Acer Hopes Music Making Will Propel Touch Tablets, Ultrabooks; Report from Taipei

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of traveling to Taipei, Taiwan for Computex, where Acer was promoting its latest touch hardware. Normally, I’d ask whether there was reason for musicians and DJs to care. But this time, the computer maker is hoping the passion around music will be a factor that woos users to their newest machine. Let’s get one thing straight: the PC market itself isn’t going anywhere. In the final quarter of last year, PC makers shipped hundreds of millions of units. (That includes Apple – and it’s another reason Apple may not want to get out …

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Imagine a Musical Interface, Mirror it on Your iPad: Max + Mira

I heard David Zicarelli once describe Max as a blank sheet of paper – a canvas on which you can imagine any musical creation. Until now, though, there’s been no way to touch those creations directly – other than with a mouse. Mira is a lovely solution to that idea. As users “patch,” visually creating tools in Max, objects that impact user interface interaction (knobs, faders, buttons, musical keyboards and the like) are visible both on your computer screen and on your iPad. You even can add images, new objects for multitouch and motion, text, and images. And you can …

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Windows Touch and Music, Demonstrated with Surface and Reaktor

Big and healthy as the iOS ecosystem is, touch capabilities on Windows PCs means a whole, vast library of other tools becomes possible – without having to carry a laptop and a tablet. Having wandered the floors of Computex in Taipei, that isn’t just a feature you’ll see in a few models. Imagine if only a few laptops had trackpads, and everything else required you to use the cursor keys. Based on the lineups from makers like Taiwan’s Acer and Asus – and what Intel and Microsoft are pushing for the platform (including HP, Sony, Toshiba, and Lenovo) – touch …

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Touch Ableton Live: LiveControl 2 Brings Finger Controls to iPad; Griid Discontinued

Hidden beneath a detailed interface, there’s a lot that a computer might do. Amidst a growing variety of touch tools, musicians are surfing those capabilities with custom cockpits, fingers dancing across glowing rectangles. Production and performance tool Ableton Live is really designed around mice and keyboards. For touch controls, that means turning to remote controls – and for now, a tablet (most often iPad). Developer Liine was an early adopter of the notion. Their classic, minimal Griid and Griid Pro were elegant and simple – but they’ve also failed to keep pace with ongoing controller evolution. They just can’t control …

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As Touch and Laptops Converge, Finally Potential for Music Making? [Prelude]

“Where are my touch laptops?” It’s becoming the “where are my flying cars?” of the laptop music age. And so it is that I’m here in Taipei, Taiwan, having spent today hanging out with Acer as they talk about what they’re doing with touch on their computers (laptops and tablets). The touch laptops are here in force – not a couple of netbooks or tablet PC oddities, but with the full-blown force of the PC industry behind them. The question now is whether we actually want them. 2012 was a little early to ask that question for the music audience; …

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Arpeggionome for iPhone Makes Amazing Patterns in Arrays of Pulsing Circles [App, Music]

Out today, Arpeggionome is the iPhone follow-up to an iPad grid instrument, making lovely, elegant cascades of notes from a screen full of circles. The work of San Francisco-based electrical engineer Alexander Randon, it’s especially nice to see not just the app itself, but the music the developer makes with his own tool. Watch the video, and you’ll get a feel for how he makes his creation musically expressive. Evidently inspired by both the Tenori-On and the community of monome apps, Arpeggionome has a number of features that set it apart from other tools. It’s tough to find iPhone apps …

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FL Studio 11: Play it with Touch and Everything and Everywhere, Live or Editing

FL Studio 11 has arrived, hot on the heels of an impressive FL Studio Mobile release. The folks at Image Line have been intensely busy, but what strikes me is that you can now play FL Studio using almost anything, on almost any device. The Mobile version works on Android and touch Windows devices, not just iOS, when most folks target only Apple. And the upgrade to FL Studio 11 is similarly flexible. There’s a clip-triggering performance mode, which already supports a range of input methods: “mouse, touch screen, typing keyboard or MIDI controller. Supports APC20/40, Launchpad, Lemur, Block, Maschine/Mikro, …

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Android Users Get Some Love: FL Studio Mobile Now on Android, Too (And PC)

FL Studio on iOS is one of the nicer, more full-featured production suites out there. And iOS users now get Universal support (so yo don’t have to buy iPhone and iPad apps separately), iPhone 5 display support, Audiobus input and output, multitrack recording, Dropbox import and export and enhanced zipped-up exports of whole projects, and waveform editing – wow. FL Studio Mobile But a bigger surprise is Android support. There’s not complete feature parity support yet, but that’s coming (and most of the functionality is there.) Generally, Image Line claims you can run on any 2.3 or later device. http://www.image-line.com/documents/android.html …

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Orphion is an instrument, merging ideas from percussion and strings into something you can play on the iPad. And now you can create your own layouts and tunings. Images courtesy the developer.

Freehand Playable Circles, in Any Tuning, on iPad: New Orphion Editor

Design is the art of compromise. And so, as the touch tablet asks you to sacrifice some things – velocity sensitivity, physical separation, tactile feedback – it gives back the ability to produce freeform interfaces. The iPad’s downside is that it is a piece of undifferentiated glass; its upside is that that glass can transform into anything you like. That makes it a bit puzzling when it is reduced to a set of fake knobs and faders, which has the advantages of neither physical hardware nor the iPad’s open-ended possibilities. When it was first produced, I praised Orphion as an …

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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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