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Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
#3040094 04/22/20 02:10 PM
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Someone over on KC asked about iPad rigs and setups and apps. To quote Captain America: "You HAD to ask..." grin

I wrote a very very very long post about this, and was about to hit Send when I read the fine print and realized he didn't give a rat's ass about almost anything I'd written up. So I cut and pasted the stuff he DID care about, and rescued all my typing by putting it here for folks to hopefully learn from and add to. Here it is:

***
I own over 200 music apps of all kinds, partly due to my previous job as a reviewer and partly because AAAAAAAAAPPS (drool). Of those, my live performance rig is centered around stuff I can play expressively with my LinnStrument and stuff I can run in the background to provide generative textures (less interesting to this crowd, I'll bet).

Hands down the best value in iOS music apps today is the same as it was seven years ago. ThumbJam. Just BUY it, for heaven's sake. The developer is a sweetheart, the app has been constantly updated to take advantage of advances in iOS without sacrificing reliability, the sounds are quite decent (although they definitely won't satisfy purists), the sample library is reasonably comprehensive (AND ALL FREE TO DOWNLOAD), the app is light on CPU and very reliable, and it has lots of MIDI routing and performance features built in so it integrates well with live rigs. I keep hoping the next update will include an AUv3 version; as of now, you can only run one instance at a time, and I could easily run three or four and eliminate some other apps from my setup.

My other current MPE apps are iFretless Bass and GeoShred. If you need to simulate bass or guitar, they are truly schweet. My main non-MPE apps at the moment are Zeeon and Streetlytron Pro, as well as the KV331 apps Synthmaster Player and Synthmaster One.

I use Synthmaster Player all the time; it's free to start with and doesn't get expensive until you buy a lot of patch banks (many of which contain supplementary samples to fill out the internal waveform memory). If you buy the desktop version of Synthmaster, you can create your own very elaborate patches and download them to Player, and share all libraries between the two versions free of charge once you register your account on both apps. (Handy hint: registration doesn't use a password, it uses your serial number, which is a very long string of alphanumerics that it doesn't let you copy and paste. Have it written down.)

I also do a fair bit of work with the "gadgets" in Korg Gadget and the associated standalone apps, particularly ODYSSEi and iMonoPoly.

I should put in a good word for the folks at AudioKit. They're a dev based on open-source development, and have a community-based update/upgrade path as volunteers build in new features. As a result, their apps are constantly growing and evolving, which is kind of cool, and most of them are free; one or two cost, but they support the dev framework so that's cool too. One word of warning -- they can be unstable from rev to rev, so use them in a live situation with caution, and test your newest updates thoroughly before gigging with them. Start with SynthOne and Digital D1.

Some other notes: Arturia's apps are very uneven because they're developed by external devs (or at least they were); for example, iSEM is fabulous but iProphet is orphaned and riddled with nasty bugs. iceGear's apps can be fun, but note going in that they're all very much alike at the global level and only the oscillator modeling and UI are notably different from app to app, so you'll want to listen before you buy.

I also keep a couple of older iPads around just to run my 32-bit apps that were orphaned at iOS 11+. The most important by far is Alchemy Mobile, which is my favorite music app of all time despite its being long in the tooth. I have never forgiven Apple for buying the dev, killing the app, and re-releasing it inside GarageBand (and Logic Pro X on the Mac) in a crippled, content-skimpy, badly-designed new form. Bastards.

***

How about you?


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3040200 04/23/20 06:41 AM
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For iOS I'm mainly looking for traditional sounds:

Mixer: AUM
Instruments Apps: Korg Module Pro
Drum Machines: Afro-Latin Drum Machine, Soft Drummer, Brazilian Drummer, Jazz Drummer, Rock Drummer, Reggae Drummer, DM1 and Korg iElectribe
Sheet Music: Forscore, Musicnotes (on the iCloud)
Metronomes: Pro Metronome, Speakbeat and Metronomics
Other apps: iReal Pro, Garageband

Considering these apps:
Instruments: Hammond B-3X, Ravenscroft 275, NeoSoul Keys Studio 2

Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3040226 04/23/20 04:25 PM
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I've seen people talking about iFretless Bass on Keyboard Corner forever, but I never looked into it -- damn, that's a really impressive app!

I've been messing around with Yonac Steel Guitar, and that's been a lot of fun too, though I haven't quite dug into how to use some of the more advanced MIDI features -- just changing tunings and signal chains, and playing "In My Time of Dying" at the airport. I'd like to see if I can set up the MIDI learn functions with some pedals to control the pitch bend and that sort of thing; I've really enjoyed playing it on the iPad screen, rather than just using it as a sound source for a keyboard.

I've had some success with VOLT as an MPE synth, and I really like the sounds, but I find it to be a little laggy and prone to crackling, at least compared to some of the other MPE apps I've run on my iPad.

Also cool to see some traction for Geoshred. It was an app I become aware of early on in my iOS-for-performance life, but I never made the jump (in part because it made me sort of snicker in its concept and over-the-top presentation). As I've integrated my Seaboard into my live performance, I've actually found myself functioning as a second harmonizing lead guitar more and more often, and while Equator does well with those sounds, Roli's iOS apps are so untweakable that you pretty much get one over-the-top guitar tone or nothing. Dr. Mike, do you pretty much use it as a Shreddy Guitar, or do you like it for other things?

Last edited by samuelblupowitz; 04/23/20 04:49 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention Geoshred

Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3040231 04/23/20 04:54 PM
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IOS music apps I have: Alchemy, AmpliTube, AnalogSynthX, Animoog, ArpOdyssei, AudiokitFMplayer, AudiokitSynthOne, Autoharp, Bassalicious, BeatMaker3, ClearTune, GalileoOrgans, GarageBand, iCathedraOrgan, iFretlessBass, iFretlessBrass, iFretlessSax, iRigMIDIrecorder, IsemSynth, KorgGadget2, KorgiKaossilator, KorgiM1, KorgModulePro, MinimoogModelD, WaldorfNave, OnSongPro, Ravenscroft275, RealPiano, SampleTank, SampleTankCS, YamahaSynthesizerARP&DrumPadUS, KawaiTouchNotationFree, and YamahaSynthBookUS

A number of the above were downloaded at times that they were free. Others were downloaded during 1/2 price sales. And, some were a part of purchased hardware (such as the IK iKeys Pro 37 keyboard).

NOW: Stuff I really use currently (some of the above have been replaced by more recent apps).
Alchemy - I don't use it often, and it only exists now on my oldest iPad 3. Love the sounds from it, but no longer installable, even though I "own" it.
Animoog - again not used often, but it does a good job. I do use Minimoog Model D a bit more.
iCathedral Organ was used a good bit, but Module Pro now covers that.
iFretless Bass - Even though I use the bass more frequently from Module Pro, this is a REALLY GOOD app for electric Bass playing (even can play from the virtual fretboard right on the iPad)

KORG MODULE PRO If I could only keep one of the above, it would be Module. I have all of the add-ins for it, with the exception of the American Grand Piano. LOVE it for the Hammond/Leslie, even though I can't change drawbar settings. In fact, the Hammond sounds are what I use from IOS devices more than all other sounds combined. At my church gig, I have Kurzweil PC2 and PC3 boards. I'm not greatly pleased with KB3 Leslie effect, even after a lot of tweaking. Organs are fine, so I could add a Ventilator and be there, but the IOS devices are already paid for, so are the apps.

ONSONG PRO This app doesn't generate sound, but is ESSENTIAL for my charts. The church pays CCLI for music, so I get all of my praise charts installed on the oldest iPad. I can also add personal charts (usually scan a hymn from the hymnbook, edit the size to fit, make a PDFusing Ashampoo PDF Pro2). There is enough memory on the 32GB iPad to store a huge number of charts, and OnSong lets me search for titles and add them to Set Lists.

Ravenscroft 275. Sometimes, I want an acoustic piano sound different from the Kurzweil sounds. I have Ivory on the iPad, and also Ravenscroft. Between them, I can get a suitable piano for most any need.

I have 3 iPads and 2 iPhones. The oldest is used almost all the time for OnSong and the charts. While I could use a sound generator app on it at the same time, I couldn't really make any changes to the sound without losing the charting. iPad Mini 2 is the second iPad (chronologically). It is setup with my most frequently needed music apps, and used both at church and in my larger "portable" rig, which uses a 61 key Samson MIDI controller. It also is small enough to fit in my "itty-bitty-walk-in-like-a-horn-player" portable rig, with the IK iKeysPro 37 MIDI controller's case. Everything but amp/speaker all in a shoulder bag no larger than a clarinet.
The most recent iPad is a gen 5, with 128GB storage. It has ALL the apps on it, but is not often used for music. The iPhone 8+ is 64GB, and has ClearTune, GarageBand, LifeWay Hymnbook, Module Pro, and OnSong on it, and could be used with my Korg PlugKey, but isn't usually used for music. I also have the old 16GB iPhone 6, removed SIM card, removed all the apps I could, and have ModulePro (with only the smaller add-in libraries), iFretlessBass, and Ravenscroft on it. I have velcro on the back to quickly fasten it to the upper keyboard, a USB3 to Lightning adapter for power, 1/8" audio connection to my mixer, and a charger on it. Goes with me to church all the time, and is used most of the time.

I've been doing music on IOS devices for several years now. with zero problems. If a problem should develop at church, I still have all the sounds from the PC2 and PC3 My first experiment with computer based audio was using VB3 on a Windows notebook. It kind of worked, but was way too complex, couldn't really adjust anything because the notebook was beside me. I don't even use the MainStage on my Macbook Pro for MIDI based music now; it is just plain so much simpler for my needs to use the IOS devices.

Better quit before I write something longer than "War and Peace."


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Jim
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
MoodyBluesKeys #3040301 04/24/20 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
Ravenscroft 275. Sometimes, I want an acoustic piano sound different from the Kurzweil sounds. I have Ivory on the iPad, and also Ravenscroft. Between them, I can get a suitable piano for most any need.
- What would you say are the main differences between Ravenscroft 275 and Ivory in Module Pro?
- In what situations do you prefer one over the other?
- Why did you decide to pass on the American Ivory Piano?

Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Groove On #3040375 04/24/20 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
Ravenscroft 275. Sometimes, I want an acoustic piano sound different from the Kurzweil sounds. I have Ivory on the iPad, and also Ravenscroft. Between them, I can get a suitable piano for most any need.
- What would you say are the main differences between Ravenscroft 275 and Ivory in Module Pro?
- In what situations do you prefer one over the other?
- Why did you decide to pass on the American Ivory Piano?
Sneaking my own data in and waiting to see if MoodyBluesKeys agrees or not...

Many people find Ravenscroft 275 to be more nuanced, great if you're using a naked piano sound. I rarely use it and its 853 MB storage footprint is not trivial if your device has a smaller SSD in it. By contrast, Module Pro is 1.31 GB but that's with a ton of samples in it, including my standbys like the Mellotron and Triton.

I usually run Module Pro inside Gadget, and the Salzburg Gadget accesses the piano sounds in Module and gives me a fast, seamless, tweakable piano that does fine for my ambient music. I use the Mobile Grand, the German Steinway D, which is fine for everything I do; I bought it on sale during one of Korg's occasional blowouts. Before that, I used the built-in piano sounds in Thumbjam and Gadget's Marseilles sample player, which are very generic and definitely not something a serious player would enjoy.

That's my 5L$ worth*. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.


*Linden Dollars ("Lindens") are the currency in Second Life. 250 L roughly equals one US dollar. It's a tradeable currency; if you make a lot in the virtual world, you can take it out as hard cash. I can make up to $15 in tips from playing a one-hour concert from my basement in my sweats, and have been doing so for over 12 years now. I have funded one laptop and a bunch of small bits of gear with my SL work, which ain't small change. But this belongs over in the collaboration forum....


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
SamuelBLupowitz #3040384 04/24/20 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
I've seen people talking about iFretless Bass on Keyboard Corner forever, but I never looked into it -- damn, that's a really impressive app!
It is. I process the hell out of the more sustained (bass synth) sounds and use it as a lead synth, but the actual bass models in the various picking styles are really cool.
Quote
I've been messing around with Yonac Steel Guitar, and that's been a lot of fun too, though I haven't quite dug into how to use some of the more advanced MIDI features -- just changing tunings and signal chains, and playing "In My Time of Dying" at the airport. I'd like to see if I can set up the MIDI learn functions with some pedals to control the pitch bend and that sort of thing; I've really enjoyed playing it on the iPad screen, rather than just using it as a sound source for a keyboard.
So this would be a bad time to bring up iFretless Guitar, then? (Actually, hold off a bit, they haven't added MPE support to it yet)
Quote
I've had some success with VOLT as an MPE synth, and I really like the sounds, but I find it to be a little laggy and prone to crackling, at least compared to some of the other MPE apps I've run on my iPad.
I am trying so very hard to use and like VOLT, and failing. I can't get MPE to work right at all, can't figure out how to get pitch bends to work in the right range for my Linnstrument, and the UI is a massive pain in the anatomy. While I search for a better alternative, I am using Zeeon, which isn't MPE but does do global pitch bend nicely on my LS. It has a good selection of sounds to start with, sounds great, and is relatively easy to program. I have about ten MPE alternatives on deck and will probably switch to one of them as a testbed when I finally get fed up with VOLT.
Quote
Also cool to see some traction for Geoshred. It was an app I become aware of early on in my iOS-for-performance life, but I never made the jump (in part because it made me sort of snicker in its concept and over-the-top presentation). As I've integrated my Seaboard into my live performance, I've actually found myself functioning as a second harmonizing lead guitar more and more often, and while Equator does well with those sounds, Roli's iOS apps are so untweakable that you pretty much get one over-the-top guitar tone or nothing. Dr. Mike, do you pretty much use it as a Shreddy Guitar, or do you like it for other things?
Okay, first and foremost, I would not rely on a Jordan Rudess demo for stuff like this: Pianos absolutely, other conventional keyboards almost always, lead synths not so much. He is a great guy in person, friendly and forthcoming, and his musicianship is worthy of mad respect, but he can't help showing off how fast and clean his chops are, and for an app like GeoShred I think he's doing it a disservice.

GeoShred is in fact a modeling app, and there is a lot of emphasis on screaming feedback electric leads. Pick one that feels right and delete the other fifty, that's what I did. grin

It models plucked strings, so turning off all the fuzz and preamp feedback yields a relatively usable vanilla guitar sound that can be tarted up in all sorts of ways. The MoForte programmers were also guided by Jordan's enjoyment of Indian instruments; the sitars are very playable, lots of fun, and sound pretty good in a band mix setting even if they're not convincingly realistic. It's not cheap as apps go, but it's one of the best MPE options out there... just give yourself time to understand how the modeling plays and reacts, which can be as twitchy as a real guitar.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3040612 04/25/20 08:47 PM
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The only reason I passed on the American Grand is that I don't feel a need for it. I got Ivory before Ravenscroft came out, and do use it from time to time. IIRC, I bought Ravenscroft at a reduced price. It sound different from either the Kurzweil pianos or the Ivory pianos. Years ago, I bought EWQL's Pianos Gold to run on a PC (or Mac) mostly because of the Bosendorfer that it has. That still is my favorite piano for any solo work, but I do very little solo work.
In general IOS app add-ins are priced a quantum level below the app add-in for PC or Mac (I know, the larger versions have more layers and so forth, but the IOS stuff is fulfilling my need in a compact and low cost manner. As other mention, doesn't hurt at all to have some extra tools in the toolbox. One of the first things I learned in playing with a band is that the sounds I LOVED by myself didn't fare so well with the band, and some of the sounds that I didn't really like by myself worked.

I would definitely let Ravenscroft go before the pianos in Module, if I had to make a choice; don't use it that often (our band has a piano player on a 1970's Baldwin (not the Howard, but the genuine article) 5' 8" grand. So, I really almost never have a need for acoustic piano. I do use some Rhodes and Wurly, maybe a bit of CP80 for some things, but most of the time my PC2 is providing Bass Guitar, and the PC3 is either playing something else in the 1,000 plus patches or else running the IOS device.


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Jim
Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3040814 04/27/20 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
(Geoshred) models plucked strings, so turning off all the fuzz and preamp feedback yields a relatively usable vanilla guitar sound that can be tarted up in all sorts of ways. The MoForte programmers were also guided by Jordan's enjoyment of Indian instruments; the sitars are very playable, lots of fun, and sound pretty good in a band mix setting even if they're not convincingly realistic. It's not cheap as apps go, but it's one of the best MPE options out there... just give yourself time to understand how the modeling plays and reacts, which can be as twitchy as a real guitar.
All right, well, since I'm not going anywhere for a bit, you convinced me to give it a shot, finally. Looking forward to spending some time sorting it out, it's a pretty deep app, and I haven't quite gotten to the bottom of the best way to make use of onscreen controls as well as map expression to the Seaboard.

Interesting that you've struggled getting MPE to work on VOLT with the Linnstrument; that was pretty seamless with the Seaboard... it's just never quite responded as quickly and smoothly as I've been used to from Equator or even Model D (which lacks the Y-axis "slide" modulation but otherwise works nicely with the Seaboard for traditional synth sounds).

Anyway, I think my hope when all this is over is that I can use the iPad with my cover band instead of my laptop, to make that gig as lightweight as possible.


Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
SamuelBLupowitz #3041086 04/28/20 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
(Geoshred) models plucked strings, so turning off all the fuzz and preamp feedback yields a relatively usable vanilla guitar sound that can be tarted up in all sorts of ways. The MoForte programmers were also guided by Jordan's enjoyment of Indian instruments; the sitars are very playable, lots of fun, and sound pretty good in a band mix setting even if they're not convincingly realistic. It's not cheap as apps go, but it's one of the best MPE options out there... just give yourself time to understand how the modeling plays and reacts, which can be as twitchy as a real guitar.
All right, well, since I'm not going anywhere for a bit, you convinced me to give it a shot, finally. Looking forward to spending some time sorting it out, it's a pretty deep app, and I haven't quite gotten to the bottom of the best way to make use of onscreen controls as well as map expression to the Seaboard.
My best advice is to actually take a few days just playing it directly on the iPad. It will give you a good idea of how the expression was originally intended to work, and from there, mapping stuff to the ROLI will be easier and more rewarding.
Quote
Interesting that you've struggled getting MPE to work on VOLT with the Linnstrument; that was pretty seamless with the Seaboard... it's just never quite responded as quickly and smoothly as I've been used to from Equator or even Model D (which lacks the Y-axis "slide" modulation but otherwise works nicely with the Seaboard for traditional synth sounds).
I wasn't clear; the LinnStrument isn't the problem, I can't get VOLT set up to do what I want. Some buried function or another that I haven't found yet, I suspect.
Quote
Anyway, I think my hope when all this is over is that I can use the iPad with my cover band instead of my laptop, to make that gig as lightweight as possible.
That is a noble goal and not all that far out of reach. I only took my 11" MacBook Air with me when I flew to Finland a couple of years ago because I wanted a backup for my iPads (and I needed it to do work while I was away).


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3041147 04/29/20 03:15 AM
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Audioshare + Audiobus

So I finally downloaded these 2x apps about a week ago. It's ridiculous how Audioshare inserted itself into the heart of my workflow. I'm constantly thinking in terms of getting audio in/out and recorded to Audioshare. And Audiobus became the main way I think about bouncing audio around to different apps and then back to Audioshare. Even my external hardware and Logic Pro are getting roped into Audioshare+bus workflow. A very nice set of tools; they have quickly my top 2 most used and indispensable apps.

For music production and recording jockeys a traditional DAW might make more sense. But for live / improvisational /sketching work - audioshare+bus is a really nice setup. It's kinda like having a traditional recorder (Audioshare) where you route audio in/out (Audiobus) - but it's all done in-app, so it's contained and organized. And you can easily dump it into a DAW after the fact - or send it out to the cloud for other people to use.

Note:
I also have AUM, but I'm finding the Audioshare+bus workflow easier to understand and use.

Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3041425 04/30/20 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
(Geoshred) models plucked strings, so turning off all the fuzz and preamp feedback yields a relatively usable vanilla guitar sound that can be tarted up in all sorts of ways. The MoForte programmers were also guided by Jordan's enjoyment of Indian instruments; the sitars are very playable, lots of fun, and sound pretty good in a band mix setting even if they're not convincingly realistic. It's not cheap as apps go, but it's one of the best MPE options out there... just give yourself time to understand how the modeling plays and reacts, which can be as twitchy as a real guitar.
All right, well, since I'm not going anywhere for a bit, you convinced me to give it a shot, finally. Looking forward to spending some time sorting it out, it's a pretty deep app, and I haven't quite gotten to the bottom of the best way to make use of onscreen controls as well as map expression to the Seaboard.
My best advice is to actually take a few days just playing it directly on the iPad. It will give you a good idea of how the expression was originally intended to work, and from there, mapping stuff to the ROLI will be easier and more rewarding.
Yes, I'm having a lot more fun doing that than I anticipated! My wife has been playing a lot of Animal Crossing and I've been jamming along with the soundtrack, which she's actually found amusing, which is why I haven't been found dead yet. Just wish my iPad had 3D touch. I might see if I can make it work on the small screen of my iPhone 7 just for fun. Regardless, I'm also remembering that one of the things I liked about using iOS as a sound source early on is having an additional touch surface for modulation... between Geoshred's controls and Keystage's XY pad, I'm excited by the possibilities.
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
Interesting that you've struggled getting MPE to work on VOLT with the Linnstrument; that was pretty seamless with the Seaboard... it's just never quite responded as quickly and smoothly as I've been used to from Equator or even Model D (which lacks the Y-axis "slide" modulation but otherwise works nicely with the Seaboard for traditional synth sounds).
I wasn't clear; the LinnStrument isn't the problem, I can't get VOLT set up to do what I want. Some buried function or another that I haven't found yet, I suspect.
Yes, I was mostly commenting on VOLT's idiosyncrasies, not the nature of the LinnStrument particularly. I just know that VOLT's developer is a Seaboard player, and I thought that there might be an added layer of complexity for other MPE controllers that I haven't had to contend with. But anytime I'm struggling with an app or VST, there's a long list of knowledge gaps that could be causing my problems! wink
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Quote
Anyway, I think my hope when all this is over is that I can use the iPad with my cover band instead of my laptop, to make that gig as lightweight as possible.
That is a noble goal and not all that far out of reach. I only took my 11" MacBook Air with me when I flew to Finland a couple of years ago because I wanted a backup for my iPads (and I needed it to do work while I was away).
Exciting! I'll keep this forum updated. I'm glad there are folks who find this as fun and engaging as I do.


Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3041575 05/01/20 04:38 PM
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Surprisingly few (reaches for iPad) ... GeoShred, Korg Gadget, Korg iMono/Poly, Synclavier Go!, Animoog, UVI BeatHawk, PPG Infinite, GarageBand of course, and several editor/controller/librarian apps for various keyboards I’ve reviewed. Oh, I also have the Seaboard 5D and Noise synths that come with ROLI hardware.


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3041673 05/02/20 03:33 AM
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Current favorites:

AUM - Mixer app, for mixing other apps, with basic MIDI router and basic audio recording. Some people like to use this in place of a traditional DAW, as it's ideal for capturing quick plays, jams, etc.

Nanostudio 2 - for "traditional" songwriting/(nonclassical) composition and linear sequencing

Drambo - for groove-oriented sonic experimentation. There have been other apps squeezing a modular synth into a groovebox framework but this one is unusually user-friendly.

Sunvox - One of the oldest modular synth-in-a-groovebox apps and a powerful MIDI sequencer. Mature, light on CPU, rock-solid. Even supports linear sequencing though this feature is kind of hidden

Moog Model D - because it's free (for now) and a fine emulation of that iconic sound

Moog Model 15 - more Moog goodness

Spectrum Synthesis Bundle - free and impressive port of Mutable Instruments modules into AUv3

Files - because its the heir-apparent to the messy trio of Audioshare/Audiocopy/iTune File Sharing for moving files around on the iPad

Zenbeats - the newest kid on the block for me. Currently free. Recommended to me as an easy to use app for arranging my audio recordings along a timeline. If it bombs on me, I'll go back to Garageband

Not yet a favorite but what I intend to investigate soon as I own it but haven't used it: Mozaic - scripting framework for custom MIDI solutions. Tons of interesting looking scripts on Patchstorage already

Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
GovernorSilver #3043641 05/14/20 12:47 AM
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Sunvox?! MAD props, man! I've had that since my iPad 1, and have never been able to do anything with it, I suspect because I am just not wired for the way it wants to do stuff.

Not heard of Mozaic, will have to look into that one.


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3044184 05/16/20 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Sunvox?! MAD props, man! I've had that since my iPad 1, and have never been able to do anything with it, I suspect because I am just not wired for the way it wants to do stuff.

Not heard of Mozaic, will have to look into that one.

What drove me to learn Sunvox was losing my iPhone, replacing it with what I could afford at the time, which was an iPhone 5 with very limited drive space. I couldn't use Korg Gadget because of the limited space. There was some issue or another with Beatmaker 2 that I forgot about. No Cubasis 2 on iPhone. So I thought I'd try SunVox as my new music creation workstation. It was a bit rough with the small size of the iPhone screen, but I was pleasantly surprised how responsive the UI is finger actions - and more importantly how predictable the response is, unlike apps with virtual knobs that turn the opposite direction of your finger swipe. By this time, Sunvox was being delivered with Template projects, with instruments already set up for drum, bass, etc. roles. Not having to take the time to patch up a sound for each part made the learning process a whole lot faster.

Solar Lune's tutorial videos are kind of old now but still very useful for getting started. I'd recommend downloading the desktop version of Sunvox, which is free, and using that for learning along with the tutorials, instead of learning along on the iPhone version like I did. My only problem with Sunvox these days is all on me - I can't decide what next steps to take with the song I started putting together in SunVox.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJh6yiKPqE4&list=PL62F503E7722DB7CC

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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3047532 06/05/20 03:41 AM
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AudioKit Pro, makers of the wonderful Synth One free synth app, have released several new apps to help musicians do music during the pandemic. This includes a free 808 Bass app, a $3 intonation tuning app, and a free Retro Piano app.

In the app store, search on "Audiokit Pro" and click on "Audiokit Pro (in Developers)" to get the whole list. Not a stinker in the bunch (other than FM Player II, which is put to shame by the many actual FM apps - it's a ROMpler), and they're developed by volunteers and constantly being improved. Digital D1 is their (separately listed) "please pay $9.99 to help fund everything else" app, and it's one of the better ROMplers in iOS, easily up there with SampleTank, Syntronik, and Synthmaster Player.


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3047855 06/06/20 10:51 PM
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Really impressed by this Lady App-titude track. The IOS community is very active, with lots of users, but few have a harmonic sense this sophisticated. Live sax overdubbed by a guest musician.

https://ladyapp-titude.bandcamp.com/track/visions-of-the-future-feat-brian-grace

Her comments:

"The original inspiration was a single sentence uttered by Jakob Haq (“I’m having visions of the future”), which I then sampled, sliced, and manipulated using Kontakt and various effects.

I remember I used iMaschine for drums, UVI Falcon, Animoog, and Synthmaster for synths, and TC-11. TC-11 has a feature called “Device Motion Controllers” where you can modulate the sound using the iPad's accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, and I remember waiving the iPad around in space to get various effects. The bass guitar at the beginning came from iFretless Bass.

The real instruments were electric guitar (Fender Stratocaster) and saxophone by Brain Grace. I knew I wanted sax, and Brian was the perfect man for the job. He’s in LA and I’m in NYC, so his parts were overdubbed remotely from his studio. He improvised three takes, which I comped together for the final, and then there were a couple of short passages where I composed specific riffs for him. It all went surprisingly well, and he did an outstanding job, which turned out to be exactly what the track needed. If you need sax for your track, he is available for online sessions for a reasonable fee. Highly recommended."

Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3049439 06/17/20 10:42 PM
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This is great stuff, Gov! Thanks for the link. It's worth remembering that as nice as ambient throb can be, it ain't all there is.


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3054372 07/16/20 12:17 PM
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Slightly OT as it’s more geared toward live performance, but there’s a thread about iPad live rigs over on KC and I thought it would also be useful to share my recent post here, since there may be an alternate perspective:

Decided to use an iPad synth rig for an upcoming gig I’m playing. I’m sitting in with a local band I had a brief stint as a full time keyboardist for about five years ago. The married singer and guitarist are holding an invite-only outdoor event on their property, with lots of wide open outdoor space so everyone can maintain social distancing and such.

This will be my first actual gig using Keystage as a set list/midi management app, so it’s good that I’m going simple: just my Seaboard to control Moog Model D (mostly) and occasionally Roli Noise and Mellowsound Mellotron samples hosted in AUM (since those apps are weak on MIDI and preset management when standalone).

Mostly working well, with the occasional stuck note (the Moog app couldn’t handle me using the seaboard like a set of congas). Also having some major zippering issues when I try to use Keystage’s XY pad for filter and resonance sweeps in Model D, but I’m not sure if that’s a memory limitation on my 2017 iPad Mini or just conflict with my Seaboard also sending information to the cc resonance is mapped to.But I love Model D and setting the iPad on top of the Wurlitzer is much less stressful than setting my MacBook up. I’m running from the headphone out in mono to my talkbox with an 1/8th inch TRS to quarter inch cable, then out to the amp from the talkbox output.

Something I didn’t mention over on KC: I’d run the iPad audio in stereo if I could. But since the talkbox is mono I/O, dealing with the additional breakout cables and panning I’d have to program into my patches to make it happen doesn’t seem worth it. Besides, I’m mostly playing Minimoog sounds, and they ain’t stereo. But there are definitely moments when I miss my MacBook, OB-Xd, a separate audio out for the talkbox, and a glorious stereo spread on my sawtooth pads...

Since I’ll have a Wurlitzer and a clonewheel for the rest of the sounds, this is a great way to travel light with some powerful synth patches I can easily adjust song by song. Still skeptical I could make this work if I were trying to run the electric piano sounds off of the iPad simultaneously, though, at least not without a higher-powered tablet. Maybe in a year or two I’ll see what the non-Intel models have to offer...


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
SamuelBLupowitz #3054537 07/16/20 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SamuelBLupowitz
Slightly OT as it’s more geared toward live performance, but there’s a thread about iPad live rigs over on KC and I thought it would also be useful to share my recent post here, since there may be an alternate perspective:

Decided to use an iPad synth rig for an upcoming gig I’m playing. I’m sitting in with a local band I had a brief stint as a full time keyboardist for about five years ago. The married singer and guitarist are holding an invite-only outdoor event on their property, with lots of wide open outdoor space so everyone can maintain social distancing and such.

This will be my first actual gig using Keystage as a set list/midi management app, so it’s good that I’m going simple: just my Seaboard to control Moog Model D (mostly) and occasionally Roli Noise and Mellowsound Mellotron samples hosted in AUM (since those apps are weak on MIDI and preset management when standalone).

Mostly working well, with the occasional stuck note (the Moog app couldn’t handle me using the seaboard like a set of congas). Also having some major zippering issues when I try to use Keystage’s XY pad for filter and resonance sweeps in Model D, but I’m not sure if that’s a memory limitation on my 2017 iPad Mini or just conflict with my Seaboard also sending information to the cc resonance is mapped to.But I love Model D and setting the iPad on top of the Wurlitzer is much less stressful than setting my MacBook up. I’m running from the headphone out in mono to my talkbox with an 1/8th inch TRS to quarter inch cable, then out to the amp from the talkbox output.

Something I didn’t mention over on KC: I’d run the iPad audio in stereo if I could. But since the talkbox is mono I/O, dealing with the additional breakout cables and panning I’d have to program into my patches to make it happen doesn’t seem worth it. Besides, I’m mostly playing Minimoog sounds, and they ain’t stereo. But there are definitely moments when I miss my MacBook, OB-Xd, a separate audio out for the talkbox, and a glorious stereo spread on my sawtooth pads...

Since I’ll have a Wurlitzer and a clonewheel for the rest of the sounds, this is a great way to travel light with some powerful synth patches I can easily adjust song by song. Still skeptical I could make this work if I were trying to run the electric piano sounds off of the iPad simultaneously, though, at least not without a higher-powered tablet. Maybe in a year or two I’ll see what the non-Intel models have to offer...
I hope it works well for you, Sam... that talkbox is a bit of a bottleneck to be sure, but nobody ever died from playing a monosynth in mono. grin

Just one question: why do you have to give up OB-Xd for this gig? It runs fine on my iPads and doesn't have a huge CPU hit... still a trifle buggy at this stage but oodles of potential.

Going off to look up Mellowsound now....


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3054549 07/16/20 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by SamuelBLupowitz
Mellowsound Mellotron
Going off to look up Mellowsound now....
GYAAAH! Best $5.99 spent in App Store in recent memory! Must see if they get MIDI control right in AUM ... but a great value for way way less than Streetlytron Pro!

Thanks, Sam!


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3054627 07/17/20 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Just one question: why do you have to give up OB-Xd for this gig? It runs fine on my iPads and doesn't have a huge CPU hit... still a trifle buggy at this stage but oodles of potential.
Well I'll be darned. Since OB-Xd was my favorite free desktop app find of quarantine (and suddenly meant I had a synth on my MacBook I liked as much as the Moog on my iPad), it didn't even occur to me to look for a mobile version. Since I've received such joy out of it for no money thus far, might as well spend the $7 to add it to my mobile arsenal. Now if only I could get Model D on my MacBook for a comparable price...
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Going off to look up Mellowsound now....
GYAAAH! Best $5.99 spent in App Store in recent memory! Must see if they get MIDI control right in AUM ... but a great value for way way less than Streetlytron Pro!
Yup, pretty sure the price differential between that and Streetlytron is how I wound up with that app in the first place. When I went on an App Spree back in March or April, I was considering replacing it with Streetlytron, but as soon as I realized I could use AUM to manage the Mellowsound presets using MIDI, I was like "how often do I really need anything other than strings, flutes, and choirs?"


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3055731 07/25/20 08:22 PM
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Update on yesterday’s gig using an iPad-based synth setup.

All things considered, it went well. Like I said, the gig mostly relied on Hammond (my Mojo) and Wurlitzer (a Wurlitzer), but a bunch of the songs had simple but crucial synth parts. I mostly used Model D for mono synths and pads as it’s the best sounding and most reliable synth app I have — Volt and OB-Xd have too many issues with MIDI and/or CPU management, and Synth One is great but doesn’t have the je ne sais quois for me. I used Roli Noise for a few patches that I wanted more MPE expression, like some Peter Gabriel flute action, and my beloved Funk VoxBox Bass patch. Noise has no MIDI compatibility, so I have to wrap it in AUM to change patches and parameters with Keystage.

I used Keystage as a wrapper for midi control and set list management. Keystage is definitely what makes using these apps in a gig setting possible. I only have two gripes, one minor and one major. The minor one: when I try to use the app’s very handy XY control surface to control parameters in model D on certain patches, I get crazy zippering, to the point that it’s essentially unusable. The major gripe (not entirely a problem with the app itself): my AirTurn pedal that I use to move through patches in Mainstage is really a Bluetooth keyboard and doesn’t send midi messages, so it didn’t work with Keystage. Which meant that every time a new song or section came up, I had to use a hand to stab at the iPad and hope I got the button. Keystage also gives you an alert message in set list mode to confirm that you definitely want to load the next song in the set; forgetting about that or not hitting “ok” just right led to some close shaves starting certain tunes.

Sound check was smooth; during the set, Noise was unresponsive off the bat (No Peter Gabriel flute) and had to reload AUM to get it working. The biggest frustration happened during the final song, which has a calliope-like synth hook in the outro I had been looking forward to unleashing — somehow, Model D transposed the patch up a fourth (!). I’ve had that happen to me when using that app with the Seaboard and Mainstage; I think it has something to do with the seaboard pitch bend messages not returning to zero, but I couldn’t get it back to center during the song and had to play the part on the other organ manual, which didn’t have quite the same effect. It was a bummer and I’d like to figure out how to stop it from happening in the future.

All things considered, though, I’m glad I gave it a go; I have a few more gigs with this band while they’re off the road this summer so I’ll keep building on this rig. I’m glad I decided to try this out, because my MacBook died the day before the gig; if I’d been planning on using Mainstage I’d have been SOL. And even when things don’t go as planned, I could always rely on a talkbox solo to make the band and the audience happy...

Also, MAN it was good to play in front of people again.


Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3056944 08/03/20 02:23 AM
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I'm finally jumping on to the miRack bandwagon. It started as a port of VCV Rack to IOS, then some weird drama happened between the miRack developer and somebody on the VCV Rack team. Anywayyyyy....

I'm finding this may be an effective way to cure myself of GAS for a Eurorack modular, especially since just about all the Mutable Instruments modules that I want to use are included without extra charge.

Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
SamuelBLupowitz #3056998 08/03/20 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SamuelBLupowitz
Update on yesterday’s gig using an iPad-based synth setup.

All things considered, it went well.
Glad it went so smoothly, Sam! You're doing different things than I do with your iPad, so you've run into hiccups that I haven't, but I bet they are all soluble problems.


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
SamuelBLupowitz #3057002 08/03/20 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SamuelBLupowitz
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Just one question: why do you have to give up OB-Xd for this gig? It runs fine on my iPads and doesn't have a huge CPU hit... still a trifle buggy at this stage but oodles of potential.
Well I'll be darned. Since OB-Xd was my favorite free desktop app find of quarantine (and suddenly meant I had a synth on my MacBook I liked as much as the Moog on my iPad), it didn't even occur to me to look for a mobile version. Since I've received such joy out of it for no money thus far, might as well spend the $7 to add it to my mobile arsenal. Now if only I could get Model D on my MacBook for a comparable price...
As I mentioned in another thread, I think moving iOS apps to macOS is not a good idea on the musical side of things, at least until Macs converge with iPads and get multitouch screens, which they will do eventually. I am using computer-based plug-in synths less and less; they're just too hard to tweak, program, innovate, and create with in a smooth and comfortable manner without a multitouch screen. My list of "I can't live without it" Mac VIs is shrinking rapidly rather than growing, and I keep hoping for iOS apps that will get rid of the last few. But until GForce migrates M-Tron Pro to iOS, that's not going to happen completely.

Talking of which...
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Going off to look up Mellowsound now....
GYAAAH! Best $5.99 spent in App Store in recent memory! Must see if they get MIDI control right in AUM ... but a great value for way way less than Streetlytron Pro!
Quote
Yup, pretty sure the price differential between that and Streetlytron is how I wound up with that app in the first place. When I went on an App Spree back in March or April, I was considering replacing it with Streetlytron, but as soon as I realized I could use AUM to manage the Mellowsound presets using MIDI, I was like "how often do I really need anything other than strings, flutes, and choirs?"
My use of Tron sounds is bimodal. Much of the time I do play back basic strings, flute, choir, flute, piano, flute, vibes, and flute, with some reverb over the top, and call it good. But when I want to do serious Tron sound design, there are a gazillion tape racks that Streetly has put into M-Tron Pro that are not available in Streetlytron Pro (yet? Ever? Different software developer, same provider of sounds) and that I really miss... for that, I fire up Ableton and M-Tron Pro and just do it. But someday....


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
GovernorSilver #3057004 08/03/20 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
I'm finally jumping on to the miRack bandwagon. It started as a port of VCV Rack to IOS, then some weird drama happened between the miRack developer and somebody on the VCV Rack team. Anywayyyyy....

I'm finding this may be an effective way to cure myself of GAS for a Eurorack modular, especially since just about all the Mutable Instruments modules that I want to use are included without extra charge.
Let me know if it works for you in the long run! My experiences have been less than stellar....

I have miRack (and VCV) and Audulus 3 and zMORS Modular and Factory and and and. Never use ANY of them. The only occasional twitch I get about modular is for the tactile experience of patching, and that's not enough for me to buy a rack enclosure and go down the freaking rabbit hole. I have too many friends who are now doing stuff that is SO not my thing, and are very happy doing it, but that's just not me.

It may get to the point where I get a couple of Moog Mother-32s or some shit if my jones gets bad enough, but right now, naaaah. As I said, tell the forum if you find this workable (and can post links to example sounds or pieces), please.


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Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3057016 08/03/20 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
I'm finally jumping on to the miRack bandwagon. It started as a port of VCV Rack to IOS, then some weird drama happened between the miRack developer and somebody on the VCV Rack team. Anywayyyyy....

I'm finding this may be an effective way to cure myself of GAS for a Eurorack modular, especially since just about all the Mutable Instruments modules that I want to use are included without extra charge.
Let me know if it works for you in the long run! My experiences have been less than stellar....

I have miRack (and VCV) and Audulus 3 and zMORS Modular and Factory and and and. Never use ANY of them. The only occasional twitch I get about modular is for the tactile experience of patching, and that's not enough for me to buy a rack enclosure and go down the freaking rabbit hole. I have too many friends who are now doing stuff that is SO not my thing, and are very happy doing it, but that's just not me.

It may get to the point where I get a couple of Moog Mother-32s or some shit if my jones gets bad enough, but right now, naaaah. As I said, tell the forum if you find this workable (and can post links to example sounds or pieces), please.

I've had my share of false starts w/ modular synth apps - the closest thing to an exception being the iMS-20 app, which led to the purchase of a real MS-20 Mini which I still love to play with. These false starts helped me stay way from the modular money pit, or what one friend calls the EuroCrack habit.

What got me thinking about modular again was this video that was posted to Reddit. It's ironic that a musician who I'd previously thought was just another shred metal guitarist would be the one to make me think modular again:



Beside finding the demo song and tones to be appealing, the finishing blow was Sarah's quick walkthrough over her modular.

I'd seen other videos showing a modular being used as a composition tool featuring the likes of Mark Isham and Alessandro Cortini, but Sarah's breakdown really impressed upon me that I could use it as a songwriting tool, instead of just bleeps and bloops, as much as I love the bleepin and the bloopin. The other thing that kept me away from modular stuff is not having a particular vision as to how I would use it in my music, and now I have a vision. I know which oscillators I want - the MI Rings and Dreadbox Hysteria VCO. I know I want a sequencer or two to drive them, preferably something capable of a full-length piece of music, not just some 16-step repetitive pattern. I know I want at least one of the Dreadbox filter modules because I love that Dreadbox sound for analog stuff. I just have to work out what modules to get for modulation, envelopes, and utility jobs.

This is where miRack comes in. I can prototype probably 90% of what I would want in a physical modular.

I love this tutorial. This gentlemen is one of the rare Youtube teachers who really starts you from ground zero. He walks you through at such a relaxed pace with a soothing voice. Most other Youtube teachers tend to rush too much


Re: Current iOS apps! What do YOU use?
Dr Mike Metlay #3057148 08/04/20 07:05 PM
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I chose to this for my next miRack tutorial to watch and I got enough out of it to get a Rings module looked up and triggered by a simple sequencer and quantizer. I'm pleasantly surprised how easy it is to operate stuff in this app


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