M-Audio Intros iControl – Hardcore Garageband Controller

m-audio icontrolM-Audio has announced iControl, the first dedicated hardware controller specifically designed for Apple’s popular Apple GarageBand music software.

“M-Audio has a vision of empowering anyone interested in making music with the tools to do so easily,” says Tim Ryan, General Manager at M-Audio. “iControl represents M-Audio’s commitment to GarageBand as a creative platform. iControl provides a tactile, affordable, and professional experience when creating recordings, mixing, and producing in GarageBand.”

“With GarageBand, Apple is broadening the music market by providing a breakthrough entry level program that allows anyone to create music,” said Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “Our development community created a new ecosystem around GarageBand that reaches from loop libraries to dedicated hardware devices and we’re excited to see M-Audio deliver a unique controller for GarageBand.”

iControl gives users total tactile control over GarageBand, melding the best of the software and hardware worlds. Dedicated transport buttons put all recording and playback functions at the musician’s fingertips: play, stop, record, fast forward, rewind, rewind to start, and project cycle on/off. A jog wheel also allows freely scrubbing the playback position. A master volume fader occupies a prominent position, as well.

One of iControl’s other main features is a bank of controls for eight tracks at a time. These include dedicated buttons for solo, mute and record, as well as eight rotary encoders that users can easily assign to control volume and pan. Pressing the +/- buttons assigns the eight sets of track controls to the higher or lower groupings of tracks.

The controls on the left side of iControl’s front panel assign the rotary encoder functionality. In Volume or Pan mode, they function in a one-per-channel configuration, for up to eight channels at a time. For the remaining modes, the user selects the desired track via the bank of eight Select buttons, and the rotary controllers will then assign to be multiple controls of the selected mode. Selecting Generator, for example, instantly provides tactile control over eight parameters of the track’s Generator instrument. Additional mode buttons allow assignments to a track’s channel strip, EQ, Effect 1 and Effect 2. When the assigned function has more than eight parameters, the +/- buttons allow shifts through the full range of parameters. The rotary controls also work in conjunction with any assigned AU plug-in.

iControl communicates with your Mac and GarageBand via a single USB connector. Users can also connect a traditional MIDI keyboard to the 5-pin MIDI input to play any GarageBand instruments. The unit is also USB bus-powered, class-compliant and automatically recognized by GarageBand for extremely easy integration. An Option button provides for future expansion as GarageBand evolves, further demonstrating the level of M-Audio’s commitment to this market.

iControl will run on any computer capable of supporting GarageBand 2.0. It also requires GarageBand 2.0.1.

iControl will ship in May at an MSRP of USD$179.95

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