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This is now the iOS drum machine you want to jam with: Elastic Drums 1.6

Remember when apps were novel toys for experimentation? Now, an app could give your drum machine a run for its money. It’s the third wave of iOS apps. We’re now onto a moment where, cresting the wave of tools, a few are becoming simply invaluable to the right users. They can make an iPad feel a bit like dedicated hardware, perhaps even in a way that a computer can’t. And that to me makes them worth examining, even if you have no desire to use an iPad. Elastic Drums has that feeling to me. On its surface, it’s just another …

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Control, Shortcuts for Ableton Starting at $99: A Look at the New AKAI APC Line

For any tool that has “live” in the name, physical control will always be important. And so even with a broad market for controllers targeting Ableton’s flagship software, now including the slick Push hardware from Ableton themselves, AKAI’s re-vamped APC line earned intense interest when it debuted at Musikmesse this month. Let’s make sense of what the new APCs can do and how you might choose between models. I got some hands-on time at Messe, and now even in advance of a review of finished, shipping hardware, it’s worth teasing out the breakdown of the 2014 APC line. The original …

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Do It With Lasers: R&D Experiment Makes Drum Microphones, Triggers More Accurate

Sennheiser Element – Laser Drum Microphone System from Andy Greenwood on Vimeo. We cover a lot of experiments that make an interesting proof of concept, or that make performance, frankly, more difficult but in interesting ways. Here’s an idea that might just work. You know, like might actually make an existing technology better. The idea is this: rather than clumsily using gates to isolate individual drum mics, use lasers (“lazorrrs”) to measure vibration. And if the demo video is to be believed, it works damned well. You can use this to get better recordings, or use it to transform a …

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Nord Drum 2, Playable Drum Synth, Gets More Sound Options, Nord Pad Companion [Photos]

Swedish maker Nord may be known for keyboards, and justly so, but their drum products are perhaps even more distinctive. If it seems like Nord only just released something called “Nord Drum,” it’s true. But they’re already back with a sequel, and Nord Pad as an accessory. The latter’s compact trigger design could appeal to producers and musicians who don’t have room for a whole kit. The original Nord Drum was a four-channel “modeling” virtual analog synth. The new model is six channels, and has more sound options. As before, you can trigger synthesized drum sounds from conventional electronic pads …

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AKAI MPK mini USB Controller Packs Keys, Pads, Knobs Into 13″, One Pound

If you could only pack one controller in your backpack, and weight, size, and cost were at an absolute premium, the Akai MPK mini would be tough to beat. The latest salvo in the ultra-compact controller wars, Akai has taken the keyboard, pad controllers, and encoders from its LPK25 and LPD8 and packed them into one device. Specs: 25 velocity-sensitive keys 8 backlit, velocity-sensitive drum pads, which can access two banks for a total of 16 triggers (and also send CC, program change if you prefer) 8 assignable knobs MIDI Over USB, USB bus power Arpeggiator: tap tempo, adjustable resolution, …

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Akai MPD24 MIDI Pad Controller, Photoblogged in the Wild

Matt writes us to let us know he’s gotten his hands on Akai’s MPD24 MIDI pad controller, which just started shipping. (I know some of you have already purchased one and are still waiting to get it!) He’s got some first impressions up with a series of photos, to give you a better sense of the hardware: Matt writes: “I’m absolutely LOVIN the MPD24 so far, had it almost a week now :)” and asks if we’re reading for some “gadget drooling.” Akai MPD24 MIDI Pad Controller Review [MakeTunes] The MPD24 looks terrific for someone wanting a real MPC-style experience …

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DIY MIDI Drum Triggers with Arduino; MIDI Over USB?

The Arduino I/O board is becoming the board of choice for building DIY electronics projects cheaply and easily. It’s affordable, it’s flexible, it’s open source (and has a growing community to help you out), and evolving nicely. Naturally, one of the first things we want to do with it is build some cool music electronics projects. Todbot has been doing a terrific series of tutorials for his “Spooky Arduino” class, and in the latest installment, turns to drum triggers and MIDI: Spooky Arduino Projects #4 – Musical Arduino [todbot blog] Be sure to check out the full class notes and …

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Zendrum Hand Percussion Hardware + BFD Jazz & Funk Samples in Video

Drummer John Emrich loves the Zendrum, the unique, handcrafted MIDI drum controller featured on CDM previously. Here’s what he has to say about it: “Without a doubt, this is the most dynamic MIDI unit available for percussionists. You’re not going to find another trigger unit for drummers that will give you this much control over dynamics.” He isn’t kidding, either. I expect it’d take some practice with the Zendrum just as with any other controller or instrument, but close your eyes, and Emrich’s performance on the Zendrum using sampled sounds sounds like a real kit. Open your eyes, and you …

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Alesis Unveils Drum Trigger Interface, Drum Pads

Alesis has its eyes on the drum market with two new products: The Trigger iO is a trigger-to-MIDI percussion interface for drum triggers. It will go head to head with Roland’s TMC-6. There’s no predicting how good this will be until we see it, but from a marketing standpoint, it looks like a smart direction: whereas Roland modestly markets its MIDI trigger interface as a way of expanding a set of Roland V-Drum electronic drums, Alesis looks like it’s going after everyone. The package even includes the “lite” edition of the excellent BFD drum set from fxpansion. There’s an optional …

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