Archive for May, 2015

The Logic Pros: Turning iPad into a virtual pedalboard using Logic Remote


The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

Apple’s Logic Remote app for iPad allows for a lot of control over sessions in Logic Pro X on the Mac— its two main functions include controlling the mixer/transport controls, and using it as a midi controller for playing virtual instruments with user interfaces for keyboards, drumpads, and fretboards. But the app’s other feature is a grid of drumpad-like squares that can be used as buttons for key commands.

My goal was to be able to easily flip through amps and pedals as I jam, rather than having to deal with mouse clicks, opening/highlighting the plug-in I want to interact with, etc. So using Logic Remote, I setup a workflow with custom key commands that makes the drumpad-style interface work like a giant foot pedal for flipping through the awesome set of virtual amps and pedals Logic includes. Here’s how I did it:


1. First we create a new audio track in Logic using the input for our guitar.


2. Next, we load up Amp Designer and Pedalboard on our channel strip for our audio track under Audio FX.


3. Now, open Amp Designer by double-clicking it on your channel strip.


4. Create a screenset with Amp Designer highlighted by pressing 1 on your keyboard. Lock it by clicking “lock” in the screenset menu.

5. Close Amp Designer.


6. Open Pedalboard by double-clicking it on your channel strip.

7. Create a screenset by pressing “2” on your keyboard. Lock it.

8. Open the Logic Remote app on your iPad. *** If it’s your first time using Logic Remote, you’ll have to select your Mac to pair— your iPad and Mac have to be on the same WiFi network.


9. Click the menu icon in the upper left corner of Logic Remote and select “Key Commands”


10. Scroll to a blank page and tap the empty squares to create the following 4 custom buttons ***You can use search to quickly find them:

  • -Next Plug-in setting
  • -Previous plug-in setting
  • -Recall screenset 1
  • -Recall screenset 2

Logic-Remote-key-commands-02 Tapping the red “Recall screenset 1” button selects Amp designer, while I can cycle through amps using “Next Plug-in setting” (and Previous). Once you’re happy with an amp, you can switch over to Pedalboard using the green “Recall screenset 2” button and cycle through your pedals with the same “Next Plug-in setting” (and Previous) buttons. And you can switch back and forth between amps and pedals using those buttons at any time. Now you have a custom page that you can use to cycle through amps and pedals as you jam. I even throw it on the floor sometimes and use it with my feet like a true pedalboard, hands-free.

You’ll notice I also have a “Recall screenset 3” button. That works the same way as the other two screensets but pulls up the “Tuner” I have loaded on the channel strip instead of Amp Designer or Pedalboard. And the key commands page always has transport controls by default on the bottom and top, so you can easily punch-in and out of recording as you play. 

That might be enough to get you started and jamming, but if you want to cycle through Logic’s built-in electric guitar presets you could do that too by selecting one from the library (the small drawer icon second from the upper left corner, pictured below). You’ll just need to add the “Next Patch, Plug-in Setting or EXS instrument” key command button to easily flip through the presets in the same way as Amp Designer and Pedalboard above. Or you can do both and flip between a track with presets and our track with Amp Designer/Pedalboard by tapping and holding the transport bar in Remote to switch tracks.

Logic-remote-change-tracks Logic-remote-library

If we want to drill into the parameters for our Amp/Pedal combo, or preset, a little further, Remote lets us access Logic’s Smart Controls feature too from the menu button in the upper left corner of the app. 

For every pedal you load up on your pedal board, you automatically get the kick switch and one main knob control loaded up on that track’s Smart Controls. This can be handy for creating dynamics in your performances, simulating the experience of being able to switch-on foot pedals at the right moment.

Logic-Remote-Smart-controls-01 Logic-Remote-Smart-controls-02

Jam and save some amp/pedal combos you discover as channel strip presets. Once you get a few you like, you can load those up on separate channels and use Remote to flip through the channels using the “next” and “previous channel strip” commands, like a virtual pedalboard with your favorite amps and pedals.

There are lots of great apps with pedals and effects for guitar (we’ll be exploring many in the future), but this is a fun way to take advantage of what already comes with Logic Pro.

Logic Pro X for Mac is $199 on the App Store, the Logic Remote iPad app is free.

More The Logic Pros: TE’s new pocket-sized synths & how to sync them up with your Mac

Filed under: How-To, Apps, iOS Tagged: amp designer, app, how to, iPad, Logic Pro, pedalboard, remote, the logic pros

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Jordan Kahn

May 31st


How to


All Screens Are Not Created Equal

schooltablet Recently, Taiwanese lawmakers approved the “Child and Youth Welfare and Protection Act,” making it illegal for children under the age of 18 to use electronic devices for excessive periods of time. In the United States, we don’t have legislation restricting screen time, but organizations like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) have addressed the issue of… Read More

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Björn Jeffery

May 31st


Review: myCharge’s HubUltra is the premium 12,000mAh battery for your iPad + Beats headphones


I’ve learned a lot about 9to5Mac readers’ iPad, iPhone, and even MacBook battery preferences over the past six months: roughly 75% want the most affordable or value-laden battery available for a specific need (say, a powerful $40 iPhone 6 battery case or an $80 ultra high-capacity iPad battery), while the remaining 25% are willing to pay a premium for better features or a better-known brand name.

Just beginning to hit stores, myCharge’s new HubUltra ($150, currently $110 online) is designed to be the iPad/iPhone battery for users who will pay more for something flashy. It looks great, packs a large 12,000mAh rechargeable cell for plenty of power, has built-in Lightning and Micro-USB cables, and rapidly refuels with an included wall power dock. HubUltra doesn’t deliver as much power for the dollar as the remarkable Anker Astro E7, but myCharge has built a completely turnkey solution that will particularly appeal to iPad users with micro-USB accessories. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on…

Key Details:

  • An aluminum-clad 4.5″ by 2.7″ by 1″ battery bundled with a 2.25″ by 3″ by 1.2″ wall charging dock
  • Battery integrates Lightning and micro-USB cables, 3.4A total output, fast 4A recharging input
  • Ideal for an iPad user with a micro-USB accessory such as battery-powered headphones
  • Premium-priced, not right for users who need to recharge two Apple devices at the same time


While most Apple batteries have shifted to inexpensive, all-plastic enclosures, HubUltra goes in the opposite direction. It’s made from silver anodized aluminum, complete with glossy beveled edges that match the fronts of current iPads and iPod touches. Measuring roughly 4.5″ by 2.7″ by 1″ with curved corners, HubUltra has a more compact footprint than its rivals, but it’s thicker, a dense-feeling, professional-looking design. myCharge uses a black plastic core to manage two 5.5″-long, non-detachable Lightning and micro-USB cables, which are easy to pull out and put back in as needed.


myCharge includes two different ways to refill HubUltra’s 12,000mAh battery. Like virtually every other company, it provides a micro-USB recharging cable in its box, so you can connect that to a port on HubUltra’s bottom for comparatively slow recharging with any computer. But it also includes a custom 4-Amp black plastic wall adapter dock with fold-out wall power blades on the back, three charging pins on the top, and a full-sized USB port labeled iPad on the side.


This dock is a travel-friendly 2.25″ by 3″ by 1.2″ in size, enabling HubUltra to dodge an issue faced by most other high-capacity batteries: it can be recharged from 0% to 100% in a very reasonable four hours. And when it’s not recharging HubUltra, the charger’s USB port can be used to provide up to 2.4-Amp power for an iPad, iPhone, or iPod if you self-supply a separate cable. It’s a very nice pack-in, and easy to use: just pop HubUltra on top of the dock, and plug the dock into the wall.


HubUltra’s lights and buttons are straightforward — not the best around, but a step better than the ones I’ve seen on some budget-priced batteries. Four bright white lights indicate remaining power if you tap the combination power indicator and power on/off button, which also starts the flow of energy to your connected devices after a brief press. myCharge notes that HubUltra can retain up to 60% of a full charge when left unused for a year, and has a collection of other under-the-hood power efficiency features; my “pre-charged” review unit arrived with three of the four lights filled.


Whether HubUltra will meet your battery needs is going to depend on the gear you hope to use with it. If this battery has any obvious weakness for pure Apple users, it’s that the two cables use different connectors: HubUltra offers 3.4-Amp total output across the two cables, such as 1-Amp iPhone or 2.4-Amp iPad support, but you can’t connect both an iPhone and an iPad at the same time without an Apple Micro-USB to Lightning Adapter or equivalent third-party version). There’s no spare USB output port on HubUltra to let you use a regular Lightning cable instead. So HubUltra’s ideal customer is an iPad user with a micro-USB accessory such as a pair of rechargeable battery-powered Beats headphones, or iPhone/iPad/iPod users who don’t mind swapping their devices on the Lightning plug for charges.


In my testing, the 12,000mAh battery performed as expected, delivering a 116% charge to an iPad Air 2 — one full recharge from dead to 100%, then an extra 16% after a partial discharge. It was also fast, reaching 71% after two hours, and 100% after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Apart from its speedy wall recharging capabilities, a non-trivial benefit, HubUltra was otherwise comparable in basic performance to the 12,000mAh Aukey PB-N28 I tested last month. You can expect either one to fully recharge any current iPad model (from iPad Air 1 to iPad mini 3) at least once, and any iPhone three or more times.


The challenge for myCharge, of course, is competition: Aukey’s 12,000 PB-N28 sells for $25, and Anker’s 25,600mAh Astro E7 goes for $80. Both deliver a lot more bang for the buck than HubUltra, and though each requires you to self-supply Lightning cables and a wall adapter, they’ll actually let you charge two (or with Astro E7, three) Apple devices at once. That’s why I’d describe HubUltra a a premium solution for a very specific type of Apple user. If you value myCharge’s fast packed-in wall charger, nicer metal cladding, and integrated cables enough to pay the premium, you’ll be pleased by its build quality and performance. But there’s good reason the battery market has moved to more affordable, device-agnostic options: they tend to be more universally appealing, even if they don’t include all the frills HubUltra offers.

MSRP / Sale Prices:
$150 / $110
All iPads, iPhones, USB iPods*

Filed under: iOS Devices, Reviews Tagged: 12000mah, battery back, HubUltra, Lightning, Lightning battery, micro-usb, myCharge

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Jeremy Horwitz

May 31st



Drake, Pharrell Williams & David Guetta in talks to be DJs for new iTunes Radio

Drake wearing the $17K Apple Watch at Coachella

Drake wearing the $17K Apple Watch at Coachella

It seems that many high-profile artists wearing gold Apple Watches over the past several weeks may be doing more for Apple than just promoting their new watch. Apple is in talks with at least Drake, Pharrell Williams and DJ David Guetta to become guest DJs on the new iTunes Radio, according to a new report. The report says that Drake’s deal could be worth around $19 million, while these deals follow the hire of notable U.K DJ Zane Lowe

Besides the news of the DJ talks, the report says that the free trial option we discussed for the upcoming Beats-based streaming service will be three months in length. Interestingly, during those three free months, Apple wants the record labels to give up the music to the company for free. It’s unclear if this request will actually work out in time for the June 8th debut, which we reported on in March, but it appears Apple will push for this until time runs out.

As we profiled earlier this year, Apple is working on both a new version of iTunes Radio and its “Apple Music” streaming service for Apple and Android devices. While Apple initially hoped it could sell its subcription service for $8 a month, push back from labels means that the cost will equal the current Beats Music price: $10/a month. Besides a new look based on the iOS 8.4 Music app, the new service will have deep, Ping-like social integration for artists and will launch in internationally.

Filed under: AAPL Company

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Mark Gurman

May 31st



New 15-inch 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro unboxed and compared to other 2015 configurations (Video)


Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display is here and available in a few different configurations. We’re take a closer look at the 2.5 GHz model with 16GB of RAM, and 512 GB of internal storage today, but also comparing some benchmarks to Apple’s two other 15-inch configurations for this year.

This MacBook features slight improvements in the battery department, makes the switch from NVIDIA to AMD for discrete graphics, faster internal storage, and also includes Apple’s new Force Touch trackpad as we’ve seen with other MacBook releases this year….

You won’t find any surprises inside of the box. Included is a quick start guide, Apple stickers, microfiber cleaning cloth, 85W MagSafe power adapter, and a power cord. The MacBook Pro’s design has remained the same as last years model, but I decided to spice things up a bit with a smooth matte black skin to keep it scratch free and add a little personality.

As mentioned, Apple has moved away from NVIDIA this year and the 2015 MacBook Pro now includes an AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB of RAM. There may not be a huge performance difference between the two, but the AMD card seems to work better for my needs when it comes to video editing and motion graphics.

Check out our unboxing, benchmarks, and comparison video below:

In the above video, we take a look at benchmarks from this MacBook Pro using GeekBench 3, BlackMagic Disk Speed Test, and CineBench R15. We’ll also compare this MacBook’s benchmark scores to the 2.2 GHz and 2.8 GHz models that Apple offers for the 15-inch model. Keep in mind though, the 2.2 GHz model does not include discrete graphics and only features Intel’s Iris Pro.

In Geekbench 3, we got a single-core score of 3678 and a multi-core score of 14372. With BlackMagic Disk Speed test, Apple’s faster storage is lightning fast coming in with a write speed over 700 MB/s and read speeds between 1200 and 1800 MB/s. Finally in CineBench R15, we got an OpenGL score of 62.58 fps and a 600cb CPU score. Nice performance all around, but should you upgrade?

These may be the latest and greatest from Apple, but are any of them worth upgrading to? That’s really going to depend on your needs, but there are only slight differences here when compared to last year’s models. Technically, you’re getting more for your money, but as far as performance goes there aren’t any huge gains to look forward to. For pricing and availability, check out Amazon or Apple’s Online Store.

Filed under: Reviews Tagged: 2015 macbook pro, Apple, benchmarks, comparison, MacBook Pro, unboxing, video

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Dom Esposito

May 30th



Android M and Lollipop: Google quietly improves password management across devices

Android M Lollipop Smart Lock Passwords

Google on Thursday unveiled Android M, a new version of Android that focuses on improving overall user experience. It also packs quite a few interesting new features, including hidden functionality that Google didn’t thoroughly explain.

One of the secret Android M features involves a better way to manage passwords across Google products, and it might evolve into a full-fledged password manager in the future.

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Chris Smith

May 30th


Meet An Origami Robot That Can Build Itself, Run Around, And Then Dissolve

KzwV83-1 Robots are supposed to be huge and hulking like Big Dog, but what happens when they are as light as a feather? MIT researchers recently demonstrated a tiny robot that can fold itself from a sheet of thin material, walk around and carry loads, and then dunk itself in acetone to completely dissolve. The robot, which is controlled by electromagnets, can build itself in a few seconds and then… Read More

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John Biggs

May 29th


Bold Knot Is A Cute Top-Up Charger Built By A Startup From The West Bank

Bold Knot The Bold Knot is a neatly designed top-up battery pack aiming to prevent smartphone users from running out of battery towards the end of the day. It offers an end of day boost (equivalent to three hours’ extra talk time) as an alternative to carrying a hefty full-size power pack. Read More

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Natasha Lomas

May 29th


Google’s Ara Modular Phone Takes A Real Photo From A Snap-In Camera

IMG_0435 Google’s ATAP team showed a working version of its Project Ara modular smartphone on stage at I/O today, with engineer Rafa Camargo snapping in a camera module and taking a quick photo on a device running the latest version of Android. It was a brief show of where the project’s at, and amazing when you consider the engineering involved in making it work. ATAP has shown off a… Read More

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Darrell Etherington

May 29th



Google’s Project Vault Is A Secure Computing Environment On A Micro SD Card, For Any Platform

google-io-2015-atap0076 Project Vault is a secure computer contained entirely on a micro SD sized device. Google’s ATAP said the micro SD format made sense because there’s already advanced security features on your phone, contained in the SIM card, which protects the things important to carriers. Vault is designed to be an equivalent, but designed to project a user’s important content. They went… Read More

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Darrell Etherington

May 29th

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