Feb 22

5thgen

The best ever iPod (for sound quality) was the 5th generation ‘Enhanced’ version. But it has the same Apple model number as the 5th generation (A1136) . Here’s how to tell a 5th Gen ‘Enhanced’ iPod apart from a standard 5th generation iPod. Continue reading »

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Feb 08

iphone

 

Here are some frequency response graphs for the various models of iPhone.

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Oct 01

This little beauty is called an airport express. You can buy it from Apple for $99 (USA) or $119 (Australia).  It plugs into your home ethernet network (or straight into your ADSL modem) via that little Ethernet connection on the left  next to the power cord. Then it shares your internet connection with all your iOS devices via wi-fi. But it has a few tricks up it’s sleeve. Continue reading »

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Sep 28

3.5mm to RCA

To connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod to your home stereo you just need a 3.5mm to RCA cable like this cable above. The RCA cable plugs into the rear of your stereo and the 3.5mm plugs into your iPhone headphone jack. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

 

Good external microphones for the iPhone/iPad are expensive – not the kind of thing you want to buy and find out they are no good! Here’s a comparison of three external iPhone microphones: The Apogee MiC,  Fostex AR-4i and Tascam iM2.

They were all tested on my iPhone 4s by recording into the FiRE iPhone recording app at full quality. On the microphones that had a volume adjustment, I adjusted it to be at the top of the green range in FiRE, quite conservative, no chance of clipping. I had the mic placed approx 20cm in front of my guitar sound-hole at the same height in all the tests. The Tascam doesn’t give any indication of levels, the Fostex has 4 LEDs on top to show the levels and the Apogee has a single LED on the front. The single LED on the Apogee seemed to give a better indication of input level than the three LED’s on the FOSTEX because the difference in brightness was easier to discern on the Apogee LED.

Continue reading »

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Sep 06

itunes

Importing songs into iTunes is easy – you just INSERT the CD, SELECT it in iTunes, and press the ‘Import’ button!

But… the default setting on iTunes is not the best setting to use when importing songs. It’s far better to use the ‘Apple Lossless’ setting which will keep your music at CD quality. If you must compress the music (e.g. you want to fit it on your iPod or a laptop) then use the  bitrate of 320kbps rather than the default 128kbps of iTunes.

This article describes how to import songs into iTunes with the better quality bitrate.
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Jan 05

When you have more than one computer and more than one iPhone or iPod there are various ways to sync your iTunes songs across all your devices.  This article outlines them all.

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Dec 20

VOIP  is where you make phone calls over your Internet connection. VOIP can be good as it is a lot cheaper especially for STD and International calls. The problem is it can be hard to get VOIP working properly. If you are on the phone and the person at the other end is ‘chopping’  in and out,  it may be that you or they have a bad VOIP connection.  An added problem is that with a mobile phone it drops the call if the quality gets too bad but with a VOIP connection  it tries to keep going –  so the person at the other end may be talking away, blissfully unaware that you cannot hear them.

Even though I am  fairly good with audio and computers I have gone back to having a regular phone line simply because even at best quality VOIP  calls on a broadband connection don’t match the quality of a land-line phone or even a mobile phone, at least in Australia.

If  you do have a VOIP connection, here are some tips.

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Aug 21


In this article I talked about the best import settings for iTunes. Since then with the increase in Hard Disk space I now think it’s best to import all your songs using the apple lossless encoder. This still compresses the files by about 1/3 but there is no loss of audio quality at all. With AAC and MP3 files, not matter how high you set the quality, there is ALWAYS some loss of quality. Apple Lossless audio is exactly the same quality as what’s on your CD. Here’s how to import into iTunes using the Apple lossless encoder.
Continue reading »

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Jul 26

Yesterday Nuance released to Dragon dictate 2.5.

So what’s it like?

STOP PRESS: Even though initially I wrote this great review, after using version 2.5 for a week I find that  it often crashes when I try to use the correction window. There are a lot of complaints about this in the Dragon Dictate forums. I’d hold off  till the next update comes along . Dragon Dictate 2.5 is quite unstable.

 24th August 2011: Dragon Dictate 2.5.1 was released this week and  all the stability problems seem to be fixed. 

Continue reading »

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Jul 01

If you buy Dragon Dictate it comes with a built-in Microphone that will do the job, but if you buy the download version you’ll need to buy your own microphone.

Here are some of the options you have. Continue reading »

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Dec 28

In this post I talked about the audio quality of the various iPods, and mentioned a mod for 4th and 5th Generation iPods that gives them excellent audio quality rivalling that of a $1500 CD player. Well, here is how to do the mod on a 4th gen color iPod photo – Apple model number A1099.

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Nov 23

For me the number one criteria for buying an iPod is audio quality. Some people will go for looks, size, or battery life, but for me it’s simply a matter of which iPod sounds the best – not just through the headphones but also into my stereo.

This article discusses the reasons for the difference in quality of the sound output of the various models of iPods and iPhones, which iPod sounds the best, and why.

Continue reading »

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Nov 18

Some older music players do not sync with itunes but require you to manually copy an mp3 file onto them. Here is how to convert a song that you have in iTunes into an MP3 file so you can copy it to your mp3 player.

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Apr 15

Here’s a list of some programs that you can download for free from versiontracker.com or find via a google search to supplement the software that comes with your mac. Continue reading »

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Aug 29

Picture 12.jpg


    I have a lot of .mov files. Each file is about 1 hour of movie footage but compressed to only 200-300MB. When I import them into iMovie it tries to convert them to dv files. Do you know a way to burn a collection of .mov files to a dvd so that they can be read with a normal dvd player?

Good question, let me explain a little bit about what you can and can’t do with CDs and DVDs.
Continue reading »

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Jun 28

D900.jpg

Well, I’m on a bit of a run here with my new samsung D900 mobile phone, the latest being what are the best settings to compress a movie to watch on my phone. The phones resolution is 320×240, which I think is similar to an ipod. I use Handbrake to encode DVD’s, you can also use these settings to export from Quicktime pro, but Handbrake is free. Continue reading »

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Jun 27

D900.jpg

I know this is a little of the ‘Macintosh’ topic but I thought I’d post it anyway. Continue reading »

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Mar 28

I’ve been playing round with getting good quality compressed speech with LAME. (See here for iTunes.) Here’s what I’ve found.

1. SMALLEST FILE SIZE ACCEPTABLE QUALITY.
For very small file size (3MB for 20 minutes) and acceptable quality, use the LAME encoder with the following arguments in the ‘Encoding options’ Box:

–abr 16 -q 0  -m m  (gives very small file size but some artefacts audible)

Here are some better options, note that the higher bitrate does not always sound better! I think a lower bitrate decreases the frequency of the lows pass filter so in some cases lower bitrate sounds better as it takes of the harsh tops, depends on the person and how their voice sounds.

–abr 24 -q 0  -m m (gives small file size but you can only just tell it’s compressed)

–abr 32 -q 0  -m m

–abr 48 -q 0  -m m

abr 16 means a bitrate of 16kbps

-q 0 means best quality available at that bitrate

-m m means mono

You can hear some low pass filtering on the above speech, the highs are missing, but this can make for a better listening experience with spoken word, it can be less harsh.

 

3. BETTER QUALITY AND ACCEPTABLE FILE SIZE.
For about twice the size files (8MB for 20 minutes of speech) but very very good quality try this in LAME encoder:

–preset voice

OR

-V 8 –vbr-new -h -q 0

4. BEST QUALITY. Use iTunes. Although LAME is better for music, and lower bitrate spoken word, iTunes is great for 40kbps spoken word and above. CLick here to read about the best settings on importing spoken word into iTunes here.

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Feb 12

So you’ve made an mp3 file, and you want to turn it into a podcast. Here’s how.

A podcast is simply a small file called an ‘RSS feed’ that points to the audio (mp3) file that you want to podcast.

You can then go one step further and submit it to itunes to make it an official Apple podcast. The  RSS feed file can be registered with any podcast site, but this post describes how to do it with the Apple iTunes site.. Continue reading »

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Jan 25

Here’s a pretty good way to record speech on the macintosh, and have it sound OK for listening to over the internet. Continue reading »

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Jan 01

apple_ipod_color

Last year I bought 5 non-working ipods from ebay and fixed up 4 of them. It was not to hard, but there was a couple of tricks. I’ve finally found some time to write up the hard bits, just in case anyone is interested, so here goes. This is not for you to try at home, lest you break your ipod! Continue reading »

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