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Music

Ball-shaped bashers strike a precise MIDI beat

Using samples can bring a convincing level of realism to drum sounds when creating digital music, but the real deal would be even better. You could build yourself a code-controlled Stickboy robotic rhythm master for some authentic paradiddling, or you could make use of a Polish innovation called Perc that marries digital and acoustic beat-making with the help of MIDI commands and ball-ended bashing.Read More

Digital accordion to get a compact cousin

After building a computer/MIDI controller, synthesizer, sequencer and follow-me learning system around a novel musical note arrangement, French startup Dualo started shipping the intriguing du-touch in the latter half of 2014. Next month the company is set to hit crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to bring a smaller version to life – the du-touch S.Read More

Hybrid guitar blends electric twang with acoustic pop

Musicians needing to pick away at the strings of an electric and acoustic during the same set will usually find precious van space being given over to separate instruments. The Hybrid 55 from Michael Kelly Guitars is capable of producing either electric or acoustic tones, or a blend of both.Read More

Modern take on rock classic takes flight

Back in January, 660 Guitars made a company and product debut at California's Winter NAMM Show with the aluminum-bodied Patriot guitar. Now the Texan guitar builders have officially added a thoroughly modern version of Gibson's iconic Flying V to the American-made guitar line. Meet the Aviator AV27.Read More

Slide on chord shaper will have you strumming in minutes

Learning to play guitar like an axe god isn't easy. It takes time and dedication and many, many hours of study. Hardly surprising, then, that many would-be noodlers give up even before the first calluses start to form. We've been introduced to a good many teaching aids over the years, including those which light up the fretboard, others that transform learning into addictive games and even complicated keyboard-like overlays. University of Texas graduate Alex Levine says that his Guitar Now system will have students playing three major chords in minutes, allowing players to strum along to hundreds of songs by the likes of Taylor Swift, The Beatles and the Foo Fighters in no time.Read More

Loopa lets you sing to yourself

Recording vocals and then replaying them in a loop to sing over the top of can involve a complicated mix of hardware and software, and some technical know-how to bring them seamlessly together. UK-based Sonuus is looking to put loop control in a singer's hands. The Loopa is billed as the world's first microphone that puts loop and overdub controls on the mic itself.Read More

MIDI melody maker strikes a crowd-pleasing chord

Even the most creative forces can sometimes feel like the muse has taken an extended vacation, abandoning musicians to try and break out of melodic comfort zones or formulaic progressions on their own. A task made even more difficult if grasping music theory is still on the to-do list. The KordBot, which is in the closing stages of a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter, has been developed as both a digital music creation assistant and a music teacher, combining a MIDI chord generator, arpeggiator and step sequencer in a single unit.Read More

Portable Cobble caters to iOS audiophiles with MFi DAC/amp hardware

Just like sprinkles and cherries on ice-cream sundaes, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with amp tends to bring out the best of music collections. Most portable DAC/amps are readily compatible with laptops or Android devices, leaving few choices overall for iOS. The latest pocket-sized, MFi-certified device happens to cater to iPhone audiophiles. The Cobble audio amplifier is designed battery-free and ultra-light, while also preserving in-line microphone/remote functionality of headphones/earphones.Read More

Review

Review: u-Jays on-ear headphones offer easy repair and upgrade

Shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for a pair of high-end headphones is something of an investment, so if they turn out to be fragile or aren't comfortable, it can be a waste of money. Swedish headphone developer Jays has swapped the bells-and-whistles approach for one of comfort and ruggedness for its latest u-Jays on-ear headphones.We plugged in a pair to see how they performed.Read More

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