It’s part of the calculus of attraction for the analog conscious. Hand these music lovers an iPad running Roon and you might find some grudging appreciation for what the digital-audio software has accomplished, but let’s be honest – for most it’s not the same ballpark. Vinyl heads focus on their analog rigs and stream from their phones.
So, there’s a divide in the way most vinyl lovers experience listening to LPs and in the way they experience digital audio… how to bridge the gap?
The road of digital audio players is littered with the wreckage of heroic efforts, remember Pono? A new device, Sleevenote, hopes to break through and appeal to vinyl and CD heads who love album art. While some would argue it may be 10 years too late, there’s appeal to it’s focus on cover art and simplistic user interface – it’s uncomplicated digital music listening and could definitely find niche appeal with both LP and CD collectors who want less interaction, not more.
Sleevenote is a new graphic-centric, handheld (or freestanding), hardware-streaming device with a 6.2-inch square retina-quality touchscreen display that is intent on turning the digital music-listening experience into more of an analog, slow-music vibe by putting the emphasis on an LP’s cover art.
It’s a dedicated music player designed to focus solely on the music without distraction. It’s equipped with 250GB of internal storage, wi-fi, Bluetooth and USB-C (power, data and digital audio output) for both wireless and wired realms, and comes with an 3.5mm audio out for analog or wired-headphone connectivity. It sports premium, audiophile-grade parts (Cirrus HQ 24-bit/96kHz DAC, Wolfson ‘Class-W’ headphone amplifier) to ensure listening is as engaging as its visual focus, and the dedicated Sleevenote app lets you scan through your digital library, access liner notes and – in a cool twist – select tracks for playback directly from back cover artwork. The unit is also compatible with Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp so far – more services are to be added.
Designed by musician and graphic designer Tom Vek, Sleevenote launched its IndieGoGo campaign Thursday with a funding goal of $655,655 USD. While this may seem like a lot of money, any audiophile, music lover or tech head will tell you that manufacturing bespoke digital devices of this calibre is not cheap. The $655k will allow the company to produce 1,000 Sleevenotes initially – the lowest number of units that the square retina-screen provider entertains for custom orders.