Sony showcases new Music Video Recorder at 2014 NAMM Show

Sony shows off what its new Music Video Maker can do at NAMM 2014.
Sony shows off what its new Music Video Maker can do at NAMM 2014.

We were stopped in our tracks at the Sony booth this year by the band performing there. LA-based alt-soul sextet Elaine Faye and the Big Bang were holding court with a brilliant acoustic set. They aren’t friends, we aren’t paid to pimp, we just liked them.

We noticed Sony’s new Music Video Recorder display next to us as we stood listening. The handheld recorder was broadcasting video of the live performance on a monitor mounted to the wall. Sony had our attention.

The Music Video Recorder, as its name implies, records both music and video. Sony states in its press release the Music Video Recorder is “a new camcorder concept designed and engineered specifically for musicians – the HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder. From stage to web, the video camera lets artists shoot and share every performance with superb Full HD image quality and dynamic studio-quality sound.” Nice.

The portable recorder, which retails for a very reasonable $299 and fits in the hand, records CD-quality sound and 1920×1080/30p HD video. Built-in wi-fi allows video to be instantly uploaded to a smartphone or tablet for sharing. The camera can be controlled from any compatible device and includes a wide-angle 120 degree Carl Zeiss lens.

Sony is already an established leader in handheld digital audio recorders. The addition of HD video recording to their proven excellence in the audio space makes us think the Sony Music Video Recorder is a device worth a look.

For more information, visit http://www.sony.net/Products/di/en-us/products/tvo9/
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Casio reveals 5 new digital pianos at 2014 NAMM Show

Casio debuted its new line of keyboards at NAMM 2014
Casio debuted its new line of keyboards at NAMM 2014

We made our annual stop at the Casio press event for the nosh and news during this year’s NAMM Show in Anaheim, Ca. For 2014 the company touted the addition of five new digital pianos to its keyboard lineup: the CTK-6200, CTK-6250, CTK-7200, WK-6600 and WK-7600.

While we’d vote Casio try more creative naming conventions, we can work with this: The WK and CTK keyboards promise new sounds and functions including recording and editing capabilities. We confess tracking all those numbers and letters make us dizzy so we’ll let the company’s press release take it from here:

“The WK-6600 and CTK-6200 / CTK-6250, are replacements for the successful WK-6500 and CTK-6000 models. The CTK-6250 is a bold, new red version of the CTK-6200.  These innovative models offer new tones and rhythms, a backlit LCD display and a 17-track sequencer with editing tools for creating new sounds and music composition. Equipped with 210 rhythms, five new EQ settings, 700 instrument tones, 100 DSP effects and a registration mode for live performance, the new WK-6600 and CTK-6200/ CTK-6250 have all the tools to create, edit and perform music.

“We are thrilled to provide musicians with the innovative advancements in the WK and CTK series,” said Mike Martin, general manager of marketing, Musical Instruments Division. “The new CTK and WK products provide extensive composition tools in performance ready keyboards at previously unheard of prices.”

The flagship models, WK-7600 and CTK-7200, deliver an unprecedented level of power and music making capabilities. Combined with a 17-track sequencer, the CTK-7200 and WK-7600 have the ability to record audio. Compositions created on either keyboard can be recorded as an audio file on a SDHC storage card. Even sounds from external instruments can be mixed and recorded. Users can plug-in a microphone, guitar, bass or other instrument and play along with instrument tracks from within the keyboard. All of the sounds get mixed and saved as a stereo audio file, which can be shared with friends and family via computer or put on an audio CD for label executives. The WK-7600 and CTK-7200 models also feature large LCD display screens, 820 tones, 260 rhythms, five new EQ settings, nine physical sliders for mixing capabilities and an organ drawbar mode.

Available now, the CTK-6200, CTK-6250, CTK-7200, WK-6600 and WK-7600 deliver pure playing enjoyment. The new series is carried in the music channels with MSRPs ranging from $299.99 to $799.99.”

For more information, visit http://www.casiomusicgear.com
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Blue Mic teases new headphones, reveals condenser mic at NAMM 2014

We managed to nab a fleeting shot of Blue Mic's soon-to-be-released Mo-Fi mobile headphones.
We managed to nab a fleeting shot of Blue Mic’s soon-to-be-released Mo-Fi mobile headphones.

This AllDayTech reporter–and proud owner of a Bluebird Microphone–just had to stop by the Blue Mic booth at the 2014 NAMM show to see their latest.

First up was a sneak peak at their new Mo-Fi headphone technology, scheduled for release this spring. Mo-Fi stands for mobile fidelity, which the company describes as “liberating digital music from overhyped playback to true mobile hi-fi on any device.” We were ushered into a darkened private viewing room for an audio and visual tour that illustrated the limitations of older audio technologies before the space filled with lush, bright Mo-Fi sound. The tease offered only a fleeting glimpse of what we think will be the new headphones but during the video presentation we managed to nab the photo accompanying this piece. We look forward to seeing its full unveiling in a few months.

Next we stepped back onto the show floor to check out Blue’s new “Hampton” small-diaphragm condenser microphone. The company’s booth representative told us the Hampton, which is promised to capture plenty of warmth and detail, is designed to mic instruments both live and in the studio.

Blue says the Hampton is perfectly for miking in pairs, which makes it ideal for setups that require multiple mics, miking drums, stereo XY setups and more. The Hampton is expected to be offered as both a single microphone and a matched pair. The matched pair will include a mounting tree in addition to standard mic clips.

“We are introducing the rotating head for easy adjustment, without having to reconfigure your mic stands,” said a Blue Microphones spokesperson.  “We built Hampton around the renowned B1 small diaphragm capsule then introduced something new for today’s touring and studio musicians.”

The Hampton retails for $299.

For more information about Blue Mics, visit http://www.bluemic.com
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IK Multimedia shows off iRing motion controller at NAMM 2014

IK Multimedia's iRing technology in action at the 2014 NAMM Show.
IK Multimedia’s iRing technology in action at the 2014 NAMM Show.

One of the more useful innovations we saw at this year’s NAMM Show was IK Multimedia’s iRing motion controller for iOS devices. iRing works with IK’s variety of apps for DJs, beat makers, keyboardists and guitar players.

The iRing isn’t a ring, exactly. It’s a bit of patent-pending double-sided plastic designed to be held securely between the fingers at the palm. The user waves and moves the handheld iRing in front of a touch screen to control different effects on one of the iRing’s companion apps.

iRing features dotted markers on either side that trigger responses within the app, depending which side of the ring you face toward the screen. Notes, effects and beats can all be manipulated via advanced computer visual algorithms that sense and respond to motion.

iRing includes two free companion apps: iRing Music Maker and iRing FX/Controller app.

iRing Music Maker promises to allow anyone to immediately create music, regardless their skill level or musical knowledge. Just launch iRing Music Maker, slip on the iRing and start moving your hands in front of the screen to create musical sounds and effects.

The iRing FX/Controller app is designed for experienced DJs and musicians. Wave your hands in front of this app to change its customizable MIDI controls. Any Core MIDI app running on the device can use this MIDI data or it can be sent to another device via wi-fi. This app also works as an audio effects processor with 16 controllable options.

We had a great time playing with the FX/Controller app at the show. We didn’t know what we were doing but the booth rep patiently guided us through iRing DJing basics. The screen responded with visual cues and changes to illustrate each movement. It seemed like it would be easy to learn for anyone willing to put in a little time–and regardless if we know what we’re doing, making musical noise is always fun.

iRing retails for $24.99.

For more information, visit www.ikmultimedia.com/iring
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DR Neon Strings partners with Jamstar teaching app at NAMM 2014

DR Neon Strings announces partnership with Jamstar teaching app at 2014 NAMM Show
DR Neon Strings announces partnership with Jamstar teaching app at 2014 NAMM Show

DR Strings has teamed with Jamstar™, the developer of a new teaching app for guitar, to create The Color-Play Learning SystemTM. DR is offering its festively hued Neon strings in a multicolor set for use with the Jamstar™ app.

Jamstar describes itself as “a patent-pending audio recognition platform that can HEAR what students play via their device’s microphone and ANALYZE how they performed in real time, enabling them to improve quickly and effectively.”

We stopped by the booth, lured by the hypnotizing glow of DR’s Neon Strings. Those strings always draw us in. The Neon Strings and Jamstar™ partnership creates a physical and virtual package guitar students can use to learn both audibly and visually.

The Jamstar representative walked us through the basics. The app’s crisp, clean graphics were displayed on a widescreen TV during our demo. Each set of compatible DR Neon Strings contains six strings of different colors that match those shown on the app. The student strings her/his guitar with Neon Strings and can easily follow along with the app’s color-coordinated display on the screen. Jamstar’s on-screen action was responsive, accurate and the instruction to us felt intuitive.

Our resident former music instructor thinks the multicolored strings alone will hold particular appeal for younger students and will ease the learning curve even without the app for all students. The combination, however, wins a thumbs up from our crew.

Jamstar is patent-pending, available free for Macs, PCs and Android and iOS tablets and phones. The free DR NEON Multi-Color/Jamstar version includes more than 100 free lessons. The company spokesperson said Jamstar hopes to expand to include video platforms and other media in the future.

For more information, visit http://www.drstrings.com/#!jamstar/c1ay7
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