Wireless MIDI for just 8.99$

I recently bought the MIDI Jet Pro for my EWI,so that I send my melodies to my PC,my Yahama VL70-m or Roland SonicCell without a cable in between. I am quite satisfied with it,but admittedly I wasn’t very happy to pay $425 for the joy of wireless MIDI.

Now a cheaper alternative exists for whoever has an iPhone,iPad or iPod Touch. MidiBridge by Audeonic costs only 9 bucks and offers much more than any hardware MIDI wireless system. (I should add “theoretically”because I haven’t tested it yet…)

In short,MidiBridge works as a virtual MIDI patchbay:it takes the MIDI data entering the iPhone/iPad/iPod and sends it to a PC,Mac or another iOS device that sits on the same wireless network. This is where the similiarities with a hardware wireless MIDI device ends,though,because there is a lot more.

  • You can dispatch (clone) the MIDI data to multiple devices,withouth the need of dedicated hardware
  • You can analyze input MIDI data and send it to different devices depending on their MIDI channel
  • You can filter out MIDI data based on several attributes,such as Control Change values,aftertouch
  • …etc. etc.

The vendor claims that the latency is very low with hardware devices and is in the range 3-8 milliseconds with CoreMIDI networking (RTP). Of course,your iOS device needs to be equipped with a MIDI interface (e.g. Line6 MIDI Moblizer,IK Multimedia iRig,or the camera kit if you have an iPad),but if you are a musician and own an iPhone,odds are that you already have them.

As an EWI player,I guess the most natural use of MidiBridge is with the iPhone or iPod Touch,which can be connected to the EWI and still be carried in a pocket or arm band. The iPad is a bit too large and heavy for that. Also,if you want to connect your MIDI instrument to an expander instead of a computer you need another iOS device (including an iPad) that sits near the expander.

BTW,Audeonic has another interesting MIDI app named MidiVision,which allows you to monitor MIDI data flowing into your iOS device. Very useful if something doesn’t work as expected and you need to understand why.

Will we throw away our Aebersold’s play-alongs?

I started playing sax when I was sixteen,and that was some years before James Aebersold begun producing his wonderful play-along albums. (Yes,I am *that* old…even if we prefer the term “experienced”).

In those days,the only way to practice a solo on My Favorite Things or Impressions –short of having a very patient friend who could spend hours on the piano while you assimilate the subtle differences between Dorian and Phrygian modes –was to play over the actual Coltrane’s record,trying to ignore their immensely beautiful melodic lines and concentrating on piano,bass,and drums.

Aebersold changed all this,and since then virtually every jazz player on the planet has perfectioned his/her style thanks to these or similar play-along albums. It is great to “virtually”jam with professional studio musicians (in some cases,*great* musicians). After all,what can be more inspiring than a pianist comping behind you in the same style of McCoy Tyner?

Of course,that McCoy Tyner is far more inspiring than any other pianist who plays in his style,but –again –it’s hard to play over Coltrane’s solo and still preserve some sort of self-confidence about your playing 🙂

Today I read an announce from Roland that might change all this. The new R-MIX software promises to be the next new killer-app for improving your music skills. In short,this audio processing software allows to “visually”manipulate an audio track and do a few wonders such creating “minus-one” type karaoke files from existing songs by lowering the level of the pre-recorded vocal or any other instrument you select.

This appears to be much more sophisticated than any “vocal canceling”software seen so far,none of which works particular well. These programs simply remove sounds that are equally balanced between left and right channel,on the assumption that the vocal part appers at the center of the stereo image. This is seldom true for the voice and rarely true with sax,trumpet,guitar,and other jazz solo instruments.

Not only does R-MIX allow you to play with your favorite pianists,bassists and drummers,it only allows you to change the tempo and/or the pitch of the song. Now you can practice your favorite blues in all 12 keys and speed. That’s even better than Aebersold!

R-MIX can also perform sophisticated audio processing. For example,you can remove the noise from the amateur recording you made the last time you saw Michael Brecker on stage (something within reach of other similar software) or add reverb or delay to only your sax in the recording you made at your last rehersal (something no other software can do,as far as I know).

The great news is that R-MIX will be also available on the iPad,in a reduced (and less expensive,I guess) version that is still capable of producing the “minus-one”playing-along thing that I am so interested in.

R-MIX Tab (the iPad version) will be available in November 2011,whereas the full Mac and Windows versions will come in January 2012. Until then,it’s impossible to know whether it will keep its promises,even if this video is quite intriguing. In the meantime,I think I’ll keep my Aebersold collection under lock…just in case 🙂

More solo transcriptions:guitar!

I love studying Pat Metheny themes and solos on the EWI,thus during the weekend I scouted the Internet for transcriptions. The result is a new section with nearly two hundreds guitar solo transcriptions,one third of which are from Pat.

I also added new solos to the sax and trumpet section.

New section:trumpet solo transcriptions

I don’t play the trumpet,but I do believe that you have a lot to learn from any great jazz player,regardless of the instrument that he/she or you play. Moreover,the EWI comes with some great trumpet sound (especially in conjunction with Yamaha VL70-m and the incredibile Patchman Turbo VL chip)

Thus,this summer I scouted the Web and collected over 500 trumpet solo transciptions,which I orderly classified by artist and album. In many cases,there are companion MIDI files (for playing-along) and MP3 files,in case you don’t have the original album. This new section is also reachable from the top-level menu.

I also updated the saxophone solo page, which now counts as many as 1140 transcriptions.