1. Delivering.

    The story of a patient Kickstarter backer and the project that was worth the wait.

    19c:

    A Year Later, or Why Sometimes Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

    About a year and half ago I was in the market for a Bluetooth speaker and ran across this Kickstarter for the KNOB+…

    The speaker design was simply nothing short of stunning and Raul, the creator, seemed dedicated to creating a product that really bucked the trend of poor sounding Bluetooth speakers. Plus, it only cost $120, which was about the price of a Jambox. The project still wasn’t set to deliver for 6-7 months, but I figured given the attention to detail that was being paid—it would be worth the wait.

    Now, let me back up a bit. The KNOB+ was one of the first few tech Kickstarter projects I’d backed. It was funded a while before we started to see technology projects miss deadline after deadline (after deadline), so I really had no reason to believe that it wouldn’t deliver on time. There’s since been quite a bit of debate about delivery, and policy/product changes within Kickstarter itself, but that’s another discussion for another time.

    February of last year came…but the KNOB+ did not. May rolled around…nothing. I think you get the point. I checked in on the project from time to time and came to find that Raul was running into all sorts of problems, not only with production of the units, but with the actual quality of sound that the speaker was producing. I found myself getting pretty frustrated about the late delivery after about 6 months, but after I was on the site one afternoon I had a revelation…

    See, with all the press the Kickstarter has gotten the past couple years, I’d began to think that all these products (and campaigns) were created equal. Lots of these products and ideas were raising millions of dollars, getting crazy press and had teams of several people to help not only scale for demand, but handle the logistics of delivering on time. But this wasn’t a $10,000,000 Pebble campaign, or $950,000 Hidden Radio—this was one guy.  One guy who raised less than $50k (seriously not a lot of money to launch a product as ambitious as his, handle the expense of flying back and forth to China for QA, product testing, etc.) and when put in that context, I actually felt pretty guilty about how angry I had gotten about a measly $120*

    Well, fast forward to a few nights ago. I’m on my way home and my wife texts me that I have a package. I had put the KNOB+ pretty far out of my mind, but when I got home there it was…my package from Raul. My (now named) Croon Audio Original! A year late, but here.

    SIDENOTE: I got my Hidden Radio a few months ago, and while it definitely LOOKS beautiful, it really feels like absolutely zero attention was paid to how the thing should actually sound. That being said, let’s just say my expectations were low. 

    I take it out of the box…just stunning. From the wooden feet to the acrylic enclosure, it screams attention to detail. But again, I figure I have another beautiful, but ultimately useless object to sit on the shelf of my office.

    And then I fire it up.

    To say the thing sounds amazing would be an understatement. My wife & I own a B&O Beolit 12 that we use every day, and while it doesn’t sound quite as full as the Play, the Croon has an incredible fullness and richness to it. The mids are full and the highs are crisp. The fit and finish are fantastic and the materials are gorgeous—and this all from a speaker that cost me $120 (Not one that costs $799 like the B&O)

    Well it looks like I’ve rambled. I just wanted to do a quick write up about an awesome Kickstarter product that one dude brought to being. A guy and a dream, as it were. But I guess the whole point of me writing was this: It’s easy to get anxious, and even angry, about Kickstarter projects not delivering on time—but before you freak out, just remember that sometimes good things are worth the wait and quality should always trump “getting something fast”.

    Anyways, thanks Raul. Thanks for following your dream and building such an awesome product.

    If you’d like to get one for yourself, you can check it out here.

    *Not that $120 is measly, but in the grand scheme of how much we spend on tech & gadgets, it really wasn’t that big a deal

    View on Kickstarter
  2. William Sloane Coffin on MLK

    In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, project creator David Coffin just posted this short clip of his father, clergyman and social justice activist William Sloane Coffin, offering a few words on Dr. King.

    The younger Coffin is working to establish an archive of Rev. Coffin’s sermons from his long tenure at the helm of New York’s Riverside Church.

  3. Transparent sound. 
The merits of this compact sound system are perfectly clear, but the “Transparent Speaker” is more than just a pretty face.
The team just played the device for a crowd of audiophile critics and got a very positive response. The Sweden-based designers are currently seeking funding for an initial production run, reaching 80% of their goal with another month left to go. 
Nothing better than style and substance.

    Transparent sound. 

    The merits of this compact sound system are perfectly clear, but the “Transparent Speaker” is more than just a pretty face.

    The team just played the device for a crowd of audiophile critics and got a very positive response. The Sweden-based designers are currently seeking funding for an initial production run, reaching 80% of their goal with another month left to go. 

    Nothing better than style and substance.

    View on Kickstarter
  4. John and Yoko on the end of an era.
The Smith Tapes is an archive containing hundreds of long-lost interviews with the cultural figures that defined the end of the ’60s.
The creators just announced that Collection 2 is now live on iTunes, featuring never-before-heard interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, Jim Morrison, Dick Gregory, and more.

    John and Yoko on the end of an era.

    The Smith Tapes is an archive containing hundreds of long-lost interviews with the cultural figures that defined the end of the ’60s.

    The creators just announced that Collection 2 is now live on iTunes, featuring never-before-heard interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, Jim Morrison, Dick Gregory, and more.

    View on Kickstarter
  5. Treasure on tape.
Between 1969 and 1972, Village Voice columnist and radio personality Howard Smith recorded interviews with some of the era’s most iconic creative figures, at some of the most pivotal moments of their careers.
He interviewed Mick Jagger just weeks before Altamont, Andy Warhol after he was shot, Dennis Hopper following the premiere of Easy Rider at Cannes Film Festival, and recorded Janis Joplin’s final interview. These original audio reels, numbering in the hundreds, have been stashed away in his apartment since they days they originally aired — until now.  After months dedicated to sifting through and digitizing these audio files — a process described as “forensic… an enormous audio jigsaw puzzle” — they’ve been dated and pieced together chronologically for public consumption. The Smith Tapes box set will compile 18 of the collection’s most notable conversations, preserving the cultural legacy of a singular generation for decades to come.  We’re archiving the whole project for 24 hours as our Project of the Day.

    Treasure on tape.

    Between 1969 and 1972, Village Voice columnist and radio personality Howard Smith recorded interviews with some of the era’s most iconic creative figures, at some of the most pivotal moments of their careers.

    He interviewed Mick Jagger just weeks before Altamont, Andy Warhol after he was shot, Dennis Hopper following the premiere of Easy Rider at Cannes Film Festival, and recorded Janis Joplin’s final interview. These original audio reels, numbering in the hundreds, have been stashed away in his apartment since they days they originally aired — until now.

    After months dedicated to sifting through and digitizing these audio files — a process described as “forensic… an enormous audio jigsaw puzzle” — they’ve been dated and pieced together chronologically for public consumption. The Smith Tapes box set will compile 18 of the collection’s most notable conversations, preserving the cultural legacy of a singular generation for decades to come.

    We’re archiving the whole project for 24 hours as our Project of the Day.

  6. Rock of ages.

    Between 1969 and 1972, Village Voice columnist and radio personality Howard Smith recorded hours of interviews with some of the era’s most iconic creative figures.

    These conversations were intimate, uncensored, and immediate — he talked with Mick Jagger just a few weeks before Altamont, Andy Warhol after he was shot, and Dennis Hopper right after the premiere of Easy Rider at the Cannes Film Festival. He even taped Janis Joplin’s last interview, just a few days before her death.

    By the time Smith hung up his mic for good, he had accumulated hundreds of reels of audio — material he simply boxed and stored in his New York City loft. Now, over forty years later, these bits and pieces of important cultural history are about to see the light of day again.

    The Smith Tapes Box Set will compile 18 notable conversations from the 150+ that have been uncovered and restored thus far; the end result of hours spent listening, sorting, and archiving.

    Just a few of the conversations available for preview on their Kickstarter project page include Lou Reed and Pete Townshend — we can’t wait to hit play on the rest.

  7. State of the Re:Union

    A public radio project created by writer/performer Al Letson, State of the Re:Union explores the biggest issues facing the country — one story at a time. With a focus on the everyday people that shape communities across the US, the show finds renewal in the midst of decay by sharing small stories with a big impact.

    Take a listen to the award-winning Baltimore episode and visit Letson’s new Kickstarter project page.

    View on Kickstarter
  8. YOU GUYS! This is a real tin can telephone. It is called The Can, and it is described as such:

The Can harkens back to the golden years of simplicity while providing users some modern affordances.  The string gives way to the power of the USB cable, providing endless entertainment for both sides of the conversation.  The Can is particularly effective for video chats with important business clients and other mission critical video conference applications. 

There’s also The Can Mini, which attaches to virtually any cell phone or tablet (you don’t even need a smartphone), and the DIY Can kit, so you build your own. Umm, this is about to make conference calls around Kickstarter HQ a whole lot more fun…

    YOU GUYS! This is a real tin can telephone. It is called The Can, and it is described as such:

    The Can harkens back to the golden years of simplicity while providing users some modern affordances. The string gives way to the power of the USB cable, providing endless entertainment for both sides of the conversation. The Can is particularly effective for video chats with important business clients and other mission critical video conference applications.

    There’s also The Can Mini, which attaches to virtually any cell phone or tablet (you don’t even need a smartphone), and the DIY Can kit, so you build your own. Umm, this is about to make conference calls around Kickstarter HQ a whole lot more fun…
  9. Today’s Project of the Day is BlindSide: The Audio Adventure Video Game.
While the term “video game” may suggest that moving images are inherent to the medium, Aaron and Mike, the creators of BlindSide, beg to differ. Theirs is an adventure game with quite a quirk — it’s audio only! Together, they’ve recreated real world atmospheres using only sounds, and players must navigate these territories entirely by ear. It’s a painstakingly realistic aural environment… except for those pesky monsters…

    Today’s Project of the Day is BlindSide: The Audio Adventure Video Game.

    While the term “video game” may suggest that moving images are inherent to the medium, Aaron and Mike, the creators of BlindSide, beg to differ. Theirs is an adventure game with quite a quirk — it’s audio only! Together, they’ve recreated real world atmospheres using only sounds, and players must navigate these territories entirely by ear. It’s a painstakingly realistic aural environment… except for those pesky monsters…

  10. KSR IRL: Thursday 9/22 @ 7p, Audiowear artists perform @ the Museum of Arts & Design. Peep the Audiowear Project Update for more intel on the event.
Elasticbrand, an Amsterdam and NYC-based multidisciplinary design studio, finally figured out the project that combines their love of ceramic objects and hip-hop. That claybeats baby = Audiowear, “a series of musical jewelry inspired by idiophone and aerophone instruments and the acoustic quality of clay.”
 The collection includes a trumpet bracelet, a guiro cuff with playing thimble, a whistle charm necklace, a pan-flute collar, a diamond shaped rattle bracelet, and colorful xylophone bangles — all designed to create a “vocabulary of sounds” used to make music.

    KSR IRL: Thursday 9/22 @ 7p, Audiowear artists perform @ the Museum of Arts & Design. Peep the Audiowear Project Update for more intel on the event.

    Elasticbrand, an Amsterdam and NYC-based multidisciplinary design studio, finally figured out the project that combines their love of ceramic objects and hip-hop. That claybeats baby = Audiowear, “a series of musical jewelry inspired by idiophone and aerophone instruments and the acoustic quality of clay.”

    The collection includes a trumpet bracelet, a guiro cuff with playing thimble, a whistle charm necklace, a pan-flute collar, a diamond shaped rattle bracelet, and colorful xylophone bangles — all designed to create a “vocabulary of sounds” used to make music.