Derek Buddemeyer’s Drum Session – Updated Review

Developed by blue mangoo

Available in the iTunes App Store

Derek Buddemeyer’s Drum Session is a simple, quick and great sounding way to create and edit acoustic drum tracks. 

Packed with 30 sets of acoustic drum samples, and 3600 editable patterns and loops in a very simple interface. The key word here is “acoustic”. This is not a drum machine with artificial or synthetic sounds. No 808 or the likes. This is all about real live drums from the real world. 

Drum Session uses a familiar touch, drag and drop workflow. First you select the Kit, next select the Genre, then select the Groove, and finally the pattern. Touch, hold and drag the pattern (seen in above screenshot) up to the timeline and let go. Bang! You’re getting a track started. Select other patterns and repeat, or hold the desired pattern in the timeline at its end and drag to copy further down the timeline. So easy it’s hard. I mean that it wasn’t intuitive to me right away. That’s my fault for expecting something more complicated. I’ll explain further after this next screen shot.

I spent so much time (needlessly I might add) trying to find the pattern editor button. Where the hell is it? Why can’t I edit in a sequencer style with a piano roll that I’m used to? 

After several hours of insanity I realized finally how disconnected my brain was from the true beauty of Drum Sessions work flow. Instead of dragging the pattern upward to the timeline and cursing in vain for not being able to find the “button”, I was embarrassed to find that the same is accomplished by simply dragging downward to the keys or pads. When I let go, viola. Bingo. See now below.

Holy crap I must’ve inhaled one too many tubes of modeling glue. There it is! The editor. Just how I like it. 

So with that settled I could finally start using this childproof app to its full potential. Editing patterns is pretty straightforward as you can see from the above screen shot. One thing I didn’t like was how dim the sample labels to the far left (brought up to temporary view by touching any of the keys on the further left keyboard) are. Lots of squinting and retouching the keys to bring them back into view for indentifying each samples position. Hey Derek? Could you maybe brighten or increase the contrast or something please? Whatever you decide as long as it’s easier to see would be awesome! 

Full support for Audiocopy, Audiobus, Inter-App Audio. Record, import export etc. Nothing is missing. 

So that’s where I’ll leave this review. Drum Session is a very nice acoustic drum track maker with all the necessary editing parameters. No strange FX or anything, and honestly none are necessary anyway. The samples are high quality and the overall usability is as well. For a non-drummer type like me, this is a very welcome and thoughtfully developed app. I really like this. I think you will too. 

Nice work Derek! 

UPDATED:Feb 5 2017

Any gripes I had have been corrected or corrected improved.  Everything’s come together real nice. Much easier to see things and an already excellent app has become even better.


Phonem is developed by: Wolfgang Palm

Available in iTunes App Store Wolfgang Palm has brought us so many amazing things over the years. His contribution to the iOS music scene may not be prolific, but it has been consistently outstanding. PPG Wave Generator and WaveMapper have both become staples in many artists mobile synthesizer arsenals. Now the powerful, vocal synthesizer, VST/AU desktop plug in Phonem has come to our devices. The App Store descriptions says ‘optimized to work pretty well on iPads’, but that’s just being modest. In my opinion it works very well, and is quite strong.

Originally designed to be a vocal synth, Phonem is not limited to just its initial intentions. It is a powerful synth with a huge array of parameters with infinite combination possibilities for modulating and routing. The engine proves to be highly competent and capable of a wide scope of synth sounds. 

With a large internal phoneme inventory, working with typical vocals, detailed text to speech, time corrected samples powerful excitation generator, and so much more you won’t be short on options to create incredible expressions. 

Phonem has a powerful matrix system of 19 sources controlling 40 parameters. A little on the small side but very easy to use. 6 envelopes, 4 LFos, 2 X/Y tables and just so much detailed programmability. It’s hard to find anything this can’t do with such a brilliant mod system. Just when I thought I found a limitation, Phonem proved me wrong. Thanks to the comprehensive help options, and a little reading time I’ve found ways to get any type of sound done. You can also easily import and modify wave tables or time corrected samples from WaveGenerator or WaveMapper. Or, create your own wavetables. 

Composing your synthesized text is as easy as sliding your finger. Touch and hold the spot and drag to create the sound you want in amazing detail. Missed something? No problem, it’s easy to fix and just as easy to add more. Change the slope, cut off, length and more. The ability to layer and intensify each source is no sweat. Abrupt or smoothly blended, turn the dials to get the right effect. There’s even specific dialect options among the many options. 

Thanks to the A/B button comparing edited sounds is simple. Check the Wave and make intricate edits. Pick individual parts of the spectrum or draw the frequencies. Everything is nicely placed on the screen making it so easy to work on certain pieces. Moving among the various modes to work with never gets convoluted. The redesigned browser of sounds can be filtered to very specific patch types.

There’s a nice delay and reverb unit built in. The programmable resonance filter is very well done and can bring flexible degrees of sound effects. If you spend some time with it you’ll find tons of new ways to create unusual FX. All around Phonem is a packed with quality and no detail is anything less than exceptional. 

There is no shortage of control which promotes a sound designing suite of massive potential. Connecting with Audiobus 2 or Inter-App audio works perfectly. I never lost connection or suffered any crashes. Phonem has been a real joy for me to work with, and I’m still finding more possibilities every time I open it up. 

Thank you Wolfgang Palm for another truly remarkable effort. 

Patterning – An innovative spin on beat making

Patterning is made by Olympia Noise Company

Available on iTunes
So you probably already have plenty of beat or groove makers. So do I. Dozens and dozens of apps doing this can be found. So why bother with another one?

Because Olympia Noise Co. gets us. They understand how we want to work and be inspired to work even when doing something as common as laying down a groove. 

You start off right away with a brief and helpful tutorial showing the basics. Getting started right off the bat. Feeling comfortable in the same swing. The colors and layout look nice and make sense. I can’t put it any simpler, this just makes sense. Everything felt obvious and was right where I felt it should be. Nothing overstated about Patterning, just a clean and encouraging work space to work out some beats and find inspiration. 

So many great kits to explore from tried and true 808 sounds to unusual sounding original kits. Use one, or mix and match instruments, and make your own kit. Explore, tap and groove. Go ahead and have some fun. 

Each part can be individually selected. Adjust attack, hold & decay. Make bold tuning adjustments or fine tuned micro-adjustments. Add another ride or tom from another kit. Do whatever, it’s not going to bite you. The variety is very nice and it appears they intend to add more in time. 

You get the mixer of course. What beat making machine would be complete without a mixer? None that’s what. They’d suck. Some of you know what I mean. Well this doesn’t suck. It rocks. It also chills and gets funky. With automation and smooth transitions from one to the other Patterning works the way it should.

Easy to make patterns in an equally easy to make song. Do it all with a competent suite of sound effects. All neatly placed on one page. 

I see this in my folder for drum machines among several others that do the same thing. Some well, and some I just keep because I might want to use it again some day. Patterning though, is at the top. As if it’s looking down on the others thinking “I can do what you do better, I’m more fun, more intuitive, and just look neater.”

So it becomes the leader of the pack….errrr….folder. You get the idea. It’s a great app, and better than runner up. 

Home run! 

Sometimes you just need a break.

I’ve said it before, and made myself a liar. I was ending a hiatus or “break” at some point in the near future. I didn’t. I just ended up forcing myself to make promises I wasn’t truly able to keep. Not because of any malicious intent, or purposeful irresponsibility. I just didn’t know what I needed to do. Ever feel like that? Like you should do something, and end up saying you were going to do it, but later regretted promising? Truth is I was dishonest with myself. Things in life got wonky and I didn’t know what I should do? 

Instead of trying to communicate the nature of my life’s wonkiness, I tried to pretend everything would be fine by a certain date or time. No way that was possible. I also didn’t want to tell everybody about personal problems. Not again. I did that, and I received incredible support and help that kept me and my family from being buried alive. I can’t ever fully convey how much my family and I appreciated that help. It made such a huge difference. Unfortunately it didn’t resolve everything completely. I couldn’t possibly ask again, or even appear to be hinting at it. I knew I couldn’t even let on that major issues remained. My reasoning was that it’s my problem, I got a lot of help, amazing support, and there are things I just couldn’t bring myself to put back out in the open. I had to deal with the remaining obstacles myself. I’m very sorry to have done it so mysteriously without even telling people I consider friends. Didn’t want to bother you, you all have your own things to cope and deal with. 

Anyway, for what it’s worth that’s my thought process on it all. More or less. 🙂 

So what happened? Ugh. It’s a long story, but let me assure you (if you happen to care) it was just the way it goes sometimes. Life happened. I took the time I needed to confront it, and for the most part, resolve it. Cleared my head, tackled the challenges, hit it with everything I had. Now I am feeling stable and balanced. Happy and encouraged. Not without challenges, but not overwhelmed by any. Back to being me. If you’d still have me, I’d like to get back to being part of the amazing iOS music community. 

Thanks again for the great support. Sorry if it seemed like I just gave up or abandoned everything. I just had to sort things out. 

Convoluted Spectral Filtering

3 Incredible special effects apps combine to astound us!

Big tough words right? Well, I’m serious. I’ve had some time to really sit and dig in to 3 relatively new effects apps from 3 of my favorite developers. Time enough to discover that there’s not enough time to discover it all.
Individually, each is simply marvelous in their own right, but combine them and you have a massively exciting audio trilogy of sound effects goodness.

apeFilter by http://www.densitygs.com

IMG_0570-0.JPG AltiSpace – Convolution Reverb by http://audio-mastering-ipad.com

csSpectral by http://www.boulangerlabs.com/products/csspectral/

These incredible effects apps each have uniquely outstanding qualities that by themselves would be fantastically satisfying and hugely time consuming.
Plenty of joy will come from each one, offering loads of creative experiences.

It’s when they are placed together, working in harmony through Audiobus, that they stand together like a trio of god-like rock star band mates ruling the heavens of audio special effects. Special effects gone totally bananas.
Choose your Input > Effects > route and run them all into your favorite iDAW (or Output) app to capture the sonic sundae.
Typically I use AltiSpace in the middle, between aprFilter and then csSpectral, however this combo is not only excellent but also demanding on your device. I’d not recommend anything less than iPad 4 and preferably iPad Air. Depending on your device and needs, 512 latency should be fine.

I load up my sample with apeFilter and make initial filtering adjustments. apeFilter has excellent sample and frequency control both backward and forward which can be manipulated in real time, any time.
The interactive GUI is perfect for controlling up to 36 peaks filters frequencies. Packed with high quality common filters (Lo/Hi and band pass, notch, and Hi or Lo shelf) and some post effects like delay and compression apeFilter is perfect for shaping your samples.


Don’t forget the spectral grid where you can finger paint your way through the pitch space using the 4 compilers. Try it out and you’ll see.

Next I have AltiSpace Convolution Reverb in the effects part of the chain. This is the first stand alone convolution reverb unit for iOS. In case you’re wondering what a convolution reverb is, it is a form of reconstructing the reverb effect of other reverb effects units. Taken from actual impulse response recordings or real world acoustical reverberations emulated digitally. It’s a lot of complicated math I won’t pretend to understand, it’s just really good. AltiSpace recreates some of the best reverb units made.

Something you might notice that’s very different from algorithmic reverbs is the convolution reverb doesn’t have all those parameter controls you might be used to. Controls like tail, width, and swirl etc. Instead of tweaking various parameters, you just select a different IR or impulse response. With 250 loaded IRs there’s no shortage. Plus you still have basic parameter controls including some EQing and a super cool reverse option. I love the reverse part.

In the last or output spot I use csSpectral. A Csound based multi effect processor. This thing is amazing. Nearly every parameter of each effects unit can be randomized and automated. There are 7 FFT (fast Fourier transform) based algorithmic spectral types. Including a Phase Vocoder, spectral blur, spectral re-synthesizer and more. There so much you can do with any one of these and you’re still only just getting started with this app.

The 12 total variations of the DSP effects bring a truck load of sound effects goodness to the table. Basically there’s 3 variants each of the 4 effects units.
Multi-Mode Filter, Stereo Glitch Delay, Micro Cutter, Phaser Reverb, Modal Resonator, LoFi Delay, Bouncer (Cutter), Ball In The Box Reverb and more. Each have something special to offer. csSpectral is a big scary beast.
It’s just too much fun to play with sound in this.
Recording and editing the resulting samples are a cinch.

There is no rule you need to follow here. Like I said each app stands alone with its own greatness. I just happen to think altogether they make an impressive team.
It’s all going to be in how you use them, but the capability is there. Only the users themselves are responsible if they end up having a disappointing experience.