Google Brings ‘YouTube Kids’ App to the UK and Ireland

YouTube have launched YouTube Kids, an application limited to child-friendly content on YouTube, in the UK and Ireland.

YouTube Kids launched in the US 9 months ago, designed to give parents an easy way to make sure that their children are watching appropriate content whilst watching videos on the largest video-hosting site in the world. Now it’s available on Android and iOS devices in the UK and Ireland.

The new app will feature new content aimed specifically at children in the UK and Ireland, including Octonauts, In the Night Garden as well as UK YouTubers like Stampylonghead and his Wonder Quest. Parents will have the option to disable the search function allowing children only to access videos recommended on the homepage. With the search function children can explore the millions of videos available however there is a chance that an unsuitable video could slip through the cracks.

The app has been downloaded over a million times in the US and for the most part has been seen as an easy way for parents to allows their kids access to YouTube’s massive database of videos, safe in the comfort that they will only have access to child-friendly content.

Another feature of the app is that it allows parents to set a timer so that they can dictate how long their kids can watch online videos for. The app also allows a passcode to be set to prevent access to the settings of the application.

Upon launching the app it will notify the user that, whilst they have put extensive effort into bringing an app that only serves videos appropriate for young children, “it’s possible that your child may find something that you don’t want them to watch.”. However with the numerous safeguards it is a mostly guaranteed safe environment, especially compared to the native YouTube application.

You can download YouTube Kids for iOS and Android now for free.

Alesis VX49 Fully Integrated MIDI Controller Keyboard

Alesis’ new VX49 MIDI keyboard and controller promises a fully integrated workflow offering “advanced control of virtual instruments and DAWs.”

With the VX49 keyboard Alesis aim to combine “the creative power of software instruments with the live playability of a keyboard workstation.” With a 49 note keyboard and various creative and production features Alesis’ new keyboard controller looks set to take the main place in any producers arsenal of equipment.

The VX49’s crown jewel is it’s integrated high-resolution, full-colour, 4.3 inch display that adapts itself to any plugin’s controls for 1:1 real-time access to parameters feedback. The screen also includes dedicated interface buttons for controlling any virtual instruments or can be assigned to MIDI CC messages for control over DAWs and external gear.

The VX49 uses Akai’s Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software to take control of your entire VST library and combines this with the versatile, playability of a keyboard workstation. VIP is compatible with any VSTi virtual instrument, including the 7 premium VST plugins bundled with the VX49.

Product Manager at Alesis, Walter Skorupski, said: “The VX49 is a huge step forward for serious keyboard players and producers. Players can access and manipulate virtual instruments right from their keyboard, without ever being distracted by a computer. The entire creative/performance process is so smooth, seamless and natural.

“VX49 and VIP doesn’t slow the artist down – it works with them to maximise their experience and creative potential. We’re unlocking VST’s to feel like real hardware instruments. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”

Here are the Alesis VX49’s primary features:
  • High resolution coloured screen with dedicated interface buttons
  • Screen provides 1:1, real-time feedback of plugin parameters
  • Includes VIP – load, play and control any VST plugin
  • 8 performance-ready 360° knobs
  • Custom 49-key Alesis semi weighted keybed with aftertouch
  • 8 velocity and pressure-sensitive drum pads with RGB illumination
  • Dedicated pad bank, transport control, octave and performance buttons
  • Role mode, time division, pattern arpeggiator and tap tempo buttons
  • Expression pedal and footswitch inputs
  • Standalone MIDI controller or control you plugins and DAW simultaneously.

The Alesis VX49 will be available from December 15th at a retail price of $399.99/£350.

Native Instruments Launch ‘iMaschine 2’ Music Production App For iOS

Native Instruments have released a powerfully updated successor to their music production app ‘iMaschine’.

The original iMaschine wasn’t hailed as the most powerful music production application when it released four years ago for iOS, but it provided producers a platform to sketch their ideas out on the go and then transfer it to the desktop version ‘Maschine’.

Now with iMaschine 2 Native Instruments have created a much more capable app that takes the versatility of the original iMaschine and bring with it a totally new design and powerful performance allowing for an all in one suite, anywhere you are.

iMaschine 2 features a track arranger with which you can transform your loops and scenes into full tracks just by swiping your finger on the screen. You can easily edit your tracks adding, moving and deleting sections quickly.

Native Instruments iMaschine 2

Step Mode is the new drum-pad-based feature with which you can place all your kicks, hits, snares, hats and more exactly where you want, arranging your percussion all within the app seamlessly. You can also browse through hundreds of different sounds for a diverse set of rhythm sections.

A new in-built Smart Play keyboard allows you to create melodies, basslines, chords and Smart Play will even map the keyboard to notes in a scale so that you never play a wrong note. The arpeggiator also allows you to “quickly add dynamic movement to your music.”

The visual design has had a complete overhaul as well with bright colours accentuating the various features of iMaschine 2. Colour coding also allows simple and fast organisation and navigation of projects, sounds and groups.


One of the truly unique features introduced in iMaschine 2 is the use of iPhone 6s and 6s Plus’ 3D Touch, the first music production application to use the interactive feature. With 3D Touch you can adjust the dynamics of your playing by how hard you press on pads with the Note Repeat feature, as you can on the desktop Maschine. With the pressure of your finger you also control the rate of Note Repeat. You can also directly jump into recording a sample or opening up a new project from your home screen. Then use Quick Actions to easily enter Step Mode, mute pads or erase notes.

iMaschine 2 also comes with over 300 mb of content making up:

  • 19 projects
  • 38 drum kits
  • Over 750 samples
  • Expansions Store to add even more professional sounds.

For a limited time (until December 1st 2015) you can get the ‘ULTIMATE COLLECTION’ which includes all 36 iMaschine expansions currently available, for the price of one. It includes over 100 projects, 200 drum kits and 90 instruments all in a range of genres from hip-hop, funk, soul to techno, house, EDM.

Get iMaschine 2 now for $4.99 on compatible iPhones and iPads from the Apple App Store.

Sampling Vinyl and a First Look With Ableton Push 2

Earlier this week we heard the giant announcement that Ableton were bringing us Live 9.5 and a new model of their celebrated Ableton Push. Point Blank Music School now have two new videos introducing the Ableton Push 2 and the other showing how you can sample vinyl records on the Push 2.

Take a first look at Ableton’s upcoming MIDI controller here:

Sampling Vinyl with Ableton Push 2:

Sennheiser’s New Orpheus Headphones Will Cost €50,000

Sennheiser have unveiled their latest attempt at “the best headphones in the world”, available for a modest €50,000.

In 1991 we created the best headphones in the world. We called them Orpheus. Now, we have done it again. The name and uncompromising philosophy remaining, this is Orpheus reborn. In otherworldly sound and timeless beauty. Perfectly engineered. Equipped with unique features and state-of-the-art technology these headphones transform music from something you listen to, into something you live in.

That’s Sennheiser’s announcement for the follow-up to their 1991 landmark headphones, the Orpheus HE90, proclaimed “the best pair of headphones money can buy” and priced at a cool $16,000. Only 300 pairs of the HE90 were made and have since become the stuff of legend.

Almost 25 years later Sennheiser have decided to up the game with the new best headphones in the world, the new Orpheus. Sennheiser CEO, Daniel Sennheiser, announced: “With the new Orpheus, we once again push the boundaries  and show that we can repeatedly set new benchmarks in excellence and with that shape the future of the audio world.”

Sennheiser Orpheus headphones

The new Orpheus promises the best available headphone experience in the world with high-end reproduction precision, spatiality and a frequency response that goes beyond the capable range of human hearing. Daniel explains: “It is able to deceive our senses in a completely unique way, creating the perfect illusion of being directly immersed in the sound.”

The new Orpheus headphones are hand crafted in Germany using more than 6,000 components including gold-vaporised ceramic electrodes, platinum-vaporised diaphragms and Carrara marble amplifier housing from Italy, supposedly the same used by Michelangelo. “The properties of the marble optimally protect the amplifier’s core and its unique optics and structure turns each Orpheus into an individual work of art,” said Maurice Quarre, Director of Select & Audiophile at Sennheiser.

The amplifier looks beautiful with eight protruding vacuum tubes to process the signal. Portfolio Manager Audiophile at Sennheiser, Axel Grell, said: “The advantage of tube amplifiers is their superior impulse processing. However one challenge is their sensitivity to air-borne-noise.” Thats the reason for the granular, inhomogeneous Carrara marble housing for the amplifier.

Sennheiser Orpheus headphones

Sennheiser are placing the new amplifier concept in a class that audio specialists call ‘Cool Class A’. This means that the Orpheus provides Class A power in low-frequency range at any volume and at high to ultrahigh frequency range the amplifier switches between Class A and Class AB. Sennheiser say that Class AB will only be used for a “very unusual frequency spectrum.”

On the system, Grell said: “Cool Class A is a brilliant idea: the music signal is reproduced without distortion and the headphones remain cool. We carried out extensive signal analyses and listening analyses as well as detailed tests to find out how much current we need at which frequency in order to achieve this unusual result.”

Grammy award-winning jazz musician Gregory Porter got to trial the new Orpheus and applauded its quality, saying: “When I record my own music, I always try to convey my emotions. I don’t know how exactly, but these headphones really do succeed in getting those emotions across.”

The headphones have reportedly been almost a decade in the making, with Sennheiser experts constantly working on how to further break the limits of technical achievement. The Orpheus uses an innovative digital amplification concept to combine the enhanced quality of a tube amplifier with the conservatism of transistor amplifiers, directly in the headphones.

Sennheiser say the Orpheus will be available from next year with roughly 250 produced per year, so there’s a little time to save towards the “around €50,000” price tag. Find out more about the self-proclaimed best headphones in the world at