The Apollo Twin allows one to make professional-sounding music from the home. Credit: Apollo
The tech world is filled with conferences in which companies show off new gadgets and industry folk get drunk and do things they’d rather forget. E3 is for video games, CES is for consumer electronics and, well, NAMM (The National Association of Musical Merchants) is for musical instruments. The highlights of this conference, which happened this past weekend, are the doodads and thingamabobs that typify music-making in the 21st century. Here are some upcoming devices that will help take your garage band to the, uh, "Garage Band."
Universal Audio Apollo Twin $699-$899
Universal Audio makes what are arguably the best plugins in the whole recordo-verse (new word!). They are notorious resource hogs, though, and demand you install a professional grade PCI card or standalone processor in order to use them. This can get pricey and overly complicated for the hobby horses out there. The company heard your complaints and is finally releasing a lower priced unit designed with the home musician in mind. Now anyone with an extra $700 to spare can have access to their beautiful amp modelers, reverbs and more. However, it must be noted, this device only works with computers equipped with a Thunderbolt port. Only recent Macs and a small percentage of PCs need apply.
Arturia BeatStep March $99
The days of having to own dozens of different sounding drum machines are over. You can now make any sound you want in your computer with one dedicated MIDI unit. The units themselves keep getting cheaper, as seen in Arturia’s forthcoming BeatStep drum sequencer. For a hundred bucks you get 16 touch sensitive drum pads, 16 knobs you can program to do whatever you want and room for 16 user-designed presets. Plus, it looks really cool and futuristic! Isn’t that what it’s all about anyways?