Arturia’s iSpark is a Link-connected iOS drum machine

We know an iPad can augment a music setup. But the question for many is, can it replace a computer? Arturia’s iSpark isn’t shy about what it accomplishes. It really looks a whole lot like the company’s drum machine on desktop, only remade for iPad. And it even works with the dedicated SparkLE controller – meaning you now can go pad controller + iPad as you could controller + computer. It also comes with Ableton Link, for easy syncing and jamming with other apps, other iPads/iPhones, and Ableton Live (in any combination).


Why BeatStep Pro Could Become the Heart of Your Live Rig

The original Arturia BeatStep already looked good. Start with a compact drum pad controller, add some encoders for more control, then add a step sequencer that can control MIDI and analog gear. But the problem is, the execution of the sequencer idea is complex. It turns out you need even simple sequencers to do a lot. And so the original BeatStep, while still an amazing buy for a hundred bucks, was a little disappointing. It was just hard to actually sequence on the thing. You could get one sequence going, but that’s not enough for really playing, and simple rhythmic …


BIAS, Makers of Peak, Cease Operations; Mac Audio Editor Alternatives

Remember me? Peak in its last release had a cleaner look, but I imagine something like this is what popped to mind when you heard Peak. Photo (CC-BY) Chas Redmond. Peak is dead; long live Peak. Small music tool makers don’t always last forever, the victim of any number of circumstances that can cause them to fold. There do seem to be a lot of casualties of favorite Mac waveform editors over the years, however. To that group, you can add perhaps the most famous and long-lasting Mac audio editor of them all: BIAS’ Peak. BIAS’ site now redirects to …


Free Reaktor-Based Motion Recorder, Works with Spark (and Other Stuff)

Native Instruments Spark plus Blackbox from Create Digital Media on Vimeo. Hands-on control is a wonderful thing, as NI founder and Reaktor “mastermind” Stephan Schmitt noted in our story yesterday on his creation Spark. And LFOs are often not terribly interesting. But even using your feet for modulation, you may eventually run out of limbs. So if you want to record automation but keep the human element, a motion recorder is not a bad way to go. Spark is just out, but our NI minisite writer Peter was so into it that he created a motion recorder for himself just …


Inside the Mind of Stephan Schmitt: A New Synth, and Thoughts on Playability

A synth interface, on the surface, is just more knobs. So we look to creator Stephan Schmitt to find out what makes his synth invention tick – and his thoughts on synth-building philosophy. Click for larger version of the UI, which you can access to create your own sounds if you have a copy of Reaktor. If you think there aren’t still exciting things happening in synthesizer design in the age of software, you haven’t met people like Stephan Schmitt. Schmitt, founder of Native Instruments and the “mastermind” of Reaktor, could be seen as a mad sonic scientist behind NI. …