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Artiphon Instrument 1 heads for first limited production run


June 14, 2013

The Instrument 1 from Artiphon

The Instrument 1 from Artiphon

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After tempting us with some candid studio shots last December, followed by some attention-grabbing showcasing at CES 2013 and NAMM, Artiphon has revealed that its Instrument 1 will shortly be available to buy. The professional-grade instrument leverages the processing power of a docked iPhone or iPod touch running digital music creation and recording apps, such as GarageBand or Animoog. It allows existing guitarists or piano players to use familiar playing styles in a new way, while ushering in a whole new wave of digital music noodlers.

The Instrument 1 can be attached to a guitar strap and picked or strummed like a rather short six-string shooter, laid flat across the knees and played like a piano, tapped like a set of table drums, or tucked under the chin and bowed like a violin. A microphone input means you can add vocals to your creations, and an included headphone jack lets you decide whether to go public through the onboard BMR speakers (100 Hz - 20 kHz frequency range) and 30-watt, Class-D amp combination, or go private with your favorite set of cans or buds.

On one side of the central dock is a velocity-sensitive strum or pick section that has the look of a covered guitar pickup with added ridges, and allows for expressive and dynamic playing. On the other sits a touch-sensitive fingerboard with fret-like markings and tactile position markers. Touch controls along the inner handle edge are used to set the behavior of the strum section and fretboard interfaces. The device will ship with preset configurations, but can be customized by the user.

Though the Instrument 1 has been designed to accommodate the iPhone and iPod touch, according to Artiphon's Jacob Gordon, its included MIDI in/out means that it will "function as a universal MIDI controller and can be connected directly to any MIDI synthesizer, to a digital audio workstation on Mac or PC, and can interface with any Android equipment through wired MIDI connections."

Also within the ergonomic body (fashioned from sustainably-harvested hardwoods and bamboo) is a Li-ion battery that's reported good for between six and ten hours between charges, so the Instrument 1 doesn't suck vampire-like at your iPhone's power pack. Should you find yourself near a wall outlet, however, there's an AC power input, too.

Artiphon has now opened up reservations for the first batch of hand-built, limited production models. A deposit of US$10 is enough to place your marker on the waiting list. In exchange, you'll get a letter-pressed card sent to you sporting a reservation code. When the Instrument 1 is made available to buy, you'll be the first to know and your code will get you $20 off the purchase price of $799.

The Artiphon team will be at the summer NAMM in Nashville (July 11 - 13) if you want to see what all the fuss is about before parting with your cash ... or you could just watch the video below showing company founder and Instrument 1 inventor Mike Butera demonstrating the device.

Source: Artiphon

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Yes, yes, yes, yes! $799 but I'm gonna think about it, especially if it works with the iPad Touch 4G that I already own. That would justify a $10 reservation while I mull it over. I wish they'd offer an email link for questions such as what the compatible devices are.


Really? It's kind of an expensive gimmick. It lets you emulate live instruments but with limited ability for each. What you need is a way of playing with more detail and expression, not less! How about the ability to manipulate more than one instrument at a time? I'd like to see someone attempt to play flamenco or even classical guitar pieces on that thing... how about rock or metal? No way to muff or do artificial harmonics. The rest of the instruments have similar limitations.

The best feature of this thing is apparently the sound fidelity and editing on the device. It's a decent sketch pad I suppose.

The idea of harnessing the power of the iphone 5 and 6 is a good one though. But they're still thinking too much inside the box on this one.

Bob Humbly

NICE Instrument!!!!!!!!

Sheetal Raina
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