If you fancy expanding your six-string sound beyond the reach of analog stomps, digital effects and power amps and into the world on sonic synthesis, there are a number of ways to go. You could create your own Frankenguitar hybrid like the Guitarduino
, or opt for less a less experimental approach by adding a special pickup to your existing axe, such as Roland's divided pickup
or the Tripleplay
from Fishman. Buying a new instrument with such technology already installed
is another option, but Boss has announced an analog-style synth floor unit called the SY-300 that's been designed to be used with any guitar pickup.
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.
Back on 2012, Paul Vo and Moog revealed a working prototype
of a device that took control of acoustic string vibrations to provide a harmonic soundscape behind whatever the player was picking. After making some necessary tweaks, Vo took the newly-named Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer
to Kickstarter for the final push to production. The campaign was successful and the product is now available to buy. Vo has now revealed a handheld single string sustainer prototype that uses the same technology as the Vo-96. Say hello to the Vo Wand.
Last October, Gizmag grooved along to what has to be the world's most reliable drummer – the BeatBuddy
drum machine stomp. Next month, DigiTech will release a new guitar pedal called the Trio that crams a funky bass player into a pedalboard-friendly box alongside a virtual bin basher. The Band Creator pedal is reported capable of automatically generating bass and drum parts that match the rhythmic feel or chord progressions being belted out by the guitar player leading the power trio.
With the Kemper Profiling Amplifier
(or Profiler for short), Christoph Kemper aimed to offer guitarists similar sonic sampling capabilities enjoyed by keyboard players, but in an easy to use lunchbox package capable of authentically modeling any guitar amp tone. And though industry opinion appears to agree that he succeeded, diving into the Profiler's impressive arsenal of digital effects and amp models during a song can be a bit of a challenge, especially when in the studio or on stage. The newly-announced Remote puts the power to switch at a player's feet.
It's been over 4 years since IK Multimedia first launched a nifty double act that allowed guitarists to plug into numerous digital stomp box and amp emulations on a smartphone. The company has since added a number of new versions to its iRig interface and AmpliTube app family, including the iRig HD
and iRig PRO
, but until now players will have had to use an Apple smart device to access IK's world of tone. Though the iRig HD was recently
made compatible with a very few Android mobile devices, the iRig 2 is spreading the Android love to more users.
It's been another strong year for instrument innovation, making the task of choosing a top five quite a challenge. Though many excellent examples of envelope pushing have popped up on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo during 2014, including the Hammer Jammer
and Aalberg's Ekko and Aero
, we allowed those to fall gracefully to the cutting room floor in favor of tech that's available now. Join Gizmag as we take a look back at some of the top groove gadgets of the last 12 months.
The home audio landscape has undergone quite a change in recent times. Where the living room hi-fi once ruled the roost, the expensive and carefully matched components are now dead silent and the once proud tower speakers have been repurposed as stands for photo frames or vases. Music lovers seem quite happy to accept an often huge drop in sonic quality for the convenience and wireless ease of the small Bluetooth speaker. But the folks over at Line 6 are looking to breathe new life into those dusty stereo system circuits with a new addition to the AMPLIFi range called the TT.
When musician David Packouz couldn't find a stomp-based drum machine that didn't sound, well, like a drum machine or one that could provide fills, changes and accent hits on the fly, he set about designing and building his own. He took his BeatBuddy project to Indiegogo in December 2013
and it went on to raise more than four times its funding goal by the close of the crowdfunding campaign. The first post-crowdfunding production run started shipping at the end of August and Gizmag was offered a system for review. But with my attention focused elsewhere during September (namely the IFA
trade shows), I had to hold off until mid-October to start spending some quality time with this nifty drummer-in-a-box pedal. And it was definitely worth the wait.
IK Multimedia has announced that its iRig HD
guitar interface is breaking free of its iOS/Mac chains and moving into Android territory. Following hot on the heels of Samsung's Pro-Audio SDK 2.0 platform release, IK has now revealed the Android-friendly iRig HD-A and a special version of its AmpliTube virtual rig app.