MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 83 of 115

CLOSER LOOK YOU ROCK GUITAR >SHAKE YOUR MUSIC MAKER WORDS BY MATTHEW SCHILDROTH with decent sound quality. While real instruments blow electronic instruments out of the water, they are either too difficult or expensive to record, or I just don't have time to set up equipment. This is where instruments like You Rock Guitar come in. YRG is probably one of the coolest devices I have seen in quite a while. This time around, I actually was able to demo the unit myself, and once I had time to play with it, I was pretty impressed. The guitar itself has a full set of features which are easy enough for kids to play with, but complex enough that trained musicians can enjoy using them as well. You Rock Guitar features include: • 99 built-in presets combining sounds, tunings, etc. • 25 digitally sampled guitars, and it Never Needs Tuning™ so you are always ready to play. Choose 6 and 12-string acoustics, electrics for jazz, grunge, shredding leads and more. • 50 synthesizer sounds: pianos, organs, strings, brass, etc. • 75 built-in song and drum loops for instant play-a-long. • 65 custom tunings and 9 custom user programmable tunings. • Record your own creations with the on-board MIDI recorder. There are few things as universally enjoyed as music. Music transcends language barriers because almost everyone loves it. What becomes a problem, however, is that everyone also loves to produce it, or at least the idea of doing so (everyone has dreamed of being a rock star at one point or another, right?). Whether it is a lower skill level, lack of recording equipment, or lack of an instrument in general, it can be very difficult to be creative musically. In recent years, technology has made this simpler. Be it universal connectivity standards such as MIDI or excellent software like GarageBand, being a musical pro, or at least sounding like one, is something attainable by almost anyone. As a musician myself, I find it frustrating that it gets expensive so quickly to record • Built-in whammy bar for pitch bend—both up and down. • Removable neck for a truly mobile digital guitar. • High speed USB to MIDI and legacy MIDI five-pin connectors. • Download new guitar sounds, song loops and firmware online over the Internet. • Standard guitar cable and stereo headphone outputs. Stereo audio input for MP3 players. That was a pretty quick run-down of the features of this guitar, but there are far too many things I could say about it. One thing I was particularly impressed with was how easy it was to set up with GarageBand, and I imagine it would be just as easy to use it with any other MIDI software. With GarageBand, all I had to do was plug it in, give my MacBook a moment to recognize it, and it was ready to go. There is also a utility available for the guitar that allows you to program it through a GUI (available for Mac OS X and Windows), and you can save presets of your settings. You can transpose it as if you had a capo, switch it to a left- handed guitar, change the sensitivity of the strings, change the gain of individual strings, and even do custom tunings on a per-string basis (drop D, anyone?). On the hardware side, the six-string has 22 frets on its detachable neck and features several connections including a 5-pin MIDI out, USB compatibility (via a mini-USB port - cable included for those of you who do not already have 400 of them laying around like me), a 1/4-inch jack for an amp (cable included), and an 1/8-inch input and output. There is also an expansion slot for a GameFlex slot which, if you purchase the cartridge, will allow you to use the YRG wirelessly with games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero on PS3 or Wii (Xbox 360 support coming soon). The guitar has a variety of buttons that allow you to change the voices, tuning, recording/playback, and even turn on modes like "Tap," which allows you to play without strumming or picking at all, or "You Rock," which is great if you have a little bit of trouble with certain chords as it will make up for it by autocorrecting bad notes. While You Rock Guitar, like any other electric instrument (including my Yamaha Clavinova) have yet to match the quality and flexibility of a real acoustic instrument, You Rock Guitar is a great step in that direction, and can be a whole heck of a lot more fun. The YRG is compatible with Macs, PCs, tablets like the iPad, and pretty much any other PRO MIDI-capable device, or you can use it completely separate with a pair of headphones. The guitar itself is available now online and includes a strap, picks, a USB cable, a 1/4-inch cable, and a user guide. Head stocks for the device were scheduled to be available in late March for those who feel incomplete without one, and GameFlex Cartridges and gig bags can also be purchased. For more information, check out . 82 MacDirectory

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