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Music

Before an adoring public can begin to appreciate your axe-wielding wizardry, the signal from your electric guitar will probably need to make its way down some copper cable to get to the Marshall stack. On the way, the tone of the guitar can get flavored, capacitance can cause frequency loss, and if you're really unlucky, the to and fro of nearby taxi conversations can add some unexpected color to a performance. The Light Lead from London's Iconic Sound promises the kind of signal clarity that many players might very well kill for. Claimed to be the world's first optical analog jack-to-jack guitar cable, it's touted to have zero capacitance, zero loading, electrical safety and a virtually infinite lifespan. Read More

As evidenced by its Wall of Sound and Wall of Sound 2 iPod docks, Studio Total (ST) doesn't do things by halves. The agency has now taken its speaker creations and crammed them into a Cocoon 1 to create the AudioOrb, a speaker you can actually get inside. Read More

It's been another bumper year for new musical instruments. Join us as we look back on some of 2013's high points, including inventions that dare you to play out of tune, new takes on familiar designs, and simply stunning 3D-printed creations. Read More
If you go shopping for an acoustic guitar, the chances are you'll be greeted with many variations on the same theme – a contoured wooden box with a hole between the bridge and the high end of the neck. The Bouillez (pronounced Bull-yah) dares to be different. Its creator Dan Bouillez has lopped off the fixed soundboard of a cheap, kick-about acoustic and replaced it with a floating one that gives the instrument a striking look and unique tone. With a great-sounding prototype in the bag, the self-taught musician and engineer has just started to build the very first production model. Read More
Though noodling is a whole lot of fun, and fingertip calluses certainly need regular workouts, there are times when it would be good to have your very own John Bonham or Mitch Mitchell to provide a rock-steady beat. Playing along to backing tracks or engaging the help of loopers, drum machines or rhythm boxes can work to some degree, but there's little or no room for improvisation or creativity unless you take your hands away from the guitar to mix things up a bit. Billed as the first guitar pedal drum machine, the Beatbuddy from David Packouz puts control of the beat at your feet, leaving your hands free to get on with some serious shredding. Read More
Ask just about any seasoned guitarist what gives an instrument that special something and you'd be lucky if the reply wasn't "wood." Yet manufacturers have made numerous axes over the years with claimed great tone, but without so much of a splinter of exotic tonewood in sight. Few have been so bold as to say that their material of choice doesn't just equal vintage wood, but improves on it. Aristides Instruments out of the Netherlands is one such upstart, and will be showing off its latest seven-string Arium creation at the NAMM 2014 show in January. Read More
If you're the kind of DJ who is dissatisfied with having to use faders or knobs placed in a certain position on a ready-made, bog standard MIDI controller, the folks over at umidi have something that's sure to both delight and amaze. Each umidi DJ controller starts life as a blank template and, using an online creation tool, artists can select interface components and place them anywhere, in any order, and in whatever configuration that suits. The company will then build your dream umidi controller and ship it out. If this sounds a little too good to be true, then you'd be right ... for the moment. The designers behind umidi have just launched on Kickstarter to bring working concept to reality. Read More

Spotify has made a move to get music artists onside by making its formula for calculating royalty payments and analytics openly accessible through the new Spotify Artists website. Read More

An Australian company known as AUUG is looking to shake up electronic music with the introduction of its new Motion Synth. The device uses the motion sensing feature of an iPod touch or iPhone to alter and create music. Read More
Kiwi Professor of Mechtronics Olaf Diegel has now added a set of drums and a keyboard to his catalog of beautiful 3D-printed instruments. His new creations will join guitar and bass models for a road trip to Frankfurt's EuroMold event next month, where a band will take to the stage to play some live sets using the instruments. Read More