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Entries in music (38)

Video: Dutch Band 'Rigby' Play New Single Live On Just Their iPads

It may not feel and respond like a real guitar, or bass, or drum kit or other instrument, but with the right app the iPad can sound like one if you play it well enough.

This is ably demonstrated in the video above by Dutch band Rigby, who you can see performing their new (Aha like) single 'One Life To The Next' [iTunes Music Store link] live on Vara, a National Dutch media network.

Instead of their usual instruments, the band travelled light with just their iPads, plugged into the radio station's sound board and they were ready to go.

We were very impressed with the result, what do you think?

App spotting will be rewarded with our deep respect. Leave a comment and tell us which apps you can see in the video.

Steve Jobs / Apple Tribute by Ellen Once Again

Our friends over at the excellent Music Apps blog in Brazil alerted us to this new video by (iPad) Musician and allround Superstar Ellen.

Covering songs used in Apple's adverts, it is a personal tribute to both Apple and Steve Jobs, created and recorded entirely on the iPad and shot with an iPhone 4. Ellen does it Once Again!

Be sure to check out Ellen's post for more on how she made the track and what apps she used.

iRig Midi Promises New Kinds of iOS Awesomeness

IK Multimedia are at it again, throwing their considerable weight behind the iOS device platform as a viable tool for Musicians and Music Producers.

iRig Midi looks awesome, just watch the video below! More soon...

Stereolizer - Let's Radio like it's 1984

One of my abiding memories of growing up is my Dad's Hi-Fi systems. One of them was a big, chrome, all-in-one unit with a tuner, twin tape deck, lots of buttons and orange backlit EV meters. I used to sit staring at those EV meters bouncing back and forth whilst trying to tape record the Sunday night Top 40 show here in the UK. It was great fun trying to pause the tape just before the DJ started talking again in between songs.

So when I saw the new app Stereolizer by French developers Lesmobilizers (French language site) I was immediately taken down nostalgia lane. As you can see from the screenshot below, they have taken great care in recreating the look of the old 80's Hi-Fi.

Channels

Stereolizer is like a lot of other iOS apps that allow you to 'tune-in' to numerous Internet radio streams, in this case over 10,000 of them, although this one has been designed exclusively for iPad.

You see the stations in an alphabetical list but you are also able to search through them or Sort by Country.

Each station can be previewed from this list, useful to audition the station if you are not entirely familiar with it.

You can use one of the 30 (3 sets of 10) Presets to save your favourite stations but you can't choose which of the 3 banks of Presets you save to.

Not the end of the world, but as I suggested to Lesmobilizers, it would be useful to have all my Rock Channels, Jazz/Classical, etc. grouped together. They said they would consider it for a future version, so you never know.

Controls 

The controls, such as the Preset buttons, Tape transport and Power buttons all make a satisfying clunk when used, very evocative of the real thing.

The Treble and Bass controls are just for show, sadly, but it would be great if they did shape the sound. The volume button works though and is independent of the system volume, so you have a dual-level volume control.

There are also Blue backlit EV meters which bounce around a lot when something is being played or recorded but I don't think they are actually responding to the audio. It all adds to the retro feel of the app though.

Tape Recorder

The animated tape recorder is brilliant. It allows you to 'tape' whatever you are listening to at the time, for as long as you have space available, so you can record whole shows, interviews, etc. It looks exactly like the real thing as it spins during recording and playback, even down to the handwritten font used for writing the name of your recording on the front of the tape. I found myself repeatedly pressing the eject button to replay the eye candy tape eject effect.

When you do press Eject you are brought to a list of recordings from where you can play, rename, reorder or delete each one. Once you start playing a track, it continues on to the next one automatically so you could use this as a playlist of sorts.

As an added bonus, you can also record from the iPad microphone or compatible external microphone, for example the iPhone headset mic worked fine, if a little thin sounding. There is even an animated headphone plug that is inserted into the 'Phones' jack when you plug in your headset which is a nice touch.

Stereolizer headphone jack animation capture

Social Sharing

There is the ability built-in to share what you are listening to on Twitter or Facebook, but unfortunately this bit lets the app down. When I tested these it posts the radio station being listened to Ok (no song info, which is probably not available on the streams anyway). But you cannot edit the tweet before it goes and the tweet was in the French language. Facebook wasn't in French but not phrased how I would have posted it, and it is heavily dressed with links to the app, which was a bit much I thought.

Overall

Although the retro styling is a little gimmicky, it is also a fun way to wrap up a very good, internet radio listening app. You can use the app in the background to listen to your radio whilst browsing the net, Twitter, reading a book or whatever and you can use it as a voice recorder, something which the iPad (unlike the iPhone) does not have by default.

If, like me, you sometimes work at a desk with your iPad docked next to you, it is great fun to leave Stereolizer running for some 80s Hi-Fi on your desktop.

At $1.99 (£1.19) in the app store Stereolizer is a recommended app and a wonderful trip down memory lane, or even a history lesson for those of you not as aged as us. Be sure to check out the video below for an overview of the app in action:

A Little Monday Inspiration from our Readers

It is Monday again and for many of us it is back to the 'day job' after a weekend of playing around and trying something creative with our iPads.

To keep your inspiration going and to maybe spark a bit of creativity on this the furthest day away from the weekend, we would like to offer a few videos from our readers who have shared their iOS device creations with us recently - we hope you enjoy them.

Plastic Man by Paul Kercal

First up, Paul Kercal's Plastic Man sketch which we liked a lot. Paul created this with the Brushes app on his iPod Touch (but he is also prolific on his iPad too) whilst on the Bus, at home and wherever he happened to be, showing off the versatile and portable nature of the multitouch interface as a drawing canvas.

We would encourage you to check out more of Paul's work on Flickr and you can also follow him on Twitter.

Fender AmpliTube Recording by Michael Coffman

Michael recorded this whole track on his iPad using the new AmpliTube Fender for iPad and the in-app upgrade 8 track recorder. Drums were audio copy/pasted from InstantDrummer Heartbreaker. It has a great Bluesy vibe which we liked a lot.

 

Michael has more of his musical creations over on his SoundCloud channel and you can also follow Michael on Twitter.

There you go, we hope this gets your creative thoughts going for today, even if you do have to wait until you get home to try them out.

If you have anything you want to share with us let us know on Twitter or on our Facebook page or you can email us using the link at the top right. We would love to see what creative things you are up to with your iOS devices.

Teach Little Ones To Play Piano on the iPad

Fancy giving your toddler a head start on their musical creativity? Juno's Piano aims to make teaching the piano to your little ones a fun and easy process. We take a quick look at the app and let you know if you should buy it.

Here in the UK, the Juno Baby brand isn't that well known, so I had no idea who Juno was when I first saw this app, despite having 3 and 5 year old kids.

The price of the app though and a desire to cultivate any musical creativity our young software testers may have, makes this a no-brainer. For $0.99 (59p) you can't go wrong with this app which children are sure to love.

How the app works

There are three ways to use Juno's Piano, or modes of play:

  1. Learn a Song
    Learn to play one of three Juno songs by following the keys pressed Juno jumps on to - a bit like the Simon game - but helped by the notes being highlighted in Pink one after the other during their go so they don't have to remember the sequence
  2. Play Together
    You play some notes and your little one plays them after - similar to above but you choose the notes
  3. Free Play
    As the name suggests, they can bang away at the keys while Juno dances and spins above the keyboard

At any time you can go back to the Home screen and jump into another mode. The app is fast and responsive, including playing notes on the keyboard (although one at a time, not polyphonic).

What the kids thought?

Even though they had never seen Juno before, the iPC kids loved seeing her jump around and talk them when they pressed the right keys whilst learning a song. It probably would have helped if they were familiar with the songs so that they could hear themselves playing something they knew.

There is a clever marketing trick here, because now they want to see more of Juno's world, I am saved only by the fact that the Juno stuff isn't currently easy to get hold of here in the UK. Having said that, the philosophy behind education through and by music is something we wholeheartedly support and for every Juno product purchased a music education DVD is given to children in need under their One for All program.

Things we liked

  • Constant encouragement from the Juno character and animated actions keeps children's attention
  • Pace of play is set by the child, they follow as quickly or slowly as they need to
  • Colourful design and graphics
  • Non-academic and fun way to learn
  • Price! Just $0.99 (59p)

Suggested improvements

  • The choice of songs in Juno's piano are limited to just three and likely familiar only to those who already know the Juno brand, more songs and perhaps better known ones would be appreciated
  • Keyboard is not polyphonic (not a major issue given the app's goals, but it would be nice to play more than one note at a time)
  • You can't turn Juno's voice over off on the Home menu or when first entering the modes, she says the same thing every time which can get a bit annoying, for the adults anyway. It would be good if we could tap on Juno to mute her momentarily or have a voiceover on/off button.

It feels a bit like nitpicking to be honest finding fault with an app this cute and inexpensive with such a great educational value, so we recommend you go and get this app if you have little ones. Our kids certainly enjoyed it and for fans of Juno Baby and now Juno Jr. it is probably a must have.

Win 1 of 5 Free Copies of 'The History of Jazz'

We let you know how great we thought The History of Jazz iPad app is in our review a few days ago, you should really check it out if you haven't already. We're sure you will want a copy of this $9.99 app when you see the review and the promo video.

Now the, lovely people at 955 Dreams have given you, as a valued iPad Creative reader, a chance to win one of five free copies of the app.

Here's how you can win:

1) Follow us on Twitter (you can, of course, skip this step if you already follow us).  You have to be following us so that we can DM you if you win.  Plus we post loads of cool stuff on Twitter that we don't cover here on the blog so we promise to try and make it worth your while.

2) Click on this link to be taken to your Twitter page and tweet the message exactly as it appears before 1855 GMT on Friday 18th February 2011 (click this link to see this time in your Time Zone). Mutliple entries will be accepted but please do not spam your followers!

We will randomly select five winners from those who have tweeted the exact message as per Step 2 above. We will let the winners know their promo code via DM as soon as we can after the closing date.

Friday Fun: Ellen Hinton Does it Again

Ellen Hinton (aka EllenOnceAgain) has created a new iPad based song and iPhone video showing off her incredible musical talent and creativity.

A few weeks ago we let you know about her video featuring music played on an iPad, and video recorded on an iPhone 4. Now Ellen has released the new video above, a fantastic sounding retro mashup of Bruno Mars “Marry You” and Train’s “Marry Me".

To find out more about the super-talented Ellen and her music be sure to check out her site, where you can find out about the apps she used to create this song.

Congratulations Ellen on this one, we love it!

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.

iPad Used to Record Cover of a Classic Song

How about this then? Probably one of the most technically proficient iPad recorded songs we have ever featured, this Stairway to Heaven cover, played on the iPhone and recorded entirely on an iPad using Multitrack DAW, shows what can be done exclusively on iOS devices with some careful planning and probably quite a bit of musical talent.

YouTube user InrockK played this cover version with GuitarStudio and iShred from Frontier Design Group (thanks for the heads-up guys) and iGOG (Drums), with further instruments played via ThumbJam.

The interesting thing here is that InrockK has used a Behringer USB audio interface connected to the iPad dock connector via the CCK rather than going via the headphone socket with something like iRig or Ampkit Link. 

The result, although a little muzak sounding, is an impressive display of the iOS devices' potential to create and record music independently. It has also made us think again about Multitrack DAW which, amongst many other features, has waveform editing and a paid upgrade to 24 stereo tracks for recording!

What do you think? Tried anything similar yourself? Let us know in the comments.