Month: January 2013

Musix Pro- A MINI Review

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Created By: Shiverware
Visit The Website Here

You can never have too many good apps for making music. Having one like Musix Pro for use as a MIDI controller, Isomorphic instrument, learning, expanding harmonics, and a fun music theory education tool all in one is pretty darn cool!

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Shiverware thought this out splendidly. Delivering Musix Pro with appeal to beginners, and pros alike. A customizable isomorphic keyboard that is both visually pleasant, and highly adaptable to individual playing styles or preferences. Even guitarists will find an option comfortable to their style.
Used as a hardware MIDI controller or Virtual MIDI controller for other compatible iOS music apps, Musix Pro offers a great environment to unlock and expand your creative wants and needs. No fuss.

It has no record or looping functions. No problem. That’s not the point of this cool app anyway. It is Audiobus ready. This controller is ready!

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Whether you are a expert in music theory, or are new looking for something you can learn and grow with, Musix Pro will provide you a very comfortable place to get along in any capacity.
Discovering new harmonic relationships in nearly every key or scale without ever hitting a wrong note inspires confidence and precise melodic control.

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This app is an all around gem. Excellent interface, detailed in app instructions, 8 included instruments, color themes, numerous lay out options and loads more (Check out the Shiverware website link up above for more details) all neatly packaged without any clutter. A fantastic highly useful instrument ready for you to unleash your melodic whims. Discover, learn, play, create.

Highly recommended!

Purchase Musix Pro from iTunes Here.

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Bip- Review

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Bip- A Mini Review
Bip is made By: Stephen O’Hara, sohla

Once in a while a iOS music app comes along that strikes me as something I really wish was available when I was first trying out making music with iOS. Bip is one of those. It is currently not iPad native, but works just fine on mine.

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Bip is a rhythmic pattern music maker loaded up with hundreds of samples that can be tweaked and arranged manually. You can also import your own samples through AudioPaste or iTunes file share. The interface is colorful, simple and has a unique look that is all easy to navigate by touch & gestures. The smooth U.I. makes for swift control during a performance or recording.
There is a good amount of adjustable parameters to fine tune your music. Beginners should feel very comfortable and find making great music a delight. This is a perfect addition to iPhone or iPod musicians looking for something easy to use, sounds very good, and inspires creativity.

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Bip is an amusement park of sound and possibilities with piles of potential. A widely appealing, accessible, and fun pattern based music making app. It is sure to engage new and experienced users alike.

If you want something to make rhythmic patterns quickly and easily on your iPhone or iPod touch, Bip is certainly worth the purchase. Packed with a detailed instruction manual to help you along the path to frustration-free music crafting. A satisfying choice for anyone starting their iOS music adventure who wants great sound options in a small & friendly package.

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Buy Bip In iTunes

Auria FX & Plug Ins- Review part 1- Reverb

Starting here with the Auria Reverbs I will offer my thoughts on both the included, and the extra Auria FX & Plug Ins. I don’t have all of the Plug Ins yet, but I will eventually. That said there’s too many to write one huge review. Since I make ambient electronic music Reverb is a very important effect in my work. It’s an effect that has so many uses and is widely used by most musicians. A seemingly common staple in any FX library, Reverb is anything but common. It’s like Reverb is an instrument itself. Most of the Reverbs found in iOS are very limited, and low quality. That’s understandable as it is a big power hog and our devices improving as they are, still struggle with processing even very basic low to medium quality Reverbs. WaveMachine Labs with Auria and its PSP Plug Ins deliver much improved quality in the Reverbs offered rivaling ( still have a ways to go ) even some desktop versions costing tons more. I’ve tried nearly every available Reverb on iOS, including recent high profile releases like Cubasis. Incidentally having recently given Cubasis and its FX a test drive is still fresh in my mind, and its Reverb was sorely lacking. Whether old or new most iOS Reverbs left me unsatisfied. For now at least the highest quality Reverbs anywhere in iOS are living inside Auria. They are without peer.

Lets start with the ClassicVerb

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A better, basic Reverb option than most standard Reverbs in the vast majority of music apps. Simple controls for the overall effect much like what we’ve seen a lot of. It has a warmer feel with a decent tail and good stereo spread. Best used for recordings that just need a little more depth and life, nothing too dramatic. A good choice to conserve resources.

ConvolutionReverb

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This is probably the best reverb option on iOS that doesn’t cost extra. It uses high quality samples of specific types of reverberations called Impulse Response. The I.R. Library included has many very nice sounding reverbs that when used with your audio convolutes the mix. Hence the name. The “I.R. Library” installed is big enough, but you can also buy I.R library packs to further expand on your available options for an enormous (Hundreds and hundreds) variety of Reverb effects.

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The additional I.R. ( From MoReVox at $5.99 via IAP) packs each offer an expanded collection of specialized recording types to use. From short or long classic plates, warm, creamy, springs, and small rooms, to cold long hallways, Arctic, cathedrals, deep space, modulated, and tons more can be had. All high quality and original sounding. Rich and expansive. Each I.R. resembles presets for the most part somewhat making up for the limited controls. This is the reverb of choice surpassing anything else on iOS by leaps and bounds. Best used for your higher quality reverb needs to suit specific audio scenes. It should be expected that it comes at the expense of being a power hog. There is a “Low CPU” mode but that reduces the depth and quality a lot as well as reducing its burden on CPU. Freeze the track if you’re going to use it more than once as an insert.

ClassicVerb Pro

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For $9.99 via IAP you can have a much better version of the included ClassicVerb. Is it worth it? I really think so.
It adds more controls such as HiPass, LoPass, Split, Tone, Mix, Output, Spread, Time and Pre Delay providing an excellent level of control over your sound. It has some quick presets and you can save your own tweaked concoctions. Overall it sounds better than the ClassicVerb but not as varied as the convolution reverb with its huge library of I.R. options. This is a great classic reverb option sounding much better than any other of its kind offered in any iOS music apps. A superb choice. Worth every penny.

PianoVerb2

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A unique resonant reverb effect that not only offers a high quality classic reverb spread, but also controls elements like tune, detune, modulation, and transposition of the reverberations. It has A&B alternate setting controls for “damp” and “Time” with “Freeze” for dramatic effects.
Very different from the other reverb options, PianoVerb2 (a new improved and advanced version of the original free PianoVerb) uses 12 resonant filters that behave much like piano strings. Making ghostly wide, modulated sounds with lingering effect similar to piano sustain pedals is just one of its many possibilities. You could really go wild making highly unusual detuned and transposed reverberations that the others can’t. Whatever you do with this, it will fill your ears. This is one very nice, and interesting plug in!

Not like a convolution or classic reverb, PV2 is quite capable of adding depth to relatively weak sounds but with that extra bite of resonance. It is really cool and different.
You’re robbing the Auria store by only paying $9.99 for this weird reverb. Also a bit of a power hog.
By PSP Audioware

That concludes Part 1. Just a couple notes.

The PSP PianoVerb2 in Auria is not the same as the older classic PianoVerb free version. It is a more advanced and improved version of the classic original. I know, thats obvious and clearly says “PianoVerb2” in the review but people don’t always pay attention details and are eager to correct. Comments welcome, and so are corrections, so long as they are actually correct.

All of these were tested thoroughly. The best test for Reverb is to take a mediocre sounding, single note, dry recording. Then duplicated and spaced appropriately apart to fully experience the depth and quality. Then I added more recordings to other tracks trying each of these at various settings, I.R.s etc, solo and mixed. Each of these performed uniquely well. That’s how I tested them anyway. Try your own way, nothing beats experimenting yourself.

I hope this might help or be of some use. Let me know and I’ll keep adding to the series.

Thanks for reading.

<a

UPDATE 1-26-13

PSP SpringVerb2

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I suspect this will happen again. I mean having to add a newly released plug in for the various categories as this goes on. A welcomed challenge for sure.
SpringVerb2 ($9.99 via IAP) arrives to expand on available Reverb options in Auria. Like PianoVerb2, SpringVerb2 offers a unique and unusual reverberation effect. SpringVerb2 is an emulation of hardware spring reverbs. The sound it makes may be what you would expect, a springy, boingy, mechanical type. It can be used just as well as a pretty nice standard reverb, but its strength is in its odd boing sound that when coupled with fast attack instruments, synths, or especially guitars brings something very different to the Reverb table. A cool effect on transients, or repeatable with a superb spread range. Controls over the musical elements of the effect such as Diffusion, HiPassFilter, Presence and more put you in the pilot seat with plenty of room to experiment. See above screen shot for all the controls.
Adjustable 2-4 springs variations, and a solid amount of controls to make soft, modest boings, to long mechanical springs reverberating in some alien spaceship machine shop. This one has its own character.

Coming up soon Part 2- Delay/Chorus. A look at all the Delay/Echo and Chorus related FX.

Special thank you to WaveMachine Labs granting me access to all these amazing tools. I am eternally grateful. Furthermore, and just as special, thank you to everyone for the private messages, posts, comments, tweets, etc, encouraging me to continue with this series. It may end up being an endless endeavor if they keep adding new things to Auria’s store. I can’t say I’d have any objections, keep ’em coming! Ill do my best to keep up.

Borderlands – Review

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Borderlands Created By: Chris Carlson

Updated: June 2 2013.
Borderlands was one of those apps that showed huge potential with great innovative design. It was one I had purchased because I believed in it and really bought the promise of updates. Unfortunately those promised updates to bring vital functions to make this great app live up to its potential. Functions like AudioCopy/Paste and or Audiobus. They should have been added months ago.

It’s not often I will show much interest in music apps that are shipped missing critical components leaving a rather inconvenient to use product. Borderlands is so very unique and designed with such a pleasant user interface, I can’t ignore its brilliance.

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What is Borderlands? Where are the controls or virtual knobs and sliders? What it is, is a gesture controlled granular synthesis instrument. No knobs, sliders, or much of anything except a clean interface with a minimalist list of function buttons on the top of the screen. Everything is controlled by you and your hands.

Load audio files (this is the main problem I’ll touch on later) onto the screen and they appear as waveform snapshots. You double tap to produce “clouds” which are then what brings the audio to life as you sculpt grains of sound. Double tap the cloud again to bring up its specific set of controls. How you move, pinch, spread, zoom, throw or swipe will determine the sounds it generates. Don’t want the cloud or just done with it? Swipe it off the screen to delete it.

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Further control over the audio is done via the top of the screens buttons or icons. These manipulate the grains direction, the grain windows such as Sinc, Exponential, Random and so on control the behaviors. It’s a beautiful experience and fun to experiment. I recommend visiting the website HERE where you will find information , news, and helpful tutorials.

Borderlands is well made to suit live performances, as well as instrumentation for music productions. Turn on the “Gravity” function to enable accelerometer control to add to the fun. While the sample rate is a bit lower than I would prefer and the latency is high, it still sounds really good.

It’s early for Borderlands and what we have today is just a taste of what’s in store through further development as time goes on. The biggest problem with Borderlands is sharing. Importing is limited to a iTunes Borderlands specific playlist you must load and sync well in advance of use. A very cumbersome and dreadful way to import your own samples. If you’re not near your computer with iTunes and want to add something you just made, its not possible at this time. No Audio Copy Paste, No iTunes File Share, No Dropbox, No Audiobus. I’ve found these missing features to be very problematic, as well as terribly inconvenient. You can record, but pretty much only have the options to share that by uploading to SoundCloud.

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Now hang on, I’m not bashing this. I’ve corresponded with Chris Carlson over the past couple months several times. He is doing all of the development himself in his limited spare time. Consider that please. Additionally like you and I, he has a life with many things requiring his attention. Borderlands today is not what Borderlands will always be. He is working diligently to bring in new features, many improvements, and expanding its capabilities. This cannot be rushed if it is to be done right.

Improving audio quality is one thing high on the list. Midi options are planned. Audio Copy Paste, & the AudioShare App SDK is being looked at for implementing shortly. Even better news is he is working on Audiobus Output support. Which contrary to intuition is the routing of audio in to Borderlands to capture. That is far more complex than Audiobus Input which just sends audio.

Borderlands is special and developed by one massively creative person. Limited today, but with a little more time we can expect big things to make the experience far more enjoyable than it already is. This is the kind of creative app development that deserves support. I feel good about having spent the money. Almost there.

So all things considered I rate 3.5 stars. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a great app, but its painful to import your own audio and honestly I wouldn’t use the playlist method of importing. Really this is a 5 star app just temporarily stuck on 3.5 pending the inevitable improvements. You can bet I’ll be adjusting that appropriately the instant those arrive. And they will arrive.

Starting the new year

2012 was a heck of a fun year for iOS music. I’ve been away from posting new things since the holidays. Sorry about that.
Mostly because my router has been on the fritz. I was limited to just quick web visits to tweet or update Facebook. Uploading reviews, screen shots, etc was made impossible. I have it all fixed now, so I’ll be posting regularly so long as I can squeeze some more life from my router. Plus the folder with my finished Borderlands, and the part 1 of Auria FX reviews were accidentally deleted by the small fingers of a child. Oops. Anyway, I just wanted to post this to check in and let you know I’m still here, still writing, and still making music.
I am looking forward to a great 2013 full of new music apps, and more Audiobus integration. On the table now reviews are being prepared for Borderlands, MusixPro, a brief series of Auria FX & Plug Ins* (* plug ins I currently own ) reviews, and a look at iOS iDAWs.
If Steinberg Media answers one of my 7 emails since Cubasis launched, I hope to include that in the iDAWs work. Fingers crossed.
Thank you for reading, there’s lots to come! Happy Belated New Year!

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Sometimes life is like waiting for an elevator. Push the button a hundred times, it still only comes once.