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VSTKit updated to v0.7.0 (Cocoa framework for hosting VST3 plug-ins)

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Arne Scheffler has updated VSTKit, his framework for hosting VST3 plug-ins, to v0.7.0. This new version brings the framework up to-date, with using c++11 and objective-c ARC, while support for [Read More]

Exponential Audio updates all plugins

Monday, September 28th, 2015

New versions of all Exponential Audio plugins have been released. These updates are free to any license-holders, even those with valid demo licenses. There are plugin-specific updates that you’ll [Read More]

McDSP updates Plug-ins to v6.1 and ships SA-2 Dialog Processor

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

McDSP has released SA-2 Dialog Processor plug-in as part of their version 6.1 update. The SA-2 Dialog Processor is based on hardware originally conceived by Academy Award winning re- recording [Read More]

Waves Audio releases eMo D5 Dynamics Plugin: 5-in-1 Multi-Dynamics with Parallel Detection (and updates V9 plugins to r30)

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Waves Audio has announced that it is now shipping the eMo D5 Dynamics plugin. The first plugin to use Waves’ Parallel Detection technology, Waves eMo D5 delivers the power of five dynamics processors [Read More]

Avid updates Pro Tools to v12.2 – New Plug-ins, New Plans, New Lower Price

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Avid has updated Pro Tools to v12.2 and announced new Avid Access Plan options, including a new Plug-in Bundle. New Features and Improvements in Pro Tools 12.2 Pro Tools HD features now available [Read More]

Waves Audio releases Cobalt Saphira – Control Your Harmonics (and updates V9 plugins to r29)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Waves Audio is now shipping the Waves Cobalt Saphira plugin, an advanced harmonics shaping tool that lets you give your mixes analog musicality, depth and “glue” by adding rich harmonics to your [Read More]

SPC Plugins updates Gater-Pro to version 3.3 (Mac only)

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

SPC Plugins has updated Gater-Pro to version 3.3 on the Mac only. This update fixes the following bug: Gate shape buttons not working. [Read More]

Plugin Alliance releases All Bundle V3.3 – Six New Products (Bringing the bundle to 48 plugins)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Plugin Alliance has announced the release of the All Bundle V3.3. With six brand-new plugins for studio processing and professional guitar tones, All Bundle V3.3 now delivers 48 plugins [Read More]

MOTU ships Version 9 of Digital Performer – Now includes MX4 Multisynth, New Plug-ins and Workflow Enhancements

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

MOTU is now shipping Digital Performer version 9, a major upgrade to their flagship audio workstation software. Version 9 now includes MOTU’s powerful MX4 MultiSynth, plus five new plug-ins, [Read More]

Plug-ins On Your iPad, iPhone – And on Mac App Store, Too?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015


While some Apple watchers fear the transformation of OS X into iOS, it would be more accurate to say that Apple has gradually been bringing its next-generation architectures to both platforms. And in the process, iOS is able to perform feats formerly only possible on the Mac.

What’s next: Audio Unit “extensions points.” And the upshot of this will be plug-ins on your iPad and iPhone (and perhaps someday Apple Watch), all using a new framework that will work on both OS X and iOS.

The feature was buried in a slide deck in the WWDC keynote and appeared shortly after in draft developer documentation in iOS 9.0. Now, keep in mind, that doesn’t mean it’ll ship in this form, or in iOS 9.0 at all — features have been known to slip. But it does provide an indication of where Apple is headed.

“Extension points” are a new way of providing third-party functionality inside an app. (Other examples include VPN functionality and add-ons for Safari and Spotlight.) These are most interesting in iOS for audio,though. Whereas combining audio tools has so far meant connecting apps via Audiobus or Inter App Audio, you’ll be able to install Audio Unit from the App Store and, for instance, add a delay effect to your favorite production app on the iPad.

Here’s the description from the iOS 9 documentation:

The Audio Unit extension point allows your app to provide musical instruments, audio effects, sound generators, and more for use within apps like GarageBand, Logic, and other Audio Unit host apps. The extension point also brings a full audio plug-in model to iOS and lets you sell Audio Units on the App Store.

Architecturally, this is no huge jump. Audio apps already make use of the Audio Unit API to talk to the audio stack in the OS (it’s actually how we implemented libpd). What was missing was a way to distribute Audio Units as add-ons for apps; this provides just that. It seems that’ll make sense for things like simple effects; more complex processing can still use inter-app audio features and dedicated apps — iOS 9 even makes that more convenient with split-screen multitasking.

Think more like 99-cent delay effects than something fancier, at least on iOS. Extensions will have a UI, but a very basic one. Apple hasn’t written audio-specific documentation yet, but they do caution extension developers in general to simplify: “An extension’s UI should be simple, restrained, and focused on facilitating a single task. To improve performance and the user’s experience, avoid including extraneous UI that doesn’t support your extension’s main task.”

Making a basic distortion add-on for other tasks should be nice, though.

So, for iOS, this is good news. But it also almost certainly reflects a change in direction from Apple on plug-ins on OS X — something we’ve long expected. Third-party developers had told me they thought Apple would push sandboxing for audio plug-ins on the desktop. And note that the Audio Unit extension point isn’t just for iOS; it’s for OS X, too. This could change the way plug-ins work on the desktop, though keep in mind that hosts from Steinberg, MOTU, Ableton, and others will likely continue to support some mixture of VST and existing AU formats (plus AAX and the like from Avid).

And if it allows App Store purchases on iOS, it seems desktop OS X App Store purchases of plug-ins can’t be far behind. I’m only speculating, but this seemed strategically inevitable the day GarageBand and Logic moved to the OS X App Store. Extension points would provide a technical facility to do so.

For developers, it means you can create plug-ins once and then sell them to desktop and mobile users at the same time.

What that means for users actually consuming those plug-ins: well, that can only be answered when developers have had some time to work with the new operating systems.

If you are a developer, you can read up on this in the iOS 9.0 release notes and App Extension Programming Guide.

The post Plug-ins On Your iPad, iPhone — And on Mac App Store, Too? appeared first on Create Digital Music.