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Expo Notes: Notable music products from Macworld/iWorld

As with past Expos, the show floor at the 2013 edition of Macworld/iWorld was peppered with companies showing off wares that help Mac OS and iOS users make make beautiful music with their beloved Apple devices. And many of the products making headlines at Macworld/iWorld were fresh off their debuts a week earlier at the NAMM music industry show in Southern California.

Castiv makes clamps for musicians looking to attach iPads and iPhones to mic stands, guitar headstocks, and tripods. This year, the nice folks at Castiv spared some love for drummers with a new Drum Sidekick, a clamp for holding your iPhone to the rim of your drum for recording or reading music. Due in April, the Drum Sidekick (pictured above) is expected to cost $49.

In the show's Appalooza section, Focusrite touted its $199 iTrack Solo. A digital audio interface, the iTrack Solo lets you connect instruments and microphones to either your iPad, iPhone or Mac. Most audio interfaces support either a Mac or iOS connection, so having one interface for both is very convenient. The iTrack Solo has a quarter-inch input for connecting a guitar or bass, and an XLR input for microphones. It comes with a dock connector cable for connecting to an iOS device, a headphone port and two RCA phono ports for connecting external speakers. The iTrack Solo ships with Ableton Live Lite 8 for Mac and Windows, but will work with GarageBand for iOS and just about any other digital audio workstation.

Eventide, makers of studio quality effects processors and stompboxes, previewed a soon-to-be-released H9 Harmonizer Effects Processor which you can control from an iPad or iPhone connected over Bluetooth. Due in late March, the $499 H9 lets you choose effects from their ModFactor, PitchFactor, TimeFactor and Space stompboxes. Those individual effects pedals can cost as much as the H9. The H9 offers stereo input and output and an LED display to show you which effect is currently loaded and its settings.

One of my favorite displays at Macworld/iWorld featured AirTurn and its demonstration of the impressive number of ways a Bluetooth pedal can help musicians. Along with partners GigEasy, makers of iPad mic stand mounts, and iOS apps OnSong, SeeScore and JamUp Pro XT, an AirTurn representative used a BT-105 controller to scroll up and down through lyrics and page through scores, hands-free, on the iPad. By using the BT-105 with up to four of the company's ATFS-2 Silent Pedals, the demo showed how to use one pedal to control volume, two to navigate songs, and one to toggle virtual stompboxes. I purchased a set of two Silent Pedals and one BT-105 controller for the show special price of $99.

Finally, Blue Microphones took home a Best of Show award for its Nessie adaptive USB microphone. (The microphone also made a splash at CES in January. Blue had a full line of microphones on display--everything from a $60 portable USB Tiki mic to the company's top-of-the-line Kiwi studio microphone, which sells for $2000.


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