Phonoclipper PT-300 Plays Vinyl Discs, Records them to MP3 on USB Drives or SD Cards

If you are old wise enough to have a vinyl record collection, a Japanese company called Bearmax (or Kumazaki-aim in Japanese), has designed Phonoclipper PT-300 vinyl disc player and recorder that may make you want to listen your old songs again, or digitize them to MP3. PT-300 is powered by four AA batteries or 5V via USB, consumes about 3 watts, and output audio to a single 3W speaker, but you can also connect better speakers via two RCA audio connector. The top of the device features a small display, and control buttons. The vinyl drive system plays discs at 33 rpm or 45 rpm, and uses a sapphire needle. You can convert your vinyl records to MP3 files @ 128 Kbps on the SD cards (up to 8GB) or USB driver using the port on the side. The device measures 290 x 115 x 95 mm, and weights 950 […]

HDMI Audio in Linux is Now Working on Cherry Trail mini PCs, OpenELEC 7.0 Image Released

Since Intel has decided not to officially support Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors in Linux, and focus on other priorities, people who have tried to use HDMI audio in Linux with mini PCs or TV sticks based on the processors have always had issues. There’s a workaround for Bay Trail mini PCs with Linux 3.16 kernel, but so far I’ve never seen a Cherry Trail system working with HDMI audio in Linux. Luckily, Pierre-Louis Bossart has been working on support, and Piotr kasprzak has tried HDMI audio support with OpenELEC 7.0 and a patched Linux Kernel 4.5.1, and confirmed it to be working on Tronsmart Ara X5 Plus and Wintel 10 Pro mini PC powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor. This can also be verified in the kernel log with dmesg:

If you want to try it yourself, you can download the OpenELEC image with the modifications. If […]

AudioCast M5 is a ChromeCast Audio Alternative with Local Audio Files and Multi-Room Support

ChromeCast Audio launched earlier this year together with ChromeCast 2.0 in order to bring ChromeCast experience specifically to audio files via your speakers or audio system. Wireless audio streamer are not exactly new, and I’ve reviewed a few including SoundMate WM201, and the company behind the SoundMate models, UyeSee, has launched a new AudioCast M2 wireless multi-room sound streamer that looks familiar… The main features of AudioCast M5 are listed as follows: Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n with WPS button Audio Output – 3.5mm stereo jack Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port Multiroom streaming – Stream same song to all speakers, stream different songs to different speakers, stream same or different song to different group speakers using a single smartphone . Streaming from phone’s internal storage, UPnP/DLNA server, online music service including Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and more coming with Tital, Dezzer, GoogleMusic, Tunein, etc… Stereo Pairing – Turn two […]

Review of MINIX NEO U1 Media Hub

We’ve already seen that MINIX NEO U1 has some impressive hardware to offer with a good thermal solution, and high-end chips for storage and WiFi, as well as some neats additions like RTC support. But obviously the most important is to find out how the box performs, so I’ve put it through it spaces with video playback and features testing, as well as some benchmarks. First Boot, OTA Firmware, Settings and First Impressions The device has three full-sized USB 2.0 ports, which become four once we had the provided USB OTG adapter to the remaining micro USB port. So I’ve connected a USB 3.0 hard drive, the RF dongle for NEO A2 Lite air mouse, a USB hub with a USB webcam, a USB keyboard, and the RF dongle for Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad, as well as USB powered speakers to the micro USB port. After inserting HDMI, optical audio […]

ChromeCast 2.0 and ChromeCast Audio Announced for $35

Google released the original ChromeCast in 2013. The $35 device allows users to stream online video from your smartphone to your big TV, and since then Google and the community has brought various improvement to make more with the device, and thousands of apps can be installed in the little device. Google has now released a new ChromeCast, as well as ChromeCast Audio to stream audio to speakers. The hardware has been upgraded but the complete specifications are not available, but we do know ChromeCast 2.0 support 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac for higher quality 1080p video streaming, and Marvell tweeted about the new ChromeCast devices, so it’s likely another Marvell SoC has been used, maybe Armada 1500 Plus (88DE3108) [Update: ChromeCast 2.0 is based on Armada 1500 Mini Plus (88DE3006) dual core Cortex A7 processor] The new ChromeCast still works with iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Mac and Windows […]

MINIX NEO Z64W (Intel Atom Z3735F) mini PC gets HDMI Audio in Ubuntu

We’ve been able to run Ubuntu on Intel Atom Z3735F mini PCs, as well as other Linux distributions, for a while, but with an important caveat: HDMI audio would not work, so instead you had to use an external USB sound card to get any audio. Luckily the problem seems solved, as Linuxium has now released a script (audio-wifi-minix-neo-z64-release.sh) and relevant files that will  patch your system to enable HDMI audio, and WiFI on MINIX NEO Z64W running Ubuntu. Ian Morrison (Liuxium) compiled a Linux kernel and the Wi-Fi driver, together with a modified DSDT (Differentiated System Description Table) table to fix an ACPI bug. He used John Pemberton’s Bay Trail Audio HDMI patch, as well as help from Paul Kendall for identifying the ACPI DSDT table bug, Bastien Nocera (hadess) for the wifi source code and DroidMote Server / Client for the wifi pointer.  A quick demo shows WiFi […]

Rockchip RKNanoD is a Dual Core Cortex M3 MCU for IoT and Audio Applications

Rockchip is better known for their application processor like RK3188 or RK3288 found in tablets and mini PCs, but the company is also making lower power SoCs such as RKNanoC Cortex M3 micro-controller used in wireless audio applications, and more recently Rockchip demonstrated RKNanoD, a dual core Cortex M3 micro-controller for IoT and high-definition audio applications. Some key specifications and features of RKNanoD MCU: Cores ARM Cortex M3 @ 150 MHz with 64KB SRAM, 16KB RAM, 320KB iRAM, 256KB DRAM for system. ARM Cortex M3 @ 300 MHz with 128KB iRAM, 256 KB DRAM, and an audio H/W accelerator for compute tasks like audio decoding. Storage I/F – Flash, SDMMC, SDIO, SFC Display I/F – LCD, E-Ink Audio – 2x I2S, 24-bit / 192 KHz audio codec USB – USB 2.0 OTG Other I/Os – GPIO, 6x UART, 2x SPI, 3x I2C, 5x PWM, 8x SARADC 8x DMA, 2x Timers […]

Popcorn Hour VTEN Review

Popcorn Hour VTEN a Linux based media player powered by Sigma Designs SMP8757 ARM Cortex A9 processor. Contrary to the many Android TV boxes I tested in the last few years, the device is dedicated to media playback, even though it has an App Store with 59 apps including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve already taken a few pictures of the device and board, so today, I’ll go through the user interface, quickly test the app store, go through my library of video test files, and check if HDMI audio pass-through is indeed working. Popcorn Hour VTEN User Interface I’ve connected VTEN to an Ethernet Gigabit switch, the HDMI port to Onkyo TX-NR636 AV receiver which itself is connected to LG 42UB820T 4K UHD TV, and the 5V/3A power supply. Pressing the On/Off switch at the back of the player will start it, and the boot takes just under one […]