Looks familiar, but that's a good thing. Pics courtesy MOTU.

MOTU 828x: A Favorite Audio Interface Gets Thunderbolt Treatment

The MOTU 828 series has been a workhorse if ever there was one. Since the very first model, its more-then-ample I/O, mixing, clocking, and design have made it a favorite in a market crowded with lots of fairly-similar audio interfaces. It’s just more versatile and has easier access to controls and metering than some of its rivals. That means the arrival of an 828 with Thunderbolt matters. The 828x still has USB 2.0, so you aren’t limited to Thunderbolt connections, and it supports both OS X and Windows. But when connected to Thunderbolt, you get some distinct advantages. The bus …

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Modulation in All Things: New LFOs for Ableton Live, iOS, Software, and Analog Gear

The LFO – Low Frequency Oscillator – is one of the most fundamental of electronic music elements. Creating a signal that modulates the sound of something else, the LFO has a history that’s roughly as old as sound-making electronic circuits themselves. And yet, there’s still more that can be done with them. Two new LFOs blur the lines between analog and digital, hardware and software, and pack clever features into their interface and function. A Handheld LFO for Analog Gear Justus Kandzi’s Brute LFO puts hardware modulation in the palm of your hand. Brute LFO runs on any iPhone, iPad, …

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Digital DJing: Serato Scratch Live is Dead; Long Live Serato DJ [In Depth]

Serato DJ With DVS is Here from Serato on Vimeo. Let’s not mince words: Serato’s DJ offerings had gotten confusing, and updates and compatibility lagged. This week, the company has changed the tune: there’s one Serato to support everything, and it’s coming soon. For controller users, that means being ready to go in October, thanks to vastly-expanded hardware compatibility. For digital vinyl users, things are still going somewhat slowly, but a beta will be available later this year with stability afterwards and broader support for hardware early next year. That means controller users are likely to switch this fall, with …

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With Free Tape App for iPad, Focusrite Wants Everyone to Record

“The future has arrived; it’s just not very evenly distributed.” – William Gibson. Well, that’s certainly true of digital recording. Dedicated producers aside, the masses of musicians in the world are often still at a loss when they want to record their music on the iPads and laptops and machines that surround them. And for all the great stuff that’s happened on the iPad for musicians, there’s still not one go-to app that everyone might use to record. Apple’s own GarageBand is one option, though even GarageBand is overkill if you just want to save some quick ideas on the …

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3 Approaches to Accessorizing the Studio: SPL, Softube, UA at Musikmesse

How can hardware make the computer-based studio more productive? Each trade show invariably brings new offerings that seek to answer that problem as vendors hawk their wares. At Frankfurt’s Musikmesse, steps from one another, three well-known names each each offered their own take. It comes at a time when the industry is re-imagining the role of our machines. It used to be that big, metal boxes said “pro” – and the studio was no exception. (Cue flashbacks trying to set up Digidesign expansion racks in the late 90s. Okay, now putting that out of my mind.) That’s still true in …

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Okay, it's not as compact, but you can at least get input working with Apple's now-shipping Lightning adapter for 30-pin accessories and Sonoma's excellent GuitarJack.

Lightning Audio: Sonoma’s GuitarJack Meets New iPads, iPhones, Via Adapter [Gallery]

Apple’s mobile hardware offers some serious audio performance and a whole mess of apps to take advantage of it. But what it doesn’t have is the ability to connect inputs and get high-quality sound. Basic mics will work via the built-in jack, but if you want really good sound and more flexibility, you need to connect external hardware. Previous accessories worked with the Apple Dock Connector. I expect we’ll shortly see new hardware with the Lightning Connector built in – the whole thing seems like an opportunity for third-party vendors to sell more accessories. But in the meantime, here’s the …

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djay Enhanced for iOS 6, iPhone 5; Meet Multichannel iOS Audio Support

Algoriddim’s djay, aside from being a very nice Mac app, has demonstrated that an iPhone or iPad can be a serious DJ tool. For many DJs, they’re just a handy, portable backup or compliment to the full-powered DJ setup, one that nonetheless gives you familiar tools and options. But they really can do most of what desktop software can do, and you can add on physical controls with accessories. New versions of djay are nicely optimized for Apple’s newest hardware (iPhone 5) and software (iOS 6, which also works with a lot of existing iOS gadgets). As such, they also …

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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 …

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Thunderbolt means serious I/O for UA's DSP-based processing on the Apollo card - even on a lowly Mac mini. Image courtesy Universal Audio.

The Thunderbolt Age Dawns: UA Ships Thunderbolt on Apollo; More to Come – Where it Makes Sense

Universal Audio is first out of the gate with an audio interface add-on that uses Intel’s Thunderbolt bus, the high-performance, low-latency connectivity option on current iMacs, MacBook Pros and Airs, and Mac minis (though, conspicuously, not the ever-more-outdated Mac Pro). The solution isn’t the most elegant – you need to add in an option card with an included tool – but once installed, Thunderbolt appears right in the box (see image below). And what can you do with all that extra bandwidth? On the Apollo, you get better performance even as you push the envelope with sample rates, and more …

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On iPad and Desktop, Focusrite Aims for Simple, Premium Recording Interfaces [Gallery, Specs]

There’s no shortage of audio interfaces out there, but quality can be variable. Focusrite claims two new interfaces are focused squarely on “premium” quality. On paper, at least, they have some specs to back it up. And while fidelity is an emphasis, each interface is designed for simple recording scenarios – meaning, for those people who want something compact that sounds good but doesn’t necessarily overload them with inputs and outputs they don’t need. The Forte is a “flagship” audio interface whose compact design should position it directly opposite offerings from Apogee – albeit, unlike the Apogee entries, with support …

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