Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Slaperoo by Andy Graham

I attended MakerFaire 2011 in San Mateo, CA this year. It's becoming an annual event for me and my son to check out all of the cool things that folks are 'hacking' in their garages. This year I ran into Andy Graham demo'ing his latest creation The Slaperoo.

Andy describes the The Slaperoo on his website as:

"Inspired by a long shipping crate with a highly tensioned steel strap, the SLAPEROO™ uses the same type of steel strapping (aka, the Slapper) to produce it's unique percussive tones.

"The rigid tubular body of the SLAPEROO™ is made of anodized 6061 alloy aluminum, which provides the strength necessary to handle the hundreds of pounds of tension required for the the Slapper to get its unique sound.

"The Slapper floats just above the length of the body, allowing it to be 'fretted' like a stand-up bass. However, rather than strumming, the Slapper is struck against the body with one or two hands. It can even be bowed like a violin.

"At the heart of the SLAPEROO™ lies a custom-designed transducer (pickup) that converts the vibrations of the Slapper into an audio signal. The 1/4-inch instrument plug in the back allows it to be used with any instrument amplifier.
Cost: $599 (list)

I have confirm that first of all, Andy Graham is a first rate musician. I saw him perform at MakerFaire 2010, and what caught my attention last year was his unique "multi-didj" stand which enabled him to play the didj while simultaneously banging out the beats on a full drum kit. That's Talent! Little did I know until this year, that Andy is also a talented inventor and entrepreneur. The Slaperoo is just one of several musical inventions that Andy has created over the years (including the DijBass and DijBow). But The Slaperoo has a unique sound. Admittedly, I was also fascinated
by the sound of banging on the metal bands around a shipping container many years ago, (used to drive my lab mates crazy when a new crate arrived), but I didn't have Andy's inventor spirit then.

Here's a couple videos to intrigue you:

Video I took of Andy Graham playing the Slaperoo at MakerFaire 2011:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Check out the new Alesis iO Dock for iPad2

Alesis has announced a new product designed to fill the gap in getting all of your music instruments connected to your iPad and providing the necessary outputs from your iPad so that you can get all that great sound out to your audience in a pro-audio format.
They are not shipping yet, but I sure would like to get my hands on one to test the sound quality in and out.

Suggested Price: $399 USD (but Sweetwater is listing it for $199)

Here are some links to additional information:
Update (6/28): iSoundDesign reports that the situation is now resolved.
The Alesis iO Dock features:
  • The world’s first pro audio dock for iPad and iPad 2
  • Connect microphones and instruments including guitar, studio monitors, PA speakers, headphones, and MIDI controllers
  • Universal device works with virtually every audio and MIDI app in the App Store; Core MIDI compliant
  • Perform, craft, create and play back music in virtually any conceivable manner or location
  • Video output for connection to TVs and projectors
  • Inputs: two combo XLR-1/4" for use with audio gear, instruments, and computer audio
  • Input channel gain controls and switchable phantom power for use with condenser microphones
  • Guitar-direct switch for use with amplifier- and effects-modeling app
  • Outputs: pair 1/4" and 1/4" headphone with separate volume controls
  • Control: MIDI In, MIDI Out, USB MIDI, and assignable 1/4-inch footswitch input


  • iO Dock docking station for iPad
  • Power supply
  • Quick start guide


  • 2x XLR-1/4"
  • Individual gain controls
  • Phantom power, switchable
  • Guitar (high-impedance) switch on Input 2

  • 2x 1/4" Main
  • 1/4" TRS Headphone
  • Individual level controls

  • RCA Composite (requires compatible apps)

  • MIDI In (DIN)
  • MIDI Out (DIN)
  • 1/4" Footswitch (function assigned by apps)