There is no doubt that smartphone- and tablet-based apps have had a huge impact on music creation. While there seems to be plenty of plastic devices that extend functionality and creativity beyond the touchscreen (from the toy-like Fingerist
to the iTar
), if you yearn for wood then you're options are a little less abundant. After spending two years in development, the first images of Artiphon's intriguing, hardwood-bodied INSTRUMENT 1 for iPhone have been released ahead of a product launch in early 2013.
It would be fair to say that we’re big fans
of LEGO here at Gizmag, and so have covered the diminutive plastic bricks being implemented in a variety of cool projects, like the motorized wheelchair
and Rolls Royce jet engine
. The latest such design to grab our attention is a drum machine sequencer created by Irish computer security engineer and all-round LEGO genius Mark Crosbie, dubbed “SoundMachine.”
As input methods like the Gauntlet
and the back-type prototype
from AlphaUI effectively demonstrate, there are many novel ways to enter text into a computer system. I'll wager that few (if any) Gizmag readers would consider using a set of drums to type out messages, though. But that's precisely what Alec Smecher has done. He readily admits that it's not the most practical typing solution but it is helping him to hone his skills as a bucket banger.
Altering the tension of tuned strings through the influence of the tremolo or whammy bar on an electric guitar is an important part of any modern guitarist's trick bag. Early mechanical vibrato systems were notorious for throwing the instrument out of tune, and although huge improvements have been made over the years, intense or brutal use of some modern systems can still lead to problems. In 1989, DigiTech launched a pedal-based solution called the WH-1 Whammy, that offered players the same pitch altering capabilities of hardware systems, as well as additional harmony and detune effects, without any of the associated tuning hassles. Over 20 years later, and looking very much like the iconic original, the fifth version of the Whammy is currently being readied for release and brings something new to the party – the unique Chordal Pitch-Shifting.
If you've ever dabbled in the creation of crazy sound effects for home movies, other-worldly audio to complement the battle sequences in a new alien gaming app or strange new loops for digital dance music, you quickly start to appreciate just what a complicated process sound design can be. What with noise generation, pulse and velocity modulation, parallel and series filters, and various other filters, oscillators and envelopes to contend with, the process can hardly be described as fun. A new sample-based synthesizer suite from iZotope seeks to change all that. Both a powerful tool for design pros and an enjoyable and easy way for newbies to dive in and experiment, Iris allows users to manipulate, tweak and layer sounds using the kind of visual editing tools you might find in graphic design packages and discover otherwise hidden sonic treasures.
We've been treated to a number of Fender stomp boxes over the years - like the classic Fender Blender and BOSS collaborations like the '65 Deluxe Reverb - but the iconic manufacturer has never gathered all its tone tweaking know-how into one big bundle ... until now. The new Mustang Floor brings together dozens of effects, amp modeling and computer interaction into one rather attractive multi-effects unit.
Noted rock vocalist and bass player Glenn Hughes (Trapeze
, Deep Purple
, Black Sabbath
, and more recently Black Country Communion
) has often been quoted as saying that, for him, much of the 1980s was just a blur. It's probably just as well, or he might have had a hard time dealing with the emergence of the keytar - a strap-on keyboard that has a little neck with a number of parameter-changing buttons on it. Okay, I admit it, I'm not a great fan of the Jan Hammers and Jean-Michel Jarres of this world, but those who want to emulate these digital music innovators without digging deep for a Korg, Roland or Moog original can now rejoice with the release of the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex from Alesis.
The sound and feel of modern music was changed forever in the late 1990s when Antares launched its Auto-Tune pitch correction technology. As well as putting some life back into flat performances, the system was also used to great effect by the likes of Cher and T-Pain to give a unique twist to vocal tracks. The company announced its intention to bring the technology to the electric guitar in May 2011
, sending shivers down the spines of purists everywhere. Now Peavey and Parker have launched the first guitars to incorporate Auto-Tune for Guitar and we've had the chance to take a closer look at the former's AT-200 in action at Winter NAMM in Anaheim. The verdict: pretty impressive.
Electronics enthusiast Miroslaw Sowa and programmer Vsevolod Zagainov - both from Montreal, Canada - are currently busy putting the final touches on a new button-based, guitar-shaped sound machine called the Tabstrummer. In the same way that tablature notation has allowed players like me (who are unable to read score) to learn new songs, this new MIDI instrument allows folks who'd like to play a guitar, but for whatever reason can't, the opportunity to easily create some chord-strumming music. The instrument allows chord shapes to be assigned to clicky buttons on the short neck, which can then be recalled and played as a song by simultaneously strumming or picking the virtual strings.
While traditional mixing desks can bury DJs behind bulky equipment in a dimly lit corner of the club, this transparent, 46-inch multi-touch system from software development company Smithson Martin puts the person spinning the discs - or in this case the touch display - front and center.