Is it a guitar? Is it a piano? Nope, it is a crazy iPhone-powered combination of both. Plus it has a built in bass, violin and drum machine to boot. The Artiphon Instrument 1 looks something like a medieval lute, but with a smart phone jammed into its belly.
In 2008 the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition was established to showcase and recognize the invention of new musical instruments. Commenting on the Artiphon Instrument 1, Gil Weinberg, organizer of the competition and director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, said: “In general, I’m a big believer in using the capabilities of smart phones to power novel hardware. The ‘brain’ of such devices is already in your pocket, so why not use it?
Which got me to thinking….is it possible to take what I think is a severally crippled Akai USB EWI, and use an iPhone as the synth/controller? Hmmm…..
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).
“For a limited time, we have reduced our price on iStroboSoft to 99 cents! No promotion code needed. Visit the App Store to purchase.
Peterson Strobe Tuners popular StroboSoft tuning application for the iPod touch and iPhone. iStroboSoft™ offers the unmatched accuracy of a mechanical strobe tuner for the highest degree of precision available in a software tuning application.
Plug in and tune your electrics and acoustics quickly and easily with 1/10th cent accuracy. (External mic required for iPod touch.)
Peterson Tuners has offered tuning solutions for over 60 years and is the only company specializing in hardware and software tuning products for all levels of musicians.”
Ok, now this guy is rocking technology. He’s using a Yamaha WX 5, TouchOSC and an open source program called PureData. Just watching this opens up a LOT of interesting ideas. Like using the TouchOSC to control loops, or change patches, or apply filters, or…….the things are endlessly possible.
Yes, the iPhone/iTouch is amazing. 100,000+ Apps. A lot for free. There are a few diamonds in the ruff, and this one is looking like another find.
RelativePitch is an an iTouch/iPhone app that will drill you on intervals. There is a lite version of it as well. The interface is OK, but I have a few complaints about it. The application does not, at least in the lite version, allow you to vary the root note. Maybe the full version does this, I dunno. Second, the intervals are always UP, as in root then the note above. Down would be a great thing to have in this app as well. Perhaps the full version does it. It would be simple enough to add in an update.
The price? $7.99. Forget that. If the developer knocked it down to $1.99, maybe. You’d be better off searching the web for various free trainers, like http://www.trainear.com/. Hopefully someone will do a better version for the iTouch/iPhone soon. Or a cheaper version. $7.99. Come on people!
The Apple iPhone/iTouch software market is amazing. Games, tuners (like the great Strobe tuner). Even AutoTune things like I Am T-Pain.
Now, there is the Pitch Primer for the platform. It is amazing. Transcription tool? Sure it could be. Amazing practice tool? YES! Amazing idea? YES! It is easiest to see a demo of it. Things that I’d like it to do would be EXPORT the audio you recorded (several other iPhone/iTouch programs can do this). And it would be killer if it would export things as a midi file. Or Music XML file.
If you don’t know what a strobe tuner is, check out this wikipedia entry. I have had a Peterson Virtual Strobe tuner since 2001. It is annoying accurate, but not really something you can take out on a gig. It is large. And stuffing it into your gig bag isn’t really an option. I have mine mounted on my stand in my studio.
Back to the iTouch/iPhone version. Putting the two on a stand together, and trying to tune, both strobe tuners pretty much work the same. You try to get it to stop moving. The hardware version is a little more smooth in its motions, and iTouch/iPhone version is a tad jerky, but not really anything to complain about. In fact, the iTouch/iPhone version didn’t get confused as to what note I was playing. The hardware Strobe tuner sometimes things I’m tuning to an F when I’m really doing a concert D. I’ll see about making a little video showing them in action.
Bottom line. If you have an iTouch (second Generation) or an iPhone, the Strobe Tuner is well worth it.
10 out of 10. I’d say it is perfect.
UPDATE:My assistant Beaker (Matt) and I did a real simple little video of my original VS1 and the iPhone app. Enjoy
I’ll admit I am an unabashed Apple fan. I do use a PC for menial tasks like generating Band in a Box backgrounds, or to download some Bittorrent stuff. Anyhow, when the iPhone came out, I got one within the first week. It has been amazing. Then they opened up the OS on the iPhone (and iPod Touch) to developers……which has lead to something like 10,000 applications, of which about 40 some (mostly free) have found a home on my iPhone.
Enter JAM. Jam is a very interesting product from some blokes down under. Think Aebersold, but better. You buy JAM for $9.99, and you get 5 “Cassettes” (I guess CDs haven’t made it down under yet?). Each Cassette has an interface something like this You can control the volume of each instrument, or mute it. Or mute multiple tracks. The tracks are played by real musicians (no Band in a Box here), just like most all of the Aebersold volumes.
Is this a perfect application? It is close. One thing it really needs is a slider to let you fast forward or rewind the song. Also, pitch shifting, speeding up or down, and looping would be nice. There is no reason why it couldn’t do it, as the iPhone/iTouch can run some pretty impressive games.
The Developers who were kind enough to send me a free be of the program said that they are working on some (or perhaps all) of these for a future update. That would be great. I’d also like to see them add the ability to make your own tracks and have them be able to be loaded into the program (like an Open Jam or something).
If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, and want some new backgrounds to practice with, JAM is something to look at. 8/10 (2 points deducted for no ability to rewind or fast forward the songs or even pausing them…..which is kind of important).
Unless you have been living in a cave for the last week, you know that the new version of the iPhone is out. The iPhone 3G. The other thing that is out is new software for previous iPhone/iPod Touch owners. The new version of the system software supports applications. There are lots of games and stuff out. But there are TWO music ones that are worth a look.
The first one is Karajan Beginner. Theory trainer and stuff. There is a paid version of this as well which I imagine expands on the drills.
The second one is GuitarToolkit. Yes, it is more geared towards guitar players, but the tuner and the metronome are excellent. I thought it was a good $10 spend for a tuner and metronome, though it would be nice if you flipped the iPhone over, it would flip the tuner over. Perhaps the next version.