Connected Objects Music

The Solo plays the guitar for you, lets you focus on burning the dessert

Live music is a great help to practicing singers and musicians wanting accompaniment or as entertainment at a dinner party or in a club. The problem really lies in getting people together consistently who want to play, especially on short notice.

The Solo is looking to resolve that difficulty. The product is a mahogany or ebony guitar attachment that transforms any guitar into a self-playing version of itself. To do this, retractable pegs push down on the strings of a guitar’s fretboard while a row of picks down by the guitar’s base strums them, essentially creating a modern digital equivalent of a player piano.

Input Music

The Oval percussion instrument rounds out digital music making

For many, the idea of learning a musical instrument inspires fear and dread. As such, many make attempts at smoothing the learning curve associated with it by using technology to rethink everything instruments can do. The Oval digital music instrument continues that trend in an effort to empower anyone to both learn and play music.

The Oval is inspired by the Hang, a percussion instrument based on the physical principals as the steelpan. The instrument sits on the lap, and is covered in a circular ring of seven multi-sensing, pressure-sensitive pads, with a single pad in the middle. Its MIDI-compliant design gives users the choice to use Oval with its iOS/Android app, or any other music creation software like Ableton. No matter the choice, a user can change the type of instrument being played, change scales, add effects, loop sounds live, and even upload their own sounds.

Input Music

OWOW’s series of digital instruments has you wave, rotate and air-drum tunes

The ubiquity of computers, smartphones, and tablets have all led to a distinctly digital personality when it comes to music creation. Instead of it being regulated to those who spend years mastering a particular instrument, devices have made it so that anyone with a tune in their head can express it with whatever instrument, sound effect, or voice they can find on the internet. Unfortunately, this has made current methods of music creation look more like coding and less like playing.

With their CRD and DVC series of digital instruments, the Omnipresent World of Wizkids (OWOW) is looking to reinject a bit of fun and actual playing to music creation. The series consists of five compact, plug-and-play instruments played with both touch and gesture controls: waving their hands lets users manipulate sounds with the Wob instrument, rotations of the Wiggle instrument will produce different versions of previously assigned effects while users can air drum above the Drums instrument to create percussion. The Pads instrument is a physical miniature drum pad while the Scan is the most experimental of the bunch; with it, users draw dots or lines beforehand that are interpreted as sounds as the Scan is passed over the design.


MixerFace musical interface helps make any place your studio.

The Premise. You’re off making contacts, getting demos out, and, generally taking the world by storm, when you’re suddenly hit with the need to record a song or demo. There’s no way to get to a recording studio and you feel your inspiration fading. What to do?

The Product. The MixerFace is a musical interface that allows you to get studio-quality sound from recordings made with your laptop, tablet or smartphone. It allows you to bypass these devices’ usual audio inputs, and plug an instrument or pro-quality mic in, directly.

The Pitch. The inventor knows his stuff, referring to factors that define a quality recording, like mikes that are optimized for professional sound, and that mobile devices don’t have them. The interface is built on the proven platform of the Hi-Fi M8, the best amplifier that CNET has ever tested according to the presentation. The well-produced video parodies a movie trailer, right down to the dramatic music, and trademark clichés: “In a world…, One man…,” and so on. It provides an extremely concise, professional and knowledgeable pitch, albeit, a rather thin presentation.

In other words, you get a lot of reasons for using the MixerFace, but not a lot about the product itself. This is partially remedied, however, with a comprehensive list of technical information, like its Li-Polymer battery, low-noise boutique pre-amps, 48v phantom power, product compatibility, and a ton of other specs that will leave the layman’s head spinning.

The Perks. There are two unique aspects to the the products perks — an early early-bird price, and an incentive for referring friends. The regular reward price is $349, but early birds can take delivery on the first day of spring (March 20th), or on tax-day for $279 and $299, respectively. And for you referrers, there is the opportunity to earn free equipment like other instrument interfaces, MixerFaces, and studio monitors (speakers) if you get your friends to spend at least $500.

The Potential. This product depends on third parties’ recording apps. The presentation includes a list of musicians/professionals that endorse the company’s other products. These two details alone are enough to make the seasoned studio rat a bit leery. But, it must be said, while there are other interfaces that sell for as little 50 bucks, one would be hard-pressed to find one that is battery-powered, tailor-made for mobile devices, and is as compact, portable and functional as the MixerFace is at any price.