A short story of Sony Walkman!

Today we can't imagine our life without a music player. It's with us almost all the time: when we are in the city, on vacation, on our way to work, on a plane and even in the mountains or on a beach. 

But the situation was completely different 38 years ago.☝

Personal portable music didn't exist for most of human history until Sony Walkman came along. It was a real revolution in the world of music.
A Sony first portable cassette player, Sony Walkman, was introduced in 1979 for $150. The Walkman's real innovation was its size. It was stylish and comfortable to carry and slightly larger than a cassette. 

Thanks to a pair of portable, lightweight headphones and being operated on AA batteries, it ushered in a new era of portability. Sony did their best so that people could enjoy music anywhere!
In 1981 Sony introduced amazing commercial of their great player. Soon, Sony Walkman became one of the most successful brands of all times. Over 400 million Walkman portable music players have been sold.

The first CD Walkman was initially launched in 1984. Originally known as the Discman. Today Discmans can play CDs in numerous formats (MP3& Sony's own proprietary formats).

In April 2010, the last Walkman cassette player was released at Sony enterprises. Unfortunately, when Apple introduced its 1 iPod, a Walkman era came to its end. Apple started a new epoch of music. But it's a different story.😉

Now you can enjoy your favorite tracks anytime and anywhere, and VOX will gladly help you with this.🎧📲


Continue readingJul 24th 2017

Team Blog: Designing A Perfect Music App

Do you like music? Are you interested in design? If your both answers were close to “yes”, “yup”, “YEAH” or “dude, are you kidding me? How can you ask me this type of questions if you know that I am MARRIED to design and music!”, then, Booyah!

Keep reading.

My name is Jake Davies and I’m the creator of the VOX music player design on Mac and iPhone.

I’m not working at Coppertino anymore, as I’ve left around a year ago. We’ve been working close to each other for almost 4 years and became very good friends. I still keep myself updated on how VOX is doing, what ups and downs it goes through. After all, I have left a part of me in VOX — its design. For me, watching VOX successes is just like watching your kid grow.

Music software design… Wait, what?

By the time I have officially joined Coppertino team, there was a long path I’ve made which gave me enough experience to feel confident about developing VOX design. I’ve been working with lots of local design studios like ATELIER, TrySoda, and Frog Design. These were the places where I was growing as a designer. But at that time, I was still too far from music tech sphere. My passion for music brought the stronger interest. It was developed while working in the entertainment industry. For 2 years I’ve been busy as a designer and the art director at DJFM radio station responsible for communication via web, offline and other digital products. Working at the radio station and the previous design studios made me ready to work on designing music software.

One of my best friends, Nikita, was working with me back to back at DJFM as the sound designer and the producer since the time I’ve just joined the station. I’ve been learning a lot about the sound recording as we’ve recorded two music albums (The Beginning and Amsterdam). That was an experimental stuff, some mixes between chill out, score and ambient styles. We’ve produced several great motion sequences designed by ourselves as a team. I was responsible for animation and Nikita was responsible for sound design.

The CEO at Coppertino, Ivan Ablamskiy, and Coppertino’s team lead, Sergey Tkachenko, became the core audience to share our music projects with. They were supporting us for years and were the first to know about our successes and failures. So that shouldn’t be a surprise now, that in summer 2014, I’ve joined Coppertino team as a product designer.

Dear, you need a facelift

One day Ivan came to me and showed me the design samples Coppertino was working on for a long time. They were ready to ship those to the Mac App Store… I guess, that moment decided everything.

The conversation brought us to understanding what was good and what wasn’t good in the design we had. Frankly speaking, most of what I saw then wasn’t good. The only thing I’ve heard from Ivan was “Well, smarty pants, show us how to do it right then!”

As a beginner I came to a pretty daring thought that since I had a good relationship with the team, loved music, and always wanted to design my own music player, why was I still staring at Ivan? I was standing in front of the door which didn’t even need any pushing, I could just kick it with my leg and it would open me the path to the great opportunity — change the way VOX player looks and what impression it makes.

So my first achievement was «facelifting» the player. I built the right basis for the player to scale properly through its evolution in the next 2–3 major updates. We’ve got lots of discussions and huge research has been made to figure out what the listeners need in a music player.

The listener was the core guide for our design strategy development. We failed on our way, and not once. We failed many times. However, after all these mistakes were made, we’ve found the right key to the perfect design, the solution that felt right, that felt like «VOX» — a high-quality music player for the listener with the exquisite music taste.

Keeping it simple

To advance VOX design, we had to draw a clear picture — what was good for music player design and what was good but it wasn’t good for VOX. It’s actually a crucially important question because many product designers forget about the product itself and just generate different solutions to add more features for the features sake. Our goal here was to keep it simple.

The idea behind VOX is to deliver a simple solution to listen to music, no matter where you music is. I wanted to break the boundaries between the pattern lots of people are the victims of — too many music sources we use that are not interconnected!

I was struggling with it myself. I used to open iTunes for local music. Pause iTunes, open Safari and log in to SoundCloud just for a few exclusive songs that I really loved and wanted to listen. However, I wished there could be «Play Next» button on SoundCloud that connected my iTunes playback queue too. And the issue wasn’t only between SoundCloud and iTunes. I had many other accounts in different music services that I would love to connect somehow and listen to music from all sources in a single place.

We’ve all been there, right? But that was 2014! There had to be a solution. And our research showed I wasn’t the only one looking for it. VOX users were looking for it in the first place.

The results of my research showed us that we could build that solution easily.

If you look closer into each particular source, like SoundCloud or Spotify, even YouTube, you’ll see three things that this source is made of:

• Music Database
• Ability to create playlists
• Like feature

Each source also has it’s own player, no matter if it is an iPhone app or a web-player. And guess what, each player has pretty similar controls:

• Discover new music
• Play your favorites
• Create playlists

This gives us lots of insights. If you want to design the best player ever, without music behind it — you will fail. The key to the success in the music player design is to unite the sources, to keep the sound quality, read high-quality file formats, discover new music, play favorites and create playback queue the way the USER wants it, not you. At the same time, do no forget to keep it simple — make a player of a compact size. Not some giant lousy piece of software that a listener will have to struggle with all the time.

Building analogies

I’ve got a story I love to tell when I’m asked why I’m so passionate about VOX.

As a person, you have your own style. You choose clothes based on your style preferences. You dress each day the way you like, the way you feel, right? You switch looks every day. When you go shopping, you discover new clothes, new trends. Maybe, you’re just looking for a new jacket for tomorrow’s interview? No matter if it is a piece of high fashion (FLAC) or something simple and popular like GAP (MP3), when you’re happy with your choice, you do what? You just buy it (Like or Add to favorites)! You grab it, take it home and leave it in your wardrobe untill the moment, when you’re in the mood to wear it (Create playlists).

It’s the story full of analogies. In terms of music, it’s the same story. Just imagine one set of familiar controls, that are easy to use, nothing extra to learn and all of your favorite music is in one place, just like that wardrobe where you have all your clothes. You can create your queue the way you want. Let’s add the sync feature too and, I guess, that’s the good start for VOX as a player.

We gotta move on

After 8 months of our new design release Apple revealed Apple Music, with interaction pattern that we’ve already used in VOX and that moment felt… I don’t know how to say it right. On one hand, it was a good sign that we’ve been right for the last 1.5 years working, failing and researching, but holding on to the right path. But on the other hand, damn, when Apple does something like that, how can you compete with it?

Right now VOX is still on it’s way to reach 100% success spot, where all the music sources we wanted to add into it will be integrated in VOX. So far, I’m proud that I have created what you’re currently looking at when you see VOX on Mac and iPhone. I’m proud to be part of VOX’s story. And VOX will be always big part of mine.

Want to share your experience with developing some music player? Drop your comment here or DM me on

Facebook. You can also find me on Behance :)
Continue readingMar 6th 2016

Coppertino Team Blog: Developing VOX Like “Impossible Is Nothing”

Hello, guys!
My name is Oleg. It’s been two years that I’ve been busy working at Coppertino developing VOX audio engine. Was it hard? Yeah, pretty much. I didn’t give up on it, though. Let me tell you why in this 5-minute long story.

It was more about music than tech from the very beginning…

As many might suspect, I wasn’t an audio engine architect at the very beginning of my career. Everything started with the passion for creativity and technologies. I always knew my life would be connected to music and everything closely related to it. Having gained Bachelor’s degree in Acoustics and Electronics, I spent some of my study time getting acquainted with programming languages. Hence, I consider myself self-educated in programming. It was my interest in audio specifics in the first place that let me embrace the power of computing and what it could do to empower the music sphere. The urge to enhance music world led me to finding the ways to express my ideas through programming.

In early school years I totally loved discovering new programmable electronics — first, programmable calculators, then — first Spectrum computers. My family background and the area I lived in pushed me towards creativity in technologies. That’s why as a child I was pretty busy building electronic devices and witnessing computer technologies progressing daily.

First steps

First steps in serious programming were made when I worked as a sound system engineer in the professional audio industry. It was time when computers were becoming more personal, audio processing moved substantially into the digital domain, and this rise of digital technology brought the whole music industry to the next level. All this would be impossible without software, of course. The majority of the existing software packages for the acoustic measurement and prediction were very expensive and not very user-friendly, intended just for use with proprietary hardware or otherwise available only to the large companies. Good studio multichannel recording package would cost up to several thousands of dollars, and professional CAD software would cost even more. I had some ideas about creating applications for sound reinforcement/concert audio industry. I wanted to develop such applications to reinforce the power of sound. This willingness, in combination with the rise of the Internet power and the opportunity to get needed knowledge in programming online led me to studying programing and holding the experiments in harnessing the audio computing powers. One of my first app ideas was…. (don’t you be too surprised now) a music player! Though, not similar to VOX. I was thinking of a multi-zone PC playback solution that could play different tracks in different spaces or rooms.

Joining Coppertino

Before Coppertino I worked in several tech startups in the field of audio technology and education. I find out about Coppertino for a year or so before I joined the team. I downloaded VOX and wanted to know who made it. Surprisingly, the dev team was located in my native city. I kinda liked the name because it sounded almost like the hometown of Apple Inc.:) And I also liked the name of the player because it reminded me one legendary music-related brand of the past. When my duties at previous job were all done, I found an announcement that Coppertino was hiring an iOS developer. I went to try my luck and Coppertino welcomed me. I think my audio background was the advantage.

The weakest link

When I joined Coppertino many colleagues from the professional audio field joked that I kind of down-shifted from the “professional” to consumer market by joining the music player project and the tech industry in general. Why they were joking about it? Well, watch this.

Picture credits: http://sonicfarms.blogspot.com/2013/01/modern-recording-signal-chain.html

This picture illustrates really well what’s happening to the music sound quality, after it’s being recorded up to the point when it is listened to, in our modern digital smartphone-driven world. And this is the case where the price of equipment is just to show how attention to quality quickly drops after leaving the recording studio. So what I often say in response to all the critics is I’ve left to help take care of the technical quality aspects of the other end of this “professional” music industry chain — the weakest one — the listener’s sound environment.

What is it like to develop VOX?

The main value of working on VOX developments for me is… fun. I really like it because it’s a self-motivating process, where you create something so many people need and you also listen to music in process.

Other than that, most developers would think that a music player is a trivial app to make. Probably, that is true, until we talk about the extensive features we have put into VOX and how high Apple raised the quality bar for the apps. We are often being advised by the developer community on what and how should be done right, and I am thankful for their guidance. Sometimes it does look like too few really understand how complex VOX has become and how many different parts it utilises to be so versatile and acceptable.

Developing VOX is very experimental and non-linear process where our ideas and dreams drive us to move forward sometimes faster than the technology can allow us. Sometimes real solutions are not as obvious as they were “on paper”. It’s a constant search for a better approach. Too often to make two steps forward, you have to make a step back.

It is tough, but fun too

Important thing about Vox as a music player is that for our user music means… a lot. Really a lot. It’s part of his/her lifestyle, a great part of one’s mood. Also, it’s an app that one uses for a long time — not just for a minute or two. So technically the app has to be reliable enough to withstand long-term usage.

One more secret I will share with you about music players is that the visual impact is also very important, so the graphic and ergonomic design should be on the highest level possible.

On the verge of “it’s merely possible”

Often I am finding myself in quite critical situations when it seems like some task in VOX development is hard to execute — but overcoming such tasks is the best way to move forward. At first, you look at the idea without getting into the technical details and you think, “it’s merely possible”. Then you find out that a way to implementation of it is far longer and more winding that you thought at first. While finding the right solution, at some point, after sorting out the clutter of complexity, you find yourself comfortable with the task — the solution becomes “a piece of cake”. The most difficult to me is the complexity and versatility of the whole VOX project. This really forced me to study many new tricks and technologies on the way. The simplest and the most awesome part, though, is being a member of such a talented big small team.

Want to share your experience with developing some music player? Drop your comment here or just email me on olegn@coppertino.com.

See you somewhere around the world, VOX fans! ;)

Continue readingFeb 4th 2016