Boss’ smart wireless guitar amp is designed to work with your iPhone

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Boss katana air
Look ma, no wires.
Photo: Boss

CES 2018 bugThe Boss Katana Air looks like the ultimate living room amp for guitar players. It looks cool, it runs off mains power or AA batteries, and it features a wireless dongle that plugs into your guitar and means you never need to trail a cable across the room ever again. It even has a companion iOS app so you can tweak all the settings not available from the knobs and buttons on top of the amp.

This tiny cube connects your iPhone to guitars and microphones

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iTrack One Pre
The iTrack One Pre won't slide off your desk.
Photo: Focusrite

Focusrite’s iTrack One Pre might be the ultimate portable recording gadget for musicians. It’s a little cube that fits in a pocket, but that packs in connections for a microphone and a guitar, as well as a port for charging the iPad or iPhone you connect to. It can even supply Phantom Power to a microphone, and has it’s own gain (“volume,” kinda) knob.

Fusion Guitar packs an iPhone dock and speakers

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fusion guitar
With the Fusion Guitar, you too can sit in a chilly, graffiti-covered street and smile.
Photo: Fusion Guitars

What would happen if you took an electric guitar, made it as thick as an acoustic guitar, and stuffed the extra space not with boring old air, but with speakers and an electronic brain that works with your iPhone?

Then, you might put in a cutout on the guitar top to hold that iPhone, and a rechargeable battery to power it all. If you did all that, then you’d have invented the Fusion Guitar.

Nail the guitar sound of any song with Tonebridge

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tonebridge bass
Even bass players can use Tonebridge.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad has many, many amazing effects apps for making music, and several high-level apps just for emulating guitar amplifiers and effects pedals. But what if you just want to plug in and play a song, and have your guitar sound just like the one on the record? That’s exactly what Tonebridge is for. Under the hood, this simulator app is as powerful as the others, but it’s way, way simpler to use.

Whereas most apps present a range or virtual pedals and amps, Tonebridge is based around songs. You fire it up, plug in your guitar, and search for the song you want to play. The app loads up the sound of the song, and you can play along. The app is impressive, nailing the tomes of pretty much any song you ask for, without any tweaking necessary.

But now, with the latest Tonebridge release, you can also dig in to the settings that used to sit behind the scenes. Let’s take a look.

The Roland Go iPhone mixer won’t rock your world [Review]

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roland go mixer
Like a spider at the center of a fancy audio-cable-based web.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Roland Go mixer is a little USB-powered mixer that lets you hook up a whole band’s worth of instruments to your iPhone, and record them. You can plug in almost anything, you can listen direct to the mix with headphones, and you can even pipe in music from an MP3 player or another iPhone via jack. On paper, it seems fantastic. In the studio, or bedroom, though, it proves to be just the opposite.

Teach your kids healthy digital habits [Week’s Best Deals]

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This week's best new deals include an app for keeping kids on the straight and narrow online, and lots more.
This week's best new deals include an app for keeping kids on the straight and narrow online, and lots more.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Fall is about to drop, and with the new season comes a bunch of great new deals at the Cult of Mac Store. This week, we’ve got a sleek 6-port USB-C hub and a lifetime subscription to Sticky Password. Additionally, we’ve got an amazing glowing guitar instruction tool, and an app for teaching kids more healthy online habits. Everything’s on sale at big discounts, read on for more details:

Best looper apps for iPad and iPhone

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looper apps iPad
You don't need a pedal, or even a guitar, to make amazing music with a looper app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A looper is a great musician’s tool, for practice and for making songs. Looper apps are also fantastic fun for anyone who wants to take a crack at creating a tune. Just hit record on a looper app, and make some noise. Then hit the button again, and your recording is played over and over, in a loop.

Then you then build on this, adding more layers. A guitarist can chop out drum beats, then some chords, and play a melody over the loop. A beatboxer can boom, boom, chick and spit into a microphone to build up what the kids call “sick beatz.” And Jimmy Fallon can sing a duet with Billy Joel.

There are many looper apps for iOS. Here are a few of the best.

How to send audio from one iOS app to another with Audiobus

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Audiobus mixer on a piano
Audiobus is like a set of virtual patch cables for musical apps.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you want to make music on iPhone or iPad, you can choose from an embarrassment of fantastic iOS apps. You’ll also find plenty of music effects and recording apps on the platform.

The problem is using two types of apps together, because iOS isn’t nearly as flexible as macOS when it comes to digging into the system. But with a $10 app called Audiobus 3, you can route audio between apps. That means you can send music from, say, a drum machine to an audio recorder, or from your guitar to a sampler.

Further, you can route audio from many apps at a time, letting you create as complex or simple a setup as you like. If you think of Audiobus as a set of virtual patch cables for your iPhone or iPad, you’re on the right track.

Slow down songs so you can learn them with Capo touch 2.5

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Capo Touch Steinberger iPad
Fantastic slow-downer app Capo Touch just got even better.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Capo touch is the iOS version of Capo, an amazing Mac app that lets you slice and dice a song, slowing it down so you can learn it on guitar or another instrument.

Developer SuperMegaUltraGroovy added some great new features to Capo touch version 2.5. If you’re a long-time user, you’ll appreciate the interface tweaks, the Apple Music support and the new audio-scrubbing engine. If you never used Capo, and you play a guitar, you should buy Capo touch right now.

Apple Music partners with Fender for rocking playlists

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apple-music
Brands are partnering with Apple Music to curate playlists.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Electric guitar fans can listen to Apple Music playlists from Fender, maker of some of the world’s most iconic axes.

Five new playlists emerged from the new Fender/Apple Music partnership. While rock ‘n’ roll might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Fender, the company is also highlighting how its instruments have been used in R&B, hip-hop, jazz and other genres.