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M-Audio iControl and JamLab

M-Audio’s iControl unit

M-Audio unveiled the iControl control surface, a dedicated hardware controller designed for Apple’s GarageBand. Dedicated transport buttons (play, stop, record, fast-forward, rewind, rewind-to-start and project cycle on/off) are accompanied by a jog wheel and a master volume fader.

?The iControl control surface offers 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 assign to control volume and pan. Pressing the up/down buttons assigns the eight sets of track controls to the higher or lower groupings of tracks.

The controls on the left side of the 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 function as multiple controls of the selected mode. Selecting Generator, for example, 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 up/down buttons allow shifts through the full range of parameters. The rotary controls also work with any assigned AudioUnits plug-in.

The iControl control surface communicates with the user’s 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 USB-powered, class-compliant and automatically recognized by GarageBand. There is also an Option button for extending functionality. The iControl control surface will also be supported in upcoming updates of Logic Express 7 and Logic Pro 7.

The iControl control surface requires GarageBand 2.0.1 and is currently shipping with an MSRP of $179.9.

In addition to the iControl, M-Audio announced the release of the new JamLab virtual guitar system for Mac and PC platforms. The JamLab system comprises a USB interface designed specifically for guitarists and DSound GT Player Express software that combines the functionality of a guitar amp, effects pedals and standard audio file player.

The JamLab hardware connects to a PC or Mac computer via an integral USB cable, and features a ¼-inch jack for guitar input. An 1/8-inch jack can be used as either a line or headphone output. Volume control is handled using the JamLab driver control panel. The interface delivers 24-bit fidelity at 44.1- or 48 kHz.

The included GT Player Express features amp simulation and virtual effects boxes for distortion, EQ, chorus, delay, reverb and noise gate. GT Player Express can also play and down-speed standard AAC, MP3 and .WAV audio files. The JamLab system also ships with 160 MB of .WAV drum loops from M-Audio’s ProSessions™ Sound and Loops Library. Users can load them into GT Player Express in any order to create an instant custom drum machine to jam along with.

The JamLab package can be used stand-alone or with most host software. Compatibility includes CoreAudio, WDM, ASIO 2, ReWire and VST plug-ins. The unit is also class-compliant with Mac OS 10.3.8.

JamLab is expected to ship in early July at an MSPR of $79.9.

For more information about M-Audio, visit