Made with Loopy HD on an iPad:
Made with Loopy HD on an iPad:
This is a rough demo of a song I am working on at the moment called “Notes from a season in hell”.
The song was composed and recorded all in Tabletop using the new Arturia iMini, XOX Drum Deranger, and Magic Mic. The guitars and bass were recorded through a Line6 POD X3 through an iRig interface.
I am really excited about the new Tabletop
At the moment I am spending a lot of time fine tuning my live iOS rig that I use in my band Moon Over Wires and my iOS recording project, Cult of Janelle. Moon Over Wires is an ambient rock band. We use a lot reverse guitar samples with cavernous reverb and endless delays. To recreate this live I have spent hours app-exploring, sampling and sound-scaping guitar parts that I have recorded. We also use a lot of orchestral instruments. What I love about my iOS KeyRig is that I dont have to drag a laptop, rack-mount sound modules, or five different keyboards (a la Nick Rhodes style) each time we play a gig. So for this ACMEM post I thought I would give you an overview of how I am using my iPad2 in a live context.
In honor of the aforementioned Nick Rhodes, I have named my tri-stand keyboard/iPad rig “Duran Duran” :) Here is the walk through.
M-Audio ProKeys Sono 88
On the bottom rung of the rig is my M-Audio ProKeys Sono 88, which is a digital piano. I am currently using the onboard piano sounds, at least until ik Multimedia fix the current bugs in Sampletank and iGrand Piano, (meaning that whilst both apps run in background audio and have virtual and core midi, you cannot run both apps together ie. one will cancel out the other - which is a shame because iGrand Piano is an absolute favorite of mine).
Line6 MobileKeys 49
I really love the action of this keyboard, and particularly because it is iOS ready and friendly. With other M-Audio midi keyboards I was using, I was running into compatibility problems, in that plugging a USB midi keyboard into the CCK of the iPad was causing all sorts of weird problems from error messages to no sound being produced from an app, to not being able to control the volume of the iPad.
ik Multimedia Sampletank
I have got my MobileKeys on Midi channel 16 and I am using it to trigger Sampletank. As you might notice, Sampletank is at the heart of my sound module. I am not entirely happy with this for a few reasons. Unfortunately, whilst the Desktop Version of Sampletank allows you greater control over the sounds and larger volume of sounds to choose from, the iOS version is currently limited by a smaller sound library (smaller library? how many fkn string/key/marimba patches does one need?!!). What I mean is that the piano library does not hold a candle to iGrand Piano, and the current String patches are pretty cheesy. The other problem with Sampletank is the stability of its current version. For example, since its first release have had to delete and re-install the app because, the app kept crashing at the startup (I dont know why this is the case, my suspicion is the annoying in-app advertising by ik Multimedia that greets you when loading up the app). That said, despite the bugs this is an essential app for me. I love being able to have the ability to access/ trigger four different sound banks at anytime. I was originally using BS-161, and had access to 16 sounds channels, but I found the fromage of the sound fonts a little too strong for my liking. For live use, I am using four different Sampletank sound banks, Brass, Chromatic, Organs and Synth Pads.
On the third rung of Duran Duran, I have my iPad, iRigMix and Korg NanoKey. I am using NanoKey to trigger Pad sounds from Sampletank, and bass drones from iMS-20 (for the newer songs that we haven’t played live yet). I am undecided at the moment as to whether I will stick with the NanoKey or use a NanoPad in its place so I can use the XY Pad and hold functions.
I have a Beatsurfing midi map for almost everything in my life (ha ha). Apart from being a wonderful app and excellent midi mapper/ trigger etc Beatsurfing is a brilliant procrastination tool.
I use BS to trigger multiple sound banks at a time. It is mapped to Sampletank, Thumbjam and Samplewiz. In its current version (at the time of writing) there is no trigger buttons to trigger multiple notes to make chords. So what I have done is made chords by creating a circle for each of the notes I want to make chords for. I then have created buttons that trigger the notes through the GOTO and TRIG CURRENT NOTE functions in the behaviours submenu. Below are some screen shots. I have also created some cc faders to control volume, panning and tuning, and reverb levels in Sampletank, Thumbjam and Samplewiz.
The beauty of Beatsurfing is I can create instrument ensembles across different apps without having to switch between apps or dial up sounds. I just set and forget.
Without a doubt another essential app! My only wish was that it allowed you to have more than two instruments available at the same time (through different midi channels). At the moment I am using the beautiful Zoe Keating’s cello samples (which sound one billion times better than Sampletank’s strings). In the second sound slot I trigger flute samples.
Samplewiz and Samplr
Of the active apps that I use in my live setup, the only two apps that I actually control with the touch screen are Beatsurfing and Samplr. I play Samplr live (it would be a sin to trigger it externally). I use the bow function to manipulate guitar loops with a lot of delay and reverb.
I keep Samplewiz running in the background and trigger it with BeatSurfing when I need to use it. At the moment I am using my own samples that I have created with Borderlands or iPulsaret.
I run the audio out my iPad2 and the audio out of the ProKeys into line one and two of my ik Multimedia iRigMix. I am not a DJ, but using the iRigMix as a sub-mixer is really handy in a live context. I use the cross fader as a fader/mute for the iPad when I am using a sound that has a lot of reverb or delay. For me it is a lot better than playing around with levels. It’s also good for me with certain sounds that have high volume envelopes (eg strings) that I can pull back whenever I need to.
Thats it for now, back to mixing our debut EP. Will keep you posted…
I whipped this one up quickly using BIP, PPG WaveMapper and MT DAW through Audiobus. I really love the sounds of this app. Particularly SmiteMatters ‘Never Cry Wolf’ preset which features here.
Really really excited about BIP and Audiobus!!
So, the other night I began this blog by talking about how to find the best deals out of the AppStore. Well today I am going to flip that conversation on its head and talk about App Addiction.
“App Addiction? WTF, since your last post I have spent the last three days trawling Twitter for deals and now you are saying that is a bad thing!!”
Well, as this blog is about creating iOS music I don’t want it to be just about discussing apps, I want to talk about music creation and this includes the things that feed creation and hinder it. I am also writing this piece particularly for my own benefit.
To get started, here are some questions to think about:
’Who cares?’ you might ask, when it is only a matter of $1 or $15. Well, coming from a self professed App addict, I can safely say that I have wasted more time and money researching, purchasing, mucking around with new apps then actually doing what I set out to do with my iPad, that is, make music. The money adds up, and before you know it you can find yourself a consumer of apps rather than an app user. I write this, not from a soapbox, but with the full awareness that I will probably check AppShopper two seconds after I wake up tomorrow morning!!
So the message from the last post is, use the resources of Twitter-land and blogsphere to get started and save money. Experiment and play around with different combinations, because no one app is going to everything you want it to do, unless its NanoStudio ;). Just don’t end up like me, with hundreds of apps, and billions of 10 second loops that you forget you even wrote. My advice for musicians starting out on iOS is to buy Audiobus and checkout its supported database, you will find a wonderful pool of apps to start out with there.
I am writing this post with a dated piece of hardware, the iPAD 2. I am watching a new wave of apps come through which overclock my once advanced piece of technology, and I am finding myself thinking, “its probably time to buy an iPAD mini so I can run Auria with Audiobus”.
But now having written this piece I am thinking that I might just be content with what I have got, at least until it stops working and I am forced to upgrade. After all, when I actually take stock and spend time with what I have got, I can produce music in minutes that in the past, with all my old analog and midi gear, would have taken me hours to create.
Next post I will talk about what I am using at the moment.
I often get asked what music apps would you recommend?
My answer is often, what do you want to do with music creation apps?
Are you wanting apps for serious production, live use, songwriting, DJ’ing or just plain old fun?
So, you have got a new iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and you don’t know where to start? Before you start maxing out your credit card on iTunes purchases, following these three crucial steps:
1. if you haven’t already done so, get a Twitter account. Why? Because everything you want to know about iOS music apps can be found on Twitter. Not only will you save so much money (iOS blogs provide price drop updates and giveaway codes daily), you will also stay abreast as to what is going on in the app world. Once you have a Twitter account, follow these three bloggers:
These guys are brilliant.
For those of you who want an excellent buyers guide, follow these guys:
Another great tool is Tapatalk. I use this daily to log into the iOS Musicians Forum. This is a great place to chat with other iOS musicians, get app-advice, swap ideas and patches and troubleshoot.
2. Get yourself an AppShopper app, you will thank me for all the money you have saved!!! In most cases you do not have to pay at full price. Many developers will drop their prices regularly throughout the year for example on special days like Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas etc (eg. Korg, ik Multimedia). Some developers do it almost weekly in an attempt to shoot their app up the Top App lists on the App Store, and then there are some developers who never or very very rarely drop their prices (e.g. SoundTrends, Wizdom Music, Liine, The Strange Agency etc).
My favourite Appshopper apps on the iTunes store are the ones that let you save a wish list and offer push notifications to let you know when a much coveted app is on sale. Sadly AppShopper is not in the Australian store at the moment, but other worthy mentions include:
I downloaded AppAdvice, but only used it a couple of times as I found that the app list roundups were dated.
3. Check out the iOS Musician App lists. Shaun is an incredible resource!! He has categorised all the music production making apps according to key features which are essential to the iOS musician. If you are serious about making music on your iPad, this resource will save you a lot of time.
Whenever I want to find an App that does something particular, like run in the background, or has virtual midi or core midi, I crosscheck Shaun’s app lists before I head to the AppStore or wish-list an app.
Have fun :)
This is me and a little bit about what I do
Um I am not sure how this is supposed to work, I mean this in the broadest possible sense