Month: August 2011

Almost ready to release my 1st CD made exclusively on iOS!

So, I’m not really posting much lately but I am working on various things. Right now my biggest project that is taking up most of my time is my very first CD. I had 3 new songs that came out great and we decided to add them to the track list. That added a little delay, however it’s set now. Cover art is being polished up, and it’s really just about choosing the right stuff. I also had people I wanted to credit, thank, and I didn’t want to miss or forget anyone. That was another small delay. What remains now is mostly out of my hands and up to my label Fateless Music to take care of. Problem there is that he needs to get his website up and running. That’s been a major hurdle for far to long, but it’s finally coming together and close to being up for the world to see. Releasing my CD without his website running didn’t make sense. So everything is now just a matter of weeks from being complete and available to be seen, heard, and or purchased.
Everything has to be just right. This isn’t some novelty work like we have heard or seen from other iOS musicians. This is polished, and perfected professionally with extremely high standards and quality in mind. This is art. This all takes time, not to mention hard work, blood, sweat and tears. So thank you to my friends and fans who have been waiting so patiently for so long suffering delay after delay. It’s seemed and felt like it was never going to happen, but it is happening soon! I can’t wait to announce the details, and release date shortly.
Almost there….stay on target….stay on target…

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Rhythm Studio or Table Top?

First things first, this is based on use with iPad. If you have an iPhone or iPod the decision is made for you. You already knew that right?

Both apps are are modular workspace environments. Both work well on iPad. They look, sound, and feel similar.

To the left we have Table Top. To the right obviously is Rhythm Studio.
The similarities are stunning.
So I will try to focus on the most significant differences.
Table Top is $4.99 (US) 
Rhythm Studio is $.99 (US)
Table top is a bit more developed at the moment with a bunch more features and functions. It has Audio Paste. It also offers more modules (15) right off the bat included in the basic starter set. Table Top offers more additional modules via In App Purchase. At first the FX were horribly over priced at $4.99 each! Ouch, that’s gonna add up fast. However they lowered the FX IAP prices to $.99 for the time being. The other IAP mods range from $2.99 to $9.99 with more promised to be added.
Rhythm Studio at the moment is $.99,  has 5 modules (counting the FX and mixer as one mod), no ACP support right now, but it is coming. Similarly lots more modules promised, but the similarity ends here in that they will all be for FREE in future updates.  
I found both to have nice audio quality, easy to use and understand. Both really captured the 80s nostalgic feel  excellently.
I say if you’re on the fence trying to decide which is best for you, ask yourself this. Will either replace my existing iOS music “studio” set up or collection of apps? Do either do anything I cannot already do, or better? If you answer honestly NO, then why are you even still reading?
If you come back with a YES to those questions then proceed to the next questions. How much am I willing to commit financially? Am I OK with the future of IAPs to further my virtual modular workspace as new mods are added?
Did you answer YES to both? Congrats you chose Table Top.
Did you answer NO? Congratulations you just chose Rhythm Studio.
Either way you’re getting something pretty cool for making iOS music, if you are going for that 80s feel.

You can win a copy of Mixtikl, celebrating my 5000th visitor here!

I am very close to seeing my visitor ticker hit 5000! For me, this is a big milestone, and it couldn’t happen without visitors like you, amazing music app developers, The kindness of other bloggers, and fans of my music showing their support. Thank you all for the many comments, and emails.
To celebrate my 5000th visit, my friends at Intermorphic LTD have offered to provide 2 copies of their great app Mixtikl-Generative Music Lab,12 Track Mixer as a prize!
To WIN all you have to do is be one of the first TWO lucky visitors closest to 5000+ to kindly comment on this posting. Then email me (SmiteMatter@comcast.net) and provide a return email address, and the country you are living in. I will verify the timing, and then notify the winners by email. Intermorphic LTD will email the winners directly with a promo code.

Thank you all!

Hokusai Audio Editor, App Review

Taking waveform editing to a new level.
Review based on Complete Pro Pack upgrade, version 1.0.1 on iPad 1
I have used many audio editors of excellent quality, design, and packed with useful tools. Hokusai Audio Editor with the Complete Pro Pack has just raised the bar. The amount of available tools and FX is loaded with an astonishing selection. Some might think $9.99 might be an expensive upgrade but I’m here to tell you after much use, experience, and detailed communications with the developer that it’s a fantastic bargain!

I’ll get to the details of these amazing tools and how it all works, but first I want to share some very useful and important information I have gathered from lead developer Canis, at Wooji Juice regarding audio clipping.
I saw some users complain about hearing some “clicks, pops, or crackles” while editing and then playing back their files in Hokusai. This was especially noticeable when applying FX, and normalizing. I also noticed the same concerns myself. So I emailed Wooji, and received some detailed info on what most likely was happening.

Canis from Wooji Juice said :
 “If you normalise to 100%, then apply reverb, and echo, then since the sound started at 100% and you’ve now applied (for example) 10% echo, the sound is at 110% and you’ll clip the limits of the iPad hardware.
However, unlike some editors, Hokusai itself doesn’t clip permanently: although the sound gets clipped as it plays back, the actual sound data is undamaged. This means that if you turn the volume back down (perhaps by normalising it again after applying the effects), you’ll get your unclipped sound back.”
After reading his reply I went back and played with Hokusai some more, but this time went on to copy the edited file, and then paste into my other app where I was mixing my project. No clipping was heard.
I wondered and asked again, “Why is that?”
Canis at Wooji kindly explains, “When you AudioCopy a slice of audio, Hokusai scans the slice to see if it clips. If (and only if) it does clip, then it re-normalises the audio slice to 100% as it AudioCopies it. This is because unlike Hokusai’s internal format, the AudioCopy file format clips permanently.”
A little side techie note on audio copy in general, it’s 16bit signed integer audio format, and Hokusai uses a much higher quality 32 bit floating point format.
 

Back on topic, Hokusai has a very uncluttered, pleasantly minimal design and work area. It might be so uncluttered compared to other editor apps, that it could be momentarily unsettling in that most menus, options, and tools are not in your face and obvious. They are however all there and easily accessible by touch. It won’t take long to really appreciate this design, and maybe become a little spoiled by it.

Having a multi track editor with (mostly) everything visible side by side on screen is a smooth and streamlined delight. It’s all manipulated by familiar touch gestures that are instinctive to most iPad users. Selecting the areas of the file to work with is just like copying text in emails or notepads. Touch with a long hold, and swipe back and forth to highlight the parts you want to edit. Tap the highlighted area once to see a pop up of your various options, including the suite (All found by touching the “More” button on the right of the pop up bar) of FX and various tools.
As you drag you finger over a waveform you can hear the sound under your fingertip. This live scrubbing is quite useful and helps with an audible cue of exactly where your finger is in relation to the waveform including a minutes and seconds timeline relating to where you are touching the file, and or what portion is highlighted for editing. I only wish the timeline would run during playback, without having to touch anything.
Cut, copy, paste, crop, slice etc, multiple tracks of files all on screen, and mix, match, and create whatever you can imagine. Bring in files from other apps with pasteboard support is easy, and always welcome.

You really cant fully appreciate this app with using just the free starter kit.
The tools available in the (via IAP) Complete Pro Pack are what makes this editor shine brightest. Hokusai has everything I want and need to edit, and apply high quality FX to my projects. There are too many to list here, but I’ll run down some of my most used and desired FX. There are 2 types of reverb to choose from, one is a basic Reverb, the other is more advanced with deeper adjustability. Chorus, Digital Echo (delay), Flanger, Bit Crusher, and Gramophone….the list goes on, check out the full Hokusai Audio Editor app description in iTunes.
Purchasing the upgrade also removes those pesky ads.

In my opinion Wooji Juice has really hit a home run with Hokusai Audio Editor. It’s quickly become an integral part of my iOS music studio on my iPad.

5 stars!!!

FL Studio Mobile HD App Review: All Music, No Trix

Review based on experience with iPad 1, FL App V 1.1

In case you don’t already know, FL Studio Mobile is a 99 track sequencer with playable drum pads, virtual keyboard, with 133 instruments, drum kits, and sliced loop beats. Furthermore FL Studio Mobile HD has a solid set of editing options at track level down to bars and individual notes, and a visualized piano roll editor. The per track basics are all present such as mute, solo, pan, volume, and FX bus.
Save, load and export song projects to .wav. Compatible with coreMIDI (in and out). If you find you are stuck or confused there is also a very handy in app user manual.

If you have ever used Music Studio, you’ll feel right at home. Much of the FL Studio Mobile HD design is very similar in sight and sound. No complaints here, it does work out very fluidly, and is a pleasure to work with even if you’ve never seen anything like it before. The interface fosters a comfortable environment to compose, and complete full songs on the go (mostly)without clutter or overly complicated menus. The design is honestly as intuitive as Image Line claims.

Thankfully V1.1 allows custom instruments made by your own samples from zipped .wav or .instr files. However if you want to quickly paste in a sample directly from another app, well forget it, you can’t. This is a very disappointing limit currently contradicting the word “Mobile” in it’s name. In my opinion, it’s not truly mobile if you must connect to other hardware to get critical parts of the job done. Maybe that’s a feature in development? I sure would hope so, and It will be the most welcome update for users like me who do not want to go back home to simply add a sample of my own.
It’s also one of only a few missing components holding FL Studio back from being one of the greats.

Though I cannot paste in a file from the pasteboard into FL Studio, it’s still a very good studio app with fantastic audio quality, and design. There is no real synthesis available, but the preset instrument selection is of excellent quality. If you are a MIDI user, then you are covered with MIDI file import/export as well, allowing far more options in the variety of sounds you can use.

FL Studios FX are, Limiter, Reverb, Delay, EQ, Amp simulator and filter. They have limited parameters to adjust for advanced fine tuning, but they sound very nice.

When the chips are down, and I’m on the road, mobile, or in a canyon, can I complete my songs projects using FL Studio Mobile on my iPad alone? The answer for me is, no.
 I cannot complete a song project without having to return home to convert and exchange files I created in another app crucial to my song project being built in FL. As an iOS only musician using no external hardware or devices, I’m left wanting more freedom that I’m not certain Image Line intends to offer? An unfortunate similarity with it’s twin cousin Studio app previously mentioned. I really hope it’s only temporary, nothing would please me more. I couldn’t get an answer from Image Line to confirm either way before this posting.

Used with MIDI, and perhaps the desk top version of FL Studio, this is a fine addition that can prove highly useful to users who are less mobile or concerned with complete freedom. In that respect, this is a great companion to any musicians tool box, and does what it’s meant to do, and well.
 I get the impression that’s really more in line with the “Mobile” versions intended use. It’s a fine sketch pad when used with a full studio set up, but not at all as a truly mobile studio to make music on the go with zero wires.

3.5 Stars. Lacking Freedom, and Synthesis. High quality audio, and great intuitive design.