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Entries in drums (6)

iPad at NAMM 2013 - Alesis

Next up in our brief look at iPad announcements from this year's Winter NAMM, are a couple of announcements from Alesis.

DM Dock and Dock Pro Kit

We have seen a few innovations in the field of iPad use for drummers, but Alesis have made a serious attempt to capture the attention of drummers who want to have the iPad at the heart of their sound.

Featuring a healthy 13 x 1/4 inch trigger inputs, the DM (Drum Module) Dock is like a souped-up iO Dock for standalone use with your existing electronic pads/kits or frame mounted as an integrated part of the Dock Pro Kit.

There are also the usual MIDI connections and a footswitch port so you can change kits on-the-fly using compatible apps.  These apps also allow a quick change of sound sets using drag and drop so the possibilities are pretty much endless given the amount of downloadable sound sets that are out there.

More details are available on the DM Dock product page and the official Press Release

iO Mix

We originally saw the iO Mix being demonstrated at MusikMesse last year but it has featured again at NAMM and because it reminds us so much of our original Fostex tape based 4-track recorder we wanted to give it a mention.

 

Touted as the world's first iPad dedicated multi-channel mixer/recording interface, the iO Mix enables input of mics, instruments and other audio via 4 x combo XLR/standard 1/4" jacks.  As you would hope, each channel has individual trim, gain and pan controls (just like your old 4-track) and even some EQ control. 

Importantly for us it also features a guitar DI input so that you don't need a seperate amp, useful for on-the-go mobile recording.

Like the DM Dock above, the iO Mix will charge your iPad when docked and fully encloses it inside the unit so it is nice and snug, but also up to a little knocking about in the (bedroom) studio.

We found a quick demo of the iO Mix at NAMM 2013 on YouTube, from Netherlands based audio suppliers Bax, so thanks to them for sharing this video, check it out below. 

As before, if you have any comments or want to let us know what you are looking forward to seeing, we would love to see them below.

A superb GarageBand drum kit tutorial video

Sure, this GarageBand tutorial video from iPad Music is a little on the short side, but if you've found the drum kit section of GarageBand a little daunting (we certainly have!), then this could be for you. I was able to play along to the basic beat demonstrated on the video after only a couple of viewings.

Source: iPad Music

Further Reading: GarageBand Posts

Video Demo: Drum Canvas for iPad

Here's a video demo we found of a new app coming to the iPad called Drum Canvas. The video is a fairly lengthy and detailed overview so we will let you watch it for all the info.

We haven't been able to find any other details about the app at the moment, suffice to say the app looks really powerful and flexible for your iPad bands. Just don't get too carried away bashing the iPad's screen.

Pix and Stix: Hit your iPad with Real Drumsticks?

We thought we had seen all the variations of iPad accessories there could possibly be by now, but the creative chaps who came up with The Wallee iPad Case have hit upon a new idea. Pix and Stix is a Kickstarter-ish project, intended as a solution for musicians who want to make their GarageBand (or other music app) playing experience more authentic.

Consisting of a set of 'electro-conducive' rubber tipped drumsticks and a guitar plectrum, the Pix and Stix set is offered for $14.99 AUD on pre-order. It looks like they are after around $8000 AUD (~£5300) in total and they are already 25% of the way there after only a day or so!

Video Evidence?

We wanted to see a video of these things in use, especially the drum sticks, before placing an order so we emailed the team behind Pix and Stix but they said there is no video at the moment. They did say they intend to do one once they have hit their target. We think this might stop some people ordering to be honest, but interest is still strong.

How Strong is the iPad Glass?

We are a little concerned at the damage whacking the heck out of our iPad screen may cause, especially during a more frantic drumming session (or in the hands of our 3 year old). We would expect a company like this to have tested these things out though, and the iPad screen is surprisingly strong anyway.

One Plectrum Only?

We also have a nasty habit of losing plectrums constantly, so only having one plectrum included in the set could mean a lot of expensive replacements (plus shipping from Australia, another $14.95 AUD).

It is a creative idea though, and we are sure they are going to reach their funding target given the amount of tech blogs that have covered the project already. You can follow their progress on Twitter.

What do you think? Are you pre-ordering?

Playing with iTM MidiLab and iPad (video demo)

Want a free way to use your iPad as an external keyboard with GarageBand (or other DAW)? We did, so we tried out the iTouchMidi (iTM) MidiLab app which lets you do just that, via Wifi.

iTM MidiLab is actually an iPhone app and is promoted as "a dynamic showroom allowing for new users to experience the iTouchMidi concept" and a "gateway to iTouchMidi".

Just The Basics

So the app is limited in functionality, providing just the basics, but it is useable enough for amateurs and the MIDI-curious to get an idea of what can be done with MIDI controllers or just to play around with different instruments (and to save us from the awkward 'Musical Typing' mode).

In this free app you get three different control interfaces, the site lists them as:

  1. Button Matrix 4 X 4 with Midi Feedback 
  2. Midi keyboard (C-2 -> C8) with pitchbend
  3. XY Pad, sending CC 18 & 19 on midi channel 1

Quick tip - Shake your iPad to switch between the different interfaces.

Getting Started

Once you have the MidiLab app on your iPad, all you do is download a bit of server software for your Mac or Windows Computer (or even transfer it from the MidiLab app itself via browser file sharing), install and run the server on your Computer, select your Computer name from the MidiLab startup screen on your iPad and you are away.

We liked the idea so much that we put together a hastily recorded video for you to see how simple it is and importantly, how little latency there seems to be.

On a technical, iOS, note: We recorded the video with an iPhone which was held in the other hand so it is a bit shaky but the whole thing was edited entirely on the iPad with ReelDirector, a bargain at $1.99.

If you want more advanced functionality iTouchMidi sell standalone interface apps which are a little pricey at $5.99 each, but they do allow more control and add functions like Velocity (by hitting the top of the keys for a louder sound) and Program/Bank changing in iTM Keys for example.

Let us know what you think and if you try out iTM MidiLab yourself. We would be interested to know if your experience was similar to ours, especially with the low latency.

Friday Fun: First Ever iPad-only StudioTrack Made Song

  

Spanish band Jubilee (MySpace link with lots of Flash on the page) have made this very nice looking video to show how they recorded their song 'The Preacher' using just their iPads, the built-in microphone and recording-studio-in-a-box app StudioTrack from Sonoma Wire Works.

It is a lovely song and very impressive sounding given the way it was recorded, so we thought we would share it with you before we go off into the weekend.

We will be posting our thoughts on StudioTrack very soon so if you have used StudioTrack on your iPad and want to let us know what you thought, either email us using the link to the right of your screen or leave a comment below. We may even use your comment in the review when we post it next week.