Liisten

by Tyler Hayes

Tyler is a music and technology enthusiast, so this is a collection of items related to music and technology.

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Google Home Max vs. Sonos Play:5

These two speakers aren’t going to cannibalize each other at this point in time, but the realities are, anyone looking at a Google Home Max wants to know how it compares to Sonos Play:5 and vice versa. They are too similar in form, price, and function, not to be an obvious choice for someone who wants this type of speaker.

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On their own, each is an awesome home stereo system replacement, capable of annoying next door neighbors. Directly compared, however, neither one is the clear cut winner on all aspects—sound and capabilities.

 Sound

Both of these speakers sound great. The main differentiation for most people likely won’t be the sound, but the capabilities and how each functions as an internet connected speaker.

In broad strokes, the Google Play Max has more distinct bass and present treble out of the box. It makes an impact to play a song, slide the volume up as loud as your ears

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The Best Music, TV Shows, and Movies of 2017

What were the best songs, albums, and shows? Here’s my take on dissecting 2017’s media and ranking this year’s best. Hopefully you’ll discover something new.

 Albums

10 - Mutemath - Play Dead
An album which marks a continued evolution of the band’s sound, but might turn out to be their last.

9 - John Mark McMillan - Mercury & Lightning
A slightly unexpected release which authentically connects through McMillan’s own flavor of pop.

8 - The War On Drug - A Deeper Understanding
Rock ’n roll circa 2017

7 - The Lighthouse And The Whaler - Paths
Spunky and raw, The Lighthouse And The Whaler walk a fine line that continues to work beautifully.

6 - Phoenix - Ti Amo
After hearing the first single, I was hoping Phoenix would put out a summer album and they did. It is perfectly breezy.

5 - Haim - Something To Tell You
Nearly every song has incredibly tight hooks which makes them hard not

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Gift Guide - Music, Tech, EDC

This actually isn’t so much a “gift guide” as it is a list of items that I’ve enjoyed, products that are interesting, and ideas for the hard to shop for person who’s into tech, media, and EDC.

  • Baron Fig - Squire $55 Once you hold this pen in your hand, the fuss about it begins to make more sense. It feels great and writes well.

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  • Moviepass $9.99/month or $89/year

If you were going to go to a movie every couple of months anyway, this makes a lot of financial sense, but it’s really awesome to be able to take a chance on a new movie without feeling disappointed when it turns out to be a dud.

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  • Aer - Flightpack $150

This will not be the last backpack I own or try, but I am a fan of the 3-way style (backpack and messenger) and this one does both really well.

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  • Allbirds - Loungers $95

I like the standard Allbirds, but didn’t love the style. I really like the slip-ons.

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  • A

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Here Are The Next Animojis Apple Should Add

Animoji, iPhone X’s face-detecting emoji, were a question mark in people’s mind until #AnimojiKaraoke hit and everything made sense.

If you look through the current 12 options for Animoji currently, each has its strengths and weaknesses, in terms of facial expressions–for example the robot displays the least emotion.

Which emoji should Apple let people animate with their faces? Here are my picks.

Lion, Chick, Creepy Clown, Ghost, Fish, and Whale.

Obviously there are some choices which seem more likely, like the Koala, or Bear, but those feel really close to other cute, furry creatures. I think ones like the Lion, Clown, Ghost, and Fish, are some of the most popular emojis, and add some diversity in situations Animoji might be sent.

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The Best Streaming Music Service Is Apple Music

It’s late 2017, you want to recommend a streaming music service, which one do you pick?

Over at The Sweet Setup I wrote about the best streaming music service in 2014, I updated it in 2015, and now we’ve just updated it again. A lot has changed over those few year, including the recommendation. It’s no longer Spotify, It’s now Apple Music.

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You can read the nearly 4,000 words as to why I think Apple Music is the best pick for most people, but I did want to add just a little more commentary to the decision.

Read The Sweet Setup’s pick for best streaming music service

First, Spotify is great and just because I think Apple Music is the best service to recommend to a majority of people, doesn’t take anything away from that company or service.

Second, it really is Apple Music and Spotify as the two leaders in the streaming music space. A few years ago it was unclear how many streaming

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Convert Your DVDs To Digital Movies

DVDs and Blu-rays feel like a waste of space now with streaming video services and the ability to buy movies digitally on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play.

Not just space, but connected set-top boxes also make it way more convenient to find and watch a movie across multiple devices.

So, how do you take your DVDs and Blur-rays and convert them to digital copies you can access from your phone, tablet, or TV? Here’s a little hack that makes it easy:

Walmart owned Vudu introduced a feature a while back called Disc To Digital which went a little under the radar. When it launched you could scan a barcode, select SD or HD and then pay a small fee to convert them to digital.

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It was something people had been wanting, but Vudu didn’t have an Apple TV app at the time and it didn’t make that much sense to revolve your digital movie library around a service that was the most likely to be

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I Made A You A Mix, Vol 1

You need something to listen to, so listen to these new songs.

Mansions - “Heel Theme”

Tourist - “We Stayed Up All Night”

The Lighthouse and The Whaler - “Paths”

Madi Diaz - “The One You Want”

Jaja Bu - “Caroline”

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Google, Amazon, Apple, Sonos: What Smart Speaker Should You Buy

First, technology companies came for your ears with headphones and earbuds, now they’re coming for your home. Whole home wireless audio and smart speakers are the next big business target.

Let’s look at the smart speaker choices and things to consider when picking one.

In the matter of a few months, choosing a connected speaker—one that connects through wi-fi directly to the internet, unlike Bluetooth—got really tough and confusing. The reason it just got a lot tougher is because you’re not just picking the speaker that sounds the best, you are buying into a web of music services, voice assistants, and mobile operating systems.

 Speaker options to consider:

  • Sonos speakers - Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3, Play:5, Playbar, Playbase
  • Amazon Echos - Echo, Echo Plus
  • Google Home Max
  • Apple HomePod

There are other choices available, but these options are the most mainstream, most likely to be

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This Is The Reason You Should Consider A Pixel 2 Phone

Google’s Pixel line of phones is now in its second iteration and the new Pixel 2 device got some really cool features like a great camera, unlimited photo storage, ability to squeeze the phone to bring up Assistant, and a lot more.

The phone’s use of its OLED lock screen might be the coolest, however. Since OLED technology allows a screen to only light up the pixels it needs to display a message, the screen can keep displaying new info without a hit to battery life.

Instead of needing to ask an app or assistant to name a song you hear playing, the Pixel 2 automatically displays that information right on the lock screen.

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Ever since we’ve been able to identify songs by apps listening, the problem persists, we’re too late. Either the song was already close to finishing or it took way too long to get to Shazam or ask for the music to be identified. It looks like that problem is now

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How To Enable Alexa Voice Control On Sonos Speakers

It’s a big day for anyone with a Sonos speaker and an Amazon Echo. You can now control your speaker by asking Alexa to play music.

Here’s a quick look at how to do that and how it works.

First, download the latest app update on the App Store or Google Play. This will prompt your speakers to update their software. There’s also a refreshed Sonos app design which looks really great.

After your Sonos app and speakers have finished updating, you’ll need to open the Alexa mobile app and add the Sonos skill and signing in to your Sonos account. Hit the smart home section and refresh the list of devices and you should now see your Sonos speakers pop up.

Tip: If you have any speakers named “Play:3 or Play:5” you probably want to change them to something close generic, default names like Living Room or Bedroom. Telling Alexa to “Play Tom Petty on the Play 5” doesn’t work so well.

Now you

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