Posts Tagged ‘music’

Our smartphones have come a long way when it comes to audio, but the problem is the thinner they become the less likely the audio quality will improve.

Take the iPhone for example, no one can argue that it is a superb phone and the audio output is pretty good, but it could be much better. Without a massive advancement in technology, this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Shure, the audio specialists, make some of the best earphones in the business, but even they think that plugging the Shure 535’s into the iPhone really doesn’t show off their potential. Try it, plug-in your best headphones into your iPhone and listen to a track, then listen to the same track with the same headphones on your computer with a dedicated sound card and you will very quickly hear the difference.

The only solution is a portable amp which magnifies the audio signal to amplify the sound. Otherwise without this, the louder you make the music the more distorted it will become. These portable amps need to be powered and are normally expensive and bulky and are aimed at the audiophile.

The guys over at UAMP want to change this with a Kickstarter campaign.

“We wanted to capture that premium sound you get from hi-end audio equipment and make it available on every device, without the complications, terrible interfaces, or exorbitant costs. Uamp provides the same hi-fi sound for a fraction of the price and size of standard amplifiers. The Uamp unit measures 43 x 43 x 9mm and weighs just 26 grams – we’ve crammed all the electronics of a hi-end amp into one tiny device. Its nano design means it can easily fit into the smallest of pockets, allowing you to carry it with you anywhere – walking, jogging and cycling, or travelling on the bus, train and plane. Combined with its ten hour battery life, Uamp is truly a portable device.”

The difference here is not only its size and ability to be recharged by USB, but also its price. With postage to the UK, this will cost you about £40 which for anyone who has spent £250+ on headphones it’s a small price to pay. UAMP have kept this simple and stylish, with little LED’s and a slick design. You simply plug-in your iPhone and then your headphones on the other side and away you go.

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With a 10 hour rechargeable battery and adjustable EQ levels, working with every device no matter the makers, this really is an amp for the budding audiophile. Priced at about £45 all in on this campaign, it really is worth a punt, especially if the manufacturer delivers as much as they promise.

uamp

UAMP

Continuing on from Part 1 of the iOS Replacement Apps blog, here are some of the next apps which could replace the stock apps on your iPhone to make your life easier and maybe even a little more fun!

 

Apple: Safari

Non Apple: Opera – Free

Now, let me first say, there is not a lot wrong with Apple’s offering, Safari is a great browser but sometimes we get bored and just want those added features. Opera includes all the standards, tabbed browsing, bookmarking and of course the “find in page” option, but also has some added features like share options to easily share with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google + and of course email.

One of the best features is the in-built data usage tracker, which can show you how long you have spent off of WiFi which could become particularly helpful while on holiday on those expensive roaming charges.

This app is a step up from Apple’s offering, but you may also want to take a look at the competition in the form of Google Chrome which is also a great alternative.

 

Apple: Camera

Non Apple: Camera+ – 69p

Camera + is an immense app which will change the way you take photos with the iPhone. Not only can you take photos with it, but also edit them after. While taking a photo, you can edit the exposure and focus in real-time. You also have a variation of shooting modes (Burst, stabilised and even timer) and the unique ability to have the iPhone’s light on continuously to take a picture so that you can see what you are doing in low light conditions.

Editing shots are easy, but you can also import into Lightbox for even more possibilities with the choice of automatic sync available. From the app, you can transform your pictures with almost professional tools, allowing many possible Effects, brushing and layering at your fingertips. The app also allows you to share with the likes of Facebook and Twitter direct from the app after editing and is now available on the iPad.

 

Apple: iBooks

Non Apple: Kindle – Free

iBooks I think has a nice feel to the app, but some of you may not like the life-like design that Apple opt for. The only problem I see with this app, is those of you who like to purchase books and build up a huge collection are going to be stuck with Apple’s collection and of course staying with iOS from now on. Kindle changes that, you can buy books through the Kindle store which offers over 1.5million titles including books, magazines, newspapers and PDF’s.

The attraction for me is that you can pick the book up from the very page you left on in any device across iOS, Kindle devices, PC/Mac and Android meaning you are not stuck with iOS for the rest of your life. Some of the newspapers available are the The Spectator, The Daily Mail and The Guardian and the best features include dictionary look-up, search inside the book and the ability to change font, size and margins.

A great all-rounder which is free and solves a lot of issues.

 

Apple: Music

Non Apple: Groove 2 – £1.49

Once again the stock music app from Apple does the job, but it does have some short comings. Along with being a little bit boring and no major changes in the app being done in the last few years, one of the things that really gets to me is the creation of playlists. Going through my huge music collection to add songs to my newest playlist, I would like to be able to briefly hear the song I am about to choose (just like you can in the iTunes store before purchasing) but Apple have missed this.

Groove 2 is a great app which studies your listening habits and creates a wide variety of instant mixes like your own personal DJ. They claim that you will never have to create playlists again.

Winning quite a few awards, this app has some cool features. When you are in the car, you can use smart gestures to control volume, playback and get new mixes while keeping your eyes firmly on the road. It can also create playlists for you with a touch of a button which before BBQs and parties can be a valuable tool to save time.

You will not regret upgrading to Groove 2, if you are serious about your music, this is the app for you.

Apple Apps