New Gear: October 2011

Concept: Console digital piano with hammer-action keyboard.


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Concept:Console digital piano with hammer-action keyboard.
Big deal:Eight stereo sounds including grand, upright, EP, strings, and organ. CD or MP3 connection through 1/8" stereo input lets you play along with favorite songs. Splittable keyboard and included sustain pedal. Can connect to iPad via Apple USB adapter.
We think:At this price, Alesis could have a hit on their hands in the home digital piano market.
List: $699 | Aprox. street: $500 |

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Concept:Compact CoreMIDI interface for iOS that connects any MIDI device to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

Big deal:Three MIDI ports. External MIDI control for sound modules, DAWs, and lighting systems. Micro USB port keeps you powered during long sessions. Includes mobile version of SampleTank. 

We think:Enough iOS MIDI interfaces are turning up that it’s beginning to feel like roundup time. Stay tuned. . . .
$69.99 |

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Concept:Portable, personal arranger keyboard.

Big deal:Can load samples for voices and drums, and make them available from Flash memory without reloading on power-up. Offers MegaVoice (articulation) enhanced Styles found on higher-end Yamaha arrangers. Nine non-Western scales.

We think:There’s a good deal of musical muscle here, and you can take it anywhere.

$649 |


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Concept:Audio/MIDI interface with USB hub.
Big deal:Four inputs on XLR combo jacks. Phantom power switchable in pairs. Records at 24 bits and sample rates of 44.1–96 kHz. Three USB type A ports in addition to computer (type B) connection. Cool VU meters.
We think:
We love the retro look and the extra USB ports to connect MIDI controllers, copy protection keys, and the like. We’ll let you know about the sound when we try one.
$TBD |

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Concept:Micro-size multitrack recorder—lots of power in your pocket.
Big deal:Eight tracks, each with eight virtual take tracks. Built-in dual condenser mics, plus eBand mode for learning licks, play-along, or onstage backing tracks. Includes 1GB SD card but supports cards up to 32GB. Bundled with Cakewalk Sonar X1 LE.
We think:We let our summer intern have first crack at it. He disappeared, then showed up at the end of the day and said, “This is the coolest freakin’ thing ever.”
$299 |

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Concept:Sampling drum pedal—a whole percussion kit in a box.
Big deal:Ten sound options, including kick and cowbell. Stereo or mono output.
We think:
“More cowbell” with the touch of a toe? Yes, please.
List: $335 | Approx. street: $199.99 |

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Concept:Digital mixer for live performance or recording.
Big deal:
Compact. Eight mono input channels and four stereo channels; 12 Class-A solid-state mic preamps. Built-in DSP effects. Remote control via iPad.
We think:
The bigger StudioLive mixers sound great and are the easiest digital mixers to use we know. Now they have a little brother for smaller studios and combos.
List: $1,599 | Approx. street: $1,299 |


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Concept:Collection of three music-making tools: the T-Pain Engine, the T-Pain Effect, and iDrum: T-Pain Edition, all of which bring the Pain to your track.
Big deal:Make beats, record vocals, arrange patterns, and upload tracks easily to SoundCloud. Add subtle or intentionally exaggerated pitch correction, just like T-Pain. Play the virtual drum machine preloaded with hundreds of sounds.
We think:However you feel about T-Pain or his vocals, this collection is inexpensive, intuitive, and . . . well . . . hella fun.
$99 |