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Entries in musicians (22)

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.

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.

Tune-in Tuesday: AmpKit Special

In honour of the AmpKit Retina graphics update we mentioned earlier today and the limited time 50% off AmpKit+, we thought it would be fun to find a few tracks on SoundCloud that have been made with AmpKit. Hopefully it will give you an idea of some of the sounds you can re-create in Agile Partners' authentic sounding amp sim.

AmpKit comes with SoundCloud export built right in to the app so it is very quick and easy to share your riff, chorus or even whole song idea with the world. It is also possible to import a backing track or drum loop and play over it in AmpKit, or you can use one of the provided loops complete with bass and rhythm guitars.

There isn't any punch-in type of recording in AmpKit itself though, so you often end up with imperfect one-off takes or maybe the third, fourth, fifth (you get the idea) attempt being shared to SoundCloud.

With that in mind, we have selected three different samples that demonstrate just a few of the many different types of sound you can get from AmpKit.

'Ready Set Jam' by TheRedDash

"Messing around with some Drum back tracking" is how this track is described by Dash from New York, but it features the rich, well sustained Rock sound that you can conjure up in AmpKit without too much effort and reliably every time. We liked the tight, compressed rhythm style at the start too.

'Duckie Dux' by toño châvez

A tongue-in-cheek title for this track but toño demonstrates very nicely the auto-wah pedal sound here, which is actually quite difficult to get right in our experience.

'Strat Your Stuff' by shred_777

We have featured Timothy Khalil's (a.k.a. shred_777) work once before, but we liked the funky Blues sound of this track a lot and it provides us with a sample of the Stevie Ray type of tone that makes us so happy. Nice one Timothy!

Just three short samples of the sounds you can create with AmpKit on your iOS device.

Good enough for a Commerical album

Of course, if you want to take it to the ultimate level and incorporate AmpKit as your main guitar amplification for commercial productions, you can do that too, as perfectly demonstrated by One Like Son in our bonus track below. To find out more about their album made entirely on an iPhone 3GS be sure to read our post.

Over to you

We hope you enjoyed listening to our AmpKit made picks this week, but as always, we want to hear from you too whatever iOS app you use. If you have your own iOS created sounds (preferably with the iPad, but not essential) here's how you can get them to us:

  • Join our iPad Creative SoundCloud group then click on the 'Share a Track' button on the group page
  • If you're on a computer, click 'Send us your sounds' at top of the sidebar --->
  • Leave us a link to your track on SoundCloud in the comments below

We're looking forward to hearing you soon.

Figure for iOS - Coming Soon from Propellerhead for $1

Propellerhead logo 500px

 

Get your musical creative juices flowing for minimal outlay with new 'Figure' app from the venerable Propellerhead Software.

Digital sound sketching

Figure has been designed to work as a digital sketchpad for your basic beat ideas while you are away from your usual desktop, maybe riding to work on the bus or train, taking a break from other tasks, in the office at lunchtime, etc.

Figure looks like a surprisingly powerful creation tool from what we have seen so far.

Reason to be joyful

Existing Reason users (as well as users of other digital audio creation software) will love Figure's ability to quickly shape new Drum, Bass and Lead/Melody ideas. There is also the opportunity to add some parameter "tweaks" that can usher in a reasonable amount of complexity to the patterns they create.

The Developers see this as a platform they can add functionality to later, so we can expect more from this app in the future.

Sonic State's video demo

Here is a fairly comprehensive demo filmed by SonicState at Musikmesse a few days ago, which will give you the best idea of what to expect from Figure. Watch out for the very nice X/Y touchpad feature at around 4:55.

Export?

We haven't seen any info on exporting the recorded sounds from Figure yet once you are back at your desktop, neither in this video or the in presentation from Propellerhead at Musikmesse (link to around 8 mins in, when Figure is demoed).

Hopefully there will be some sort of export option to make Figure really useable, otherwise it may just be limited to a toy for messing around on.

Figure should be out very soon at the great price of $1/69p and we're really looking forward to getting our mitts on it.

What do you think? How useful will you find this "little slice of Reason" on your iOS device?

Tune-in Tuesday: New iOS Made Music Picks

Here's this week's hand picked tracks from that creative bunch over at SoundCloud. After last week's fairly chilled picks we thought a slightly more uptempo selection would be in order, so here we go:

'Electric Box' by Future Grey

Crafted by San Francisco based Future Grey, we agree with what some of the commenters have said, this has a Bowie feel about it at times which is, of course, no bad thing at all.

We like this track a lot and we are sorry we haven't featured Future Grey's music before now as he has been a part of our SoundCloud group since we started it a few months ago.

'interrupción-de-cuenta-a-cero' by heidellberg

Built on a chunky guitar riff foundation, this track by Heidelberg from Argentina picks up nicely about half way through when the fittingly distorted and spacey vocals kick in. Great Indie stuff.

'Time Lord Bangin'' by GMAN GROOVES

We just enjoyed listening to this track so much that we had to share it with you. These nasty sounding beats were made with Korg's iELECTRIBE (Gorillaz edition) by GMAN GROOVES from Mexico and we like it a lot. 

Over to you 

We always want to hear your iOS created sounds, so here's how you can get them to us:

  • Join our iPad Creative SoundCloud group then click on the 'Share a Track' button on the group page  
  • If you're on a computer, click 'Send us your sounds' at top of the sidebar ---> 
  • Leave us a link to your track on SoundCloud in the comments below

We're looking forward to hearing you soon.

Tune-in Tuesday: Music Made on an iPad

It's that time again (where did that week go?) when we rummage around SoundCloud and pick three tracks that tickled our ears for one reason or another.

This week we've heard from a few iPad musicians on Twitter and had a number of additions to the iPad Creative SoundCloud group, which we are very happy about, thank you.

We are always on the lookout for more iOS made music so be sure to let us know if you come across anything you think we would like. As a quick reminder, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and, of course, SoundCloud.

So here is this week's trio:

'Mr Brightside Electronic Love Song' by Michaelw

We LOVE this track because it is so interesting and different, plus we are big fans of Vocoders (it's a by-product of growing up in the 80's). Michael Wadlow from Wales here in the UK got his daughter to speak the lyrics from The Killers' Mr Brightside song to make this haunting, beautiful and mysterious track.

He used SynthTronica and SoundTrend's studio.HD to come up with something quite different to his other tracks on SoundCloud. Headphones will help this one sound so much more hypnotic.

'Battle Within' by freesoulsound

We had trouble selecting any one track from freesoulsound (a.k.a. Gerren Grant from Sacramento, California) because he covers so many different styles. We chose this one because we liked the unsettling and experimental feel of the track (and we love Animoog ).

But if you're in the mood for jumping around or maybe just nodding your head a bit more, check out the rest of freesoulsound's tracks on SoundCloud, and try not to get too distracted by the slightly saucy artwork.

'Mélopée' by nOtrO

Keeping on the ambient / minimalist theme (don't worry we've got some great uptempo tracks lined up for next week) here's a track by nOtrO (a.k.a. Sylvian Berthu from France).

Mélopée was created entirely in NanoStudio on Sylvian's iPad, and it builds to a solid rhythm that is quite entrancing.

You're Up

We hope you liked chilling out a little bit with our picks this week, but as always, we want to hear from you and your iOS created sounds, here's how you can get them to us:

  • Join our iPad Creative SoundCloud group then click on the 'Share a Track' button on the group page
  • If you're on a computer, click 'Send us your sounds' at top of the sidebar --->
  • Leave us a link to your track on SoundCloud in the comments below

We're looking forward to hearing you soon.

AmpDock We Think We Love You!

It is probably very wrong to get so excited about an iPad accessory before we have even seen it, but we felt the same way about the iO Dock from Alesis and their new AmpDock, designed specifically for guitar and bass players, has got us in a stupor again.

Basically a slightly cut down version of their iO Dock, Alesis have made the AmpDock more robust for live use. AmpDock features an enclosing cover on the fourth side so that you iPad isn't exposed on the top edge, as it was on the iO Dock.

There's also a handy little kickstand on the back to angle the AmpDock when it is sat on top of your amp and to allow clearance of the amp's handle. If you have ever tried balancing your iPad on top of your amp you'll know how useful and reassuring this feature will be.

But the main thing that got us excited was the inclusion of a pedalboard controller in the $299 price!

This is a great boon and means that, for the iPad-owning musician, AmpDock is ready to rock (or not, depending on your guitar style) out of the box without any further expenditure.

More details and specs below, after the teaser video from Alesis:

AmpDock Key Features

  • The first professional guitar processor to use your iPad or iPad 2 for signal processing
  • Works with GarageBand, AmpliTube, JamUp, and virtually any audio or CoreMIDI app
  • Includes a rugged pedalboard controller with program, effect, bypass, volume and continuous controls
  • Guitar Input 1 and switchable Mic/Line/Guitar Input 2; professional outputs, and MIDI jacks
  • Kickstand allows for stable positioning on top of guitar amps
  • Hinged door completely encloses and secures your iPad
  • Mountable to a mic stand using the Alesis Module Mount (sold separately)
  • 1/4" high-impedance guitar input and combo input for microphone, second guitar, or another instrument
  • 1/4" outputs with Guitar/Line impedance switch
  • Stereo auxiliary outputs for connection to external effects
  • Two assignable endless knobs to control parameters in compatible apps
  • Analog Input 1, Input 2, Main, and Headphone volume controls
  • MIDI input and outputs and USB MIDI jack for use with other controllers and MIDI software or hardware

AmpDock Specs:

  • (1) - High Impedance Guitar Input
  • (1) - XLR/ 1/4" Combo Jack for switchable for Guitar, Line Level, and Phantom Power
  • (2) - 1/4" unbalanced Auxiliary Outputs
  • (2) - 1/4" balanced Outputs
  • (1) - 1/4" Stereo Headphone Output
  • Ground Lift Switch
  • Class Compliant USB 1.1 and 5-pin DIN MIDI I/O
  • True Bypass

Tune-in Tuesday Special: One Like Son - 'Start the Show' Album Released Today

We've got something special for you in this week's pick of iOS created music. We mentioned last week One Like Son's upcoming third album, this one recorded entirely on an iPhone using iOS apps. Today the album is officially released and we were fortunate enough to be included in a pre-release listen.

What did we think? Gobsmackingly good! Really. We cannot believe that this album was entirely recorded and mastered on an iPhone. We've not heard anything better so far!

Take a listen for yourself, go and order the album (we did), or click on the 'Buy all' button in the playlist below, then take a look at some of the details we have included from the press release about the album:

Here's more detail from the press release about the apps used in making the album: 

Using the GuitarJack and AmpKit LiNK hardware interface and apps such as AmpKit, FourTrack, Multitrack DAW, Pocket Organ, Moog’s Filtatron, ThumbJam and even Apple’s Garageband, the group produced an authentic rock record. Where most music composed on the iphone or ipad sounds like digital music, this record sounds like a live rock and roll band. 

Here's a quote we definitely agree with from Sonoma Wire Works' Daniel Codella [bold text ours]:

One Like Son have produced a full blown rock record on the iPhone that sounds like it was recorded using thousands of dollars’ worth of gear. One Like Son have really set the bar for what can be done with an inexpensive mobile recording setup. Bravo!"

And this from Hamilton Feltman of Harmonic Dog [bold text ours]:

“One Like Son has gone off the deep end and produced an entire rock album, on a phone, and it sounds… amazing! The quality is outstanding, the production, superb. Five years ago, who would have guessed this would happen. On. a. phone.

If you haven't listened to the album yet, do yourself a favour and give it a listen now (above) and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

Is Griffin Making a Move on Alesis with StudioConnect?

As you probably know already, Griffin Technology have announced a range of products at CES, many of them aimed at iOS devices. The iPad gets some special attention in the form of the StudioConnect.

What is it?

The StudioConnect basically incorporates Griffin's MIDI connect (coming soon) and Guitar Connect Pro, both available as separate input devices, into a charging dock with some audio outputs.

StudioConnect Front Sml

StudioConnect compared to the iO Dock

Initially it looks like the StudioConnect is moving in on the iO Dock's territory, and it is, a little bit. But if anything, the StudioConnect is a cut down version and seems aimed more at the consumer level audience rather than Alesis' Pro-musician aspirations with their iO Dock.

Although it doesn't offer the outer case protection of the iO Dock, or quite the same range of in/outs that the Alesis' device does, Griffin's StudioConnect is nearly $50 cheaper on the RRP. The street price will be the key thing of course, because we have seen the iO Dock for only $159.99 on Amazon.

The differences

What's missing on the StudioConnect may be the clincher for the more ambitious musician: XLR inputs, extra unbalanced and balanced ¼" inputs, phantom mic power and USB.

In addition, the iO Dock has video out (although we are not sure how much that is being used) and another ¼" input for a footswitch or controller.

StudioConnect Back Sml

How good the StudioConnect sounds remains to be seen and we will be closely watching the reviews when they come out later this year, but for the more casual musician, or those who don't need all the extra inputs, the StudioConnect's lower price tag could attract a lot of attention.

The StudioConnect is scheduled for release in 'Spring' this year, but until then, here's the specs from Griffin's press release. We have included the iO Dock's specs below so you can make a comparison:

Audio In and Out 

  • Audio In – Complete with its own gain control. Plug in your instrument through a mono 1/4" jack or plug a mixer into StudioConnect’s stereo 3.5mm jack.
  • Audio Out – Left and right line-­‐level RCA plugs. Also a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with its own volume knob helps monitor what's going in and out.

MIDI in and out is equally straightforward: 

  • MIDI In – Connect your MIDI controller through a standard 5-­‐pin DIN MIDI-­‐in port.
  • MIDI Out – A second 5-­‐pin DIN connector accepts a sequencer, sound module or other MIDI gear, allowing your iPad and favorite MIDI apps to act as a MIDI controller.

Alesis iO Dock Specs:

AUDIO INPUTS

  • 2 x XLR-1/4" Balanced TRS
  • Individual gain controls
  • Phantom power, switchable
  • Guitar (high-impedance) switch on Input 2 

INPUT SENSITIVITY

  • Balanced XLR Mic
    • Max -45 dBV
    • Min -3 dBV
  • Balanced 1/4“ TRS Mic/Line
    • Max -27 dBV
    • Min +16 dBV
  • Un-Balanced 1/4” TS Mic/Lin
    • Max -27 dBV
    • Min +16 dBV
  • Un-Balanced 1/4” TS Guitar
    • Max -38 dBV
    • Min +4.5 dBV

AUDIO OUTPUTS

  • 2 x 1/4" Balanced TRS Main
  • 1/4" TRS Headphone
  • Individual level controls

VIDEO OUTPUT

  • RCA Composite (requires compatible apps)

CONTROL I/O

  • MIDI In (DIN)
  • MIDI Out (DIN)
  • USB MIDI
  • 1/4" Footswitch (function assigned by apps)

What do you think? Does Griffin's StudioConnect tempt you? Or are you willing to spend a bit more for Alesis' iO Dock? Let us know in the comments.

Tune-in Tuesday: More iOS Made Music

Here's this weeks trio of tracks from our trawl around the SoundCloud universe, all made on or with iOS apps and devices.

Unstoppable by janogarcia

This track was arranged and recorded in GarageBand for iPad by Jano García from Spain. We love hearing what people are doing with GarageBand and this slice of brassy Electronica is a great example, we especially like the way it builds up towards the end of the first minute and into the rest of the track.

Bad Fun - 2AM by Bad Fun

Mike from San Jose in California created our second helping of Electronica, this time made entirely with Korg's iMS-20 app, a solid piece Synth Pop.

Randgrid Redux by Jim Straynge

Tagged as 'Industrial Techno' on SoundCloud, this short track by Jim Straynge from Washington, was made with the Randgrid iPad app (which we hadn't heard about before) and JamUp Pro on iPad for the guitar parts. There is something dark about it we like.

We want to hear your sounds

If you have already joined the SoundCloud community you can submit your tracks to our iPad Creative group, from a computer by clicking on the 'Send us your sounds' link on the right of the screen, or on the SoundCloud group page you can click on the 'Share a Track' button. There are also a whole host of apps that can upload to SoundCloud directly. Finally, if none of that works, just leave us a link in the comments below.

However you get them to us, we can't wait to hear your sounds!