IK Multimedia announces iRig Keys I/O

IK Multimedia has just announced iRig Keys I/O, a keyboard controller with a built-in audio interface. I love this! Personally I find that one of the biggest impediments to my recording projects is having to set everything up and deal with cramped spaces while trying to feel free and creative. With iRig Keys I/O, IK Multimedia has packed together a keyboard controller with 25 or 49 full-sized keys, line/instrument/mic input with phantom power, eight MIDI-assignable drum/sample pads, assignable control knobs (actually they’re in two banks so there are effectively eight plus a volume/data one. Assign them to your AmpliTube 4 amp knobs!), balanced stereo and headphone outputs, transport controls for your DAW, two assignable touch strips and more. Imagine the possibilities: with just an iRig Keys I/O and an iPad or laptop you can take care of all your keyboard, drum pad, instrument and mic inputs in a single device when you’re out and about. At home, just plug the outputs into some powered monitors and you’re ready to rock. I have to get one!

Here’s a review by the Consordini team!

Here’s the press release…
August 24, 2017 – IK Multimedia is proud to introduce iRig Keys I/O, the new breakthrough keyboard controller range featuring a built-in audio interface. It will be available in October 2017 and is now open for pre-order. The only keyboard controllers with 25 or 49 full-size keys to integrate a professional high-definition audio interface, iRig Keys I/O features 24-bit audio up to 96kHz sampling rate, a combo input jack for line, instrument or mic input with phantom power, balanced stereo output and high quality 1/8″ headphone output ideal for use with the latest Apple® devices like the iPhone® 7. iRig Keys I/O also includes all the controls users would expect from a premium keyboard, including velocity sensitive multicoloured pads and programmable touch-sensitive sliders, buttons and knobs in an ultra-portable package that includes everything needed to create complete music productions and is unmatched for speed and simplicity to connect and set up.
Built-in professional audio interface
iRig Keys I/O is the only controller range currently available on the market today featuring a professional 24-bit, 96kHz capable audio interface. This keeps cabling to a minimum and makes setting up as fast and easy as just plug and play. For recording the combination input handles 1/4″ or XLR sources and provides the best possible audio quality with a Class A preamp for dynamic and condenser mics (including 48V phantom power), to line instruments along with guitars and basses. When used in live performances the 1/4″ balanced stereo output allows for long cable runs directly to a PA or mixer which is perfect for keyboard players and DJs. All of this makes iRig Keys I/O the ideal creative tool for studio or live use, in any situation, providing a solution that is more convenient and affordable than having to buy a controller and audio interface separately.Control with touch
Starting with a fast synth-action keybed that improves on all previous IK keyboards, iRig Keys I/O includes all the controls expected from a premium controller and more. Both models feature a volume/data push knob, 4 touch-sensitive knobs on 2 banks (acting as 8 total controls) and 8 multicoloured LED velocity sensitive pads. There are also 2 fully programmable touch control strips acting by default as Pitch and Modulation controls. A complete touch sensitive transport and button section rounds out the controls available. All knobs, sliders and buttons are touch-sensitive using capacitive technology for ultra-fast action and immediate feedback, displaying the related parameter value just with a simple touch.

True plug-and-play
Being certified Apple MFi hardware (Made for iPhone and iPad) and thanks to the on-board audio interface, iRig Keys I/O works out of the box with all iOS devices with a Lightning port, including the latest generation iPhone 7 that does not have an audio output jack. The included Lighting cable allows for easy plug-and-play operation with Apple iOS devices and the USB cable connects Mac and PC computers. iRig Keys I/O also works seamlessly with popular Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software like GarageBand®, Logic®, Ableton® Live™ and more.
Goes anywhere
iRig Keys I/O 25 and 49 key versions are the smallest controllers with full-size keys on the market today. This is a great advantage when working in studios or environments where space is at a premium and ideal for the travelling musician, not only for their ultra-compact size but also because they are 25% lighter than the nearest competitor. Furthermore, iRig Keys I/O can be powered by USB, an optional external power supply (that simultaneously charges an iOS device) or with 4 AA batteries for mobile music production anywhere.

Full suite of software included
With over $/€550 (in the 25-key version) and $/€750 (in the 49-key version) worth of IK software and apps, iRig Keys I/O includes an unrivalled selection of software allowing for complete productions when combined with a DAW or free composing and recording software like GarageBand. Included in both 25 and 49 key versions is Ableton® Live 9 Lite™ digital audio workstation, SampleTank 3 sound and groove workstation with over 43GB and 5000 sounds, T-RackS 4 Deluxe mix and mastering suite with 9 EQ and dynamics processors, and the Syntronik Pro-V vintage synthesizer. Plus, iPhone and iPad users receive the full version of SampleTank. Additionally, the 49-key version comes with Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE orchestral workstation for Mac/PC and the mobile edition for iOS.Pricing and availability
iRig Keys I/O will be available in October 2017 and can be pre-ordered now from the IK Multimedia online store and IK authorised dealers worldwide for the remarkably affordable price of only $/€299.99* for the 49-key version and $/€199.99 for the 25-key version. In addition to the massive bundle of included software, iRig Keys I/O also comes with 4 x AA batteries, Mini-DIN to USB and Mini-DIN to Lightning cables and a device stand for iPhone and iPad.

* All prices excluding taxes

For more information, please visit:
www.irigkeys.io

For a video of iRig Keys I/O, please visit:
www.irigkeys.io/video

Jim Dunlop Geezer Butler Cry Baby Wah!

Geezer Butler wah wah

I don’t know a single bass player who has plugged into a wah wah pedal and not immediately played Geezer Butler’s N.I.B. intro licks. Geezer knows what he wants from his wah sound, and now he’s got it in the form of his new signature Jim Dunlop Cry Baby. It has several very stageworthy features: you bring it out of bypass simply by putting your foot on the pedal; you can set the effect ring-out time (ie: how long the effect remains engaged after you return the pedal to its heel position); and there’s an internal Q control. Rotate it clockwise for a narrower frequency range and more pronounced wah effect or counterclockwise for a wider frequency range and subtler wah effect. 

Order yours from Musicians Friend.

Star Wars Is Def Leppard

Ok, so if you follow me on Twitter you know I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Even the prequels. Yeah. Come at me if you wanna fight about it. Anyway, something just hit me while listening to a (subscriber-only) Steele Wars podcast where fans called in with their ideas about the possible Obi Wan movie or other non-saga Star Wars movies:

STAR WARS IS DEF LEPPARD.

Def Leppard is a huge band, right? There was a time where they were selling tens of millions of albums (Hysteria alone has sold over 25 million copies). They have die-hard fans the world over who know every song from every album. Every B-Side. Every little piece of trivia. They collect pressings from different countries, etc etc etc. These are your real hardcores. 

Now, here’s the thing. Go to a Def Leppard concert (seriously, do it. They’re awesome) and you’ll see 15,000 people in the audience. Among them are probably, like, 500 people who know every single song. Then there are another 14,500 people who only know the big hits. If the band was to drop in some deep cuts to please the hardcores, you have 14,500 people going “Uh… what’s this? Let’s go get a beer.” Throw in enough of those songs to satisfy the super-intense fans – the B-side collectors – and guess what: the reviews will suck. “Oh they played a bunch of stuff I didn’t even know. What a waste of money. Nobody ever heard Lady Strange on the radio at work.” And next time Def Leppard comes to town they’ll be playing to just those 500 people – but they won’t because the machine is too big. They’re a business with employees. They have staff to pay. They have ongoing costs to cover which the touring cycle takes care of, and you can’t just take a business like that and say “Y’know what? Let’s make 95% less money on the road this year!”

What I’m saying is, some of us may really really want a Star Wars movie that fills in some piece of obscure timeline trivia or would just be, like, totally cool, but instead we’re gonna keep getting Pour Some Sugar On Me.

They’re saving Ded Flatbird for the novels and comics.

Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster

Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 was so revolutionary that its notes are still reverberating today. On that day, Jimi changed so much about what we believed a musician could do and the sounds a guitar could make (whether blasting out ear-shattering feedback or shrieking its last breaths as it smashes against the stage floor in a hail of flames and parts). Fender has now released a limited edition Stratocaster in tribute to that iconic performance and the instrument that met its firey death on that stage. Here’s the press release.  Read More …

PRS Introduces Vernon Reid Signature Model

Vernon Reid is one of my favourite guitarists, and a damn nice guy as well. He’s been playing PRS Guitars for a few years now and has solidified his partnership with the company via a new limited edition signature model, the S2 VR Vela. I love so many things about this guitar, from the Floyd Rose to the pickguard to the choice of colours. And I can’t wait to hear it in action on Living Colour’s new record, Shade, out next month. Here’s the press release. 

(STEVENSVILLE, MD) August 8, 2017 – PRS Guitars is pleased to announce a new limited edition model in the S2 series of US made electric guitars: The S2 VR Vela. Developed with Living Colour founder, Vernon Reid, the VR Vela is a commanding instrument with a cult personality and tons of tonal textures. Read More …

Dweezil To Tour Australia & NZ In 2018

I am so utterly, utterly excited about this. Dweezil Zappa is returning to Australia and New Zealand in February to not only play shows but also present a series of exclusive guitar masterclasses too!
 
PRESS RELEASE: David Roy Williams in collaboration with Principal Entertainment present Dweezil Zappa, son of the legendary Frank Zappa, celebrating 50 years of Zappa with a series of concerts and exclusive guitar masterclasses in Australia & New Zealand in early 2018.
Read More …

ESP Responds To CITES Amendments

ESP Guitars has announced its plans for moving toward sustainable materials in guitar/bass design and manufacturing in response to the changes to CITES regulations, and while their various manufacturing facilities gradually begin the switch to new materials, they are far enough along in the process that they have made their first public statement about the new materials to be used, on a series-by-series basis.

Here’s the statement.

ESP Guitars has always been a company who takes seriously our responsibility as a manufacturer of wood-based instruments. With the most recent amendments to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), all instrument manufacturers face increased scrutiny to ensure that the raw materials used in their products meet the requirements as designated under this international treaty.

Particular to the current version of CITES is the use of the wood genus Dalbergia, with several species known commonly as rosewood, which has been overexploited in the wild. To remain compliant with CITES, ESP has researched a number of replacement materials for use in some of our products’ fingerboards. Note that in some cases, the replacement materials are a running change via our various manufacturing facilities, and as stock is depleted on earlier versions, the use of new materials will go into effect.

LTD “200 SERIES” & “400 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
Moving ahead, fingerboards on this series of instruments will use jatoba to replace rosewood. Jatoba is a wood found in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America that is commonly called “Brazilian cherry” due to its appearance. Some of the current 200 Series instruments have replaced rosewood with Blackwood, an engineered wood made from sustainable pine. Both materials have been tested by ESP’s specialists for tone and aesthetic appearance, and meet all of our standards for high-quality instruments.

LTD DELUXE “1000 SERIES” and LTD SIGNATURE “600 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
ESP is making two changes to these instrument series. First, most of the guitars in these series formerly offered with rosewood fingerboards will soon be manufactured with Pau Ferro. While Pau Ferro is colloquially referred to as Bolivian rosewood, it is not actually part of the rosewood genus that is restricted via CITIES regulations, and is an excellent, high-quality substitute for rosewood on guitar and bass fingerboards. Second, on certain models that had been previously offered with rosewood fingerboards, we are making a design change to offer them with Macassar ebony. We are also changing current models in these series being offered with African ebony to using Macassar ebony instead. This is a wood native to Indonesia, and is much less vulnerable than true Rosewood or African ebony as a sustainable material.

LTD ACOUSTIC GUITARS (AVAILABLE ONLY OUTSIDE THE USA)
For all LTD acoustic models that previous used rosewood for fingerboards and bridges, the guitars have been manufactured since January 2017 using Blackwood, and beginning in July we have started to produce them with jatoba as described above. Any model that previously used rosewood for its back and/or sides will now make use of black walnut.

LTD “10 SERIES” INSTRUMENTS
For our instruments designed for beginning musicians and to be made available at the lowest possible cost, the fingerboards of LTD 10 Series has been switched to a manufactured wood material that will act as an acceptable rosewood substitute. This is a running change that is still in progress, and we will announce the specific material at the earliest opportunity.

We are sure that you share ESP’s commitment toward staying in compliance with the current CITES regulations, as well as our enthusiasm for helping to conserve these important natural resources for the planet.