Hi-res digital music player designed for displaying album art
Multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, graphic designer and now consumer product creator Tom Vek has been waiting for a digital music player that's big enough and square enough to adequately display album art for a while now. Frustrated that nothing has so far fit the bill, he's designed his own and is looking for Indiegogo backers to help put a limited production run into the hands of similarly minded music lovers.
One of the benefits of vinyl albums is what the record comes wrapped in. Not only is there an image of the band or an arty scene to gawp at, but it can also tell the story of the recording itself or the history of the artist. Cassettes, CDs and other physical media also rock these kind of extras of course, but due to the size of the vinyl records, the artist bios and behind-the-scenes tidbits are often big enough to read without optical aids.
Though many digital music streaming platforms do display album art, the informative extras are often missing. And digital downloads can be even more lacking (although some in my library are accompanied by a PDF booklet).
The Sleevenote music player was designed to give album lovers more. First off, there's a high-resolution touch display out front that's a little smaller than a seven-inch vinyl single at 7.5 diagonal inches, and is square to mirror the classic album or single format.
Physical playback controls are placed on top so they don't interfere with the album art on display, though tracks can be selected onscreen by swiping onto the reverse of the album cover. Inner sleevenotes could also be included for that satisfying deep dive into a musician or band that's mostly missing from the digital music experience.
The player is built around a Cirrus digital-to-analog converter for up to 24-bit/96-kHz audio, there's a Wolfson headphones amp, there's the promise of all-day battery life, 250-GB of internal solid-state storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are cooked in, and of course there's a 3.5-mm analog audio out for cabling up to headphones (though included Bluetooth also means that users can wirelessly play through suitable speakers).
In addition to being a stand-alone digital music player, the device also supports playback from popular streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. And the development team says that the current album art database already contains more than a thousand front, back and booklet images, and will be added to as the project grows. There's an online tool for recording artists to submit their album covers for addition to the database, too.
Currently at the prototype stage of development, the Sleevenote player is the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where pledges start at £533 (about US$700). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October 2021. The video below has more.