Tag Archives: Apple

App Review: Circular Breathing by Walter Beasley

There are a TON of Apps available for iOS. One app, Circular Breathing by Walter Beasley caught my eye after I read about it on a website I subscribe to in my RSS feeds.

Ok, lets get the good stuff out of the way before I start tearing the “App” apart. It’s a fairly good tutorial/demo of how to circular breathe.

Now, the bad stuff. And there is a lot. First, there is this FREAKING ANNOYING intro music for everything. It was cool the first time. But the start of EVERY VIDEO has it. The start of the App has it. Seriously Walter…..it is annoying as all hell.

Second, the App is just basically a shell with some videos that are chapter-ized. The there are three buttons and a “home” icon. The home icon takes you to Walter’s website….how thoughtful. The Video takes you to the videos. The Bio presents you with a scrollable text of Walter’s bio. And the More button takes you to a page where he’s pawning his other “App” Sound Production For Saxophone, his Facebook, Twitter, “Home” (website link) and YouTube videos.

Beasley1

Third, the App does not remember where you were. And it does not orientate. And it doesn’t really support iPad (you have to scale it).

 

So, is it worth the $1.99? I guess….I think Walter should have included higher quality video with it (for iPad). But I think he could have just released this as a paid video for $1.99 instead.

I give it 5/10. You can easily find tutorials about circular breathing on YouTube for free that are as informative if not more. And they don’t have the annoying intro.

Logitech Wireless Boombox

Logitech1

I was in need of a portable speaker for teaching and what not. There are SOO many iPhone/iPod/iPad accessories out there, what one to get?

I decided to get the Logitech Wireless Boombox. It has proven that it performs really really well for me. You can pair it wirelessly (bluetooth) to 8 different devices. In theory that works, but it’s a little flakey in my usage of it. My iOS devices frequently forget or can’t connect to it. Luckily it’s really easy to pair it back up again. Or you can use the included adapter cable to run the audio out of your device into the Boombox. Supposedly the sound isn’t as degraded as it is over bluetooth. I didn’t really notice anything between a wired or wireless audio connection.

The Logitech Wireless Boombox has a built in rechargeable battery. It doesn’t add much weight to the device, and supposedly it lasts about 6 hours. Haven’t tested that. Though the sound quality is quite different when running on the battery. The bass goes away, and the overall sound level drops. When the Boombox is plugged into the AC adapter, it sounds AMAZING for it’s size. Great bass, loud, and generally kicking ass. On battery? Meh….it’s OK…..not great, but do-able.

Could you practice with this? Yes, if it is plugged in. Otherwise, it might not really cut it if you are playing some loud sax or something, but you really want it plugged in all the time because it just sounds a lot better. Almost night and day better.

If you are looking for a portable speaker thing, consider this. The wireless one and the one with the dock are essentially the same thing, except the one with the dock is $20 more (and I think last year’s model).

NAMM 2012

There are a lot of interesting things announced at the NAMM show. Here are some of the ones I thought were interesting.

Behringer Pad-housing USB mixers

BehringerMixeriPad

iPad plus mixer? YES!

Premium 32-Input 4/2-Bus Mixer with iPAD Docking Station, XENYX Mic Preamps & Compressors, KLARK TEKNIK Multi-FX Processor, Wireless Option and USB/Audio Interface

Technological Innovation, Seamless Integration The Apple iPad has opened a Pandora’s Box of opportunity for musicians. The iX docking station will send signal both two and from your iPad with a wide range of routing options. Tap into the hundreds of music apps including our own FX Processor that lets you dig deeper into your mic with top-notch EQs, studio-quality compressors and reverbs, plus a spectrum analyzer. With a wide variety to choose from in the app store, you can record to Garage Band, tune and monitor your rig through the room analyzer mic input, and more. The opportunities are endless.

 

Sounds cool to me.

 

Wait, another iPad mixer thing……but from Mackie?

MackieMixeriPad

 

With 16 boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps and the performance of 24bit Cirrus Logic® AD/DA converters, you have unparalleled sound quality. Seamless wired to wireless iPad control means you can mix from anywhere in the venue. This gives you the mobile freedom to control not only the mix, but powerful plug-ins like EQ, dynamics, effects and more. The sleek DL1608 even supports up to 10 iPad devices. Forget bulky consoles and racks of gear. The power is at your fingertips.

 

Wait, wasn’t the iPad just a fad? Hmm…..

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderbolt accessories??

UAD

Apollo offers compatibility with Intel’s new Thunderbolt technology, as found on the newest iMacs, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and next-generation PCs. 
Available via a user-installable dual-port Thunderbolt I/O Option Card (sold separately), Thunderbolt provides lower latency, reduced audio buffer size, improved performance, and greater UAD plug-in instances versus FireWire. And because Thunderbolt offers many times the bandwith of FireWire, it allows music producers to connect numerous devices in series with the Apollo interface — including hard drives, processors, and additional computer monitors — all with fast, flawless performance.

 

 

Apogee1

Symphony 64 | Thunderbolt

64 Channel Thunderbolt connection for Apogee Symphony I/O

 

Connect Symphony I/O to any Thunderbolt™ equipped Mac for true Thunderbolt compatibility and performance. Symphony | 64 Thunderbolt will also connect X-Symphony equipped AD-16X, DA-16X, Rosetta 800 and Rosetta 200 converters to Thunderbolt Macs.

 

Two iPad Goodies

There are a lot of accessories out for the iPad that a musician can use. Two that have caught my attention. The Digitech iPB-10 which slashgear had a review of

This week the the DigiTech iPB-10 has been revealed, a digital pedalboard which will allow your iPad to play host to several music pedals at once. Inside with your iPad running the official app for this device as its plugged into the device itself, you’ll have access to 87 different pedals, 54 amplifiers, and 26 cabinets, all at a flick of your finger. What more could you want? And don’t say a DJ station, because that’s separate, and we’ve done that before as well — read on for guitar iPad action!

iPB10

This thing sounds awesome if you are a guitar player or a EWI effects addict (raises hand meekly). Except…..$499. Though it sounds like it works without the iPad in it, so, you could have presets all ready and not have to put the iPad in there. This thing also has it’s own DSP chips so the quality of sound and perhaps latency might be better. But still…..maybe $299 would be a better price point?

 

The second piece of gear is the Alesis iO Dock. This thing is $199, and has phantom powered mic inputs, quarter inch outputs, pedal input, headphones. And it works with Garageband, so you can record or whatever you want on it. This sounds amazing and is on my Christmas list this year. XLR inputs means you should be able to hook your sax up and start using effects with this baby.

By the way, Garageband is a MUST HAVE iPhone/iPad/iTouch app. It works on all three now. $5.

Uniquesquared.com had an excellent review of it using Garageband.

A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs

In case you haven’t noticed, I am insanely interested in Steve Jobs. This man was amazing. I really……really wanted to bump into him someday. Just to say hi. And thanks for the fish…..I mean, cool stuff. Life changing stuff. World changing stuff. iPod. Mac. iPad. iPhone. Computers that run without the need for virus protection. I could go on all day.

Steve’s sister had some amazing words and stories about him….

A Sister’s Eulogy of Steve Jobs:

Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.

By then, I lived in New York, where I was trying to write my first novel. I had a job at a small magazine in an office the size of a closet, with three other aspiring writers. When one day a lawyer called me — me, the middle-class girl from California who hassled the boss to buy us health insurance — and said his client was rich and famous and was my long-lost brother, the young editors went wild. This was 1985 and we worked at a cutting-edge literary magazine, but I’d fallen into the plot of a Dickens novel and really, we all loved those best. The lawyer refused to tell me my brother’s name and my colleagues started a betting pool. The leading candidate: John Travolta. I secretly hoped for a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than I, someone brilliant without even trying.

Good stuff.

The Convergence of Owning Music and Renting Music

Digital Audio insider had an article up about Renting and Owning music. I wrote some comments on the site that basically say no, I don’t see it happening. People have been saying this since Napster was out. Heck, Rhapsody has been offering this for a long time…..streaming music. Pandora has been doing it for a few years. And now everyone is excited that Spotify (what a stupid name….as stupid as FaceBook…ugh) is in the US. Renting your music just has never taken off.

I certainly don’t see it happening now that AT&T, and Verizon have capped data usage on mobile devices. Oh, but the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile will fix that right (Bullshit!). And they all now cap your internet usage at home (Time-Warner & U-Verse is capped at 250 gigs a month and so are others). So….that is another hurdle for streaming to contend with.

Basically, I like free things that let me FIND music I like. Like Pandora or a PodCast. I LOVE PodCasts. Single best way to find new albums or even hear great things for free.

Then I will buy that song for $0.99 and own it. No re-occuring monthly fee. It’s mine.

 

The Convergence of Owning Music and Renting Music:

for rent sign image by TheTruthAbout via Flickr

Earlier in the week, Hypebot pointed to this eMarketer summary of two recent studies about consumer attitudes about owning music vs. renting it:

The first of the two studies was a survey conduced by Insight Research Group on behalf of eMusic that revealed the widely noted insight that 91% of those polled preferred to own music rather than subscribing to it.

There are real differences, both logistical and psychological, between owning and renting music. But I’ll bet that the preference for ownership will decrease as the listening experience for “owned” and “rented” music converges. If you’re using a website or app to listen to music on your computer or portable device, where the files are coming — your hard drive, your cloud drive, or the server of a music subscription service — doesn’t have much effect on your listening experience. And a year from now, even more people will be using Spotify, iTunes Match, Amazon’s Cloud Player, Google Music, and other services to listen to music. The more they do, the more willing they’ll be to forgo actual ownership.

 

(Via Digital Audio Insider)

Ten Years Ago Today: iPod

Ten Years Ago Today: iPod:’

Apple’s iPod, a 6.5-ounce MP3 player the size of a deck of cards, is one of the most exciting products to come from Apple in years. Powered by FireWire, the iPod can hold as much as 5GB of data, providing a compelling balance of size and capacity. However, this combination of features comes at a relatively high price: $399.

(Via Daring Fireball)

 

Hard to believe, but 10 years ago today was when Apple unveiled the first iPod. It was an unusual move. Apple was known for Computers and operating systems, not music a consumer good like an MP3 player. Boy, did Apple come in and change everything. Perhaps some of you don’t remember the players before the iPod. It was by far the smallest one as I remember, but it was the one that nailed how to do things. It was fast with it’s firewire interface (USB 1 was still the de-facto standard in the PC industry), and simple with iTunes 2 as the computer to device interface.

I remember being sort of “why the heck would you want that” about it. I mean, it was kind of expensive, and I didn’t see the point of it when I could burn a CD or CD-RW of songs to listen to. Yeah…..and then I got the second generation iPod…..and that opinion of mine changed and I immediately ripped all my CDs…..which took MONTHS to do, into AAC 160 format. And I have never…..ever…..looked back.

Top Ten reasons how Steve Jobs accomplishments have changed Music Education.

Some interesting things. I think the biggest accomplishment is making it accessible, easy, and legal. Accessible in that you can now find all sorts of music in iTunes. And sample them. And buy them easily and legally. And he (and Apple) also made music accessible by bundling GarageBand with Macs……for free. GarageBand is a great little recording program, and tutorial program for Guitar and Piano. PLUS…..there is the iPad. Which you can now take just about your whole library of sheet and audio music with you. Anywhere. And now with iCloud, you can have access to just about everything you own (up to I think 30K songs) via the internet.

Remember the Microsoft’s entry into Music? Yeah, me either…..Thanks Steve Jobs!

Top Ten reasons how Steve Jobs accomplishments have changed Music Education.:

Written by Larry Marra of musicteachers911.com
I know that many of you mourn the passing of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers.

I would like to take just a moment to reflect on how his contributions to music education have affected Music Education over the last 30 years.

Here’s what teaching music was like for me in 1976 (before computers).

1. I would write and arrange music by hand with an ink pen on staff paper.

2. I taught general music with chalk and record player.

3. I would have to wind the metronome before checking tempos

4. I created letters on a manual typewriter and used white-out instead of the delete key.

5. I carried a pocket calendar from the bank and a miniature golf pencil around for scheduling.

(Via Music Education Magic)

5 Ways Steve Jobs Changed Music

Steve Jobs changed a lot of things, including music. Thanks Steve!

5 Ways Steve Jobs Changed Music | Complex:

By putting the interests of artists and fans above those of executives and corporate shareholders, Steve Jobs turned the music industry power structure upside down. Every artist, producer, DJ or blogger who leverages their own creative resources and energy against all odds follows in his footsteps. #ThankYouSteve.
He always told people to listen to their heart and follow what they loved. "You can't connect the dots looking forward," Jobs once said, "you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

(Via www.complex.com)

Steve Jobs Dies

111005 steve jobs1

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

 

Edit: I think comedian Patton Oswalt said it best.

NewImage

Band in a Box 2011

PG Music has updated their awesome program, Band in A Box to the 2011 version. The main new features are:

  • More natural sounding real tracks over various tempos (ie: better pitch stretching and compressing technology)
  • Takes up less space (I haven’t been brave enough yet to try this on my install of Band in a Box yet)
  • Multistyles and Change of individual RealTracks. So you can pick your favorite parts of RealTracks and put them all together or have the style change midstream.
  • Scales Wizard which is great for students of Jazz

The basic look and feel of the program is the same, which if you love it, then all is well in the universe, and if you think the circa 1991 look sucks then….well….it’s going to suck. I think PG Music really needs to hire an interface specialist and completely overhaul the look of the program. Functionality wise, it is amazing. But a LOT of things could be better, like the Preferences area (please PG Music, look at like Digital Performer or even FINALE on how to clean up the Preferences), or just navigating the program in general. I know the program’s roots are from the Atari ST days, but the whole concept of GUI is different now, and PG Music still doesn’t seem to get it.

Take for example the new Mixer. While it is very nice to have a mixer, it is completely backwards. And there are 5 tabs to access the features, where a smart design could have put them all in ONE spot. And left right for volume? The only program I use that has that is Garageband. A standard DAW type mixer where there are UP DOWN volume, knobs for panning and tone, a pop up level thing for reverb. And it always wants to be the top window. DAWs like Digital Performer or even ProTools let you the mixer behind other windows.

Things like this drive me mad. I mentioned the whole mixer thing several times in the Beta test, and nothing happened. *Sigh*

Band in a Box is still a program without equal though. The complaints about interface quirks don’t tarnish the program. As a musician, you’d be foolish NOT to own this program with ALL the RealTracks. Once you hear it, and use it, you won’t be going back to your Aebersold play-alongs.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10. More features, smaller footprint for the RealTracks, generally faster than the previous version, more RealTracks, more options. All great additions to an already great program. 0.5 deducted for PG Music still not fixing strange things in the interface or just cleaning it up. Though, this program still runs FINE on my 2006 iMac as well as my MacPro.

PS, I HIGHLY recommend getting the Hard Drive versions. Since downloading the program can take hours, and several 10s of gigabytes. A lot of ISPs are now capping your monthly allocation as well (Comcast, and now AT&T). PLUS, getting it on a hard drive means you can RUN it from there or have it as a backup.

Talkin’ ’Bout i(Pod) Generation

San Francisco Classical Voice had a great article about the iPod Generation
“The iPod (and, by extension, iTunes) not only revolutionized the world’s listening habits early in the last decade, expanding the sheer variety of music people listen to; it also changed the manner in which people think of and hear music. It’s true that not everyone has an iPod (or an iPhone or an MP3 player of some sort), but virtually everyone understands its significance. The device holds music that fits in your pocket, offering you an easy way to listen to vastly different things, even a way to juxtapose and to mash-up music or sounds that would normally seem as far apart as a Formula One racecar and a pony.

The most significant musical inventions from Apple’s iPod (and, by extension, iTunes) are the shuffle, the mashup, and the playlist.”

I think the author left out Music Hoarding…..I think that is a huge contribution to music. You now don’t have to look for an album in your collection, it’s there. And as your collection grows, it is invaluable to hear 20 versions of “Impressions” or “Giant Steps”. Playlists are nice, the mashup can be fun, and shuffling has its place but hoarding is where it is at. That is the wondrous thing Steve Jobs and the iPod brought us.

Thanks Steve……now lets create a playlist of a mashup of everything that has the word blues in it……ahhh, 5,568 songs? I guess we shall be using the shuffle on this…..

Best Practices For Preparing Music for an iPad

I spent most of new years day going through binders and either scanning or shredding (sometimes both) music I have. I was amazed at how many binders of things I had, and a LOT of it consisted of my II-V patterns and various exercises I wrote for myself.

Anyhow, if I had the finale file to something I had in the binder, I shredded the paper version and proceeded to tweak the finale file to better take advantage of the iPad. Here is what I learned.

First, you can make the margins practically nothing. In one version of my II-V patterns I have it formatted for a double sided printer so whatever side the holes are to be on, it is 0.5″ from the end of the page on the right and 0.75 on the left (to allow for holes). On an iPad, you can set that to 0.1 all around. The results are quite stunning.

Standard Page with 0.5 Margins

Page with 0.1 Margins on Right and Left

Second, I was able to enlarge the size of the music with 0.1 margins. The result is a page that takes advantage of the iPad’s display, and is easier to read than the pain Jane dumping a standard page to PDF to iPad. So, a note to all you people providing stuff out on the web and who are iPad or Tablet enthusiasts…..you need to reformat your PDFs. It doesn’t take much, and in Finale it was simply making a new Part and then tweaking the layout. About 3 to 5 minutes of work for something that looks a lot better.

Here are the patterns formatted for iPad. I will be doing a mass update of files to include iPad versions. Enjoy.

  Random II-V Patterns - Bb (iPad) (4.9 MiB, 78 hits)
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