CES 2013: Attack of the iOS MIDI Guitars

TechCrunch had excellent CES coverage, including interviews and demos with two MIDI Guitar controllers coming out this year.

Zivix JamStik

Zivix has stripped down a guitar to the basic essentials in the JamStik. Real strings and some neat sensors detect your precise finger placement on the fretboard, allowing for extremely accurate MIDI notes while playing.

Zivix has some previous experience in this realm, with JustJam and Peavy JamParty Mix rhythm video games. They will be including their own iOS app JamMix, but the JamStik should work with any app that supports CoreMIDI.

JamStik should be available this Summer for around $300.

In this video TechCrunch's John Biggs sits down with Chris Heille and Chad Koehle to hear it in action. You might also want to check out Zivix's own promo video, which goes into great detail: What's a Jam Stick?

Artiphon Multi-Instrument 1

Artiphon is offering a vastly more expensive wooden guitar controller with a slot to plug in your iPhone. At $800, and in limited production runs, this could easily be the most flashy instrument peripheral for the iPhone.

Instead of the JamStik guitar strings, the Multi-Instrument 1 is using "force-sensitive" virtual strings. This allows for it to be played in a variety of styles; including guitar, bass, violin, banjo, or drumpad.

In this video TechCrunch talks with Artiphon founder Mike Butera, who does a good job of demonstrating the different playing styles. He hasn't talked me out of $800, but it is a good effort!


Reader Ignacio Gracián wrote in with this great guitar jam in Ableton, using his own Lemur template to modulate the loops.

I really like this ambient-industrial sound he gets out of an acoustic guitar.

Buy Lemur on iTunes: $49.99

TANSU Synth is now Universal

TANSU is a mini-modular synth, and which you can now run on all of your iDevices for lots of modular fun!

iTunes Description:

The iOS application - which is named "TANSU (dresser)", is a miniature version of a Modular Analog Synthesizer. This synthesizer is the same as the one used and mastered by Hideki Matsutake of LOGIC SYSTEM.

It also contains many original LOGIC SYSTEM recordings. The application condenses the fun, experience and sound of an actual modular synthesizer onto the small screen of an iPhone!


  • Sound effects such as Shepard Tone and rhythms from music by LOGIC SYSTEM have been made directly into the sound source.
  • You can use your iPhones own music library as a sound source. (However, certain tracks which are covered under DRM may not be used).
  • You can use sounds which have been recorded with microphone.
  • You can explore the potential of the TANSU Synth from various demo patterns. Moreover, it can be utilized as a tutorial for beginners.
  • VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator), VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter), VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier), LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), EG (Envelope Generator)
  • It has an 2 channel 8 step analog sequencer and convertible 1 channel 16 step sequencer!
  • Three sound sources can be mixed by a three-channel mixer!


Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad (2nd generation) , iPad (3rd generation) , iPad (4th generation) and iPad mini.


Commercial use of the works created by using this application is subject to the copyright clearance from right holders.

Buy TANSU Synth on iTunes: $4.99

That note at the end about not being able to release any music you actually make with this is the reason I haven't covered this app in the past. However, when I saw this demo from Ryouichi Harada I decided it was worth a closer look! I love the expression here!


podDJ is a new DJ app from famed jailbreak hacker pod2g! This guy is a legend among jailbreak enthusiasts, dating all the way back to the iPod touch 2G. He has been an important part of jailbreaking ever since, including the most recent Absinthe 2.0 many of us are using on our iPads. It will be interesting to see what a brilliant hacker can bring to the crowded DJ app market.

iTunes Description:

PodDJ is a new DJ application that transforms your iPad into a real mixing engine. Thanks to the design and the perfect fluidity of the display, you will be facing the most realistic virtual turntable you have ever seen.

Moreover, iTunes library music becomes available directly without any loading delay and with the highest fidelity sound processing. Discs and controls have been thoughtfully placed in a way that your hands will cover every feature you need as quickly as possible without the requirement of any additional device to achieve a perfect mix.

PodDJ is the only application of the App Store with which you can truly scratch on your iPad thanks to a brilliant touch to sound reactivity. Test and see the difference!

The simplicity of use will finally inspire the DJ sleeping inside you to wake up and turn your living room into the club it ought to be!


  • iTunes library access without any conversion (MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF...)
  • Multi-Route audio: individual output management (you can choose where the monitor and each turntable output goes)
  • 5 milliseconds of sound latency
  • Zero latency cue points
  • Zero latency key lock (time shifting) using DIRAC 3 technology
  • Automatic BPM detection
  • No limit to the number of touches (multiple controls at the same time are accessible)
  • High fidelity equalizer with separate bass, medium and treble settings, kill buttons, and 2 possibles curves
  • Highly customizable turntable emulation
  • Numark iDJ Live compatible

Buy podDJ on iTunes: $6.99 (On Sale, from $9.99)

iDownloadBlog did a video, which doesn't include any music so you guys coming to the site from your iPads or Germany can watch!

Synth X Guitar Demo

Synth X developer Way Out Ware has a new demo of their app inside of the ION All-Star Guitar. This video is demonstrating a guitar mode, unique to Synth X, that only plays notes as they are strummed on screen and not just when he presses the fret buttons.

Buy Synth X on iTunes: $4.99

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