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Looking for a 42" iPad? Well, the new MotionCOMMAND controllers from Music Computing don't exactly fit that description, but they're about as close as you can get. Music Computing has a slew of new and innovative products that will appeal to musicians, producers and anyone who wants a big touch-screen interface for their Mac or Windows computer.
If you've ever wanted to give your computer a touch-screen interface that could hold a candle to the one on your mobile phone, there is hope. Just connect a MotionCOMMAND monitor/controller to two USB ports on your computer (one USB port for video transfer, the other for control), and you'll be able to operate your machine the same way you answer phone calls.
MotionCOMMAND is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, and what's interesting is that Windows 7 currently offers better touch-screen support than Apple's OS X. Windows 7supports two finger commands, while OS X Snow Leopard is limited to one finger. However, this will all change dramatically when Apple's new Lion operating system becomes available later this year.
Controlling a computer with a touch screen has many applications. They're great for retail displays, installations and personal computing needs as well. Musicians can really benefit from using a touch-screen interface. Making music with instruments and recording-studio equipment has traditionally been a very hands-on activity. Digital recording tools have radically changed the way musicians work, and unfortunately, much of the hands-on control aspect has been lost.
Using a touch-screen interface brings a sense of immediacy back to music production. The MotionCOMMAND is available in 32" and 42" sizes, and there are different prices for models with two- or six-finger multitouch abilities. The MotionCOMMAND is an LCD TV with standard VESA mounting holes, so it can be set up in a number of different ways.
The Apple has landed. The iKeyDOCK is designed to integrate with Apple and PC notebooks.
While touch-screen interfaces definitely have their benefits, sometimes nothing beats having a hardware knob, fader or button at your fingertips. Music Computing produces a solid line of keyboard production stations with integrated control surfaces, a built-in audio interface and an in-ground pool for your laptop.
Keyboard production stations supply you with everything you need to make music. All you need to do is add your laptop (and your ideas). Production stations like these take the guesswork out of picking a keyboard controller, a control surface, a grid controller and an audio interface. Another huge plus is that they keep all of these components neatly together in one chassis, as opposed to strewn all over a desk in a tangle of wires. This makes the system very portable, and in the case of the iKeyDOCK, very slick looking and stage friendly.
Two short cables protrude from the side of the laptop dock, enabling you to connect the computer to the iKeyDOCK's controllers and interface. There are two interface options available, one with two XLR inputs and another with two XLR inputs and six TRS inputs. The model with the additional inputs has a built-in FireWire interface, so one of the two cables that you plug in is FireWire and the other is USB. The model with a two-input interface built in has two USB cables that you connect.
The iKeyDOCK is available in 61- and 88-key versions. The keys are semi-weighted and velocity sensitive with aftertouch. There are four banks of eight mappable channel strips, plus a ninth master channel. Each channel has three encoder knobs with LED rings. There's an 8 x 8 grid matrix (64 buttons total) that can be used for beat making and triggering samples. If you're not sure what you'd do with all of those buttons, Music Computing includes a custom application called TriggerGrid, which turns them into a powerful sample player.
But what if you want the best of both worlds, a powerful touch-screen interface and a complete keyboard production station? Music Computing has an answer for this, called the StudioBLADE. It has the same keyboard and control surface components as the iKeyDOCK, but instead of having a dock for an external computer, a powerful computer and a 10.1" telescoping touch-screen monitor are built in.
The extremely convenient aspect of having a completely integrated production keyboard is that your system is always together. It unifies your production world, creating a seamless flow from the rehearsal room, to the studio, to the stage. You can write, perform, produce and distribute songs to the Internet all from the same machine. It's durably built, and surprisingly lightweight.
Like the iKeyDOCK, the StudioBLADE is available in 61- and 88-key versions. It comes installed with Windows 7 (64-bit) and has 4GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB). If you like to use more than one monitor, the StudioBLADE comes equipped with two additional external video ports that can mirror or extend your desktop.
In addition to the included TriggerGrid and GEOmidi (MIDI mapping software), a slew of other production applications are included. Among them are Music Computing's own SonicSource (a VSTi virtual synthesizer) and PreSonus' Studio One Pro, a full-featured DAW program for writing, recording, editing and mastering music. Studio One Pro comes with a long list of effects and instruments, so you'll have everything you need in one package.
Thanks for checking out this B&H Insights article! If you have any questions about touch-screen interfaces or keyboard production stations, we encourage you to post them in the Comments section below.