TC Electronic’s Secret New Guitar Pedal Revealed

TC Electronic are back with a new pedal, now revealed after a teaser last month to be the incredible sounding ‘Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver’.

This new pedal from TC Electronic gives you the first monophonic AND polyphonic octaver that puts amazing new sounds in your hands and at your feet. Get an old school Jack White sound, turn your guitar into a bass, turn your bass into a guitar, and more with the Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver.

A spokesperson for TC Electronic said: “With it’s next generation octave engine, this pedal gives you everything from pristine polyphonic octaves to old-school monophonic octave tones right out of the box. While TonePrint and its built-in modulation algorithm lets you open up a world full of swirly organ tones and otherworldly octaves never heard before.”

With TonePrint compatibility built-in  you can create and discover custom tones and input them to your pedal. Browse libraries of sounds based off of classic tones or just pure imagination, all from the free TonePrint app.

The Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver features 4 knobs controlling ‘Dry’, ‘Up’, ‘Sub’, and ‘Sub2’. That doesn’t do it’s power or sound justice though. Here are the features:

  • Next generation octave-engine – for flawless polyphonic tracking
  • Classic monophonic octaver – cool old-school octaver tones
  • TonePrint Editor with Modulation – for otherworldly octave tones
  • TonePrint enabled – Beam custom tones to the pedal or create your own
  • True Bypass
  • Compact design
  • 9V/100mA
  • High quality components
  • Road-ready design

TC Electronic’s Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver is available from May 19th in Europe and the US for $129.99/€129.

Onkyo’s New Hi-Res Portable Player Changes The Game

Onkyo are taking portable music to the next step with their new high resolution, dual amp, android powered player.

Japanese audio manufacturers Onkyo are back at it with an incredible new player. Launching this month is the DP-X1 and it’s power is matched by it’s quality of audio and functionality.

The DP-X1 features two amps and digital analog converters (DACs), one for each side of the stereo sound allowing for extreme power and signal control. Both the DACs and amps are ESS Sabres, known as the world’s highest performance D/A converter solutions and used in blu-ray players and full stereos.

It’s hi-res audio capability supports up to 384kHz/24-bit audio and supports WAV, FLAC, ALAC, & AIFF. You can play music as you’d expect through it’s 3-pole headphone jack but also via wi-fi, Bluetooth, micro USB, and a 2.5mm 4-pole balanced output. Even when streaming music over Bluetooth DP-X1 maintains it’s hi-res quality.

Onkyo music

It comes with 32GB of internal storage with slots for 2 micro-SD cards of up to 200GB each. Using the built-in Android software you can explore all the music markets and streamers of your choice and save a massive load of music, or stream them. Tidal would probably the best option with this player to make the most of it’s hi-res capabilities.

As if that wasn’t enough the list goes on, including: High Precision EQ customisation with 16,384 discrete bands, DSD conversion of music files within the player, Master Quality Audio support (coming soon in a free update). The battery will reportedly last for about 16 hours of continuous playback – not bad considering it’s pushing out high quality audio files.

Onkyo audio player

The price may set you back a bit at $899 but the player offers a whole lot that any audiophile wouldn’t want to go without when out and about. After all, what’s the point in plugging your $500 headphones into your powerless smartphone.

Game of Thrones’ Theme Sounds Great On Roli’s Unique Keyboards

Roli’s keyboards give you the power to go beyond the keys and explore all the musical possibilities that lie between the keys of a piano – and makes Game of Thrones sound better than any other keyboard.

We covered Seaboard when Roli released their ‘Rise’ keyboard last year, an affordable alternative to their amazing, pressure sensitive Seaboard Grand keyboard. Founder Roland Lamb created Seaboard when he was inspired by the shape of waves in the sea, and applying that to music.

Seaboard keyboards feature one pressure sensitive pad, marked with keys for foundation but allowing you to play between and beyond, anywhere on the pad. The unique design allowed for entirely new sounds and ways of playing the keyboard. Through various motions you can control pitch, volume, and timbre when playing.

Seaboard Rise was launched for $799/£599 (25 key edition), a much less intimidating price than the $2,999 price tag of their original Seaboard Grand.

The Verge‘s Ross Miller tested out the Seaboard Rise by learning the Game of Thrones theme on it – check it out below:

You can find out more and get a Seaboard for yourself at Roli’s website

B&O Return With Stylish Bluetooth Speaker That Fits In Your Hand

B&O’s new Beoplay A1 is their smallest bluetooth speaker yet but they lose none of their charm with this great new speaker.

The A1 is the latest bluetooth speaker from B&O and comes in a neat little package you can hold in your hand. Don’t let that fool you, however, as it’s power isn’t to be underestimated; boasting 360 degree audio that can fill a room and a 24 hour lasting battery.

The A1 features a neat little leather strap that lets you hang it anywhere, at least anywhere suitable to put a speaker. It features no protruding buttons, going instead for the minimalist look with it’s smooth dome shape crafted from aluminium and bottomed off by a smooth polymer base.  To control the speaker there are embedded buttons on the edge going around that control power, bluetooth, and volume.

Using the BeoPlay app for iOS, Android expected soon, you can automatically reconnect and play where you last left off or connect two A1 speakers together to either play stereo (one playing left channel, the other playing right) or play the same if you just want extra volume or want to listen in different places at the same time.

bluetooth speaker

Though we haven’t heard it ourselves, everyone seems to be lauding the sound quality of the A1 saying that it rivals it’s larger, more expensive counterparts. The speaker works two-ways and has an aluminium cone mid-woofer providing clear low-mid range and a silk dome tweeter for crisp high notes. It uses a 30 watt amp that should give you plenty enough power for in the house or out and about.

Designer, Cecilie Manz said: “Beoplay A1 is the result of an exhaustive design process geared towards maximising portability while at the same time delivering category breaking sound performance.”

A1 uses a USB Type-C to charge. A full charge takes typically two-and-a-half hours which gives the speaker roughly 24 hours of playing time. B&O say they are going to update it with extra power at some point, though they made no mention of what or when.

Beoplay A1 is available now from their website for $249/£199 in green and silver.

Playing Chords With One Button – Is This The Future of Learning Guitar?

It seems every week there’s a new “simpler way to learn guitar”. It’s true that learning guitar can be an arduous process with a steep learning curve. But does making it constantly easier really help anyone learn guitar?

The newest way to simplify learning guitar is Magic Instruments’ Rhythm Guitar which features 6 six strings at the body that cuts of at it’s fretboard full of buttons – think guitar hero controllers gone mad.

The idea of Rhythm Guitar is that each button is a chord so rather than grinding away to learn the positions and techniques that are vital to learning guitar you can start playing immediately. The strings in the body work individually so you can play different notes from a chord and explore playing with the right hand. It’s a nice feature and gives you an easy way to get used to playing strings without having the complication of your left hand, but it’s not enough.

It’s a nice idea and there really are loads of available chords – the default, largest buttons are major/minor chords beyond which you have variants like 7th chords, power chords, suspended chords, etc. But just strumming the chord, even experimenting with fingerpicking is useless without the other half of the guitar.

learning guitar

Rhythm Guitar creator, Brian Fan says he built the Rhythm Guitar because of his struggles picking the instrument up, saying: “I practiced one whole summer, and after 300 hours, I was a lousy player. I gave up. Quit.” Truthfully that’s one of the tragedies of the guitar – many start learning with good intentions and end up infuriated, vowing to never again play the smashed guitar on the floor. However I’m not sure that reducing the instrument to something that can just be picked up by anyone to play chords, there’s no learning involved.

One of the interesting features of the Rhythm Guitar is its companion app which they claim will have “tens of thousands of titles in our song catalog”. With the app you play along to songs which will show you which button number to press and play along with the song, the songs come at a cost but so does licensing tracks – fair enough. The problem with this method is it strays too far from playing an actual instrument again. It becomes a game, something that Rocksmith managed to do with real guitars already.

learning guitar

Verge writer Jacob Kastrenakes got to play around with the Rhythm Guitar, currently available in an Indiegogo campaign, and commented on why it doesn’t do it’s intended job. He said: “For total amateurs, like myself, the Rhythm Guitar’s problem is immediately clear: learning how to quickly press, locate, and move between it’s 90 buttons is about as challenging as learning to form chords on an actual guitar.”

Maybe this is a product that works for some and maybe it will inspire some people to take up the guitar seriously afterwards. But with a price tag starting at $299, normally $399, (a lot more than picking up a cheap guitar) I don’t think this provides enough of an experience to justify the price. How much further would it be to press play on a recording of a chord on your computer? You don’t learn where to put your fingers on an actual guitar, you don’t build strength in your fingers, there’s no trial and error teaching you the essentials of music theory and how it all comes together; this unfortunately all applies to the Rhythm Guitar.

learning guitar

You can make your own mind up, clearly people like the idea as it’s raised over 200% of it’s Indiegogo campaign goal, but I don’t think this is the tool that will inspire another generation of guitar players. If you want to play guitar nothing will ever match the real thing, that’s my 50 cents.

If you want to check out the Indiegogo page or even purchase one for yourself (hey, I won’t judge) you can check it out here: www.indiegogo.com/projects/mi-guitar-by-magic-instruments