Posts Tagged Music
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPhone 5
Integration with iPad/iPhone Rating:
Hardware Design Rating:
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IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly.
The manufacturer offers the free version of iGrand Piano or SampleTank, both IK Multimedia, as the apps to use with the iRig Keys, but this unit will work with any MIDI app on the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. It comes with an included USB cable to plug into a Mac or PC as well, opening up the use of any core MIDI compliant app on a laptop. I was able to make the keyboard work with iGrand, SampleTank, and GarageBand. The setup was as simple as plugging in the keyboard via the 30-pin dock connector and firing up any one of the keyboard apps on my iPad 3. I didn’t notice a significant battery drain while using the iRig Keys unit, either.
The small size of the iRig Keys is the killer feature, of course, as it can easily fit into a backpack or even just carried by hand. It’s small, light, and the controls and keyboard keys all feel well-made. The keys are indeed velocity sensitive, and the handy data send/volume knob feels solidly attached. The octave up/down buttons don’t feel chintzy at all, and the two expression wheels don’t wobble when used. All in all, the iRig Keys shows a superior build quality that should help it hold up over time as it moves from place to place, in and out of backpacks and shoulder bags.
For on-the-go composition, song recording, or piano practice, iRig Keys works well for an attractive price. The unit is powered by the included iOS or USB cables, but does not draw excessive amounts of power to drain the iPad or iPhone attached to it. The keys are easy to play, feel solid enough for mobile use, and will allow musicians at any level to create and record music as inspiration strikes.
Your computer is a powerful piece of technology, and it usually has a lot of storage space on it, enough to store band discographies that you’ve never even listened to one track off of. Your phone and tablet are great mobile devices, but they’re also great for listening to music and watching videos while at home. So, you’re sitting on your couch or laying in bed, and want to listen to that one album from that band that you’ve never really listened to all the way through. However, you’re too lazy to get up to your computer to actually put it on there. Or maybe you downloaded season 5 of Breaking Bad but your storage space is best measured in kilobyes, not gigabytes. If only there was a way to stream the media from iTunes to your iOS device!
Well, there is, and it’s called iTunes Home Streaming. This streams media from an iTunes library over a local wi-fi network to any iOS device.
Set it up on iTunes first. Log in with the Apple ID of your choosing – it’s best if this is the same Apple ID that was initially set up on the device, and is logged in to iCloud, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be. To manage the Apple ID that is logged in to Home Sharing, go to Settings -> Music or Video and tap Apple ID.
To access music from a local iTunes library, go to the Music app. Tap More, Shared, the name of your iTunes library (configurable from iTunes’s preferences), and then the standard music listings will instead show what is available from the remote library, which can then stream the music to your iOS device.
Now here’s the kicker: it also works for video. As long as the video in the iTunes library is compatible with iOS, then it will play. DRM-protected content purchased from iTunes plays back via Home Sharing too. These videos can also be streamed from AirPlay to an Apple TV. It’s the ultimate in high technology being used for new levels of laziness.
Now, the only real downside to Home Sharing is that it only works over local wi-fi. There are plenty of ways to stream music and video over the internet, but that would fill up a completely different article. Until then, enjoy using thousands of dollars of technology to stream video to TV without getting up to your computer.
EMI Records offers jazz aficionados and newcomers to the genre a tour of Blue Note Records classic catalog. It's cool, man... but it's only free to browse. You'll have to spend real dough to chill with full tracks.
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Regular commuters will know that driving can get pretty dull and tedious. Sure, you can turn the radio on but even that can turn uninteresting after a time. What you need is a sense of being part of an epic adventure, right? In which case, backing Mission: Escape might be exactly what you’re after.
Currently in development and in need of Kickstarter backers, Mission: Escape is the brainchild of Fernando Macias-Jimenez. Recently graduated from the California State University in Chico, California, Fernando is a young composer with a passion for writing music to a set scene.
Recently, while driving through Chico and listening to David Arnold’s Quantum of Solace soundtrack, he realised something.
“I was driving about 30 miles per hour and I was pretty much alone in the street, yet the music suddenly gave me this rush of thrill and made me feel like I was in an action movie, with people chasing me and so on. The feeling was so vivid that it made me say out loud to myself “wow, that was awesome”. A few days later I though, “wouldn’t it be awesome to have something that would take that feeling one step further and REACT to how you are driving so that the music doesn’t seem arbitrary and generic, but customized to what you are doing at the moment?”"
Fernando then joined together with others and came up with some great ideas and features, eventually leading to the creation of Mission: Escape.
The music is set to be 100% original with the focus on being “very epic” and “very fun”. The app will react according to situations such as if you’re waiting at a stop light, it’ll turn calm and serene, while once acceleration kicks in, the music will turn more cinematic and exciting. Sound effects of enemies and messages from “home base” will also be included. It sounds thrilling but what of the safety aspect? Surely, it could turn things risky?
Fernando explains, “The speed limit is definitely a big one since it’s the most obvious to cause problems. This also happens to be one of the “easier” ones to implement to some extent. Others, such as overtaking, are a bit more difficult to determine. However, we are trying to develop a security system that will try to gauge if the driver is driving recklessly and will advice the user to stop doing so or it will shut down the application. The way we would do this would be by detecting aggressive actions such as harsh acceleration, hard stopping, extra sharp turning or movement (changing lanes too fast), among other things. The iPhone will easily give us information when a user is doing something like that. The only thing to do is to create a balance point so that the security system only works when the user is actually driving recklessly and not because of something else,” with the plan for plenty of testing and development to ensure it works well and in the right scenario.
Fernando was also keen to point out that safety will take priority alongside such exciting thrills.
It all sounds pretty intriguing to me and certainly an unique way of using such technology. Check out the Hands-on demo video below as well as the Mission: Escape Kickstarter page. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the app’s development.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
We’ve told you about this app before, but wanted to remind you that the iTunes Festival is well underway. You can watch concerts streamed from London every day this month (P.S. Jack White with Band of Horses is on Saturday)
Michael Jackson may be gone, but if Michael Jackson The Experience is any indication, it seems that his music and his legacy will be with us forever. After showing up on every platform from the Wii to the PSP to the iPad, Ubisoft’s rhythm game tribute to the world’s favorite smooth criminal has now arrived on the iPhone. Luckily, this mobile version comes with a few new reasons for players to not stop until they get enough.
While the game retains the iPad version’s rhythm gameplay, the input system where players “draw a series of shapes with their fingers according to the beat and choreography of the Michael Jackson avatar” has been adapted for the smaller screen. The game also includes two new, exclusive songs: “Leave Me Alone” and “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” The rest of the soundtrack consists of “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Speed Demon,” and “Blood on the Dance Floor.” More songs can also be purchased in-game.
Remember the time, on the go. Michael Jackson The Experience for iPhone is available now for $2.99 on the App Store.
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Games
Mumford & Sons, one of my favorite bands, has an official app, of course, this being the age of the smartphone.
Users can read up-to-date news from the band and check out posts from signed-up members of the app as well as from the band itself. Gentleman of the Road users can also find upcoming shows and venues, read posts from Mumford & Sons’ Facebook page, see profiles of other members of the app, and then browse and (obviously) buy music from within the app, though it only links straight to the iTunes Music store.
In addition, there’s a music player which will scan your iPhone for Mumford & Sons tracks you already own. Users can also write messages and include audio, video, photos in them, ostensibly to share Mumford & Sons concerts and sightings in real life.
Posts can be rated and then sorted with rating, highest viewed, and newest posts filters in the Wall and News sections, both accessed on the bottom tab bar.
Gentlemen of the Road is free, out now, and available in the App Store. If you’re any kind of Mumford & Sons fan, you should probably check it out right now.
Released: 2012-07-25 :: Category: Music
Music fans should appreciate new live music discovery app, Thrillcall.
The app offers the means in which to search for, discover and purchase concert tickets and other exclusive offers, all in the space of a few clicks.
Users can check out the latest music listings for major cities, as well as browse and buy local show offers that only appear briefly. These show offers give users exclusive access to some of the best concerts out there. Users, unfamiliar with certain acts, can listen to audio previews of artists to see if it suits their taste.
In each case, it’s possible to share live music offerings with friends so it’s simple to arrange an impromptu night out to check out new gigs. A built-in map, also, ensures it’s clear to see exactly where each live event happens to be located.
The flash concert offers are only currently available in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, but it’ll be spreading to Chicago and Seattle soon.
Thrillcall is out now and is free to download.
Plenty of people dream of becoming musicians but few realize just how hard that life can be. To break through, aspiring musicians must not only be good at their art but also know the right people so they can have a chance to show off just how good they are. With Musicr, musicians are now able to connect and share with each other like never before.
The app is basically a social network for musicians. Users can search for fellow artists with whatever skills they are looking for. Whether it’s a local drummer to help fill out a jazz band or someone to explain just how an accordion works, users can connect with them on Musicr. Amateur rock stars can also showcase their own talents and share how far they are progressing in their careers through text, photos, or other social networks. It’s all about bringing performers together so that they can give each other much needed help and exposure.
Make some new musical friends and be a part of the world wide jam session. Musicr is available now for free on the App Store.
Released: 2012-07-25 :: Category: Social Networking
Looking for some fellow musicians to jam with? Or perhaps it’s time to really get together that Afrikaans metal band together, for real? That’s what musicr is designed to do: bring local musicians together. Users can fill out a musical profile that shows their interests and musical proficiencies, like what instruments they play. Then, they can find other people with smilar interests who play other instruments to help get a band together, or people who play the same instruments to practice with and get tips, or just some cool folks to jam out with.
The app also serves as a great vehicle for self-promotion. Share photos of instruments and setups to wow friends and other users on the service, or even just to prove that yes, you do own a 12-string guitar. Use status updates share info on upcoming gigs, or to say how that song is coming along, or anything music-related.
The app is coming soon to the App Store.