What if we used stereo minijack cables for MIDI?

“It was acceptable in the 80s…” The standard MIDI DIN cable – that’s the big honkin’ connector you use on most of your MIDI gear – has become the bane of music hardware makers. The problem is, as gear has gotten smaller, the standard DIN connector hasn’t. And that’s a big problem, literally. To add a MIDI port to a device, you need to not only have enough clearance for the connector itself, but the whole around the port and the physical assembly that contains it. Speaking as a hardware maker, that takes up space you can’t even see from …


A New Lab Opens Music Making to People with Learning Disabilities

Let’s face it: the initial audience for the first version of music tech is often the developers. That impulse to build something for yourself is a perfectly reasonable one. But music technology is constantly producing new ways of creating music, and that means it has to learn quickly. Unlike, say, a guitar, it can’t build on centuries of experience. And if the industry and music technology community are to consider how to reach more people, why not go beyond just average markets? Why not open up music making to people who have been left out? If music making is an …


Mood Ring: Put on an iRing, Wave Your Hands in front of iPhone, iPad for 3D Control [$25]

Talk to the hand, iPhone. Wave-your-hands 3D motion has seen various dedicated accessories – most recently, in the Hot Hand USB wireless and Leap Motion. Even Steinberg are in on the act. But this is definitely a new take. IK Multimedia have a plastic “iRing” you wear on your finger that gives you control of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The system uses the internal, front-facing camera on your iOS device to track the position of your hand. The dots on the rings are a marker that the camera follows through space. There are actually markers on both sides, …


IK’s $99 BlueBoard Bluetooth Pedalboard, Stomps on iOS or Mac with MIDI

Singers or instrumentalists have plenty of brilliant-sounding apps these days running on iOS and Mac. But unless you plan to strip off those socks and play with your toes, you might want a stomp interface. IK Multimedia’s iRIG BlueBoard could be an ideal solution for Mac and iOS mobile users alike, a $99 wireless box that adds four switches and two expression inputs.


How to Use the iPad for Music Control: Cables, Wireless, MIDI, OSC

You know the possibilities are significant, but how do you explore them? iPad, Ableton Live, MIDI, OSC, Wi-Fi, MIDI … how can you connect your iPad to other tools for music control? We brought in an expert, Nicolas Bouga├»eff, Creative Director at Liine, to explain the different routes, including not only wireless, but wired solutions, too. Liine is the maker of Lemur and popular Ableton Live control apps (LiveControl 2 being the most recent). Nicolas naturally builds on that expertise, but the lessons here apply to a range of iOS apps. This tutorial should answer some questions for beginners and …


Tech for Guitarists: What’s New, What’s Changing in Digital Guitar Tools [NAMM Report]

Who says guitar technology isn’t advancing? Joe Gore is a guitarist who’s unafraid of the bleeding edge, so he was a natural to report back to us from the hallowed halls of new musical instruments, NAMM. He takes a look at what’s new and what’s evolving through a guitarist’s eyes. And this stuff is interesting, indeed, with effects and controllers that might inspire gear desires in instrumentalists of all stripes, not just guitarists. We guitarists tend to be a technologically conservative bunch, yet there was no shortage of forward-looking products at NAMM 2013. Not that everyone was looking in the …

The new, svelte Lightning connector may require clunky adapters for some hardware - but it's otherwise not a dealbreaker. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook.

iPhone 5: Audio Accessories Compatible; Some Require Adapters [IK, Line 6 Official Word]

Apple has dropped their own 30-pin standard connector on the iPhone 5 and new iPod touch. In its place is a thinner, lighter, harder-to-plug-the-wrong-way connector called Lightning. So, what does this mean for those of you who use audio accessories for MIDI and recording? Fortunately, not too much. Obviously, it’s a fair bet that we’ll soon see new accessories with the Lightning connector – and, in turn, new iPads that use the same. But you won’t have to throw out old hardware. IK Multimedia (via a press release) and Line 6 have each told CDM their gear should work; IK …


Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …


IK Release iOS SampleTank, iRig; In Demo, Your Post-PC Future?

IK Multimedia this week is shipping both their SampleTank virtual instrument and iRig hardware MIDI interface for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It’s not the first software instrument for iThings, but it is arguably the first appearance of a major, conventional computer soft synth in mobile form. MIDI interfaces, likewise, would require a comparison of some competing gear, but it’s the combination of the two in IK’s demo video that I think might give someone pause. Music making tech has since the 1980s often involved some kind of computer. You might buy that computer in a piece of hardware that …


Your iOS Device Gets MIDI with Thru and Power – and 1 GB of Samples – from IK

For connecting music hardware from the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and today, you can’t beat MIDI and the standard MIDI connector (5-pin DIN). This week, both IK Multimedia and Line 6 announced adapters that support Core MIDI. Previously possible on iPad via the Camera Connection Kit, the new adapters support the 30-pin dock connector for the iPad (no additional adapter needed), iPhone, and iPod touch. IK’s iRig MIDI has a number of features that set it apart from previously-available iOS adapters: It’s got MIDI Thru. MIDI Thru means you can route MIDI into your iOS device, so an external keyboard can …