iOS Music Apps

Update to iOS 7 now?

That’s the big question. As iOS 7 launches with Inter-App Audio in its list of new features, many people making music with their iPad are eager to try out the new feature. Does it work? Is it ready? There appears to be quite a mixed bag of answers. Should I update now?
Several developers commented around the web regarding whether or not you should update and generally are saying; “No, not yet!” A lot of music apps haven’t updated yet.

I don’t have all the answers myself, but my first couple hours with iOS 7 installed on my iPad 4
(still using iOS 6 on my iPad 3 until the dust settles) have been underwhelming to say the least. I guess I assumed incorrectly what is compatible and what isn’t?
The first thing I tried was to launch production versions of Auria and Nave to see if I could start streaming audio to record. Nope. Didn’t work. Then I tried another synth (Sorry I can’t name it. Its a beta, and I am under NDA) and it didn’t work either. Each I had assumed were compatible with iOS 7 IAA. Perhaps just basically compatible but maybe just not yet IAA compatible?
I also tried Addictive Synth (which by the way does work with Auria through Audiobus now) to Auria with no success. I shouldn’t be surprised having not seen an update for a while for Addictive.
OK? Now what? That’s a bit discouraging. I thought the flurry of updates I’ve been getting recently that mention iOS 7 meant also IAA was part of it. Not so.
I continued testing anyway to try and dig through my confusion and figure out what I am missing.
Next I tested Cubasis with the same 3 synths, and only the beta one worked. Well, sort of. Cubasis recorded MIDI from the beta synth, but couldn’t capture plain old audio. Huh?
Nave however is IAA compatible and works with other compatible apps. Just nothing I’ve tried so far.
The problem is less with the apps, and just that a lot was expected at launch. Oops. Testing out my apps confirmed I’m clearly guilty of that myself.
However, the MIDI it did record was clean and sounded fine. However repeating this test resulted in the connection simply failing during the recording, missing most of my input. Hey! I didn’t touch stop! Oh brother, it doesn’t seem like IAA is ready as I had thought. Doh!

Its too early to be sure of anything, but having tried this out a little bit using my primary music apps without success I clearly have confused iOS 7 compatibility updates to mean IAA compatibility, when it doesn’t. I may have set my expectations too high, too early. A bit of a cautionary tale. Lesson learned.
I still want to know what’s going on.
I’ve searched Apples website for instructions or some kind of helpful information about IAA, and found nothing useful. If you can find anything, I’d really appreciate you sharing the link in a comment. What is compatible? What isn’t? Is there a list anywhere? OH THERE IS A LIST!
Thank you Rolf at Tempo Rubato for this link to IAA compatibles

I think the best advice for now is if you are dependent on a single iOS device to make your music, don’t update to iOS 7 just yet. With more questions than there are answers, its probably a good idea to just hang on to iOS 6 until everything settles. Just in case.
If you have a second device, than you might be alright doing as I have by I installing iOS 7 on only one of them. At least then you can see and try it all for yourself, and not be tied down by the early bugs and incompatibilities. Updates will surely come.

Outside of music production iOS 7 is pretty cool. I think. The icons, App Store, and general interface is a nice new visual treat. I love the way shutting down background apps is handled now. Double click home, and everything that’s “on” is visible showing the last screen that was used. Swipe left and right to view the apps currently running in the background. Shut it “off” by flicking the app image upwards. Cool.
It may take a few minutes getting used to the big appearance changes. Icons look very different in many cases. The parallax background is nifty. Its like the eyes are following you.
Menus are different too and some with new options.
Well, anyway this is more about the music making aspect, not a overall review. I’m just saying, the look is generally pleasing.

Its all exciting and heading in the right direction with IAA, but where’s the roadmap? Is anyone else confused?
Lots to be curious about, making the urge to click “Update” hard to resist. Its up to you.
Nothing to be all puffed up and worried about, but use caution. Little is ready yet, and according to the Audiobus guys there are “Bugs”.
Do you want to be lab rat?

As the hours blend into days and go on, I am learning that while iOS 7 launched, has Inter-App Audio capability in the OS, very few music apps have updated with compatibility. I guess not everyone knew it was coming? Nave, & Magellan, being some of the exceptions to offer compatibility with IAA at launch. No major DAWs to host them though. I did (now realized in error) expect the major DAWs to be ready to host. None that are relevant to me are currently able to do so. Not yet. IAA is just not here yet in any meaningful or useful way, as many had expected. Or maybe it was just me. Whatever.

I get that only a little time has past since iOS 7 launched, but that’s not what bothers me. A day to us end users, but months for developers and Apple. It’s the months before end users could see the picture that Apple and developers could, which fails to land a logical blow on me. I mean what were they doing? Why didn’t they have more ready? Those where some of the questions which left me perplexed.
Well, turns out that there were big bugs (now information that devs can discuss with their NDAs lifted) in their way right up until the last couple weeks. Some that are still unresolved. With those bugs still in iOS 7 at launch, it does seem more logical now why barely any music apps are IAA ready.
In that case, considering the circumstances, I just don’t see the update being a great idea right now. Not if you were expecting to use IAA right off the bat with everything.

PS- iOS7 is drastically reducing my battery time. With my normal daily workload and activity prior to updating, I was getting 5-6 hours use. After updating the same workload and activity nets me about 3.5 – 5. Hours.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and or experiences with the new iOS 7 Inter-App Audio in a comment here. Advice, concerns, information and whatever is all welcome.

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AUFX:Space – Review

AUFX: Space
A High Quality Reverb From: Kymatica
Available Now From iTunes App Store

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Reverb is one of those FX that is found almost everywhere. It’s used in so many settings. From ambient electronic to heavy metal, reverb is in most any music. It’s not just an effect for music, but also something that occurs naturally in seemingly mundane places. Basements, cathedrals, auditoriums, arenas, and caves to name a few. It is often equated to vast space. Sometimes outer space, which is ironic as sound doesn’t carry in a vacuum. Sure that’s not literal when referring to reverb in terms of space with stars and planets, but it does represent the vastness that reverb can convey.

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So “Space” is a good descriptive word when we are talking about reverb. AUFX: Space, is the latest and the first in a series of effects units being developed by Kymatica. You may know of Kymatica from their other highly useful and quality apps like “AudioShare” “BitWiz” and “Gestrument” among others.
What the rest of the AUFX series turns out to include remains to be seen, but “Space” is a great start. Reverb and iOS have not had a long running record of high quality offerings. “Space” aims to change that going forward. Finally a stand alone high quality reverb app is here.

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AUFX: Space is a high quality 32 bit DSP reverb unit with enough adjustable parameters to shape or mimic countless reverb types superbly.
All the standard reverb parameters plus a few more are built in to Space. Spread, Damping, Pre-Delay, Wet/Dry, Scale, Gain, Room Size, Color, and both LoPass and HiPass resonant filters with Cutoff. Very nearly complete. I say nearly because it’s missing a parameter I’ve been seeking for ages in iOS reverbs; “Swirl” or “Chorus” of sorts. Not like a full-on Chorus effect, which I suspect will be offered later in the AUFX series, but a kind that adds a dimension of movement with the reverberations. Maybe it’ll come, but it’s a lot to ask for since it would add more power demands to an already efficient app. No need to over do it, but it would be nice to see for once.

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The numerous highly adjustable parameters I listed from Space have allowed me to make some fantastic-sounding effects that nothing (Aurias Reverb Plug Ins are the exception) in iOS has allowed before. Space scratches the reverb itch.
Deep, rich, warm, and expansive to short, cold, subtle and every effect in-between sound really nice. Unlike most iOS reverb options, which by comparison to “Space” sound very thin, cheap, and like they’re coming from within tin cans. They have been improving slowly, but this is a significant and targeted advancement. AUFX: Space fills a void (no pun intended) I thought might never be filled. I wish I had this 2 years ago.

FEATURES

Process hardware input/output or other apps through Audiobus (input/filter/output slots supported).
Ready for the future inter-app audio standard.
Fully MIDI controllable, including Virtual MIDI.
Background Audio.
Save and load user presets.
Comes with several bundled presets.
Record the result directly in app.
Email recordings or export to AudioShare audio document manager app.
Access user presets and recordings through iTunes File Sharing.

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Using this app with Audiobus has proven to be problem free so far as I’ve experienced on my iPads 3 and 4. In case “clipping” were to happen there is a thoughtful “limiter” function which can be enabled from the menu. It says it adds 10MS to latency, but I haven’t noticed it. You can also save your concoctions to call up later easily from the menu.

The U.I. is simple and uncluttered making usage effortless. Its just you and Space with nothing distracting. The way it should be. With the ability to record directly, run through all Audiobus slots, and MIDI including virtual MIDI, its ready for any project. Not to mention its already built with iOS 7s “inter-app audio” standard in mind and prepared for when iOS7 releases.
When this releases (could be sometime in July) I would encourage anyone who wants a simple yet sophisticated and excellent reverb option to pick this up.

EDIT: 7-23-2013
I wanted to add that I have been using “Space” with my iRig Mic to capture audio recording directly to the app. It was not only convenient, but really sounded great even through the iRig. Just holding on the recording from the menu brings up a option to quickly move files to AudioShare.
The launch price of $3.99 is a steal! Low price compared to others, but by no means is this cheap. Sure you could go spend $10 $20 or more for other stand alone FX, but you won’t get anything better than this.

It will be very interesting to see what Kymatica offers next in the AUFX apps series. I for one am very eager to find out. At any rate, this is a really great start!

SmiteMatter Interviewed by Bruce Gall

I was interviewed recently by Bruce Gall who hosts (in addition to his ARFM Sunday Synth) OneWorldMusic: “Atmospheres”.
A weekly electronic music radio show.
This interview was done via Skype and recorded near the end of June. I admit I was a little nervous. Being interviewed in the form of a written publication is one thing, but speaking is a bit daunting for me.

In this interview we had a nice chat about my music and iOS as a medium for creation. We talk about many things including how I started, apps I use, the technology and much more.

Check it out if you so wish by clicking on the following link: http://www.oneworldmusic.co.uk/atmospheres/4576642841

I hope you find it entertaining, useful, or at least worth your time.

Some things I mentioned. “Galaxy Explorer”, Waldorf Nave, Lazer Kat Records, iPadMusician Compilation Vol 2, Audiobus, Galileo, and more.

Arpeggionome Pro – Review

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Arpeggionome Pro By: Alexandernaut

UPDATED: 6-23-2013

Arpeggionome Pro was already getting a fine work out on my iPad controlling other MIDI capable synths and the likes. Now Audiobus support has been added to further expand the apps functionality. Audiobus wasn’t really a necessity since the apps Arpeggionome Pro controls sends the recorded audio through Audiobus to whatever output is being used. It does however make things much easier to do. Triggering the record function while in AP definitely speeds up the process and eliminates extra home button clicks.
Personally I really appreciate the landscape view support being added. Choice is good.
Don’t underestimate this app. This is a strong piece of software and is worth the cost.

Original Review:

I’ve been looking around for a robust, dedicated Arpeggiator app to add to my iPad music studio. Since I don’t use any midi hardware and have found most virtual midi capable apps less than exciting, they often don’t escape my self induced blind spot. There are some very good ones, and then there are those like Arpeggionome Pro that blow me away. This is one cool program! I am kicking myself for having missed it until now.

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Arpeggionome Pro is first and foremost a midi controller. It is a very complex Arpeggiator with a full plate of programming capabilities. It has its own built in synthesizer, but very basic. Using this to control any (virtual) midi capable synth is where it at. Thanks to a thoughtful design that inspires easy use, making midi connections is a breeze.
Deigned to control pretty much anything midi, Arpeggionome Pro beckons users to put it to work with what ever you want it to control. Quantize first note, use any of the 16 channel sends, midi clock sync, so on and so on. If its midi, Arpeggionome Pro can do it.
Making virtual midi connections are effortless and more up my alley for my uses. In no time I was enjoying this marvelous app controlling my favorite synths and crafting some slick arps.

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The range of arpeggio pattern controls are splendid. Center screen is the performance matrix for primary pattern control by touch to manipulate first triggered note (left & right) and pattern speed (up & down). 6 groups of button matrices and 8 virtual knobs frame the performance matrix. Make pattern adjustments in any size, shape or speed on the fly. Theres no need to stop the flow just to change where it goes, the octaves, gate, speeds etc.
Having all the controls right there in your face makes this one very tidy experience. At the top of the screen is also a visual indication of the notes as they are played out on a virtual keyboard.

See screen shot below for details on the button matrices and knob controls.
For even more details please visit Alexandernaut here! There is a lot going on under the hood.

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As you can see (from the screen shots) the available controls are not just numerous, but also just a quick tap or slide away. No changing screens, or menus to dig through. One screen with everything. This is designed with consideration to those performing live and with the adjustable accelerometer assigned messages, (like, pitchbend, gate, etc) Arpeggionome Pro becomes a whole new instrument full of expressive possibilities.
With the combination of all the available options to make up your own unique arpeggios you’ll soon discover this is all you’ll want for your pattern programming needs. Nothing opens up a greater, more pleasant experience for creating any arps you can imagine. Plus a nice selection of preset patterns to use or build off are included as well.
Anything you create can be saved for future use and is quickly accessible via the pattern banks on the bottom of the same screen.

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Arpeggionome Pro has no record, audio copy, or Audiobus support. Audiobus support is planned. Even without it Arpeggionome Pro can control a synth assigned to an Audiobus input which can then be captured by whatever output you are using. It works fine as is, but starting a recording in an output slot app from the very handy Audiobus remote control would be a nice addition here.

If you want something to create specialized and unique arpeggios beyond the usual fare get Arpeggionome Pro and start making some serious arps. This is powerful, fun, and creative. All packed into an intuitive interface that works with you. This is a masterpiece in design and functionality.

Smashing! 5 stars Click here to buy Arpeggionome Pro in iTunes.

*There is also a lighter version called simply “Arpeggionome” with fewer features at a smaller price.