NAMM: StealthPlug, Digital Guitar Cable (1/4″ to USB)

When is a digital cable better than a digital guitar? When it actually solves a problem guitarists have. We’re still not sure what’s so great about Gibson’s Digital Guitar, even after hearing it played at NAMM but we immediately grasped the utility of IK Multimedia’s new StealthPlug. It’s a compact audio interface built into a cable that makes it dead simple to plug a guitar into a computer and take advantage of software-based amp and effects modeling. One side of the StealthPlug has a standard 1/4″ jack, while the other has a USB plug. It also includes volume adjustment buttons, …

READ MORE →

The Joys of Paper: Moleskine’s New Pocket Music Notebook

Technology is great, but my favorite portable music creation device is still manuscript paper. Unfortunately, that’s usually meant giant notebooks and/or ungainly stacks of loose-leaf music paper. Reader Joshua Schnable brings good news: one of the best notebook and sketchbook makers in the business, the legendary Moleskine, has released a gorgeous 8-staff music notebook: Moleskine Pocket Music Notebook Photo: The European Paper Company At 9×14 cm it’s just the right size, with 192 pages. Made in Italy (like all great notebooks), with the trademark oilcloth-bound cover, acid-free pages, expanding pocket in the back, elastic band for securing the notebook and …

READ MORE →

Apple’s New Power Adapter Could Save Your Gig

Can catching a power cord on a laptop destroy it, by tugging your machine across the stage and crashing to the ground? You bet. I’ve had a few “tripping over my PowerBook cord” moments of my own, thankfully none of them resulting in major disasters. So it’s some comfort that, among Apple’s more hyped announcements, the company has come up with a clever way to solve the problem: tug on the magnetic MagSafe connector, and you pull it out. Your gig is saved — or it would be, were there not a bunch of other cords around. In other news, …

READ MORE →

Fender’s Keychain Pocket Tuner; Guitar Tuner Roundup

You’ve officially lost your excuse for being out of tune. Thanks to the wonders of modern science, you can now tune with your: iPod, via iRocker Mac/PC guitar effects software using tools like the built-in tuner included in Guitar Rig 4-track digital recorder thanks to Korg’s D4 Portable audio recorder using the built-in tuner included with Edirol’s R1 Widget using the Mac/PC Konfabulator widget Guitar Tuner Now, on top of all these options, you can pocket Fender’s new US$19.95 keychain guitar tuner, too. (You’ll be able to start up your El Camino and tune your guitar with a keychain. Plug …

READ MORE →

Glowing Blue Moog Wall Clock

Hey kids, know what time it is? It’s Moog time — and that means it’s time to put tacky, geeky wall clocks with glowing blue neon on your wall. Truly kitschy enough that I might be willing to part with US$219. Moog Music Wall Clock Check out the Moogwear section of the site for still more Moog-logo products, including the great I’m an Idiot t-shirt and must-have MiniMug. Remember, coffee is the real official product of CDM. Breakfast of champions.

READ MORE →

GyroMice for Music: A (Nintendo) Revolution on Your Mac/PC?

Pointing and hand gestures: they’re powerful means of interracting, and make sense for music. The only problem is having to be tied to a desk in a performance, as with a mouse. Nintendo’s upcoming controller shows promise for what interractions could be like in the not-too-distant future (if other tech companies follow their lead). But what about now? Possible Mac and PC-compatible mouse products: Gyration GyroMouse; now discontinued though you might get an overstock. A friend of mine on faculty at SUNY Stonybrook uses this with Director on his Mac. Monster Gecko Gaming Mouse: Just $40, and beloved by both …

READ MORE →

Prototype Nintendo Music Keyboard from 1984

It’s the Nintendo synth that never was: a music keyboard accessories for the NES built as part of a 1984 prototype called the Nintendo Advanced Video System (AVS). Best features: a space sound and rhumba button. The one and only model is here in NYC at Rockefeller Center’s Nintendo World Store, which features various one-of-a-kind Nintendo items; see NES Central’s extensive gallery for description and photos by someone who actually knows how to take pictures (read, not me, as you can see). I’m not sure any of these controls were actually hooked up to anything software-wise, but you can dream. …

READ MORE →

Review: Apple’s Mighty Mouse, Perfect Music + Pro App Mouse

I’ll admit it: I didn’t expect to like the new Mighty Mouse from Apple. Obviously, Apple’s previous single-button mouse was lacking, but with so many excellent mice on the market, did we really need another one? But I was intrigued by the Scroll Ball, which promised to make breezing through music applications like Logic Pro. Could this little ball make a believer out of me — and make me give up my beloved Logitech mouse? After weeks of testing, I’ve got the answer; read on for CDM’s obsessive review.

READ MORE →

Gemini iKey Recorder: BYO Hard Drive (Huh?)

Here’s a novel solution to the need for portable recording: the new Gemini iKey lets you leave the computer at home for recording, but only provided you connect your own USB hard drive. (See Harmony Central; nothing posted at Gemini’s site as I write this.) The good news: it only costs US$229 and lets you connect however much hard drive space you need. The bad news: you’ll have to lug two boxes to record, and this only includes RCA connectors — no XLR ins, so you can’t record from microphones (or a lot of other things from that matter). Bottom …

READ MORE →

Analysis — iDJ: The Pro iPod Dock?

So the iDJ is real and shipping by Christmas, eh? As regular readers know, this site was host to some seriously annoyed turntablists and hardcore DJs when we first carried word of an iPod DJ mixer. (Ironically, the original scoop was on a vinyl-centric site.) But now that the iDJ may actually be here, I think the reaction was probably overblown. Sure, without scratch capability you can’t do any serious DJing with iPods. Then again, few CD-based DJs can match a talented turntablist; like any other art form, DJing has its masters and its novices. And for the CDM audience, …

READ MORE →