Microsoft has gotten a bad rap at times over the years for being a bit too square and not really understanding what the cool kids want out of their tech, and those criticisms have certainly at times been warranted. But the company’s Surface Music Kit app, and especially its associated Music Cover, is very, very cool if you’re into making music and mixing beats, and it’s one of the most intriguing surprises of the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch.
There’s been a lot of great audio software out there for a long time, but when it comes to mixing, adding effects, and otherwise editing audio on a device such as a tablet, the interface becomes a limitation. It’s tough to tap to create beats or input an effect, but the Music Cover solves all of that.
The Music Cover has touch-sensitive buttons and sliders that let you more easily input and adjust items. It’s a relatively small and unobtrusive accessory that you can take with you to work on your music anywhere.
For music-makers that aren’t so much into beats, the Surface Music Kit (which is the actual app) and the Music Cover let you edit audio and “record” effects and other adjustments in real time.
It appears that the Surface Music Kit app is something of a competitor to Apple’s GarageBand, but it lacks the killer feature of being able to record audio directly into the device via a microphone or instrument input. (At least, as far as we can tell without actually playing with the thing. There are some reasonably solid USB mics out there, so it's not out of the question that you could do it.)
We wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft developed a Music Cover that made direct input possible, though; it appears that one of the strategies the company is employing with the Surface 2 line is encouraging the development of powerful accessories, or “blades” to augment what the devices can already do.