The Single USB-C Connector is Coming – But It’s Not Bad News

For years, the steady disappearance of ports from our computers has been unquestionably a bad thing for musicians. Things we used have been disappearing: Audio input jacks. Dedicated FireWire connections. Extra USB ports. And I’m not just talking Apple, here, either – slimmer and lighter PCs have often dumped connectors you needed, leaving us with a tangled mess of adapters and incompatibilities. Get a bunch of laptop owners together, and you’re lucky to connect anything without a Santa Claus-style bag of spaghetti. So, music and audio users can be forgiven to being resistant to change, because some of those changes …

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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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A DIY iPad Audio Dock, with Instructions, from Father of Circuit Bending Reed Ghazala

What are those alien, otherworldly sounds coming out of the iPad? That’s not GarageBand. It’s what happens when Reed Ghazala, the father of circuit bending some decades ago, meets the iPad. Not that it’s his first encounter with products from Apple – he’s been approaching that company’s hardware as he does everything else, prying unexpected life with modifications and experimentation. But just as “circuit bending” need not be seen as “breaking,” here, too, Ghazala’s modifications make the device more humane, more musical, and – for all the shouting about how the design is perfect – far, far more usable. A …

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Blue’s Icicle: Plug XLR Mics Straight to USB

Ever wished you could take any mic you wanted and plug it directly into your computer? With Apple nixing FireWire and the whole size issue, it’s not quite practical to expect an XLR jack on your computer. You could use a USB mic, but they’re useless in other situations. Blue Microphones has a new product called the Icicle, which is a small, pen-sized gadget that has XLR on one end, USB on the other end, and a preamp and a converter in the middle. Price: US$59.99. No drivers required.

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