Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

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Eminem sues his own record label

February 25, 2009

Eminem sues his own record label

Eminem

Eminem: has royalty issues.

Eminem’s Relapse album might be set to be released via Universal Music, but a new lawsuit suggests that all is not completely well between artist and record company.

It’s being reported that F.B.T. Productions, Eminem’s publishing company, is suing Universal Music Group for $1.6m for unpaid digital royalties.

The case has come about because of a disagreement over whether a download sale – of a song or ringtone, for example – should fall under a licensing or distribution agreement. When music is sold in a physical format, it’s said to be licensed, and artists receive a higher royalty.

However, it seems that Universal has up to now been putting Eminem’s digital sales under the distribution header, meaning that he’s been paid less.

The trial is expected to feature several high-profile testimonies, including one (via video) from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who’s currently on leave of absence from the company. He’ll be asked to speak about the iTunes Music Store’s relationship with Universal, presumably.

It’s being speculated that a victory for Eminem could be the catalyst for other artists to bring similar cases against record labels.

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Apogee Dumps Windows, Tells Users Macs are Better

February 25, 2009

Maybe it was aesthetically incompatible with ugly PCs.

Apogee Electronics has just announced they’ve dropped support development for Windows. Now, that’s their prerogative – not least because customers who prefer using Windows can simply choose to buy their competitors’ products. But in a press release entitled “Apogee Discontinues Windows Support,” “Apogee Discontinues Windows Development,” Apogee decides to tell you why, if you’re using Windows, you’re using an inferior platform.

Correction: Apogee just sent an updated press release.

ATTENTION ALL RECIPIENTS: Correction to Apogee’s most recent press release titled “Apogee Discontinues Windows Support”.

IMMEDIATE: Please revise headline to read “Apogee Discontinues Windows Development”

Apogee Electronics will no longer develop products for the Microsoft Windows platform. Apogee has made this decision in order to focus all research, development, and support resources on the Apple platform with its unparalleled power and stability. Apple offers a wide range of affordable, powerful desktop and laptop solutions ideally suited for music creation and audio production.

This comes as no surprise, as Apogee’s interface line has already focused on the Mac. And, honestly, maybe that’s a good thing; the added focus could benefit Apogee as a small, boutique vendor.

More helpful advice if you are using Windows:

Windows users can obtain the Apogee sound by connecting Apogee converters to their Windows-compatible audio interface via AES, optical, or S/PDIF. Apogee technical support will continue to support legacy Windows configurations installed on Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Well, of course, that’s correct: if you’re just using Apogee for their converters, you can connect to Linux or FreeBSD or an Amiga or whatever you like, provided the audio interface itself has digital ins and drivers on your OS of choice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Apogee is free to do what they want. It also doesn’t speak well for Windows – it’s a vote against Windows as a platform and the costs of developing for and supporting it. But locking yourself to one platform has dangers, too. Apogee invested a lot of time and resources into supporting their Duet FireWire interface, only to see Apple drop FireWire from their non-Pro MacBook line.

Anecdotally and statistically (in surveys and server logs), we see about 40-50% of you using Windows. So, whatever Apogee’s opinion of the Mac platform’s merits, I don’t see this as making that market any less relevant. In fact, I expect the handful of vendors paying attention to Linux, too, could have an edge as platforms evolve over the coming years. Apogee may be better off focusing on the Mac, but that leaves some opportunities for those vendors supporting PCs.

Source: createdigitalmusic

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GarageBand ’09: An in Depth Look

February 13, 2009

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Make and learn music with the latest GarageBand

Unless you have an active interest in producing podcasts or creating a musical score, it’s likely you’ve opened GarageBand once and then never bothered with it again. Of all the programs that make up the iLife suite, none is more overlooked than this application. And, given its original focus, that’s not too surprising. Making music requires a skill not common in the general population of computer users.

Lessons are well presented and move quickly toward learning songs; multiple views in lessons; guitar amps and stomp boxes are intuitively presented and sound good; Magic GarageBand supports recording; interface reorganization makes it easier to locate features.

No MIDI control of stomp boxes; can’t have more than one GarageBand project open at a time; no improvement in notation printing from last version.

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And so, with each version, Apple tries to explore a different angle, hoping to bring in a new audience for GarageBand. Two versions ago, with GarageBand 3 (), it was podcasting. In GarageBand ’08 (), Apple introduced Magic GarageBand, a feature that allows you to jam along with a canned band. With GarageBand ’09, the new lure is guitar and piano lessons—nine basic lessons for budding musicians as well as a handful of optional artist lessons for learning specific songs by such well-known musicians as Norah Jones, John Fogerty, and Sting.

Veteran GarageBand users who’ve already mastered their axes aren’t left out of the mix. Guitar players now have the opportunity to play through five newly modeled amplifiers and a host of stomp box audio effects. Players who were frustrated by Magic GarageBand’s inability to record what they noodled will be pleased to learn that recording is now part of the magic. And, regardless of who opens the application, users will discover a redesigned interface that makes existing features easier to find.
Lessons learned

The marquee feature of GarageBand ’09 is Learn to Play, the application’s basic and artist piano and guitar video lessons. GarageBand ’09 includes the first basic guitar and piano lessons. You can obtain eight additional free lessons for each instrument by choosing the Lesson Store entry in the New Project window, selecting the Basic Lessons tab, and then clicking the Download button next to the lessons you want to download from the Internet. Artist lessons are obtained similarly, but cost $5 each. Unfortunately, these lessons work only on Intel Macs with a dual-core processor, though the rest of GarageBand ’09 works with PowerPC-based Macs.

Each basic guitar and piano lesson is taught by “Tim,” an approachable instructor who begins with the physical layout of each instrument and, in later lessons, walks through the basics of playing the instruments. For the piano lessons this includes left and right hand notes and fingering, sharps and flats, rhythm, major and minor chords, and scales. The guitar lessons include basic major and minor chords, major and minor barre chords, strumming, single note melodies, and power chords.

Nearly every lesson ends with a song that you’re welcome to play along with. Each lesson also includes a Play section that allows you to play along with the teacher (and record what you play). The lessons are nicely produced, well paced, and presented in a way that you can easily zero in on exactly what you’d like to see. You can, for example, use the Mac’s number keys to switch views. In the piano lessons, nearly every view includes Tim at the top of the window and a keyboard at the bottom. But you can switch views to see the treble clef, bass clef, grand staff (both clefs), or chords in between Tim and the keyboard. In the guitar lessons, there’s Tim above and a fretboard below with switchable views that include guitar chord boxes, chords, tablature, and notation. Lefties can also change the orientation of the fretboard at the bottom of the screen.
You can view the instructor, instrument, and music in a variety of ways.

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When Tim plays, you can see what he’s playing reflected on the piano keyboard or fretboard at the bottom of the screen—when he places his third finger on E above middle C, for example, a blue 3 appears on the keyboard’s E key. It works similarly on the fretboard—when he fingers a chord, those frets associated with the chord gain a blue dot and the strummed strings vibrate.

When you plug a MIDI keyboard into your Mac, it becomes available to GarageBand, allowing you to play a piano sound within the lessons. If you’re using a guitar, you tell GarageBand whether you have an electric guitar plugged into an audio interface attached to your Mac or you’re using an acoustic guitar and a microphone. GarageBand will record it accordingly. You can switch on a metronome as well as slow down the speed of the music so it’s easier to play in time (when you adjust the tempo, Tim’s voice is muted). You can also change the sound mix, adjusting the teacher’s voice, teacher’s instrument, the band (and each instrument within the band), and the volume of your instrument. You can also loop sections of lessons so you can repeatedly practice them.

The Artist lessons are just as beautiful to look at and offer the same kind of interactivity. The teaching ability of the artists varies—some are more thorough instructors than others. Norah Jones, for example, speaks as if she’s had formal musical training and explains the way she voices her chords by describing their position (root, first, or second position). One Republic’s Ryan Tedder doesn’t offer this level of detail but rather shows you how he plays a particular chord. Sting assumes you know how to make more complex chords on the guitar and so simply tells you the chord names and shows you how to finger them. Not surprisingly, none of the artists completely agree on technique so you may see them do something—finger a chord, for example—that contradicts something Tim has taught you.

Some of the artist lessons are offered in both Simple and Advanced versions, allowing both beginning and experienced musicians to get some enjoyment from them. And each artist lesson includes a video of the artist speaking about the song or another subject close to their heart. (Norah Jones doesn’t touch on her song at all, for example, but rather discusses the advantage of hauling a relatively portable Wurlitzer electric piano to a gig versus the back-breaking Fender Rhodes.)
Getting you started

GarageBand’s approach to teaching piano and guitar is an intriguing one—providing enough information to have you playing a song as quickly as possible. It’s a great approach for giving nascent players the kind of success they need to keep at it, but there are compromises as well. Some subjects aren’t covered very deeply and, of course, there’s no one standing over you to check on what you’re doing. But depth isn’t what Learn to Play is about. Rather, it’s a starting point for learning to learn how to play.

Fortunately, you have other choices as GarageBand ’09 isn’t the only instructional game in town. You can get more in-depth computer-based lessons from iPlayMusic, iPerform3D, and eMedia Music. And iVideosongs offers some beautifully filmed artist lessons. (I discuss some of these and other instructional methods in Learn to Play an Instrument.) Of course, there’s still no substitute for a real teacher who can give you customized assignments based on your ability.
Rock on

In previous versions of GarageBand, you could play real instruments through the program’s amplifier simulations (or apply those simulations after the fact) as well as apply effects to that instrument. But many people missed these features as they weren’t easy to find. GarageBand ’09 includes interface changes that make many features more obvious (as I discuss later), and none more so than the guitar amps and effects. Not only did GarageBand’s designers bring these guitar features to the fore, but they completely rebuilt the amps and effects from the ground up.

These features are found in the new Electric Guitar tracks. These tracks are real instrument tracks that place one of five amp models (modeled after Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Vox, and Fender Combo and Tweed amps) front and center. You can easily change amps as well as adjust the settings of each amp—the amps carry knobs for adjusting Gain, Bass, Mids, Treble, Presence, Master, Output, Reverb, Tremolo Rate, and Tremolo Depth. (Those who find adjusting virtual knobs clumsy with a mouse will be happy to learn that you can click on a knob and then twist it by moving a mouse’s scroll wheel up or down.) You can also edit the amp’s master echo and reverb settings. The work that went into these amp models is apparent—they sound very much like the real deal, complete with noise when you’ve cranked them up.

The new Electric Guitar tracks support modeled amps and stomp box effects.

Electric Guitar tracks use stomp box effects—effects modeled after the small effect boxes that routinely litter the floor around electric guitar players. Stomp boxes include Phaser, Overdrive, Distortion, Fuzz, Chorus, Flanger, Vibrato, Filter, Delay, and Sustain. You can have as many as five stomp boxes at a time and changing the position of where the stomp boxes appear in the interface changes the sound coming from the track (so the boxes work in serial order). Each stomp box includes an On/Off switch as well as knobs for adjusting the parameters of the effect. The stomp boxes also sound very much like the real deal.

You’re welcome to create your own arrangement of amps and stomp boxes, but before you do you might care to try one of the 37 included presets. If you want to sound like The Edge from the early ’90s, for example, choose Dublin Delay. Dick Dale wannabes can dial in Surf, which features the Combo amp with a fair bit of amp reverb and tremolo and a Sustain stomp box.

Before you toss your outboard gear in favor of GarageBand’s amps and stomp boxes, note this crucial omission—like much of the rest of GarageBand, amps and stomp boxes can’t be controlled via MIDI, and that’s a shame. Guitar players like to kick in effects as they play and the only way to do that in GarageBand ’09 is to take your hand off the guitar and click a stomp box’s virtual buttons. You can control parameters for stomp box effects after the fact using GarageBand’s automation controls, but it’s not the same thing. Electric Guitar tracks demand some way to stomp a real switch while you’re playing and a MIDI controller is the means. It’s time, Apple.
Additional enhancements

Magic GarageBand has seen some needed improvements. While the band is still limited to the same nine songs as before, you can now record what you play and export that recording as a multitrack project in the usual GarageBand interface. You also have the ability to shuffle the backing instruments by clicking anywhere other than on an instrument. This makes for some unexpected (and sometimes welcome) combinations. You can also now mix the levels of each instrument as well as quickly mute or solo each one with the click of a button. And you can choose any software instrument sound you like as your instrument when playing through a MIDI keyboard. You’re no longer limited to a handful of instruments as you were in GarageBand ’08.


Magic GarageBand now lets you record your part and mix the band.

Finally, Apple has rejiggered the look of GarageBand in helpful ways. It now bears the same gray tone as Aperture () and Logic (). The New Project window contains a broader variety of projects including Piano, Electric Guitar, Voice, Loops, Keyboard Collection, Acoustic Instrument, Songwriting, Podcast, and Movie, making it easier to start with a template configured for the kind of project you want to create. For example, choose Podcast and the resulting GarageBand window is populated with Podcast, Male Voice, Female Voice, and Jingles tracks. (Regrettably, you still can’t have more than one GarageBand project open at a time.)

When you add a new track, you see a redesigned window that lets you easily choose a Software Instrument, Real Instrument, or Electric Guitar track. Loops are now found on the side of the main window rather than below. Effects are no longer hidden at the bottom of the Info pane but rather available from an obvious Edit tab in the Info pane. And text is larger throughout the interface. Taken together, it’s easier on the eyes as well as easier to find the functions you’re after. Veteran GarageBand user though I may be, with the new interface I was able to find features I’d forgotten existed.
Macworld’s buying advice

As a musician and podcaster, GarageBand remains one of my favorite iLife ’09 applications—I’m able to pull compelling results from the program without a lot of work or worry. Nothing about the latest version changes that. What GarageBand ’09 brings to the table is the possibility that more people—specifically those looking to get some use from a guitar or keyboard crammed in a closet or electric guitar players seeking a more authentic sound—will stick around for a second look.

[Senior editor Christopher Breen at Macworld]

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Tune your iPhone into a DJ Mixer

February 4, 2009

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The iPhone is an internet-connected multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Apple Inc. with a flush multi-touch screen and a minimal hardware interface.

The device does not have a physical keyboard, so a virtual keyboard is rendered on the touch screen instead. The iPhone functions as a camera phone (including text messaging and visual voicemail), a portable media player (equivalent to an iPod), and Internet client (with email, web browsing, and local Wi-Fi connectivity). The first generation phone hardware was quad-band GSM with EDGE; the second generation also adds UMTS with HSDPA.

At WWDC 2007 on June 11, 2007 Apple announced that the iPhone would support third-party “web applications” written in AJAX that share the look and feel of the iPhone interface. This means that now people are getting mor and more involved in developing intersting applications for the iPhone

VirtualDeck turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a turntable, allowing you to mix your digital music just as easily as your vinyl counterparts. In short, it’s a DJ aid.

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Turn your laptop into a multi instument keyboard and vocal-processing powerhouse

January 9, 2009

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Regardless of what instrument you play or what software you use to record and compose, it’s never been easier to access massive libraries of synth and sample sounds, guitar and bass amp emulations, vintage-derived effects and so on. While all of this power and flexibility has been a boon for the home recordist, bringing these same software-derived sounds to the stage continues to vex many. The good news is that today’s multicore laptops have more than enough horsepower to handle the needs of most keyboardists, guitarists and experimental-leaning vocalists, as well as multi-instrumentalists who may need to jump between several instruments during a set. By choosing the correct software and hardware, as well as doing some critical housekeeping and asset-management chores, you can easily bring your best software instruments and effects to that stage and consolidate your hardware needs down to a few roadworthy essentials.

The host with the most

First and foremost, all of your software instruments and effects need to live somewhere. While it’s completely feasible for a keyboardist or guitarist to work solely within a workstation-style product such as Propellerhead Reason or Native Instruments GuitarRig, if you really want to take advantage of your plug-in collection or jump between instruments, you need to employ a more open-ended option. Two products that are built expressly for this purpose are Apple MainStage — part of the Apple Logic Studio bundle (; www.apple.com/logicstudio) — and Native Instruments Kore 2, which is now available in a software-only edition , as well as the software/hardware package  (www.native-instruments.com). Both programs do many of the same things: 1. They allow you to access, organize, edit, combine and recall the majority of the third-party plug-ins on your machine. 2. Both allow you to play software instruments and process live audio sources (guitar, bass, vocals and even feedback loops). 3. By largely removing the traditional elements of a DAW, both of these apps allow more CPU resources to be used for instruments and effects, thus keeping latency in check.

Choosing a host performance application will depend largely on what software you already own. Logic Studio users have a clear advantage in this department because all channel strips and saved plug-in settings are immediately available in MainStage; in other words, what you did in the studio shows up in MainStage. Kore, however, requires a little more prep work in the beginning (users will need to batch-convert their third-party plug-in sounds over to the KoreSound format), but it offers support for a wider range of plug-in formats as well as Windows PCs.

Time to organise..

The second major task in prepping your sounds for performance is figuring out exactly what you need and exactly what you don’t. If your goal is to replicate the sounds you used in your recordings, a recent demo or what have you, then that is the obvious place to start. Open up the original sessions, isolate the plug-ins that you need to use live and give each preset a specific name before saving them to a new folder. Of course, you can skip that step if you want to dive in and start playing. Either way, once you start to have a firmer grasp on what you’re going to need in a live show or rehearsal situation, that’s the time to start creating a performance library.

MainStage and Kore have different ways of creating that library. With MainStage, you’ll need to create a new Concert. A Concert can comprise any number of live audio and instrument channels, and the Performance pane can be customized to include a wide array of assignable controllers (which you can then easily map to your hardware), meters and patch selectors. You can load instruments and live signal processors in a row and select them interchangeably like presets on a piece of hardware. A single preset can comprise both audio and instrument plug-ins, and a Concert can include any number of presets. When you load a new Concert, all the associated instruments and samples are loaded in the background, and nothing really nails the CPU until a preset is selected. The load time between presets is generally very minimal.

The no hassle, buy nothing keyboard workstation

If you’re a budget-conscious keyboardist and you want a simple and reliant way to access an array of keyboard sounds that requires practically zero mousing around and almost no MIDI assignment editing, here it is.

Load up an empty 16-track session in your DAW of choice. Starting with the first track in the session, load up your first instrument sound and set this track to receive only MIDI channel 1. Repeat the process as needed (track 2 to MIDI channel 2, etc.) until you’ve loaded up all of the sounds you need or you’re out of MIDI channels. Changing MIDI channels on most portable MIDI keyboards (M-Audio Oxygen 8 V2, Axiom 49, etc.) is a simple one- or two-button process. With this setup, you only have to load one session into your DAW, and switching between sounds is as simple as changing the MIDI channel on your controller.

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M-Audio Products Offer Compatibility With Latest Apple Laptops

December 10, 2008


If you’re thinking about getting a new Apple laptop, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge—the latest MacBook.


MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops offer faster speed, better performance and a sleek new design. And don’t worry, all of your M-Audio® hardware and software products work seamlessly with the new generation of Apple laptops.
USB 2.0 Series
Apple’s new MacBook and MacBook Air laptops don’t include FireWire connectivity—the latest models are all about USB 2.0. If you want to make music with a MacBook, M-Audio’s Fast Track® Ultra and Fast Track Ultra 8R high-speed USB 2.0 interfaces deliver the perfect solution. We also offer a full range of bus-powered USB 1.1 devices for making music on the go.
FireWire Series
All M-Audio FireWire interfaces are fully compatible with the FireWire 800 port on the new MacBook Pro laptops—all you need is a 6-pin–to–9-pin FireWire cable. Read more about FireWire 800.
Software Products
All M-Audio software releases, including Torq® DJ software, are fully compatible with the latest Apple laptops.

M-Audio Oxygen 8 v2

The Oxygen 8 v2 is an updated version of the mobile MIDI controller that started the mobile studio revolution. You get a fully functional MIDI keyboard with great action, plus eight MIDI-assignable knobs to control any MIDI parameters you desire in your hardware or software. It’s perfect for composing on the go or performing live bass lines and pads,…

M-Audio Audiophile 2496

The Audiophile 2496 embodies a quantum leap in computer audio fidelity and performance unequalled by other audio cards in its price range. This critically acclaimed PCI card features premium digital audio converters, elegant board design and ultra-stable drivers just like the rest of the Delta line, but with a simpler I/O configuration. As a member of the Delta family,…

M-Audio UNO USB

M-Audio’s smallest and simplest USB MIDI interface, USB Uno offers basic 1 x 1 operation and bus-powered mobility—and even comes with it’s own built-in USB and MIDI cables. What could be simpler? Features 1-in/1-out MIDI interface 16 MIDI input channels 16 MIDI output channels Bus-powered—requires no external power supply …

M-Audio Fast Track

If you make music with GarageBand or other software recording programs, Fast Track USB is the easiest way to record your guitar with professional results. Just connect Fast Track USB to the USB port of your computer and you’re ready to rock. Fast Track USB has an input for instruments like guitar, bass and keyboards, plus a microphone input…

M-Audio Audiophile 192

The Audiophile 192 continues the legacy of M-Audio’s industry-standard Delta audio card line. Building on our Audiophile 2496—one of the world’s most popular audio cards—the Audiophile 192 features high-definition 192kHz sampling rate, digital I/O, balanced analog I/O and an amazing signal-to-noise ratio. The Audiophile 192 represents a new benchmark in audio performance that’s as good as it gets for…

M-Audio Delta 66

The Delta 66 delivers 24-bit/96kHz to your desktop, complete with digital I/O for pristine file transfers and surround sound passthrough. The rugged external breakout box gives you the convenience of making connections to the four 1/4” TRS analog inputs and outputs right on your desktop—no more fumbling behind the computer. Need more professional connectivity? Simply add the critically acclaimed…

M-Audio Keystation 61es

The Keystation 61e is a 61-note USB keyboard with velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys that is designed to easily integrate in any computer music environment. Class compliancy with Mac OS X and Windows XP delivers true plug-and-play setup. The Keystation 61e is also compatible with many music education and music creation software titles, making it ideal for classrooms and studios alike.…

M-Audio Delta 1010LT

The Delta 1010LT delivers much of the same universal connectivity, high fidelity and seamless performance as the popular Delta 1010 on a single PCI card—and at a fraction of the price. Multiple analog I/O, MIDI, S/PDIF and surround sound support are all here. Two inputs even have mic/line preamps on XLR connectors, saving the expense of outboard preamps. It’s…

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MC Control an official Final Cut Studio solution

November 20, 2008

Apple has featured MC Control on the Final Cut Studio website as a “Film, TV and Video Post” solution.

Film, TV, and Video Post. Whether you’re working on a 100-million-dollar studio feature film, editing reality television, or color grading a national advertising campaign, you can find a rich array of tools in Final Cut Studio 2 to meet the needs of the most demanding productions.

Collaboration with other users, management of large media files, and seamless multipoint delivery are key to the workflow. By using open standards such as XML and QuickTime, partner manufacturers can tap into the power and performance of Final Cut Studio 2 to provide solutions never before seen in the marketplace.

Euphonix is a leading manufacturer of digital audio control surfaces, media controllers and peripherals. MC Control is a media controller that provides a host of powerful features to speed up and enhance video and audio editing. Its hardware integration with Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro gives editors a hands-on approach to their work.

For more info, please visit the MC Control product page

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