USA Today Video: iRing – the future of motion control for musicians on mobile devices

•February 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Jefferson Graham from USA Today interviewing Starr Ackerman on IK Multimedia's iRIngs

In this video from the NAMM 2014 show in Anaheim, California, USA – USA Today’s Jefferson Graham interviews Starr Ackerman from IK Multimedia on the future of motion control for iOS/Mac & PC for musicians, called iRing.

iRing is the first motion-tracking controller for iOS music apps and more. iRing is a patent-pending, double-sided ring with dotted markers that allows the user to control effects, notes or other music parameters by waving their hands in front of the iOS device’s camera. The camera detects the motion control, and you can set the MIDI parameters that you want to affect via the software you are using.

Learn more about MIDI control for your music apps, visit the IK Multimedia website, click here.

Starr Ackerman / IK Multimedia / Public Relations

The reviews are in, “That Speaker is so Loud!”, iLoud – 40 Watt Bluetooth Speaker/Amplifier

•November 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

iLoud Launch Day Review Quotes

The sound is most impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Queen’s We Will Rock You, The Beatles, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Louis Armstrong’s take on Hello Dolly.”

 “The iLoud delivers a solid performance in a small footprint. if you need that crisp clean sound and extra power for your performance and wireless capability for streaming your tunes, then iLoud would certainly more than fit the bill. And for musicians, it’s a great choice.  iLoud’s portability and the ability to plug that guitar or dynamic mic right into the iRig enabled jack and play live, makes it for a funky 40w amplifier.”

Greg Gazin, Canoe.Ca, Gadget Greg

I’ve been clinging to a quixotic dream of replacing the pedalboard with an iPad and a small Bluetooth pedalboard. With the recent of release of the BlueBoard and the iLoud, I was able to start trying to make my dream a reality. Guitarists don’t need to lug around huge pedalboards anymore if they want to tap into a variety of sounds. The BlueBoard and the iLoud are up to the task. I was really happy with the iLoud as well. The on-board iRig is nice, and since it doesn’t use the main connector on your iOS device you can charge your device while playing through it. It gets plenty loud enough…”

-Mark Crump, GigaOM, CNN Money

 “It’s…markedly better in treble and clarity than the Big Jambox and Braven 850 HD, rendering songs with additional layers of apparent depth that make the same-priced speakers sound flat. This new accessory is one of the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested. Overall, iLoud is a very good portable Bluetooth speaker—superior in audio quality and top volume level to similarly priced rivals, and equipped with musician-specific benefits.”

Jeremy Horwitz,

After wirelessly pairing the iLoud with my iPad, I raised the volume. At the mid-point, the iLoud was already as loud as typical wireless Bluetooth speakers. By the time I reached the loudest volume setting possible, my wife made a comment that confirmed the product’s namesake.  She said, “That speaker is so LOUD!” Oh yes, it was loud alright. So loud in fact that I could see compression of air pulsating from the rear opening with every deep bass beat. Yet even at that volume, the audio was crisp and clean, not at all saturated by muddy over modulation.”

Mike Riley, iPhone Life

 “I’ve been using the iLoud for a few days now with Netflix and have been amazed at how much I can actually hear on these movie soundtracks that would otherwise remain hidden.”

iLoud is the ideal speaker for musicians and audiophiles who demand an accurate reproduction of a wide range of musical styles from rock, hip-hop and electronic dance music, to more nuanced and sonically demanding genres like jazz, classical and acoustic.”

David Cox, The Examiner

 Before I even plugged my guitar into the iLoud, I connected my iPhone via Bluetooth and turned on A Pale Horse Named Death. With the bands heavy bass, I figured I could distort the speakers with the first song and be done with it. I was wrong.”

“When the song started playing, I sat back and smiled. The song wasn’t just loud, it was clear. The bass was pumping through, heavy guitars were screaming and there was no distortion whatsoever.”

“I tried a number of other songs and bands, in a variety of genres, with the same results. It just sounded really good.”

“The other part of the iLoud that sets it apart is that you can plug your guitar into the device. IK Multimedia made this so simple, it’s amazing.”

Jim Dalrymaple, LoopInsight

 IK Multimedia designed an audio system with musicians in mind. I have had a chance for a first look, and it is awesome. What impressed me from the start was how portable and light iLoud was … well, honestly that was the SECOND thing that impressed me. If it wasn’t for the tremendous sound coming out of the speaker, nothing else would have mattered.”

“But once I heard iLoud in action, I noticed everything else. The ease of connecting my iPad using the 3.5mm cable, or plugging in a guitar directly to the 1/4 jack; the ease of pairing devices to iLoud over Bluetooth made getting started easy, and allowed all of us to take turns sharing our music.”

Michael Anderson, Gear Diary

“It sounds great. Even if you’re not a musician, iLoud is one of the best-sounding portable speakers you’re going to find that’s this compact. It’s a 40 watt sound system that lives up to its name – a front-facing dial surrounded by a red light (steady when on, pulsing when in low-power mode) lets you turn it up until it gets really loud.”

“Ultimately, iLoud plays to IK Multimedia’s core strength as a tool for musicians. If you’re familiar with IK’s Amplitube or VocalLive and you can get the sound you want out of its collection of effects processors, iLoud goes from being a great-sounding playback speaker to a great-sounding performance speaker.”

Peter Cohen, iMore

iLoud Bluetooth Speaker/ Amplifier – Hear the difference – comparison videos!

•November 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Until now. the mobile music revolution was just a dream…but this may be the final piece to your puzzle (how to have the best PA, Bluetooth speaker, or small amplifier that fits in your backpack) for gigs, home life, and just general partying. The answer? iLoud. 

The specs: 40 Watts (freaking 3 to 5X louder than anything else you’re able to get for a Bluetooth speaker). The website says 2 to 3x, but if you listen to the comparison videos…I would think differently. Also, has an input on the back, so its an AMPLIFIER – instant PA system for someone needing a direct input for a microphone, bass, guitar, keys…or any other LINE level instrument. This feature makes it unique in the market, and besides being loud as f***, its definitely worth plugging into and playing through. Not only that...pair it with your phone or iPad and just play tunes, DJ at your next party…or, for the musician, use it as a personal portable studio monitor! Flattened frequency response will ensure you get the best representation of the sound while creating and performing music on your iOS device or BTLE enabled device. Plus, it has 7-9 hours of Li-ion battery life. Awesome!

Okay, enough with the gushing…so here are the comparison videos so you can make YOUR OWN DECISION :-)

Here are comparison videos for a very popular “pro-sumer” BT speakers on the market (which I might add, none have an input for a line level instrument, and therefore, iLoud is unique in the market as also being a 40-watt BT speaker + amplifier!)

iLoud vs other popular speakers – Part 1

iLoud vs other popular speakers – Part 2

iLoud vs other popular speakers – Part 3

To learn more about iLoud from IK Multimedia, please visit the IK Multimedia website, click here.

Thanks for reading Starr Ackerman’s Music Production and Technology Blog.  Never Stop Making Music!



MIDI Controllers for iOS and Mac/PC : iRig KEYS and IRig BlueBoard (iRig PRO + iRig MIDI)

•October 22, 2013 • 1 Comment

Every musician knows that you need some kind of tactile setup to work with your computer, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch in order to really start “feeling” how you’re making music. For example, you can play a piano on an iPad screen, or, you can play a piano keyboard and get a totally different sound because your fingers are touching the keys…or banging on the keys…its a totally different effect. So what am I trying to say? You need a MIDI controller in order to achieve this, and you’re in luck, because technology has allowed you to acquire these things for your iOS devices and computer.

If you like using IK Multimedia apps and products, and are using an iOS device or Mac, then you have 4 options: iRig MIDI, iRig KEYS, iRig PRO, and iRig BlueBoard. Here’s the lowdown:

iRig MIDI: You already have a MIDI piano keyboard or other some kind of MIDI controller (like an MPC), and you want to connect it to your iOS device. From the IK website: 

iRig MIDI is the only compact iOS MIDI interface sporting 3 MIDI ports: IN/OUT/THRU. These connect to any standard MIDI jacks using the included 2 x 1.6m/5.2′ cables. iRig MIDI also has 2 LEDs for displaying the MIDI activity on the IN and OUT ports.

iRig MIDI also exclusively provides a micro USB port – with included cable – that connects to any standard USB power supply source so that the iOS device can stay fully powered during long sessions.

iRig PRO: You have several devices, you’re a one man/woman recording band…from the IK website:

iRig PRO is the first full-featured compact audio and MIDI interface you can use with your XLR microphones, your guitar and bass, your keyboard or other line-level source and your MIDI controllers. It features an XLR/1/4″ combo jack for connecting microphones and instruments (accepts XLR and 1/4″ TS cables), and a MIDI input for plugging in your favorite controller.

OK, OK…so maybe you just wanna play keys…and you want a frikken keyboard that you don’t have to put in a suitcase, instead, it fits in your backpack! iRig KEYS is the halo on top of your angelic music making head. Here’s the skinny from the IK website:

iRig KEYS is the first ultra-slim and highly portable universal MIDI controller keyboard for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac/PC. iRig KEYS connects directly to the iOS device’s 30-pin dock connector, Lightning connector (Lightning cable must be purchased separately), or the USB port on your Mac/PC. It features 37 velocity-sensitive mini-keys — a full 3-octave range plus one note — takes up minimal space on your desktop and can easily fit in a backpack or a carry-on bag.

Are you a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, or vocalist using an iOS device or Mac to perform on stage or produce music? Then iRig BlueBoard is your answer…this nifty Bluetooth pedalboard allows you to recall presets and program changes with the tap of your foot. Yeah baby, no more touching the screen…no more stopping your groove…just set it up, and jam. Here’s the MIDI controller for you, (details are from the IK website):

So how does iRig BlueBoard work? It connects to your iPhone/iPod touch/iPad or Mac via Bluetooth, and when you press its foot switches, it sends out control signals that are converted to MIDI by the iRig BlueBoard app.

At this point the MIDI messages are available to virtually any MIDI compatible app you’re running on your iOS device or on your Mac.

The control messages sent from iRig BlueBoard to AmpliTube or other Core MIDI music apps can include bank up/down, MIDI continuous controllers, as well as parameter changes on apps such as IK’s AmpliTubeVocaLive,SampleTank, and iGrand Piano iOS apps plus many others, such as Apple GarageBand.

Learn more about IK Multimedia’s MIDI controllers, iOS apps and interfaces, click here: 

Thanks for reading Starr Ackerman’s Music Production & Technology blog. Please feel free to comment or contact me for review units of the aforementioned products via IK Multimedia, click here.

“Sound of Contact” performs an all-iOS band show in NYC with IK Multimedia apps/peripherals

•October 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

When you can replace all of your gear and go out and play a live show by shoving almost everything into your backpack, then you just can’t deny that the “Mobile Music Revolution” has begun. At the end of the summer, I had the honor of being part of producing a live show featuring “Sound of Contact” playing an all IOS performance, recreating their songs and using only iPads, and IK Multimedia’s apps and peripherals. Here is a video from the ‘iRig Gig” – from the Engadget/ Gdgt Live show in NYC.

Who are they and what are they using?

This video shows “Sound of Contact” – which is Simon Collins on vocals (son of Phil Collins), Dave Kerzner on Keyboards, and Matt Dorsey on guitar. Simon is singing through an iRig Mic, using the VocaLive app on his iPad. Dave Kerzner is using the iRig KEYS, plugged into his iPad, running SampleTank (for keyboard sounds and drums). Matt Dorsey is playing his guitar through AmpliTube, using an iRig HD. This band was able to recreate and perform some songs from their new album (on iTunes) for a stage performance by using just IK Multimedia’s apps, peripherals and iOS mobile devices. It was quite a show! They also had some of the original touring members of Pink Floyd singing through VocaLive and playing through AmpliTube.

Click here to learn more about Sound of Contact, and click here to learn more about playing and performing music live on your iOS mobile devices from IK Multimedia.

Music I Love: “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities: Video

•September 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Once in a while you hear a mainstream song that makes you want to dance, then you watch the video for the first time and realize that the band made the whole video about dancing! Not only Breakdancing, but even some West Coast Swing action: Super double awesome! Here are the video and lyrics for “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities.

Safe and Sound lyrics:

I could lift you up
I could show you what you wanna see
And take you where you wanna be

You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound

We’re safe and sound

I could fill your cup
You know my river won’t evaporate
This world we still appreciate

You could be my luck
Even in a hurricane of frowns
I know that we’ll be safe and sound

Safe and sound
We’re safe and sound
Safe and sound
We’re safe and sound
Hold your ground
We’re safe and sound
Safe and sound

I could show you love
In a tidal wave of mystery
You’ll still be standing next to me

You could be my luck
Even if we’re six feet underground
I know that we’ll be safe and sound

We’re safe and sound

Safe and sound
Safe and sound
Hold your ground
Safe and sound

I could lift you up
I could show you what you wanna see
And take you where you wanna be

You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound

I could lift you up
I could show you what you wanna see
And take you where you wanna be

You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound

We’re safe and sound

Hopeless, by Starr Ackerman – Song and Video

•September 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I made this song called “Hopeless” and video for it in 2010, before my mom died. I played the song live before it was totally finished at a club in NYC owned by “Fall Out Boy” called “Angels & Kings”, for the “Art by Chance” show. I rode NJ transit to the gig. Most of the film is me and my mom, in the hospital before she died. I kept bringing her cats to see her, Marley (calico) and Fibber (blondie).

The audio is from a live performance, so you can hear people in the background.

I miss my mom dearly, no one knows this loss more than those who have lost their mom to a long-term illness. This song/video is dedicated to Marie Moran, Fibber McGee and Marley, who will always be in my heart.I love you. ~ Starr Ackerman


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