The higher the bandwidth, the better
Simply put, musicians can now play and record with recording studio quality sound. Both iRig HD and iRig PRO are now able to capture even more of the subtle nuance and detail of analog instruments and other input sources. It’s an ideal feature for professionals and advanced home studio enthusiasts who won’t settle for anything less than the best sound possible – and it’s a completely no-cost update for all existing iRig HD and iRig PRO users.
iRig PRO – The 96kHz “all-in-one” mobile audio solution
iRig PRO is the first full-featured compact audio and MIDI interface for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac or PC. It’s like a Swiss Army knife for mobile recording: It sports an XLR/¼” combo input socket and a MIDI input which means that it can be used with any XLR microphone (it even provides 48V phantom power supplied by an onboard 9V battery), guitars, basses, keyboards, line-level instruments and MIDI controllers.
It’s perfect for the musician on the move who needs to have it all. Now anyone can record guitars, bass, vocals, harmonies, acoustic instruments, keyboards, MIDI data and more without having to swap interfaces, and lose that creative flow. iRig PRO is compact – about as small as a harmonica – and comes with everything needed to get started playing and recording right out of the box. Its included Lightning, 30-pin and USB connector cables ensure the right connection every time.
iRig HD – Streamlined high-definition sound
High-definition sound that fits in the palm of a hand – that’s what iRig HD was made for. It’s a slim and compact audio interface with a ¼” instrument input that features an input gain control knob, a multicolor LED and ultra-low-draw power consumption circuitry. Its ¼” Hi-Z input jack can accommodate any guitar, bass or line-level instrument, and its detachable Lightning, 30-pin and USB connector cables allow for maximum compatibility. And with the addition of 24-bit/96kHz recording, now it sounds better than ever before.
A world of apps
Both iRig PRO and iRig HD come equipped with a USB cable that allows them to be used with a computer and a wide variety of popular 24-bit/96kHz recording-compatible DAW software, like Apple Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools, MOTU Digital Performer, PreSonus Studio One and Steinberg Cubase. In addition, both come with a full suite of mobile apps and software designed for creating inspired music on the go.
Pricing and availability
The 96kHz firmware update is provided to registered owners of iRig HD and iRig PRO at no charge. To update, users just need to simply log into their user account on the IK Multimedia web site, download the firmware updater for their computer OS and then follow the simple installation instructions. The PC version of the Firmware Updater is available now, July 1, 2015, and a Macintosh version will be available in the second week of July, 2015.
Alongside this special announcement, IK Multimedia is offering a $/€20 discount on the list price of iRig PRO and iRig HD through the entire month of July. iRig PRO is now available for $/€129.99 and iRig HD is available for $/€79.99. Both can be purchased from music and electronics retailers worldwide and from the IK online store.
$349.00 Amazon, Sams, Target
The Singtrix karaoke machine is a microphone, a microphone stand, a “studio”, cables, and a 40-Watt speaker that uses your mobile phone or tablet’s music playlist for background music and helping vocals. It’s billed as “the next-generation karaoke machine that makes bad singers sound good and good singers sound amazing!”
It takes a few minutes to setup the Singtrix unit, because you have to assemble the microphone stand, plug in the cables, connect your phone or tablet, and tune the device. Tuning the device can take a while, as in perhaps an hour to tweak it so that it’s just right for the room you’re in. Tuning involves adjusting your phone or tablet’s volume control, the effects, and the volume, bass, and treble on the speaker. It’s not a trivial task to get it just right, but once you do, the fun begins.
You can adjust the singing voice in your song to very low so that it’s just barely audible as a helping voice. It’s fun to use one of the more than 300 voice effects that are interestingly named for songs that you’ll recognize, but careful not to infringe on copyrights.
The components are well made, clearly marked, and are of decent quality for creating some cool sounds. It’s easy enough to use for just about anyone. The controls are very intuitive and you can choose from no voice enhancement to extreme voice modulation, so there’s almost no limits to the range of possibilities.
The video below is on the Singtrix website, although I wouldn’t have included it there, it does show how versatile the Singtrix is and how impressively you can sound on it. The video shows the Singtrix inventors being a bit stubborn about getting an investment for the product launch, although I’m not completely convinced that the appearance on Shark Tank was for an investment. I think it was probably more along the lines of free advertisement for the product. I would have done the same thing.
This demo video shown in the link below is very good. And it’s 100 percent realistic. You really can get all of these sounds and effects out of the Singtrix.
For myself, I think the Singtrix is a cool, portable PA system. I’m not a singer and not even the Singtrix can make me sound good, but I do like it for its PA capabilities. I think it’s interesting in that respect and would use it for that extensively. My primary problem with the unit, besides how long it takes to get the sound right, is that it doesn’t provide the words to songs. Using an external device for lyrics is difficult because you can’t easily synchronize the song on your Singtrix-connected device to the lyrics.
My daughter and her friends who came over and played with it for an entire weekend, much to the chagrin of my wife and myself, loved it for how it made them sound when singing. My daughter explained to me that not having the words display for you is a sacrifice to be able to choose your own songs instead of ones that the company chooses for you.
She went on to say that you can look up karaoke version of your songs on your iPad, while your phone plays the song. She didn’t think there was a problem getting the two synchronized, so she loved it.
- From the same guys who created Guitar Hero.
- Features the Singtrix “Studio” vocal effects unit with more than 300 unique, studio-quality vocal effects, including pitch correction and harmonies.
- Plug in your phone, tablet, or mp3 player to play any song of your choosing while Singtrix lowers the vocals to create your own karaoke track from any song in your library.
- Bad singers become good singers, good singers become great singers and great singers turn into rockstars!
It must be an age-related complex. I’m used to “old school” karaoke machines and she’s willing to make something work. Your mileage may vary.
Why it’s Frugal: The Singtrix isn’t frugal. It’s a luxury item that might not be for everyone at the $349 price. That’s not to say it isn’t worth the price; it is, but you should be someone who likes to sing to justify it or have a lot of parties.
I suggest that once you get the settings like you want them, leave them there. Tweaking even a little bit can cost you a lot of time and kids have short attention spans.
I don’t want you to think that this is a negative review because it isn’t. It’s a realistic one. I don’t want you to buy a Singtrix and not be satisfied because it’s a little less than falling-off-a-log simple to setup and use. I really like the Singtrix. It’s fun and you can have hours and hours of fun messing with the different voice effects, speaking like a robot, singing like a girl (if you’re a guy), singing or talking like Barry White, and more.
One final thing to note is that with the speaker pointed out toward your audience, you won’t be able to clearly hear the voice modulation. To you, you’ll sound pretty much the same as you always do, but to people in front of the speaker, your voice has changed. My daughter and friends had a lot of fun with the Singtrix. I had a lot more fun with it pretending that I was announcing plays at a baseball game or singing the National Anthem (poorly) with a lot of enhancement and Broadway stylings like many performers use. Why can’t they just sing it like Francis Scott Key wrote it? Some things shouldn’t be messed with and the National Anthem is one of them.
The Singtrix comes with everything that you need in the box to start singing and having fun. If you’re a good singer, you’ll sound like you’re in a studio. If you’re a bad singer, like me, you’ll need some help and the Singtrix has it with more than 300 voice modulations and controls. If you need to pump up the jam at your next family gathering, party, or kid sleepover; get a Singtrix and get ready to laugh and sing until you lose your voice.
Recommendation: Try it, buy it, but be ready to tweak.
ProGear™ Vault Case For the Apple iPad mini® 1/2/3
$79.99 MSRP. $75.00 Amazon (Prime)
When you first open the ProGear™ Vault Case (Vault) for the iPad mini, you notice that it’s made of very strong plastic. In fact, the company boasts that the construction passes military standards (MIL-STD 810G) for durability. And for all its toughness, it doesn’t add a lot of unnecessary bulk or weight to your iPad mini (8.72″ x 6.71″ x 0.71″ (22.1 x 17 x 1.8 cm).
When your iPad mini is in the Vault, with the lid closed (as shown in the first picture above), it’s fully protected, with the exception of your rear-facing camera. The rear-facing camera is protected by being inset into the product, but there’s no plastic shield between the outside world and your camera lens.
With the Vault lid open (as shown in the second picture above), your iPad mini screen is exposed and vulnerable to drops, spills, scratches, and other mishaps. If you drop it screen down, it will take damage.
The Vault’s construction is very solid and would be difficult to break under all but the harshest conditions. If conditions are harsh enough to break the Vault case, then perhaps you’re in an unhealthy and life-threatening situation yourself.
The hinge is a weak spot for most cases, but this one has two steel bars that run on each side of the hinge. It would take a tremendous amount of force to break that hinge. As I wrote earlier, with the lid closed and secured, your iPad mini is well protected from drops, from objects being dropped onto it, and from minor liquid spills or splashes.
Why it’s Frugal: The Pelican ProGear™ Vault Case is frugal because it protects your iPad mini in all but the harshest conditions and situations. For $75.00, protecting your $349+ investment is a good deal and is a frugal choice.
The Lightning charger port and the 3.5mm jack are both protected via attached rubber “plugs” that prevent damage to these two vulnerable areas when the plugs are in place.
- Military Tough: Tested to Military Specifications (MIL-STD 810G) to survive multiple drops
- Dust Protection: Ingress Protection (IP54) tested to achieve a full seal design against dust and dirt
- Guaranteed For Life: You break it, we replace it…forever.™
- Elastomeric Liner: Absorbs shock and protects electronics
- Screen Protection: Hard cover protects against impact and abrasion
- Dual Axis Hinge: Allows for unlimited viewing angles
- Watertight Seal: Keeps out rain and dust
- Easy, Tool Free Assembly
With the Vault, you could feel comfortable taking your iPad mini outside, to work, on biking trips, on campouts, in the garage, or in the kitchen without much fear of something terrible happening to your iPad. The lid opens all the way (near 360 degrees) to provide a stand for your iPad mini to hold it at a convenient viewing angle while you work with it in a hands free fashion.
Overall, I like the Vault. I think it’s a well made product that’s durable, simple, effective, and priced well considering its materials and construction. It’s available in various colors and also for the iPad Air.
Recommendation: Buy it, but be aware of its exposed camera port and vulnerabilities when open.
Pelican Products, Inc. is the global leader in the design and manufacture of both high-performance case solutions and advanced portable lighting systems. Their products are used by professionals in the most demanding markets including fire safety, law enforcement, defense / military, aerospace, entertainment, industrial and consumer. Pelican™ products are designed and built to last a lifetime. The company operates in 19 countries, with 28 offices and six manufacturing facilities across the globe. For more information, visit www.pelican.com or www.behrmancap.com.
The bag I chose for review is the Domke Next Generation Metro Messenger Bag from Tiffen. This particular bag (pictured right) that I reviewed is a photographer “gig” bag for me. Sure you can haul just about anything in it, including a laptop and accessories. But I’m an avid photographer who carries a camera, multiple lenses, and multiple camera bodies, and sometimes multiple cameras with me. I also throw in my battery charger, a flash unit or two, small lights, various cables, and even film (Yes, film. Don’t judge me). This bag can hold more than you can carry–trust me on that point. I’ve filled it so full and with so many different things that I’m sure the people behind me at the airport were rolling their eyes and taking some heavy sighs at the spectacle. Watching me pull out so much stuff from that bag–I’m sure I looked like a guy pulling clowns out of a Volkswagen at a rodeo. But I don’t care. The bag is capable of holding my stuff, so I’m going to take advantage of its capacity.
The Metro Messenger bag is one tough cookie too. It’s made of Cordura, which is a military-grade nylon blend fabric that’s used to make backpacks, duffle bags, and other stuff for the military. It’s also the material that’s used to make a lot of the new lightweight, super durable luggage that you see in department stores.
I chose the Metro Messenger because not only does it not look like a standard issue photographer’s bag, it can double, as I wrote earlier, as a laptop or other type of tote. The Messenger style bag has a good look for me that’s somewhere between briefcase/satchel and small suitcase. I don’t want to feel like I’m carrying a purse/murse nor do I want to look like I’m toting a really fancy diaper bag. That’s why I chose the evergreen style of the Metro Messenger. It’s classic, smart, and professional without being stuffy or pretentious.
Now you might say that $349.95 isn’t inexpensive, but I’d tell you that you’ll probably never have to buy another one unless it’s a gift for someone. In other words, you’ll likely never have to replace it, so $349.95 is a steal, even if you keep it for just ten years, but you’ll keep it longer because it won’t wear out.
DOMKE NEXT GENERATION METRO MESSENGER – CORDURA BLACK
Satchels, Courier and Messenger Bags
NEXT GENERATION brings evolutionary and revolutionary features to the trusted name of Domke. The Metro Messenger (the grandchild of the F-832) is part of the Metro Series of Satchels, Courier and Messenger Bags. The Metro Messenger , with functionality as the core design inspiration, integrates our patent pending systems for personalizing, protecting and accessing your valuable gear. Also available in RuggedWear Black and RuggedWear Military.
- Black color with Sand color webbing
- Top access with double zipper
- Rear slide pocket
- Expandable zippered side pocket
- Stacked front slide pockets
- Key-ring strap
- Secure luggage strap
- Numbered identity plate
- Side rain hoods
- Padded zippered tablet sleeve fits up to 14.25 x 9.5
- Foam-lined laptop cargo pocket with double zipper
- “Quiet” system hook and loop silencer
- Expandable front pockets
- Custom antique steel hardware
- Detachable Gripper shoulder and grab strap
- Domke flap tucks in for anonymity
- All zippers YKK®
- Comes with 2 dividers – Additional divider inserts (D6) available in GearProtex Accessories
- Domke GearProtex Insert System – a revolutionary, customizable insert system that allows you to compartmentalize and organize your contents to create any size or shape using bendable, self-adhering separators.
- Domke PocketFlex Pocket and Pouch System – an ingenious system of movable, pockets, patches and pouches. These innovative storage components adhere to all interior surfaces, personalizing your storage.
Why it’s Frugal: The Domke Metro Messenger bag by Tiffen is frugal because it will quite possibly outlast you. I’m pretty sure that if you amortize the price over 20 years, you’ll see that for less than $1.50 per month is a great deal. The bag is tough, attractive, and functional. And it could become an heirloom. What else do you need?
The only negative about this bag is that it only has a shoulder strap and no handle on the top. I don’t always want to shoulder a bag, but it’s required with this one. Yes, it’s a messenger bag, but a top handle would be a very welcome design addition to this near perfect product.
iRig Pads is IK Multimedia’s 4×4 MIDI pad groove controller for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC. Its ultra-compact footprint makes it an essential instrument for traveling beat makers and other musicians who want to unlock their creativity and make music while on the go. iRig Pads comes pre-loaded with multiple setups that make it easy to control the popular groove making software programs of today. And now users can customize these setups more and even create totally new configurations in a flash to suit their own unique workflow. With total customization, iRig Pads Editor gives iRig Pads the power to be the ultimate mobile pad-based groove controller.
iRig Pads features seamless integration with IK Multimedia’s SampleTank sound and groove workstation for iPhone, iPad, Mac & PC, and IK’s GooveMaker and DJ Rig apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iRig Pads is also MIDI class compliant which means that it can be used with virtually any MIDI-compatible app — like FL Studio Mobile, iMPC Pro or GarageBand — or computer software — like MPC Software, Ableton Live, Maschine and more.
iRig Pads Editor features an intuitive single-screen interface that lets musicians quickly reassign controls and features. Musicians can easily edit and save global configurations and individual scenes on their computer, and then transfer them to iRig Pads at will. All of iRig Pads’ surfaces and controllers can be assigned to send specific MIDI messages. iRig Pads Editor lets users assign MIDI messages to any knob, button, pad, slider or attached external controller (like an expression pedal or footswitch).
Users can edit the parameters of a control by simply clicking on it in the iRig Pads Editor interface. They can then assign the desired MIDI control message to the pad, knob, button, slider or external controller plugged into iRig Pads (such as an expression pedal or footswitch). iRig Pads Editor supports Note, Program Change, Control Change, MIDI System Real Time and MIDI Machine Control messages.
A part of what makes iRig Pads Editor so powerful are its easy-to-use modes:
Note mode lets users assign the MIDI channel and the actual note to transmit. iRig Pads Editor also provides a choice between Temporary and Toggle mode. These modes determine whether note data will sound only while the pad is held down or whether it will “latch” onto the Note On message of the first press and the Note Off message of the second press. Temporary mode is best used when playing single-note instruments, like a drum or bass.
Toggle mode is useful for triggering loops: Musicians just have to tap the pad once to start a chosen loop. iRig Pads will then continue to play until the pad is pressed again. Toggle mode can also be used to send 2 different messages from a single button or pad. This makes it easy for a musician to switch between two different presets: These presets can be instruments — like 2 different bass, lead or pad sounds — but they can also be 2 different loop sets or effects settings. On the fly beat making has never been easier.
iRig Pads Editor’s Program Change mode lets musicians set up iRig Pads’ knobs, buttons and pads (or slider) to change and transmit fixed or dynamic MIDI Program Change messages — it also lets users employ toggle mode to switch between 2 Program Change numbers with a single control.
Similarly, in Control Change mode, the user can assign handy MIDI Continuous Controller messages like volume, pan or expression. This mode can also be used to assign CC numbers to a parameter on a device that iRig Pads is controlling, such as a synthesizer, loop player, effects processor or even a full-featured virtual instrument like SampleTank 3. The values transmitted can be variable. For example, users can set it up so that when they tap a pad it sets the MIDI volume to maximum or pans the receiving instrument to a specific point in the stereo field.
iRig Pads Editor can also program iRig Pads to send MIDI System Real Time and MIDI Machine Control messages. This means users can conveniently start, stop, rewind or scan through a track without taking their fingers off iRig Pads.
Pricing and availability
iRig Pads Editor is available now as a complementary download for registered iRig Pads users. Mac and PC compatible versions are available.
iRig Pads is available from music and electronics retailers worldwide for $/€149.99 (excluding taxes) as well as on the IK online store.
For more information, please visit:
To watch a video of iRig Pads Editor in action, please visit:
USA/CA/SA PR Manager
Managed IT Support Services
CEO – Doug Truitt
Kalleo Technologies (Kalleo) CEO, Doug Truitt, and I had a good conversation about his company, its history, the company philosophy, and its services. First, is Kalleo’s interesting location: Paducah, Kentucky. Paducah is a centrally located city that’s surrounded by universities and other industries. Paducah was a strategic location during the American Civil War and remains as a significant railroad hub today.
I can’t really relay Doug’s philosophy better than he can:
After many years of being involved with IT organizations large and small we found that the traditional IT vendor to client relationship was fundamentally flawed. That relationship, typically referred to as a “break-fix” model of IT support, provides little incentive for the IT vendor to prevent clients from experiencing problems. When something breaks, the client pays the vendor to fix the problem.
We believed – and have subsequently proven – that proactively managing your network always costs less, always improves systems’ uptime, and always improves the IT vendor to client relationship. Kalleo Technologies’ proactive, flat rate approach to IT support ensures our goals and incentives match those of our clients. Because we charge a flat rate for service, we make the same amount of money whether things are running smoothly or whether they are breaking. If things are breaking, our costs go up and our profit goes down, incentivizing us, as your partner, to keep things running smoothly.
Next, is Kalleo’s flat rate philosophy. I really like the Kalleo flat rate approach. It means that you pay a flat rate to engage Kalleo Technologies’ support, but only pay that flat rate whether or not things are broken. For example, you pay a flat rate for January and nothing goes wrong, but in February, there’s major patching to be done or there’s a new virus out that require a lot of hands-on time–you pay the flat rate again for February.
It’s a win-win situation, because regardless of your situation, you know how much you’ll be charged each month for service. And just because you’re being charged without anything being “broken” doesn’t mean that Kalleo isn’t doing anything. They still work in the background, making sure that your systems are updated, patched, and functioning normally.
Peace of mind and proactive maintenance are invaluable to any company. You must realize how important and significant this “behind the scenes” work really is to the smooth operation of your company and its computing assets.
Kalleo’s Support Model:
1. Proactive Maintenance
2. Help Desk Support
3. Rented A/V
4. IT Toolset
5. Vendor Management
Finally, Doug’s team isn’t interested in taking over your IT department, they’re there as staff augmentation, which means that they serve your company on-demand. For example, let’s say that you have a project that requires 20 FTEs working for two weeks–a desktop operating system upgrade for 500 employees. You have four employees in your IT staff. As a managed services provider, Kalleo’s team could come in and execute that migration without disturbing your employees or your full-time staff.
And Kalleo isn’t just a regional provider either, it has customers all around the country including Hawaii. Obviously Kalleo is setup for remote support, so that you don’t have to wait for someone to drive or fly to your location for break/fix, patching, or regular maintenance.
Kalleo Technologies focuses its efforts on three primary verticals:
Kalleo can handle large company IT augmentation and large projects as well as day-to-day support issues.
You can stay connected to Kalleo Technologies through social media at:
Among Kalleo’s extensive list of services, it offers proactive maintenance to ensure your users are up and running all the time, 24 hour monitoring, automated maintenance, remote multi-level Help Desk support, anti-virus support, optimized support tools, and vendor management.
Managed services providers (MSPs), such as Kalleo Technologies, offer companies a leveraged IT sourcing model that is often less expensive, more responsive, and better equipped to handle large projects, special support issues, break/fix, and after hours support than an internal staff is. MSPs employ a variety of IT experts, from help desk personnel up to architect-level professionals, to assist your company in migrations, projects, upgrades, and regular maintenance activities.
This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.
The latest UltraTuner app can be paired with an Apple Watch when it is installed on an iPhone with the most recent OS. Musicians can now view the tuning information on their Apple Watch in 2 operational modes: UltraTuner’s classic graduated LED “STAGE mode” and a simple “NOTE mode”, custom-designed for the Apple Watch display.
When viewed on Apple Watch, “stage mode” provides a bright and highly visible display with two large yellow LED-like wing arrays that light up in progressive amounts according to whether the note played is flat or sharp. When the note is in tune, the tuning indicator center bar turns bright neon green. “NOTE mode” shows the musical note letter name that is being played, with arrows below to indicate whether the note is flat or sharp. When the note is in tune, the note name turns bright neon green.
Beyond the Apple Watch enhancement, the UltraTuner app runs on both iPhone or iPod touch, and can receive an audio signal via either the built-in microphone or through an audio interface like IK’s iRig® HD, iRig 2 or iRig PRO. It sports an advanced and astonishingly quick note-detection engine that delivers accuracy down to +/- 1/100 of a cent, making it ideal for precision tuning and calibration of all instruments from electric guitars to analog synthesizers and beyond.
Pricing and availability
This newest version of UltraTuner, now compatible with the Apple Watch, is available from the App Store for just $/€4.99. UltraTuner for Apple Watch is a free update for existing owners of UltraTuner for iPhone (standalone app only).
|For more information, please visit:www.ikmultimedia.com/products/ultratuner|
For more information about IK Multimedia’s iRig line of mobile interfaces and products, please visit: