Light some candles, make some music. Sounds like a nice evening in to us. Photo courtesy Apple.

Apple’s new iOS lineup is a gift to music developers, users

There’s a reason “mobile music” has become synonymous with iOS. Apple has been unmatched in terms of how appealing they make their mobile platform to developers. Today’s announcements are likely to be heavily covered by tech and Apple-focused sites, but we can cover the music angle pretty easily. It’s now possible to buy a new phone or tablet very cheaply with high-end performance capable of running demanding music apps. And that means the platform is likely to continue to attract both users and developers, in a continuous cycle. On the phone side, a 16GB iPhone 6SE starts at US$399, without …

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dj4

As other DJ controller gets bigger, this one’s still tiny

It doesn’t have screens. There are no giant wheels or touchstrips. There’s no complex software integration, or built-in mixer, or pads for remixing. But what the DJ4 is is what you might be missing in other DJ controllers. It’s got the controls you need in a tiny, tiny footprint that won’t have you hunting for new luggage or scrambling around a venue to find a bigger table because your gear won’t fit in the booth. (Ahem, yes, you know who you are, giant controllers.) And unlike the increasingly branded, computer-tied world of DJ controllers, this one also works with anything …

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Finally, Connect a USB Hub and Audio in One Gadget, on Laptop or iPad

File this directly under “why has no one done this properly before?” One of the few remaining annoyances in computer music making is just getting connected. First, you need an audio interface to get proper sound and headphone cueing. Then, you’ve got all this great gear for control – but where to put it? Macs and even many new PCs have few USB ports (especially ultrathin notebooks like the MacBook Air). Yes, it’s about time someone combined a practical audio interface with a USB hub. Focusrite/Novation seem to be the right folks for the job. Focusrite’s audio interfaces are some …

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24 Knobs, 8 Faders, 16 Buttons, in a Launchpad Form: Launch Control XL

If you’re reading this, and if you care about controllers at all, you’ve probably got one. Now the question is, what are you missing? LaunchControl XL is coming with a whole mess of handy faders and knobs if you’ve got more controls than you can map. In fact, while it would make an utterly horrid marketing statement, I would dub the slogan of this hardware like this: Twist knobs without having to constantly press shift and select keys or give up having some faders. There’s Push, of course, the Ableton-controlling flagship, complete with pressure- and velocity-sensitive grid. There’s AKAI’s former …

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Novation Releases $99 Launchpad Mini Grid, $99 Triggers and Knobs [iOS, Mac, PC]

Here’s this week’s theme from Novation, in a nutshell: Stuff that costs US$99 (street). Stuff that’s ultra-mobile/portable. Stuff that works with Mac, PC, and iPad. CDM readers already worked out that they weren’t done, watching the video for the $99 Launchkey mini keyboard, which also fits this theme and combines pads, knobs, and keys. Looking closely at the video, you nailed one of the product releases: a smaller version of the Launchpad grid controller, the product that perhaps more than any other popularized grids in the mass market. (Outside the mass market, that honor surely goes to the monome.) So, …

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One Button, One Knob, USB: Crazy-Simple DIY Teensy Project (And Some Music)

8 knobs. No, 64 knobs! No, giant knobs, hundreds of buttons, dozens of faders… Okay. One button, one knob. Put (one of your) opposable thumbs to good use and just do something simple. And, with something this small and inexpensive, never go anywhere without a real knob again. (Friends don’t let friends operate fake simulations of knobs using mice. Augh. Painful. (Which way is a “circle,” again?) That was the creed of none other than Brendan Ratliff, aka Echolevel, aka chip music “superhero” Syphus, a composer/musician/hacker who works scoring games and film/TV soundtracks and general musical mayhem. He wanted something …

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Novation’s Launchpad S: Brighter, Faster, Driverless, Friendlier with Other Apps [Artist How-to]

Novation’s Launchpad may have begun its life focused mainly on controlling Ableton Live. But a new update, while not radically different from the original, is more flexible, working with more software and more operating systems – including the iPad. It’s also brighter and refreshes faster than the original. Updated – for a newer Launchpad, check out our hands-on guide to the Launchpad Pro. The Launchpad S is, generally speaking, still a Novation Launchpad. It has the same complement of controls, and unlike some recent hardware, it lacks features like velocity sensitivity and full-color RGB LEDs. This is still just a …

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A DJ App for iPad That’s Modular, For Exactly What You Want: d(- -)b from touchAble Creators

d(- -)b brings the colorful, visual, touchable waveforms that are part of the draw of iPad DJing. But to that, it adds another trick: custom, modular layouts, letting you choose up to six decks, for instance. Two decks, or more decks? Horizontal, or vertical waveforms? Which controls? DJ app designers normally have to make such decisions for their users – and users must, more or less, take what they’re given. Not so with the odly-named, just-released d(- -)b iPad DJ app. Using a grid to neatly-align elements, it lets you choose what you want on-screen, and whether two decks or …

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With Advanced MIDI Controls, Radial Loopseque App on iPad Gets More Interesting

In a world of $5 apps and no upgrade fees, the fear of abandonware casts its shadow on the otherwise lush gardens of the App Store. (The spectre was raised just yesterday by iMaschine lovers eager for new functionality.) Here’s a terrific counter-example. Loopseque was a compelling app when released; we covered its launch and design in 2010, complete with one of my favorite images from an iOS story on CDM, impromptu ballpoint-pen sketches of its circular interface. Loopseque hasn’t just gotten updates. It’s gotten MIDI functionality so rich that it could be worth a second look, even if you …

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Roland’s RD-64 is a Mobile Piano That Actually Sounds Like a Piano And Is Mobile

The problem with the music instrument industry releasing all their new stuff at the same time – as they do annually at the USA’s NAMM trade show – is that useful but not-particularly-sexy stuff can easily get lost. So, here’s one example that I think a number of pianists and keyboardists wanting mobile keyboards might really appreciate. Digital pianos, done right, might live up to this scene from the movie Crazy People. There are plenty of digital pianos. They tend to fit in two categories: good, but massive and heavy, or light, small, and … slightly crappy. (At least if …

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