I have already noted that IK Multimedia hinted at their full-on onslaught of Android music-making at NAMM, and they are delivering. They announced one of the key items this week – iRig UA, allowing users of nearly any Android device to plug in their guitar and make awesome music using a compatible app. Time for Android users to rock out!
While it seems like vintage gear, trendy tablet interfaces and more fringe stuff are dominating the news out of NAMM this year, a number of traditional music makers are also introducing the ‘boring’ stuff – great sounding gear with awesome features. One of those is Orange, who has announced the Orange OB1 series of rack-mountable bass amplifiers.
This year at NAMM 2015 we have seen the rebirth of the classic synthesizer brands Sequential Circuits and ARP, leaving only one brand remaining. So naturally Moog has come back as well, and they introduced redesigned versions of their absolute classic modular synthesizers the System 15, 35 and 55. These dynamic instruments are all about creativity.
Wow … just wow. Yesterday we heard about the resurrected ARP Odyssey from Korg, and today Dave Smith Instruments has brought back the venerable Sequential Circuits brand name to announce their new Prophet 6 analog synthesizer! Dave Smith is founder of Sequential Circuits and the legendary Prophet V, so he is well positioned to deliver the goods with Prophet 6!
This week at NAMM, legendary amplifier company introduced a bunch of great new stuff, including a surprise item – the Orange MusicBoard Interactive Whiteboard. Anyone with kids in school knows about electronic whiteboards, which allow you to project interactive content from a computer onto a screen. The MusicBoard seeks to revolutionize how music theory is taught to students!
I remember getting the chance to play with an ARP Odyssey in junior high, back in the mid-1970s – it was an awesome piece of music-making hardware! Released in 1972 to compete with the MiniMoog, the Odyssey was responsible for many of the classic synth sounds of the 1970s, and now Korg has announced the Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer!
Has it REALLY been more than 4 years since I posted this video showing how Ke$sha’s Tik Tok, Katy Perry’s California Gurls, and Miley Cyrus’ Permanent December were all basically the same song? Well, now Sir Mashalot has taken on country music, with a mashup of 6 popular songs including artists such as Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan.
While there is no denying how huge Toto IV was for my generation when it came out in 1982, having my kids ask me to add it back to our iTunes library after a recent mass purge confirmed just how huge and relevant it remains for the current generation. The group is preparing their first new album in a decade!
Watching my son deal with audio recording issues as he completed his portfolio film project for film school applications (in at NYU, yay!), I got a new appreciation of the value of a quality microphone for even the most seemingly simple applications. The iPhone is great for capturing video, but the addition of the iRig Mic Field makes it better!
Let’s be honest – I have been harshly critical of Android as a non-functional platform for making music. And while Android as a whole isn’t suddenly becoming a viable music platform, the programming hooks for low-latency audio are finally being fully exploited by developers! At NAMM later this month IK Multimedia will be demonstrating zero latency audio apps for Android.
Back in 2010 IK Multimedia introduced the first guitar/bass interface for iOS, iRig. Paired with Amplitube, the first amplifier & effects simulator for iOS, iRig provided a portable solution that turned iOS into a portable solution for all musicians. Since then they released the iRig HD, and now they’re back with the iRig 2, filled with improvements and new capabilities!
I found a stack of old CDs in our attic a few weeks ago, and I was enjoying the nostalgia of listening to mix CDs I made 10-15 years ago. But as I’ve gone through the various tracks, I noticed a disturbing trend; many of the social issues being addressed in this CDs are still issues a decade later.
IK Multimedia has had a great 2014, starting with the iRig Keys Pro, then the iRig Voice, iRing, iRig Pro and more. Now they are closing out the year by jumping into the pad controller ring with iRig Pads, a fully MIDI compliant controller for iOS and the Mac with multiple connectivity options and controller configurations.
In 1962 Sonny Rollins created what remains my favorite album of his – The Bridge, with a quartet featuring guitarist Jim Hall. The interplay of guitar and saxophone on top of bass and drums has continued to fascinate me for the last 30+ years, and is one of the reasons I find the new Mary Halvorson project ‘Reverse Blue’ fascinating.
Back in 2010, I reviewed Jason Parker’s ‘No More, No Less’ declaring it “a recording that is filled with great tunes, wonderful improvisation, and insightful interplay from start to finish.”. His Nick Drake tribute was one of my top 2011 albums, and now the Jason Parker Quartet is back with an album of compositions by local Seattle composers.
Greg Ward is one of my favorite young artists, and has been featured here in my ‘Best of 2011’ with his ‘Phonic Juggernaut’ release and in my ‘Best of 2012’ with ‘Living By Lanterns’. His group ‘Fitted Shards’ released the acclaimed ‘South Side Story’ in 2010, and now has a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new album.
When I was a kid, learning guitar meant finding a local teacher and getting weekly lessons – which is still the most popular method. More recently you can buy DVDs and watch YouTube instructions to help you along. And now Apollo-M introduces subscription music instruction which they describe as ‘Netflix for music learning’, giving you a la carte lesson access!
At the top of my ‘criticism of Android’ list for literally four years now is the abysmal audio support, leading Android music apps to be at best toys while iOS supports full studio production and mastering tools. Android isn’t there yet, but Samsung has led with audio support and IK Multimedia is taking full advantage with AmpliTube and iRig HD-A!
It didn’t really occur to me when I reviewed Levin-Minnemann-Rudess, but Marco Minnemann was the brilliant drummer behind Trey Gunn’s Modulator – both of which are important for this review. Now he is back with ‘Eeps’, a solo effort in the truest sense of the term – playing all of the instruments and writing the songs, he delivers a breathtaking…
IK Multimedia has their hands in all areas of music creation technology, so it is no surprise that they have now announced iRig Pads, a portable groove controller for iOS, Mac and PC. iRig Pads offers full MIDI controller capability so it can be used with a variety of apps, and is now shipping for $149.99!
Back in June I reviewed iRig Voice, which is a great fun microphone for amateurs with a solid feature set and a great price. Now they have released the iRig Mic HD, which steps up the features and sound quality and is more suited to budget-minded professionals and those seeking to make professional-sounding recordings. From IK Multimedia: iRig Mic HD…