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Music

Just over a year ago, Livid Instruments ended a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring its Guitar Wing wireless controller to life. The device is attached to the lower horn of an electric guitar or bass to enable wireless control of apps and DAWs running on a computer. After working closely with Apple engineers, the company has now announced support for the new Bluetooth LE MIDI protocol for Yosemite OS X and iOS 8. Read More
Tiptoe through just about any online music synthesis forum and it won't be too long before you stumble across an Analog vs. Digital debate. Both have their legions of dedicated followers, but if you're looking to dabble in some analog waveform manipulation and don't relish the thought of getting tangled up in patch cable spaghetti or having to sell the car and break your back to buy and install something like the Moog System 55, futuresonus has developed a tabletop-friendly analog synth that features digital controls called Parva. The polyphonic synth offers eight voices, each with its own oscillators and filters, and is claimed the first analog synth to boast a USB master port. Read More
The Jambé takes bits of electronic drums, hand bangers and finger tappers and mashes them all up into one traditional-looking percussive instrument. Its makers say that a special combination of materials and sensors allow it to read every playing nuance, transforming the mighty wallop of a drum stick into thunderous sounds or a gentle tinkle from light finger taps with the help of an iPad or iPhone processing brain. Read More
The (relatively) brave new world of digital music consumption can arguably more than satisfy the aural needs of most music lovers, but vinyl and CD collectors also enjoy a visual feast in the shape of album art. Sure, you might get some small pixel pleasure with your MP3, and if you're lucky perhaps even a PDF booklet, but you're unlikely to get anywhere near the satisfaction you'd get from some concept art and band info on a 12 inch square of cardboard or a glossy paper flip-book in a jewel case. The high fashion house of Astrella has linked the digital and the physical with a line of t-shirts where streamed music is part of the package. Next month, shoppers at two Bloomingdale's stores will be able to get access to music and more with the help of their smartphones. Read More
There are many iOS apps that offer onscreen versions of musical instruments and, though a convenient way to practice chord positions or to quickly jot down a song idea, they can be a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. In 2013, Zivix launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring a backpack-friendly MIDI guitar designed for the mobile musician called the JamStik to production. Now the company is back with an improved mini guitar that boasts better picking detection and processing speed, and uses Bluetooth LE instead of Wi-Fi to keep surfing channels open while playing. Read More
One of the least exciting pieces of technology on a smartphone is the 3.5 mm audio jack. There's not a lot of room to make changes there, but Magzet is aiming to do some innovating by turning any audio jack into a magnet connector. It's a simple change, but one that promises to make plugging in audio devices easier, and a whole lot cooler. Read More
Changing parameters on a floor-based stomp while playing a song on stage or in the studio is tricky. Aalberg Audio's first effects pedal announced last year aimed to bring some setting-switching ease to the process by allowing players to wirelessly control parameters using a little box that could be attached to a guitar strap or belt. Even though the Ekko and Aero double act is still to be released, the company has already announced two new additions to the family ... the Rom and Trym. Read More
Engineers and designers from the Yamaha Corporation and the Yamaha Motor Company have changed places for a rather special project called Ah A May (that's Yamaha backwards). Musical instrument creators have been tasked with producing motorcycle and bicycle prototypes, while folks from the motorcycle design house were let loose on a pair of percussion instruments. Let's have a look at the latter. Read More
Though full to bursting with showy and expensive luxury wearables, the Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Show is not usually the kind of venue where you'd expect to find guitar maker Gibson displaying one of its custom instruments. This year, however, saw a US$2 million diamond-encrusted SG called the Eden of Coronet verified as the world's most valuable guitar by Guinness World Records. Read More
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