These days, we’ll take all the joy we can get. And what better way to spark joy than to start a karaoke party? Singing is good for the soul, and this portable karaoke setup makes it easy to belt out your favorite tunes anytime and anywhere.
Roli is best known for its squishy, multitouch, pressure-sensitive music keyboards and controllers. Those are great. But the new Roli Lumi goes in a different direction. It’s a small portable keyboard with light-up keys. And not the kind of light-up keys you might see in a movie set during the 1970s disco scene: These light up keys help you learn to play the piano.
The Synclavier is a digital synthesizer from the early 1980s. Synclavier Go! is an iPad app that mimics the classic synth. But this post isn’t about those. It’s about the Synclavier Knob, an accessory for the app.
The Synclavier Knob is a single knob on a mounting plate the size of an iPad mini. That’s it. Oh, and it costs $399.
If you play an electric musical instrument, and you also listen to music from your iPhone, and you also (perhaps) have a pink neon flamingo on your nightstand (bear with me here), then you will L-O-V-E the new Roland BTM-1, a combo Bluetooth speaker and guitar/synth amp.
The $249 Jamstack is a Bluetooth speaker that clips onto your electric guitar, hooks up to your iPhone, and lets you run iOS amp simulation and effects apps. It’s like adding a teeny-tiny amp to your guitar, only with way more wires.
For practice, it looks pretty neat — but for recording, it seems killer.
Podcasting on iOS is perfectly feasible, as long as you don’t want to use Skype or FaceTime to talk and record the audio at the same time. The new RødeCaster Pro mixer/recorder neatly sidesteps this issue, as well as putting everything a podcaster might need into one sturdy box. And because the hardware is made by Røde, it’s probably pretty good.
Roli makes touch-sensitive controllers for music apps, and they come in Blocks, little modular units that can be snapped together via magnets to form bigger, better controllers. They’re kind of like Transformers for music. Now, Roli will now sell you a GarageBand-friendly version of its amazing Songmaker Kit, optimized for use with the Mac version of GarageBand.
But what if you already bought a Songmaker Kit? Should you return it and buy the new one? Nope. The hardware is exactly the same, all you need is a software update.
Today we’ll see what the Songmaker Kit GarageBand Edition can do, and find out how to update your own Blocks to use it.
Remember the Roland Go Mixer? The little pocket-size audio mixer that hooks up to your iPhone via its Lightning port, and lets you record a whole band at once? I do, although God knows I’ve tried to forget it. What looked like a promising product turned out to be missing basic functionality. Now, though, Roland has introduced the Go Mixer Pro, and it looks like it fixes everything from the original Go, and more.
Roli’s new Songmaker Kit is a kick-ass portable music-making setup that hooks up to your iPad, iPhone or Mac. It consists of a mini version of Roli’s amazing Seaboard keyboards, along with a couple of the company’s modular Blocks. Everything connect via Bluetooth, creating a custom music workstation that’s easy to use and extremely portable.
Let’s take a look at the Roli Songmaker Kit and see how you can use it to make music anywhere.
Short of learning air guitar, hooking a guitar up to your iPhone is just about the easiest way to get started playing music. But it’s not just for practice, or goofing around at home. You can record and edit serious music with an iOS device, and even produce whole records.
But we’re already getting ahead of ourselves. Today, we’re just going to hook things up and rock out.