Bremmers Audio Design has released version 2.3.1 of MultitrackStudio for iPad. New in version 2.3.1: Supports iOS 9 Audio Unit effects and MIDI instruments. Note: presets and automation are currently [Read More]
...now browsing by tag
Bremmers Audio Design has released version 2.3.1 of MultitrackStudio for iPad. New in version 2.3.1: Supports iOS 9 Audio Unit effects and MIDI instruments. Note: presets and automation are currently [Read More]
We asked these questions to some of the most relevant iOS music apps developers (more coming soon in the next round).
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome…
Michael Tyson (Loopy, Audiobus),
Sebastian Dittman (Audiobus, SoundPrism),
Oliver Greschke (Elastic Drums, Wretchup),
Henrik Lenberg (Auxy),
Ben Kamen (Chordion, Ondes, Patterning),
Rolf Wöhrmann (NLog, iSem, Nave).
The iPad Pro boasts a 12,9-inch screen with 2732×2048 resolution (versus the 2048×1536 resolution of the iPad Air 2), for 1.5 pounds (712 g). What will this bigger screen estate mean in terms of music making and performing?
I think it’ll mean we’ll start to see apps with more advanced capabilities. Screen real-estate is always tight on iOS, and that means we developers often need to make hard decisions about what to include and what to leave out. 12.9 inches certainly gives us more to work with. This comes at a great time for my own Loopy Masterpiece Edition project. I have big plans for workspaces in Masterpiece, with a bunch of new controls users can setup alongside the tracks: faders, buttons, switches, which can be hooked up to assorted actions and settings in the app. Ahh, the iPad Pro will work so well with that!
I’m mostly interested in the changes to RAM. If it’s true that the iPad Pro has 4GB of RAM, then that’ll be a significant improvement over older devices.
It will finally have a size made for live shows, where you don’t want to play with fiddly small knobs and faders, I think we will see these big iPads more often in live acts soon.
I think iPad Pro opens up the possibility for building really deep and capable music creation apps designed for touch. With a bigger screen, it’s easier to avoid having modal interactions (i.e. navigating between different views). Making a great touch interface is very different from a classic mouse and keyboard interface though, so simply porting existing apps won’t work.
I think you’ll start to see apps that take advantage of the space to show more information, or to allow different configurations to be shown at once.
Size matters! The increased screen real estate will allow for two hand operations and a whole new category of apps will be possible. Also, the 12.9-inch screen is the same size of a medium sized laptop. Thus, all apps running on these sizes will now be possible on the iPad Pro. We’re quite used to that size, so my guess is that people will love it. On the other hand, increased size means less portability compared to a classic iPad.
Do you think at some point we’ll have music apps specifically developed for the iPad Pro, to make the most of its size?
Hmm, that’s a good question. For me personally, I think it’d be tricky to justify limiting the market demographic to just iPad Pro owners, so I don’t anticipate targeting the device exclusively for any new projects — at least not any time soon. That doesn’t mean that apps can’t take advantage of the facilities available on any particular device though, of course, and the iPad Pro could inspire new products.
I think the market size for this would be relatively small, so iPad Pro-only apps would probably have to be priced higher. I’m currently not sure if there’s a way to even restrict an app to only be offered on iPad Pro.
I don’t think we’ll see apps developed only for the iPad Pro (and no other formats), but specially adapted screen wise for the iPad Pro sure, although this will enhance developing time. But Apple already tried to give dev’s some (new) tools like Autolayout and SizeClasses…
It would certainly be exciting to make apps specifically for the device, but before it makes sense for companies to invest in building apps for iPad Pro, there has to be enough users on the platform ans those users have to be willing to pay for the effort it would take to build great apps for it.
I don’t think we’ll see “iPad Pro Only” apps, but I do think we’ll start to see apps that are optimized for it and have special features or layouts that work only on the Pro.
Yes, I believe that makes great sense. However, it’s not clear if the App Store allows for the required business models. These apps would have much-increased complexity and therefore development efforts. Without upgrade pricing, it would be hard on the long run to justify development costs and maintenance unless you have a service based model or something similar with recurring income for the developers.
Also supporting the Pencil will make apps for the iPad Pro special. I see here potential for music editing apps (wave editors, score writing programs). However, Apple might add the Pencil option also to a future iPad Air hardware update.
Speaking of performing, what’s your opinion on two of the new iPad Pro features — Slide Over (where you can choose a second app to open up as a pinned sidebar on the right) and Split View? Will they be a significant change in the way iOS musician perform?
I have mixed feelings about it. It’s going to introduce an enormous amount of complexity for developers, just supporting the range of window dimensions. Lots of iOS music apps are designed for one particular screen orientation only, for example, and their interfaces would need to be rethought in order to support the new multitasking stuff.
I think it’s great for productivity apps, but right now I’m more interested in the new Audio Unit Extensions functionality for multi-app music workflows. This may be where we’ll see the most innovation, if it’s refined further.
Yes, switching between different apps is very annoying, right? With these new techniques, DAW apps on the iPad finally make sense. You can work on a Plugin Effect or Instrument while the DAW is still visible in the background. Fantastic!
I haven’t really tried the multitasking features so hard to say whether they work well or not. At Auxy, we’re more excited about building a fantastic experience in one app as opposed to trying to patch different apps together.
I’m really excited about the idea that multiple apps can be on the screen at once — I think this suggests a ton of new workflows, where the iPad can become an almost modular type of system to work in.
Split View is the way to go: It allows for simultaneous interaction with both apps. That’s an amazing opportunity for new innovative concepts. Slide Over is nice for editing, but for performing is has the disadvantage that the app that gets slid over is not responsive for touch while this happens. So better go for the real thing: Split View.
Speaking of touch-screen devices, I feel we’re still at a very early stage of their evolution. I was hoping Apple would have added some kind of pressure-sensitivity (a killer feature for musicians, IMHO). I guess we’ll have to wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation. Do you agree with me about the disrupting impact that this could have on music making, and/or what else you’d like Apple to add to this device?
We’re quite disappointed to see the iPad Pro has no 3D touch; that would’ve been huge. It’s going to be great on the iPhone 6s, though, and as you say: hopefully we’ll see it on the iPad Pro in a year or two. It’s certainly going to give developers and musicians a whole new axis of interaction to work with.
We wanted to see a USB-C interface on the new iPad, too, which would have been a really great feature for musicians. Ah well. Next year?
Totally! Surprising and disappointing that Apple did not implement it in the new iPads. Maybe the technique is cost intensive and they want to make some experience with the iPhone first. Anything that improves sensitivity makes the devices more interesting for musicians, for people who want to express, be it in a better piano like expression or some total new interfaces
I’m excited that Apple is able to expand and improve the ways you interact with touch screens and if 3D touch works well it definitely gives us more options for improving the interface.
Yea, I think everyone in the iOS music community is waiting impatiently for 3D touch to come to the iPad. It’s certainly going to make controller apps more fluid and allow more depth in user interfaces in general. One thing I’d really like to see is something like the taptic engine, where you get touch feedback from the screen.
Yes, pressure-sensitivity and haptic feedback (even if it’s just emulated) will be the next level. I’m curious to see what 3D Touch brings to the new iPhones, but clearly 3D Touch isn’t particularly made for music performance but more for user control. My fear is that latency of current pressure-sensitivity isn’t where we need it. But we’ll see which innovations will come up in the near future.
iOS 9 has just been released today. We’ve heard of significant changes regarding audio apps routing/management. What iOS musicians should expect from this release, also in terms of integration with desktop DAWs and plugins?
As I mentioned, Audio Unit Extensions is the new technology to keep an eye on. Apple needs to do a little more work on it before it’s ready, but I think it’s a very interesting direction for app-to-app audio, both from a workflow perspective and for robustness and reliability. Watch this space…
We’re still waiting for Apple’s own system Audio Units on iOS to become compatible with the new Audio Unit Extensions. Until this arrives, many apps will face significant hurdles before their developers can make them compatible. I’m also wondering if users are going to accept (read: pay for) completely new apps that just act as containers for AU Extensions.
It looks like iOS and Apple desktop music are getting closer to each other, which is good. The announcements sounded pretty exciting, like AudioUnits that you can use on iOS AND Desktop. But I have heard that the needed frameworks are not at a final state yet — lots of bugs, that Apple should fix first. So I guess it will take some time before we get some new technologies / apps that make use of these new features.
We believe the next big thing will happen on smaller screens rather than bigger as well. Phones are the primary computer for the next generation of creators. It’s always in your pocket and will be the go-to device when creativity strikes. A lot of people will be making serious music on their iPhones only and our mission at Auxy is to provide fantastic tools for this shift to happen.
As always, it’s going to take awhile for all the new technology to get integrated into most apps and for it to reach mass adoption. But it does seem like we are on the edge of some really exciting times for iOS music!
Feeding audio to the laptop will be much easier. However, I would love to get also MIDI support and two-way audio. Till then we would need to use Bluetooth for MIDI…
The iPad isn’t just a gadget any more. There’s now enough of an app ecosystem that investing in an iPad is investing in a creative platform that turns into lots of other things. That is, it really is like another computer.
For music, that means a lot. An iPad is a drum machine, or a vocal processor. It’s a practice aid, a simulated guitar amp. It’s an extension of your desktop music software, too, whether controlling instruments and transport in Logic or live sets in Ableton. It’s a DJ tool.
Of course, the same is true of a computer. And with computers and hardware (keyboards, stompboxes, Eurorack) competing for your wallet’s attention, the iPad has to justify itself. What it isn’t — which it is for a lot of the general public — is just a window through which you watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix. And so, if the tablet is plateauing for the general public, there is a reason to think the iPad means something different to a creative person.
Apple must think so, too, given it just unveiled a top-of-range iPad called “Pro.” But here’s the trick to it: the iPad Pro is turning out to be really an iPad Big. The introduction of fancy exclusive accessories (Pencil and a keyboard cover) disguise the fact that you can get similar accessories from third parties for less.
No, Apple has really evened out the iPad line. And that means what you’re really buying is two things: size and speed.
What the lineup has in common…
Each iPad in the current line has a Retina Display. (The iPad Pro bumps the resolution to 2732×2048, which developers will have to support, but screen density stays the same.) Each has the same Lightning port. Each has the same basic underlying 64-bit architecture. Each has the same aspect ratio (cough, Android).
There’s one generational difference. The iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro all have a new laminated, antireflective display that should look a bit better, a fingerprint reader that’s a whole lot more secure and convenient, and newer-generation processors. They also have true, side-by-side multitasking — what Apple calls Split View. Not even all developers I’ve talked to agree, but I think that’ll be a big boon to productivity in music production. (The other current models do support a Slide Over mode.)
So, which should you get?
That depends on what you want. I’ve made some handy charts.
I had to cheat a little. I think no one should buy a 16GB iPad — you won’t even have enough room for your apps, and if you’re a musician, you’re also likely to need some audio. 32GB for most applications is fine, because at some point, you’re probably tethering to a computer. Depending on model, either a 32GB or 64GB model is what’s available as what I think ought to be the entry level. (If you intend to DJ with an iPad, or record a lot of audio, then maybe a 128GB model makes sense — just be ready to pay for it).
In the first chart, you see screen size versus cost (relative speed is represented by circle size). And you see that screen size is what you really pay for. The trend line — and that’s a real power-based trend line — also clearly delineates the generational gap I mentioned earlier.
If speed is your main priority, well — you’ll get the iPad Pro. It’s an order of magnitude faster than the others, which in music could have big implications for people who want their whole workflow on the iPad. It means you can multitask and use Audiobus and not run out of steam. On the other hand, budgeting a little extra for the new generation in the smaller sizes also gives you more computing room, if you can’t stomach the Pro (or can’t wait until November):
What I think is most interesting is how much you pay for screen size. Personally, I love the mini. It has the highest screen density of any iPad, so it looks terrific. Basically, any app will run on it. It’s all down to the size of your hands — but that ultra-compact size means it’s easier to carry and easier to fit into a stage rig and easier to hold in your hand. And it unquestionably delivers the most performance for money.
In fact, to me, the sweet spot right now is the new 64GB iPad mini 4. It does multitasking, it’s really reasonably fast with an A8 processor, and it’s not so hard to afford. But… I have small hands and I like things to be small, so I expect that iPad Air (the original) will also look like a good entry point to a lot of people.
Here’s how the three stack up visually (photo courtesy Apple):
Enter the Pro
On the other hand, you also see that the iPad Pro could be a great lasting investment. And I think it’s going to wind up being a hit with musicians for an unexpected reason.
A lot of musicians still have older iPads banging around. That means they’ve been saving up. A single machine gives them everything — a vastly-faster processor that keeps up with laptops, a huge screen, true multitasking (and a screen where it makes sense), and all the latest hardware enhancements Apple has gradually worked out over the years. It’s brutally expensive for a tablet, of course, but the reality is that a lot of laptops are doing just fine, so I could see people investing in this and delaying the laptop purchase. I have no doubt this is going to cannibalize sales of Mac (and PC) laptops, not as a replacement, but because those machines are doing just fine.
And all of this means the iPad line is starting to look more appealing to app developers. Unlike other markets, musicians have been happy to spend $ 40 or $ 50 for an app if they really want it. And they’ve also been willing to use apps that do less but focus more on iOS than the feature-overloaded desktop counterparts.
Will developers immediately start investing huge amounts of resources in this? Of course not.
But two things will happen: one, developers are all going to be buying iPads Pro for themselves, and trying them out, and two, since it isn’t much work to port existing iOS apps to a new screen resolution, you’ll see some app updates. And beyond that, who knows.
And the competition…
While I’m breaking down iPad value, don’t think for a second that I think this diminishes the PC as we traditionally know it.
I wonder if Microsoft’s Surface and the PC touch ilk will see some new attention. The main problem there is a lack of touch-driven apps. But now that it’s clear Apple sees iPads as things with touch and MacBooks as things without, maybe more developers will experiment on the PC. I also think touch machines on the PC side are reaching a critical mass to support an ecosystem — though it needs a lot more support from Microsoft, and supporting developers and pros is clearly an area where Apple has an edge.
With Microsoft set to make some big announcements at the beginning of October, any Windows fans there should definitely wait. (I have to admit, I love the idea of a machine that’s a tablet that runs vvvv and FL Studio and SONAR on it, too.)
Apple did its own MacBook line a huge favor by failing to add a new port to the Pro (like the expected USB-C port). The iPad Pro simply can’t stand on its own — literally or figuratively (cough, kickstand). Even in the new big size, it’s still going to be a satellite to a laptop for most people. Laptops remain faster for the money, they still have more storage and expandability and configurability, and they’re still necessary for our most essential apps.
It just might be that you squeeze life out of your desktop PCs and laptops a little longer and see if you can budget for that iPad Pro. Though… wait, look at this synthesizer…
Data courtesy Apple; find more comparisons on their new site (just without my graphical aids):
The post Let’s make sense of Apple’s new iPad lineup — with charts! appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Blessed be MIDI, again, for making us independent.
Frankfurt am Main-based untergeekDE decided he didn’t want to go to a Mac or Windows PC just to edit settings on his Arturia BeatStep. MIDI (System Exclusive messages)m to the rescue. Actually, even calling this a ‘hack’ isn’t really fair: this is exactly how this is supposed to work. Edit the settings you want on the hardware using anything you like, in this case taking advantage of TB MIDI Stuff. That handy app is practically reason enough to get an iPad, even a compatible used one. In the process, untergeek even changed things to work more in the way he desired.
It’s old news — the project is from last fall — but rather than just send it to Arturia, I thought I’d put it out to everyone for some feedback. Got other hardware you’ve hacked in this way? Also using the iPad for this purpose? Other ideas / tips? I’d love to hear them.
And check it out:
Arturia Beatstep Tool v0.1 — please help testing [TB MIDI Stuff download for iPad]
The post Skip the Computer: BeatStep, Programmed with iPad, SysEx Hack appeared first on Create Digital Music.
There is a new sample-based drum machine on the market, but it is unlike any others. Visually, it is almost like Kymatica’s Sector app adopted a baby drum machine. Instead of linear steps, the steps go around in a circle creating patterns, hence the name Patterning.
It offers a unique and intuitive way of programming drum beats and other rhythmic sounds. The interface is brilliantly arranged and vibrant with colors making it a pleasure to use.
Let’s find out more about the new Olympia Noise Co.’s creation…
Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. Patterning does require iOS 8.1+ and iPad 3 or higher. I could not find information on their website, but I was able to import wav, m4a, AIFF, and mp3 files at 16-bit and 24-bit.
I am not sure if there is a file length limit, but I was able to import a several minute recording. This opens up a lot of possibilities since you can select the same sample for multiple tracks and adjust the start and end points.
It can send and receive midi clock. It can also send out midi notes on a per track basis.
Creating a pattern
Creating a beat is as simple as swiping your finger around the circle. You can control the velocity depending on how far away from the center you swipe your finger. The further away you are from the center, the more velocity. This is done on a per step basis. It is also not limited to just the velocity. You can also adjust the settings, essentially automating the tuning, pan, attack, filter, sends, etc.
The default steps are set to 16 but each track can be set independently from 1 to 64. The step duration can also be set from 32nd notes up to whole notes with triplets and dotted notes in between.
The loop and playing modes plus the auto-rotate feature are what really makes Patterning stand out. Creating complex and dynamic rhythms is a breeze.
Try different settings combinations and enjoy the results!
Within each pattern, you have 8 tracks for your samples. For each of the samples you can adjust the attack, hold, decay, and tuning. You can also adjust the start and end points of the sample. There are 2 assignable choke groups as well. Each track has sends to the FX section and each track has independent filter section.
Quality is the keyword here. You’ll find a huge variety of styles, from minimal techno to IDM to more creative kits featuring some pretty cool samples (check out the artists behind them!).
I like the option to load the samples with or without the kits’ FX settings.
Their website says it includes 63 kits and counting. Not sure if they will be IAP but since its release they have added 4 more optional kits to download.
The song mode is really thought out and organized. You have seemingly unlimited patterns which will switch between them with a touch on the song section. The patterns are named using the letters A-Z then the naming starts over with AA and continues on.
On the pattern screen, there is an arrow under the pattern letter. Tapping this will essentially duplicate the pattern and add a subscript number. This adds even more flexibility with the ability to quickly duplicate a pattern and add a small variation to the pattern, which can then be added to the timeline of the song.
Selecting a pattern in the song section and tapping the big plus sign will add it to the timeline. Something I have not seen before is that you can adjust the length of each pattern inside the timeline. So if you only wanted the first half of a pattern to play, it is as easy as dragging it smaller to the beginning of a beat.
Depending on where you start the loop in the timeline depends on what part of the loop plays. If you wanted just the middle section of the pattern to play, then drag the pattern to the middle of a measure.
Mixer and FX
The last 2 sections are pretty basic in the since it’s the standard mixer for each pattern and the FX section. The mixer has the basic sends, pan, levels, solo, and mute for each track. The FX section has a standard type delay and reverb. There is also a master EQ with low mid and high settings along with a distortion section.
Currently, the export option creates a song file, .onps. This file contains all song information to include the samples used. I tested this by exporting a song with user-imported samples. I then deleted the app and reinstalled it to start with a clean slate. I used Dropbox to open the file in Patterning. It worked. Everything was there to include the imported sample. So that would be a great way to backup songs or share songs with others.
Also according to the developer, exporting as a .wav file is in the works, but they want to get it right. So instead of delaying the release of the app they choose to release it with limited export options.
I think that is a very smart move on their part since so many apps get released with tons of features that barely work.
You can, however, record your performance into Audioshare or your favorite DAW using Audiobus or IAA. I tested this inside Audioshare as an IAA and tested it running through Audiobus. Both worked great for me. I also tested it inside Cubasis and it worked, although it seemed to want the app opened up before adding it as an IAA track
There is so much going on in this app that you could almost write a book about it. Thankfully, the guys at Olympia Noise Co. provided a well-designed help section in the top left corner (available in several languages).
At $ 9.99 US, Patterning app gets a high recommendation. Amazing (user interaction) design work, inspiring and fun to use.
It’s a great time for drum machine apps on iOS. The good news is that Patterning doesn’t try to clone or replace other more traditional tools. It’s simply something else, and it may lead your beat-making process to unexpected and more creative results.
Even though I own many other drum machine apps, I feel Patterning may become the one I’ll use the most.
Kymatica’s Sector ($ 8.99/8.99 EUR) is, in the words of our reviewer, ‘a sample-mangling app with a twist of random’ for iPad. Definitely one of the most unique and inspiring apps you may find in the App Store.
Check out our Sector review to know more about this cool app and if you are hooked, join our new giveaway! (Expires on August 25th, at midnight PST) .
Here’s what you have to do
1) Leave a comment below
2) Double your chances using Twitter/Facebook (optional, see details below)
We’re in a the golden age of the drum machine, whether it’s dedicated hardware or a computer or a mobile gadget.
Of course, that means it’s getting tougher to stand out.
Patterning is one of the most promising software entries yet. I’m already a huge fan of Elastic Drums for its rich approach to timbre — this could be my other fast favorite.
Patterning side-steps the two problems with most drum machines — boring, regular patterns, and boring, predictable sounds.
Patterning’s user interface is centered around a circle, as cycles of time repeat in futuristic rotating colored geometries. We’ve seen that before, but Patterning makes it both uniquely accessible and uniquely powerful. Finding four-on-the-floor is easy, but so, too, is creating complex polyrhythms.
For sounds, you can load up your own custom kits, to keep this from sounding like everyone else (well, unless you want some 909 action and you do want to sound like everyone else intentionally). There are deep effects, too, plus the complement of MIDI and audio routing features serious iPad musicians now demand.
Let’s take a look at the specs:
- Yes, it does Euclidean rhythms — of course.
1-64 steps, 1/32nd note to whole note with dotted and triplet options, 64-bit velocity.
- Loop modes: forward, reverse, a specialized random feature (Urn), “pendulum,” auto-rotate.
- Automation layers, draw and erase.
- Repeat patterns with the “Pen Echo” mode.
- Use built-in samples (63 kits there already), or import from Dropbox, Audioshare, iCloud, or iTunes File Sharing.
- Samples: gain, start/end, attack, hold, decay, coarse/fine tuning
- Two choke groups.
- Mixer: per-track multimode resonant filter, plus delay and reverb sends, panning, mute/solo.
- Effects: delay with feedback and optional tempo sync, 3-band EQ, distortion, reverb.
- Per-track MIDI and clock.
- Audiobus, Inter-App MIDI, Core MIDI.
There’s a song mode, too, in which patterns can become larger structures, with some powerful options (time signature, snap, jump, and so on).
Drum and sample kits look like a big part of how this thing will grow. You’ll be able to acquire new sounds via in-app purchase, and even bundle up kits to share with others.
And while you’re picking up Patterning, don’t miss the half-off sale on the lovely Ondes, which presents an expressive, Martenot-inspired way of playing instruments on a tablet.
The post Patterning on iPad is a circular, sample-savvy drum machine appeared first on Create Digital Music.