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Saturday, April 19, 2014

LineShark – The Audio Interface

Posted by Mikers On March - 21 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Saw this posted on Kickstarter recently and think it’s a great new piece of gear that hopefully sees the light of day.  Basically it’s a ‘go anyway, plug in anything’ type audio interface for iOS and Android devices.  Here’s a brief outline from the creators -

2b1bd2f476fcd2985e7d50cff6ba169b_largeThe LineShark enables musicians to bring performances to life by adding the creativity and power of mobile devices to their live setup. As musicians ourselves, we’re always looking for new ways to create music. We started exploring the music apps that are available for smartphones and tablets, but we couldn’t find an all-in-one interface for those devices that fit our love for performing on stage. We know musicians need something different on stage than they do in the studio, and there wasn’t an interface that was built with performers in mind.

Check the full details on the Kickstarter page, and if you can afford it, donate, as they are still well short of their target as of today.

 

iTrack Dock unveiled

Posted by Mikers On January - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

It’s not even NAMM, and the cool gear we can expect to see on store shelves over the coming months are surfacing like this new iPad audio interface from Focusrite.

758474Focusrite announces a revolution in iPad recording with the introduction of iTrack Dock – the complete music recording solution for iPad. iTrack Dock is a comprehensive studio-quality Lightning iPad recording interface, featuring dual legendary Focusrite microphone preamps plus two line inputs and an instrument DI, independent stereo monitor and headphone outputs, and a USB port for class-compliant MIDI instruments and controllers. iTrack Dock provides everything required to record, monitor and control music on Lightning iPad – with precision Focusrite digital conversion at up to 24-bit, 96kHz sampling. It even charges and powers the iPad at the same time.

Key Features

  • The Focusrite recording dock for your iPad: Sleek Focusrite industrial design provides the perfect platform to dock, charge and record music with the new generation of iPads – iPad(4th Gen) / iPad Air / iPad mini / iPad mini with retina display

  • Record and monitor at superior resolution: iTrack Dock is the best sounding iPad-based workstation, featuring premium Focusrite A-D/D-A conversion with over 105dB dynamic range, operating at up to 24bit, 96kHz sample rates.

  • Legendary Focusrite mic preamps: Two Focusrite mic pres, as featured in the Scarlett range of USB audio interfaces, include 48V Phantom power for use with condenser microphones. iTrack Dock also features Focusrite’s unique “Gain Halos” – a ring of light around the input gain control – to easily set the input gain: green for healthy signal, red if it’s too hot.

  • Dedicated maximum headroom guitar DI: iTrack Dock provides a guitar input with plenty of clean, clear headroom to capture both quiet and loud guitars with stunning clarity.

  • USB MIDI port connects and powers a MIDI controller: USB MIDI port for class compliant MIDI controller connectivity (MIDI + power) – perfect for connecting a Novation Launchkey or Launchkey Mini.

  • Works with any Core Audio app: From GarageBand to Cubasis, Auria and beyond, iTrack Dock expands the functionality of any Core Audio application – and with its built-in Core Audio driver there’s no setup required.

  • High quality outputs with over 105dB dynamic range: Balanced main monitor outputs plus a stereo headphone output, with more than enough power for headphones and powered monitor speakers.

  • Latency-free direct monitoring: iTrack Dock’s direct monitoring sends your input signal straight to the headphone and main monitor outputs for perfect timing.

  • Stereo line inputs: Connect synths, drum machines, CD players and more with balanced stereo line in.

  • Versatile recording app included: Includes the Tape by Focusrite app for iPad, which offers instant recording, mastering and sharing without the complexities of traditional music-making software.

For a full rundown on the features, click here - http://uk.focusrite.com/ipad-audio-interfaces/itrack-dock

 

IK Multimedia announces iRing

Posted by Mikers On January - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

IK Multimedia, a global technology company and leader in mobile music-creation apps and accessories for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, today announced a new technological breakthrough in mobile music making and app control:iRing™, the first motion-tracking controller for iOS music apps and more. Now musicians and others can control sound effects and other parameters of their favorite apps, in real time, using hand position, freeing them from needing to touch the screen.

iRing utilizes a wearable ring with identifiable markers, the mobile device’s front-facing camera, and advanced computer vision with highly-optimized recognition algorithms built into an app, to determine the precise positioning of the ring markers, tracking their movements and position on the 3-dimensional space in front of the device. This system provides a low-cost solution and a motion-tracking device that is accurate and affordable to anyone.

The iRing controller is a lightweight, double-sided ring that the user wears between two fingers, comfortable enough to be worn while operating musical instruments or other traditional music controllers. Each ring features a linear dot pattern on one side and a triangular pattern on the other. The device camera picks up the positioning of the ring patterns and the apps convert that information into music commands for dedicated app or MIDI information, which any compatible music app can read. This means that a user can now operate up to six controllable music parameters in their preferred music apps with one or two hands gestures.

While there have been previous attempts to use a device camera to track hand positioning, they proved not to be reliable for real-world usage, due to the many variables involved in computer vision recognition and the available processing power of mobile devices. iRing solves these issues providing an accurate method for precision detection of hand position in a wide range of lighting conditions.

iRing includes two identical double-sided ring controllers, plus two free apps for music applications, which target everyone from music lovers to knowledgeable musicians: iRing Music Maker and iRing FX/Controller.

The iRing Music Maker app gives music lovers a new and incredibly fun way to create music and grooves using hand gestures, with no music knowledge required, whatsoever. Users simply launch the app and use the iRing controller to change the beats, control rhythmic elements, synth parts and effects, for hours and hours of quality entertainment. Creating music has never been so much fun!

The included iRing FX/Controller app targets skilled musicians and DJs, and converts the distance information from the rings into precise MIDI control information that can be configured by the user. This MIDI data can then be used by any compatible Core MIDI app running on the device, or even sent to a computer via Wi-Fi. Users can configure the app to control effects, filters, notes, patches and more.

The iRing FX/Controller app also doubles as a controllable audio effects processor with 16 powerful and creative effects including Delay, Stutter, Phazer, Flanger, Compression, Fuzzy, Reverb, AutoWah, Crush, Twist Up & Down, Brake, Spin and Tail. These effects can be creatively controlled by the iRing, and inserted into the device audio path for use with any music app that is Audiobus or Inter-App Audio compatible.

iRing technology will also be incorporated into core IK Multimedia apps such as GrooveMaker®, DJ Rig™, AmpliTube®, SampleTank®, VocaLive™ and more, so DJs, guitarists, vocalists, bass players, producers, keyboardists and engineers will have a new level of control to deliver powerful and unique performances.

For third-party developers that want to incorporate and implement iRing technology directly into their apps, IK is offering a free development kit and licensing program, which make it easy to take advantage of this new breakthrough technology. iRing can also be easily utilized beyond music for a wide variety of applications including gaming, health & fitness, utility and more. Developers can take advantage of the technology and improve the functionality of their apps by contacting IK via the link provided on the iRing product page.

iRing features:

  • Ring controller, in tandem with either of two included apps featuring advanced motion-tracking technology, allows remote control of iOS app and app parameters using hand gestures
  • Great for musicians and non-musicians alike
  • Includes two identical, two-pattern reversible rings, allowing for numerous control combinations and the control up to 6 effect parameters simultaneously with two hands
  • Rings are unique looking, light, comfortable and provide a universal fit
  • Included iRing Music Maker app allows novices to make music using hand gestures
  • Included iRing FX/Controller app lets musicians and DJs create custom MIDI control setups, plus add and control audio effects when used together with other music apps via Inter-App Audio or Audiobus

Pricing & Availability
iRing will cost $24.99/€19.99 (exc. taxes), and will be available in Q1 2014 in three colors (white, green and silver) at music and electronics retailers worldwide. Pre-orders are now available on the IK Multimedia online store and selected stores. iRing FX/Controller and iRing Music Maker apps will be available as free downloads from the App StoreSM.

For more information about iRing™ for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, please visit:

www.ikmultimedia.com/iring

Apogee Announces MiC 96k

Posted by Mikers On January - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

mic96k-gallery-06-lgApogee Electronics has introduced MiC 96k, a professional digital microphone for iPad, iPhone and Mac. A spokesperson told us, “You can use MiC 96k to record vocals, voice overs, acoustic guitar, piano, drums or anything in-between. Inspired by the most revered and classic microphones in history, MiC 96k is designed to sound amazing and be easy for anyone to use with their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac.”

Here’s more details direct from Apogee:

What’s new
Introduced in 2011, the original MiC has become the mobile microphone of choice for both aspiring and professional artists looking for that big-studio sound. The new MiC 96k, which features the same look and portable form factor as the original, now provides the ability to make higher fidelity recordings – up to 24-bit/96kHz – and includes an iOS Lighting cable as well as a microphone stand adapter in the box. Like its predecessor, MiC 96k also includes an iOS 30-pin cable, Mac USB cable, and table-top tripod stand.

MiC 96k Highlights

  • PureDIGITAL connection for pristine sound quality
  • Designed for voice and acoustic instrument recording
  • Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone
  • Up to 96kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital recording
  • Works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac
  • Includes iOS Lightning cable, iOS 30-pin cable, Mac USB cable
  • Simple setup, you can start recording in minutes
  • Apogee engineered microphone preamp with up to 40dB of gain
  • Control knob allows easy input level adjustment
  • Multicolor LED for status indication and input level monitoring
  • All metal construction
  • Microphone stand adapter included
  • No batteries or external power required
  • Compatible with GarageBand, Logic Pro and Pro Tools
  • Made in the U.S.A.

 

Pricing and Availability:
$229 USD. Now Shipping Worldwide

More information:

 

BT-2/BT-4 Bluetooth MIDI Foot Controllers

Posted by Mikers On January - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

YAN&YH_-_Pedal_2_copyPositive Grid, maker of the leading mobile guitar apps BIAS and JamUp, proudly announce the release of two amazingly robust, fully-programmable Bluetooth MIDI foot controllers with I/O features for iPhone, iPad and Mac: the BT-2 and BT-4 foot controllers. Guitarists, bassists, pianists, vocalists and music producers will now have hands-free control over their iOS and Mac apps using either a two- or four-button wireless foot controller designed to provide total freedom and reliable operation in any live performance, studio recording or rehearsal situation.

 

“Mobile devices have changed the landscape and brought new possibilities to many working musicians,” said Jaime Ruchman, Marketing Manager at Positive Grid, “and they’ve been asking for a foot controller that is extremely solid and easy to use and which provides a live-ready solution. The BT foot controllers are the answers for that.”

 

Hands-free solution

Users of JamUp, BIAS and virtually all other MIDI-supported apps will be able to switch any parameter in the way they need without connecting cables: Guitarists can change stomp box effects in real time, bassists can smoothly switch their volume, and vocalists can quickly turn sheet music on a screen. The BT foot controllers allow JamUp users to virtually stomp on JamUp’s live screen and switch between dozens of studio-grade amp and stompbox effects — all hands-free. They also allow them to control Jam Player’s iTunes song-playback functions, trigger various sampler recording and dubbing options, and even control the built-in metronome and tap out the tempo — all without the need to touch the device screen.

 

How it works

Positive Grid’s BT-2 and BT-4 foot controllers are MIDI foot controllers based on Bluetooth 4.0 technology. They allow users to assign MIDI messages to the controllers by using an iOS app that edits the assignments. Each and every MIDI-compatible iOS app supports a standard communication protocol that enables them to be controlled wirelessly. These apps can be from the Positive Grid family of products – JamUp XT and JamUp Pro XT — or any other MIDI-compatible app or desktop software such as GarageBand, OnSong, Auria and so forth. Both BT pedals can be expanded by adding an expression pedal or footswitch using a ¼-inch phone-type jack, allowing musicians to control rotary functions like whammy and wah effects, keyboard sustain, amp gain and volume, EQ and more.

 

Superior and unique design

The option of having two differently sized Bluetooth controllers allows musicians to choose between a 4-button controller set for full wireless performance when recording and performing or a convenient, ultra-portable 2-button controller set for backstage use and day-to-day rehearsing. Both controllers are designed to fit in a backpack or even a laptop bag, and with its solid metal structure — this is unique in this product category — both controllers will withstand any live performance demands even in the most extreme situations. Independent LEDs are also included for each of the controllers’ footswitches, making visual monitoring easily visible under any lighting conditions, including dark stages.

 

 

Technical specs

 

B2 two-button set                           B4 four-button set

  • Connection:                                       Bluetooth 4.0                                     Bluetooth 4.0
  • Buttons:                                               DPDT switch x 2                                DPDT switch x 4
  • Guitar input:                                      None                                                     ¼-inch phone type x 1
  • Output:                                                None                                                     L: mono ¼-inch phone type x 1
  • Headphone output:                        None                                                     R: stereo 1/8” phone type x 1
  • Expression pedal support:           ¼-inch phone type x 1                   ¼-inch phone type x 1
  • iOS audio connection:                    None                                                     1/8-inch phone type x 1
  • Battery:                                                AA battery x 2                                   AA battery x 2
  • Size:                                                       160 mm x 100 mm x 35 mm          280 mm x 100 mm x 37 mm
  • MIDI messages:                                Control Change                                 Control Change

Program Change                              Program Change

Bank Change                                   Bank Change

 

Positive Grid’s new Bluetooth foot controllers retail for $99.99 (BT-4 four-button set) and $79.99 (BT-2 two-button set) and will be available in Spring 2014.

For more details head here - http://www.positivegrid.com/bt4/

TotalMix FX for iPad

Posted by Mikers On December - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

screen480x480 (25)TotalMix FX for iPAD is RME’s Windows/Mac software TotalMix FX ported to iOS. It gives control over the mixer and effects unit TotalMix FX of the audio interface, when the supported device is in Class Compliant mode.

*** ATTENTION: This app works only with the RME audio interfaces Fireface UFX and UCX! Without these devices the app is useless! ***

*** This app works ONLY when these devices are in Class Compliant mode! ***

*** This app does NOT work wireless, and is NO replacement for typical remote software (like Lemur / TouchOSC)! ***

Please understand that we will deny refund requests as the usage applications and requirements of this app are clearly and completely given!

TotalMix FX for iPAD runs on any iPad and all iOS versions from 5.0 up, using only low resources. As under Windows and Mac OS X it does not process audio, but acts as remote control for the calculations performed in the hardware. The app is fully compatible even when storing/loading Workspaces. Except MIDI/OSC remote control it includes all features of the desktop version.

Using the Fireface UCX with the iPad, TotalMix for iPAD for the first time unlocks the device’s whole functionality, in a quick way, with full overview and lightning fast configuration.

For the Fireface UFX the whole functionality is included as well. Even DURec (Direct USB Recording) is fully usable and controllable from the iPad.

TotalMix for iPad benefits from the background audio functions in iOS. During ongoing recording and playback switch to TotalMix at any time, perform the desired settings or changes, then return to the audio app, where record/playback had not been interrupted.

The app includes an extensive help. Continuing information on TotalMix FX and the Class Compliant operation of both devices is found in the current manuals. These are available for download at http://www.rme-audio.de, section Download.

TotalMix FX for iPad (AppStore Link) TotalMix FX for iPad
Developer: RME GmbH
Rated: 4+
Price: $3.99 Download Here

Positive Grid Debuts JamUp Plug HD

Posted by Mikers On December - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

JamUp_Plug_HDPositive Grid, the creator of BIAS and JamUp Pro XT, announces the introduction of its JamUp Plug HD, a fantastic sounding, professional studio quality guitar and bass interface for use with recording and performance apps on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

“Mobile guitar players are becoming more and more sophisticated every day,” notes Positive Grid Product Manager Calvin Abel. “What started out as amp/effects emulator apps–mainly used to practice at home–have now evolved into a whole new generation of professional tools for working musicians on the go. For guitarists that are particular about their sound, tone and expression, our new JamUp Plug HD ensures that signals are converted with the utmost depth and dynamics as well as least noise.”

Perfect for rehearsing, performing and recording alike, the ultra-compact, pocket-sized device improves on Positive Grid’s preexisting JamUp Plug by offering a pristine 24-bit/48kHz USB digital audio solution. The improved resolution significantly enhances signal-to-noise ratio (98 dB RMS), completely eliminating any feedback issues and bringing the manufacturer’s JamUp and BIAS apps to their full potential.

Equipped with a 1/4-inch input jack and 1/8-inch output connector for headphones or powered speakers, the JamUp Plug HD also features an input level control and three-color LED for quick visual monitoring. A green LED indicates that the JamUp Plug HD is connected, ready and working with the software; orange means that the signal level has been optimized for the instrument; and red warns that the input level is too high.

JamUp and JamUp Pro XT users will discover rich, crystal clear tone when plugged into the JamUp Plug HD. But they’re not alone. The flexible interface was also designed for maximum compatibility with numerous other mobile processing and recording apps, including GarageBand, AmpliTube, AmpKit, Auria, Cubasis, Audiobus, Loopy and more.

With its highly responsive circuitry, Positive Grid’s new interface allows musicians to “crank it up” and be ready to rock on literally any current iOS device. Docking directly with the iPhone 4/4s, iPod Touch 4, and iPad 2/3 via its 30-pin connector, the JamUp Plug HD also supports newer iOS devices via Apple’s 30-pin to Lightning adapter.

Technical specs:
- 1/4-inch stereo phone jack
- 1/8-inch headphone jack
- 30-pin dock iOS device connection
- Works for Lightning interface via 30-pin to Lightning adaptor (not included)
- Maximum Input Level: up to 5 Vrms
- 500kΩ (mono), 1MΩ (stereo) input impedance
- 0.6Ω output impedance
- SNR: 98 dB RMS
- Distortion (THD): 0.005%
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz, +/- 0.2 dB
- Conversion: 24-bit A/D
- Sampling Rate: 44.1 and 48 kHz

For the latest detail and availability - http://www.positivegrid.com/jamup-plug-hd/

Acapela 16 Remote

Posted by Mikers On December - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

screen480x480 (13)This easy-to-use remote application allows for remote operation of the Phonic Acapela 16 digital mixer through a Wi-Fi connection. This can be done either in ad-hoc mode or through a wireless local area network (WLAN). Through the Acapela 16 Remote app, you can easily adjust input and output levels, auxiliary mixes, submixes, equalizers, dynamic processors and digital effects, without getting up from your chair.

While the Acapela 16 can work efficiently by itself in desktop control mode, this iPad application offers a new level of flexibility. Essentially your live setup can be controlled in any room within your WLAN range. Please consult the Acapela 16 user’s manual for connection and operation information.

For more details on this mixer head here - http://www.phonic.com/en/acapela-16.html

Acapela 16 Remote (AppStore Link) Acapela 16 Remote
Developer: Phonic Corp.
Rated: 4+
Price: Free Download Here

Fire sale with a difference :)

Posted by Mikers On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

A very special offer for FiRe users…

Was $199

$99 for two weeks only!

Must use promo code FIREIXY at checkout.

The iXY plugged into phone
iXY

STEREO MICROPHONE

for iPhone and iPad

Record up to 24-Bit / 96kHz*

New iPhones arrive for 2013

Posted by Mikers On November - 10 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Apple gave us not one, but two new iPhones this year, which is a first for the company. Both are successors to the iPhone 5, which is now no longer in production. And following Apple’s now familiar roadmap of product releases, 2013 is a ‘tween’ year, meaning these handsets are more of an evolution of the iPhone 5, than the completely revamped model we’ve now come to expect every 24 months.

I know both models have been out for a little while now, so I’ll just go over the main features briefly as a refresher.

HT_iphone_5C-colors_thg-130910_16x9_992To sum up the 5c, it is basically an iPhone 5 with only some minor hardware tweaks on the inside. The biggest change on the outside is the polycarbonate back of the handset which features soft edges, much akin to the old iPhone 3G design, which I actually really liked. This backing also comes in 5 different choices of colours, including green, blue, yellow, red and white. Again, black is not an option. And that’s about the most significant thing about this handset. It’s being priced slightly less than the 5s, and rightly so as it features hardware that is now over 12 months old, which is still obviously fine for the majority of users, however as developer begin harnessing the power of the new A7 processor in the iPhone 5s (and the new iPads), this handset might not be suitable for some uses, and one of those might be CPU intensive music apps.

So with that, it’s onto the 5c’s bigger brother. The iPhone 5s comes in 3 choices of colours. It’s the first time it has appeared in gold, and also the first time black has not been an colour option. The build is once again a combination of aluminum and glass, and this year’s model is virtually identical to its predecessor in dimensions and weight.

apple-iphone-5s-2The key new features include, improved front and back facing cameras plus better two tone flash, new motion sensor, faster RAM, more powerful CPU and GPU, and a finger print scanner integrated into the home button. It’s also worth noting that the antenna has been improved offering faster wireless capabilities.

On the hardware audio front, the device now has a total of 3 microphones. One on the front, the back, as well as the top. These are essentially aimed at improving call quality with better noise reduction options, however capturing sounds in the field with just the handset will benefit from these improvements.

The speakers also sound clear, thanks to the addition of a new magnetic transducer. Again this is mainly aimed at listening to incoming calls, but the speakers also feature noise-cancelling on the audio out signal, which helps clean up back ground sounds on the callers end.

One of the more interesting new audio features comes with the introduction of iOS 7, which launched alongside both handsets. So this is also technically available on older handsets that have been updated as well.

Inter-App Audio is a system level standard developed by Apple, which allows compatible music apps to share audio between them, in much the same way the app Audiobus does. In addition it also features MIDI control of audio rendering. The feature allows sound generating apps such as drums machines, synths, and music workstations to be feed into recording apps. Special audio effects can also be used in this way, so they can be assigned to the auxillary bus of a recording app. As the team at Audiobus has already stated, both apps offer some unique features the other doesn’t. Time will tell whether which one becomes the standard, but it’s great to see Apple acknowledging the popularity of music creation on its devices and putting the resources into creating the new feature.

While the new iPads will no doubt prove more popular with iOS musicians due to the extra screen real estate. iPhones remain more portable, and great for quickly and easily getting down ideas on the spot, anywhere, anytime.

The other significant feature of the new iPhone 5s, that is yet to be fully realised, is the power of the new 64bit A7 processor. Serving up double the power as the previous handset (and the iPhone 5c for that matter), this opens up some serious processing power for developers to utilise. While there aren’t any shining examples of where this has happened just yet, it is surely only a matter of time before some 64bit apps arrive in the App Store that showcase the power of the new A7 chip.

iphone_5s_colors_stacked_apple_16x9I realise it has now been 12 months since Apple introduced the new smaller I/O port on the bottom of its handsets and iPads, but this remains a sticking point for iOS musicians, due to the handful of the dedicated audio hardware and cables that have been released that still support the outdated 30 pin port. Yes, there are adaptors available, but it’s annoying the hardware makers have been slow to support this new port.

In end, I don’t think anyone buys an iPhone purely as a music making device, besides it has far too many other useful functions. However, this year’s two new handsets from Apple are worthy successors, in their own right, and combined with the updated iOS, offer plenty for iOS musicians to be happy about.  It’s a case of watching this space now to see just what developers do with the new found power and operating system features.

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