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.
The folks who successfully crowdfunded a DIY singing Tesla coil kit
last year have taken to Kickstarter again to bring a smaller version into production. Like its older and bigger brother, the tinyTesla shoots out bolts of artificial lightning while playing MIDI music using the electricity itself. It looks like that polyphonic MIDI version of Danger High Voltage
by Electric Six might just come in handy after all.
With just about every aspect of music production going digital, one budding DJ is looking to march to the beat of his own drum. Samuel Verburg joined forces with Dutch design firm Tweetonig aiming to mix not just perfectly matched beats, but a bit of old with a little bit of new. The result is Tuna Knobs, physical controls that work on any capacitive touchscreen to bring tactile feedback to music making applications.
iOS has matured as a music-making platform in recent years, but those of us who wish to hook-up a real MIDI controller such as a keyboard or drum machine to an iPad or iPhone generally need to use a couple of cables and adapters per device. It's a minor issue, but one that feels distinctly un-Apple. The PUC iOS MIDI interface by Zivix
promises to free iOS music-makers from this hassle by enabling a MIDI controller to connect to an iOS device wirelessly.
Roger Linn's wildly successful LinnDrum drum machine was a big part of the computer-pop revolution that sucked the soul and humanity out of pop music in the 1980s. Now, he's part of a group of innovators desperately trying to get soul, expression and instrumental virtuosity back into pop music with a suite of next-generation instruments. The Linnstrument
has been many years in the making, and it's now about to hit the market – a MIDI controller designed to give as much feel and expression as an acoustic instrument, but with the wild sonic possibilities available through today's synthesizers.
In addition to showing off its new Fluence pickup
at this year's Winter NAMM, Fishman followed last year's debut of Godin's Session Custom TriplePlay guitar with a TriplePlay version of Fender's HSS Stratocaster. The wireless MIDI controller and hex pickup allows players to tap into a world of almost infinite digital sound generation, tracking the picking and neck action and sending the signals to a computer for processing and output. Gizmag was given the opportunity to give the system a whirl, but rather than break in a brand new instrument, we opted to attach the stand-alone version of the system to an otherwise innocent and unsuspecting guitar of our own.
Lego. Is there anyone who doesn't love letting the creative juices flow to build everything from 3D printers
to cars you can ride in
to musical instruments
? During the recent MidiHack weekend in Stockholm, Sweden, an unofficial collaboration between a university professor and three developers from Native Instruments yielded a rather impressive step sequencer, complete with XY pad, faders and rotary controls.
In a world increasingly dominated by touchscreens, a London design studio is taking an approach to touch that's both low(er)-tech and innovative at the same time. Bare Conductive raised over US$200,000 on Kickstarter last year for an Arduino-based project called Touch Board that turns any conductive material into a potential capacitive touch input, including the firm's own conductive electric paint
. Gizmag's Eric Mack was able to see the Touch Board in action and speak with co-founder Matt Johnson at the Bay Area Maker Faire
Solo musicians looking to generate their own backing tracks or DJs wanting to lay down some beats can seek out software solutions, but those who really want to get their hands dirty may prefer to opt for rhythm machines like the recently-announced Electron Rytm or Roland's Aira TB-3. Such things can prove expensive choices though, which makes Akai's vintage-inspired Rhythm Wolf analog drum machine and bass synth with built-in sequencing quite a compelling piece of kit. And yes, it comes with a sonic howl feature.
There are a number of ways to take digital amp and effects modeling to the gig or studio, including the new AMPLIFi
models from Line 6, or routing your signal through a laptop or tablet running something like AmpliTube
. Accessing and controlling settings on a device screen can be somewhat fiddly, though, and many guitarists feel more comfortable with physical knobs and switches. This is where the Amperage MIDI controller pedal could help to bridge the gap between analog stomp familiarity and the brave new world of digital tone tweaking.