–casually visible and backed up by the numbers–is compelling evidence of the opposition women orchestral players faced before that innovation.

Fascinating article about the number of women in classical music: in orchestras, as composers, as conductors, and as soloists. Since screened auditions were put in place, the number of female musicians in orchestras has grown immensely, but where blinders aren’t used, they are still a small minority.

Source: Women In Classical Music: Some Good News, Some Bad News – Sharps & Flatirons

‘Dynamic Range’ & The Loudness War – Sound On Sound

In the press and on the Web, the backlash is growing against the ‘loudness war’, the practice of trying to make recordings sound as loud as possible, so they are perceived as ‘hotter’ than rival releases.

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We’ll find out whether recent music is really louder, and whether it’s really less dynamic. We’ll also consider the hypothesis that loudness may be a stylistic marker for specific recent music styles, instead of being a bad habit only motivated by despicable commercial reasons.

Anyone who cares about how music sounds is aware of the “loudness war.” But do you understand exactly what happens when a record producer pumps up the volume of a recording? This article goes into great detail about loudness and audio compression, why it can be good, and why it can be excessive.

Source: ‘Dynamic Range’ & The Loudness War | Sound On Sound

The Next Track, Episode #12 – iTunes & AppleScript

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxDoug and Kirk discuss iTunes and AppleScript. This was bound to come sooner or later, since Doug is the AppleScript ninja. We look at what AppleScript does, and discuss more than a dozen of the most useful AppleScripts to use to manage your iTunes library.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #12 — iTunes & AppleScript.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.