refaceback

Web MIDI and More Surprises You Didn’t Expect From Yamaha’s Reface

Yamaha’s Reface synth line are out now, with full details. You can dig through the site rather than have to do it here – but let’s look at what you might find surprising. It has Web MIDI, not just MIDI. Yamaha promises the line will connect to Google Chrome via Web MIDI. Now, theoretically, that’s possible in the latest Chrome builds with any MIDI keyboard, not just the Yamaha. But it suggests that Yamaha are atypically embracing bleeding edge tech (previously seen only at hackdays and such) and making it a standard feature. And there’s more: “Soundmondo is a free …

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Hands-on Video of the Yamaha Reface Series

Extensive videos emerge to give you a hands-on look at Yamaha’s new electric piano / synth / organ keyboard line. They put some of the company’s favorite instruments at your fingertips in an uncommonly compact package. Our take:

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Akai Launches New MPD Pad Series, with More Controls

Akai is a name synonymous with pad controls, via their MPC. But the MPD line of controllers hasn’t gotten a lot of attention lately – until now. Today, the company unveils a big update to the MPD line. The numbers are parallel to the MPD18, MPD26, and MPD32, but these are really new pad controllers. They remain inexpensive but add additional hands-on controls and features, as well as a redesign of the pad sensing that Akai says is “ultra-sensitive.” Sounds a bit like something condom packaging would say, but Akai’s flagship MPC Revolution has terrific pads, so I’ll forgive the …

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chrisconnected

Watch iConnectAUDIO4+ Connect Absolutely Everything

I know you’ve been there. Somehow, even with a small assortment of gear, you find that you have exactly the wrong combination of plugs. It’s actually even worse if you’ve bought into the inexpensive mobile music revolution. iPads are chock full of apps; little boxes like the KORG volcas can be great fun. But… the iPads don’t have any ports, and compact devices (including our own MeeBlip) often have just MIDI in to save space. And then there’s trying to clock everything. That’s why I’m really excited by the promise of the iConnectAUDIO4+. (And I know from feedback, I’m not …

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Auxy, the iPad’s Simple Music Creation Tool, Quietly Gets Better

iPad creation tool Auxy may have come with a lot of fanfare touting its simplicity and elegance when it launched. The piano roll-turned-touchable music maker first launched on the merits of doing less, better, then turned into something more of us might use with the addition of MIDI. But a rather significant upgrade has come without any trumpets or bolts of lightning. I can’t post a screenshot, because all the work is under the hood. For all the power of today’s mobile devices, though, there’s a significant effort in coaxing optimal performance. So, sometimes this behind-the-surface stuff matters a lot. …

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I Played the Oval Digital Hand Pan, And It’s Amazing

Making a futuristic new music instrument requires more than just the spark of a clever idea. It needs resources, funding, input from musicians, and other ingredients, in perfect balance. Those dimensions can offer cold, hard reality, but met properly, they can also offer opportunity. And that’s part of what made Barcelona’s SONAR+D such a compelling place to be last week. Tucked into the packed SONAR festival was a convergence of the engineering, musical inspiration, and business knowhow required to make musical inventions. The Oval, superstar of a pavilion hosted by Kickstarter, was the highlight for me. We saw it in …

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meeblipstep

How to Sequence on a Budget with the Arturia BeatStep and MeeBlip anode

It’s no step backward. Standalone hardware is now smaller, lighter, more affordable, more capable, and easier to use than before. So why not help focus on a live gig or creating musical ideas by getting away from the computer now and then? This video from Meta Micro Labs shows how easy it is to plug in and get going – even if you’ve never worked this way before. And it stars the MeeBlip anode, our own humble monosynth (co-produced with CDM), featuring our gritty bass sound with analog filter. The timing is right, as we’ve just put anode on sale …

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The Best Little MIDI Fader and Knob Box Just Got Better

I just can’t hide my affection for the Faderfox line, and one unit in particular: the UC3 was pretty close to perfect. While there are other MIDI controllers with faders, the UC3 stands out by combining a healthy assortment of encoders and faders (plus one crossfader) in an ultra-compact, lightweight package. Nothing comes close to saving space either in your bag or in cramped performance setup situations. Every component feels smooth, solid, and premium, in contrast to rivals that have generally favored low price over quality. And it’s USB class compliant, so drivers aren’t issue. Well, the UC3 was nearly …

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animooghands

New Animoog for iPad Fixes Everything; Hear it Go Indian, Do Improv

Forget for a moment whether it says Moog or not. Maybe it could say “Rogue” or “Brogue” or “Kylie Minogue.” Animoog would still be one of the handful of software instruments that really make the iPad feel like a proper synth. And yes, it is also beautifully polyphonic, expressive, features an interface that could only work on iPad, and sounds amazing. There’s been just one problem: amidst an avalanche of Apple OS updates, that synth wasn’t always working reliably. And the love from the developer (yes, the famous one that rhymes with “Vogue”) didn’t seem to match the love from …

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