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Hands On: Firo 3.0 (iPad)

08/04, 8:30am

Feature packed app still remains accessable, even to beginners

We've written about the validity of the iPad as a musical outlet before, but quite a few of the music production apps available for the iPad tend to fall into one of two groups: they're either so simple they're more like toys, or so complicated that they're only for professionals. The app that we're going to talk about today, however, is a nice middle-ground -- a feature-packed, yet user-friendly app called Firo.


Briefly: IK Multimedia's iRig MIDI 2, Google AdWords Express for iOS

07/10, 5:39pm

IK Multimedia launches portable Lightning/USB iRig MIDI 2

IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping the iRig MIDI 2, a portable MIDI interface with Lightning and USB connectivity for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac and PC. The device is equipped with three standard-sized female MIDI DIN sockets -- IN, OUT and THRU -- which allow for full MIDI functionality and connectivity with any MIDI-enabled device, such as a keyboard, hardware synthesizer and more. Its two blue LED lights provide monitoring of the MIDI data passing through the In and Out sockets.


Alesis intros USB MIDI keyboard controllers, iOS amp docks

01/20, 10:40pm

Turn iPads into guitar and drum effects boxes

Audio accessory maker Alesis has debuted a number of new devices for musicians, including three new USB MIDI keyboard controllers along with a set of iPad- and iPhone-specific amp docks. All are on display at the company's booth (#6400) at the 2012 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. The keyboards include two 61-note models as well as a 25-note compact model. The iPad and iPhone amp docks are based on the company's successful iO docks.


QuNeo brings touch sensors to MIDI pad controller

12/12, 10:25pm

Project achieves Kickstarter funding

Keith McMillen Instruments has received enough Kickstarter pledges to introduce the QuNeo pad controller for musicians. The device integrates 27 pads, sliders and rotary sensors, with each sensor able to distinguish pressure, velocity and the exact location of touch input. Multiple LEDs in several colors are fitted beneath the opaque input locations, providing feedback and reference.


IK Multimedia ships iRig MIDI, SampleTank for iOS

10/14, 10:25pm

Connects to any MIDI compatible device

The makers of the iOS guitar interface adapter iRig are now releasing the iRig MIDI, a compact standard Apple Core MIDI interface connects keyboards or other MIDI-compatible instruments such as drum machines, drum pads and pedal boards to iOS devices. The company also announced SampleTank Free which is included with the iRig MIDI, as well as the full version of SampleTank for iOS -- an app that offers up to 400 instrument sounds, four voices and 900 rhythms to MIDI-compatible equipment.


MOTU brings back MIDI Express XT, updates ClockWorks

09/28, 5:50pm

Interface now supports SMPTE time code

After a hiatus of over three years and in response to customer demand, MOTU is once again shipping the MIDI Express XT, a MIDI to USB interface for Mac and Windows that offers eight independent MIDI inputs along with a total of nine outputs) and up to 128 channels. Aimed at both personal and professional users, the company has finally updated its popular ClockWorks software as a universal binary for non-Rosetta Intel Macs, and also now supports Windows Vista and 7.


Doggiebox drum machine software reaches 2.0, adds live drums

08/23, 9:25pm

Now accepts drum input using keyboard or MIDI

Zygoat has updated its Doggiebox percussion sequencing software for Mac to version 2.0, a major update that features improvements to all parts of the app, including song editing, playback, the drum kit editor, and a new live recording mode allowing users to add beats using the keyboard or a MIDI device. The software now requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later, and now features automatic software updating along with the usual array of bug fixes.


Alesis outs pro-audio iO Dock for iPad

06/28, 2:05am

Adds a slew of MIDI, XLR and 1/4-inch jacks

Electronic drum and audio equipment maker Alesis has introduced the iO Dock, a pro-audio docking solution for the iPad and iPad 2 that gives users an easy way to connect the iPad to MIDI controllers, PA systems, microphones, video projectors, instruments and more. The dock is intended as a universal iPad recording, playback and MIDI device that features XLR, 1/4-inch and MIDI jacks among other inputs and outputs.


Roland debuts USB audio, MIDI interfaces for Mac, Windows

06/10, 1:50am

Control, record MIDI, digital, analog instruments

Roland U.S. is now shipping three new products to assist customers who need inexpensive stereo audio interfaces for recording analog instruments, as well as interface MIDI digital instruments to a desktop or notebook computer. The Tri-Capture UA-33 and Duo-Capture UA-11 USB audio interfaces that offer multiple connections and form factors, while the UM-One USB Midi interface offers a super-compact cable for controlling or recording MIDI devices.


Native Instruments brings the funk to Kontakt

02/25, 10:45pm

Scarbee Funk Guitarist adds rhythm guitar lines

Describing the software as a "virtual session guitarist" for funk, soul, disco and r&b music-making, Native Instruments today released Scarbee Funk Guitarist, a new Kontakt-based software instrument. Controlled via a MIDI keyboard, players can now easily combine grooves and chords in various combinations while retaining harmonic progressions and authentic-sounding funk phrasings. Even minor touches such as mutes and slides are intelligently added to promote a realism while keeping the creation and editing of funk sounds incredibly simple.


Avid updates, consolidates Pro Tools 9, goes Intel-only

11/05, 9:15pm

Will run as needed on approved hardware or alone

After years of selling various levels and editions of Pro Tools with hardware and software options, developer Avid will reunify the package into a single product -- Pro Tools 9 -- that adapts to the hardware users run it on and configures itself accordingly as a premiere Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Previous users of "lighter" versions will see more "new" features, but even top-line Pro Tools HD users will notice significant improvements, changes and additions, including a doubling of MIDI tracks and busses, complete Core Audio support and variable stereo pan depths, among many others.


Ambrosia launches Soundboard v2, adds audio routing

11/05, 6:50pm

One-window interface, ducking and more as well

Soundboard, the live sound-effect playing software from Ambrosia, got a major overhaul in its 2.0 update, incorporating a new one-window interface and audio-routing technology called Soundpipe that allows the output of Soundboard to be directed to any other program (such as Logic or Garageband) without additional hardware or software. The new version also sports an internal sound cache to provide very low latency and minimal CPU impact.


iOS 4.2 bringing MIDI hardware support

11/04, 8:45pm

MIDI via USB with iPad camera kit

Apple has continued to improve iOS with new features geared for musicians, as v4.2 will finally bring official support for MIDI hardware. The Core MIDI framework appears to support several options for directly connecting devices, including a Wi-Fi MIDI option and MIDI via USB, according to a Create Digital Music report.


MIDI gear makers embracing new iOS SDK terms

08/20, 6:15pm

Akai and Line-6 have products on the way

Makers of MIDI gear, including Akai and Line-6, have begun taking advantage of changes to the iOS SDK terms regarding third-party app development. The initial agreement restricted developers to creating apps for hardware they have licensed under Apple's Made for iPod program. The new terms have been adjusted to allow third-party developers to create apps for licensed hardware created by a separate company.


Digital Performer 7.2 adds over a dozen editable themes

07/19, 10:20pm

Waveforms, audio-levels also change colors

MOTU has released an update to its audio workstation software, Digital Performer 7.2. The software allows users to record, edit, mix and process audio and MIDI tracks. It is geared toward songwriters, studio productions, film and TV soundtracks, or live performances. It has a track layout view, mixing board, and transport controls capable of handling loop-based productions, linear sequencing and score notation-based composition. DP has a guitar amp emulator and features Wave64 support for 4GB and larger files.


Rondo 2.8 adds interface enhancements, absolute rate

10/10, 4:00pm

Rondo 2.8 update

Fractured Software has released the latest version of its MIDI software for the Mac, Rondo 2.8. The program features a vertical piano roll, which allows people to play along even if they are unable to read traditional sheet music. Improvements to v2.8 include an enhanced interface, help files, and the ability to specify an absolute rate for MIDI playback.


Steinberg ships Sequel 2.0 music software

07/24, 3:20pm

Sequel 2.0 music software

Sequel has upgraded it music creation and performance software to version 2.0, adding numerous improvements. Sequel creates a virtual music studio on a user's desktop. It allows live remixing, with multi-track support and built-in music loops and instruments. Version 2 adds a controller mode for accessing the software with an external keyboard or hardware controller. It uses MIDI learn functions to communicate external commands to the software.


Fast Track Ultra 8R offers 8 MIDI preamps

06/24, 12:30am

Fast Track Ultra 8R

M-Audio on Monday unveiled the Fast Track Ultra 8R 8x8 MIDI USB 2.0 interface, offering users an MX Core DSP mixer, and eight Octane-powered preamps. The device can transmit audio at 24-bit/96kHz resolution across USB 2.0, giving users access to low-noise, high-gain pre-amplification for drum kits or ensembles. Fast Track Ultra 8R features +48V phantom power, signal/peak indicator lights, and a pull-out gain knob that activates a 20dB pad for high recording volumes.


Ableton Live 7 LE adds multicore support, more

04/02, 11:50pm

Ableton Live 7 LE update

Ableton today unveiled Live 7 LE, a major update to its simplified music creation tool that adds many new features and enhancements. Ableton Live 7 LE adds studio-quality recording at up to 32-bits with 192 kHz quality, and supports 64 concurrent audio tracks, as well as unlimited MIDI tracks and powerful sequencers. The update also introduces 20 effects, including delays, filters, and others. Ableton Live 7 LE is available for $150 as a download, while the boxed version costs $200.


djay 2.1 supports Vestax DJ MIDI controller

03/13, 2:55pm

djay 2.1

algoriddim has announced a new version of its turntable-style digital audio player, djay, featuring new plug-and-play support for the VCI-100 and VCM-100 USB MIDI controllers by Vestax. This is the first opportunity to utilize a Mac OS X-native application to power these DJ controllers. djay integrates with the user's iTunes library and allows to mix an entire digital music collection with two realistic interactive turntables. In djay's Automix mode, music can be automatically mixed using DJ-style transitions. Users can perform live, record their mixes, and even send them over the Bonjour network to other connected djays in real-time.


M-Audio intros 8x8 MIDI rack, two keyboards

03/12, 6:30pm

M-Audio offers new product

M-Audio today unveiled two new portable digital pianos, as well as a rack-mountable 8 x 8 audio MIDI interface. The Fast Track Ultra 8R features an MX Core DSP mixer and eight Octane-enabled preamps, and delivers connectivity through a single USB 2.0 connector. M-Audio advertises that the Ultra 8R low-noise, high-gain preamplification, and near-zero latency. M-Audio is selling the Fast Track Ultra 8R for $650, and will be available during the second quarter.


Livid updates Union 2.5 VJ software

02/13, 2:20pm

Union 2.5 VJ software

Nearly one year after its previous major release, Livid Instruments has introduced Union 2.5, an update to its all-in-one live VJ software mixing studio with hundreds of effects, live video inputs, audio aware effects, and complete MIDI integration. Livid's Union offers controls to create, mix, control, perform, and record cutting edge visuals in real-time. Version 2.5 brings audio aware effects, freeFrame support, multiple cue points, advanced Sound Trigger with filters, waveform display, BPM Synch with rate adjustment, a new Caption module, and four additional video layers. According to the company, Livid's video engine allows for instant manipulation and control of multimedia content: it offers hundreds of built-in effects and support for FreeFrame effects, movie triggering, live feed manipulation, advanced modules, MIDI learn and countless other performance enhancing tools.


MOTU unveils FireWire audio interface

01/28, 10:35am

MOTU's 828mk3 unveiled

MOTU has unveiled the 828mk3, a cross-platform FireWire audio interface with on-board effects and mixing functionality. The 828mk3 features a 32-bit floating point DSP for digital mixing and effects processing, more I/O, 192kHz operation, and true hi-Z guitar inputs. The device also offers signal overload protection, digitally controlled analog input trims on all inputs, two banks of ADAT/TOSLink optical, and MIDI I/O. The 828mk3 will ship in February for $800.


Livid unveils Ohm hardware instrument

01/24, 4:40pm

Ohm hardware instrument

Livid Instruments today introduced Ohm, its latest hardware instrument that serves as a real-time MIDI control surface designed to give digital audio and video performers an interface for performance and presentation. Ohm is a custom-built instrument for digital artists provides hands-on control, and is designed for performance with a bank of 36 buttons centrally located over a DJ style cross fader. The device includes eight faders with button triggers, 10 rotary knobs, 12 function buttons, and a BPM tap button. Ohm is priced at an introductory price of $800, and comes with a free fully functional copy of the new Livid Union 2.5 VJ software.


Rondo 2.7 adds MIDI export, note names

01/09, 10:15am

Rondo 2.7 adds MIDI export

Fractured Software has released the v2.7 update to Rondo, its MIDI playback software. The program specializes in displaying how a track is played, by overlaying a keyboard on top of a vertical piano roll that lights up keys as notes pass by. Elements of a piece can then be filtered out visually, so that only the portions a person is interested in playing themselves will be shown. People can play along using external sound modules or MIDI keyboards.


Ableton ships Live 7, Ableton Suite, more

11/29, 12:00pm

Ableton Suite, Live 7

Ableton today released Ableton Live 7, several new add-on instruments, and Ableton Suite. Ableton Live 7 enhances the audio engine to improve fidelity with 64-bit mix summing, POW-r dithering, optimized sample-rate conversion, and more. A new compressor device integrates three compression models, one of which is based on a feedback design commonly found in the most most praised vintage compressors, according to Ableton. Ableton 7 is priced at $500, and new add-on instruments are available for $160 each. The Ableton Suite is priced at $800.


M-Audio readies Fast Track Ultra interface

11/28, 11:25am

M-Audio Fast Track Ultra

Hardware and software maker M-Audio is preparing a new audio interface, the Fast Track Ultra. The unit is an 8x8 device with MIDI support, and connects to a Mac or PC via USB 2.0; six analog inputs and outputs are provided, along with a two-channel S/PDIF I/O. The Ultra can actually be used as a 16x8 device however, due in part to an eight-core DSP processor, which also minimizes latency and allows effects such as reverb. Four preamps boost the signal, and audio is streamed to a computer in 24 bits at 96kHz.



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