ICYMI: We take Yamaha’s new digital saxophone for a spin

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This week our evaluations had been largely targeted on distinctive audio gadgets, together with a “magic radio” and a digital saxophone. James Trew tried out the Vlogger Package from Rode and shortly grew to become a fan of the microphone, the sunshine dice and the windscreen filter. He additionally skilled Teenage Engingeering’s OB-4, a “magic radio” that may additionally report loops, play FM radio and act as a turntable. In the meantime, Jess Conditt disregarded her saxophone abilities to play with Yamaha’s YDS-150, a digital instrument that she says is greatest stored for studio musicians. Additionally, Devindra Hardawar screened Studio Ghibli’s new film Earwig and the Witch… and had nothing good to say about it. Ouch.

Rode's Vlogger Kit

James Trew / Engadget

James Trew has been trying to find some time for one thing that will assist him in propping his telephone and recording an interview on the fly, and he discovered possibility in Rode’s Vlogger Kit. Together with a shotgun mic, a telephone grip, an LED gentle dice (with diffuser filters) and a tripod, the package is obtainable in an Android, iOS or common model. Whereas the common package gained’t allow you to monitor audio with wired headphones, it does include a double chilly shoe and a Rycote Lyre shock mount, so there’s a commerce off to think about.

In testing, James discovered the LED dice gentle was capable of brighten up indoor movies and was completely sufficient by itself to light up those that do a whole lot of recording at night time. He additionally stated that the tripod is ok and the ball and socket joint made positioning straightforward, however he wished he may lengthen it as nicely. Make no mistake, the microphone right here is the star of the present — moreover, he was a giant fan of the furry windscreen cowl for the mic, which appeared hilarious but labored fairly nicely. All variations of the package retail for $149, and for the primary time, it helps USB-C connectivity for Android gadgets.

Yamaha YDS-150


It’s been some time since Jess Conditt performed the saxophone commonly, however she was recreation to take a look at Yamaha’s YDS-150 — a digital saxophone with a matte black physique, pearlescent keys and a brass end on the bell. The YDS-150 is closest in measurement and form to a soprano sax and fairly gentle to carry, and it comes with a slender carrying case that may be slung over the shoulder like that of a yoga mat. It additionally makes use of 4 AAA batteries or a micro-USB energy cable, that latter of which permits it to hook up with a speaker or headphones (by way of a stereo-mini cable) or to obtain enter by way of Bluetooth from a telephone, pill or pc.

There’s additionally the YDS Controller app, which Jess discovered handy to make use of to edit, enter and save customized channels or any of the 73 pre-programmed voices for soprano, alto, tenor baritone or non-sax sounds. Moreover, the YDS-150 has everlasting settings for tuning, key response, reverb kind, and breath stress resistance and response. Yamaha has supposed it to be a studio instrument and Jess agreed that its vary of voices and types makes it ideally suited for that use (although not alternative for an acoustic soprano, alto, tenor or bari sax). It’s pretty costly at $1,078, however Jess deemed it worthy of the value given its options and exquisite design.

Teenage Engineering OB-4

James Trew / Engadget

James Trew can’t fairly clarify what the OB-4 is, and neither can the workforce at Teenage Engineering. The closest they arrive is asking it a “media instrument” or “magic radio” with an angular, futuristic-yet-retro design. Two audio system sit on the entrance whereas the carrying deal with stows the FM antenna cable and the stand for the speaker. There’s additionally a motorized “tape” dial on high, which supplies fast-forward/rewind management and acts a bit like a small turntable. The quantity dial additionally syncs with the amount of your supply machine (when related by way of 3.5mm or Bluetooth) and may perform as a pace/pitch management.

James concluded that the OB-4 was basically the world’s weirdest DJ instrument — and he definitely had fun experimenting with the speaker’s varied options, particularly the looping perform. The OB-4 may rewind dwell radio, play issues in reverse, or skim by way of recordings. And it has a “disk” mode, which Teenage Engineering calls a spot for experimental options like a metronome or a karma mode with calming sounds.

James appreciated each the sound high quality and quantity skill of the audio system themselves. Nonetheless, the companion app solely gives quantity management, transport controls or enter choice. And it doesn’t have a line out, so you may’t report your work or feed it into one other machine. Whereas its $600 worth is fairly steep, James remains to be a fan and is smitten by seeing what else it might probably do.

Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch is a disappointing watch

Earwig and the Witch

Earwig and the Witch GKIDS

Devindra Hardawar pulled no punches when it got here to reviewing Goro Miyazaki’s Earwig and the Witch CG animated movie. He known as it an insult and a artistic failure on each degree. The movie, an adaptation of a Dianna Wynne Jones novel, facilities round a woman at an orphanage who’s adopted by a witch and a warlock and learns about her magical powers. Regardless of the supply materials, Devindra thought the narrative felt incomplete and that the characters had been unlikable.

As the primary CG movie from Studio Ghibli, Earwig is an try to department out into a unique animation kind. However Devindra stated it lacks the magic of a typical Ghibli movie on nearly each degree, together with the music composed by Satoshi Takebe, which he discovered forgettable. He additionally wasn’t a fan of the CG character animation, which he felt got here off as stiff and lifeless, although the backgrounds had been extra detailed and plush as they had been drawn by hand first. Devindra stated the one method for Ghibli to embrace CG going ahead is to totally commit to greater, cinematic productions within the vein of Pixar.

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