IOS MusicAppBlog

Started by Elantric, December 06, 2013, 11:08:25 AM

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So, unsurprisingly I guess, the bulk of the online iOS music tech chatter this week evolved around the arrival of iOS11. As I mentioned online, I was happy to opt for a cautious approach and only did the update on my older (but still very useable) iPad Air 1 on Tuesday. However, I'm happy to report that the update ran pretty smoothly and, while I've not been pushing things too hard (that's not really part of my usual workflow anyway), pretty much everything I tried worked absolutely fine.

Whether you like the various (non-music-related) changes to our favourite mobile OS is a different matter but, when it came to running the majority of my iOS music apps via Cubasis, AUM or Audiobus, it was pretty much business as usual. That said, we have also seen a good number of apps updated this week with 'iOS11 compatibility' top on the list of many of the update logs....  and I suspect we will see that continue over the next few weeks.

Anyway, I was suitably reassured that I've just pushed the button on my iPad Pro. That's something to keep me busy over the week-end so I'll report back early next week. If my iPad Air experience is repeated on my iPad Pro then it might just be that the iOS10 to iOS11 transition will be as relatively painless as the iOS9 to iOS10 one was. Fingers crossed...

All that said, I'm not sure there is a great imperative at this stage to update. There is nothing I've discovered yet about iOSS 11 that I would categorically say means my music making is going to improve next week (under iOS11) as opposed to last week (under iOS10). However, if you do decide to take the plunge, feel free to share your own experience with me either via email or the blog. I'd be particularly interested to hear of any problematic apps that you encounter under iOS11.....

Wham, bam, thank you Bram
I'd like to add a personal note of thanks to Bram Bos for the thought-provoking and insightful article he provided for the blog last Friday. It obviously caught the attention of a lot of readers and has generated some interesting discussion. If you have not read the piece yet, then please do....  It's interesting to get a take on the whole 'should I update my iPad/iPhone?' issue from one of our favourite music app developers.

My own Apple update cycle has, over the 5 years or so of the life of the blog, been about 2 years. However, my iPad Pro is now 2 years old and, while we might well get another Apple Keynote in a few weeks with news on the next round of iPad updates, I can honestly say that, for my needs at least, the large format Pro is still doing great work. Would I like more processing power, more RAM and more storage? Well, yes, maybe I would....  but like and need are two different things....  and, at present, I can't see any reason why I couldn't get at least another 12 months of very useful life out of my current iPad model.

What's your update cycle? Answers on a postcard (er...  in an email) please :-)

New apps
With all the fuss about iOS11's arrival, don't miss this week's new apps. Two arrivals in particular caught my attention; SampleBot and MidiFire. The first of these is bound to attract some considerable attention as it comes from Michael Tyson (the man behind Loopy HD and part of the Audiobus team; the app has already had prime-time TV coverage on the Jimmy Fallon show in the USA). It's a lot of fun and very easy to get to grips with.....

The second app is from Nic Grant and, in part, grows out of his earlier MidiBridge utility app. MidiFire takes that MIDI toolkit/connectivity app up a notch or three and also expands it to OSX (there is an OSX version of the app also). One of the most attractive things about the app is that is allows MIDI connectivity between music apps but, via Bluetooth, also between devices. If you happen to have multiple iOS devices or an iOS device and an OSX desktop, MidiFire might be a very useful way to manage your MIDI connectivity.

Anyway, I need to get back to my iPad Pro and peep through my slightly parted fingers as I press the Touch ID button and see what iOS11 holds.....  Wish me luck and, whichever version of iOS you happen to be running this week, be happy, and get some music made.

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog


If you are a fan of Spinal Tap, then the scene with the Marshall volume knob that goes to 11 – and is therefore louder than an amp that goes to 10 – will be a familiar laugh out loud moment from the classic 'mockumentary'. And, as I mentioned in last week's newsletter, I took my own leap of faith from 10 to 11 - iOS wise – at the end of last week. I promised to report back....  so here goes....

.... it was, to quote another classic bit of comedic writing, 'mostly harmless'. Aside from a few UI changes to iOS itself (and that feel a bit like someone has slightly rearranged the furniture for you in your own house), I can't say I've really experienced any significant problems under iOS11. All the iOS music apps I've worked with during the last week seem to have behaved pretty well and, on the whole, it has simply been 'business as usual'.

There must be some changes under the hood or we would not be seeing the very many music app updates with 'iOS11 compatibility changes' in their App Store description. I've listed a few of the more high-profile of these within the blog's News section over the last few days. It's a steady stream....  but not the torrent that we might have expected if iOS11 had, unexpectedly, thrown a big spanner in the audio/MIDI works. Which is, of course, a good thing.

For those happy with their earlier iOS versions, I'm not sure iOS11 has yet revealed to me a compelling reason for updating – it's stayed out of my way, but not really shown me some magical new features – so I think I'd still suggest you show patience and caution. A few folks with apps that are still 32-bit only, but that are important to their musical workflow, will obviously have good reason to hold back....  rather than lose an app they love.

Perhaps that 64-bit only issue is the major difference and I wonder how long it will be before the update dilemma might get more acute? Perhaps when a lot of apps update and the new versions start specifying iOS11 as the minimum requirement? Indeed, we have seen that happen with one popular iOS music app already – DrumPerfect Pro – and the update includes a significant, and very useful, new feature. It seems to be working great under iOS11...  but iOS10 users don't now get access to that. That's pretty quick off the mark... but, just as with previous iOS update cycles, it will gradually come with other apps too.....

So, good luck to you with your own individual call about iOS11.... My experience so far is a positive one but your own circumstances might require a different decision at this stage.

Thank you!
Finally, a quick thank you to those members of the newsletter list who are regular correspondents back to me and who asked about progress on the musical projects I've mentioned on occasions over the last couple of months. Work is progressing well (in between all of life's other stuff) but it does mean somewhat less time for the blog itself. It is a bit of a dilemma – write music, or write about writing music? – Hhmmmm, I'm still working on that one! :-) Anyway, thanks for your thoughts; it is, as ever, much appreciated.

And, whichever version of iOS you happen to be running this week, be happy, and get some music made.

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog


While this week hasn't perhaps seen any blockbuster new iOS music app releases (or, if it has, I've so far managed to miss them!), it has been a busy one in terms of existing apps getting updated. I've covered the more significant ones in the news section of the blog but the highlight for me was undoubtedly seeing the updates to Bram Bos' various apps and, in particular, Troublemaker.

While it took me a little while to get Troublemaker and Cubasis playing correctly (the issue lay with the quantize settings within Cubasis), the ability to send MIDI out from the Troublemaker sequencer – and make use of all the excellent 'randomise' options that it offers – is great to see. Troublemaker (and Ripplemaker) are already very firm favourites at MAB HQ and this just makes them both easier to fully exploit.

Spinning plates
With no major new releases to distract me, I might have hoped to catch up with a review or two of apps that have been recently released but, as yet, not fully covered by the blog. However, work on other fronts is still keeping me pretty busy (too many plates all spinning at once!). However, one of those non-blog tasks did get me thinking about iOS music tech....  and it's one where I have a question for you (the email newsletter readership) just so I know I'm not missing something.....

I've just finished reviewing a desktop audio editor package called Sound It! 8 Pro for Sound On Sound. It's from a Japanese company and works on both Windows and OSX but, as far as I'm aware, it has primarily sold in the Japanese market place up until this point. This v.8 release is perhaps the first really concerted effort to push at the English-speaking parts of the world. For me then, it was a 'new' piece of software.

One aspect of the software that was particularly impressive was the bundled plugin collection. This included a very useful Loudness Meter plugin that gives you lots of detail about just how 'hot' your audio is, the level of dynamic range, and how well your audio complies to broadcast (both TV/film and streaming) standards.

This kind of metering is now becoming (a) pretty standard in desktop recording, editing and mastering software and (b) pretty essential if your music is intended to be played in any sort of commercial context. There are lots of options on the desktop including plugins such as iZotope's excellent Insight plugin (although, at US$200, cheap it is not!).

But, so far anyway (and this is where I'd appreciate your help), I'm not really aware of any well-established iOS app that provides anywhere near the level of detail required. The obvious places to use this kind of metering are (a) at mixdown and (b) when mastering....  but, for example, Cubasis (my own iOS DAW of choice) or Final Touch and Audio Mastering (the two best-known iOS 'mastering' apps), while offering some metering options, don't really go far enough.

Thankfully, the 'Loudness Wars' (type the term into Google if you are new to all this and want to read some background) are pretty much behind us. While you can still make the choice to slam your final mix through a maximiser or limiter to get it seriously loud if you wish, the argument about what sounds better (that is, not slamming your mix to get everything as close to 0dB digital) is pretty much a done deal....  and, with all major broadcasters already adhering to a much more human (and much kinder to the quality of the audio) target loudness, and all the major streaming services (iTunes included) now also on-board, knowing that you are broadly in line with the expected standards for both average loudness and dynamic range is an important issue.

This is a topic I might get into in more detail on the blog at some stage because it is a clear case of where, at present, the iOS toolset is missing something. Equally, while I make no claims to be an expert in this area (it is something I have simply had to struggle with getting to grips with through my own music production work, much of which is eventually aimed at TV/film broadcast applications), for those to whom iOS is their first (and only) form of music making, the whole topic might still be a bit of a mystery.

Measuring loud?

And this is where I'd appreciate your help.....  My comments above do, of course, assume that I have not missed the perfect 'loudness metering app' that already exists. If you have found a tool for getting this job done under iOS, then please do let me know....  and I'll happily share via the blog :-)

With that, it's back to spinning plates....  and however loud your own mix preferences are, this week, be happy, and get some music made.

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog


Many thanks to those of you who got in touch during the last few days after my discussion in last week's newsletter email about the lack of a decent loudness meter app/plugin for iOS. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I had missed something obvious; the cupboard is actually bare. That said, I did get an email from a developer who suggested it was something they had given some thought too already.... so maybe that might be a toolkit gap that gets filled at some stage? I'll come back to 'utility' apps in a minute though....

Shiny and new
After a quiet week last week in terms of new music app releases, this week has seen a few interesting arrivals. Perhaps top of that list would be Axon 2 from Audio Damage and QuantumSequencer from Tony Saunders.

The former provides a drum synth app with some very interesting options. OK, so I don't think the level of control offered by the FM synth engine is quite in the same league as, for example, Elastic Drums or DM2, but there are enough sonic options to keep the user interested. However, where the app really scores is on two fronts; it's delivered with AU support and it features a fascinating 'AI neural network' based sequencing environment. No, I don't know what that really means either....  but it is a lot of fun to explore and manages to deliver all sorts of interesting rhythmic patterns as a result. If you like your rhythms both experimental and electronic, Axon 2 is going to be very tempting indeed.

The latter is perhaps more of an upgrade (a pretty major one) to an old friend. Tony's midiSequencer app will be known by many long-standing iOS music makers. It bought an old-school retro-hardware approach to MIDI sequencing and, a few updates into its development, offered a pretty deep set of tools. QuantumSequencer takes the same basic concept, adds some cool new features and then takes everything up a level by being multi-track. I'm not sure the old-school vibe will be to everyone's taste but this is a very powerful and creative tool once you dig into the full feature set.

What's in your utility belt?
The other interesting new release this week gets us back to the (slightly less than sexy) category of 'musical utility' apps. Klevgränd Produktion's new Brusfri app brings a familiar desktop utility – software that does noise reduction – to iOS. No, I don't expect folks will get quite as excited about Brusfri as they might a new synth or drum machine, but these types of utility app are something that we can all find an occasional use for.

On the desktop, apps that can rescue an audio recording that contains some sort of noise tend to focus on three common tasks; general broadband hiss removal, removing clicks and 'de-buzzing' (somewhat different from the first and tends to be at specific frequencies). Indeed, developers such as Sonnox offer specific desktop plugins for each of these tasks (although they are not cheap).

Brusfri is perhaps most obviously aimed at the first of these types of audio rescue tasks. It takes a sample of the 'noise' (from a bit of the audio signal where no wanted sound is present) and then uses that to mathematically remove the 'noise' when the wanted signal (for example, your voice or an instrument) is present. This approach works well with the kinds of general hiss often associated with noisy electronics (think cheaper mic preamps and/or mics with the gain set a little high or simply old-fashioned electronic instruments) and can even do a decent job on buzzes or whines providing they are 'static' (don't change in frequency over time).

Anyway, within these limitations, this is a very useful little app to have around and it will be very interesting to see if Klevgränd decide to offer us other noise reduction/audio restoration options...  or other utility apps in general. As with loudness meters, at this stage under iOS, there is perhaps bit of a shortage of these kinds of useful 'utility' tools around. It's a gap that needs filling if iOS music production is going to edge a little closer to what's possible on the desktop.

And if you can think of a specific example of a 'musical utility' app that you would like to see under iOS, then feel free to drop me a line....  I'd be interested to hear your thoughts....

Anyway, whether it's with hum or without, be happy this week, and get some music made.

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog


It's been a pretty quiet week in terms of iOS music technology this week....  or, at least, I think it has (so let me know if I'm wrong!) because I've actually been pretty busy with a music project for most of the week so have only managed to snatch the occasional look at the App Store, etc. to see what's happening. There has been a steady stream of useful updates though and I've tried to cover the best of those via the blog's news section.

My studio work this week did get me thinking about the whole 'gear lust' we musicians (iOS or otherwise) can suffer from. That work was mainly focussed on some acoustic guitar recording. I'm mainly an electric player and, in the past, recording acoustic guitar is something I've often struggled with.... and quite often ended up with recorded guitar sounds that I'm far from happy with. Whenever you get that feeling of sonic dissatisfaction, there is a tendency to ponder the equipment available. I've suffered with that on many occasions but, this week, I had a bit of a personal break-through. As a consequence, I was reminded of a very general (and very obvious) principle that it is all too easy to lose sight of.... and it's one that I think can just as easily apply whether your sonic problem is an acoustic guitar recording (like mine) or some other aspect of music making (for example, involving some iOS music apps).

I have a couple of decent (c. UK£300) microphones in my gear collection but aimed really at vocal recording rather than acoustic instruments (although both are capable in that role as well). My usual 'mic of choice' (mainly because I don't have a choice) is a much cheaper (c. UK$100) Audio Technica model. However, a couple of weeks ago, I recorded some Irish bagpipes for a friend and he bought with him a couple of different mics for us to use. One was a very nice AKG C414 (about UK£800; very versatile and very popular in pro studios) while the other was a budget stereo mic pair from Superlux.

I've always lusted after the C414 but never quite managed to justify the outlay given that I only do the occasional acoustic guitar recording. However, when we recorded the pipes, we used both (the stereo pair was set back from the instrument to give us some ambience) and, while the AKG was 'better' (the frequency response seemed more even), whether that was 'UK£700 better' would make for an interesting 'Friday night with beers' discussion; the budget Superlux did a pretty impressive job.

What this got me thinking about was the 'gear sweet spot'. It's a concept that applies in all sorts of musical (and non-musical purchase) decisions; at what price point to you get performance that's very good (although perhaps not 'great') without shelling out for the 'very best'? You can see this with guitars (the custom shop models are great but a 'pro' workhorse will deliver 95% of the performance at perhaps 30% of the price; the workhorse is in the 'sweet spot') and, as my little pipe recording experiment reminded me, you can see it with mics.

I think you can also see it with iOS music making, whether you use mics or guitars in your workflow or not. For example, those mid-priced (really very good) synths will probably get 90% of the job done sonically that those excellent (but more expensive) flagship synths can. Feel free to aim for the very best apps you can....  but, in the meantime, don't let the fact that you just have the 'very good' ones stop you from being creative. It is, at the end of the day, the musical creativity that folks want to listen to.... they are unlikely to want to read the equipment list....

And, having had a little reminder of this lesson dished out by recording those bagpipes, I made sure to try a little harder – and to experiment a little more thoroughly with mic placement – this week with my own acoustic guitar recordings. Guess what? With a little bit of trial and error, eventually my Audio Technica UK£100 mic delivered some perfectly respectible sounds. It might not be as desirable as my friend's AKG C414 but this week it got the job done. You can buy cheaper mics (budget condensers might start at UK£30) and you can certainly but more expensive (UK£1000+) but, somewhere in between, is a price point sweet spot. Next time I'm tempted by some high-end music equipment purchase, please remind me to keep that 'sweet spot' in mind :-)

Anyway, whether your equipment is budget, sweet spot, or top-end, be happy this week, and get some music made.

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog


First up, a quick apology for the lack of a newsletter email last week. As I mentioned on the site, I was away for a few days in the UK visiting family and friends and, as I also managed to get laid low with a nasty bug, the newsletter was one of the casualties.

Bugs aside, my trip had one work-related highlight in that I managed to catch up with one of the music publishers for whom I've being doing some projects over the last few months. That work has been going well. Indeed, well enough that there is now a lot more of the same to come over at least the next 6 to 9 months. This does, however, mean I'm finally going to have to address an on-going dilemma that this extra music production work brings; which other work do I stop doing to spend more time on music production?

I suspect many of you can already see where this conversation might be leading.... For the last few years, my working life has consisted of a combination of music production work (production/library music work is not glamorous but it provides musical variety, deadline flexibility and, eventually, an income) and music technology journalism (a combination of work for Sound On Sound magazine and the blog). I enjoy both aspects of this work and each appeals to different parts of the musical geek in me. However, given the choice between actually writing music or writing about the technology used for writing music, like most musicians I guess, I'll favour the former over the latter as a way of earning a crust.

So, while it is with a somewhat heavy heart, I'm finally having to admit to myself - and to the site's readership – that in order to fully capitalise on these new music production opportunities, I'm going to have very little by way of time to spend on the blog.

I could just close the site....  but, frankly, it costs little to keep it up and I know that lots of readers dip into the older material (particularly the app reviews) so I guess it will continue to be a useful resource for a while yet even without regular updates. Equally, iOS is totally integrated into my own music production workflow so I'll be keeping on top of what's going on and I'm not ruling out the occasional post when something particular grabs my interest. I might also see if I can persuade one of the editorial team at SOS to commission a series on iOS music production for the magazine at some stage....

For those on the newsletter email list, feel free to stay subscribed if you wish. I'll not be closing it down and I'm still more than happy to get the occasional email from folks that's iOS related. Again, I might also send out the occasional message if there is something that I think is worth sharing....   but I'll back off from the regular weekly emails while the blog itself remains in its 'hibernation' mode.

I've been running the Music App Blog for around six years and it has been a big part of my daily routine. I'm sure I'll miss that....  just as I'll miss the regular interaction I've had with both the developer and user community through the site (although some have now become firm friends outside the confines of iOS itself). However, iOS remains a wonderful environment for the creation of music and a particularly brilliant platform to be introduced to music technology. When I can, I'll be more than happy to continue to spread that word.

Anyway, be happy this week and beyond...   and wish me luck as I'm now off to follow the usual advice I offer as a newsletter sign-off....  and going to get some music made J

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog



On Monday Apple AAPL +0.57% released iOS 11.2.2, its most important update for some time, but it seems in the rush to upgrade some users are encountering a very nasty surprise indeed...

'Great Secret Features' and 'Nasty Surprises' are my regular columns investigating the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.

Apple iOS 11.2.2

For a number of iPhone owners iOS 11.2.2 is throttling performance by as much as 50%. I exclusively picked up on this trend in my iOS 11.2.2 Upgrade Guide yesterday as users were not just subjectively reporting their iPhones and iPads felt slower, but being able to demonstrate it with before and after benchmark scores (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc).

I was subsequently contacted by tech developer Melvin Mughal who, having read my Guide, decided to document a detailed breakdown of how his iPhone 6 performed before and after updating to iOS 11.2.2. For him the impact was dramatic.

Across over 30 single-core and multi-core benchmarks, Mughal found single-core and multi-core performance of his iPhone 6 fell by an average of 41% and 39% after updating to iOS 11.2.2. The results are broken down on his blog. It is worth pointing out Mughal upgrade to iOS 11.2.2 from iOS 11.1.2 not iOS 11.2.1, but that shouldn't be relevant as the throttling Apple introduced in iOS 11.2 was specifically for the iPhone 7 only.

iPhone performance before and after updating to iOS 11.2.2

Instead the obvious finger to point is at the sole feature of iOS 11.2.2: mitigations for the serious Spectre vulnerability which is impacting just about every platform around the world. Apple even warned users in advance the patch could have a performance impact in some situations, but said it was not expected to be higher than 2.5% in any situation. So are the big drops the consequence of an error in these mitigations or a problem elsewhere in the update?

Furthermore there is a flipside to this story with some users actively reporting benchmark performance increases after updating to iOS 11.2.2 (1, 2, 3), though admittedly these were fewer in number and run counter to Apple's own warning. Personally I've found no difference to the benchmark scores of my own iPhone X and I'm sure that's the same for many others, but it doesn't help those who have clearly been very badly affected.

I've reached out to Apple for a comment on this and will update should I receive a reply.

Ultimately new cases of performance degradation are the last thing Apple needs in the midst of its iPhone battery debacle. All of which pushes extra pressure on the mysterious iOS 11.2.5...


For those of you still out there (there are still over 3200 folk subscribed to the email list!) despite my lack of current activity on the blog, here's wishing you all a belated Happy New Year....  I'm currently in a small window between finishing one music project and getting my act together to start the next one.... and, as a few of you have been in touch to ask how things were going, I thought I'd send out a quick line by way of reply.

In short, things are going pretty well. My new working regime is panning out fine and, much as I miss some of the interaction with other musicians that the blog brings, I'm finding I have a lot more time to focus on making music. That's a good thing and I finally feel like my personal studio space – which was built with exactly that in mind – is now getting properly utilised. In addition, I'm also finding I've a bit more time to do non-work things and managed to get a pretty good break over the holiday period with plenty of family time; that's a very welcome change :-)

I've not taken my eye completely off the iOS music tech ball though and my trusty iPad Pro is very much part of my overall music production workflow. That said, unless I've missed something very obvious, I'm not sure there has been too much to really shout about over the last month or so. We have seen a good number of routine updates to some favourite apps and a small number of interesting new releases....  but I've not seen anything that's really in the 'paradigm changing' category. Of course, you might know better so please feel free to point me in the direction of something special that I might have missed :-)

We do, however, have NAMM coming up next week and, while anything specifically iOS is likely to be in the 'other news' section given the scale of the show, I'll be watching the news feeds like everyone else to see just what might pop up.

OK, so enough procrastination....  it's time to get started on some 'tension' instrumental cues for the next library project I'm supposed to be turning in. As ever, be happy this week and beyond...   and continue to get some music made :-)

Best wishes,


John Walden
The Music App Blog




 Apple is deprecating IAA / Audiobus in iPadOS & iOS 13! 😮
"Inter-App audio is deprecated. Use Audio Units for this functionality moving forward." Looks like non-AUv3 apps are gonna be left behind in the future.

From the iOS 13 release notes just published:


Okay, so you got the message not to rush into macOS Catalina. But we didn't talk about the new iOS and what it means for musicians using iPads and iPhones in their work. Let's explain.

What's the hurry?
With iOS, just as with macOS, the main message is – don't rush. Moving to grab a new OS the day it's out is crazy. There's virtually no case where you need to stay that current for music making. At the opposite extreme, never upgrading the OS is also problematic in most cases. You'll eventually miss out on newer features in your favorite apps, and can even create security vulnerabilities if you wait long enough. (Since an iPad or iPhone is definitely connected to the Internet, that's a serious issue in a way that it wouldn't be on, say, a vintage KORG MS-20 hardware synth.)

iOS does pose an additional challenge: it's practically impossible to roll back after upgrading. So take your time, leave some weeks for the bugs to be ironed out, and make sure you're not upgrading right before going onstage with your iPad as a live instrument.

Okay, with all of that out of the way – iOS 13 doesn't appear as though it will cause any long-lasting incompatibilities with music software. iOS 13 brought some major changes, particularly on the iPad, but those are gradually getting smoother out – in particular with the iOS 13.1 release.

Fixes are here or inbound
iOS 13 got off to a somewhat rocky start for music, but Apple are fixing issues and redeemed the OS, according to various developers with whom I've spoken.

There are two specific areas I've been tracking.

Bluetooth MIDI. iOS 13 does in the short term introduce some connectivity issues with working with MIDI over Bluetooth and discoverability. I've seen sporadic unconfirmed reports of this, plus an official statement from KORG that their wireless devices that work over Bluetooth MIDI are presently incompatible. (That's microKEY Air, nanoKEY Studio, and nanoKONTROL Studio.)

Apple did make changes to some Bluetooth security permissions, as the company seems uniquely focused on security and privacy as issues. (See also: macOS Catalina.) I would presume that may be the reason for this.

KORG says they are working on a fix, though. Wired connections are also a workaround. There seems to be no evidence this will be a long-term issue, just something that requires some short-term fixes.

See KORG's statement on iOS 13 and Catalina.
Bottom line
I'm not here to bash Apple releases or to be a cheerleader. The question is what will allow you to focus on making music. Right now, from Apple, that's looking like macOS Mojave for the rest of 2019, and iOS 12.4.2+ or 13.1.

iOS 13 is a reasonable update at the moment if you've got some time to make adjustments. You don't need to grab it right this instant, but you certainly could if you're not sitting backstage about to play live on Bluetooth MIDI controllers.

For users of capable iPads, if you want an insanely exhaustive review of the iPad-specific iPadOS, Ars has you covered:

Love it or hate iOS, I think it is plainly inaccurate to claim that Apple isn't looking at these issues. We can say objectively they are attempting to fix issues identified by third-party music developers – as they should, as any OS vendor should. You don't have to love the results, but you can't say the process isn't happening.

And on another level, I think it's equally fair to say that Apple's iPad is unmatched if what you're looking to buy is a dedicated touch tablet. Sure, Windows is a player with its Surface line for running Windows software with some touch capabilities, and you will definitely even prefer a Surface if you want to run desktop-only software like Ableton Live or Reaktor.

But there's no reason to change the evaluation of the iPad as a platform. Their low-end models are already powerful enough to run a host of live music and audio apps, with a growing range of pro-quality tools from the likes of Eventide. (That in itself is a big enough story to talk about separately, since it makes Eventide's effects accessible and affordable like never before. There are other examples, too – but this one is particularly plain.)



mbenigni wrote>

So I keep coming back around to this idea that an HX Stomp - the most portable of all Helixeses - and an iPad should be the ideal rig for the adventurous guitarist on the go. (I'm no longer very adventurous, nor much of a guitarist, and I don't go anywhere... but I figure, "Build it and they will come." Or I'll go, or whatever.) So anyway, I finally broke my rule of "Don't buy any more stuff you bum; it'll just make you feel guilty", and picked up a new iPad to see whether any of this stuff actually works yet. I'll be writing here to compare notes with anyone else as masochistic, er "adventurous" as I am.

Will be amending this OP as time permits, in addition to posting replies.

The good:
- Honestly, I'm still amazed by how well JamOrigin tracks. Either I'm taking crazy pills or I was doing something seriously wrong with my GK rigs all those years, because this works way better, and I feel like still, years after the fact, almost no one has noticed.

- Cool softsynths cheap*. Sampletank is a really easy go-to for me because I like having a wide variety of solid conventional instruments. (If I want to make weird noises, I can usually wrestle that out of a guitar signal and DSP.)

- Some really great loopers have arrived since the last time I went at this. Quantiloop is a standout. They've thought of (nearly?) everything.

- HX Stomp on battery power is almost a perfect complement to an iPad. See routing caveats under "the bad" below.

The bad:
- Microtransactions. See the * following "cool softsynths cheap" above. Sampletank could actually become frighteningly expensive if I weren't such a cheapskate responsible dad.

- Inter-app routing is always mysterious, and support for esoteric routing always feels like a crapshoot. Every app supports some but not all of what you need, for reasons I can never explain, even when all they're doing is exposing a supposedly standard interface (IAA, AudioBus, AudioUnits, whatever.) This plays into the microtransaction thing in the worst way. You pull the trigger on whatever $10 optional feature just to see what it does. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't.)

- Despite the iPad itself having become much more powerful, iPadOS (and/or the apps?) is still pretty unstable once you start running things simultaneously. The moment you see how cool things can be, you will want to start running several apps together. For me: JamOrigin, SampleTank, and a looper. It took nearly two days to sort out the routing, and then get a method for opening everything that felt reliable. Then I realized I needed a footcontroller.

- Right. HX Stomp doesn't have Command Center... Dig out the old Blueboard. What a hunk. Two hours trying to upgrade the firmware and thinking it was bricked until finally - and completely randomly - it just worked. That's when I found out that the new features introduced in f/w required Bluetooth LE... which the iPad no longer supports. The more things change, the more they stay the same. So yeah, another concurrent app, to broker Blueboard messages in legacy mode. Except that app won't send messages in any format that doesn't give Quantiloop fits. So yeah, dead end until I talk myself into spending more money on accessories.

- Helix Floor was never ideal (for my purposes) in terms of routing audio to iOS apps via USB. And iOS apps were never very good at meeting Helix halfway. There was always a compromise, or over-complication. HX Stomp is even more limited in this regard, making a lot of things outright impossible. It turns into that classic game of every solution working about 90%, but none of them really working.

The ugly:
- I finally thought I had my head wrapped around how I'd use this rig. Bluetooth latency, even for triggering loops, was enough to put me off dropping another $100 on an AirTurn pedal or whatever. So I figured I'd try to find a simple 5-pin MIDI footpedal in hopes that I could pass that through HX Stomp to e.g. Quantiloop via USB. Pretty much done. I unplugged the USB cable from my HX Stomp, and the little black insert between the pins came out with it, and fell on the floor. I put it back where it looked like it belonged, and the next time I plugged in the cable, I folded one of the pins back. So now I, Mr. Adventurous, have an HX Stomp with no USB. What am I supposed to do with this?? Play guitar through it? ;)

You need AUM.
That's what everyone uses for routing on the iPad.
Prob the most powerful iOS music related app available.
Yes, AUM is great, but it's not always a magic bullet. Like every other routing app/ protocol, it does most everything but not everything. It doesn't support MultiRoute audio (that's what Quantiloop calls it anyway) for instance, so you can't do things like route audio to a USB interface and the iPad headphone output simultaneously. And of course - through no fault of its own - it's no help when an application you want to integrate simply has insufficient IAA functionality.

I love AUM. It's super classy technology and the UI is gorgeous. But bottom line, I click on an AUM node and find what I need maybe 60% of the time.

(Also, as I've mentioned once or twice, adding another app to whatever number of apps you're already running should always be your last resort. Launching, configuring, switching between... just generally running multiple apps simultaneously is always a liability, whether it's a matter of bug(s) in the app(s), OS-level instability, or good old-fashioned, fat-fingered user error. Which, on a 10" screen, doesn't require particularly fat fingers.)

FWIW, I'm very impressed with the routing features built right into Quantiloop. Ultimately, all my routing problems come down to two culprits (and if either were improved it would suffice): HX Stomp's "hardwired" USB assignments, and Sampletank's complete failure to keep up with the times. Still no routing options and no Audio Units support, grr.

I'll admit the endeavor often demands a special kind of stupid adventurousness.



Which IOS apps should you avoid using live because of latency ?
GavrielProductions December 2019
Happy holidays :)

I made a list of ios apps with audio's that seem to be latency prone...not sue if people actually us them live but here they are.

-IK Multimedia Amplitube (every single add on etc etc) bit improved in the recent years but still lag.

-IK Multimedia Vocalive, terrible latency., should be pulled from th app store.

-Positive Grid Bias FX, Bias Amp, blah blah, latency there., Seems like Jam-up is tight compared to all the Bias stuff but why is it not integrated, why did they separate everything, greed?, really man, i spent over $80 on all their trash only to find out Jam-up is the only decent tight app they have and they want more money for add ons ?

This is not a rant or anything, i hope to se lists of IOS apps others tested., thanks!

PS, If i misunderstood anything about these apps please feel free to explain, for example if i purchase a Amplitube fender, Dimebag or slash add-on does this mean i can download the Slash app or do i ave to purchase this again, no one seems to know and i am too scared to deal with calling apple for a refund.