Music

LayR – Multi Timbral Synthesizer

LayR – Multi Timbral Synthesizer is developed by Living Memory Software

Available from iTunes App Store

LayR is described as a “massively polyphonic, Multi Timbral Synthesizer” capable of up to 256 voices of multi layered and textured sounds for 64 bit devices. I was a little skeptical initially and expected less. I was wrong. LayR can actually do as it says it can. 

Andy Bull created LayR somewhat by accident. He started out with something else in mind, not looking to create a synthesizer. After experiencing some disappointments with some of his iOS synths in a live stage setting, he ended up making something to meet his needs as a live performer. LayR was born, and here we are today able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. So much juicy goodness. 


LayR launches with a clean, albeit dark, interface showing the general mix functions of whatever layers make up the selected patch or “performance”, as they are called. A performance is a collection of instruments which contain layers of synths. One performance can be as simple or as complicated as desired. The overall results can be astonishing, with layers coming and going in various states and times. There are a lot of excellent presets available that demonstrate the many possibilities and can be great templates to dissect and learn from. Overall it’s an exciting synthesizer that will satisfy. 


Each layer is its own independent synth with 2 oscillators, each with their own shape and phase states that can be morphed, modulated and filtered. There are 2 ADSRs which can be looped from super fast out to 100 seconds, along with a 3rd ADSR controlling the overall volume. Both of the filters (LP, HP, Band & Notch) can be smoothed with a handy mini filter mixer. The 2 LFOs are well behaved and have several shapes to choose from. At first glance it all seems like a standard twin oscillator synthesizer, but that’s forgetting to consider the amazing depth of what can be hundreds of layers playing together in a giant cooperative audio party. You could easily spend days constructing elaborate performances. Pack a lunch.


It’s hard to explain just how much detail LayR is able to control better than the above screen shot. As you can see this is thoughtfully designed with a forward looking layer parameter linking tool. This will be indispensable when one gets ambitious, getting deep into greater numbers of layers with parameters that will likely need to be linked, and really helps with keeping the intended order together without needing to try and remember what was where or having to constantly switch back and forth to make sure certain layers have the same behaviors. Just link them in sets of parameter groups. My inner synth nerd did backflips when I first discovered this clever tool. You can also copy and paste one parameter to another. 

The 16 step multi channel arpeggiator is quite robust. This screenshot (above) should convey how carefully it was designed to give the user a rich midi routing capability that works reliably. Up to 8 event tracks can be set up with their own synth layer, making for some very lively compositions. While getting acquainted with LayR I found some presets that were impressive and inspiring. Some had multiple synths of varied arp events, all playing together with the touch of a single key. Event notes are visible by the flash of the corresponding key as played by the arpeggiator assignments. 

The in-app help can be accessed at any time should there be a need, so even someone new to multi channel arpeggiators can learn to create their own routes for their project with a minimal learning curve. 


Getting back to the graphical interface, its design uses symbols relevant to each parameter control. Most experienced synth users should understand what they mean but it might also be a little unfamiliar to others more accustomed with text identifiers. Those not used to this will become best friends with the top right corner info button within the first hours. Eventually it becomes second nature. The scale and key can be set, as well as an option for a colorful keyboard if all black isn’t desired. The keyboard can be adjusted in size, range, scrolled or locked. 

LayR has 3 sound effects; Reverb, Delay and a 3 Band EQ. The FX are competent and useful but not particularly noteworthy. 

Inter-app audio and Audiobus are supported, but not AU. I feel like the lack of AU support is for a good reason. Might be because the current iOS AU systems can’t quite keep up yet with something so intensive as LayR. Perhaps that will change in the future?

I spent several days digging into LayR and found it to be a wonderful experience. Great sound, nice quality filters, excellent morphing and an overall magnificent synthesizer. It truly excels when put to the test of making many layers of timbres, multi channel arpeggios and wildly evolving soundscapes. LayR is no slouch by any means and should fit in everybody’s collection. 

I highly recommend LayR. Be sure to check out the developers Website for a more specific feature list and links to helpful tutorial videos. 

Advertisements

Mood – How to Analog Right

Mood is developed by apeSoft

Available in iTunes App Store

apeSoft continues their offerings of reimagined classics ( i.e. iVCS 3) with Mood. A “personal interpretation” of the Analog Synthesizer by Eugenio Giordani. As apeSoft fans would expect, Mood is a faithful sonic reproduction with several modern additions that make it more than just another virtual analog synth. 


More than just another 3 oscillator VA Synth, ( is there an echo in here?) Mood comes packed with loads of user customizable widgets and supports, like an easy to use sampler, audio unit v3, full midi, Inter-App Audio, Audiobus 3, and so much more. 

This mono or up to 16 voice polyphonic synth does deliver quality at all levels of design and sonic exploration.  With the built in sampler you’ll have many more avenues of sound designing to explore. Dig in to micro details by assigning various widgets to nearly any parameter by a double tap on the knob. I’ve been up very late obsessively tweeking many different things. 

As shown above the aforementioned double tap on a parameters knob brings up the widgets screen to make those specific adjustments. It can get a bit tedious for those not interested in audio designing, but for those who are, it is very welcome. These should look familiar to anybody who has used any other apeSoft offering.  The widgets bring audio designers a mass of possibilities that can lead to some extreme detail in their sound creations. 

With the sampler you are open to many more options in possible sound designs. This is another example of how Mood separates itself from the usual or hum drum typicality of common VA synths. Import samples or record new ones from the environment or people around you. Mix and match with the FM or Wave unit, various effects, sub oscillator sounds, filters or LFOs etc. There’s not much limiting your imagination being brought to audible life. 

Although not shown in this review, there is a full service arp available. It’s accessed a little awkwardly by turning the XLFO wave knob to the lowest right hand wave form. I’m sure there’s a good reason for this, but it struck me as a bit oddly placed. Nevertheless, it is there. It’s possible I’ve had a major lapse of understanding from one too many late nights micro managing some sound I was working on. 

Moods effects are top notch. The Reverb unit has a vintage or distinctly different modern settings option and sounds very clean. That is until the powerful and grungy Distortion unit is enabled. There’s an excellent Ring Modulator for adding some unique tonal qualities. Of course a very nice Delay effects as well. 

I should mention the filters. The well designed Moog-like filters are as good as any can get for iOS. Personally I think they may be the best so far, but that’s just me. 

Overall Mood is not your ordinary virtual analog synth trying to be a perfect copy of a classic. It’s a loaded baked potato with double the flavor and satisfaction. Is it perfect? Maybe not, but what is? It’s about as perfect as I think it can be minus a few minor UI issues. Its very stable (using iPad Air 2 for this review) and with a quick buffer, it’s largely lag-free. Except for maybe a loaded 16 voice sound with heavy Reverb,  running through audiobus to a DAW with an effects unit in the chain, this synth rarely causes any grumbles or crashes. It’s hard to find any reason to no recommend Mood highly. 

Cubasis 2 – What it should be

Cubasis Mobile Music Creation

Developed by Steinberg

Available in the iTunes App Store

I have had a love/hate, and often hostile relationship with early versions of Cubasis. I make no apologies, there were serious early version issues, missing critical features, and deal breaking problems. This is no longer the case. Cubasis 2 is not the same as those early versions that crashed, or deleted entire projects with a single ‘Undo’ tap for a minor correction. No, not at all. Cubasis 2 is now, what I expected then. A quality, powerful, and smooth iDAW I can rely on. That’s how I would describe it today. I trust this newest version and love it. 

In this review on the new and vastly improved Cubasis 2 I’ll cover the most relevant parts as I experience them. For more detailed technical specifications and complete list of features, I encourage you to visit Steinbergs website.

In case you didn’t already know, Cubasis is a mobile DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) with unlimited audio or midi tracks. It’s packed with many virtual instruments, samples, drum kits, and a decent suite full of basic audio effects. Of course that’s not all. Cubasis is truly packed with content, features, and options to help any creative flow get things done. One of the best things about this is it’s user interface. A very pleasant, smooth design that makes you want to use it. Digging through menus is not something to worry about. Steinberg really paid attention to making everything look easy. Don’t let that fool you, this is not a toy, and the appearance of simplicity is only a comforting mask that when lifted reveals great depth in a powerful workstation.

When it comes to working fast and efficiently, this is the DAW I find myself gravitating towards almost exclusively. Deep midi support is presented in a way that even audio-centric folks like myself, who sometimes resist using midi find it to be more intuitive than others. Those who are midi savvy will appreciate this ease of use as well as its reliability for even complex uses. Routing in general is super clean. Routing Inter-App Audio, or Audiobus is just as fluid as can be expected. 

Mixing looks and feels like you might expect. A simple tap on the Mixer button reveals the mixer board. If you don’t know already, it’s where you go to make  various adjustments to the overall mix, such as levels, pan, effects routing, and set automation read/write. 


Cubasis 2 now has a very nice Channel Strip. It’s a very welcome addition. Now controlling sound in detail for all channels is a option. Hi and Low cut off filter, Noise Gate, Compressor and Saturator tucked neatly into a always accessible pop up. You can really control your sound making the best possible mix. This was something sorely missing from early versions, but thankfully is currently a quality option included with the app. Some might say it’s an essential tool, and I would agree. In the past when there was no Channel Strip, it was simply put a real bummer. This is one more reason to take Cubasis 2 a lot more seriously. 


Another early version absentee was Automation. They’ve gone and added Automation (a few updates back actually) with complete set of easily assigned automation parameters. Finally I can really dig into things making specific tweaks throughout the track or global mix. Without automation it was very difficult to feel like I wasn’t playing with a gutted or lite version of a DAW. It’s such an important aspect and increases the overall professional feel of this app. I don’t know how anybody can take a DAW seriously without Automation as a standard function. I’m getting off track, but the point is it’s now an available built in option that many of us were baffeled by it being MIA in very early versions. I thank Steinberg for bringing this in. Better late than never, right? Cubasis with Automation, yes! 


Again like a broken record I will complain about the standard FX units. There are many standard FX included, and they have improved some. No you won’t have an awesome convolution or spring reverb unit, but for a few more bucks you can get an FX pack with much better versions of some of the built in FX and then some. With each pack you will get new FX units that are significantly better than average. I only have the FX Pack 1. The Stereo Imager came with it and I find it to be indespensible. They also don’t seem to be quite as big of a CPU drain as I expected. If you use them a lot in tracks, especially reverb units, you’ll want to consider using the Track Freeze option to help minimize demand on system resources. It’s not permenant and you can freeze or un-freeze whenever. Nicely done. 

A very recent addition is the Spin FX unit. DJs will appreciate this, but not limited to just them. It’s also pretty fun. 

Still just a 4 band studio EQ, but unless you want to do your mastering here it shouldn’t be an issue.The EQ is certainly good enough for general uses, but if you need more there’s always an app for that. 


Working within Cubasis 2 is very predictable. That’s a good thing. Double tap a waveform to bring it up below for a complete set of editing tools. Fix, trim fade, etc. If it’s a MIDI (or using included instrument and samples) track the same double tap brings of a fully functioning sequencer. Quantize, edit, and compose sequences with great ease. You won’t need much else. 

Cubasis 2 also has a minisampler with some included presets. This was another early feature that was missing. With the mini sampler you now have the capability of creating your own instruments in house. That’s very nice to have and opens up even more creative scenarios to explore.

Cubasis 2 is loaded to the gills with virtual instruments, drum kits, samples, and has a emulated analog synthesizer. The Micrologue synth is a basic analog style and has a growing library of presets. It also affords the usual synth patching parameters to the user to customize unique sounds. A new suite of 76 modern presets have been added. It’s a nice little synth, not bad. Not extraordinary either, but I like it and am glad to have it included.

The Microsonic (also included) offers hundreds of other quality sampled instruments. It now has some cool 60s era TAPE instruments faithfully recreating the iconic sounds of the time. 

Cubasis 2 has brought so many new tools, features and options. It’s hard to catch them all. Another new option is Real Time, Time Strech. Now you can load audio loops and have them match your mix perfectly. 

I’ll wrap this up, knowing I’ve left some things out but with a reminder to check the Steinberg site for all of the details. That said, Cubasis 2 is the new standard for mobile DAWs. It may not be perfect but come on, we are working on iPads after all. What it’s missing pales in comparison to what’s not and can almost always be made up for by another dedicated app. I’m a little sad to say I just don’t even use my AuriaPro much anymore and favor this much of the time. When it comes right down to it, what do I want to use that isn’t compromising my expectations of quality?  The answer is Cubasis 2. 

Getting the word out.

Recently I was approached on Facebook by Criztoz Crizto who writes for a website called Something You Said. He wanted to interview some people who were very into iOS music production to get some insights for an article he was writing. I’m all about iOS Music and being dedicated solely to the platform for crafting all of my music. So of course I accepted. So did fellow bloggers Ryan Hemeon iOSMars, Tim Webb Discchord and Jeremy MaGill of the iPadMusician Facebook group. Nothing really shocking or unexpected came of our answers, at least not to most folks already informed on the topic. However there are some interesting comments from each unique point of view.
Certainly a worthwhile read and if you know anyone interested or on the fence with iOS Music production, please share the article.

Read the full interview HERE

Enjoy. I’d love to hear your thoughts so don’t be so dang shy, go ahead and leave a comment.

“100” A Personal Retrospective

Everyone has a story. When, why, and how they came to appreciate iOS for creating music has many different perspectives. So much has happened and changed since I started. This is my (first) 100th blog post, and I will share some of my story from before I started blogging, through today and the future of iOS Music as I see it. At the very bottom of this is a little gift of some custom Nave patch banks I made. Enjoy.

Its been more than 4 years now that I’ve been enjoying the iOS Music ride.
I’ve watched it all grow from a cool curiosity with potential to a full blown serious music production option.
When I got my first iPod Touch I had no idea what would unfold, or how much my life would change.
I had already given up on pursuing my passion for making music ages ago. I sold all of my guitars, abandoned my hopes of buying a modern, high end synthesizer, and laughed at the notion of using computers to make music. It was final. I was not ever going to be able to let the ideas I had for music out of my head.
It was all just too damned expensive. I couldn’t ever justify spending thousands of dollars on even the basic gear I would have needed. So I forgot about it and let that dream just die. Sure there is always a way, but the timing and events in my life always made it impractical.

One day with my new iTouch in hand I was checking out the App Store for new games, when on a whim I checked the “Music” category for the first time. I saw an app called “LoopTastic”. The description sounded very interesting and fun. So I downloaded it.
That first hour with the app was a ton of fun for me. More than just fun, it felt like something very special was happening. I was feeling creative and inspired. It was all just a bunch of pre-made loops that I was arranging, but it sparked something in me.
Playing with loops was fun, but it didn’t take long before I wanted to make my own stuff. So I started visiting the App Store music section more and more. Hexatone was the first instrument type app I bought. That summer of 2009 was an extremely exciting and inspirational time of exploring new possibilities. More and more apps were popping up with more and more creative possibilities.
Long story short, I created an alias for myself and started recording mixes of loops, and recordings I made from other apps all together. I called myself “Sounds Off Center” and eventually made a MySpace page to put the mixes I was making on.
I called my first digital album “Box Thought” and printed a few CDs to give to friends and family. Nothing special.
“Sounds Off Center” and “Box Thought” were quickly pushed aside in favor of pursuing a more refined musical production. I had actually forgotten about that until I was reminded by a fellow iOS music enthusiast about its existence. I was inspired and motivated to do this by an old professional musician friend of mine, who thought what I was doing was very cool, and sounded great. He was starting his label up and looking for new and interesting things. I was stunned when he suggested signing with him and then, under his tutelage learning techniques and whatnot, he would release my first all iOS made album. That was extremely flattering to me coming from him, so I started to really take things seriously at that point. Why not, right?
“SmiteMatter” was born. For those who don’t know or are curious, the name “SmiteMatter” came from my lifelong love of the old 70s anime “Star Blazers” AKA “Space Battleship Yamato”.
The iPad still didn’t exist yet, but I was planning to make a full album using that iPod Touch with all the music apps I was accumulating. Everything was happening so fast!
Music apps were getting more sophisticated and rapidly evolving. Music Studio was the first “serious” music production app I owned. Then NanoStudio and BeatMaker. Nano would occupy most of my time creating music in the palm of my hand. Beat Maker seemed like it would be great, but I hated the interface and never wanted to use it. It just made me miserable, and that’s not a good feeling to have while trying to enjoy oneself.
I was happily using iTunes File Share, and wi-fi to move recordings but wishing for something more immediate. AudioCopy/Paste was a hack, but it became very important in the absence of any wireless alternatives.
As the apps were becoming more sophisticated, I couldn’t believe how inexpensive they still were. I was using them to make music that would have cost tons more any other way. So even though at the time this was relatively the more difficult of options, it was by far the most affordable. Not to mention the huge potential.
Then the iPad came out.
That further revolutionized the whole concept of electronic music, at least for me.
By today’s standards it was very underpowered, yet for the time, powerful enough to get more complex productions done. AudioCopy/Paste was essential in my workflow. I abandoned “File Share” and never looked back. “Say no to wires” became my motto. The mobile flexibility was hugely attractive to me. Having the ability to go where ever I wish and create some tunes was, and still is a big deal. Going to a local park, the forest, or even nearby Mt.Rainier would become my studios. My music studio was anywhere I happen to be. All without any electrical power support. Trees don’t have electrical outlets so being forced to stop everything to plug in just to move files was incredibly irritating to me. It disrupted the creative process for no good reason. I could not understand why music apps were even being made without ACP? It made no sense to me at all.
I heard some reasons from some developers about why they were not using ACP in their apps, but their reasons, while logical (I suppose) at the core, were silly when clearly (to me) the big picture was about mobility and convenience. Making customers stop everything to sync their device in order to move a recording from one app to another seemed cruel. ACP was certainly not ideal, but it did get the job done. It worked. It was all we had then. A choice is always better than no choice at all. At any rate something better was desperately needed.

With the added power of that first iPad we started to see more iDAWs. Since Music Studio was still without ACP, I abandoned it in favor of more flexible work stations.
I got Studio HD, and Multitrack DAW to create my mixes. NLog Synth Pro was my main synth workhorse, and is still a favorite synth now. Other often used apps at the time included Xenon, MorphWiz, ThumbJam, Twisted Wave and iMS20. Half of the music for my official first album “Technopolis Lost” was made using my iPod Touch, and the rest came with that first iPad.

I started blogging reluctantly several months before my album released. It was something I didn’t want to do, but a respected friend was adamant that I should. So I did it. He had suggested I write all about what I was doing. That idea bored the shit out of me. After a few experiments figuring out what to blog about I settled on a combination of reviews and my own experiences. I didn’t want to do anything that I didn’t think I could do well. Ill never forget the first few comments I got with the earliest blog experiments. “You’re an idiot” by: Anonymous, and “You just squandered all the legitimacy you earned with that Sunrizer Synth review, by spreading that (something about a new iPad release date) rumor” or something like that, from “Robert”. I guess I made a comment that really pissed off a couple folks? I did not want to make people angry, so I made it a point to not write reviews of anything I didn’t like or know about. Keep it positive, and waste no time with the negative, seems to be the best philosophy.

While I was finishing up “Technopolis Lost” there was a flurry of new, increasingly powerful and capable music apps being released. Additionally I was discovering existing apps like MoDrum, while new ones like, Garage Band Mobile, Sunrizer, and Addictive Synth came out, raising the bar. They just kept coming or being discovered, constantly changing things for me. Apps were changing my life as much as they were changing music production. Garage Band Mobile excited me right away, but that excitement soon faded when I found it couldn’t do much for me. Too many limitations and initially no ACP. It was inefficient, and I gave up on it.

Virtual Core MIDI was making many things much easier, but it wasn’t really anything I was using often. I had always preferred to do everything with audio.
Nevertheless, MIDI capability had been there for much of the infancy.
I hated the idea of connecting anything by wire, and as time went on would continue using only my iOS devices and apps for all of my music. ACP was still very important, but becoming more and more unappealing to me. I wanted to stream audio from one app to the other. I wanted something much like what was found on computers with DAWs and VSTs. Basically a virtual audio cable to and from apps. Why was it taking so long? It drove me crazy having to rely heavily on ACP when it seemed so obvious that someone should and could make an app to bridge the gap between apps. It wasn’t easy, but I had gotten by with ACP, and finished “Technopolis Lost” which released October 2011. Much of it without many of the tools or features we have today.

I had been hearing (still do, but I am kind of bored with that bullshit now) of course that a large number of people considered iOS in regards to music production to be nothing more than a novelty, or just “toys”. Some people thought well of my album and production. I heard from people who thought it was amazing on its own musical merits, but some also added it was especially good since it was all done without any hardware or computer aid.
Oddly a few people insisted there was no way I made that whole album using only my iDevices and apps. I took that as a compliment, but a couple were pretty harsh about it. Harsh in that they would accuse me of lying and that I must’ve used some computer DAW and or other pro hardware. It was the accusation questioning my honesty that hurt. Well, nothing I can do about it. The truth is the truth. Funny thing is, they insist it can’t be done because the “sound and production quality is beyond the capabilities of the devices and apps,” I did in fact use. Man, get your head around that. If anyone can, I’d like to know how to make sense of such crazy talk.
Whatever the case. It can be done. I did it. Others have done it. You can do it too.

Animoog came out, taking things to a new level, and pissed me off because my album had just released! Oh boy what a major kick in the pants Animoog gave me! Then later that year BeatMaker 2 came along. I bought it immediately despite no iPad native support. It looked like the interface was cleaned up a lot, and had an impressive list of features. I ended up disliking it albeit a little less than BM1. StudioHD and Multitrack DAW would continue being my go-to production apps while cleaning up my recordings with more apps like “Reforge” and “Twisted Wave”.

Then iPad 2 came along. Much more powerful and faster than the iPad 1, it became my main workhorse and for a while my iPad 1 was my secondary device. That was when I stopped using my iPod Touch regularly.
When I finally got myself that iPad 2, Apple announced iPad 3 shortly after. Damn it. So I bought an iPad 3 a few months after it came out.
It was about then that I felt iOS Music was really on the verge of becoming widely acceptable as a serious option. Not just as it had been already for me, but to a much larger audience. The apps were outstanding, and floods of new people were joining in. In July 2012 Auria hit me like a ton of bricks and I was sure it would be “the” thing to push everything into mainstream. Oops, that didn’t happen as I expected. It did show off the incredible possibilities, and high quality audio I was sure more “pros” would perk up to. It had full automation, high quality EQ, FX, and real plug in support too. The first (for iOS) convolution reverb too.
It also showed off how far behind the devices were. A very powerful app for a very underpowered generation of devices. Still no inter-app audio connectivity. ACP was still a necessary evil and while helping me get my job done, it was holding back the whole concept of mobile music being taken seriously. It really was sounding like the biggest detractor was the inability to connect apps.
In contrast to the disappointments my eagerness to continue was unhindered seeing only the huge potential and making it work as best as I could. Clearly “we” were progressing.

There was no end in sight for increasingly powerful and innovative music apps.
PPG started developing for iOS, as did Steinberg Media. Cubasis was another big iDAW. Although it has a great interface, it’s a castrated beast without automation, quality FX and no mastering tools to be taken seriously. Yet.
More major brands were creating more serious emulations of old hardware, and or totally new apps. We had Yamaha, Korg, ImageLine, and Moog among other big names. They seemed to be taking this all seriously, but there was still a lot of resistance among many musicians.

Then iPad 4 came out on the heels of the iPad 3 release. Are you effing kidding me Apple? Sigh. At least it had a faster CPU and every improvement helps, but small incremental improvements aren’t enough. Nevertheless I bought one a couple months after Audiobus was born.
OH RIGHT! Audiobus. With the end of 2012 came the beginning of one of the most important music apps seen to date. After long months of rumor, speculation, and impatient would-be customers, it finally arrived. Excuse me here but, HOLY SHIT! The solution to inter-app audio connectivity was here, and it works! Mostly.
“The Bus” would sweep many off their feet, myself included. No more stupid iTunes File Share! No more hack work around, AudioCopy/Paste! Now making music on our iPads would be just like on a computer. Play the synth running through some FX, being recorded by an iDAW. Sweet! Mostly.
I said “mostly” twice. You probably wonder why? I mean that, to get the best results while using Audiobus, it depends a lot on what other apps are being used, and on which device. Forget about iPad 1. Be ready for some pains with iPad2. Start getting comfortable with iPad 3. Finally, have the best possible experience with iPad 4. That’s not the end all be all, and I’m generalizing a bit. Specifically, that’s how I’ve seen and experienced things. There are numerous combinations of apps and devices that vary wildly from one example to the next. So mostly, its all good. It’s definitely better than before.
However AudioCopy/Paste isn’t dead. Many people are still using it with no problems happily. Sometimes I find myself using it for certain circumstances. The thing is, there’s a choice now for most users, that’s a good thing.

This year, 2013 is reaching its sunset. We have had some spectacular new apps arrive, older ones updated with Audiobus support during and a bit before the year’s start. NanoStudio, iPolySix, EchoPad, Samplr, PPG WaveMapper, Turnado, Audio Mastering App, Magellan, Waldorf – Nave, Propellerhead Softwares, Thor Polysonic Synth. Arturia brought us an emulation of the MiniMoog with the “iMINI” synth app. More and more. Getting better and better. What we have today compared to when this all started is a big jump.
Not just big named developers with their big brands, but a magnificent collection of independent developers continue to bring us outstanding new apps and advancements. Each for tiny asking prices.
Having tolerated the cheap reverbs over these years we now have at least 3 high quality stand-alone reverb apps. More to come? Well there are definitely going to be more stand-alone FX apps. Elephant Candy released the sweet “Ultra Phaser” effects app. Kymatica is working on a delay unit called “DUB” to add to its expanding AUFX series.
Not just FX, but more complete audio mastering suites are coming. There’s exciting development of new synths, iDAWs and countless other highly useful new music apps. Never a dull moment.
We really do have everything we need including continued development.

We want more.
From the beginning I always wanted more. I’ve experienced the beginning of it all and throughout I’ve enjoyed seeing all the advancements pushing things further ahead. Change is good. Anyone involved in iOS music at any level whether starting today, or started 4 (or more) years ago, will want something more. What will come next? What do we need? Since I’ve been writing all of this from my own personal perspective I’ll chime in with a bit of what my vision is for the ideal future.
First we need a much more powerful iPad. I get by fine with what is available today, but I’m not fooling myself into believing the current level of power is sufficient. At least not if all of this is to finally be taken seriously by the resistant and so-called “pros”. We are beyond the “toy” phase I think. Probably have been for a while. There is a lot that can be done now, and at a high level. Unfortunately more is still needed.
I don’t think its unrealistic to envision an iPad with at least a 2ghz CPU, with 2 GB ram and a stereo microphone jack. It should include at least one USB port and lightning port. Pressure (wishing here) sensitivity. An iPad “Pro” maybe? I don’t know what that processor would be, but I’m sure the technology exists in some way or another that could be made to work. It would be a nice start for the next gen. iPads, I think.
I see the future of app development bringing more innovative ways to make music.
Some brand new synths, not more analogue emulations are needed. Though I wouldn’t turn down any classic remakes.
We need a full blown DAW. I don’t care who makes it, but I want it.
We do not need more half assed iDAWs that do not have decent FX, Mastering Tools, full MIDI support, and Automation.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with new music apps being released without Audiobus support. Maybe after iOS 7 arrives with the speculated solution of Inter-App Audio integration which, speculated or not, is highly desirable for the future of iOS Music. It would be very nice if it were to allow audio & MIDI to transmit from one device to another via WiFi or Bluetooth. Maybe it will, or maybe it will later?Eventually it’ll have to. I’d like to be able to play a synth on one while the other is recording it wirelessly.
iTunes File Share must not ever again be the only way to move files in any music app. That was OK in 2009, but today (or even 2 years ago) it’s flat out useless.
We need apps sold in tiers to have the “Pro” tiered version include all features, no IAPs. It sells at a premium, so it should come with all premium features. Always.

This being my 100th blog post is to me much like iOS Music in general. Its early. There is much more to come.

I honestly believe this is the future of music and will be very commonplace in the near future. Technology will make most anything possible in time. Having a way to be creative that is both high quality and affordable is something we all need. This didn’t exist in my 20s or 30s. OK, 38 it did. That’s a lot of years being unable to have an outlet, wasted. I hope nobody ever has to shelve their creative desires again. Making music is not an exclusive club for “some”. It is a right for all. There is always plenty of room for more people to join in the fun and express their musical ideas without requiring huge amounts of money for the tools. iOS Music is now, and so long as the quality keeps pace, will be, one of the greatest things to ever happen to music.

Lets all keep happening!

Thank you for reading: “100” A Personal Retrospective.
I hope you enjoyed my hundredth blog post sharing my personal take and experiences, on all of this through my eyes.
I couldn’t include everything I wanted to without this being a lot longer. I am a bit nervous sharing as much as I did. Its pretty long as is even after much editing, so I sincerely hope you found this a worthwhile read? If you have anything to add, please do comment. This isn’t all just about me. I am very interested in your story, or thoughts. Thank you. See ya at 101!

Its not a big deal, but as a small token of my appreciation a special 2 banks of custom patches I made for Nave is free to download via Dropbox.
SmiteMatter 100 part 1 Nave
SmiteMatter 100 part 2