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Multitouch Interfaces of the Future: More Expressive, More Flexible

There was a time when skeptics thought mice would never catch on. “People will never give up their QWERTY keyboards,” they said. They were half right: now we take both for granted. Now, more experiments in multi-touch interfaces are appearing by the day. Aside from mysterious Apple patents, we have, via We Make Money Not […]

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NAMM: Latest Music Technology . . . You Know, for Kids!

Children and young adults were everywhere at the NAMM show. They ranged from musically-inclined tots like the one shown here to teenage musical stars. And in addition to teaching musicianship and musical creativity, there’s a new emphasis on teaching them technology. Here’s a quick look at the latest efforts to bring music to a new […]

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Recording NASA’s Spacesuit Satellite Sounds

In the ongoing quest for sounds from the hearts of space for use as digital music sources, I give you NASA’s SuitSat. The crew of the International Space Station has equipped the Russian Orlan spacesuit with batteries, a radio transmitter, and sensors; it’ll transmit power and temperature info Earthward. To pick it up, you just […]

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NAMM Insider Analysis: New Music Product Trends, Toys, Under the Radar

The other side of NAMM: For a different take on the latest in new music products from last week’s NAMM show, we welcome James Grahame of Retro Thing. James runs Reflex Audio Systems, so he’s able to bring us the perspective of an independent music maker on what goes on behind the scenes at music […]

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Tip: Never Trust Your Plug-ins, Says Colonel Panic

Lesson learned — again. Working on assembling your leap second compositions in Apple Soundtrack Pro, I hit repeated kernel panics, the rare but reboot-forcingy Mac equivalent of the Windows Blue Screen of Death. (More info: Kernel Panic FAQ; BSOD History.) Sounds like a Soundtrack Pro problem, right? Wrong: I removed some suspect plug-ins in my […]

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Can BIAS’ Peak Make Your Sound Sound Better?

Converting sample rate and bit depth to lower-resolution data, as you’d do when a project was finished for output to CD and online files or when converting prior to assembling a project, is a dangerous task. It’s the moment at which you can lose a lot of what you put into your sound: the spectral […]

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Wearable Sound Tech: Sonic Fabric, Sonic Dresses, NYC Dorkbot

There are many high-tech solutions to making fashion into a musical instrument, like embedding sound circuitry, sensors, and wireless transmitters. Designer Alyce Santaro has found a low-tech, but ingenious, solution: weaving a special textile out of recycled audio tape. Dresses, flags, and even messenger bags can suddenly incorporate audio materials. In 2003, Alyce built a […]

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Holiday Gift Guide: Last-Minute Digital Musician Gear + Games

It’s not too late. In the spirit of procrastination, I offer my last round-up of products. Mail order these suckers “rush” or stop by your local music store, and you’ve still got time. (Or, if you’re really lucky, you’re giving to someone like me with a January birthday and the “holiday season” just extends onward […]

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Back to the Future: New Mid-Range Keyboards from Yamaha, Korg

What should keyboards look like in the age of computers? At the high end, we’ve seen futuristic, PC-powered beasts like the Windows-compatible NeKo and Linux-powered Korg OASYS. At the low end, we’ve seen keyboards like the Novation ReMote SL, specially designed to control soft synths. Yamaha and Korg gave their own answers for the mid-range […]

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Why USB Guitars are a Good Idea (And Digital Guitars in General)

If you haven’t been following the message threads about the iGuitar.USB, we’ve got a pretty good discussion going: see commentary on the original story and in response to our iGuitar.USB Q&A. So, why does a USB cable on a guitar make sense? While it’s not for everyone, basically it lets you plug and play your […]

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