Great New Musical Talent – Lucy Hirst (aka Polkadothaze)

Yesterday marked the YouTube debut of a truly remarkable musical talent. Lucy Hirst, aka Polkadothaze, at the age of only seventeen, manages to fuse angelic vocals and beautiful melodies with truly heartfelt lyrics that show a maturity beyond her years, and that will strike a chord with fellow teens everywhere. I have a feeling that this could be the start of something big, so if you love this song as much as I do, please do support her, like and subscribe to her channel, and expect more tunes soon!


New iPad / iPad 3 – UK Prices

Just a quick update to yesterday’s new iPad announcement. Official UK prices for the new iPad are as shown in the image, starting at £399 for the base 16GB WiFi-only model and rising to £659 for the top-of-the-range 64GB WiFi + 4G version. Details of data plans for the 4G models, and their associated costs, can be found at

Apple Unveils not the iPad 3, but the New iPad

Apple have at last thrown the wraps off the new iPad at a press event in San Francisco today. Bucking the trend for numerical updates, they’ve gone, not with ‘iPad 3’ as was expected, or even the rumoured ‘iPad HD’, but simply with the ‘New iPad’. The biggest physical difference from its predecessor seems to be a Retina display at a whopping 2048 x 1536 resolution, the new version containing 3.1 million pixels, the most ever in a mobile device. This works out at 264 pixels per inch, more than four times the resolution of the iPad 2, and with 44% better colour saturation, this promises to be a pretty amazing screen.
The new device is powered by an Apple A5X processor, with quad core graphics, promising double the performance of the A5 chip found in the previous model.
The rearward-facing iSight camera sports a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, IR filter, and can shoot 1080p HD video with image stabilization. The camera also sports auto exposure, auto focus and face detection capability.
Other new features include Voice Dictation via a microphone key on the software keyboard and support for 4G LTE networks – basically the next generation of wireless mobile broadband, which has yet to appear in the UK but is expected to be rolled out sometime this year.
The new unit is 9.4mm thick and weighs in at 1.4lbs – slightly heavier than the iPad 2. Battery life remains at a quoted 10 hours, and it ships with iOS 5.1, which Apple also released today. Pricing is the same as for the old model, while schools, colleges and thrifty people will be delighted to note that the iPad 2 will continued to be sold for $100 less than the base model of the new version.

16GB $499
32GB $599
64GB $699

WiFi + 4G
16GB $629
32GB $729
64GB $829.

Available, as before, in black or white finish, the new iPad’s release date is March 16th in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, with 25 more countries joining in the fray on March 23rd. To accompany the new version of iOS, all the iWork and iLife iOS apps have been updated, with the much-anticipated iPhoto for iOS also making an auspicious debut to complete the lineup.

Griffin launches StudioConnect iPad Audio/MIDI Interface / Dock

iPad musicians sit up and take notice: The stylish Griffin StudioConnect gives your iPad audio in/out, MIDI in/out, and a stereo headphone jack. Coupled with a nifty integrated dock that gives your iPad a stable and convenient place to sit and charge up while you’re recording, this device looks like the ideal solution for capturing those fleeting musical ideas while on the move.
You can plug a guitar into the StudioConnect’s mono 1/4″ instrument jack and play directly into GarageBand or other music recording apps. Or plug a recorder or mixer into the StudioConnect’s stereo 3.5mm input jack and connect the whole band to your iPad.
Line-level stereo audio-out comes via rear-mounted left and right channel RCA outputs, while the front panel sports a separate front-panel 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with its own volume knob. Standard 5-pin MIDI In and Out ports complete the lineup, together with a socket for an external power supply. With an RRP of $149.99 USD, the best part is, it works with both the iPad and the iPad2 (and presumably the iPad3 when it arrives later this month!)
Can it give the slightly more expensive and more fully-featured Alesis IO Dock a run for its money? Only time will tell…

Steinberg Releases Cubase 6.5

German sequencer kings Steinberg yesterday announced a sizeable update to their flagship Cubase Digital Audio Workstation software. Incorporating two substantial and impressive-looking new software synths (Retrologue and Padshop), new plug-ins (DJ EQ and MorphFilter), new comping and warping tools, FLAC file format support and an update to the VST Amp Rack guitar amp emulation system, Cubase 6.5 also includes 64-bit support and the ability to export mixes directly to SoundCloud. It’s available as a £43 upgrade from previous versions of Cubase, or can be purchased outright for a shade over £500. For more info on what’s new, check out
I’m a big fan of the original Cubase as it appeared on the Atari in the early 90’s, and I’ve never since found a sequencer that has surpassed it in terms of breadth of features and ease of use – and I’ve tried just about everything out there over the years.
I’ve been asked by Computer Music magazine to review this newest release over the weekend, so I’m really looking forward to putting this latest version of my old friend through its paces. Will it be like slipping on an old pair of shoes with new soles and laces? Or will I get bunions and blisters within the first few hours? Watch this space…

iTunes Match Now Available in the UK

After making its debut earlier this year in the US, iTunes Match, the Apple iCloud service that promises to store your entire iTunes library (including music you’ve imported yourself from CD) in the Cloud and make it simultaneously accessible to all your Macs and iOS mobile devices, now appears to be accepting subscribers in the UK, along with several other countries including Canada, France, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Mexico. The option appeared on the front page of the UK iTunes Music Store overnight, showing a subscription price of £21.99 per year. As a bonus, if your originals are shoddy, low bit-rate mp3’s, iTunes will match them to 256Kbps DRM-free versions. Which is nice. Time to get uploading!

Logic Pro Goes Download-only

Apple have today relaunched their professional digital audio software solution, Logic Pro, as a download-only title available from the Mac App Store. Retailing in the UK at £139.99, this represents a considerable saving on the £399 RRP of the now discontinued Logic Studio bundle. Mainstage 2, the live performance application, is available separately for £20.99.

The new Logic Pro package is interesting in that it makes the Logic app available as a standalone application, rather than being part of a bundle. While the content included with the app itself initially appears to be greatly reduced in volume, Apple are making an additional 19GB of content (presumably Apple Loops, EXS24 instruments, synth presets and Space Designer impulse responses) available to download from within the app. Logic Express users will be interested to note that the high-end features thus far denied to them are now available at this price point, although it hasn’t been made clear whether there is an upgrade path from the Express version to this latest, Mac App Store version. For anyone considering moving up from GarageBand though, 140 quid is something of a bargain in my view.

As far as a brand new version, in the light of the furore surrounding the recent market repositioning of Final Cut Pro, nobody is really sure what Apple has up its sleeve for Logic. Will the next major release be a dumbed-down version for hobbyists that leaves professional users frothing, or will it be a totally re-written, re-structured ProTools killer? One thing we can definitely say is that, two and a half years after its last major update, this is a very interesting development in the evolution of the Logic product. Watch this space…

Pro Tools 10 / HDX Breaks Cover at AES 2011

Avid today unveiled their next generation of Pro Tools professional audio recording, mixing and editing software and hardware. Pro Tools 10 software offers over 250 new features, enhancements and improvements, including changes in the way it handles audio files on your hard drive, the ability to load and playback sessions from RAM, realtime fades (farewell, fade files!), clip gain, new AAX plugin architecture and many more. The new hardware delivers 5x the DSP performance of an HD system, higher resolution, larger track counts, more headroom…. just lots more of everything by the sound of it!

Exciting stuff, can’t wait to try it out. Now, what was Avid’s phone number again?