Gimme a Pocket Studio!


It had to happen, was just a matter of time, and that time is at last now come.

Imagine living life as a musician and composer with the heart of one's studio always in one's jacket pocket!

Ah ~ gimme!!

Well, Toneworks' good ole Pandora line of effects boxes is now finally blossoming out into a guitar-player's best buddy with the new PXR4 (released in November in the USA with suggested retail price of $500, but available cheaper)
This here's an ultra-compact 4-track digital recorder packing a serious punch for musicians on the go. High-quality digital recording and playback, comprehensive editing including trick features like time compression and expansion, tons of great sounding digital effects, even a built-in mic'. The PXR4 delivers everything you need to record, mix and edit your songs from start to finish.
The whole magic of the machine rides upon MPEG format recording onto SmartMedia cards, providing up to eight virtual tracks or "takes" per channel, three recording modes (Economy, Standard, High-Quality) and up to 99 songs and 270 minutes of recording time.
Standard mode provides good recording resolution and offers an excellent balance between recording quality and memory use. High-quality mode captures impeccable clarity, and Economy mode delivers maximum recording time on SmartMedia cards ranged from 8 to 128 MB. The PXR4 can also transfer song data to and from a computer in stereo MPEG format via a built-in USB port.
Editing functions such as Copy, Insert, Erase, Delete, Time Compression/Expansion, and Virtual Track Copy/Delete bring a new level of control to such ultra-portability. The eight 'virtual' tracks per track also allow one to record multiple takes of the same track and then select one. There's punch in/out, bounce, copy and delete functions, and lots else you'd expect from a digital recorder many times larger,.. including time compression/expansion to speed up or slow down phrases without altering pitch.
Front panel contains five faders, one per track, plus one master fader, as well as controls for all the unit's key features. Selecting parameters and editing is easy with a clear intuitive icon-based user interface and backlit display.

For inputs, there are a 1/4" jack with a hi/low impedance switch plus a stereo line/mic' input. For outputs there are a 1/8" stereo out jack, a stereo headphone output and a USB.

Now get this!..
The PXR4 is equipped with 77 different types of studio-quality modeling effects featuring Korg's proprietary Resonant Electronic Modeling System (REMS) technology, and a 32 kHz sampling rate for ultra-realistic guitar, bass, drums, amp and mic simulations. 100 factory programs are included, with room for 100 user programs as well. Studio-quality effects range from ultra-realistic models of amazing guitar amps and pedals to some of the world's great microphones. There's also 55 high-quality PCM rhythm patterns (and 32 metronome patterns) covering all modern styles including BigBeat, House, Reggae, Rock, Funk, Hip Hop and so on.
At 4.8" wide, 4.25" high, 1.33" deep and running off two AA batteries or an AC adapter, the PXR4 is a Pandora effect we could all do with a little bit of in our lives.

Like I said ~ Gimme!

 ... and a Pen Cam!!

Photography became ubiquitous a long time ago, and photography's slowly turning ubiquitously digital today, with video coming aboard too ~ whether its just for pix of the kids, or something to post on a website or just a little ole video email to send a lover. What's happening big-time too is portability.

Casio hit the first Holy Grail here about a year or two ago, with a 'wristwatch' camera, but ~while its still sold today~ its limited to pretty small pictures in black and white only.

What's however getting closer to the cutting edge than getting a camera on every wrist is getting a camera into every pocket, with new offerings like the Aiptek PenCam VR. At 5.5" x 2.2" x 0.7," its conveniently pocket sized; a wonder of miniaturization projected as a "5-in-1" device.

Primary function of the PenCam VR is of course to take quick and simple digital pictures. Picture resolution goes up to 640 x 480 (software-interpolated to 1024x768), so the images are just fine for family and friends, web pages and lots else targeted at screens.

The "VR" stands for Voice Recorder, a great feature that allows you to record up to 13 minutes of voice memos, personal reminders and audio notes, and/or to add voice memos to pictures you've taken.

You can also take up to 20 seconds of low-res digital video footage. It's a lot lower in quality than your average home video camera produces today, but then for many modest applications (e.g. video emails) this is a great extra attraction. The PenCam also functions as a desktop video cam, and comes bundled with software like NetMeeting and CyberLink VideoLive Mail. Picture-editing software is also included for adjusting brightness and contrast.

Many of the higher-end features we've come to expect of digital cameras today ~like an LCD viewfinder~ certainly don't feature in the PenCam VR, but there's quite a bit aboard anyway. The USB cradle holds the camera for video conferencing and transferring pictures quickly to a computer, while also supplying power when attached to the computer (on the road, the camera operates for up to two weeks with AAA batteries). A rudimentary LCD window allows navigation through picture options, including a self-timer, plus picture, voice and video options.

Relative to comparable products in the marketplace today, the PenCam VR retails pretty cheap at about $120, and the PenCam Trio (with identical features except for voice notation) is less than $100. Not surprisingly, they're expected to start showing up with users just about everywhere ­ and there'll surely be lots others like them turning up all over the place very soon.