Music making on Apple's iOS devices has long since migrated from mere display driven ditties to a range of additional hardware better suited to musicians. Alesis, Digitech and IK Multimedia, to name a few, are known music technology brands working the iOS instrument dock market. Nowadays, mainstream iDevice accessory vendors, …
Sadly, the kids buying into this kind of trash have no idea what real music sounds like.
Note that I'm not talking about style of music, I'm talking about tone and range ...
There seems to be a resurgence of folk in the last couple of years, and before that young women singing in the style of 60s pop divas... with an interest in the sound and production. Look beyond the charts for 12 year olds, and you might see that your pessimism in not entirely warranted.
This doesn't look like a good product though. Looking forward to more audio kit for Android devices, now that Jelly Bean has addressed the latency issues.
Erm, digital FX, digital recording and software instruments are mainstream.
While there's plenty of people who still prefer analog kit (Vince Clarke) they are also well aware that you can do plenty of things with digital that aren't possible with analog kit (unless you have a mile of patch cords).
The masses simply decided that convenience was more important than quality about 10 years ago. Hence no super audio CD and music playback has generally stalled at 16-bit 44.1Khz despite Blu-ray discs offering 24-bit and higher sample rates than CD.
There are people who still work with tape and traditional recording techniques, but the cost of such equipment is pretty high as much of it is no longer made.
I think when the OP said "this kind of trash", he was referring to kind of cheap device featured in the article, not high-end digital studio equipment.
High quality audio tracks within the reach of most listeners if they want it, and because in this age of downloads record companies don't need to press umpteen thousand physical copies to make a return, 192Khz/24bit recordings are made available to those who want them.
I would imagine that for most people, 24bit high sample rate music on a portable device is a waste of time, what with ambient noise etc, but there options: specialist players, including the Colorfly C4 (reviewed by Reg Hardware), iBasso DX100 and HiFiMan. Less elegant solutions include a custom ROM on a Samsung Galaxy player (Wolfson DAC, Android gets in the way), using an iPad with an external DAC through the Camera Connection Kit, or using a portable digital recorder such as a Sony D50.
So basically it's a bit crap
Proof of concept I guess but not much more - there are some interesting music production tools coming out for iPads though, Akai's synth station looks rather tasty and the new pro-am level mixer that uses the iPad as its main interface looks promising as well. And everyone and their dog is doing tablet remote controls for their gadget... interesting times.
The stinginess in bundling often marks a bad product, possibly indicates the companies management head space (we want your money is our entire mission statement).
Speaking as a live audio professional, as a control surface tablets are OK, but not for the actual processing of sound. You still have to carry standby kit, in the live sound world, as stuff breaks, and the show must go on.
3.5mm jacks have no place on a stage, as they break too easily.
I don't do any gigs these days, but that really does not look like a setup that will survive life on the road, even for an occasional weekday night amateur player, let alone a semi pro band.
Does the software have a background mode? It's all well and good being able to play from the iPod's collection of mp3's, but sometimes it's handy to be able to, say, alter the speed or tuning of a song, something Robick does really well, or play along to midi squeaks and a Tab using Tab Toolkit.
So much more useful if the app runs background like AmpKit, then you can accompany anything at all.
My wife and I recently took over the running of our local pub and, both having a keen interest in live music (I've performed in all sorts from Stage Musicals to Rock Bands over many years), we were keen to get regular bands and musicians in. Unfortunately an awful lot of people who market themselves as a "Live Act" actually turn up with a PA, a mic and an iPhone/iPad which they use to perform a glorified Karaoke session with. The iPhone and Simon Cowell seem to have a lot to answer for! I'm not sure whether people are being deliberately dishonest or just ignorant when they claim what they do is proper, live music.
On the plus side, there are also some REALLY talented kids out there that CAN play, sing and write their own stuff. It's just a pain in the arse trying to find the odd grain of wheat amongst a whole sea of chaff.
Re: Live music
Trouble is, often a talented and hard-working musician goes the effort composing and arranging tracks, recruiting a band, bullying them into rehearsals, driving them to gigs... eventually getting some favourable reviews in the national music press. At which point some established producer comes along and steals their lead singer...
One can start to understand why then some musicians have started to use things like the Boss Loop-station - effectively laying down their own backing track in real time (nothing is pre-recorded), or otherwise seek a way to provide a good live show without reliance on other individuals.
I guess when booking, you can ask the person you are interested in if there is a Youtube video that is representative of their live act?
I was also impressed by a pub in Penzance that had a collection of guitars on a wall otherwise covered in gig posters... along with a notice: "These instruments are provided for you to pick up and play. Please do. Please ask behind the bar and we will turn off the CD player"... hopefully sowing the seeds of future live acts.
Sounds pretty crap from the review, which is par for the course with "control surfaces" and software effects. Not that affordable digital effects units have ever been much better, with weedy sounding overdrive or distortion for starters. i just wish someone like Electro Harmonix would start making a modular rack that you could then plug a selection of cards into, where each card is the guts of one of their pedals. Couple that with a programmer that supports MIDI and allows you to save the settings from each card and I'm sure they would be onto a winner.
What if you need that extra push over the cliff?
In that case you are shit outta luck, 'cause the guitar volume doesn't go to 11.