10 years of Spotify

spotify_10_anniversary_2

via Celebrating a Decade of Discovery on Spotify☞

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Creative Outlier One – my review

When at the end of November the Creative’s newsletter informed me of the release of their new Bluetooth’s headphones – the Outlier One – I was suddenly interested.

The idea of an iPhone upgrade was in the air, but also my original Apple EarPods headset was beginning to wear out after the mistreatment of the last four months, when I always carried them in a pocket of my jeans or at my ears. Also, some misadventures with 3,5″ jack of cheap / made in Chine products and my MacBook Pro were addressing me to a wireless solution for my next headset

The technical data of this product are appealing: 9.5 hours of listening, sweat and humidity resistance (up to IPX4), microphone and vocal commands support, just 15 grams of weight and the flat cable, useful for avoiding its entanglement. And, like the  Aurvana InEar3 kit I bought years ago, I had the impression that Creative applied really good design and engineering in the making of the audio drivers of the headset.

creative-outlier-one__explodeSo, given also a promotional, discounter price for the launch of the product on the market, I went on the purchase over Creative’s marketplace

I took two kits, one for me and the second as a Christmas present for my brother. A couple of days before Christmas the doorbell rang and here they were!

The packaging is curated. Inside we can find 3 pairs of grommets so to have the best in-ear fitting. This time I am using the smallest one, while in other models – and Aurvana too – I am more comfortable using the medium size. Also we have a practical sachet to place the headset and the short USB cable you’ll have to use for recharging.
More, you have a little nipper to fix the headset to your t-shirt (or shirt) as a security fix and a circular grommet instead of the ‘comma-like’ ones you can see in the photo above. The latter, and the nipper, are a must during your fitness routines…

Creative Outlier One – what you get

Usage impressions

The User’s Manual is … bare minimum. The bluetooth pairing procedure is simply illustrated in the folded printed version you can find inside the package.
I was a bit disappointed in finding you can pair just one device. So when you arrive at your office you can’t simply switch the device for usage with your computer, and then back again with your phone when you’ll go home.
Probably this is the main issue I have with them. I was expecting to have a more ‘clever’ device, given the maker and the regular price tag.

Since we’re at it, another concern is the quality of my voice as listened by my interlocutor during phone calls … most of the times the microphone is a little under or behind my neck, and that distance affects the quality of the audio. This was clearly verifiable coming from months of original Apple headphones usage … less annoying as times goes by. I also have to say that only in a couple of calls in the last weeks my interlocutor asked me to repeat what I was saying, but maybe poor signal was another cause of that!

Where these Outlier One shine, in my opinion, is in music reproduction !

Since December I am using Deezer, with a premium account and the audio quality is set to the max … I find absolutely relevant the involvement and the dynamic range offered, at least equal to that of products with a cost two or three times higher I had the chance to try in these last years.

I find absolutely relevant the involvement and the dynamic range offered by those Outlier One, at least equal to that of products with a cost two or three times higher I had the chance to try in these last years.

And if you can modify the equalization of your music streams, helping the flat sound of modern recordings of the digital/streaming age, you’ll get some WOW moments …

[On a side-note, I am truly finding the music streamed by Deezer somewhat superior to the Spotify Premium account I am accustomed to … and probably later this year I’ll move my subscription. Not to mention the quality of the playlists … but that’s a topic for another post].

Conclusions

With a strong promotional lauch offer (they were put on sale December 13, 2017) the Creative Outlier One will cost you 31,99€ each – against a regular price of 39,99€. Also they have introduced a nice-price you take a kit of two.

Buying the Creative Outlier One with a prior registration to the Creative’s website, you’ll be part of a fidelity program that’ll give you points, and later discounts, for your next purchases on their ecommerce. Of course you’ll be part of a newsletter that I can confirm will get you some promotions days before the mainstream public.

Of course, if I’m here to propose them, my judgment is very positive – especially at the current price.
At the end I’m using them with great satisfaction even if only for music reproduction (at home or when I’m walking around) and I always carry them with me. No other pair of headphones get this result with me!

My 2017 in music

December marks the time of the year when you make outlays of what you have done through the year. And so many different on-line communities creates tools where you can generate infographics or plain stats of your activities while using them…

On 2017wrapped.com, for example, Spotify creates a vivid website with details on your listening habits. And here’s mine!

Spotify - 2017 summary

Aside Stevie Wonder I’ve got no particular emotional feeling with the rest of the hits, which are more the fruit of some strict rotation of music playlist and genres that of my own will or desires.

Spotify 2017 - details

Overall I do not feel of having actually discovered so many genres or new artists, since I cannot really mention artist’s or album names or even song titles. And this is probably my main issue with Spotify … the lack of variety and new proposals when I choose a mood or a listening ‘style’.

Fourteen years ago Last.fm made me discover a lot of new music, which I still listed today when I’m on my own, offline, with the iPod Classic… And this is why I’ve subscribed a 3 months test premium profile on Deezer, hoping in some more playlist curation.

the Silent September

Yesterday in my feed reader suggestions an interesting, and long, article on the state and the illness of many music’ streaming services – like Spotify or Apple Music – came to my attention.

Streaming Music is Ripping You Off is this article by Cuepoint – a musical magazine inside the pages of Medium.com – that unfolds explaining in details how the royalties paid to the artists you listen are calculated and how much of them are actually given to those artists and not some other chosen by the system…

They make clear, and show why, that there’s something broken (can we dare to say rotten?) in the algorithms chosen by those services. Then proposes to fight back all of this with a simple hack.

Have you read it? What do you think about it? Personally I’ve already choose some young and talented italian artists to support that way…

When I Grow Up

When I grow up
I’ll be the hero
Of my story book
I’ll start at zero
And rise and fall
And rise and fall again
My head, my heart
I’ll fly into the wind

When I grow up
The sun will greet me
And every day
I’ll meet it completely
I’ll catch each wave and swim until I’m tired
I’ll practice every move, so inspired

When I grow up I’ll be good and strong
I’ll create a world where I belong
When I grow up

When I grow up
I’ll be who I want to
I’ll take every turn
With purpose and see through
The ups and downs
The hills, the starry skies
The beautiful beginning and reprise

When I grow up — credits
released 29 July 2014
Jennifer O’Connor – vocals, guitar, bass, handclaps
Amy Bezunartea – background vocals, handclaps
Tom Beaujour – guitar solo, handclaps and recording/production
Recorded at Nuthouse Recording in Hoboken, NJ on July 14, 2014