Line Out Music & the City at Night


Friday, August 17, 2012

New Music Store Opening on Capitol Hill!

Posted by on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM


You can now shred even harder and break all the strings you need to! Because High Voltage Music is opening on Capitol Hill this weekend, so you no longer have to deal with a) getting to Guitar Center b) parking at Guitar Center or c) talking to a Guitar Center employee and accidentally buying an overpriced Daisy Rock (okay that's your fault, those are hard to resist).

High Voltage will be located on E Pike and Broadway (in between Ballet and the Shell gas station) for all your string instrument needs*. Check out the CHS blog for the full scoop. Thanks CHS blog!

* This just in! They also carry drum, bass and keyboard gear!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NEWS FLASH: These Ear Buds Are a Piece of Garbage

Posted by on Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Okay, not to be this guy:

But I think some griping is warranted when something so amazing is manufactured at such a lowest-common denominator, Consumer Price Index-optimized crap-level of quality. I'd rather pay more money for something built well and built to last than something that works poorly but is priced low enough to justify buying a replacement when it breaks at the one-year mark.

Almost two years (and several pairs of ear buds, which still have a dumb name) into owning/using and iPhone/ear buds, I have determined that not only are these things going to get me killed (twice, even!), but that they sound like garbage and are not designed to make full use of their amplification/decibel output, which causes us to turn them up too loud. Surely this is not a revelation to anyone. Nor is it to me, but it's just that I'm using them enough now that my Complain-O-Meter™ has gone through the roof of the atmosphere. Now I use them when I'm running, and trust me people, the music needs to be LOUD to motivate a guy to haul this lanky frame for a couple miles. I also use them when I work at a coffee shop and I can't stand the coffee shop's music, which is most of the time, or when a child is screaming and throwing Cheerios at the table next to me (right now).

SO, here's the question, dear LineOuters: Can anyone recommend a moderately priced pair of headphones that features not only voice capabilities (one thing the ear buds do okay), but quality, audible sound when not at top volume, and a not-falling-out-of-my-ear-while-running-type fit? Noise canceling jobs seem like a bad idea for running because they would definitely get me killed, but there has to be a compromise, or is this just a pipe dream whose pipe bowl is filled with melted wire and plastic?* I would happily spend the money for such an item, provided that it's likely to last. I suspect, though, that reality will dictate two pairs, one without noise canceling for running/gym, and one with for cafe/crying-baby-sitting-next-to-you-and-throwing-Cheerios-while-you-try-to-work situations. Any recommendations are much appreciated.

*If someone reveals such a pair of headphones to me, I will melt down all the copper from the throngs of shitty headphones I have purchased over the years and donate the proceeds of its sale to charity.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Sounds of Lots and Lots of Instruments in Under Six Minutes

Posted by on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Bomb Squad producer Hank Shocklee's site—via Robot Repair—has a video featuring snippets of countless (I certainly don't have time to count 'em) instruments, which serves as an efficient intro to some—if not all—of the musical sounds that can be made by human beings. (But, hey, no clavinet?! Heinous omission!) I bet you can't just watch this once.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Turning Ink Into Sound

Posted by on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Via [Bomb Squad producer (Public Enemy/Ice Cube/Son of Bazerk), Hank Shocklee]

A brilliant German professor is working toward revolutionizing audio technology... with ink and paper!

A professor at Germany’s Chemnitz University has been developing novel technology that will transform electronics into printable material. Professor Arved Huebler who has worked on the product for 12 years calls the technology, which conduct sound and can even be used for generating electricity, “a printed loudspeaker”.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Four-Stringed Wonder

Posted by on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM

  • Mike Force
Until a few years ago, most Americans thought of the ukulele—if they thought of it at all—as a fake instrument. It was just a toy, something your grandpa might've played in the living room during the family cocktail hour, or a prop for vaudeville routines. The uke had a few high-profile partisans over the years—including George Harrison, who reportedly brought them to friends' houses as gifts—but as far as the rest of the world was concerned, the ukulele stopped with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and Tiny Tim.

Ten or 15 years ago, things started to change. Locally, the ukulele was becoming more popular with the new wave of circus and cabaret acts (Circus Contraption, for example). Nationally, bands like the Magnetic Fields, Beirut, and the Decemberists began treating the ukulele as a serious instrument for composing songs, not just adding it as a flourish. "[The Magnetic Fields'] 69 Love Songs is primarily ukulele-based," Jason Verlinde, the publisher of Fretboard Journal said. "At the time, it was probably the best-selling ukulele record of all time."

That change hit rollercoaster speed one sunny afternoon in 2006, when a young ukulele player from Hawaii named Jake Shimabukuro sat down in Central Park and played a stunningly virtuosic version of Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Shimabukuro was visiting New York and playing for some segment on a local TV show, but the video found its way to YouTube and exploded—the video went viral before the term "viral video" was even coined.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You're Not Really an Old-School DJ Unless You're Rocking This Setup

Posted by on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Dangerous Minds has the ancient scoop on the first DJ setup, the Gaumont Chronophone System. Fuck your SeratoPad or iTraktor or whatever the hell you kids use these days when you play-act as if you're DJing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

If It's Too Loud... You're Too Old?

Posted by on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Whoah-ho-ho! Check out THESE subwoofers...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Have Not Died Due to Headphone Use Yet, but I Have Developed Some (More) Rules About It

Posted by on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Almost a year and a half ago, I wrote this:

Up until this year, I'd never owned an iPod, and it's been years since I lost my portable CD Player (which didn't get as frequent a use because it was cumbersome). I got an iPhone for Christmas, and now I've got those little white speakers in my ears all the dang time. I take care to look both ways twice before I cross the street, and try to be conscious at all times, but still, I think I am going to get myself killed with these goddamn ear buds. Two days ago I was walking around in the grocery store, grumbling to myself about oblivious people who walk too slow and don't pay attention to their surroundings. Not thirty seconds after thinking these highly hypocritical thoughts, I turned around sharply and almost ran into someone. It was totally my fault. New rule: no more ear buds in the grocery store. Did you have to set rules for yourself when it comes to personal audio systems (or whatever they're called)? If so, what are they?

Continue reading »

Thursday, May 24, 2012

chicBuds: EARO OR ZERO?

Posted by on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM


Today's email deluge included this missive; I've added commentary in brackets:

Women today want everything to be a reflection of their style. [TWO GROSS GENERALIZATIONS IN THE FIRST SENTENCE. WELL DONE!] And with chicBuds bridging the gap between fashion and music technology, your favorite gadgets can now be accessorized with your look! Austere ear buds are a thing of the past [AUSTERE EAR BUDS? WELL, I NEVER!], with the newest addition to the chicBuds collection: ARTS! ARTS inner ear buds combine modern design with contemporary patterns and styles. Women can wear Zebra Stripes to mirror their wild side [BECAUSE NOTHING SCREAMS "WILD" LIKE ZEBRA STRIPES.], Pink Leopard to match their summer brights, and Blue Graffiti to capture that edgy cool vibe [FUTURA 2000 IS VERY HAPPY FOR YOU.].

Let's have a poll to determine if chicBuds are a good idea.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Posted by on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Russian Master Vladimir Spivakov played a Stradivari violin this past Saturday evening in the Taper Auditorium of Benaroya Hall. Olga Kern played piano. The pure, varnished sound of a Stradivarius lofting into that room was a pairing of instrument and acoustics that made for an absolute audible delicacy. A near perfect combination. The finest, rarest, cleanest, time traveled sashimi possible for the ear. It was also nice to hear just the two instruments together. Winding, diving into each other’s lines, capping each other’s notes and runs with connected lobes (Roche lobes.) Igor Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne” was beyond. Kern scattered celestial webs which Spivakov raised out of in gilded beams. Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” was a slower, stoic folding and unfolding. On triangular axes, Spivakov and Kern rotated and converged through certain notes and scales. Matching and hitting on certain notes, then drifting away into sustained fifths and sevenths on others. It was immeasurable.

Spivakov is a true Don. The Stradivari has been on permanent loan to him since 1997. The sound visibly floated out into the wood lined acoustics of the room. The wood tiling of Taper Auditorium is laser cut, as thick as a credit card, and was made completely from a single fallen tree (that fell from natural causes) in South Africa. Because the wood comes from the same tree, the acoustics have a consistency. The wood isn’t absorbent, it’s the opposite. Sound bounces back into the room with a latency of 1.8 seconds, which is considered ideal for symphonic music representation.

The entire Taper Auditorium is insulated and floating on rubber pads which insulate it from the outer shell of the building. It’s an independent structure, separated by an empty space of about half a meter.

Continue reading »

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dealing With the Scourge of Compression

Posted by on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Ars Technica has a super-informative article about how audio engineers are trying to improve sound quality for digital formats, particularly iTunes. Industry bigwigs like Dr. Dre, Neil Young, and Interscope-Geffen-A&M honcho Jimmy Iovine, the piece says, "are attempting to make uncompressed, higher-end audio formats a common standard across the industry. Music throughout the last decade is typically recorded using 24-bit samples at 96kHz, and advances in computing power and hard disk space have recently made even higher quality, 24-bit 192kHz digital recording possible." Read the whole thing here.

Godspeed you, audio engineers! May you continuously make gains toward minimizing file "lossy"-ness.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Record Player That Plays Trees???

Posted by on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM

This is all over the interwebs. I can't believe it's real. A record player that can play slices of wood? Makes me wonder what a monkey tail, or as Charles Mudede would call it a "monkey puzzle tree" would sound like...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

All Things Must App: George Harrison's Guitar Collection iPad Thingy

Posted by on Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Are you an obsessive George Harrison fan who wants to know the intimate details of the late Beatle's guitar stash, the history of each ax, how he modified them, etc. etc.? Well, now you can buy an app for that hankering, for $9.99, starting Feb. 23. You sick bastard...

Press release after the cut.

Continue reading »

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On the Fifteenth Day of Christmas My Internet Gave to Me

Posted by on Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 2:48 PM

In one of the recorded creation myths, Huitzilopochtli made the first fire from which a half sun was created by Quetzalcoatl. - Wikipedia
  • Wikipedia
  • In one of the recorded creation myths, Huitzilopochtli made the first fire from which a half sun was created by Quetzalcoatl. - Wikipedia
A partridge and a “Personal Appeal” from a researcher on Wikipedia when I searched manaj a twa. Hey Wikipedia, can you take these things down? I’m trying to research monaje a troisses. This guy, in my opinion, looks like one of those guys who might dabble in some lard-slathering, gimp-ball activities in his free time. He seems like an animal. He doesn't make me want to donate money. During the day, I think he writes code, or creates functions. Yeah, yeah. He probably mows a normal-looking lawn. But when he wears his leather onesie, he might call himself Atlas, or Huitzilopochtli (hummingbird of the south, Aztec God of War). His real name is Buck (in my opinion). And he can only get boners at church.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Silvertone Danelectro Guitar: Masonite

Posted by on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 12:18 PM

photo courtesy of
  • photo courtesy of
The Sea and Cake guitarist/singer Sam Prekop hath guitar affection for the Silvertone, which he said he played almost exclusively on their latest album, The Midnight Butterfly. It's not his road guitar, so he probably won't be playing it at The Crocodile tonight, sadly. But afterward he will be giving a solo concert at the Volunteer Park Greenhouse, where he will play Rush's Moving Pictures in its entirety, on a Silvertone guitar. Behold the Silvertone Guitar by Danelectro. Distributed by Sears Roebuck. Semi-hollow body. Made out of Masonite hardboard. That would be Mr. William H. Mason who invented Masonite, in Laurel, Mississippi, 1924. Mason disintegrated wood chips and blasted them with pressurized steam, then released them into atmospheric pressure, and molded the fibers into boards on a screen, where he pressed and heated them to form the finished product.

Tone-wise, Masonite accentuates the highs and rolls off the lows. Mids are smooth and clean with a humbucker/single coil combination. Silvertones have almost no sustain. In 1963, Sears musical buyer Joe Fisher and Nathan Daniel came up with the beautiful idea to put a 5-inch speaker and amplifier in the guitar case. Thus, the Silvertone was affordable, and complete. A workhorse. The body didn’t matter, they said, as opposed to Les Paul’s fine wood usage. Daniel said the neck was more important. His pickups were strange then and still are today. He used lipstick tubes, wiring them in series. There you have the unique Dano/Silvertone sound now proudly played by collectors and musicians worldwide. Even if you don't love guitars, you love this guitar.

photo courtesy of
  • photo courtesy of

Friday, November 25, 2011

Madrona Labs' Aalto Software Synth Sale

Posted by on Fri, Nov 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Madrona Labs—the company run by Seattle musician/inventor Randy Jones—is offering its Aalto software synth for 33 percent off its $99 price through Dec. 2. Check out some of what it can do below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Devendra Banhart has a Korg Wavedrum on Top of His Amp

Posted by on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Ornithology is a branch of zoology pertaining to birds.
  • Ornithology is a branch of zoology pertaining to birds.
This is the top of Devendra’s amp. The Wavedrum is a dynamic percussion synthesizer. You can play it with sticks, brushes, hands, spatulas, slabs of tofu, or Chilean Hawk beaks. The Wavedrum brain contains 36 algorithms for analog, additive, non-linear, physical modeling. 200 sampled sounds, 100 for the head, and 100 for the rim, with assignable velocity-switching capabilities.

It’s not a MIDI conga. It is more of an electronic drum, whose internal sounds are based on a multi-synthesis physical modeling technology. Say that with me, MULTI-SYNTHESIS PHYSICAL MODELING TECHNOLOGY. It’s like saying multi-care physical rehabilitation Olympic high dive center for ornithology. Or like Carl Jung saying man appears to be sub specie aeternitatis. Jung could not experience himself as a scientific problem.

Beneath the skin of the Wavedrum, and underneath a little metal tongue that lies just above the drum-head is an arrangement of sensors and microphones whose output adds to the overall sound, picking up slap sounds and hand noise. There’s not really a way to use it as a guitar effect. Input/Output jacks are: Output: L, R ¼" unbalanced. Phones: Stereo mini phone jack. And AUX IN: Stereo mini phone jack.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How a Steel Pan Drum Gets Made

Posted by on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Just because it's cool.

And here is a pan version of "Stand By Me."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Line Out Will Return Shortly

Posted by on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM

See explaination.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011



Is 40,000 Watts Enough?

Posted by at 12:48 PM in

Thursday, June 23, 2011



The New Neptune?!

Posted by at 9:29 AM in

Friday, May 27, 2011



Monday, April 25, 2011



Tuesday, April 19, 2011



Wednesday, April 6, 2011



Thursday, March 17, 2011



Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Soundburger™ Updated?

Posted by at 9:15 AM in

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



Saturday, January 29, 2011



Monday, January 24, 2011



Friday, December 3, 2010



Thursday, November 11, 2010



Thursday, November 4, 2010



Monday, November 1, 2010



Saturday, October 9, 2010



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