IK Multimedia has announced iRig BlueBoard, which they tell us is a groundbreaking new Bluetooth MIDI pedalboard for iPhone, iPad and Mac, that gives guitarists, bassists and keyboard players hands-free control of mobile and Mac music apps. Here's what they have to say about it in their own words...
Winner of the iLounge "Best in Show" at the recent CES (Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas), iRig BlueBoard is a great addition to any mobile or studio rig for live performance and recording. Guitar players, vocalists and keyboard players can use it to extend control of their preferred music apps by switching presets, changing sounds or modifying effects parameters – all hands-free. They don't have to put down their instrument, and can remain focused on their performance.
Any music app or software that is MIDI compatible (the standard communication protocol for musical instruments) – such as IK's AmpliTube, VocaLive, SampleTank, iGrand – or any other Core-MIDI-compatible app like Apple GarageBand, can be operated wirelessly with iRig BlueBoard.
This ultra-portable unit uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology to transmit the actions of its four onboard, backlit footswitches and its two optional external pedals to the mobile device or Mac. Then using the included iRig BlueBoard app and software, the Bluetooth signals are converted into MIDI messages and routed internally to the music app that's running on the device.
It's also possible to fully customize the MIDI messages that are sent out by the four switches and two optional expression pedals. It's easy to setup iRig BlueBoard to control patch changes, effects parameters, reverb, delay on/off – or any parameter that can be controlled via MIDI. For a guitarist or vocalist using a mobile multiFX app like AmpliTube or VocaLive as a sound processor, iRig BlueBoard provides the foot-controlled functionality and convenience of a pedalboard, but with a form factor so compact and portable that it can easily slide into a backpack, a laptop bag or an instrument case.
Because it's wireless, iRig BlueBoard lets musicians setup onstage without being tethered to their mobile device. The unit's range is 10 meters (over 32 feet), giving musicians a great deal of mobility to roam the stage that would be impossible with a wired unit. Because the foot-switches are backlit, they're easy to see in all lighting conditions, even on a dark stage. Additionally, the fact that iRig uses wireless Bluetooth leaves all the wired ports of the device free, so they can be used simultaneously by interfaces or controllers that feature the 30-pin or Lightning connector, like IK's iRig HD, iRig MIDI or iRig Keyboard, and adapters or microphones that use the device mini-jack such as iRig or iRig MIC.
Even with all its impressive functionality, iRig BlueBoard measures only 27 cm wide x 9 cm deep (10.6" x 3.5"). It's extremely lightweight, but with a sturdy, stage worthy chassis and four foot-switches made of soft-touch rubber and designed for durability. Because of its ultra-low profile (it's only 2 cm / 0.8" tall) the unit can easily fit on a desktop.
For total portability, iRig BlueBoard is battery powered. It takes 4 standard AAA batteries, and because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), it draws very little power, leading to extremely long battery life.
iRig BlueBoard is compatible with iPhone 5 and 4S, iPad 3rd and 4th generation, iPad Mini, and iPod touch 5th generation. For Mac, it's compatible with any model that supports Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy, like any MacBook Air, Mac Mini, or MacBook Pro that was released after June 2012.
Pricing and Availability:
iRig BlueBoard is priced at $99.99 / €79.99 MSRP (excluding taxes), and will be available in the second quarter of 2013 from the IK network of music and electronic retailers around the world.
Richard Nichol was on hand to show of the new pieces in the Lifeforms range