Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Music

The Expressiv MIDI Guitar system from RORGuitars

Keyboard players, digital drummers and DJs have been dipping into synthesized sonic magic for a long time, but until quite recently, electric guitarists have been left a little wanting. A good example of the progress being made is Fishman's TriplePlay wireless MIDI system. Rather than rely on an externally-mounted hexaphonic pickup of the kind found in TriplePlay, though, Ireland's Rob O'Reilly uses smart fretboard scanning technology for his Expressiv MIDI Guitar System. As well as promising zero latency when in MIDI mode, the instrument also sports "normal" pickups so players can chop and change between analog and digital sounds at the flick of a switch.  Read More

The K-Board USB MIDI keyboard can survive being run over by a tour van and a drop from a 2...

Virtual pianos and synths in mobile device apps are great fun but nothing really gets your creative juices flowing like a real keyboard. If you want to marry the virtual and real worlds and find devices like Ion Audio's Piano Apprentice just a little too traditional, the similarly-priced K-Board from Keith McMillen Instruments might just tick your boxes. The portable 13-inch USB MIDI keyboard is reported compatible with all USB tablets and laptops, as well as leading music creation software like GarageBand, Ableton Live, NI Komplete and Animoog, and has been built to survive life on the road.  Read More

A Little Thunder from Andy Alt

For the last few years, guitarist Andy Alt has been chipping away at a new kind of electric guitar pickup that allows a player to add a separate low end signal to the two lowest strings. A Little Thunder has been designed as a humbucker replacement and is reported to take only 5 minutes to install, without harming your precious guitar in the process. At the press of a button, git-fiddlers can bring a touch of funky bottom to a solo picking performance, making it a good fit for dark metal gods with hands too small for a 7 or 8 string shred machine or sonic scientists on the lookout for a new six-string laboratory for wacky riff-offs with the band's bass player.  Read More

The wallet-friendly SD500 electronic drum set from Simmons

If you're looking to tap into the versatility and portability of a full featured electronic drum set, you can probably expect to be left with a sizable hole in your savings. California-based e-drum maker Simmons has released a new 5-piece kit that could put the smile back on your bank manager's face. For under half the list price of Yamaha's TD-4KP V-Drums Portable, the SD500's rugged steel frame offers a snare, three toms, a kick drum, two cymbals, hi-hat and pedal and a brand new trigger module with hundreds of available drum sounds.  Read More

The du-touch from Dualo

A few years back, mathematician and musician Jules Hotrique combined two passions to develop a new arrangement of musical notes called the dualo principle. After creating a number of keyboard instrument prototypes based on this patented geometric model, he joined forces with his computer engineer and musician friend Bruno Verbrugghe to form the Dualo Company in 2011. Last year, the startup sold 40 pre-production twin keyboard prototypes, and now the first market-ready du-touch controller (for computer-based or MIDI instruments), synthesizer, multitrack looper/sequencer and follow me song learning devices have started shipping.  Read More

A picture of the band, from Lund University's Malmö Academy of Music, in sound-check

Though musicians could probably point to numerous exquisite examples of custom instruments with relative ease, we'd wager that few would compare to those produced by Olaf Diegel. Now the Lund University professor has taken his creations to the stage for what he claims is the world's first gig using 3D-printed instruments.  Read More

Gizmag was introduced to a pre-release iRig Pads at IFA 2014 (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

Earlier this year, IK Multimedia shared its product roadmap for 2014 with Gizmag, which included a brief overview of a 16 pad groove controller called the iRig Pads. We got a quick look at the portable digital beat maker and MIDI controller for the electronic musician on the move at IFA 2014, but the company wasn't quite ready to release final specs. IK Multimedia has today announced that the device is now available for shipping.  Read More

The ToneWoodAmp from Ofer and Helene Webman

Acoustic players looking to augment the natural sound of their guitars with live effects may well have to succumb to a world of cables, amps and stomps to do so. Ofer and Helene Webman out of Phoenix, AZ, have developed a smartphone-sized box called the ToneWoodAmp – or Twamp for short – that brings the kind of effects enjoyed by electric guitarists to acoustic pickers without needing to route the instrument through a big power amp.  Read More

Cliphit allows budding drummers to practice on whatever objects are close to hand

Many of us find ourselves tapping our fingers on desks or tabletops at any and every opportunity. It doesn't matter whether or not we've ever actually held a drumstick, if we have a rhythm in our head and a hand free we'll tap out a beat on whatever surface is within reach. We have already seen attempts to turn this from an annoying habit into a way of making something approaching real music, such as the Wavedrum and the TableDrum, but Korg has now upped the ante with Cliphit.  Read More

Aalberg Audio's Ekko and Aero

Norway's Aalberg Audio has developed what's billed as the world’s first remote-controlled effects pedal for electric guitars. The first part of the equation is a delay pedal named Ekko that's cabled up somewhere between the guitar and amp pretty much like any other floor stomp. Things get interesting when its Aero companion enters the picture, which can be mounted onto a guitar or attached to a strap or belt and wirelessly controls the Ekko effects on the fly.  Read More

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