With Apple shifting an enviable 1 billion apps for its ubiquitous iPhone and iPad tablet computer it should be no surprise that there are now hordes of music applications with practical uses, as well as being highly entertaining. Among the more serious minded of these is Music Theory Pro, developed by USC music professor Dr Joel Clifft and selling for the princely sum of 59p. Aimed at beginner or intermediate level musicians it’s the perfect on-the-move way to study key signatures, intervals and chords through some clearly laid out screens, and slick functionality that combines piano keys, notational staff and sound samples. This also extends to ear training in tempos, intervals, scales and chords. Having tried some of the more clunky music theory and sight reading apps available, Music Theory Pro beats them with ease thanks to its comprehensive content, easy to use navigation, and sheer value for money. It’s also better than those other ‘brain training’ games as through daily practice with this you might actually learn something useful! (MF)

For more go to musictheorypro.com

Made from neoprene with velcro anchor points (there are different models for different instruments), these wrap around sleeves keep the bell of your horn warm. This is a great idea for those who regularly play outdoors as intonation is always a problem at low temperatures and fitting a Warmahorn will certainly help to keep your horn in tune. Cheaper instruments also benefit from the pleasures of the Warmahorn, as it also mellows the tone with no appreciable loss of presence or volume. Fitted to a Taylor trumpet with a heavier gauge metal, the Warmahorn gave the instrument a cleaner and sweeter sound, although in this instance there was a clear loss in volume. Not content with plain colours, the company have produced a number of models with added “bling”. There is also a Warmahorn ‘Buddy’… to wrap around your pistons.

For more go to warmahorn.com

For vocalists looking to have the freedom of a hands-free microphone, the 4088 is a pre-polarised first order, pressure gradient transducer mike hidden in a small and lightweight housing that has been fitted to a unique headband. All but invisible to an audience, the band sits over the ears and closely loops around the nape of the neck. The open, natural sound quality is typically DPA and very impressive, as the 4088 is able to faithfully reproduce all the characteristics of the human voice without in any way tainting the sound and stamping an identifiable mike sound on the performance.

It is just as capable when it comes to eliminating background noise and feedback. The 4099P model has been developed using the highly successful 4099 series and solves the perennial problem of successfully miking-up grand pianos for live performance. The system makes it easy to achieve a high level of isolation on stage, while at the same time providing clean and transparent stereo sound quality with realistic dynamics. The 4099P includes a pair of sensitivity matched 4099 microphones on goosenecks with magnetic mounts; two DAD6001 3-pin XLR adapters; and an integrated windscreen and shock mount system. The versatile magnet mount and flexible gooseneck means that the microphones can be positioned easily at different angles on the piano frame.

For more go to www.dpamicrophones.com

The name Denis Wick has long been associated with the production of top quality mutes and mouthpieces for brass instruments. Recently, no doubt due to requests from touring musicians concerned with the potential for scratched or dented mouthpieces and mutes while out on the road, the Denis Wick company has come up with a series of high quality pouches and bags in full-grain leather and tough nylon denier to meet their demands.

All the pouches are lined with a non-scratch, hard wearing, velvetine cord material and are very cleanly finished. The single trumpet mouthpiece pouch in nylon denier comes with nylon cord edge piping and velcro pad security, while its leather counterpart uses a magnetic stud to secure the top cover to the pouch’s front face. There are also two, three and four mouthpiece pouches, each with rear belt loops and a zippered, gusseted (for ease of access) pocket to the front face [steady, on, ed]. The nylon denier model uses a strip of velcro attached to the base to close the pouch leaving the sides open, whereas the leather version comes with an all round 3/4 zip.

The zippered mute bags come in various shapes and sizes to suit their respective instruments, with each covered in the same tough nylon denier and lined with the same nonscratch velvetine material. Those for the larger mutes are top loaded with lid handles, while those for the smaller mutes not only have side zips, but also come with a carabiner type clasp to the top rear of the bag – I’m not quite sure why! Highly recommended for the hardworking horn player. For more go to www.deniswick.com

Fusion F3-26 K 13 B keyboard cases Although there are a few specialist cases on the market produced by manufacturers such as Roland for their own specific instruments, there are very few general keyboard cases, and these tend to be either poorly padded or weak on design. Fusion has addressed both these issues and come up with a range of 16 different bag sizes that cover almost every model on the market.

The heavily padded F3s are a move away from the traditional keyboard bag with its shoulder strap and grab handles, also incorporating a pair of case style wheels and some very nifty hidden handles. The F3-26 K 13 B has a two-tone, tough denier nylon skin and is heavily padded with solid walls. The keyboard compartment is accessed by a 3/4 weatherproof “reversed zip”, and features two lightly padded interior retaining wings with quick release buckles and eight velcro attached padded cubes for extra protection should your particular keyboard be either slightly narrower or shorter. To the front face there are two pockets – one large – one small, again with reversed zips. The base of the bag is covered with a strip of heavy duty ballistic nylon, while the wheeled end also has a heavy duty composite section that incorporates two feet and a grab handle, with all the bottom corners being reinforced once again with ballistic nylon. The top end of the bag hides the highly unusual but very effective hidden lip, which acts as a grab handle and is set into the skin of the bag. It also has the usual double grab handle with a padded sleeve for finger comfort, which conveniently folds away behind a double velcroed flap while not in use. Fusion deserve some design awards for this one, but the glittering prizes might have to wait until they produce a model with recessed wheels. For more go to www.fusion-bags.com

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