Not As Advertised

Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 4:56 am

As sure as rain will fall, stated tech specs invariably inflate what the product can do. Various features are fonted and gaslit with a knowing wink, then vaporize as soon as the rubber hits the road — Oh. That’s not what I thought that meant. Other woes belched from the from the technology horn include, but are not limited to: refusing to cooperate with rival products, software updates borking all your fings, shakedown attempts by way of subscription fees and app stores, and having to perform odd rites and rituals just to get the sucka to work in the first place. This feels like more of a problem than it used to be. Maybe it’s just that flying higher means falling further when the apps come home to store…

I have this charming little idea: I want to sit in bed, jam on my Yamaha DX-200, and record the noises to my LG Nexus 4, which will then tunnel it to soundcloud, after I switch off the lights and go back to sleep. I want to do this partly for the fun of it, but I also want to do it so I can use it as a notepad. Guitarists have their Memorex tape recorders, but it’s a bit more complicated when you muse electronically.

For a brief moment, I thought I had it. I bought a series of overpriced dongles off Amazon, and wired it up for a test toast — and it worked! However, tonight — it did not. I set it all up, finally, only to have it fail to record. All I could get was something that sound like a front-row seat on airplane tarmac. The music player app kept launching while I was fussing with it — was that jamming the soundcloud? Had the dongle I just paid $20 for broken already? Had a software update changed my shit? I didn’t know. I was more than a little pissed off.

My mini-disc recorder would have just done the job without any problem… but the moment was already ruined, so I came here instead, to stow away the DX-200 and write this post. It’s ironic to mention the mini-disc here: the format could have done a lot better if Sony’s software weren’t locked-down and crappy. Since it was crap, no one used it — they just bounce the audio. Wasted potential. I am starting to feel the same way about the latest generation of tech bits: in this soup of white light and app stores, I feel a bit unmoored. This could be so wonderful, it really could — if it worked. If my DX-200/Nexus4 rig worked, I could literally jam anywhere, thanks to batteries and cellular networks. In practice, however, it requires lots of fussy nonsense that regularly breaks for no reason, and I’m still better off with the mini-disc. The DX-200 goes back on the shelf; I’m already up too late.

Categories: gear, philosophy, recording, software, Uncategorized

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