Get Ready for Wireless MIDI: Low-Energy Bluetooth Hardware is Coming

Bluetooth has changed. You know the old Bluetooth experience. Assuming you got the device connected in the first place – already a bit of a challenge – you could look forward to dropped connectivity, slow transfers and high latency, and dead batteries. But that was years ago; Bluetooth has evolved. New devices are easy to connect, consume very little power, and perform reliably. And that means there’s no reason that a Bluetooth connection couldn’t replace a cable when it comes to MIDI. Given that mobile devices are slim and light, it means finally using gadgets like the iPad the way …

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A Guitar Amp That Doubles as Home Speaker System: AMPLIFi, with Bluetooth and iOS Integration

Line 6 made a name for themselves by making amps that used digital models to change their sound. AMPLIFi is their latest notion in amps. Instead of just being something guitarists would use in the studio and stage, for the first time it’s an amp system you might want to bring into the home. AMPLIFi is an amp, first and foremost. And like other Line 6 products, it uses digital models to change tones and effects. But while it can be loud like a traditional guitar amp (in 75- or 150-Watt versions), inside is a full-spectrum, five-speaker system. That means …

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IK’s $99 BlueBoard Bluetooth Pedalboard, Stomps on iOS or Mac with MIDI

Singers or instrumentalists have plenty of brilliant-sounding apps these days running on iOS and Mac. But unless you plan to strip off those socks and play with your toes, you might want a stomp interface. IK Multimedia’s iRIG BlueBoard could be an ideal solution for Mac and iOS mobile users alike, a $99 wireless box that adds four switches and two expression inputs.

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Miselu Uses Wireless, Magnets, Ribbon, Springs for Upcoming MIDI Keyboard [iOS/Desktop]

It is unintentionally turning into “crowd-funded experimental keyboard week” here on CDM. Miselu, the startup known for developing their own, custom Android-based hardware platform, now turn their attentions to iOS. Miselu’s Jeffrey Horton tells CDM they have suspended work on their existing hardware and “hope to resume android development when the time is right.” This comes how on the heels of NDVR’s crowd-funding campaign for a unique new keyboard, and just as we’re finishing our review of the crowd-funded (now shipping) QuNexus. (Note: NDVR now has a new IndieGogo crowd-funding link; there was an error in the way the first …

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Tech for Guitarists: What’s New, What’s Changing in Digital Guitar Tools [NAMM Report]

Who says guitar technology isn’t advancing? Joe Gore is a guitarist who’s unafraid of the bleeding edge, so he was a natural to report back to us from the hallowed halls of new musical instruments, NAMM. He takes a look at what’s new and what’s evolving through a guitarist’s eyes. And this stuff is interesting, indeed, with effects and controllers that might inspire gear desires in instrumentalists of all stripes, not just guitarists. We guitarists tend to be a technologically conservative bunch, yet there was no shortage of forward-looking products at NAMM 2013. Not that everyone was looking in the …

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Bartok, awesome, angular music, awesome, angular nose. Photo (CC-BY) cuttlefish.

Bartók String Quartet on Electric Guitar, Magic of Bluetooth iPad Page Turning

Here’s digital music of a different variety: the stunningly-modern music of Hungarian composer Bela Bartók, transcribed for four electric guitars. Where’s the computer? Glad you asked: think computer music software (Notion, which looks lovely here), and an iPad and Bluetooth page turner. There’s no way you’re playing this string quartet and turning pages, unless you have three hands. Guitarist Joe Gore – playing with guitarists Joe Gore, Joe Gore, and Joe Gore – tackles this epic score, and demonstrates just how great it sounds on electric guitar. It’s worth reading his whole story, which deservedly waxes poetic about the beauty …

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GarageBand for iPad Hands-on: Why It’s Ideal for Beginners, What You May Not Know

Let’s get this out of the way: musicians are not a “niche” group. Recording has done some damage to the popular practice of live music, but still, you’ll find an astonishing number of people play instruments and sing. (New pop culture phenomena like Glee, the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, and the resurgent TV talent show have helped, too.) What’s “niche” is conventional music production software. While it’s a fast-growing segment, music making software remains elusive and befuddling to a whole lot of musicians. GarageBand for Mac was one answer to what software for the remaining group should look like. But …

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Tablet Scores: Avid Answers Our Scorch Questions; Bluetooth Page Turners for iPad, Android

Digital notation took a big step forward last week with the release of Avid Scorch, the first take on mobile notation from developer Sibelius. (It’s the first mobile app, period, from industry titan Avid, so it’s interesting to watch them go first with notation – especially as even Apple skipped scores with their first release of GarageBand.) Anything new is liable to generate a lot of questions. So we’ve taken those questions straight to the source, to the Sibelius team at Avid. One of the things I always enjoyed about the folks at Sibelius is that they’re an exceptionally bright, …

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Hack by Day, Afrotronic Future Funk By Night: Handmade Music NYC Sat 4/2, Listening and More Free Now

If you’re in the NYC area, we hope you’ll mark your calendar; if not, we have some free listening for you to explore below. Hacking and inventing, creative musicians are making and modifying the tools of their performance to express the music they imagine, with stunning variety of results. And so it is that once a month (erm, more or less), we get together in Manhattan to celebrate music makers at a little thing we call Handmade Music. This month, experimental sound systems and Afrotronic future funk with new electronic instruments inspired by west African tradition join the lineup. 1-6 …

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Golden Age of Wireless: Korg iOS Sync, Android + MIDI Hardware, Enter Bluetooth MIDI?

Ready to cut the cord and go wireless? With mobile gadgets getting involved in music-making, it seems a logical solution – maybe not reason to throw away your MIDI cabling, but worth at least trying. Bluetooth could be an answer. In fact, it could work even without all those pesky, pricey mobile tablets and phones lying around, just with good, old-fashioned MIDI gear. (‘Bout time.) Bluetooth and MIDI are a logical match; the big surprise is that these two haven’t paired off (cough) much earlier. We’ve seen the occasional implementation or paper or rant, but not much real-world usage. That …

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