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New tech makes it easier to connect audio on Windows, Mac

If you think computers aren’t advancing for audio, you haven’t been paying attention to connectivity. The latest generation of OSes, computer architectures, and audio interfaces can combine to give you lower latency and easier connectivity. They can even connect over long distances and networks. MOTU and RME this month unveiled cross-platform Thunderbolt support that works on Windows – and MOTU have been focused on connectivity in a series of updates.

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MOTU’s MicroBook mobile audio interface now works on iPad, Linux

The iPad has matured into a serious musical instrument and production tool. So it only makes sense to give it a serious audio interface. Now you can add to the list of candidates MOTU’s MicroBook IIc. MOTU announced this week their mobile interface is class-compliant, which means you can use it with the iPad. Since powering an audio interface would drain the iPad’s battery, you’ll instead connect this device via USB and the anachronistically-named Camera Connection Kit adapter, then use the AC power adapter in the box for juice. (It’s bus-powered on other devices.)

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Universal Audio just made an Apollo Twin that does Windows, thanks to USB3

If you’re a Windows user who’s been jealous of Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin interface and audio DSP platform, times are about to change. For those of you just joining us, Universal Audio’s box is special in that it’s a compact, accessibly-priced entry into the UAD line. As an audio interface, it’s just one of the better pieces of gear out there (in terms of fidelity and reliability). And it runs all UAD’s top-notch plugins, too, opening up a window to a lot of analog emulation. The Apollo Twin is a high-performance box, but it demands Thunderbolt – and it’s OS …

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NI’s Traktor S5 is a more compact all-in-one DJ controller; here’s how it stacks up

The Traktor Kontrol S8 from Native Instruments is, let’s face it, the Cadillac Escalade of DJ gear. It’s loaded. It’s shiny. It’s powerful. It’s also expensive and hard to parallel park. So, without much fanfare, NI last week gave us the S5. It’s roughly the size of the S4 – the two-wheel controller that was once flagship of the Traktor line. But in that space, you get the stuff you’ve probably envied on the bigger Traktor controllers (the S8, and its one-deck-at-a-time counterpart the D2). It’s got color displays. It’s got touch strips – no wheels, if you like such …

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Watch iConnectAUDIO4+ Connect Absolutely Everything

I know you’ve been there. Somehow, even with a small assortment of gear, you find that you have exactly the wrong combination of plugs. It’s actually even worse if you’ve bought into the inexpensive mobile music revolution. iPads are chock full of apps; little boxes like the KORG volcas can be great fun. But… the iPads don’t have any ports, and compact devices (including our own MeeBlip) often have just MIDI in to save space. And then there’s trying to clock everything. That’s why I’m really excited by the promise of the iConnectAUDIO4+. (And I know from feedback, I’m not …

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RME Do Compact Audio with 4X Analog, Digital, MIDI

There are plenty of fairly good audio interfaces out there. Decent-to-middling, yes. But if you’re picky about getting something really top-notch in terms of audio performance and stable low latency, that list gets a whole lot shorter. Want it to be really compact? That list gets shorter still. “Pro” often translates to “rack mount” – but just because you want something light and small doesn’t mean you don’t want something serious. RME is a brand that very often winds up on that short list. And their new BabyFace Pro I suspect ticks a lot of the boxes you want. First, …

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Roland’s New AIRA Mixer is a Performance Tool For All Your Gear

So, now you’ve got a lot of hardware. You’ve moved beyond just a computer, and you’re back to the joy of making music with boxes with knobs and faders and keys. And you’re playing with them live. And maybe Roland’s AIRA had something to do with that, too. Now, how do you put them together? KORG’s SQ-1 step sequencer is one answer. And Roland has provided the next chapter to its AIRA hardware saga with a mixer, its sixth product in the AIRA line. But this isn’t just a way of connecting all the audio outputs from those devices – …

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Squint, and you might see Arturia's new audio interface.

Arturia Teases an Audio Interface to Fix All Your Problems

Word had already hit the street that Arturia was working on a new audio interface. Now, the company has announced its agenda for the product – and set the NAMM show at the end of January as a release date. And, boy, are they being ambitious. Basically, if you can name a complaint about audio interfaces, Arturia is promising a solution. Let’s count their litany of problems to solve: 1. One-knob setups. UA’s Apollo Twin, Focusrite’s Forte, and (leading the trend) Apogee’s Duet have all popularized this trend (first seen on devices like NI’s since-discontinued Audio Kontrol 1). I never …

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The boys of Elektron, jamming out. The analog lineup at the booth was a big hit at Messe, but the news story was making that analog play nicely with your lappy.

Elektron, Bridging Gap Between Synths, Drum Machines and Computers: Overbridge Explained

It’s a funny thing about this latest hardware resurgence: everyone kind of expects to use that gear with their PC and Mac. Elektron isn’t the first ever to attempt to make their gear integrate smoothly with computers; some of the techniques they use in Overbridge we’ve even seen before. (Roland and Virus spring to mind.) But with complete features for making their hottest, latest equipment behave well with software, they’re firmly in the territory of “why wasn’t everyone doing that before?” Elektron unveiled their approach this week at Musikmesse. It’s called “Overbridge,” and it applies to their latest analog equipment …

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Record a Mic, Guitar with UA’s Apollo Twin, and Model Analog Like Never Before [Thunderbolt, $699]

Universal Audio’s new Apollo Twin (in SOLO and DUO variants, starting at US$699) gives you quite a lot of value on a single Thunderbolt connection to your Mac. It’s shipping now. It’s an audio interface, with connections for line, mic, or instruments. It’s a real-time DSP processor, adding the ability to run UA’s suite of (mostly analog-modeling) sound processing goodies. (SOLO/DUO refers to how much DSP muscle you get.) And it’s a bundle of UA models of analog hardware, including a rather nice pair of limiters, an EQ, amp models, and tube preamps. If you think they’re hoping guitarists and …

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