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Velodyne Supports the Community: Music Matters Family Festival

 

The Surf Spot in Pacifica, CA will be holding its first annual Music Matters Family Festival September 23, 2012. 100% of the proceeds will go to Music Matters in Pacifica. MMiP is a new program of the Pacifica Education Foundation that advocates and raises funds to support the instrumental music program for 6th through 8th graders in the Pacifica School District.
 The Surf Spot is hosting performances by The Refugees (Tom Petty Tribute Band), Curt Yagi and The People Standing Behind Me, 5D and Green Room Music. There will be a special guest deejay. Doors open at noon and there is a $5 admission – 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Pacifica’s Music Matters Foundation.We hope you and your families can come out and support children’s music programs, while enjoying the fun  lineup of bands, games, food and drinks! Velodyne has donated a few “swag bags” that Curt Yagi & The People Standing Behind Me will be giving away. You could walk away with a pair of vPulse in-ear headphones that retail at $99!

Good swag for a good cause!

Surf Spot Restaurant. 4627 Coast Highway. http://surfspoteats.com/ For more information on Music Matters in Pacifica visit http://www.musicmattersinpacifica.org/.

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An homage to the best city in the world: Velodyne rocks CE Week in NYC

The view from Avenue nightclub right before the Velodyne party

So, I’ve had a week to shake off the jet lag and catch up on some sleep. Of course, I couldn’t have been happier to attend the CEA LineShow in NYC during CE Week (June 25-29). Typically, shows can be overwhelming and a bit crazy. But this one was small and somewhat relaxed. The attendees are mostly press who live in the area and take the short trip down to Chelsea to the Metropolitan Pavillion. And Chelsea is also where Avenue nightclub is located…and where Velodyne hosted the “Real Music Pure Sound” party.

I was fortunate enough to not only attend the show and the party, but to visit friends and family in my old stomping grounds. Although, I’m a full on California transplant who no longer owns a pair of snow boots or gloves, New York will always be my true home. It made me feel quite nostalgic and I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a mini virtual tour of some of my favorite landmarks in the West Village, where I lived on 9th Street and 6th Avenue.

Former site of The Women's House of Detention

I’ll start with my favorite building in the city, known now as The Jefferson Market Branch, New York Public Library. It may just seem like a pretty brick building sitting on a triangular plot formed by Greenwich Avenue and West 10th Street. But the history of this building is lengthy and rich. It actually served as the New York Women’s House of Detention, a woman’s prison, from 1932-1974. Longtime residents of the West Village will tell you that they used to hear husbands and boyfriends calling up to their wives and girlfriends in the middle of the night. That’s because its unique location gave inmates the opportunity to communicate with people walking by on the street. The New York Women’s House of Detention is believed to have been the world’s first art deco prison. It was designed by Sloan & Robertson in 1931.

This building and site is featured prominently in the 2004 film, House of D, which was David Duchovny’s feature film writing and directorial debut. Check it out.

The Empire State Building, lit up in red and white, as seen through the Washington Square Arch

The Jefferson Market Branch, New York Public Library is located just around the corner from my favorite park in NYC, Washington Square Park. The park itself is also rich in history and home to one of New York’s iconic structures, The Washington Square Arch. This 77 foot marble monument was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was erected in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.

The iconography of the Arch centers on images of war and peace. An inscription on the attic of the monument contains a quote attributed ot George Washington and reads:

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”

There are many other notable historic structures and memorabilia, including the Hangman’s Elm, which stands in the northwest corner of the park during the time that Potter’s Field was used for public executions.

Click here to find out more about the rich history of Washington Square Park.

The front of the Washington Square Park Hotel

It only seems fitting to end this mini tour by mentioning the historic hotel me and my colleagues called home during CE Week in NYC. The reason it’s so fitting is because the Washington Square Park Hotel is located on the northwest corner of the park at 103 Waverly Place. This hotel was built in 1902 and recently celebrated its 110th year in business. This quaint and unassuming gem evokes a 1930′s Paris in one of the best locations in New York. I highly recommend a stay here, as well as a tour of the art deco building and interior.

Incidentally, Babbo is right across the street. For those unfamiliar with this restaurant, it’s one of the most famous in the city. It’s considered to be the restaurant that put its owner, Mario Batali, on the map. And for those who don’t like Italian, there’s Cafe Asean right up the road. In my opinion, the best Vietnamese food in the West Village.

I won’t subject you to any more of my indulgent nostalgia. This is the end of my love letter to NYC and the West Village. I’ll see you next year at the end of June.

 

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From The Line Show to the Nightclub: Velodyne in NYC

Velodyne made our debut at the CEA Line show this year. For two days, June 27-28, 2012 we had a booth at the Metropolitan Pavillion in New York City. Everyone’s question for us seemed to be, “What’s new here?” Well, we did have a few new things to share with the world!

We shared two of our one-of-a kind artist series subwoofers that were previously only introduced at the Subzero Festival in San Jose, CA on June 1, 2012. We had a slideshow in the background that demonstrated one of the artist’s subwoofers in process from start to finish. These beauties generated a lot of attention. We had non-stop traffic at our table and everyone wanted to know how they could get their hands on one of them! This is something we are potentially exploring and we were happy to get the “market research” we needed to gauge demand.

We also had the biggest debut of the show….our pink vPulse in-ear headphones which are being promoted by the talented (and beautiful) pop star Kat Deluna. These are not yet available for purchase, so stay tuned for the latest news here at Velodyne!

DJ Francisco Lozano and the hosted cocktails for our special guests got everyone warmed up. Nothing could prepare us for the knockout of the night, The Symphony Crack Orchestra. The combination of the intense violin music of Ashanti Floyd and his rocking band mesmerized everyone!

The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff spun his magic for us for a few hours and got everyone up on their feet. He truly is a legendary DJ, and now the Velodyne team knows why firsthand!

We all had the pleasure of Kat Deluna’s company. She WOWED us all by giving us an exclusive debut of the new single from her forthcoming album ViVa! Everyone was so excited. It truly was the highlight of our night. Her fans are already going crazy for the pink vPulse.

The party continued for several hours, with a mix of celebs, industry people, entourages, execs and fans. A fantastic time was had by everyone in attendance. It truly was an unforgettable evening. It’s fair to say Velodyne rocked CE Week! Until next year!

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Donald Dunn 1941-2012


I’m not going to lie—I had no idea who Donald “Duck” Dunn was until I saw the news story announcing his death. You probably have no idea who he is either. Upon further investigation, I learned that I have been hearing his songs all my life. You probably have been too.

A bass guitarist from Memphis, Tennessee, Dunn was a session musician, playing with Booker T. & the MGs, the Blues Brothers, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, and many others. He lent his bass to The Mar-Keys for “Last Night,” to Otis Redding in “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” to Booker T. & the MGs for “Time is Tight,” and to Rod Stewart in “Tonight’s the Night.”

To pay homage to Duck Dunn’s memory, went on YouTube and found “Time is Tight.” I settled back in my chair to listen, eyes closed. The song began to play, and I started out of my chair. Yes, it was Booker T. & the MGs, but it was almost unrecognizable. The tiny, built-in speakers for my computer were woefully inadequate for Dunn’s complex bass. The sound became distorted, tinny, and hollow. It pulled all the soul out of the music, which horrified me. As a devout music lover, it pains me to hear such soulful music being mangled so carelessly. Turning off the song, I took out my vPulse headphones, plugged them into my computer, and eagerly waited for the beautiful and complex bass to begin. The song immediately came alive and I began to relax as I heard Dunn strumming his bass guitar, each a unique and separate sound, unlike the low, constant hum I heard before.

Donald “Duck” Dunn was a great man and a great bassist. Even in death, he taught me something valuable. A good set of speakers makes all the difference.

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Velodyne subs are the perfect canvas for up-and-coming Northern California artists

Multi-talented visual artist, FORCE 129, brings his vision to our sound

This week begins an exciting new chapter for Velodyne. We currently have some top-secret projects in the works that promise to deliver an innovative mix of audio technology and modern art. And I just got the go ahead to give you a preview of one of these projects.

Velodyne has been collaborating with art gallery Anno Domini to marry the world of audio with the world of art.

Located in San Jose, Anno Domini features exhibitions by renowned international and local artists, as well as up-and-comers in the art world. And we’ve been teaming up with hand-selected artists who are bringing their inspiration and passion to our audio products. These artists will be transferring their style and vision to our subwoofers by custom painting them, turning what has traditionally been a square box into a thing of beauty.

Artist Lacey Bryant explores the subtle tension between the beautiful and the unsettling

The first four of these experimental painted subs will be shown during the SubZERO Festival in San Jose, California. But this is the just the beginning. Get ready to see some incredible custom subs in the coming months, as we bring in artists from all over the world to create limited edition audio works of art. You’ll see a multitude of styles and techniques, from fine art to graffiti art to spray paint.

And we’re not stopping at subwoofers. But that’s one of the other special projects that needs to remain top secret…for the time being, at least

Check out some of the first hand-picked artists featured at the SubZERO Festival:

Lacey Bryant

“As is common in Lacey’s work, there is a subtle tension between beautiful and unsettling elements. Though the settings are usually very light and airy there is a certain heaviness in the atmosphere and a distinct melancholy about the girls with wild hair and confrontational stares. We are presented with things we are uncomfortable with-spiders, holes, crack and decay. This contrast is constructed to create a sense of mystery and mood, enticing the viewer to linger and embrace their own hidden dark sides or even to find the beauty in something that scares us.”

Poesia

“His recent work has transitioned from abstract graffiti towards a more evolved version of his past letter based work. Creating a hybrid style of work that is able to bridge the gallery with the street. Abstract in nature yet structured in letter based form. Poesia’s work explodes with color and form, creating a cryptic version of his wall work. Layers upon layers of paint, Poesia is able to build a deep dialogue between fine art and graffiti with his pieces.”

Force129

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A Truly Plug and Play Gadget for People Who Like to Skype or use VoIP

Naturally, we spend a considerable amount of time discussing the way sound is projected from audio products like our DD-18+. But this spring a cool little gadget with an impressive ability to capture sound will be available to those who like to use Skype

I first saw Blue Microphones’s Tiki device a few months ago at CES in Las Vegas. This nifty little USB gadget is the size of a memory stick and it plugs right into your computer. It also listens with the intelligence of human hearing.

“It pulls your voice to the forefront and minimizes everything else…computer fans, keyboard typing, and cartoons in the background,” said Hillary Money from Blue Mic.

It also has auto-muting, which puts you on mute after you stop talking for three second. And as soon as you start talking again, it takes you off mute.

These are great features for using any VoIP.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Voice over Internet Protocol, it has actually been around for quite awhile. But the internet hasn’t always been ready to handle it with the speed and bandwidth necessary for having a “natural” sounding conversation with someone. In recent years, however, there have been great improvements to speed and bandwidth that make VoIP an exciting opportunity for technology companies, as well as consumers.

How does it work? VoIP is simply a method for taking analog audio signals, like the kind you hear when talking on the phone, and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.

 

 

 

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Composing the sound signature of your car: Audi R8 e-tron e-sound

So, does a car really have a signature sound? Yes. I know this because my father worked for Mercedes-Benz for 30 years. As a result, I’ve been able to tell when a Mercedes is driving up behind me since middle school. The engine has a very distinctive sound that I could easily pick out of an audio lineup. I couldn’t describe in words exactly what it sounds like, but I can instantly distinguish it from the sound of any other car engine on the road with 100% accuracy.

The automobile industry, however, has undergone many changes since my middle school days. One of the biggest is the advent of the electric car. It seems inevitable that every carmaker will be moving in this direction. And with the electric car, comes the silent engine. Does this mean car engines will lose their signature sounds forever?

ELVIN (The Electric Vehicle with Interactive Noise) is the brainchild of Warwick Manufacturing Group, which has been working with British car makers fine-tuning the sounds of vehicles for years

Absolutely not. In fact, creating a signature car sound could become an art in and of itself. Just ask the makers of Audi. The car company is currently working towards the debut of its electric supercar, the R8 e-tron. And Audi is bringing the idea of a signature sound straight to the gas pedal…and directly out of two speakers mounted to the front of this much-anticipated car.

Audi has spent over three years working on the e-sound audio system for its silent supercar. They started out by testing an R8 e-tron prototype in an 1,100 square-foot sound lab.

“The problem is you don’t have any tool that you can buy on the market. You have to develop the hardware. You have to develop the software. And you have to find a great sound for the car and this took us more than three years.” said Dr. Ralf Kunkel, Head of Acoustics for AUDIO AG.

Check out some of the results:

http://youtu.be/1rrAUe1q9fo

For the die-hard car enthusiast, the Audi R8 e-tron has four electric motors that, together, produce 313 HP coupled with an impressive 3,319.03 lb-ft of torque. It can reportedly go from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds and has a lithium-ion battery with 42.4 kWh of capacity. That means the cautious driver would get about 154 miles of driving on one charge. But I’m guessing whomever is behind the wheel of this car is not a cautious driver.

And while the idea of creating signature sounds for your otherwise silent engine may seem like nothing more than a unique marketing and branding strategy, it was born of something entirely different.

A silent car is a safety hazard for many pedestrians, bicyclists, and others on the road. In fact, just last year the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law. It requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure that electric and hybrid car manufacturers add noises that alert pedestrians to their approach.

This practical technology certainly presents a unique opportunity for some awesome innovations. Hmmm…I see downloadable car-tones in our future.

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Join us in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge

GG and the 64E

Velodyne's LiDAR sensor ready to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge

All of us here at Velodyne are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our offices are located in Silicon Valley, a short driving distance from San Francisco and, arguably, the most famous bridge in the world. Of course, I am referring to the Golden Gate Bridge. And it just so happens that this American icon turns 75-years-old this month.

I was unaware of this birthday when I recently got to play hooky and take Velodyne’s 64E LiDAR sensor up to the city by the bay for a photo shoot. And I fell in love with the beauty of San Francisco and the Golden Gate all over again.

Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Now, let me say that I am a New York girl at heart. That’s where I was born and raised and it will always be at the center of my soul. But I spent over five years living in San Francisco and, in that time, there was one thing that always amazed me. After five years of pounding the San Fran pavement, it was a regular occurrence to stop dead in my tracks, amazed at the beauty of the scenery. Every day I felt like I was living in a painting.

And that bridge in the background of the city is, in my opinion, just about as close as something man-made can get to rivaling the beauty of nature.

So, if you are lucky enough to live in or near San Francisco, be sure to join in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Make sure you don’t miss the fireworks display. And if you aren’t local, I hope you enjoy the photos I’ve posted for you.

Here are some facts about the Golden Gate Bridge that you may not know:

  • In total, the bridge is 8,981 feet across and its tallest point is 746 feet.
  • It is famously “over-engineered and is four times stronger than it needs to be.
  • It took over four years to build and cost over $35 million.
  • Each of its twin towers weighs more than 44,000 tons and the total weight of the bridge is almost 900,000 tons.
  • It is the second largest suspension bridge in the U.S. and, if you untangled all of its cables, they would stretch around the world three times.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge is painted a deep shade of International Orange, which is specially formulated to protect the bridge from the danger of rust from the moisture of the fog that rolls in from the Pacific Ocean.
  • There is more than 10 million square feet of steel to paint on the bridge and painting it is hard work. It takes a team of about 30 painters. The only thing that stops them from doing their job is rain. But the bridge is wrapped in fog 70 percent of the time and the winds can blow 60 mph-which can cause problems because workers usually use spray guns.

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Getting Inside Outside Lands

If you haven’t heard of Outside Lands, it’s not too late. Tickets for this 3-day music, food, beer, wine and art festival in Golden Gate park August 10-12, 2012 go on sale tomorrow at noon.  It shouldn’t take you long to decide if you want to go. The full lineup has just been released and it is going to be incredible!

This festival began in 2008, and quickly burst onto the scene making quite the splash. Headlined by the most killer current artists and several stages with newer, up-and-coming, supporting acts, Outside Lands is geared toward being eco-friendly. There are bio-degradable cups, plates, bowls and utensils, solar-powered stages, and a refillable water program which encourages reusable water vessels to cut down on use of cups. Outside Lands also offers a bike valet service to encourage attendees to bike to the festival. Additionally,  golf carts are not used for production/transport but instead utilize cargo bicycles to go easier on the environment and conserve resources. I have never heard of such a thing, have you? Pretty cool.

The food and beverage choices are tantalizing, with some of the best local wineries, breweries and restaurants providing the festival fare.  While the food lineup has not yet been released, based on the previous years you can be certain this won’t be your typical hot dog and cardboard-pizza concert menu.

Outside Lands offers VIP cabanas based on availability, which overlook the main stage, and include hosted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, access to catered food, a private entrance, 20 VIP tickets and 4 parking passes. No shortage of creature comforts to enhance your festival experience!

VIP, 3-day passes  at $495 are also offered based on availability and grant VIP’s Polo Club lounge seating, special viewing areas, access to massage therapists, access to restroom facilities, VIP food selection and beer, wine and cocktails.

Don’t have the cabbage to throw down for a cabana or a VIP pass? Regular 3-day passes were offered on an early bird basis for $165 that have already sold out. The regular 3-day ticket will go on sale tomorrow for $195. It’s not clear how many of those tickets are available, but when they sell out the price will go up to $210 and then $225. Other extremely helpful passes that may be purchased are a 3-day parking pass for $149.50, and a 3-day shuttle pass from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for $29.50. Fortunately the Civic is also very close to other public transportation such as Bart, Muni and Caltrain.

While I love to indulge in good food and wine with the best of them, it really comes down to the music for me. Who could pass up seeing legends like Neil Young, Stevie Wonder and Metallica at the same festival as Skrillex? One of the headliners for the festival this year is The Foo Fighters, one of my all time favorite bands. I have been a fan since they were founded in 1994 by Dave Grohl, former drummer for Nirvana. While I have loved all of their albums over the years, I was immensely proud of them for cleaning up at the 2012 Grammys (6 trophies!) and especially winning Best Rock Album. I have seen them live twice, and was completely blown away. Check out the Foo’s performance on Saturday Night Live last year of their 2012 Grammy-winning Best Rock Song, Walk. Dave and the boys just BRING IT.

I am also a huge fan of Jack White, who we featured on yesterday’s post as well as Beck, Franz Ferdinand, Norah Jones and more recently Fitz and the Tantrums.

And lastly, I leave you with this soothing, soulful melody by newcomer to the scene, Alabama Shakes. The Shakes first full length album was just released for streaming this month. I am pretty confident we will be seeing a lot more of them in the future. Enjoy!

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