Author Topic: IOS MusicAppBlog  (Read 13102 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #175 on: March 17, 2017, 08:30:59 PM »
Here at Music App Blog HQ, this has felt like yet another an interesting iOS music tech week. I mentioned the launch of Layr from Living Memory in last week’s newsletter and, at the start of the week, I spent some time working on a full review of the app. It really did not disappoint (the app that is; your call on the review of course!). Layr has a relatively simple (but very capable) synth engine as its fundamental building block of sound but the design allows you to build patches from this engine in such a flexible fashion, you really can create some amazingly deep and rich sounds….  add in the brilliant arpeggiator feature and the fact the app is multi-timbral, and this is a real powerhouse of a synth.

Perhaps the only disappointment for some potential users is the lack of AUv.3 plugin support? However, as discussed by a number of the site’s readership in the comments section of the Layr review post, it certainly looks like AU support is already designed into the app and Living Memory are simply waiting for Apple to make further progress with the AU code within iOS itself…. If you have been generally frustrated by the somewhat slower than expected adoption of AU by developers, the discussion is well worth a read….

Still, that isn’t holding everyone back and I reviewed a further AU-friendly app this week; FuxEQ from Matthais Rath. This is, in fact, AU-only, and provides a rather nice seven band EQ plugin with some very interesting features. EQ and compression are perhaps the most fundamental processing tools when mixing and, if your iOS-based recording has gone passed the casual hobby stage and into (or beyond?) the serious hobby stage, having a few choices in both categories is always welcome. In that context, FuxEQ is well worth a look.

This week has also seen a very significant update to an old favourite; UVI’s BeatHawk has reached v.2.0. I’ll post a more detailed look at the changes made in this release next week but, while the app was already a brilliant take on a sort of MPC-style electronic beat/music app, UVI have, with v.2, pushed if a bit further towards a genuine ‘all in one’ music production app. Oh, and it can now also be used as an AU plugin….

And if BeatHawk is not something you have tried, for a short time, you can also pick it up at a bargain price. That’s not the only bargain around though as one of the absolute best new iOS music app releases of the year – ReSlice – is also still available at a brilliant price. In this case, the launch pricing ends this week-end…  so get in there quick. For those who like to work with loops, ReSlice is too good to pass up.

All of which leads me to this week’s ‘question for the floor’ and this one is perhaps aimed more that the iOS music old-hands than those of you just starting out. All of the above apps are, in their own way, brilliant pieces of software. Whether broad and multi-faceted or focused of a specific task, each of them defies logic in terms of features vs price; only on the App Store is music software this good available this cheaply. All of which puts temptation in our paths (sorry about that; perhaps partly my fault!)….   So, if you already have a substantial iOS music app collection, which user type most closely catches you; ‘stick with what I’ve already got and fully exploit it’ or ‘twist and try the best of what’s new’?

Answers in an email please….  I’d be interested to know J

Until next time, have a great week, be happy, and, stick or twist, get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #176 on: March 24, 2017, 11:03:53 AM »
It’s been a news-packed few days on the iOS music technology front this week but two stories perhaps dominate the headlines. First, announced just after last week’s newsletter email went out, the Audiobus team went ‘official’ on us with details of the upcoming Audiobus 3 release. Second, and hot off the presses as I type this, Korg’s Gadget v.3 is now available.

Any long-standing iOS music maker will realise the debt of gratitude that the platform owes to Audiobus. It solved a problem – passing audio between music apps – that, at the time, iOS itself didn’t have a solution for and, as such, it made combining multiple apps into a coherent workflow a practical reality. Yes, IAA eventually appeared as Apple realised music makers were interested enough (and spending enough money) to provide a solution within the OS itself, but that didn’t stop Audiobus being a core app for many.

Now, of course, we have Audio Units as a solution for music app connectivity…..  and we also have the excellent AUM that many iOS musicians adopted as an alterative to Audiobus because it offered basic mixing features and MIDI routing (and eventually also AU hosting). The environment in which Audiobus is going to appear when it arrives next week is, therefore, a very different one. A full review will follow as soon as the app becomes available but it will be really interesting to see just what this pioneering app now has to offer.

That second headline – the arrival of Gadget v.3.0 – is, I think, a pretty big deal for a number of reasons. First, if Korg have nailed the promised audio recording feature first time, then Gadget might just have moved from ‘all-in-one electronic music production’ status (and best in class on that front) to a full-on DAW/sequencer to challenge the likes of Auria Pro or Cubasis, etc. The comparison will be interesting.

However, as we also have the release of Gadget for OSX, it’s a big deal because it represents a well-established music tech giant taking a humble iOS software product and investing very heavily in the possibility it might crack the established desktop DAW/sequencer market. This is Korg showing a lot of faith in Gadget….   and it may well bring iOS music technology in front of some sceptical desktop music tech users in a way that gets their attention.

Anyway, full reviews of both the iOS and desktop versions of Gadget will also follow shortly on the blog…. but, in the meantime, you might also want to note that (a) the Gadget update is free, including the new audio recording feature, to existing users and (b) all Korg’s iOS music apps, Gadget included, are currently on a 50% limited time sale. Hats off to Korg for their approach on both fronts….  Go, go Gadget….  and if you don’t already own a copy, then maybe this week-end is the time to go, go get one?

Oh, and just for good measure, Steinberg have just put Cubasis 2 on a limited time 50% sale.....  Hope your flexible friend (credit card) is feeling suitably flexible this week-end.... :-)

Until next time, have a great week, be happy get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #177 on: April 07, 2017, 10:03:03 AM »

No doubting the major iOS music tech news this week; the arrival of Audiobus 3. I posted a review of the new release on the blog on Wednesday. It is a significant step forward for Audiobus and while it’s great to see AU hosting support and a mixer added, the element that is perhaps most intriguing is the new MIDI routing options….  lots of creative potential there I think if developers embrace the possibilities. Anyway, check out the full review.

Reviewing AB3 did, of course, get me thinking about the role that app has played in the (brief) history of iOS music tech. It’s a significant one and should not be underestimated. However, AB3 arrives in a very different landscape to AB2. We now have Audio Units for iOS and a very sophisticated alternative to Audiobus in AUM. Good though Audiobus 3 is, it will perhaps be difficult for it to make such an impact as the original release or v.2, despite the new MIDI features.

All of which got me speculating about the future of Audiobus, IAA and AU. Audiobus actually offers two different top-level functions. First, it is a ‘host’ for other apps. Second, it also provides a ‘hosting format’. In this second role, 3rd party apps add code (based upon the Audiobus SDK) so that they can be ‘plugged in’ to Audiobus itself. In that sense, for the 3rd party developers, adding the ‘Audiobus code’ is a similar task to adding the ‘IAA code’ or ‘AU code’ (although I’m sure these tasks are very different in practice and none of them trivial). Audiobus was, in one sense therefore, our first ‘plugin format’ for iOS, followed by IAA and now, of course, by AU.

It’s clear that from Apple’s perspective, AU is the way they would like things to go within iOS. This makes sense at many levels given that it parallels established technology available under OSX. Equally, I’m sure most iOS musicians, while grateful for what IAA bought, will not shed too many tears if Apple gradually let it fade away in favour of AU. It always felt like something of a temporary ‘fix’ by Apple and, useful though it was/is, I’m sure AU means its time will soon be up.

However, wandering along this mental pathway produces all sorts of questions about ‘what next?’ for iOS music technology and, in particular, plugin formats. For example…..

If Apple can (finally) make iOS AU match the features of OSX AU, do we need any other plugin standards, Audiobus included? Should we all be pushing for ‘AU everything’?
If (and it’s a big ‘if’) the need for the Audiobus plugin format in less essential, does Audiobus itself still have a role? Maybe as that ‘iOS mixer/MIDI router’ platform, but without being lumbered by extra code supporting DAW, sequencing or other plugin formats, that I mentioned in my AB3 review?
If AU is the most likely winner between the current iOS plugin format options, how many of our favourite, long-standing, iOS music apps might we eventually have to wave good-bye to because the developers can’t make the financial case the extra AU development will entail? Will anyone develop an ‘Audiobus/IAA hosting AU plugin’ as a (possibly quite clunky) means of easing the transition?

I’m sure there are some further (interesting) questions we could add to that list but I’d love to hear your own thoughts on any of the above. Drop me a line and I might well expand upon these thoughts – with input from the readership – via the blog at some stage next week.

Until next time, have a great week, be happy and, whatever way you connect your apps together, get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #178 on: April 14, 2017, 10:09:38 AM »

First, a big ‘thank you’ to all of the newsletter subscribers who took the time to share their thoughts with me in response to my questions last week about the plugin formats for iOS and the relative merits of AU vs IAA vs Audiobus. We really do have a diverse community and it means I always get to see perspectives that I had not personally experienced with these kinds of questions. Anyway, thanks again, and at some stage soon (maybe the week after next?; more on that below), I’ll put together something for the blog on the topic.

Second, it’s been a moderately quiet week for iOS music tech this week. Yes, lots of updates to report but no new mega-releases (well, unless I’ve missed something; feel free to put me right!). That’s probably a good thing because the ‘let’s move country’ project myself and my family started over 2.5 years ago (and long-standing readers will recall) is finally reaching some sort of endgame at present. Renovation work that we promised ourselves we would do on the house we moved into just over 2 years ago is in it’s final stages….  and that means lots of decorating and not music music blogging or music making at present. Hopefully, ‘full service’ on the blog will be restored in a couple of weeks time :-)

But not before though….   as we have a trip back to the UK lined up the week after next to attend a wedding. I will, however, get some downtime between being social so I’ll try and get to that ‘plugin article’ mentioned above….  and perhaps some other more discussion based posts as opposed to update or review pieces?  I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, here in mainland Europe, this is Easter week-end. I appreciate that Easter may not be a ‘thing’ where you are but, in our globalised hi-tech world, it’s difficult not to see it online. Anyway, it’s an excuse for many of us to indulge in some consumer-based celebrations (and, hopefully, some family time). For most normal folk, that might mean a chocolate egg or three….   for us iOS musicians (are we normal??) perhaps our eyes are more easily drawn by an app or three at a tempting sale price.

So it’s a good job that some of our generous iOS music app developers have Easter-themed sales going on. Check out the ‘News’ section on the blog….  but there are some good bargains to be had including the excellent (if slightly scary) Sugar Bytes music app collection.

Anyway, until next time, have a great week, be happy, don’t eat too much chocolate and, get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #179 on: April 21, 2017, 10:43:22 AM »

First, a quick thank you to everyone who sent me messages of ‘decorating sympathy’ after last week’s newsletter :-)  Yes, we are still painting and, yes, I am sick of the sight of paint pots and brushes and dust-sheets, but we are nearly done now though….   just in time to head off early next week for a bit of a break back in Scotland to attend a wedding. Not sure the weather is going to be quite as good there as it is here at present though; summer has broken out early in SW France and the added upside is that the paint dries quicker J

I did manage some iOS music making time this week though….  and, while it was a modest little update, the highlight of my personal iOS music app week was Propellerhead rolling out a new version of their iOS synth app Thor. There are lots of ‘landmark’ iOS music apps that, for one reason or another, stand out when you scan back at the (brief) history of the platform. For me at least, Thor is most definitely one of them.

While we already had Animoog, Thor represented a bit of a milestone as a truly desktop standard software synth that ran on an iPad. The UI was slick and modern but what was (still is) really impressive was the sound; sonically, Thor could be made to really live up to its sturdy name.

It was also an iOS synth that (if you had the courage back then) could have been taken on stage and – suitable audio routing allowing – used to blow away a live audience. For me, therefore, it has always been one of those apps that those in the iOS music making ‘know’ could use to demonstrate what the platform was capable of to a sceptical ‘non-believer’. OK, we now have plenty of such apps – and a few that are simply in a class of their own that the desktop can’t provide – but Thor was one of the first.

So, as a bit of a Thor fan – and with a genuine soft spot for the app – I’ve always thought it a bit of a shame that Propellerhead haven’t been just a little more active with it’s development. Don’t get me wrong….  it’s still great and I’m not thinking of new sonic features….  but somewhat more regular technical updates are always reassuring in a favourite app. Anyway, this week’s update was therefore great to see….  and while I’m not holding my breath about ever seeing an AU version of the app, I’m glad it is still with us, alive and kicking, with iOS10. If you have never checked it out, then do explore further. Thor is just a great app.

Thor would easily be amongst my own personal favourites list of longstanding apps that I hope iOS doesn’t leave behind. I can think of several others….   but what about you? What’s your favourite iOS music app that perhaps doesn’t get quite as much development attention as you might like and that you would be sad to see become obsolete if the developer pulled the plug? Drop me a line and let me know…..  it would make a great topic for a blog post at some stage.

Anyway, until next time, have a great week and, whether the apps are old or new, get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

PS Don’t forget I’m away from Music App Blog HQ most of next week. Things might, therefore, be a bit quieter than usual but I’ll do my best to keep some posts coming through….

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #180 on: April 28, 2017, 11:51:55 AM »
Just a short note this week. As you might recall me mentioning last week, I'm actually away from Music App Blog HQ for a few days so things will remain a little quieter than usual until I get back. There will, however, be quite a few interesting things for me to catch up with when I do get back to the 'office'.....

For example, this week has seen the launch of two new drum apps. Luis Martinez has launched the latest in his line of drum apps with Future Drummer. I've already had a quick play with this and it looks very good. The app has all the core features of the other apps in the series but with some more modern/electronic drum sounds and patterns. The sounds are great and the UI is so easy to use.....  it's a great tool so a full review will follow as soon as I can.

The second is Positive Grid's X Drummer. In fact, this isn't actually a 'new' app as it has been on the Store for a couple of months already. According to Jaime Ruchman at PG, this was a 'soft' launch but now they are ready to give it the more formal push. Anyway, I've been promised a review copy once a couple of final tweaks are in place. This does look interesting though as it is PG's long promised 'AI drummer'....  Again, as soon as I can dig in, I'll post a full review.

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for a rather nice BeatHawk giveaway that's coming next week. The very generous Charline at UVI is going to supply me with both a copy of the app and copies of all 29 sample expansion packs to give away to one lucky winner. That bundle would be enough to keep anyone busy for a few months.....  and, as an email subscriber, your name will, of course, be in the hat :-)

Anyway, that's all for later next week. Right now I better get back to being social before my wife notices I've nipped off to do some work :-)

Until then, be happy, have a great week, and get some music made.....

very best wishes,

John
John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #181 on: May 09, 2017, 10:10:13 AM »

First, a quick ‘thank you’ to everyone who responded to my question from a couple of weeks ago about ‘apps we don’t want to see abandoned’. This was prompted by Propellerhead bringing a very welcome update to Thor which, while still working, had not been shown any real development TLC for quite some time. While your responses included a number of long-standing favourites, there was one app that got more mentions than any other; Samplr.

Samplr is not an app I’ve used extensively. It first appeared on the App Store back in 2012 but the last update was in December 2014 (bringing iOS8 support). However, there are obviously still a lot of Samplr fans out there hoping that it has not been cast aside. Anyway, I’ll dig a little deeper when I get a chance and see what – if any – news I can find about its status and, if there is anything worth reporting, I’ll let you know…..

Second, a further ‘thank you’ to those that wished me ‘safe travels’ for my trip last week. We had a great time and it was good to catch up with old friends. Indeed, it was so good that my intentions to do the occasional bit of work while away soon evaporated. I did get to demo some of my favourite iOS music apps to a few musician friends though….  I don’t know why, but I’m still surprised that so many musicians that are, in other respects, very technology literate, have little or no knowledge of just what iOS can do. Sites like the Music App Blog obviously need to try a little harder :-)

Third, a bit of an apology…. As many of you will have noticed, the website itself has been a little fragile over the last few days. Indeed, there have been some technical issues that I’ve been battling with for a few weeks and that my hosting provider and I have been trying to get to the bottom of. The upshot is that, during today and tomorrow, I’m rebuilding the site on a different server. Hopefully, things will be operational again by Monday (fingers crossed) and, while this might not solve the specific underlying problem, the different platform will make debugging much easier. Equally, I’m hoping it will mean I spend less time of website management (not my favourite pastime) and more of content creation.

Which is a good job because, with the combination of a week or so away, and battling the occasional technical issue, I’m building up a bit of a backlog of new iOS music apps to review. As soon as the new server is running smoothly – hopefully early next week – then I’ll get started on that list.

Anyway, until then, have a great week and get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

​John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #182 on: May 12, 2017, 03:46:12 PM »
In last weeks’ newsletter, I promised to start dealing the small backlog of new iOS music app reviews that’s been building up over the last three or fours week or so. For reasons I’ll come back to briefly below, that actually didn’t really start until today when I managed to complete a review of Sugar Bytes new Unique synth app….  and very good it is too (the app that is; I’ll let you decide about the review).

Unique is an interesting choice of name given just how this synth looks (actually pretty conventional) and just how far out there Sugar Bytes stuff often is (very far out there; take Turnado and Cyclop as examples). However, as the new iOS app is actually a port of a desktop software synth that’s been around for around 10 years, perhaps we can understand the context; Sugar Bytes adventurous side has really come to the fore since Unique originally appeared.

A 10 year old synth engine might not, therefore, sound like it would be too cutting edge. Well, read the review for the full details, but in some respects, Unique makes for a great start into the wonderful would of SB’s catalogue. The synth engine has some very conventional components, making it less intimidating that some of their software. However, it manages to combine just a few synth engine twists (in particular the vowel options within the filter section) with a brilliant design to the modulation system.

In short, there are some (pretty) unique sound options but this is also a synth that’s not too scary from a programming perspective. Sugar Bytes have, therefore, pulled off a pretty neat trick….  Oh, and it can create some great sounds…..  There is little not to like….  other than the fact that you probably already have way too many synth apps and are going to feel guilty about buying yet another one :-)

Beat the drums
I’ve a couple of drum apps to play catch up in terms of reviews next week but, Unique aside, finally taking a look at the recent update to DrumPerfect Pro was the highlight of my own iOS music tech week. It has to be said that this is perhaps not an app for the very faint-hearted. However, the very ‘human’ acoustic drum performances you can coax from it are impressive. Developer Marinus Molengraft has added a whole bunch of new features in this update so do check out the post from earlier in the week.

At your service
Finally, a bit of an apology for the downtime to the website earlier this week. As I mentioned last week, this was a planned server move but, because I’m a better guitar player than webserver manager (heck, even my keyboard skills are better than my webserver skills; yep, it’s that bad), this took way longer than I’d hoped.

However, I do appear to have finally got things running on the new server. I’m not sure if all the gremlins are out of the system and, while the new server is perhaps not some super-system compared to the old one, it does come with better tech support from the host provider. I’m hoping this will mean less downtime in the future whenever the blunderweb breaks it again…..  fingers crossed.

Anyway, here’s to a server management free week for me, and, whatever techie gremlins might come your own way, be happy, and get some music made.

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #183 on: May 19, 2017, 10:37:57 AM »

It’s been great to get back to some new blog content this week. After a week away in the UK and then a further week smacking my head against a brick server (!), it was a welcome return to actually writing about iOS music technology again :-)

That included a number of new app reviews this week; Future Drummer (another excellent offering from developer Luis Martinez), Forever Beats (a quirky app that would be great for the EDM composers out there) and, just today, Syndt from Klevgränd Produktion.

The latter is a rather neat little AU-only synth app and well worth checking out. Klevgränd have build their reputation of crafting minimalist iOS music apps that offer the user an unconventional approach to their respective control sets. They are also one of the few developers that started life under iOS and have then managed to successfully expand into the desktop market (Syndt is also available as a desktop plugin).

Anyway, perhaps the interesting thing here is that Klevgränd have allowed themselves to also expand beyond their usual ‘single screen’ UI (Syndt has three pages of controls) but without losing the ‘easy to use’ tag. And, not only is the app launched at a pocket money price, it’s a doddle to program and can deliver some very good sounds. A ‘must have’?....  well, perhaps not if you already own more iOS synths than you can count….  but most certainly worth a look. Check out the full Syndt review posted on the blog today.

Not iOS….
The week wasn’t all good though….  and while the death of musician Chris Cornell has absolutely nothing to do with iOS music technology, it certainly had an impact on my personal week. His brand of rock might not have been to your particular taste but, for me, he was something of a musical hero, both as a singer and as a lyricist. While he is perhaps best known for his work with Soundgarden, and for singing the Bond theme song for Casino Royale, it was Audioslave’s first album that really got me hooked. That record would easily make my desert island disc collection…..  and if I could sing like he did on that album, I'd trade all my other musical skills and knowledge (such as they are) in an instant.

We have lost a lot of great musicians over the last year or two. It’s always sad but it is especially sad when they are, relatively speaking, quite so young and still very much in their musical prime. I never met the man but, by all accounts, he was a deeply thoughtful individual and someone it was a pleasure to know. He was, obviously, also someone who must have had all sorts of personal demons…. not perhaps in an obviously self-destructive way (at least not in recent years) but – as now seems to be clear – at some fundamental level. I’m fortunate that, in my own life, I’ve never been anywhere quite as dark as that….  and I hope it is the same for you….

Anyway, whatever your own circumstances this week, try to be happy, and get some music made (the latter helps with the former).  Me? I’m going to be spending some time with the music of Chris Cornell….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

​John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #184 on: May 26, 2017, 10:58:35 AM »
I had an interesting email from a new subscriber to the newsletter this week (hi Alex) that was a combination of a personal introduction and a couple of questions. However, the thing that particularly resonated with me was the issue of ‘sound management’. Or, more specifically, how the heck do you keep track of all those synth/virtual instrument presets that are scattered across the multitude of music apps you currently have installed on your iPad or iPhone?

Interesting (and practical) question…  and, unfortunately, one to which I’m not sure there is really a satisfactory answer for under iOS. Indeed, I’d go a bit further than that and suggest that, even on the (much more mature) desktop platform, there is not really a very good answer either. You know that your track needs a particular sound – let’s say a ‘dark, evolving pad that is organic and soft rather than metallic or with lots of high-frequency content’. You have more synths that you can shake a stick at….  so how do you find exactly the right sound to fit this (or any other) description you might have in your head?

On the desktop there are products that attempt to do this kind of sound cataloguing. For example, my own desktop DAW/sequencer of choice – Steinberg’s Cubase – has the MediaBay feature. It provides a cataloguing system for synth and virtual instrument sounds as well as your audio loops and it comes populated with all the sounds that are supplied as part of the Cubase bundle. When you have a sound description in your head, you can then search the MediaBay using various filters and search terms to find the sound you want.

If this all seems like it might be very useful, well it is….  but it’s not perfect. It works great with Steinberg’s own virtual instruments but, it you want to add all those presets from your 3rd-party software synths, etc., then you face a pretty tedious task importing them into MediaBay. So tedious that most folk (myself included) don’t even bother.

There are other examples on the desktop where, for a particular manufacturer’s products, some sort of cross-instrument cataloguing of sounds is possible, but as for a universal system? Well, nope…. And, of course, if the state of this issue is poor on the desktop, then I don’t need to say too much about the options under iOS other than they are few and far between. There are not even that many iOS music apps that provide options for filtering sounds based upon key word selection….

Which is, of course, a shame given all these wonderful synths and sample-based virtual instruments we have at our (touchscreen) fingertips. All those sounds to choose between but the cataloguing has to be done in your own head or it doesn’t really get done at all. Whether we will ever see a meta-data-based system that allows preset lists and sound characteristics to be easily shared between music software is anybody’s guess. It would be nice to think so….  but I’m not holding my breath.

Which, as I said earlier, isn’t really a satisfactory question to Alex’s question….  but perhaps what it does do is provide another reason for adopting the whole ‘less is more’ attitude when picking the music software you choose to work with on a daily basis. Yes, you might occasionally reach outside, but having a core, compact, set of ‘go to’ music apps that you know really well - both in terms of their sounds and their programming options – may well, in the end, be the only way you can narrow down that sound search to some reasonable limits. If you know the apps well, you can (generally) quickly find something close to the sound you are after. And if you can’t find it, then perhaps you know the app well enough to program it and roll your own…..

Anyway, if you want to recommend any individual iOS music apps that you feel do have something to offer in terms of ‘sound searching’, then drop me a line and I’ll share with others :-)

And, whatever sound you need this week, be happy, and don’t spend so long looking for it that you don’t get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #185 on: June 02, 2017, 11:19:58 AM »

OK, so some of you might not live in the northern hemisphere but, here in mainland Europe, summer is definitely on the way; sun, shorts, a cool drink…. oh, and a shady spot with an iPad and a few music apps, makes for a great way to chill out for an hour or two J

And, with summer coming, as usual at this time of the year, a few summer sales aside, things do get a bit quieter on the iOS music app development front. That’s not to say there hasn’t been some interesting updates this week (for example, ChordFlow is coming along quite nicely). We have also had what looks like a rather cool new AUv3 compressor app from DDMF. NYCompressor is a port from their desktop plugin and, if it is as good as their other iOS music apps, this could be well worth a look. I’ll get a full review of the new app onto the blog as soon as I get a chance to dig in…..

With news and new apps a little thinner on the ground this week, I have managed to put up a couple of new posts in the ‘pros and cons’ series. These articles are perhaps more aimed at those still speculating about whether iOS might be for them as a music technology platform rather than those who are already convinced of what it has to offer (and I guess that’s most folk on the email newsletter list) but, feel free to have a read and comment from your own experience….  oh, and share with a sceptical friend J

One other way to open the eyes of those who are perhaps less than convinced about just what iOS can offer the musician is to play them some music created on the platform. This week, prolific iOS musician Steve Raizen – aka Frozen Lonesome – was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest album release. The album is titled The Mystery of the Murky Menace and combines a journey into B-movie goodness with some chilled out electronica. There are some really cool tunes and some equally cool movie-style vocal samples.

And, of course, the vast majority of the album was written and recorded on an iPad. Steve used a combination of mainly AU-based apps within both Auria and AUM. There is a good dollop of LayR in there also and the occasional bit of external hardware thanks to a Minilogue and a Korg SP-250….  The end result is very cool and, just to demonstrate quite what iOS can offer, the vast majority of the album’s tracks were created while Steve’s feet were sunk in the sand on Siesta Beach, near Sarasota, Florida. I can think of lots of worse places to record an album than a sunny beach J Check out the full album here and, whether the musical style is to your taste or not, it is an impressive example of just what an iPad and a few apps can do.

Anyway, whatever else you do this week, be happy and, wherever you chose to do it (beach or bedroom or elsewhere), get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

​​​​​​​John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #186 on: June 09, 2017, 11:10:14 PM »

This week has perhaps been a bit more interesting than the previous one when it comes to iOS music apps news. We have had an interesting new release or two (for example, the new Mood synth from apeSoft) and a number of notable updates (for example, the very worthy RP-1 and RF-1 AU effects from Numerical Audio).

However, amongst a few good options (Audulus, KRFT, Animoog, Model 15, etc.) one update in particular caught my attention; Olympia Noise Co’s new version of Patterning. Music App Blog regulars will know I’m a fan of what Olympia Noise Co do and of Patterning in particular. The update adds a really nice – and very useful – cloud-based option for sharing user drum kits within the app. It seems to be well implemented and, while such cloud sharing of user content is not unique to Patterning by any stretch of the imagination, it’s great to see and is, of course, something new, and something free, for all existing users.

This new option simply adds to what is, in my opinion anyway, already a brilliant piece of software. Yes, I can think of a few other features I’d love to see added to the spec of the app (most notably some element of multiple sample layers per ‘sound’) but it is an app that I turn to on a regular basis and I always find inspiring.

And, as I’ve said before a few times on the blog itself, Patterning is an app that I think is more than good enough to compete with some of the best drum/groove virtual instruments available on the desktop. Maybe not yet in terms of all the specifications/features (that multi-layer sampling would help though) but certainly in terms of the UI and the amazing flexibility it offers for creating complex and evolving rhythms via it’s pattern-based programming features. Indeed, this one of the apps that I regularly fire up alongside my desktop system to integrate Patterning’s rhythms into my desktop-based music productions.

The bottom line here is that, if it were available, I’d buy a desktop plugin of Patterning in a heartbeat. And while we see many software ‘ports’ that come from the desktop to iOS – iOS music apps that go against the flow - ports from iOS to Windows/OSX are something of a rarity. High profile examples include BIAS FX and, more recently, Gadget….  but there are a few others I’d love to see this happen with and Patterning is perhaps top of my own list. Patterning as a VST plugin? Yes please Olympia Noise Co…..

I can think of a small number of others that I’d put in the same bracket….  but what about you? What would be top of your own personal ‘I want a desktop version’ list for iOS music apps? Drop me a line and let me know and, if I get a few popular suggestions, maybe I’ll see what the various developers might say to such a user-based suggestion?

Anyway, whatever else you do this week, be happy and, whether on your iPad or your desktop, get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #187 on: June 16, 2017, 11:18:25 AM »
A couple of weeks ago in the newsletter, I speculated that what had been a quiet week on the iOS music tech front might have been the start of the usual ‘summer slowdown’; I was, of course, wrong. That’s been shown fairly spectacularly in that I now have a decent list of new iOS music apps in the ‘review to do’ pile including Mood, Harmony Eight, ChordFlow, X Drummer and BeatMirror. So the summer holidays have not arrived just yet then. Whether I’ll manage to ever catch up (and still meet some looming music production deadlines) is another matter….

However, these are not the only apps on my to do list and this week saw two brand new items that really caught my (and a lot of others I expect) attention; Groovebox and Ripplemaker. In different ways both of these apps look super-cool and, as an ‘all-in-one EDM music production app’ and a ‘semi-modular mono synth app’ respectively, while neither might offer music options that you can’t get elsewhere (albeit in slightly different forms), I suspect both are going to prove very popular.

Groovebox is a new app from the team behind Launchpad and Blocs Wave (Ampify; part of the Novation group). It’s free to download while some IAPs open up more advanced features if you like what you try….  and some have described the app as ‘Figure on steroids’. I don’t think that’s too far from the mark and, having exchanged a couple of emails with Matt from Ampify this week, it’s pretty clear they have exciting development plans for the app. It’s already very cool….  but if they move it onwards and upwards as quickly as they did with Blocs Wave, then things will get even more interesting very soon. Watch this space….

Ripplemaker is from Bram Bos, the developer behind the AU-friendly Ruismaker drum machines and the brilliant Troublemaker 303-ish synth app. That will be enough for lots of iOS musicians to stir an interest. I’ve only had the briefest of plays so far but it really does look, and sound, great. It brings the excellent pattern sequencer from Troublemaker to a mono synth engine designed for a somewhat broader range of sounds and a modular (semi-modular?) engine design that feels accessible even to a synth numbty like me. Synth heads will still love it but I think so will lots of more casual synth users. Hopefully, a full review will follow next week.

Anyway, whether your personal summer slowdown is imminent this week or not, be thankful for the constant supply of new wonders on the App Store, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

​John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #188 on: June 23, 2017, 01:59:55 PM »
Keeping up with the release of new iOS music apps is like trying to catch popcorn popping in an open pan; you catch one kernel as it pops, turn your back to put it in a bowl, only for three more to pop behind you and to be missed as they fire off in different direction. It’s impossible to keep up.

I’m not complaining because I think it demonstrates that, on the whole, iOS music technology is an exciting, vibrant, and very creative world to live in. As someone who earns at least part of their living as a music technology journalist, it makes for ‘interesting times’. However, not everyone has my ‘geeky’ gene and, if you are already suffering from app overload, hearing about the latest and greatest ‘must buy’ app might actually make your eyes roll rather than your mouth water; app fatigue is a genuine thing.

There is, of course, a simple solution; stop buying new apps. And, while I appreciate that is perhaps easier said than done when the iOS music app websites (such as the Music App Blog) put temptation in your way, it is really just a matter of personal will power. And the upside is that, instead of learning your way around a new app every other day, you actually create some music with apps you already know and love.

All of which just makes me feel even more guilty for telling you that the highlight of my iOS music tech week was spending enough time with Bram Bos’ new Ripplemaker app so that I could write up a full review. I mentioned Ripplemaker in last week’s newsletter but, at that point, hadn’t had much time with it….   Now I have? Well, I think it is brilliant. App fatigue or not, this is seriously good bit of design. No, you do not ‘have’ to own it but I do think it will make a lot of folk’s ‘top 10 new music app’ lists come the end of the year. This is top-notch stuff from a developer who is really on the top of his game. So, sorry for mentioning it, but Ripplemaker is really very good indeed….  Yes, sorry…  again :-)

Make more music
Aside from encouraging you to explore the ever expanding collection of music apps on the App Store, one thing I do hope the Music App Blog encourages some folks to do is make more music. Whether that’s for personal pleasure or commercial gain… well, that’s up to you…. but a creative outlet is something lots of individuals find to be a highly important part of their lives whatever else they spend their time doing.

Me too…. and, on a personal note, that ‘new project/personal studio’ space I build for myself about 18 months ago (long-term readers will remember the details) is now not so new but firmly established and with most of the wrinkles ironed out. So I have been following my own advice and ‘getting some music made’.

For me, that’s mostly within the decidedly unglamorous world of production music – off the shelf music that (hopefully) gets picked up by TV, film, radio and ad producers when they don’t have the budget to hire a dedicated composer. It’s a world I’ve inhabited for a number of years and I like the variety and flexibility it brings. And it also helps pay the bills.

On the back of what’s proved possible in the new(ish) studio, I’ve recently landed a couple of new writing projects over and above stuff I’m usually doing. This means more time ‘getting music made’ (which is good) but, possibly, also less time ‘getting app reviews done’ (maybe not such a good thing?). Work on these particular projects might span the next couple of months so do bear with me if there is the occasional hiatus on the blog. I’ll try to catch the best of the popcorn along the way but some might end up on the floor :-)

Anyway, whether with apps old or new, be happy this week, and get some of your own music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #189 on: June 30, 2017, 10:57:27 AM »
So, what’s the ‘best’ virtual piano app for iOS? This is, of course, a question with any number of answers because ‘best’ for one person may not be ‘best’ for another. It’s the sort of mostly harmless debate that’s quite fun in a pub on a Friday night with some like-minded individuals (and one that will undoubtedly end in tears and flames in the somewhat less-than-social world of the internet forum) but not a question where a single perspective can ever really define the answer.

That said, if you are an iOS music app geek, and also happen to be a lover of acoustic piano sounds, we certainly have a new contender to add to that conversation; Ravenscroft 275 Piano from UVI (the makers of BeatHawk) arrived on the App Store this week….  and you can read my thoughts in the review here.

Cutting to the chase, I think Ravenscroft 275 is both sonically excellent and technically impressive. UVI have done a brilliant job of managing to squeeze around 6GB of sample data into closer to 1GB of space, designed a sample engine that delivers a very dynamic/expressive playing response from those samples, added a very capable EQ and rather smooth reverb. For my money, the app hits the nail on the head in terms of balancing playability, sound and system demands on an iPad or iPhone.

There is, of course, a catch; Ravenscroft 275 will set you back UK£34.99/US$34.99. OK, if you are serious about you piano sounds, then this may not be such a big deal. However, for the curious rather than the dedicated, this probably takes the app out of the ‘speculative purchase’ range. Don’t get me wrong; I think the app is absolutely worth the price (it’s as good as some desktop virtual pianos I use that cost considerably more), it’s just that the App Store has distorted the reality of software pricing in a way that makes many of us think anything over UK£10/US$10 is ‘expensive’….

On trial

Of course, what we really need is for the App Store and developers to adopt a more consistent approach over a ‘free-to-try demo’ or ‘limited-time trial period’. We do have it in part - the ‘free download and IAP to unlock’ system – but , for some reason, it doesn’t seem to strike a chord (doh!) with most app punters.

On the desktop, the more popular option is the limited-time demo. You get a few days ‘grace period’ to try the full version and all the features….  and this is a great way to see if a piece of software really suits your needs and, just at importantly, runs on your hardware. So why isn’t this really a ‘thing’ on the App Store. Well, it is…  sort of….  there just aren’t very many examples of it being done.

And, with thanks to regular Music App Blog reader Nick (hi Nick!) for the suggestions, how about Complete Anatomy or ComicDraw? These are both pretty serious bits of software that, in their iPad incarnations, offer a fully functional trial period. As a music app, perhaps DRC Polyphonic Synthesizer is the closest thing to offering this approach? If you can think of any others, then feel free to drop me a line…..

Anyway, it strikes me that, by the time we get into the UK£15/US$15 and above range, developers really ought to be considering how they can offer this kind of free trial. For me, a day or three would be fine….  just enough to let you establish you like the app, that it works on your system, and that it fills a need rather than simply duplicating what you already own. And, for Apple’s part, if there is anything they can do to encourage this approach, then they should bring it on…..

I’m happy to stump up the cash if I think an app is really great and hits my personal spot….  but long-standing iOS music app addicts, who have already got more apps than they can probably count, soon learn to be quite discerning buyers. Limited-time trial periods make it easier to pick exactly what you need and, ultimately, than means less chance that you are burned by a purchase you wish you hadn’t made… The result is happier customers for developers; it’s a win-win. Can we make it happen? Pretty please??

Talking of discerning buyers….
Whether you are one of those app-overloaded discerning buyers or an iOS music app addict start-up, there are two new apps that have appeared in the last week or that grabbed my personal attention and might well grab your’s; Audio Damage’s Grind Distortion and Eos 2. These are both worth a look and, as both also offer AU support, if you are after some excellent options for distortion or reverb, you will not go far wrong with these choices….

…. Unfortunately, there’s no trial period offered….  but as both are priced south of UK£5.99/US$5.99, they are well within the ‘worth a punt’ price range. Check out the details via the website.

Anyway, whether with apps old or new, low-cost or high-cost, be happy this week, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #190 on: July 07, 2017, 10:13:41 AM »
So much for the summer slowdown I predicted a few weeks ago. If anything, this last week of iOS music technology has been the exact opposite. I got around to reviewing Eos 2, the new algorithmic reverb app from Audio Damage with AU support and it’s very (very) good indeed…. only for them to release yet another app within a couple of days. Dubstation 2 offers a very nice delay option. Hopefully a full review will follow next week but this is also AU-friendly and sounds impressive. Anyway, for me at least, these were highlights both.

It didn’t stop there though. Steinberg delivered a further update to Cubasis – my personal DAW/sequencer of choice for iOS – with some general tidying up, a few new features and, if you want it, a new IAP with some classic drum machine sounds. Cubasis might not have some of the bells and whistles offered by an app such as Auria Pro (that’s a desktop DAW squeezed on to an iPad) but the features set is more than comprehensive enough to get some seriously good music made and, for my money at least, the workflow and UI are better suited to the iPad format. By the way, if you are still to take the plunge with Cubasis, it’s also on a 50% sale at present; be quick.

Oh, and then we have an update to Audiobus 3 that returns the Audiobus Remote support to the fold. If you happen to have a second iOS device, and you use multiple apps within Audiobus, Audiobus Remote is a great addition to the toolkit. It’s therefore equally great to see it back in action with Audiobus 3.

However, if your music making involves any amount of ambient styles or soundscapes – or even dips into sound design – then perhaps the most obvious highlight of the week is the release of Igor Vasiliev’s new SynthScaper app. I’ve only had the briefest of time with it so far but it does sound great and, like all Igor’s apps, it is very deep. Perhaps not one for preset lovers but for those synth-heads that like to get their sound design hands dirty, it does look very tempting. Hopefully, a full review will follow next week on the blog. Oh, and that's also discounted at present.

Are we going to get a summer slowdown this year (I need a holiday!)? Who knows….  but the steady stream of inspiring new apps to consider means a change might have to be as good as a rest :-)

Anyway, whether with apps old or new, be happy this week, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/


​John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac


Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #192 on: July 21, 2017, 10:29:08 AM »
Phew! That was a busy one….  again, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times in recent newsletters, a combination of non-blog work deadlines and the continuing tourist season here in sunny SW France (by ‘tourists’, I mean family and friends who seem to occupy our spare bedroom from June through to September!) has meant less time than usual for iOS music technology this week. I do, however, have a bit of rest bite over the next week or so….

….  which is a good thing because there have been two more high-profile iOS music app releases this week that I’ve now got to add to my ever-growing ‘to do’ list for app reviews; BeatMaker 3 and KASPAR.

As I mentioned last week, BeatMaker 3 is now with us. It retains the BeatMaker approach to music making but with a considerable amount of polish and some new features including now acting as a host for iOS AU plugins. I’ve only really just started to explore the new version but, if you like the workflow concept (which, like Gadget or BeatHawk, is somewhat different from a more conventional DAW/sequencer such as a Cubasis or Auria Pro), then it does look very good.

KASPAR is (yet!) another interesting iOS synth app from developer Yonac. Do you need another synth? Well, maybe you don’t…  but that doesn’t stop KASPAR looking very appealing. The synth engine is deep enough for the more hands-on sound designer but, like Layr, the rather neat thing is that you get multiple instances of it (8 in this case) so you can build some pretty big sounds out of these multiple layers. And, with the very cool ‘morph’ feature, you can blend between these various sound layers to really get some fabulous movement to your synth sounds. Oh, and even better, it can function as an AU plugin. Catch KASPAR while you can at the special intro pricing.

With the two highlight releases of this last week being AU-friendly, that got me to thinking about just how far AU support has come under iOS. Are we ‘there’ yet? Can you put together a complete, compact, iOS music-making system based upon just AU apps? Everyone’s mileage will, of course, vary here depending upon exactly what role iOS plays in their overall music production process and the style of music they create….  but I’ve had a go…  and you can read my own take on this here on the blog as an add-on to the ‘less is more’ series of articles.

Anyway, I’m off to check nobody else has snuck into the spare bedroom while I’ve been hidden in the studio this morning. Hopefully, some new app reviews will follow next week. Until then, be happy, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #193 on: July 31, 2017, 09:34:17 AM »

As promised in last week’s newsletter, in between some non-blog deadlines, I managed to get a few new app reviews online in the last week. This included KASPAR, Dubstation 2 and Replicant 2. Within their own specific sub-niche (within the overall music app niche), all three of these apps are really very good; they all offer something within their feature set that is interesting, and perhaps even unique, to tempt potential purchasers.

Equally, however, they are also fairly easy categorised as a synth, a delay effect and a creative delay effect, and it may well be that you already own several apps within each of these categories and don’t feel compelled to add more. The Music App Blog has been around for over five years and, in that time, I’ve reviewed lots of new music apps as they have been released (I’ve lost count but my guess would be well over 200). Over the same period, I’ve tried a lot more…. and, if your iOS music app habit goes back that far (or further), I would guess that so have you. If so, I can sympathise with those who see a new release and now often find themselves thinking ‘so what?’

I don’t really want to get into a discussion here about app addiction or the App Store’s bargain basement pricing model…. but perhaps to suggest that, for those of us having lived through the ups and downs of iOS music making’s infancy, maybe we are now entering a somewhat different phase?  Not quite the super-fit, sharp-as-a-tack, maturity of proper adulthood….  but somewhere moving in that direction at least.

For long-standing iOS musicians, part of that ‘maturity’ might well mean being more selective about the apps to use. This is an idea I’ve looked at a few times, most recently in the ‘less is more’ series of articles, but I think it is an attitude that, aside from having positive creative outcomes for us as musicians, also has other consequences.

One of these is being more selective about app purchases. And if the long-serving, hard-core, iOS music makers are not hoovering up every new release, might that make life (even more) challenging for some app developers?

The second is that, with multiple app options in almost every sub-category of music apps now available, are we going to see an element of survival of the fittest? The best will undoubtedly survive but those apps that, for whatever reason, don’t quite cut it with a big enough audience, will either have to up their game or simply face being out competed.

For some of us as individuals, that might mean the occasional favourite app that disappears. That’s always a shame but, of course, a fact of (business) life. However, there is also a positive consequence to this; the bar is constantly being raised for developers. All the pricing issues aside, for us users, that is a good thing. Whether you leap on every new app or not, the best of the new releases that appear now from our established developers tend to be very good or better; turkeys are now in relatively short supply. Yes, an app might be aimed at a very narrow sub-set of users so it might not appeal to some individuals, but at what it does, and for its target audience, it will be just the right tool for the job. Being ‘niche’ doesn’t make it ‘bad’.

A further consequence is for those just discovering the wonderful world of iOS music making. Ok, so there is a bewildering set of choices when it comes to building a music app collection for your particular needs but, equally, relatively few really bad apps. And, whether it’s sifting through the App Store reviews, or browsing some of the more popular online hangouts for iOS music makers, a little bit of research will generally let you spot things to avoid. Providing you have the will power to exercise some discipline in your purchases, that ‘less is more’ app collection  - hopefully the fittest of the fit - can get you a powerful music software platform for what can be a very modest outlay.

Anyway, despite some progress this week, my ‘review to do’ list is far from empty. Hopefully, I’ll catch up with anther two or three before the end of next week. Until then, be happy, may your favourite music apps remain fit, and help you to get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline Elantric

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #194 on: August 04, 2017, 10:36:07 AM »
Having ploughed my way through a few new app reviews last week, I tried to do the same this week with apps such as Tonebridge (OK, that was a bit of a catch-up review), FuzzPlus 3, Jubal Flute and NFM. However, given the speed at which things are hitting us at present, that still wasn’t enough to keep up with just this week's releases, let alone those other recent ones that are still sitting on my ‘to do’ list. My suggestion from a few weeks ago that we might get a ‘summer slowdown’ has proved somewhat wide of the mark :-)

Of the other apps I’ve not yet got to from this week, Phosphor 2 looks well worth exploring. I’ll hopefully get to that early next week but I’ve still got BeatMaker 3, SynthScaper, Mood, FAC Chorus and a few others to catch up on. If someone could please point me at a ‘time machine’ app that allows my iPhone to move me around in time like Dr Who’s Tardis, I’d be very grateful. Maybe that technology is scheduled for the iPhone 8/iOS11 later this year? :-)

As I suggested last week, I can get the music app fatigue that some long-standing iOS musicians feel given this onslaught of new apps. Equally, however, I get emails every week from folks who are only just discovering iOS as a music technology platform. For them, the slate is clean and, in the main, they are simply excited by this constant supply of new possibilities. For developers, this constant supply of potential new customers must be an important part of the business model and it’s great to feel their enthusiasm (and to help with the occasional bit of advice when possible).

For those who just use iOS for their music technology needs, however, don’t assume this constant barrage of ‘new stuff’ is something exclusive to iOS simply because it is still in its infancy. No, the world of desktop music technology is exactly the same. New plugins, new sample libraries, new virtual instruments, new DAW/sequencers, new add-on hardware…. the only constant in the world of music technology is that it changes very fast, whatever OS you happen to use.

And the point of this little ‘better, faster, more’ story? Well, on the positive side, all this new stuff can be fun to watch just in case something comes along that really nails a specific need that you have in your own music making workflow. However, perhaps the more important thing to keep reminding ourselves (and I’m a serial offender here), is that you don’t have to keep up. Sure, any music tech system could be enhanced with more kit but, if what you have already got can get you making tunes, it’s entirely up to you if you decide to stop worrying about acquiring the latest and greatest. Yep, less may well be more if you are disciplined enough to actually stop thinking about the tools and, instead, think of the tunes.

I’m guilty as charged here though so if you find a secret to this mind set, then please do let me know! Maybe that Tardis app would also be useful for getting back the many hours I seem to lose on every track I write in trying to work out which of my (endless!) number of synths does the best bass sound or which compressor works best on my vocals?

Finally this week, I’d like to end with a personal complaint. This one isn’t iOS related but it is a musical matter…. although, forgive me, as this is not the sort of thing I usually bring up in the newsletter. However, this one bothered me so much I thought I'd give it a mention....

I know from the newsletter subscriber list and the site’s visitor stats that there are a number of New Zealand-based folk who are blog regulars. So, can I please ask why none of you saw fit to introduce me to the music of New Zealand artist Gin Wigmore before now?  Oh my goodness….  isn’t she (and her band) very, very, good?

I know, I know, I should have been paying more attention….. and she has had plenty of exposure outside NZ (including a high-profile Heineken ad with Daniel Craig as James Bond) but I missed it. Until now that is….  Anyway, as I said earlier, totally off topic, but if you like the idea of a cross between Amy Winehouse fused with a touch of jazz and a large dollop of grungy, indie rock, then do check out Gin’s 2012 album Gravel & Wine. Great voice, great attitude….  just wish I’d discovered it earlier :-)

Anyway, whether you are on or off the ‘new stuff’ roller-coaster, have a great week, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/


Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #195 on: August 14, 2017, 02:59:34 PM »
This week has been yet another stellar one in terms of new app releases. If you are into deep synths, perhaps the obvious highlight was Wolfgang Palm’s new PPG Infinite. I’m still trying to get my head around it but even 5 minutes with some of the presets will give you a sense of the sounds it can create.

There are some truly inspiring sounds…. and while the app represents incredible value for money, it won’t be for everyone. I don’t know Wolfgang well (we have exchanged a few emails about his iOS apps and he has always been charming, responsive and supportive) but he kind of makes me think of a friendly university boffin who might supervise your physics PhD…..  Anyway, when it comes to synthesis, his brain is clearly at another level to us mortals. It’s not rocket science of course…..  no, it’s more complex than that :-)

Anyway, if ‘deep’ and ‘synth’ are words you like to hear in the same sentence, then PPG Infinite might well be for you….

What’s the damage?
Of course, another week, another brilliant iOS music app with AU support from Audio Damage; QuatroMod also arrived this week. I’m not sure of the exact date that Audio Damage released their first iOS music app but it wasn’t that long ago….  and, since then, they simply keep coming. While the company has been involved in music software for some years on the desktop, their move into the iOS market has been swift and whole-hearted.

I’ve no idea how the nitty-gritty of their programming operation works and how they have, in such a short space of time, built up such an impressive collection of iOS music apps, but it has been fascinating to see. Clearly it will have involved a significant commitment of resources and I hope they are beginning to see a suitable return on that…..

There is, I’m sure, an interesting story to be told there (and maybe someone needs to do an interview with some of the senior folk in the company to share that story?) but, having seen Audio Damage take iOS music software by storm over the course of a few weeks, it kind of got me wondering whether any other major desktop developers might also take the plunge.

OK, we have a number of other examples where this has already happened with Sugar Bytes and VirSyn being obvious examples (although there are lots of others). However, what’s a little different with Audio Damage is the speed at which it has happened and – and this one is a reflection of them doing what they have done right now rather than, for example, 2 years ago – the fact they have done it via the AU plugin route.

An optimistic part of me wonders if it is the fact that iOS AU has finally reached a point where it is mature enough – and perhaps consistent enough with the desktop specification of AU - to make development of the iOS version less of major commitment once a desktop AU plugin has been developed. If that is the case (and I’m simply speculating here), then I do wonder whether other developers who are currently ‘desktop-only’, might also start to wonder about iOS as a new market place?

Any contenders? Well, there are lots of desktop developers with impressive catalogues of AU (and VST) plugins. How about a Waves, Brainworx or an iZotope giving iOS a punt? And will FabFilter go iOS AU with their offerings that are currently Auria Pro only in order to open up their market a little wider?

If AU is (in part) a catalyst for these established desktop developers to peek into the iOS world, then that would be great. However, it might also give that world a bit of a seismic shock, both in terms of the App Store pricing model (some of the ‘boutique’ plugins offered by these developers command high prices on the desktop) and in how well the truly indie developers (who we have all grown to love) can compete if the desktop big players enter the field.

Watch this space…. My guess is that the next 12 months (with iOS11 in sight) could be even more of a whirlwind than any of those that we have recently experienced. Hopefully, ‘whirlwind’ in a good way though….. :-)

Anyway, whether you lost in the depths of PPG Infinite, or simply enjoying some presets, have a great week, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

John Walden
The Music App Blog

Offline admsustainiac

Re: IOS MusicAppBlog
« Reply #196 on: Today at 10:04:42 AM »
….and breathe….  After a couple of hectic iOS music weeks, this one has been a little bit quieter. On a personal level, that’s been a pretty good thing as I’m in the middle of another music tech writing deadline (which I’ll come back to in a minute) that, alongside yet another release from Audio Damage, got me thinking (again) about the whole ‘iOS vs desktop’ music technology issue.

This week’s Audio Damage release (surely they will have to slow down soon?) was Pumphouse. It’s an interesting compression app and, while it might have all sorts of creative applications (especially for EDM producers), it really only exists to overcome a technical limitation of current iOS music technology; the lack of support for side-chain audio routing.

Now, you can make perfectly good music – and of the highest audio quality – without ever even needing to know what a side-chain is. The fact that most iOS DAW/sequencers don’t (yet) support it is not, therefore, an excuse if your latest track isn’t finished or if it doesn’t sound quite as good as you had hoped it might. However, as I explained in the Pumphouse review, side-chaining can be, in some circumstances, a very useful technical feature. It is commonplace in hardware studio equipment and, over more recent years, has become so in ‘virtual’ studios under Windows or OSX. It will come to iOS….  but we don’t have it yet.

The other music tech writing job I mentioned earlier is a review for Sound On Sound of the just announced (this week) Superior Drummer 3 from Toontrack. SD3 is officially released in mid-September but, having signed my life away with a non-disclosure agreement, I’ve actually been lucky enough to have been exploring the pre-release version for a few weeks. It is, frankly, awesome. SD2 was good…..  SD3 is, well….  significantly superior.

As I commented before on the blog, we have some very good virtual drummers under iOS including Luis Martinez’s various apps, DrumPerfect Pro and Drum Session. In their own ways, they all to the same job as SD2 and the upcoming SD3 but, equally, none of them really reach the heights of Toontrack’s flagship desktop product.

Part of this is that iOS hardware is not a great platform for massive sample-based virtual instruments so, as you might expect, these top-end iOS products perhaps don’t have the quite the same sonic impact. They are still very good though and, for me, I’m not sure that would be my personal priority in moving the iOS apps forward. No, that would be the workflow and features for pattern browsing, pattern editing, song construction and on-board mixing. SD2 (and now SD3) provides a brilliant model to work from and, while ‘cloning’ SD in an iOS app is likely to leave a developer in rather choppy legal waters, the underlying concepts are all there to be re-invented in an app.

Again, this is not an excuse to explain away why you are not making great music on your iPad. Session Drummer is perhaps as close as we currently get to the SD line in workflow terms but, again, this is an example where, technically at least, iOS is some way behind the curve compared to the desktop.

These kinds of technical issues don’t stop you making music but they can perhaps slow you down. Workflow aside, just how critical they are sonically will depend upon exactly how iOS fits into your overall music making workflow. For me, my iPad is a tool for developing initial ideas and a musical scratchpad before I move the best of those ideas on towards my desktop system. However, for others, iOS is their entire production system and, while it is still light years ahead of what was considered ‘cutting-edge’ music technology even just 10 years ago, the examples above represent a couple of ways where there is still something of gap between iOS and the desktop.

These two example just happen to have come into focus for me this week….  but I’m sure you can think of your own examples. Indeed, if you can, and you are willing to spare a minute or two, drop me a line in reply and let me know what your personal most significant ‘mind the gap’ issue might be. A collection of these might make a good basis for a blog post…..  :-)

Anyway, have a great week, make sure you side step those gaps, and get some music made….

Best wishes,

John

http://www.musicappblog.com/

PS Oh, and a quick ‘congratulations’ to Doug over at theSoundTestRoom YouTube channel for clocking up his 1000th video this week. Doug’s enthusiasm and good humour are always guaranteed to brighten your day. Keep it up Doug. Here’s to the next 1000….
https://www.youtube.com/user/thesoundtestroom
John Walden
The Music App Blog
« Last Edit: Today at 10:06:24 AM by admsustainiac »