Musical instrument giant Yamaha will acquire 100% of Steinberg GmbH, including Steinberg USA, in a closed competitive bidding deal announced yesterday. Steinberg is developer of software products like Cubase and Nuendo. The purchase isn't a surprise: Steinberg and Yamaha collaborated on integrating Yamaha gear with Steinberg software via Studio Connections, integration that's likely to deepen under this deal, and many observers expected Pinnacle to sell Steinberg, which it acquired in January 2003. (click 'read more' for analysis)
Apple's Airport Express is about to become a must-have. Rogue Amoeba's Slipstream Mac OS X application will let you use any Mac application with the Airport, not just iTunes. Pick an application source, choose the Airport you want to send to, and you've got instant audio streaming over Wi-Fi. The application is coming in early 2005 for US$25, with an initial price of $20. (Screenshot shown is preliminary.) The product hasn't been announced to the press yet, but Rogue did send an announcement yesterday to its user list.
Sometimes the best interface for music is no interface at all. The international S.S.S. trio (Sensors Sonics Sights) has adopted three different gestural interfaces for their work: ultrasound, traditional Theremin, and EMG electrical 'bio-signals' that measure muscle contractions. None of these are unique in themselves, but seeing the visual artist, Theremin virtuoso, and electronic music inventor making arm motions together onstage is entertaining. It's incredible to consider: the Theremin was invented in 1919, but in 2004, with all the technology we have, there's still novelty to someone magically waving their arms and producing sound. (First seen on networked_performance)
Okay, it's a stretch. Despite its name, the Wetronome covered yesterday by Gizmodo is intended for pacing strokes in swimming, not music. But given the innovations in portable music covered here alone, why couldn't your next instrument be — waterproof? The Wetronome is a model of aquatic design, completely sealed and programmed with a magnetic wand. If your cello weren't water soluble, you could be practicing in the waves right now. Don't let me down, technology inventors out there. I know you're up to the task.
Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack has a new rival for recording audio from any Mac app: Ambrosia has announced its new audio recording utility WireTap Pro (US$19). WireTap Pro boasts a one-button interface, direct AIFF, MP3, and AAC recording support, iCal integration for scheduled recording of radio, and even sharing of recording scheduling packages with other users. (That last feature could be the killer feature.) One feature Audio Hijack has it doesn't: it doesn't look like there's effects capabilities or by-application control. Crazy power users like me may want both utilities, especially with the $9 crossgrade from Audio Hijack. WireTap's simple …
As I speculated yesterday, Apple's lawsuit was most likely over the rumored Asteroid audio interface. Apple has subpoenaed AppleInsider, PowerPage, and Think Secret to try to determine the source of the leak, reports Engadget. It's not clear from Engadget's tip whether Apple is seeking a subpoena or has gotten one already. Since a subpoena is a court order, parties would legally have to appear in court, though legally journalists don't have to divulge stories. Anything you read here is entirely speculative, and I'm certainly not qualified to comment on legal issues! I will say companies do have some good reasons …
Reuters reports that Apple sued "unnamed individuals" on December 13 over a recent product leak. Additional unnamed parties may be added to the suit once their identity is known, says Reuters. While Reuters notes flash iPod rumors have spread through the Web and some sites have speculated that Motorola-Apple phone stories could be behind the suit, it seems more likely that the more credible story of a new Apple audio interface may be the subject of the suit. This isn't the first time Apple has sought to protect industrial secrets. Apple sued a contractor in 2002 over leaked Power Mac …
Rosegarden, the flagship digital audio workstation for Linux (see an interview with the developers), has hit 1.0 PR1, making this the first release on the road to the final 1.0 release. This version is mostly bugfixes, but there's a significant addition: latency compensation for plugins, a feature Apple's Logic still lacks. Rosegarden is the most full-featured audio program for Linux currently, and it's free to boot. (Things may really get interesting if this hits OS X. Stay tuned.)
Open source Linux drum machine Hydrogen has made its way to Mac OS X; Johnathan Dempsey has created binaries for easy installation (10.3 required). Hydrogen is still in development, but this is worth trying, and you can bet you'll see many more Linux audio tools on the Mac. Install Jack first if you haven't already, and have fun with drum-pattern editing, sampled drums, and Linux LADSPA plugin effects on your Mac! Even better: send suggestions and bugs to the Hydrogen developer list. [Updated — direct links] Download Mac OS X binaries Download source code
It's not enough to run rough emulations of vintage Roland instruments on your Commodore 64 — you need a way of making Christmas Cards in a vintage Roland font, fast. Fonts.com to the rescue: download a very convincing-looking rip-off the Roland font on this monophonic synth and drum machine. Resumes look fantastic in the TB-303 font, and your loved one will swoon at the sight of a sonnet in TR-606 script! Mac PS / Windows PS and TT. Roland fonts: US$29.00 each. Realizing you're such a geek that there's no turning back: Priceless.