Manufacturer Flakes on Mac Support, User Delivers: Behringer BCD2000 Drivers for OSX!

The BCD2000 has been somewhat of a contradiction for me since purchase. On one hand the hardware is fantastic; robust and seriously cheap. On the other hand the included software and drivers are absolutely abhorrent, PC only affairs with broken midi implementation. I’ve always hoped that Behringer would update the BCD to have similar (extensive) MIDI configuration options to the BCR and BCF. That hasn’t happened, and almost 2 years after its initial release the BCD is almost in the same position as it started. Almost. Evinyatar has

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Bleeding-Edge Alert: Flash 9 Preview Available

If you haven’t used Flash lately, you’ve missed a lot: it’s been quietly becoming more powerful. ActionScript 2.0 finally made Flash into a suitable programming environment, and Flash 8 brought awesome pixel-processing features via the BitmapData API. Add these to Flash’s lovely vector animation features, and Flash becomes a must-have tool. We’ve had a lively discussion about Flash maturing on the Create Digital Motion forum. There’s just been one problem: performance is not what it ought to be, because of bottlenecks within ActionScript and the program’s core. That’s why Flash 9 is exciting. ActionScript 3.0 promises up to a ten-fold …

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CES: Bringing Guitarists Kicking and Screaming into the Digital Revolution

CDM’s Lee Sherman has been roving through the massive CES tech show and Macworld Expo over the last two weeks. He files this report on how music (namely, guitar music) is making an impact on consumer gadgets. -Ed. Guitarists are finally catching up to their keyboard-playing brethren in embracing digital technology due to a spate of recently introduced products, including the RiffWorks guitar jamming software (which includes online collaboration, shown below) and Gibson’s Digital Guitar.

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Unusual New Guitar Tech: Optical Pickups, Bows, MIDI, Finger-Controlled FX

Sometimes the musical instrument industry seems to evolve slowly, but not when it comes to creating wild new guitars. Here’s a quick roundup of just-released technology, the sort of things that get introduced at this week’s NAMM show; hopefully I’ll get up close and personal with these and others on the floor. (See last year’s NAMM Oddities.) Guitars with optical pickups? Bowed guitars? Weird body-less “frame” electro-acoustics with MIDI? Effects you control with your finger? Why, sure. Read on.

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NeKo Windows/Keyboard Hybrids: The Next Generation

Open Labs’ NeKos are powerful keyboards that pack a full-blown Windows PC, tuned software, and control surfaces into a single musical instrument. They’ve got some heavy-hitting celebrity endorsements, and they’re rugged: one NeKo managed to continue functioning after being being beaten with a baseball bat and set on fire by DJ Richard Devine. This month, Open Labs unveiled the next-generation NeKo keyboard: sexier looking, more features, and cheaper. Porsche car paint, faster processors (up to a dual core 64-bit AMD CPU), Pro Tools software, and even Borg-like ability to clone your hardware synths and automatically create multisamples. Priced for mortals, …

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Gibson’s Digital Les Paul Guitar: Innovation or Reinvention?

Gibson has been crowing about a digital Les Paul guitar for a long time. The first I remember reading about it was the breathless January 2004 article in Wired. Their proprietary tech for carrying audio over Ethernet was mysteriously called “Magic.” Sample quote: “Like Sony and Philips with the compact disc 20 years ago, Gibson is making a big bet on Magic, whose success hinges on nothing less than the reinvention of an entire industry.” Gibson Digital Guitar The success of the digital Les Paul has turned out not to dependent on reinventing anything, but on Gibson actually shipping the …

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Ars Electronica Roundup: Futuristic Tech in Linz

Ars Electronica is one the premiere events of the interactive tech world, and this year was apparently no exception. Good luck deciphering the stream-of-consciousness blog entries on the festival, though; I sure can’t. I’ve tried to pull some of the best references here (via a wiki of weblog action: Ars Electronica Review [pieceofplastic.com] Ars Electronica photostream [Flickr] Tangible interfaces [engadgeted.net], again featuring the ReacTable — see CDM’s musical table roundup One of the highlights was the Tenori-On, an interactive LED music toy from the creator of Nintendo’s upcoming game ElectroPlankton, as covered here before. But the coolest event sounds like …

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Interactive Music Innovations: Reports from Cybersonica

Huggable musical orbs? A tabletop music game in which you throw around virtual MIDI balls? Digital windchimes? Installations of giant ears, spheres, and a washing machine you stick your head into? Playing with sound like this must mean you’re at Cybersonica, London’s massive interactive music + sound technology expo. And CDM was there to — well, okay, I wasn’t there, sadly. Our online friends were, though; here are their full reports: Chris O’Shea (pixelsumo) reports on digital wind chimes (and presented, too!) The new MAzine blog, devoted to networked art, reports on giant ears, spheres, swarms, and more The legendary …

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fREQ: Free Drawing, Shadow-Based Instrument

Not new, but worth mentioning: fREQ is a project exploring the conversion of drawn waveforms into sound: visual waveforms control a drone in real-time. You can download a free mouse and keyboard version (PC only). That's fun, but the installation version (first shown about a year ago) is cooler: it takes an outline of the shadow you cast on the waveform projection and turns that into sound. fREQ is the creation of UK-based art/music/interactive coalition Squidsoup. Thanks to Chris O'Shea for the tip, who incidentally has a great blog on interactive technology (physical computing, installations, etc.).

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Head Music: Tap Your Brain, or Hit Your Head

Music is just getting head-y these days, at least at near near future. Not satisfied with a single brain cap for making music (see earlier on CDM), James Fung at the University of Toronto has hooked up 48 people's EEG brain waves to the computer for some group biofeedback. (near near future story) Then again, you could just hit someone's head. (Well, virtual head in this case, though some of us have tried this with real people, too!) It's called the drum|head (insert groans here). Meanwhile, you're not giving up your favorite axe just yet, as indicated by the CDM …

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