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GarageBand for iPad Hands-on: Why It’s Ideal for Beginners, What You May Not Know

Let’s get this out of the way: musicians are not a “niche” group. Recording has done some damage to the popular practice of live music, but still, you’ll find an astonishing number of people play instruments and sing. (New pop culture phenomena like Glee, the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games, and the resurgent TV talent show have helped, too.) What’s “niche” is conventional music production software. While it’s a fast-growing segment, music making software remains elusive and befuddling to a whole lot of musicians. GarageBand for Mac was one answer to what software for the remaining group should look like. But …

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Musikmesse Wrap-up, with Keyboard Magazine: The Latest Gear [Gallery, Roland Wireless Vid]

Like a World’s Fair of all the invention in music technology, the big trade shows still gather many of the latest creations from around the globe. And while the NAMM show in California is big, Musikmesse is bigger: spanning some 11 halls (together with a live lighting and event show called Pro Light+Sound), it’s the biggest on Earth. Having covered NAMM for German publication DE:BUG, I’m thrilled to get to do the reverse and highlight the best of Messe for California-based Keyboard Magazine. Musikmesse 2012 Gear Report [Keyboard Magazine] Instead of trying to cover absolutely everything, this is the stuff …

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MidiPads is a Versatile iPad Drum Pad Controller, Controlling Everything from Modulation to Traktor

The iPad as a controller is at its best when it plays to its strengths, letting you use that continuous finger control do something useful. So that makes MidiPads worth a look. It’s a strikingly-versatile drum pad controller with all of the kinds of features you might want, and with a major version 1.5 release this week, looks even more useful as a control addition to your studio. First off, it’s got all of the I/O you could want: USB MIDI (so, use the Camera Connection Kit and a class-compliant interface, or dedicated interfaces like iRig MIDI and MIDI Mobilizer …

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In Korg iKaossilator 2, Beatmaker for iPad, iPhone, Extended Collaborative Features

The stream of iPad and iPhone apps for musicians gushes endlessly, but among that river of software, there are some visible trends. Demanded by users, features for sharing between apps – and other mobile artists – flourish. Hardware heavyweight KORG has been one of the developers that’s been especially good at offering that kind of support. Their just-announced iKaossilator 2 app adds native iPad screen support (previously iPhone-optimized only), and a new “flex play” for fills and breaks. But most notably, it offers options for sharing: Audio export for saving your audio – ideal for use elsewhere or sharing SoundCloud …

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Golden Age of Wireless: Korg iOS Sync, Android + MIDI Hardware, Enter Bluetooth MIDI?

Ready to cut the cord and go wireless? With mobile gadgets getting involved in music-making, it seems a logical solution – maybe not reason to throw away your MIDI cabling, but worth at least trying. Bluetooth could be an answer. In fact, it could work even without all those pesky, pricey mobile tablets and phones lying around, just with good, old-fashioned MIDI gear. (‘Bout time.) Bluetooth and MIDI are a logical match; the big surprise is that these two haven’t paired off (cough) much earlier. We’ve seen the occasional implementation or paper or rant, but not much real-world usage. That …

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Pythagoras, Upcoming iPad App, Recasts Frets to Make them More Harmonic

To celebrate what in the US we call 3.14 or PI day, today I’m offering stories that deal with mathematics and circles. First up, an app named for the great philosopher who is credited – even if perhaps ahistorically so – with finding that ratio and ratios in harmonies. Technology has long introduced innovations that make playing easier for specialists and non-specialists alike. Just ask anyone who plays an instrument like the guitar – frets, and the simplified notation that went with it, go back centuries as a means of allowing more people to make music. Developer Rob Fielding wants …

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A Few Good TouchOSC Layouts, from Waldorf to Traktor to Ableton, and a Brief Rant

TouchOSC makes an appearance as musicians hack control at our Handmade Music Open Lab in New York Saturday. Photo by Matos; used with permission. See his (not entirely safe for work) art portfolio. TouchOSC has become something of a standard on iOS for touch control, thanks to desktop editor apps for custom layouts and high-contrast, Lemur-style controls. Last Thursday was all about wired MIDI on iPad, so it seems only fair to show what people are doing with wireless and OSC. I’ve got a few good selections from my recent inbox.

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New Solutions for Wireless MIDI, MIDI+OSC; Developers Answer Questions

Going wireless has long been a desire of musicians, but solutions have been slow to catch on. Two new products add wireless capabilities to your existing MIDI gear; I’ve talked to the creators to explain a bit about how their solutions work. AirPower from Starr Labs uses proprietary 2.4GHz communication for wireless MIDI communication. The Missing Link takes a different approach, receiving OSC communication over a standard WiFi connection and translating to MIDI. Each approach has some potential advantages. The Missing Link you can use out of the box with wireless support from a mobile device, like an iPad or …

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Ironing Shirts? Making Music? Combine Them!

Made In Iron 2 from Matti Niinimäki on Vimeo. Matti Niinimäki of Finland has combined a common household chore with music control. He transforms an iron and ironing board into a wireless music controller, capable of generating wobble bass, slicing beats, sampling, and anything else he might devise. The ironing board itself is self-contained, sensing grayscale values on the surface. (That might mean you’d have to calibrate it to your shirt patterns if you really did use this to do your ironing, or at least put a marker between the iron and your shirts.) There’s also an accelerometer, and the …

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Audio Podcast: Talking Music Tech News with Wire to the Ear, CDM

Vintage radio equipment, ca 1957, (CC-BY) the Seattle Municipal Archives. Oliver Chesler and his Wire to the Ear blog have long been among my favorite reading on the Web. It turns out he and I have both been pondering the idea of doing an audio podcast to talk about trends in music and technology. After we did a panel together, the idea was irresistible. Sure, podcasts have exactly none of the hype they once did, but both of us listen to spoken word content voraciously. So, here’s the first experiment. We get a chance to speak, uncensored and off the …

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