So, I featured in the Deccan Chronicle today. Isn’t this nice? 🙂
Like I promised that there would be more music coming up, yesterday night I released a brand new single off of my upcoming album. It’s called ‘why don’t we run away’!
I think this is a track a lot of you might relate to – specially the current 11th and 12th graders I know.
Please do give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Today, I’m going to tell you about 5 artists that you probably didn’t know existed.
#1 : CJ Trillo
So, this rapper is freaking amazing. I started listening to him more than 2 years back, starting with his album/mixtape ‘Ars Gratia Artis’. I then heard ‘Trill Life’ and trust me, that mixtape as a whole was absolutely amazeballs. I mean, you could listen to it end to end and not skip a single song – and I’m not lying at all. Then came ‘Heavy’ which, according to me, wasn’t his best work ever. However, he was back with another release this year, ‘Nostalgia – Vol. 1’ and I was blown away in true CJ Trillo fashion.
His lyrics are so hard-hitting that honestly they give you goosebumps. Unlike many other artists today, he’s absolutely true to his work and truly loves his fans. And the love is reciprocated – he’s got 7000 downloads and 100,000 plays on his latest tape!
He’s got a dedicated music producer and manager now and it looks like he’s going big.
Also, here’s my favourite song of his so far:
#2 : Coyote Theory
I discovered these guys through a piratebay promo a few years back. Their latest stuff isn’t all that great, but their Color – EP was really, really good! Specially the songs ‘Art of Understanding’, ‘Vibe’ and ‘This Side of Paradise’. They really took indie-rock to a totally new level.
Plus, their video for Vibe was genius.
#3 : Felly
So I discovered this guy on YouTube while searching for videos related to Native Instruments’ Maschine. (That’s a sample pad controller/sampling software, for the uninitiated). I absolutely love his vibe. He’s got this really chilled out attitude which has a pretty magnetic power – his 25k subs on YouTube really show that. His lyrics aren’t all that fantastic though, to be honest, but his beats: wow. So chill, so smooth, so rad. He’s got a real flair for sampling the dopest chops from his amazing vinyl collection. I must admit I’m quite jealous of his life though. He seems like he’s having a good time – and he brags about it in his music.
#4 : Young The Giant
I happened to come across these California guys in a SPIN Magazine iTunes playlist in 2011 with their ‘Apartment’. Believe it or not, their frontman is an Indian who went to Stanford. And dropped out. Every Indian parent’s dream, right? They are another alternative band I really like. Specially their songs ‘Apartment’ and ‘Cough Syrup’.
Fun fact: Sameer Gadhia (the frontman and vocalist) looks like Nick from New Girl’s twin brother. Heheh.
#5 : Me!
No, Me! is not an artist’s name. I’m referring to myself! I’ve been making music since 2011 and putting em up on SoundCloud since 2012, when I released my debut EP, The Better Side. On the top right corner of this page, you can see a link which says ‘SoundCloud Tracks’. There are my songs! Alternatively, click on SoundCloud under ‘Web Presence’ on the left side bar of this page. Or click here.
I’m mainly into Pop/Hip-Hop/Acoustic (varied genres, I know) but this summer I plan to release more stuff which is acoustic based.
That is all.
Today I’m going to write a review of a set of speakers I purchased in the month of October.
*DISCLAIMER: I’m writing this review for these speakers from the standpoint of desktop speakers. I will write about their usefulness in production as well, but this review is mainly from a desktop speaker standpoint, because that’s what I mainly use them for – since I don’t have much time to produce music anymore. AND this review is purely subjective, so please look elsewhere to clarify my claims/read further before purchasing.*
Behold, the M-Audio BX5 D2!
Right. So these are the speakers. Let’s start off with the review.
On the first sight, these speakers are HUGE as far as desktop speakers go. You will need adequate space on your desk to place them properly; and they will eat up a lot of space on your desk. As you can see in the first picture, they’ve taken up almost half of the width of my desk – so plan accordingly.
But the good thing is that they look amazing. I love the fact that they do not have a grille, but that can however be a drawback if you’re around children or very inquisitive old people. You’re not supposed to touch the cones and tweeters as they are quite sensitive. Getting back to the point, they give the impression of really premium speakers and the M-Audio logo stands proudly below the woofer cone.
Another good thing about these is the little blue light you see between the tweeter and woofer. It’s REALLY useful in finding the sweet spot (For the uninitiated, the sweet spot is the place where you get optimum stereo imaging and sound quality). The light shines the brightest when you’re absolutely in front of the speaker. So you’d want to angle them in such a way that you form an equilateral triangle between the two speakers and you. The light helps you with that. So it does two duties: lets you know that the speaker is switched on and informs you that it’s in the right position. Brilliant.
One thing which may annoy some users would be the fact that each of the speakers requires a separate power plug. They are bi-amplified, that means that each speaker has its own amp. Hence the weird power requirement.
There are two ways to plug these into an audio source: Balanced/Unbalanced TRS/TS plugs, or an XLR input. Although I haven’t tried myself, I’ve heard that both the inputs work simultaneously – so you can plug in two devices at the same time! Quite useful when you have multiple sources which you want plugged in.
Unfortunately, the speakers don’t come with any cables other than the power cables. This is actually quite annoying because you want to be able to use them just as soon as you open the box. That’s what happened to me. The shop I bought these from had the speakers but they didn’t have the cables in stock. It was quite frustrating having these on my table and not being able to use them until 4 days later when I finally managed to get the cables.
Apart from that, the accessibility options for these speakers are satisfactory, considering these are studio monitors and that’s all you basically require.
Also what’s useful is that there is a voltage switch as well. Very useful when you’re moving abroad, for example and want to take these along. (Trust me, you’d want to J)
Now getting to the main part of the review!
They sound INCREDIBLE. Absolutely freaking incredible. Considering their price, they sound freaking phenomenal. Wow. I highly doubt there’s a better offering which sound as good as or better than these at this price. Especially for people upgrading from normal desktop speakers or headphones. I first heard these at the local studio near my house and I was absolutely blown away. And that was the older M-Audio BX5a, so the newer version had to be better! The 5 inch woofers and 1 inch tweeters do their job incredibly well.
The soundstage is brilliant. Since these speakers are studio monitors, their frequency response is quite flat – the sound isn’t excessively EQ’d or altered. The trebles are just as clear as the basses and mids. Everything is balanced well. This, plus the amazing soundstage enables one to hear all the instruments in a track! I was literally able to hear things in tracks I wasn’t able to before. Really good.
The bass is slightly lacking though, but that’s acceptable for speakers this size. And I wouldn’t say seriously lacking, like what you’d find on a small iPod dock, but it isn’t table-shattering. But still very, very good for their size and price.
The first thing I noticed when I heard a track on these was how wide the soundstage was. You get an illusion that the vocalist is sitting in between the speakers and everything else is exactly where it would be on an actual stage. That was a very welcome change from my earlier set of speakers – a small JBL OnStage II. Watching live music videos on these is amazing. So is watching TV and movies!
However, since they aren’t exactly meant to be desktop speakers (they are studio monitors), they have some traits which may or may not be considered as drawbacks. Firstly, they are very directional. Unless you’re sitting in the sweet spot (equilateral triangle, do a google search), you’re not going to get optimum sound quality out of these. They aren’t meant to be party speakers – they are near-field monitors. I’m not saying they sound pathetic outside the sweet spot, but they sound considerably better in it. I use these while taking a shower all the time and they’re still so good!
Also, another drawback is that since they’re SO flat in their frequency response and so unforgiving to sound quality, lower quality sound files will NOT sound good on these. If you’re savvy enough to know about these speakers, you’re probably savvy enough not to use low quality files so most people aren’t going to have a major problem. The problem arises on YouTube videos and other sources whose qualities are out of your control. Tolerable, but quite noticeable.
Another thing: I haven’t been using a dedicated sound card with these. I’ve been plugging them straight into my laptop. They are supposed to sound a lot better on a sound card, but I don’t have the money at the moment to purchase one. Hence, I can’t say how they would sound, plugged into one! I’ve been looking at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 though, but that’s for another post.
Music Production Use:
A lot of you may know I’m into music production. That’s how I got to know about these in the first place.
Okay, so I’ve mixed a few tracks with these and trust me they are very, very transparent and clear. Mixes on these translate well on other speakers – something which did not happen easily earlier for me as I wasn’t using studio monitors. For an amateur, these are the pair I’d suggest best. Not too expensive to be prohibitive, not too cheap to lack quality.
A little problem/annoyance with these is the fact that since they are so sensitive and high powered (70W each channel), you have to turn them off each time before connecting/disconnecting the speaker cable. And if you turn them on quickly after turning them off, the speaker makes a loud ‘thud’ which is somewhat scary. I don’t know whether this is a problem with only my set or a general problem with this model. You just have to be a little careful.
Also, each speaker has its own volume level, at the back of the speaker. This may seem annoying but it isn’t, really. You just set the volume once and make it equal on both speakers and use the volume control on your soundcard/device after that. Not a biggie.
The MRP of these is approx. INR 24k, but I bought them for INR 19k from Reynolds Brigade Road, Bangalore. VERY great set for this price. According to me, they sound a lot better and wider than other iPod docks which cost a lot more than these.
Overall, they are freaking amazing. Best speakers I could purchase at this price. I was earlier thinking of buying the JBL OnStage Xtreme, but after hearing these at the studio and being notified that they were in stock at Reynolds (Brigade Road), I went ahead purchasing them. You will NOT be disappointed. Just be careful of the missing speaker grille and don’t touch the cones or tweeters!
It’s been quite a while since I posted something – almost two months! My sincere apologies for the same.
Anyway, let’s cut to the chase!
There’s been a huge influx of new music in my library in the two months I haven’t posted. Not all of it has been alt/indie though – I’ve recently been listening to a lot of Soul and R&B. Erykah Badu specifically. You should definitely check out her 2000 album ‘Mama’s Gun‘. It’s one album you could hear start to end and not notice the time just flying by. But I’m gonna list down some songs you may wanna hear:
Erykah Badu – Album
1. Orange Moon – Mama’s Gun
2. …& On – Mama’s Gun
3. A.D. 2000 – Mama’s Gun
4. Window Seat – New Amerykah Part II (This song is absolutely amazing)
Also, I had the opportunity to listen to Capital Cities‘ new album, A Tidal Wave of Mystery. While the album as a whole is really good, I didn’t exactly enjoy (by enjoy I mean listen to again and again) all the songs. However, there were a few songs I really loved!
Capital Cities – A Tidal Wave Of Mystery
1. Farrah Fawcett Hair – This song is something very unlike you would have heard before. Having used NPR voice personality Frank Tavares, it’s a lot of a narration more than vocals. In short, really, really good! Very fresh!
2. Origami – I came across this while listening to Capital Cities radio on the new iTunes radio on iOS 7. Again, really really fresh. More than worth a listen or two.. or three.. well until you get sick of it.
And finally, here are some tracks from my 8tracks and iTunes Radio wishlist.
Title – Artist
R&B (I’ve been listening to a lot lately. I’ve omitted the Erykah Badu songs from this list):
Back & Forth – Aaliyah
Picture Perfect – Eric Roberson
Cupid Shuffle – Cupid
Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean
Heartquake – Mads Langer
Animus:Anima – Cid Rim
Symptoms – Atlas Genius
Strange Attractor – Animal Kingdom
Holding On To You – twenty one pilots
Trojans – Atlas Genius (!!!)
Breathing Underwater – Metric
We’re The Kids – Parade Of Lights (!!!)
We Come Running – Youngblood Hawke
Sometime Around Midnight – The Airborne Toxic Event