Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #67
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
Excellent performance over USB or with the iOS app.
App has a ton of great features.
Easy to install.
Probably not for the purists.
PLATFORMS: Apple iPad, Windows 7 or 8 both 32-bit and 64-bit, Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or higher
The good people at Fishman are always looking to inspire and engage guitar players in a whole new way with their new releases. With the TriplePlay Connect controller, the dedicated app (your guitar) and a little imagination, the sky seems to be the limit with this one. Nick Jennison tells us more.
For decades, guitarists have been lusting after the sonic palette of our keyboard-playing counterparts. While there’s no denying that the electric guitar is capable of serious tonal diversity, it’s nothing compared to the range of sounds offered by even the most modest of keyboards. While there have been a number of efforts to bring the wonders of sampling and synthesis to guitar players, most of them have been *ahem* less than elegant. Take a moment out and search out some videos of the SynthAxe and you’ll see what I mean.
Fishman has been at the apex the MIDI guitar thing for a while now with their TriplePlay range of MIDI pickups, and the TriplePlay connect is most discreet and most versatile one to date. It’s essentially a thin “pickup” (six pickups, actually) that mounts next to the bridge with a small “controller” that attaches to your rear strap button. There’s no drilling needed, and the installation can be as permanent or reversible as you like. The whole system then connects via USB or Lightning cable to your device of choice. Your guitar’s regular magnetic pickups aren’t involved in (or affected by) the process.
The TriplePlay connect is somewhat unique in that it can operate both as a plug-and-play USB MIDI controller and also as a controller for iOS devices - including iPads running the accompanying app. The app itself is very intuitive, and really exploits the TripePlay Connect’s capabilities to the fullest. Certain frets can be assigned to triggering both loops and one-shot audio samples (including the vast library included with the app, samples you’ve recorded yourself or anything in your iTunes library). Up to two sounds can be layered or assigned to different strings or areas of the fretboard, each with their own effects chain. The creative possibilities are too vast to put into writing, but the video review touches on at least some of these.
The TriplePlay Connect’s tracking is very solid indeed, and with some slight tweaking of the “playing style” parameter to match your touch and playing technique, the results can be very expressive. It does a great job of preserving your dynamics in a way many MIDI pickups of yesteryear didn’t. Of course, the pickup is only as clean as your technique so that excessive slop will result in some “mis-triggers”. However, if your chops are at least reasonably on point, the TriplePlay Connect will communicate your ideas flawlessly, even extended techniques like bends, slides and legato.
The Fishman TriplePlay Connect is a leap forward for MIDI guitar. It’s compact, powerful and reliable, and the accompanying app is excellent. Highly recommended.