The Laser Record Player

Back in the 80’s an American company called Finial turntable had started working on an optical turntable that uses lasers instead of a stylus to play records. And although the technology had garnered seven million’s worth of investment, the emergence of compact discs eventually caused it to fail to be manufactured.

It had issues related to playback, namely the inability of lasers to push dust aside and to read single and long play records that were back in colour and the popularity of compact discs grew day by day so the technology was shelved and sold to ELP Japan, who have been trying to reignite demand for the product since 2008.

The device is of course quite expensive because it is not mass produced, from US$9,000 to US$14,000 new depending on the model. But perhaps it will become more affordable with the resurgence of vinyl. Who knows ?

Competition For The Pono ?

Another portable high resolution music device has made its way onto Indiegogo and surpassed their crowd-funding goal.

Geek wave promises the highest resolution audio available with a 32 bit/384 kHz plus DSD 128 component whilst being compatible with all music formats.

This music player “uses both a dual core MIPS32 MPU from Microchip Technology and an eight core 500MIPS CPU from XMOS” and features a user accessible lithium ion battery that can be swapped once the battery surpasses its expected two year lifetime.

Four devices are expected to be released in March 2015, ranging from a 160 mW device with 64 GB of internal storage to a 450 mW device with 128 GB of internal storage. And all of these devices have an external SDXC port to extend their storage capabilities by an additional two terabytes.

Incredible !

The Indiegogo campaign for these devices will end in 34 days and individuals can purchase one of the four devices at a significant discount by donating. Additional technical information can be found by clicking here.    

Pono Music Player Update

Neil Young is planning on starting a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for his new high fidelity music device on March 15th, according to his March 10th, 2014 press release.

The PonoPlayer, which was developed by engineers at Ayre Acoustics (of Boulder, Colorado), will feature a 128 gigabyte hard drive and will convert digital music files to analog.

It will retail for $399 and will be coupled with software and a music service that will sell 192 kHz, 24-bit recordings.

Neil Young is scheduled to speak about Pono at the SXSW 2014 Music Conference in Austin, Texas today from 5 pm to 6 pm, Central Time. 

Update – The Kickstarter campaign was moved forward is is currently active. The device is currently available to people who donate $300 or more. Click here for details.

Bill C-11’s Digital Locks Provisions – Why ?

The digital lock provisions included in Bill C-11 are meant to curb the circumvention of “technological protection measures“, to halt piracy. But unfortunately many consumers currently circumvent digital locks to perform private copies of music recordings or to view films that are unavailable in their region.

At the moment Canadians are able to purchase music on iTunes and use this
program to convert their legally purchased ACC files to the mp3 format.

These consumers can also purchase region free DVD or blu-ray players from to play legally purchased discs that are not available in the formats compatible with North American players.

Neither of the above acts result in the unauthorized, uncompensated distribution of copyrighted works to third parties yet these acts could technically be forbidden by Section 41 of the Copyright Act if Bill C-11 passes.

Private Copying, as defined in Part VIII of our Copyright Act, is not exempt in Bill C-11. And Section 41 explicitly forbids the manufacturing, importation, sale or rental of technologies, devices or componants whose primary function is the circumvention of copy protection.

It appearently doesn’t matter that the copyright owners were compensated when the recordings were legally purchased from legitimate vendors and that if it weren’t for copy protection that these acts would be considered private copying in law.

The authors of Bill C-11 insist on labeling these acts “piracy”, even when consent is implied by the sale of these recordings to law abiding Canadian consumers.

The American entertainment industry has yet to specify what losses are incured in the private copying of copy protected works. They also failed to specify how they are loosing funds on legally purchased foreign recordings they refuse to sell in Canada.

Why are we allowing this undue, unjustified foreign influence on our Parlamentary processes ?