Tag: USB

Show Off Your Car with Carshow Headrests

Are you a cool person with a cool car? Do you want to be a cool person with a cool car? Well now you can! With the all new Carshow factory matched headrest monitors you can let everyone on the block know that their rear seat entertainment system is inferior and really turn some heads.

So what makes the Carshow systems so much better? First and foremost, it’s the quality. The fine folks over at Carshow spent some serious time painstakingly researching the exact color match from car manufacturers to make sure your system looks like it came installed from the factory. While most headrest manufacturers only make a few colors, back, grays and tan, Carshow has EVERY color and they even use the same stitching patterns that are in your vehicle. How’s that for quality and care?

Seriously, it just doesn't make any sense...

So now here’s the thing, let’s say you have a couple kids who can’t ever agree on what they want to watch. One wants to watch My Little Pony, the other wants to watch Justice League so what do you do? Compromise with Spongebob? Na, let them watch their own show. With the Carshow monitors, you can either share the same media or you can watch two separate things on each monitor. One could even listen to music while the other watches a movie. How cool is that?

Carshow understands that not everyone needs the same thing so they made 4 different models for you to choose from. They have a Dual Monitor Only system which do NOT have a built-in DVD player, a Single DVD player system, a Dual DVD player system and a Single DVD player system with an iPod/iPhone docking station. It’ll even interface with your Android Smartphone through the USB port. Boo-ya.

You could go spend your money on an inferior product that won’t perfectly match your interior and is going to lead to battles of epic proportions between who gets to watch what…

OR…

You can treat yourself to something nice that you know is going to last and look great while providing more features than you can shake a stick at. Go ahead and try to shake a stick at all the cool things it does.

At the end of the day you have to ask yourself’ “Do I want to be a cool person with a cool car with exquisite taste who only wants the best for their car, or am I going to settle for less?”

We think we know which one you’ll chose.


 

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A102M Motorized Flip Down LCD Monitor and DVD Player

There was a time… A dark time when you actually had to manually pull down your overhead monitor when you wanted to watch a movie… With your hands and your arms! Can you believe that? Step into the 21st century with Concept’s A102M motorized LCD flip down DVD player. Flip down the crystal clear LCD screen when you want to watch and flip it up when you’re finished with the push of a button. Besides this being extremely convenient on those long car rides when you want to keep your passengers or kids entertained, it also prevents defects and damage that could be done to your monitor from continually pulling and pushing on your screen. Not to mention it’s safer if you’re the only person up front and want to put the monitor down for the people in the back. Besides being convenient, functional and cool it even has a built in DVD player that is PAL/NTSC and SECAM compatible so you don’t NEED an external player BUT it has 2 sets of RCA inputs just in case you DO want to hook it up to an external source. In addition, it has a built FM and IR transmitter so you can either listen through your factory stereo or use a pair of headphones to enjoy your movie. Concept also makes it simple to match your factory interior by providing three different trim rings in Tan, Gray and Black. And hey, if you’re really that technologically advanced and DVD’s are a thing of the past for you, the A102M has built in USB and SD ports so you can watch your digitally stored media. So whether you want to have some added convenience and entertain your kids in the back seat or you want some awesome bling to to show off to your friends, the A102M Chameleon motorized flip down monitor is the way to go. And at a price point that is about the same as standard pull down monitors, what are you waiting for? And you better hurry too because we bought the last ones that Concept had in stock so once they’re gone, they’re gone. Get yours today at Sonic Electronix.

 

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DAWs, Automation, and the PreSonus FaderPort

On Leap Year, February 29th, we featured a pretty awesome piece of gear by PreSonus called the FaderPort as the Daily Deal. Now, despite Sonic Electronix making great strides in pro and home audio, we’re still primarily known for our car audio products. Many of our customers probably have no idea what a unit like the FaderPort would even be used for… until now. I hope you’re listening, because school’s now in session!

Single Channel USB Automation Controller with Transport Controls

DAWs and Automation

First of all, “DAW” stands for “Digital Audio Workstation,” and they are the means through which virtually all music is recorded, edited, mixed and mastered nowadays. Secondly, one of the great things about DAWs is that they have something called “automation,” that was carried over from those huge, old-school mixing consoles that were their predecessors.

Basically, automation is a way to non-destructively change some aspect of your audio over time in a mix. Some common examples are volume, muting, panning and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) effect levels. To break it down a little further, let me give a practical example: let’s say you’re mixing a song and you notice that between 1:00 and 1:05, the song gets quieter than you’d like it to be. A little automation can fix that in a snap!

Automation modes

It would be near impossible for me to speak for all DAWs, but the two most popular ones, Apple’s Logic and Avid’s Pro Tools, have four main automation modes:

  1. Read:
  2. The default automation mode. All this means is that your DAW will follow any automation data that exists on your track.

    Automation Read
    Read Mode
  3. Touch:
  4. In this mode, automation data will begin writing once you “touch” a fader, button or knob: either using a mouse in the DAW program or with your finger(s) through tangible faders, buttons and knobs like those on the PreSonus FaderPort.

    As soon as you let go, it will snap back to wherever the playhead was on the automation line when you pressed play, and will resume reading any automation data that’s on the track. Pro Tools even allows you to set the speed of the snap back.


    Touch Mode
  5. Latch:
  6. This mode is like Touch mode, except that instead of snapping back to where it was when you pressed Play, it remains at the level you leave it at. Like both Touch and Write Mode, Latch will overwrite any automation data it comes across.

    Unlike Write Mode, however, neither Touch nor Latch Mode will overwrite automation data without you touching a fader, knob and/or button; both modes will simply read automation data as would normally occur in Read Mode.

    Automation Latch
    Latch Mode
  7. Write:
  8. This mode will start writing automation data wherever the (vertical) playhead sits on that bold, black (horizontal) automation line, destructively overwriting whatever automation data it comes across.

    In the picture to the right, the red line you see is the automation data being written. As soon as I press Stop on the DAW, all that automation data above the red line will be erased. (Also, keep in mind that you can Undo those changes.)

    Automation Write
    Write Mode

The PreSonus FaderPort:

So, how does that all tie in? Well, the FaderPort can help you do all that stuff with a tangible fader, buttons and knobs, which minimizes time wasted having to navigate around with your mouse, not to mention learning scads of keyboard shortcuts and such.

As a pro audio engineer myself, let me tell you, a device like the FaderPort is tremendously helpful and is a steal at its current price; especially for those of us on a tighter budget.

Anyway, that about wraps it up! I hope you all learned something and will pick up one of those sweet FaderPorts before they’re gone!

FaderPort
Pick up yours today!

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Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) 101

What is MIDI?

For starters, for anyone who isn’t yet “in the know,” MIDI is NOT music.

I know, I know; shocking, right? It is not a digital audio codec like MP3, AAC, FLAC, etc. No actual sound ever passes through MIDI cables, either. There are .mid files, yes, but they’re made up of data that when run through the proper software, one can indeed hear music and/or musical sounds. In fact, anyone who’s ever played Rock Band or Guitar Hero has a bit of experience with MIDI, whether they realize it or not. Let me simplify a bit and say that MIDI is a digital communications language.

What is it used for?

MIDI is a set of instructions that one uses to tell instruments and software what to do. The acronym “MIDI,” stands for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface.” However, MIDI can also be used to control lighting equipment and even animatronics and robotics. As you can most likely guess after reading that, MIDI can do far more than simply tell instruments what notes to play when. Through MIDI, users can turn volume up or down, open filter controls and pan around the stereo spectrum among many other things. Like most any other sync protocol, MIDI is transmitted through a Master/Slave relationship. Master devices ONLY transmit data. Slave devices ONLY receive it. What are some examples of said devices, you ask?

Why is it important? Who uses MIDI?

Master devices are essentially tangible things: keyboards/synthesizers like the Akai Pro LPK25, electronic drum pads and DJ software controllers like the ION Discover DJ (ICUE3) as well as the various buttons, sliders and knobs on the devices themselves. DJs and musicians alike use devices like that to control software on their computers, manipulating the music (like more traditional DJs do when they “scratch” records) and thus achieving their own unique sound. Slave devices can be tangible too, like in the case of daisy chaining keyboards together, but they can also be plug-ins and software instruments like Logic’s EXS24.

What are software instruments and plug-ins? Well, that’s a whole other blog right there (maybe you’ll see that one sometime in the near future!) Anyway, through a little customization, users can assign software functions to knobs to control things like flangers, echoes, etc. so they can affect the music with a vast variety of special effects. Actually, if you’re thinking about getting into DJing, now would be a great time since we’re currently offering 15% off all DJ controllers, and a lot of them come packaged with reputable software like Traktor LE, Serato or Ableton Live to get you started.

In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little introduction to MIDI, and I encourage anyone reading this to ask any questions you might have. Believe it or not, we’re all actual people here at Sonic Electronix, and we do pay attention to what our customers and fans have to say. Thanks for reading!

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USB: The Present and Future of Car Stereos

Kenwood KIV-BT900 USB iPod Car Stereo Digital Media Receiver

The past several years have introduced many cutting-edge and grand technological advancements in the world of car audio. From complete iPod integration to Pandora interfaces, it seems like the car stereo has a solution for just about any type of audio source. If you take a look back a few years you will notice two great advancements that made connection of portable media possible: the auxiliary cable and the USB interface. The auxiliary input became a standard and quickly become popular. Any device with an audio source could then be listened to inside a car and throughout the car’s audio system. While this was a great breakthrough in terms of portable audio integration, the better was yet to come. Today we have USB ports on many of the car stereos and this opened an entire new world of audio integration.

So what can you use with an USB port on an in-dash car stereo? The technology was primarily driven by the consumers demand to have a iPod compatible Car Stereo. On the majority of units with a USB port, complete iPod/iPhone integration is made possible. Once connected, the user is able to have complete access to the iPod via the car stereo. That means you can hide the iPod in the glove box and still be able to play the music from it. But the technology doesn’t stop at Apple. USB interfaces also allow music to be played back from flash drives, thumb drives, SD cards (via USB-to-SD adapter), and even hard drives. Of course the stereo itself has to be able to read the files and formats in order for it to work properly, but this is becoming the standard for USB integration.

Another impressive features is the ability to connect a USB hub to a single USB port. Consider the Kenwood KIV-BT900. This single DIN unit has one rear USSB port. However, you can connect that port to a USB hub and that single port can turn into a 3 USB media center. Connect 2 thumb drives and an iPod and you are set for as much music as you could ever want. For those that have a “want it all” attitude, the new generation of USB capable car stereos are a must.

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