Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Miami Vice Ferrari Testarossa For Sale

Single flying mirror, just in case you're towing a camper.

The Ferrari Testarossa is a ridiculous car from a ridiculous era. And now the most ridiculous example of the species could be yours. This 1986 beast driven by Crockett & Tubbs originally sold for $85,000 and was placed in storage following the merciful cancellation of Miami Vice in 1989. It has 16,124 miles on the odometer and recently received an engine-out service at a cost of $8,000. 

Brand new, the Testarossa developed 390 bhp from a 4.9 L twelve-cylinder power plant mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. It comes with all the mod cons you'd expect in 1986 -- a built-in car phone, beige leather, power windows and locks, cruise control and air conditioning. 

Yes, kids. That's a phone. In a car!!

Here's a sobering thought. Had you invested the $85,000 instead and received the S&P 500 index return of 10.055% for the last 30 years, you'd have a cool $1,503,558.51 in your brokerage account. Enough to buy six shiny new Ferrari 458s

It's almost as if they ran out of money to style the rear end.

The Miami Vice car will be auctioned on August 15th, 2015 (my birthday, conveniently) at Mecum's Daytime Auction in Monterey, California. And, yes, it has been authenticated by Ferrari North America and Ferrari Classiche. Pastel Armani suits not included. 

1986 Ferrari Testarossa from Miami Vice up for auction [World Car Fans, via Robin Lee]

A Soyuz Space Capsule Owner's Manual

Soyuz-manual

I'm trying really hard not to buy this Haynes Owner's Workshop Manual for Soyuz space capsules.

Haynes also publishes versions for the space shuttle, Mars landers (which could come in handy to resolve the recent short circuit problems plaguing Curiosity), the International Space Station and even Apollo 13. That one should come bundled with a roll of duct tape, a fire suppression system and an oxygen scrubber...

Vintage Synthesizer Reissues Invade NAMM 2015

Moog System 55

Perhaps it has something to do with Baby Boomer demographics, or maybe people are just looking for something different, but classic analog synthesizers are all the rage at this year's NAMM music industry show in Anaheim, California. 

Moog Music takes the crown with some absolutely breathtaking recreations of Bob Moog's groundbreaking modular synthesizer from the 1970s. They range from the suitcase-sized Moog System 15 (150 units at $10,000), the mid-range System 35 (35 units at $22,000) all the way up to the System 55, a massive $35,000 machine featuring 36 handcrafted analog modules in two walnut cases. There are no microprocessors in these monoliths. 

Only 55 copies of the System 55 will be built, based on original documentation and design files. Each module is hand soldered and mounted behind photo-etched aluminum panels, just the same way it would have been done when first unveiled in 1973. 

The new ARP Odyssey is available in three different versions.

If Moog's high-end recreations are a bit much for your pocket book, KORG has created a scaled-down $1000 (street price) version of the ARP Odyssey. This compact instrument went head-to-head with the Minimoog in the 1970s. The new 86% size dual oscillator machine includes modern niceties such as MIDI and USB, along with the classic dual oscillator analog voice that made the Odyssey a mainstay of many bands from 1972 until the company's demise in the early 1980s. There were three different filter designs used by ARP throughout the instrument's production run, and they're all included in this new version. Even the case is a slightly miniaturized version of the final revision (the previous two designs are available as special editions, too).

The brand new Sequential Circuits Prophet-6 analog polysynth.

ARP wasn't the only brand resurrected for the 2015 NAMM Show. After decades of ownership by Yamaha, Sequential Circuits -- one of the creators of the MIDI music interface protocol -- is back in the hands of veteran synthesizer designer Dave Smith. His response to the news is the $2799 Prophet-6, a modernized version of the first massively successful Sequential Circuits polyphonic synthesizer that has appeared on thousands of records and soundtracks since its introduction in 1978.

The show floor is packed with noticeably more synthesizer manufacturers than in years past. Many are tiny operations that make boutique modules for the immensely popular Eurorack modular synthesizer format, while others like newcomer Modal Electronics have created stunningly sophisticated digital/analog hybrid instruments that sell for thousands of dollars. 

Perhaps there's more to the resurgence of hardware synthesis than just nostalgia. While it's true that computers are now capable of running software-based instruments that rival even high-end hardware, there's something ephemeral about a virtual instrument. Without the physical controls and physical permanence of hardware, something is missing from the musical experience. 

Whether or not the hardware trend continues, it looks like the music industry is in for some very interesting times in years to come. 

Akai Timbre Wolf Might Be The Worst Analog Synth Ever

Bark at the moon.

The massive 2015 NAMM Show is underway in Anaheim, California this week and analog synthesis is all the rage. While Moog and Korg are busy reintroducing classics from the 1960s and 1970s, Akai decided to step outside the box by introducing an all-new $499 4-voice analog synthesizer keyboard. Sadly, it's absolutely awful.  

Let me rewind a bit. Last year, Akai introduced the $199 Rhythm Wolf analog drum machine. It received underwhelming press coverage, with weak drum sounds and an even weaker bass synthesizer voice that couldn't actually stay in tune across a couple of octaves. On the upside, it had a nice hands-on user interface and a quirky silkscreen logo of a wolf baying at the moon. 

And now -- for reasons I can't quite grasp -- Akai has "unleashed" the Timbre Wolf keyboard. It combines four Rhythm Wolf analog synth voices in a single box. At this point, words fail me. Here's an incredibly uncomfortable-looking Akai product rep demoing what makes it so "special" on the NAMM floor:

I would be surprised if this machine actually makes it into production. Remember kids, just because something is analog doesn't mean that it's desirable or non-cringeworthy. 

We'll be back shortly with coverage of the analog stuff at NAMM 2015 that caught our attention for all the right reasons.

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