January 2, 2011
|Jamming out with the iTrumpet|
The MediaMine crew dusted off our overalls, put down our pickaxes, and decided to do our mining from sunny Southern California instead of the frozen tundra of the rocky Northeast, trawling January�s NAMM show for new apps, books, and videos. The trip was rewarding, and not only because we managed to score some free food and drink along the way. Apps are everywhere�mostly for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, thanks to those devices� ability to handle audio without latency. And they�re as varied as the ways people write, produce, and market their music.
Many of the apps we saw were related to music software that already exists on regular computers: guitar simulators and software instruments that we�ve already covered. There were, however, a few that were unique both in terms of content and interface, using the touch screen in ways that make jockeying a mouse or track pad seem about as appealing as making your own butter from a cow that hasn�t even been milked yet.
The iTrumpet from Spoonjack (spoonjack.com) lets you "play" a sampled trumpet using an interface that mimics the buttons and valves of the real thing. With an iPhone, you can hold the instrument in similar fashion to a real trumpet, and emulate the performance of a real player�it makes a difference in the authenticity of the sound compared to using a traditional keyboard controller. It�s the company�s second product; the first, iBone, is�you guessed it�a trombone emulator.
Agile Partners� Guitar Tool Kit (agilepartners.com) is the latest in a growing list of guitar products for the iPad. It includes a number of modules, including amplifier and effects simulation from Peavey, but our favorite was the TabToolKit, which lets users store and view music in tablature. Cymbal manufacturer Zildjian has a cool drum-set simulator called the 16 Gen Groove Player that can play MIDI files (available on iTunes) or trigger drum sounds from the iPad or iPhone�s touch screen (zildjian.com). Just don�t try playing it with sticks!
Interactive Blueprints� (interactiveblueprints.com) MIDI Player 2.0 lets users play and control MIDI files, which can be useful if you want to store your own backing tracks or, say, practice singing while you�re driving around town. Guitarists might want to check out PocketLabWorks iRiffPort, which offers an interface that can handle a 1/4" audio jack. The company also makes guitar and bass amp simulation apps (pocketlabworks.com). Apps weren�t the only new media at the show. Among the excellent new books and DVDs on display was Alfred�s Teach Yourself Mixing by David Terry, a practical guide for beginners that is well-suited to home studios. On a less technologicial level, Hal Leonard continues to expand on its collection of legal Real Books with five new titles covering jazz, rock, blues, bluegrass, and Dixieland (Halleonard.com).