Amazon’s AI musical keyboard is now $99

Late last year Amazon dropped the jaws of a fair few people with a brand new MIDI keyboard which is powered by AI to create music with you.

The Deep Composer looks very much like many a 32-key MIDI keyboard that has come before. But it’s not. Using Amazon Web Services’ technology the keyboard is capable of expounding upon every input towards musical cohesion. In other words; it can write music.

You can use genres to lead it towards a certain path for it to follow when it’s defining the sound of what it’s developing. If you don’t want something as simple as rock, pop, jazz, or classical standards then you can get in there and tweak the AI for your own custom genre output.

From there you can play with it to create songs from a sequence, a chord, or even just a single note. Their AI technology is built to be able to create a full song with all the elements of core instruments like drums and piano using machine-learned patterns and music theory with MIDI music. You can also use it jam along with as the software creates a backing band for you to play with based on your inputs.

Now you can get your hands on this very unique piece of technology for yourself at just $99 a pop. Whilst the keyboard has gained mixed reviews in action it is still very impressive for what it is capable of beyond all of the usual MIDI keyboard functions.

Fitbit adds Spotify to their new Charge 4 devices

Fitbit have revealed a brand new wearable to join you on your exercises with music streaming from Spotify.

This could either be the best time or the worst time to get a FitBit – it depends on where you are and how you’re approaching lockdowns. Here in the UK it might promote you to get out on a run for your daily allotted exercise leave but elsewhere you might just be tracking your walks around the house.

Whatever the case, Fitbit have revealed their Charge 4 with some neat little tech-y features. For a start it getting getting Spotify ‘Connect & Control’ allowing premium accounts to play music from playlists and control playback on it.

A built-in GPS also makes a nice little edition to the new wrist wearable designed to track your steps, exercise distance, even your sleeping patterns. It may come as a surprise that FitBits are only now getting a GPS but the Charge 4 finally brings it up to date.

The wearable will hit markets on the 13th April “in markets where they are still open” for $150 or $170 for a special addition with upgraded bands that costs.

Marshall unveil their new bluetooth speakers with AirPlay 2 and Alexa

Marshall have revealed their new Uxbridge Voice speaker with all the modern streaming and voice control action you can ask for.

In recent years Marshall have gone beyond their long lasting legacy as guitar amp creators. Marshall offer a range of speakers now, including last years Tufton and Stockwell II making their world-class audio available in a portable case.

Marshall have just revealed the Uxbridge Voice, their new portable Bluetooth offering which can be paired to other speakers for a multi-room or stereo setup. They have added AirPlay 2 support so it can be connected in a wide range of ways with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect connections also built in.

The speaker features voice control from Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa. They’ve moved on from their other speakers volume knobs which resembled a guitar amp’s pots and have decided on simple button strips with a plus on one side and a minus on the other. Beside the volume button are bass and treble buttons for EQ customisation.

The speaker is available from April 8th for $199 / £169.99.

This Spotify soap dispenser makes sure you’re washing your hands right with your favourite tunes

You should know by now the importance of washing your hands for 20 seconds, but who wants to sing Happy Birthday every time?

The Scrubber project is getting people washing their hands with real jams to accompany them. It shows you how to create your own mini speaker which connects to Spotify to play 20 seconds of your music when you use and attach it to a soap dispenser.

It’s a fun DIY project that also helps you ensure you’re doing the right thing to prevent Coronavirus infection. You’ll need a Raspberry Pi W Zero, Adafruit speaker bonnet, a few inches of thin wire and a tiny bit of copper tape to create your personal hand washing anthem machine!

Find out more and instructions on how to do it here:

Anchor’s new feature makes podcasting even easier in self-isolation

There are sure to be a lot of podcasts coming in the next few months with more time at home and a LOT to say.

One of the world’s favourite podcast-making apps, Anchor, have launched a new feature that will get people recording their own podcast’s in no time. The new feature allows users to record a podcast directly from their browser without even creating an account.

The feature is called Record With Friends 2.0 and allows up to 5 people to join and record together. There will need to be a host using the Anchor app but they can then invite up to 4 others to join in with their say straight from their web browser.

The Anchor host will be given a link which they share to invite others to take part with microphones from their home. It’s a great solution to getting people together to talk when we are facing a period of social distancing and are encouraged to see as few people in person as possible.

When friends and podcast invitees click on the link it will take them to their preferred browser to start recording their voice in the group channel. Anchor says that whilst they don’t support Google Chrome on mobile yet, it is “coming soon”.

Early last year Spotify bought Anchor’s podcast platform to enhance their burgeoning and flourishing podcast content. Their music streaming platform now even allows users to create and upload podcasts directly from the Spotify app.

We expect that the next month will be the busiest month on record for new podcasts.

You can now get Spotify podcasts without using the Spotify app

Spotify have carved their path into podcasts with a fierce push and now they’re opening their podcasts up to people outside of the Spotify app.

In the past couple years Spotify have transformed from being a leader in music streaming to become a multimedia powerhouse with one of the biggest podcast libraries. They’ve not only nabbed over 700,000 podcasts for their platform but made many notable purchases of podcast networks and platforms for creating and managing podcasts.

This has put them in a strong position not just to offer podcasts for listening, but with the exclusive access to many major series fans of certain content have to go to Spotify to get their fix. Perhaps not any more however, as Spotify have launched a new podcast API for developers to use.

What this excitingly means is that third-party developers can use their API to make Spotify’s podcast catalogue available outside of the Spotify app. It allows people to build new apps or integrate podcasts into existing apps so they’re accessible whilst still hosted and maintained by Spotify.

For people who love the podcasts that they can only find on Spotify, but for whatever reason don’t want to use their app, this is great news. It will also allow developers to get creative with offering certain podcasts based on themes or content. The podcasts will appear with the name of the show, episode titles, descriptions and podcast art all there for integration.

Spotify said in their announcement: “We can’t wait to see what developers will come up with using this API and watch how these new ideas and projects might serve our podcast creators and increase discoverability.

“And any innovation – whether it be an app that helps you share what you’re listening to with friends or a calendar integration that sets an alert for when your favourite show is expected to release a new episode – will ultimately provide listeners with more ways to experience your podcast.”

Behringer are making a free DAW with loads of plugins

In 2020 there are more DAWs than you can throw a stick at but quality free options are still few and far between… Enter Behringer.

Behringer have officially confirmed that they’re creating their own digital audio workstation (DAW) for recording and producing music. Their ‘Music Tribe DAW’ won’t only be completely custom and full of samples and VSTs, but it will also be available completely free.

Details are currently limited – because they have to make the bloody thing first – but what we do know is very exciting. Their aim is to offer a bunch of in-built samples and wicked VSTs so that recording artists and DJs alike have a varied and powerful tool-set available right from the get go.

As the Behringer team admit themselves, this is a massive undertaking – at least if they want it to be any good it is. They are expecting that it will take them at least 18 months to create it with their newly assembled development team of “large” size. So we have a while to wait until we can try it out for ourselves.

They want the community to come together to provide recommendations and suggestions for what they’d like to see in a DAW and how they can make it the DAW that Behringer fans would truly want.

They say: “We would love to develop this together with you and hence encourage you to share your preferred platforms and features so we can consider your input”.

So if you’re excited and want to be involved in the final product of this potentially wonderful new DAW head over to Behringer’s social page and let them know what you’d like to see.

The iRig Pro Duo offers a portable audio & MIDI interface for just $200 and is out now

IK Multimedia have launched their latest device making dual audio recording possible in a pocketable device.

The iRig Pro Duo is a battery powered audio interface that can record audio and MIDI making it the perfect portable companion for musicians and producers. It’s capable of high quality sound recording and is compact enough to take anywhere.

iRig Pro Duo I/O has 2 Neutrik™ analog inputs to record microphones, guitar/bass, keyboards, synths, and more. New Class-A mic preamps with extended gain range and +48v phantom power ensure professional sound quality and ultra-low noise. And MIDI IN/OUT jacks with breakout cables turn iRig Pro Duo I/O into a full-fledged MIDI interface as well.

iRig Pro Duo I/O plugs right into your favorite mobile device. iRig Pro Duo I/O is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, and Mac/PC, with Lightning, USB-C and USB-A cables included for easy plug-in and play setup.

iRig Pro Duo I/O runs off 2 included AA batteries, USB bus power or an optional external PSU, meaning you’re never tethered to an outlet. Let your creativity take you places you never imagined, with flawless audio quality anywhere you need it.

iRig Pro Duo I/O includes free access to over $/€500 of IK software, apps, and in-app content. This all-in-one package is everything that you need to record, edit, and share great content with your audiences near and far.

  • 2 XLR / ¼” combo guitar, mic & line inputs
  • Class-A preamps with improved gain range and phantom power
  • 2 balanced 1/4” outputs 
  • Headphone out with direct monitoring
  • MIDI 2.5mm IN/OUT with breakout cables
  • Improved ergonomic controls for maximum precision
  • Runs off 2 AA batteries (included), bus power or optional PSU
  • Rubberized finish and textured controls for reliable field use
  • Includes Lightning, USB-C and USB-A cables
  • Designed and made in Italy

IK Multimedia’s iRig Pro Duo is available for $200/€200 now.

Sonos end ‘Recycle Mode’ for old devices that are being replaced

As they phase out support for their older devices Sonos have abandoned their plans for legacy devices.

Sonos announced near the start of the year that they would be fully phasing out their older products by ending software updates for them. Their scheme let legacy device owners upgrade to Sonos’s newer offerings but their old devices had to be put into a ‘Recycle Mode’.

Sonos are still offering upgrades to owners but they’ve scrapped the ‘Recycle Mode’ which made older devices defunct. This comes after customers complained about their Trade Up program.

Owners will be able to get 30% off of any Sonos product available for retail from their old device. They will now be able to keep their old device as well to do what they wish with it, including keep them and continue using them.

Whilst they have assured customers that they won’t be updating legacy devices with new features or upgrades they will continue to provide security patches and bug fixes.

Sonos Zone Players, The Connect and Connect:Amp, 1st generation Play:5s, CR200 controllers, and the Bridge can be traded in for 30% credit on a newer Sonos speaker or device. Find out more here.

Bang & Olufsen’s release a new oak-laden, $2,000+ Smart speaker

Smart speaker’s are notoriously in the cheaper market of music fun but B&O want to give connected speakers a treatment of premium sound, bespoke design and a big price tag.

Bang & Olufsen have released their Beosound Balance, putting a blush on the faces of Amazon Echo’s and Google Home’s everywhere. They promise a Smart speaker that offers a dynamic acoustic performance, automatic sound optimisation, and powerful drivers all in a neat, wood-lined package that slips into a modern room theme with style.

The Beosound Balance has been crafted with room placement in mind, as well as premium sound. It has been designed for position against a wall, on a shelf, or atop a side table so that it complements your room. They are promising that with its position and build optimisation it can deliver an “impressively big acoustic experience compared to its size”.

Thanks to Devialet, we know that small speakers are capable of big noise. With two 5.25″ bass drivers the low end is assured to be powerful and 5 more drivers fill out the sound and promise to deliver a broad sound image in high quality.

And you’ll be expecting quality, as the BeoSound will set you back more than $2000 (£1,750 in the UK, phew!). There’s more to it than just a bespoke, oak finish and powerful but clear sound. The Beosound Balance uses beam forming technology to tune it’s delivery to different positions and can automatically adapt its sound to the environment for optimum sound.

Of course there are all the mod-cons of a Smart speaker here too. It is powered by Google Assistant for voice control over your music selections, finding the answers to questions, and… well, you know what AI assistants do by now.

You want to hear more on its aesthetic? Sure; They’ve rooted their inspiration in Scandinavian minimalism. With a smooth, plain speaker component on top contrasting with the gorgeous real oak wood it fits right in with the Scandy’s elegant, monotonal design.

The speaker is available to buy now and costs $2,250 / £1,750 with free delivery.