MIDI Controller

Gestrument – Review

Created by: Jesper Nordin and Jonatan Liljedahl

Created by: Jesper Nordin and Jonatan Liljedahl

Gesture and Instrument met one crazy night on a blind date set up by their friends. It was love at first touch. They had a child and named it Gestrument.
Gestrument grew with the best attributes of its parents into the perfect combination.

Alright, enough of that. You get the picture. Gestrument is a new MIDI controller and instrument created by Jesper Nordin and Jonatan Liljedahl.
Designed for ease of use to comfortably perform a multitude of musical styles, Gestrument delights the senses.

Controlling other iOS music apps via virtual MIDI is, as it should be, a simple process. Simply put, you just load another synth, enable its background audio and MIDI out, wallah, you’re in business. Gestrument just knows what to do. You can expect that further MIDI development is underway.

Gestrument is shipped with its own synth and dozens of great preset sounds, assignable to 8 instrument banks. These can be played simultaneously or in any combination along with whatever is being controlled in the background. Tap the instruments 1-8 on or off on the fly. Some pretty interesting combinations are at the ready awaiting discovery.

Each instrument can have its own settings, such as pitch, note length, range etc. A nice reverb with 3 quality settings can be applied to the overall mix. It would be nice if each instrument could have its own FX setting, but for now its global. All On or all off.

Playing Gestrument is intuitive and uncomplicated. Your iPad screen is the whole playing surface. It’s a nice use of screen space without waste. One finger controls the instruments, the other controls selectable parameters (Like pulse, pitch, scale morphing, and rhythm) by dragging away and angling from the first. It’s a snap. Depending on where you touch the screen and how you combine the second touch will impact the sounds the instrument makes. It’s a very clean and expressive way to create music. It’s easy for anyone to start making great music right away. Gestrument also has just the right amount of options for the experienced musicians who desire a greater amount of control.
Although a little light on programmable options now, further development will surely add more complex options as Gestrument grows. The developers are open to user feedback. So if you want something, just ask them. You may get it.

Gestrument Features
Visit HERE for more on Gestrument from its creators.

It would be really nice to see some more gesture, or multi-touch controls. As is, the multi-touch is limited to 2 fingers. It’s all in how you combine the movements. It may sound like that’s not much, but a lot can be done with some creative use in how you play it.

Recording and playback looping are available. AudioCopy and direct link to AudioShare are also included. Gestruments recorder however doesn’t seem to record MIDI controlled sounds. You’ll have to use the record function from the other app for that.

I have found Gestrument to be a very pleasant app. It’s a synch to use, and sounds great. This is a quality instrument and is highly stable. It’s not crashed on me once even while playing all 8 instruments and controlling the two synths from Magellan.
This is the chocolate and peanut butter of gesture and instrument. Yum.

4 stars Recommended. Buy Gestrument HERE at iTunes.

GeoSynth app review

Virtually Amazing!

Original Review based on use with iPad 1 and iPod Touch 3GS, Additionally used on iPads 3 & 4

 Now available in the iTunes app store:

UPDATED: 7-19-2013
GeoSynth now supports Audiobus! It’s been a really long wait, but it’s finally become far more useful. Geo has been a fine midi controller, but was stymied by having no significant updates for ages. That’s over, and GeoSynth joins the ranks of the best and most useful music apps.

It’s been one helluva push forward for new iOS music apps and Virtual Core MIDI recently. The technology is really a happy accident of sorts. Developers are exploiting some electronic doorways to create a feature that allows us to have MIDI controllers on our iDevices that control other apps running in the background on the same device. Cool huh? No more wires needed. Of course the standard wired MIDI support is featured for those who still enjoy being tethered to their external hardware. GeoSynth is the latest to exploit the Virtual Core MIDI feature (VMC), and brings us probably the most unique of virtual MIDI instruments with a very logical and colorful interface.

Easily one of the more expressive playing surfaces that can be configured to fit your playing styles.
A lot of attention went in to GeoSynth to be a premiere live performance instrument utilizing the touch surfaces of which ever iOS device you prefer. It’s hard to not feel like you’re playing a futuristic instrument from Blade Runner or something. Tapping and or dragging your happy fingers on the cells and anywhere in between, and exploring the wicked pitch bendy responses between notes makes for a grand time. It’s truly a spectacular instrument, and way too much fun to play!

For more information on GeoSynth visit Wizdom Music:

GeoSynth features many of Jordan Rudess’ custom sounds. The team really chose some very cool sounds for the 40 presets covering a fairly wide range of moods and flair. If you aren’t satisfied with those, well, it’s a MIDI instrument so go get your own. No problem. I’ve been enjoying all the presets offered, and exploring Geo as a VCM controller for Arctic Keys running in the background on my iPad1. Very cool, but I found that my iPad1 is grossly under powered. The quality of the experience diminished in result. However with some careful tweaking of the settings, and trying to not do too much all at once, I was able to enjoy the pleasures of VCM, and Arctic was able to record my brief session which I then was able to copy and paste elsewhere.
Which brings me to my next point, and serious gripe.
Being such a technological advance that Geo is, taking great advantage of the newest wireless capabilities as well as supporting standard MIDI connectivity, there is NO recording, or audio copy paste? To me, it’s a glaring omission that defies logic. I might even call it a blunder. It’s quite baffling to have such an advanced virtual instrument that plays and sounds so damn amazing, but utterly fails to include the most fundamental of expected iOS music app features:  record, and ACP.
To be fair if you are already hooked up to an external set up or whatever, don’t care about mobility, and love your cables then rock on, this is perfect for you.
For the rest of us, this lack of basic sharing many of us have come to expect renders the instrument inert. More or less a very cool toy.

I did email Wizdom Music and asked, WTFrak? I received a very nice response from customer support that, and this isn’t a quote, but for sake of being brief boils down to this; development is ongoing, there always remains the possibility of additional features being added to satisfy users. Vague, but not a hopeless response.

Whatever the case is for the future of GeoSynth, and no matter it’s present day offerings, it IS a very nice, highly entertaining virtual instrument with huge possibilities. Geo is ground breaking, and loaded with easy to use, high quality features. You’ll find a nice long reverb, stereo delay, gain control, octave, adjustable 5th harmonics synthesis, easy connectivity to SampleWiz accessing its waveforms, attack, release controls, and low pass filter with resonance. There’s a lot that GeoSynth offers. It does exactly what it says it does, exceeding my expectations as a MIDI instrument that is insanely fun to play!

This is perfect for live performances, and is highly responsive to user input on the fly.

For more information and support visit Wizdom Music

GeoSynth is too cool to pass up.  Be patient.  If you’re like me and feel a tad maligned by its lack of basic recording and audio copy paste features, I believe it’s a safe bet they will address this soon. Fingers crossed.

I’m scoring it twice.
3 Stars for folks like me who are entirely wireless, waiting for Recording and ACP.
5 Stars for those wrapped in wires, and not concerned with mobility.

Either way, it’s pretty damn nice! Now available in the iTunes app store:

Updated: Feb- 17 – 2013

No Update!?!?!?
I thought it curious that despite the developer comments, GeoSynth updates have not been err…updated. What the flip?

* Previously I had entered a lot of my own opinion in this updated review. It turned into some rant. Really I should not have. This is a review not an OpEd. I also suggested this is of no use as anything but a MIDI controller. That was stupid. Of course its used very well as a controller. That’s what it is after all. I made the wrong point while I was displeased with the lack of progress. Sorry to my dear readers for that absurd comment. My point was to suggest that having this developed a bit more for a wider range of uses and convenience is what has been lacking. It doesn’t desperately need Audiobus as whatever it controls (Such as virtual midi) sends the audio from its AB input to record in whatever output. Its just a bit of a hassle not being able to start the recording from within Geo. I would be more forgiving if it hadn’t been so very long without any significant updates.

The issue that I failed to express concern for was about trusting further development. Geo is a great controller. One of the coolest around. The question really is, should it be bought considering its not seen any significant developments for over a year? Part of what I weigh my recommendations on is trust. I think that is important. That said, and despite how much I like Geo, I can’t honestly recommend it as is.

ACP was spurned, then offered as an expected compromise, then forgotten. Audiobus has arrived ending the AudioCopy/Paste debate, and (Thank God!) the need. Will GeoSynth ever grow?