Roland has announced the release of Zenbeats 1.2, the latest update for its cross-platform music creation app. With the 1.2 update, Zenbeats now offers full Bluetooth MIDI integration for mobile devices, as well as several other enhancements to Zenbeats’ evolving platform. Users on Android and iOS can now utilize any Bluetooth-supported MIDI device while using […]
IK Multimedia has announced its upcoming Safe Spacer is a new, lightweight wearable device that helps workers and visitors maintain safe social distancing, enabling MI and other industries to safely re-open and operate with peace of mind. Using Ultra-wideband technology, Safe Spacer runs wirelessly on a rechargeable battery and precisely senses when other devices come […]
Arturia has announced that its highly anticipated AudioFuse Studio 18-in/20-out audio interface is now available at stores worldwide. The device lets you listen and track with Bluetooth and control your modular synths. It features loopback ability and easy reamping. After a thorough period of testing and refinements, the versatile desktop interface is ready to meet […]
In case you missed it, in November, KORG fixed issues with their portable Bluetooth MIDI controllers/keyboards and iOS 13. Wireless operation works with desktop OSes, too – and it’s really cool.
Firmware updates I know can be a bit scary, and it’s possible some owners of the KORG wireless devices didn’t even know that there was a fix (or that you can do this, for that matter)! So it’s worth sharing this video KORG posted at the end of last week.
iOS changes have kept developers scrambling lately, but at least this catches you up. And it’s tough to beat the iPad and a wireless nanoKEY as an ultra-portable rig on the road.
Wireless Bluetooth MIDI operation is a strong, low-latency solution on desktop OSes, too, though – useful if you have your computer handy and just need some input device to sketch in ideas or try our your latest virtual modular patch. (That’s me, anyway!)
KORG’s wireless controllers do support both Mac and Windows, too. (I’ll check if there’s a way to get this working on Linux; I suspect someone ported over Apple’s implementation. I also don’t see Android officially supported, but there’s some version there – or you can just use USB and an OTG cable, in a pinch.)
There are a few features that make the nanoKEY Studio easy to recommend, specifically. Everything is ultra-low-profile, so it’s more optimal for tossing in a backpack. There’s still velocity sensitivity on both the pads and keys, and back lighting for dark situations. But I think what’s especially winning is – not just knobs, but also an X/Y pad (KAOSS style), onboard arpeggiator, scale and chord mapping.
KORG push the notion that this helps when you’re not a skilled keyboardist but – obviously, even if you’ve got years of piano training, on a little controller like this you’re in a different mode.
In fact, I can imagine nanoKONTROL Studio with the new (wired) Novation Launchpad mini would be ideal. The Launchpad mini has input but not anything that works easily as a mixing layout – other than a somewhat crude mode that uses the pads for that, but doesn’t give you continuous control. Both would fit in a slim-line backpack with literally nothing else, for an easy iPad or notebook computer studio.
Or couple the Launchpad mini and nanoKONTROL Studio, because then you can lock individual controllers to particular instruments without swapping (useful!), or separate clip triggering and instrumental playing.
I just personally love being able to work when traveling and to fit live rigs into small spaces.
BOSS has introduced its new wireless personal guitar amplification system Waza-Air, a revolutionary new wearable, over-ear sound system for guitarists. In BOSS Waza tradition, Waza-Air combines decades of expertise with cutting-edge innovation to present a breakthrough musical product that truly pushes the envelope. Melding BOSS’s premium amp, effects, and wireless technologies with dynamic 3D sound […]
A great choice for music lovers, content creators, and gamers, the new PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT and Eris E4.5 BT active media reference monitors deliver the same studio-quality sound and accurate frequency response professional Eris-series studio monitors are known for, in an elegant, compact form ideal for home use. Featuring both Bluetooth and analog connectivity, […]
PreSonus has announced its new Eris HD10BT wireless noise-cancellation headphones, which provide studio-quality audio performance with the mobility and freedom of Bluetooth connectivity. The Eris HD10BT’s 1.57-inch (40 mm) drivers deliver the superior clarity, accurate response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and extended bass you expect from professional studio headphones. Active Noise Canceling (ANC) […]
Grabbing the mouse, keyboard, or other controller while playing an instrument is no fun. Developer Geert Bevin has a solution: put an Apple Watch or (soon) iPhone’s Siri voice command in control.
We’ve been watching MidiWrist evolve over the past weeks. It’s a classic story of what happens when a developer is also a musician, making a tool for themselves. Geert has long been an advocate for combining traditional instrumental technique and futuristic electronic instruments; in this case, he’s applying his musicianship and developer chops to solving a practical issue.
If you’ve got an iPhone but no watch – like me – there are some solutions coming (more on that in a bit). But Apple Watch is really ideally suited to the task. The fact that you have the controller strapped to your body already means controls are at hand. Haptic feedback on the digital crown means you can adjust parameters without even having to look at the display. (The digital crown is the dial on the side of the watch that was used to wind and/or set time on analog watches. Haptic feedback uses sound to give physical feedback in the way a tangible control would, both on that crown and the touch surface of the watch face – what Apple calls “taptic” feedback since it works with the existing touch interface. Even if you’re not a fan of the Apple Watch, it’s a fascinating design feature.)
How this works in practice: you can use the transport and even overdub new tracks easily, here pictured in Logic Pro X:
Just seeing the Digital Crown mapped as a new physical control is a compelling tech demo – and very useful to mobile apps, which tend to lack physical feedback. Here it is in a pre-release demo with the Minimoog Model D on iPhone:
Or here it is with the Eventide H9 (though, yeah, you could just put the pedal on a table and get the same impact):
Here it is with IK Multimedia’s UNO synth, though this rather makes me wish the iPhone just had its own Digital Crown:
Version 1.1 will include voice control via Siri. That’ll work with iPhones, too, so you don’t necessarily need an Apple Watch. With voice-controlled interfaces coming to various home devices, it’s not hard to imagine sitting at home and recording ideas right when the mood strikes you, Star Trek: The Next Generation style.
Geert, please, can we set up a DAW that lets us dictate melodies like this?
It’s a simple app at its core, but you see it really embodies three features: wearable interfaces, hands-free control (with voice), and haptic feedback. And here are lots of options for custom control, MIDI functionality, and connectivity. Check it out – this really is insane for just a watch app:
Four knobs can be controlled with the digital crown
Macro control over multiple synth parameters from the digital crown
Remotely Play / Stop / Record / Rewind your DAW from your Watch
Knobs can be controlled individually or simultaneously
Knobs can be linked to preserve their offsets
Four buttons can be toggled by tapping the Watch
Buttons can either be stateful or momentary
Program changes through the digital crown or by tapping the Watch
Transport control over Midi Machine Control (MMC)
XY pad with individual messages for each axis
Optional haptic feedback for all Watch interactions
Optional value display on the Watch
Configurable colors for all knobs and buttons
Configurable MIDI channels and CC numbers
Save your configurations to preset for easy retrieval
MIDI learn for easy controller configuration
MIDI input to sync the state of the controllers with the controlled synths
Advertise as a Bluetooth MIDI device
Connect to other Bluetooth MIDI devices
Monitor the MIDI values on the iPhone
Low latency and fast response
All of this really does make me want a dedicated DIY haptic device. I had an extended conversation with the engineers at Native Instruments about their haptic efforts with TRAKTOR; I personally believe there’s a lot of potential for human-machine interfaces for music with this approach. But that will depend in the long run on more hardware adopting haptic interfaces beyond just the passive haptics of nice-feeling knobs and faders and whatnot.
It’s a good space to keep an eye on. (I almost wrote “a good space to watch.” No. That’s not the point. You know.)
Geert shares a bit about development here:
Fun anecdote — in a way, this app has been more than three years in the making. I got the first Apple Watch in the hope of creating this, but the technology was way too slow without a direct real-time communication protocol between the Watch and the iPhone. I’ve been watching every Watch release (teehee) up until the last one, the Series 4. The customer reception was so good overall that I decided to give this another go, and only after a few hours of prototyping, I could see that this would now work and feel great. I did buy a Watch Series 3 afterwards also to include in my testing during development.
At the 2019 NAMM Show Roland has announced the FP-10 Digital Piano, a new entry-level instrument with premium sound and playability. The FP-10 features Roland’s acclaimed piano sound and an expressive 88-note weighted-action keyboard, delivering top-tier performance that was previously unavailable in its price class. The instrument’s portable design makes it easy to move, while […]