Miselu Kickstarts C.24, A Unique Keyboard for iPad

Miselu, C.24, iPad keyboard

I’ve had my eye on Miselu since their flagship product Neiro, an Android-based, compact keyboard running software from Korg, Retronyms, and Yamaha. While it was certainly interesting, Android devices haven’t really taken off in the music world the same way as their Apple counterparts have. No one can really argue that the iPad rules the mobile music scene. After former Apple hardware designer Jory Bell joined the Miselu team, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.

And so it seems Miselu has discontinued Neiro in favor of the C.24 – an iPad keyboard with some unique twists. First of all, it is an iPad case, attaching magnetically to protect your precious screen. When called upon to produce magical musical masterpieces, C.24 folds out elegantly, showing its pearly white and black piano teeth. The iPad then settles comfortably into the seat of its chariot, connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The two octave keyboard uses anti-polarity magnets to give a semi-weighted feel. MIDI and aftertouch information is transmitted using optical key tracking. What makes the C.24 really exciting is the ribbon controller running along the top of the keys, with LEDs for visual feedback. On the left side are eight buttons for quick octave switching (presumably these can be configured for other functions too). On the right is a continuous controller for pitch bend. Above this lies a gaping hole, which will be filled in the future with any number of imaginable modular expansion modules, such as knobs, faders, XY pads, and who knows what else? Fleshy squeeze boxes?

For more details, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miselu/c24-the-music-keyboard-for-ipad and give them your damn money!

What Do You Think Of Apple’s All New Everything?

iOS 7, iPhone, WWDC, Apple

Apple announced some major product changes at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference keynote yesterday.

iOS 7, coming this fall, has been completely redesigned, with a new typeface, icons, color palette, transparency effect, parallax planes (3D effect), and animations. It looks stunning, gorgeous, incredible – and also a little bit like Google/Windows to my eye… Anyone else think so?

It seems like Apple is trying to expand into enemy territory, incorporating more than just looks from its competitors. New additions to iOS 7 that smack of Android or Windows is a brand new control center, where preferences can be switched on/off, and multitask swiping between open apps. I think these are brilliant functions, and it’s about time Apple added them.

They’ve made the notification center accessible from the lock screen (day-at-a-glance reminds me of Google Now). The camera has new square crop & filters (Instagram-style) and moments (date/time organized photo collections). Airdrop allows file sharing to nearby contacts. Siri can now post tweets, search Wikipedia, and change settings.

The big iOS 7 news for the music world is iTunes Radio, which, like Pandora, has featured stations, user created stations, with the convenient ability to purchase music from the iTunes Store.

And for iOS musicians, the biggest news is built-in Inter-App-Audio. What this means for Audiobus and JACK remains to be seen.

For the old people still using laptops, there are new Macbook Air models, available now, with better battery performance (is it my imagination or is this what they say EVERY time?), and wi-fi that is supposedly 3x faster than before. Also on the horizon is OS X 10.9 Mavericks, named after the famous surfing competition, which features exciting developments like tabs in the Finder and searchable tags for files.

Not to be left behind in the past, the Mac Pro is getting a serious makeover, in which it is transformed into a strange black ashtray-like tube…

Mac Pro, Apple, WWDC, There are still more changes coming that I’m not even going to go into here. iCloud, for instance, will see new advancements that bring it up to date with web apps like Google docs. It’s definitely smart for Apple to absorb features from other successful tech companies, though it does seem like an admission that they are no longer on the cutting edge and are now trying to play catch up. The new Mac Pro could be seen as a continuation of the tradition of unconventional designs, or just a desperate ploy to make the desktop seem new and exciting again, in a world where PC’s are merging laptops with tablets. As an Apple lover, I’m not sure which is true. I try not to let my biases blind me to other possibilities. What do you think?

Pro Tools Goes To 11!

Pro Tools, Protools, 11, Avid, DAW

Am I the first to make this horrid joke? I don’t know, but Pro Tools now goes to 11, which means of course it’s more better.

All joking aside, this update might be a very necessary move on Avid’s part to stay on top of the DAW game. While fears have been circulating about Avid’s financial trouble, Pro Tools still remains the industry standard for audio production, though it might be losing it’s foothold. Although I still think Pro Tools is the best for recording and editing live music, I must admit I’ve come to appreciate some of the benefits of Logic and Ableton Live over the years. If Apple’s Final Cut software displaced Avid from it’s video world throne, the apparent lack of development on Logic Pro might allow Pro Tools to reign supreme for a while longer. Pro Tools 11 has a few very important new features that bring it up to par with its competitors.

So, what’s new this time? Well, everything really. Pro Tools 11 has a totally redesigned audio engine, promising loads more processing power. And who doesn’t want that?  Users who need MOAR POWER will be happy to know that the revamped Avid Audio Engine is now built on 64-bit architecture. All of this simply means you can run more plug-ins and virtual instruments, making Pro Tools a comparable composing environment to its adversaries.

Another amazing new feature is OFFLINE BOUNCING. Why we had to wait this long for something common to other DAWS is beyond me, but it has been a major point of contention, so it’s a very welcome addition.

Other improvements are new metering options and the ability to  playback HD video. These may not seem like a big deal, but it’s the little things that make all the difference you know.

Pro Tools 11 will be available sometime later this year at these price points:

  • Pro Tools 11 software (full version) – $699 USD
  • Pro Tools 10 to 11 upgrade – $299 USD
  • Pro Tools 9 to 11 upgrade – $399 USD
  • Pro Tools Express to Pro Tools 11 cross grade – $499 USD
  • Pro Tools HD 10 to 11 upgrade – $599 USD
  • Pro Tools HD 9 to 11 upgrade – $999 USD

Animoog V2

Moog, Animoog, iPad synth

So the world hasn’t ended…yet 🙂

If only the end of an age, and a new beginning, today also marks another important milestone – the launch of Moog’s Animoog V2 for iPad!

This massive update features accelerometer control, so you can literally wobble and modulate sound by physically tilting your device. They’ve also added note hold and scale lock,  Load/Save MIDI CC maps, Audiocopy/Audiopaste and…wait for it…Audiobus support!

Another major and very cool addition is an integrated 4-track recorder, so you can record from within Animoog itself. You can also import audio from your iTunes library, split, loop, copy, paste, and share individual clips, or mix down your tracks and upload directly to SoundCloud. As a holiday gift from Moog:

“This 4 Track Recorder will be free to existing users until Dec. 31, 2012 at which time it will revert to it’s regular price of $4.99 in the Animoog Store.

Furthermore, between Dec 20th and Dec 31st Animoog for iPad will be available at the promotional price of $14.99 (reg. price $29.99), Animoog for iPhone will be available at the promotional price of $4.99 (reg. price $9.99), and Moog’s first iOS app, Filtatron will be available at the promotional price of $4.99 (reg. price $7.99).”

Check out this video for a glimpse of new features:

Animoog V2: Expanded, Upgraded, Integrated

These are truly exciting times for iOS music, as more and more capabilities have recently appeared allowing totally autonomous mobile music making. Who knows what’s coming down the pipe next hmmm??? Onward towards the future, sailors!

Buy Animoog for iPad 

Buy Animoog for iPhone

Buy Filtatron for iPad

Buy Filtatron for iPhone

This Just In: Fiona Soe Paing “Daymoon Sun”

We’ve received our first reader submission!

Here is a video from Scottish artist Fiona Soe Paing:

“Daymoon Sun,” from Fiona’s new EP “Tower of Babel,” is available for free download at www.blacklanternmusic.com

Some technical info and insight into the creative process:

“I am in Scotland, making  the music in Logic Pro using a Macbook Pro, then Zennor Alexander in New Zealand makes the animation for the music.   For the music, all  the sounds except the main vocals are from the internal  sounds within Logic.  I recorded the vocals for Daymoon Sun using a Rode K2 mic, along with the  Apogee One audio interface.  

For the animation, Zennor uses a Mac Pro, and made Daymoon Sun in about 3 months.  Land, clouds, and sky created in Vue. Buildings and objects created in Cinema 4D.  Toy Train, Sun Sculpture, and Moon Face created from photos of physical objects. Rendered in Cinema 4D and composited in Apple Motion.

The creative process went something like this – After finishing the music track,  there was  a chance comment by someone that the music sounded like ancient civilisations being overrun by modern culture… at the same we had seen pictures of the new city of Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma which was specially built by the military regime, but remains largely desolate, needlessly destroying an ancient teak forest… we used the ideas to develop images around both those themes…Natural environment overrun by big city…Ancient civilisation and trees relegated to museum attractions…Childhood memories of better times, but memories have grown old and moved on…Memories drift back even further to where it all began, or possibly where it will all end up…”


iOS 6 Update Available Now

Apple fanatics have been reportedly lining up in front of the Apple Store NY since LAST THURSDAY for the chance to buy the new iPhone 5, and I’m sure there are others who have been waiting just as fervently to download the new iOS.

If you are an Apple early adopting fiend, and you haven’t already updated your iDevice to iOS 6 (available today at last!) WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING READING THIS POST GO DOWNLOAD IT RIGHT THIS MOMENT! 

You can do this either by plugging in to your computer and clicking Update in iTunes or simply go to Settings>General>Software Update on your iDevice (you will need 2.5 GB of free space and WIFI access though). My advice is, as always, BACK UP FIRST JUST IN CASE! 

Or you could just wait around and see what people say is wrong with it (the inevitable iOS6pocalypse???).

Touting over 200 new features, iOS 6 should be more than enough to placate those who don’t think upgrading to the iPhone 5 is necessary. Check out what’s new over at Apple.

Apple announces new iPhone, iPod, iOS, iTunes

Did someone say iPhone? Wait, can you say it again?

Today’s biggest news is certainly Apple unveiling its new line of iProducts. No doubt you’ve already been bombarded by live blogs of the event, summaries of what you need to know, updates, and ecstatic exclamations of gleeful abandon about the wonderful new iPhone. Maybe the world’s ever growing faction of Apple fandom makes you a bit queasy. Or maybe you just can’t get enough. So that’s where this blog comes in, dear reader, let’s plunge deeper into the rabbit hole of iPhun together shall we?

First the recap – The iPhone 5 is thinner, wider, faster, and downright sexier than its predecessor, of course. The screen is now a 4-inch 16:9 full sRGB completely redesigned touchscreen technological breakthrough. The camera now shoots panoramic images with a mere swipe through the air, image capture is quicker, and you can take stills while recording 1080p video. The battery life is longer. The new A6 CPU processor is twice as fast. It operates on 4g LTE. It has a new smaller, tighter port, called ‘Lightning,’ which requires a separate $30 adapter to use with all your old accessories. Why? Don’t ask questions, just consume! It’s better. Trust me. Why are you still using that crappy old iPhone for God’s sake?

Now what might really concern us audio-minded individuals are upgrades to the microphones, built in speakers, and earbuds. With the new iPhone you get not just one, not even just two, but THREE microphones, located on the front, back and bottom, to improve call and sound recording quality. Surprisingly, they’ve even thrown in noise canceling technology, so you (hopefully) won’t have to struggle to hear the person on the other end over the din of the coffeeshop or rock club anymore. Voice calls (if supported by the carrier) will also be boosted by “wideband audio,” using more of the available bandwidth spectrum to deliver your buddy’s voice straight into your earhole. The speakers are packed with 5 magnet transducers, up from the previous 3 (see Apple didn’t even stop at upgrading to just 4 because they care, they really do care about you). Finally, the new earbuds are now called EarPods, because they are made out of microscopic iPods assembled by chinese factory worker fetuses to make your listening experience better. Because we are Americans and we deserve nothing less.

Pricing is the same as past releases, $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB (with a 2 year contract of course) and is available in black or white. The good news is that the 4S model’s price has dropped to $99 and the iPhone 4 is now free. You can start pre-ordering iPhone 5 this Friday 9/14 in the US.

Apple has also revamped the iPod Nano to look like a tiny iPhone, and added Siri to the now multicolored iPod Touch. iOS 6 will see some changes as well, most notably a new Maps app (Google and Apple broke up a few months ago) with turn-by-turn directions (FINALLY!), Facebook integration, and  a redesigned iTunes store, among other amazing technological advancements like finally allowing Facetime to operate over cellular networks instead of WIFI only. The new iOS will be available 9/19. An iTunes update was released today and there will be a totally new version in late October. What fun! No word on the rumored iPad mini though…

Now I am as much of an Apple addict as the next fool (although I have been growing more attracted to the PC laptop’s junky charm lately) but one thing I cannot abide is the fact that the most “valuable company in the world” can’t afford to treat its workers humanely. That is a whole other story that should be considered alongside all the hoopla of this iPhun frenzy. Educate yourself and sign this damn petition here.

So obviously there is a lot of lust surrounding this little gem, but what does it all mean for music technology? The iPhone and its millions of apps have undoubtedly revolutionized the world of composing music. I fully intend to write about music apps I enjoy, a plethora of which I haven’t even begun to fully “tap” into yuk yuk. What are some of your favorite music creation apps?