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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Could You Someday Wear Speakers? Wearable Tech and Expression

Wearable tech so far has often tended to dresses that light up or wristwatches that act as remote controls for your smartphone. But what if wearable tech actually produced sound – and it wasn’t a pair of headphones? That’s the question posed by SubPac. It’s a sort of backpack subwoofer aimed both at improving tactile bass response for consumers and allowing proper bass monitoring for DJs and producers – you know, when they can’t just try their latest mix on a big club PA. We’ve covered wearable tech on CDM before – we’ve even hosted workshops and labs on the …

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Oh, hello. That's not a Windows Phone.

Putting the PC in MPC: The Next Akai Drum Machine, Numark DJ Products, on Windows Embedded

The dedicated drum machine is at a crossroads. Computer hybrids are simply capable of more than dedicated hardware – and that, in turn, has changed user expectations. You can go retro, as analog machines have done. You can go small, as boxes like the volca beats and upcoming Akai Rhythm Wolf do. You can stay the course, as Elektron does with their boxes. You can go hybrid, as Native Instruments’ Maschine, Arturia’s Spark, and Akai’s Renaissance and MPC Fly do. Or, there’s one other option. You could put the soul of a computer – and the touchscreen interface – in …

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Cubase iC Air, erm... artists' rendering. Just about got that mix right. (Hold on - red ball. This track is not going to be premeditated.)

Cubase Goes Futuristic: Motion Hand Gestures Control Music in Free Add-on [Details]

When it comes to big, flagship audio tools, you don’t get a whole lot of sci-fi in your software. That makes Steinberg’s announcements this week more of a change of pace. They aren’t the first to talk about virtual studio sessions, or even gesturally-controlled music. But seeing this as an add-on to Cubase, not just an experimental hack, counts as news. And Cubase users can add on those futuristic capabilities in the form of two new tools. You can fly through Cubase sessions with gestural controls using depth cameras (on Windows) or LEAP Motion (on Windows and Mac). And you …

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What Apple’s Event Means for Creatives: 10 Takeaways on Mac Hardware, Software News

To the rest of the world, Apple’s event today was about new iPads. To most people reading this site, it’s probably more along the lines of, “can I finally stop putting off buying the new MacBook I need?” Answer: yes. But let’s quickly review what was announced that’s relative to music makers and live visualists: A new GarageBand, in line with Logic Pro X, for iOS and OS X MacBook Pro line that now has updated Intel graphics and chips, better performance and battery life (good) but completes the march to non-upgradeable memory, glossy displays, and SSD-only storage (bad, for …

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Life After Slots: What the Mac Pro, External Hardware Mean for Production

“Pro” is a funny word. When people say “pros” in contrast to “amateurs,” “producers” rather than “consumers,” they mean something about relative seriousness. And in tech, they usually invoke these words when they’re looking down on tools they feel aren’t up to snuff. That’s fair. Especially in music making and digital art where money is tight, people invest in tools because they deliver, not just to show off. And they’ve usually been burned by something less-than-pro letting them down. So, when people see a machine from Apple dubbed the “Mac Pro,” they have certain expectations. The problem is, the upcoming …

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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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FireWire800, ExpressCard Survive MacBook Pro Revision, So You Can Relax; Thunderbolt Audio Hardware Coming

Photo courtesy of Apple. Those of you in the market for a new MacBook Pro are no doubt already tuned into the product news. So let’s talk about what isn’t changed on the new MacBook line, because it’s a good thing. You still get FireWire 800 ports on all models, including the entry-level 13″ machine. ExpressCard is still standard on the 17″ MacBook Pro. Your dongles for video adapters still work. I’m researching implications for audio of the new Thunderbolt connection. My guess is it’s a little too early to say; 10 GBps storage sounds fantastic, but it’s far beyond …

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kronos73_slant

Nine Keyboards in One: Extensive Q+A, Gallery for KORG on Kronos, Son of OASYS

One keyboard, a mind-bending nine engines, lots of tech specs … now that we’ve lived in a world of impressive, technically-intimidating workstation keyboards for a couple of decades, it’s easy to imagine your eyes glazing over when there’s a new one, let alone the general public. So, what might get your attention? This. “Workstation keyboard” is usually a phrase that sends me for the exits; my computer makes a perfectly good workstation, thanks. I’ve understood why people like them; I’ve just never seen one that could personally excite me. But now that the trade show hype has died down, it’s …

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microtonic3matrix

New MicroTonic 3 Drum Machine-Synth; Bitspeek Effect

Swedish developer Magnus Lidström is something of a virtuoso of music software, having worked with Propellerhead (Malström, etc.) and releasing his own unique µTonic (MicroTonic) and Synplant instruments. It’s been a bit since we’ve gotten new work from him – little matter, as I find his instruments tend to stand the test of time – but that changes now. MicroTonic, a well-loved drum machine cum drum synth, gets a major update this week, a 2011 New Year’s present to the producer community. (It is indeed a gift if you own a previous version; upgrades are free.) And one more thing …

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