Ampify has announced version 7.0 of Launchpad for iOS, one of the biggest music-making apps on the iOS App Store. This new update brings an improved design, making it easier than ever for music makers around the world to make and remix music. The gorgeous new design takes advantage of Apple’s latest graphics technology, introducing […]
AudioKit has released FM Player: Classic DX, a completely free multi-sampled DX7-inspired instrument app. The app includes over 50 sounds, multi-sampled from a DX7, a DX7II, and some bonus TX81z presets. Beautiful Free iPad instrument featuring the classic sounds of famous 80s FM Synthesizers. FM Player: Classic DX features Faithful recordings of famous classic presets […]
Zerodebug has released Soda, a modular DJ application for iOS that lets the user customize pretty much everything to his/her own taste. You’d want more easily accessible Cue-points? A longer volume fader? A secondary waveform that is completely zoomed in? Not an issue – soda will adapt to your needs. From a basic single-deck to […]
Soda for iOS is the first DJ app that is whatever you want it to be – with fully customizable interfaces, powerful specs, AU plug-ins, and Ableton Link.
The need for something new
Let’s be honest: we’re not exactly at the high water mark for DJ software. Even vinyl (not digital vinyl – like the stuff you hurt your back carrying) seems to be on a stronger upswing than DJ software. The Pioneer CDJ reigns supreme, to the extent that you can get laughed out of a club when you show up with a computer.
And software, instead of seeming innovative, is looking awfully rigid. You’re generally stuck with pre-fabbed interfaces and hardware mappings. Innovation seems to be slowing. And then there’s the laptop itself – requiring a separate audio interface, driver configuration, and physical space in the booth that often isn’t there.
Tablets running iOS and Windows could offer solace. But so far, iOS and Windows touch-based apps have focused on entry-level users, either to avoid cannibalizing high-end products (TRAKTOR, Rekordbox) or in an attempt to attract casual DJs.
Your way, right away?
A new DJ app called Soda goes a different direction – it’s built from the ground up to be a series, flexible app, but on a mobile/touch platform. It comes from the developers of the Modstep sequencer/production tool and Ableton Live controller app touchAble. And as a result, since those developers work… in my office – I’ve been watching it evolve from the very first sketch and have gotten some hands-on time with it. And much to my own surprise, it’s made me reconsider the value of touch DJ software at a time when I’d more or less written it off.
The basic idea of Soda: let the user tailor the DJ software to their needs, instead of the other way around.
First, how many decks do you want? You can choose from one to an absurd eight.
How do you want to mix? You choose: switch off sync and use pitch, or turn sync on and let everything be automatic. Time stretch to keep things locked to key, or use pitch to change speed. And when sync is on, you can even choose what quantization you want for tracks – just like launch quantization of clips in Ableton Live.
What should the screen look like? Vertical decks? Horizontal decks? Effects controls? Library? Instead of giving you a handful of pre-selected options, Soda ships with a complete interface editor, so you choose what you see and how, and every element on the screen can be moved and resized.
Do you want to focus on the screen and touch? There’s a color waveform display, which you can cue and zoom with your fingers.
Do you prefer MIDI controller hardware? Every single element on-screen can be MIDI mapped, opening up endless custom MIDI configurations.
Effects work more the way they do in traditional production tools. You get two send effects chains, with five internal effects (Delay, Reverb, Phaser, Flanger, EQ 3) and Audio Unit support (AUv3). And you can browse both the iTunes music library and new Files support on iOS 11.
Cue points and loop points are more powerful, too – you get 16 per deck and per track, you can name them, and cue points can be both cue points and work for loops.
From there, you have all the features you’d expect – recording, playlist management, key and BPM detection, compatibility with all iOS-compatible (Core Audio/Core MIDI) audio and MIDI devices, cueing, and split cable support (in case you don’t have an audio interface for separate cueing).
But let’s back up: this is generally more powerful than a lot of desktop DJ software available now. Certainly, it bests the deck and cue capabilities of leading tools Serato and TRAKTOR, and that’s before you get into the interface customization capabilities.
There’s also a video walkthrough from the beta:
Who’s this for?
I’m not suggesting iPads will unseat CDJs any time soon. But Soda doesn’t have to do that to be a radical new solution. I can see a number of use cases here:
On-the-go prep and mixing. For one, you’ve finally got an ideal mobile app for preparing music and practicing on the road. It’s also ideal for that situation where someone asks you for a DJ mix and… you’re not near decks. You get an interface that’s tremendously customizable, and the ability to differentiate that mix by adding effects and the like. Plus, while you can’t sync cue points this way, iTunes support means you can sync libraries with a desktop machine to bring into Rekordbox (for use with CDJs) or other DJ software (if you must).
Mobile computer replacement for DJing. Laptops are awkward in a booth, especially if the DJ software maker (cough) locks you into unwieldy, big controllers. But an iPad or Windows tablet is far easier. And you could pair Soda with some compact DJ controllers, like Faderfox.
Hybrid sets. Here, Soda really excels. The flexibility with decks and audio effect support make Soda a powerful DJ add-on. And Ableton Link support means you can wirelessly sync to live sets on a laptop running Ableton Live … or a laptop running Reason, or an iPad running Modstep, or whatever. There’s no MIDI clock support for running Soda alongside, say, an Elektron Octatrack, but developers say that should appear in an update soon.
Live sets and sampling. Of course, who says this is really even a “DJ app” in the conventional sense? With all that loop and name-able cue support, eight decks, and effects, you could use Soda with stems or backing tracks for your live set, or think of the “decks” as samplers. It could be an ideal production tool on iOS.
The iPad should be a great platform for this app, particularly with the rich app and effect ecosystem there. But if you prefer Windows, Soda won’t necessarily be wedded to iOS forever. The core software is developed in C, and is largely platform agnostic, with Windows support planned (and already privately tested). As Microsoft improves Surface and other partners deliver tablets and hybrids, that could be a strong option. It’s doubly encouraging not to be locked to one vendor, given Apple’s recent shaky OS quality and frequent updates.
Stay tuned – I’ll do a full hands-on / review soon. I’m also very interested in custom controller support, so we’ll talk about that soon – and possibly enlist some of the CDM community, if you’re interested.
For now, the app is a measly US$9.99 – for an app that (at least in some categories) objective bests alternatives costing many times that.
The post Why Soda could finally make you take DJ apps seriously again appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Stefan Stenzel, co-founder/CTO of Waldorf Music, and Pea Hicks, self-styled custodian of all things Optigan, have announced iOptigan, an adaptation of the Optigan for iOS. The Optigan is an early-70s vintage chord organ with a unique system of sound reproduction using optical discs. These LP-sized film discs were optically encoded with 57 concentric tracks, which […]
Waves Audio has announced that Waves is now available for iOS. With the release of the latest version of Steinberg’s award-winning sequencer app for the iPad, Cubasis and Cubasis LE users can now purchase three in-app plugins by Waves. Cubasis is Steinberg’s sequencer app for iPad, similar to its Cubase music production system, providing the […]
Yonac has released Kauldron, a new synthesizer instrument that offers analog-modeling, punchy and honest synth tones, a superb selection of modulation options, revolutionary A.I. based preset generation, and universal & AUv3 plugin all in one package. Yonac has been working long and hard to develop Kauldron’s completely new virtual-analog technology, resulting in its warmest, punchiest […]
Zaplin Music has released an update of its Triqtraq – Jam Sequencer app, which now comes with support for the Allihoopa platform. With the free update, Triqtraq users can now drop tracks to Allihoopa to share their music and give other music-makers the possibility to build upon it. Allihoopa is a social network allowing music […]
Apple’s music production tool gets a new step sequencer for rhythms, sound libraries, and Eastern touch instruments – plus it looks good on the iPhone X.
The first thing to know about GarageBand is, it’s everywhere. Apple’s generous availability of its serious, beginner-friendly producer tool means theoretically anyone with an iPad or iPhone might wind up using it. And that makes this potentially the biggest entry point to music software available (though it’s tough to say how exactly how many people take Apple up on it in practice).
For newcomers, the main reason this update matters: you get a convenient new interface for programming rhythms, some new touch instruments, and a bunch of new sound libraries.
For more advanced mobile users, none of that may be exciting, so let me put it this way: GarageBand is right now probably your best starting point for hosting Audio Unit (AU) plug-in instruments and effects. In fact, this update allows the use of full-screen interfaces, so you can use all that screen real estate – especially nice if you’re on, say, an iPad Pro. Moog’s Model 15, which I’ll write about separately, just added support for extensions to the AU format that allow rescaling, so now you can put that big, tasty Moog interface across the whole screen, then use GarageBand for recording and arrangement.
Here’s what’s new:
Sound libraries. Now, you get an iTunes-like interface where you can choose libraries to install. That’s increasingly the norm across desktop software, and it’s even more essential on mobile devices with limited space. (I’ve uninstalled quite a few apps, just because they had enormous libraries attached to them.)
Apple is touting a bunch of new libraries to choose from, as well. They all include some combination of loops, sounds/presets, and touch instruments. There are also new Drummers, those automated percussion arrangers we’ve seen in Logic – now with Pop, Songwriter, and Latin styles.
Naturally, this covers the bases you’d expect, from pop/rock and instrumental selections to dance production. They’re all free to download. (These just come from Apple, not third parties – but then once you’re ready to grow, of course, you have the rest of the iOS music ecosystem.)
Also worth noting: when you migrate projects back to GarageBand or Logic on the desktop (including sharing with someone else), the sounds come with the projects.
New Asian Touch instruments. GarageBand’s music production tools are okay, though they’ve got a lot of competition. One place where Apple really shines – and the thing that’s fun to play with even if the rest might bore you – is their touch instruments. They’re just a lot of fun. Now you get, from Japan, Koto and Taiko Drums, and from China, Guzheng.
Clearly, both the Chinese and Japanese markets are growing, especially in mobile, which may be relevant here. But these are also clearly ready for anyone who wants these sounds, too.
Some tips here:
Installation required. To save space, these aren’t all there by default. Using that new Sound Library feature, you can install some of the optional choices (Japanese Traditional, Chinese Traditional).
The instruments are found in different spots. Once installed, you’ll find the Koto and Guzheng added as icons under “World,” the Taiko Drums under “Drums,” then “More Sounds > Japanese Traditional.”
Set the scale. There’s a scale selection option so you can constrain the notes you play, for authenticity or … not.
Record away. Even if you’re not a big GarageBand user, it’s fun having instruments like this – and those based on Alchemy and other instruments in Logic – available when you tether your iPad to your desktop, too. So try the new audio driver available in iOS 11 to record, or try a tool like studiomux.
Beat Sequencer. This is just a step sequencer for the drum parts – one that’s kind of overdue in GarageBand. It’s very easy to approach for new users, though.
If you want to dive in deeper, there’s more hidden there:
Tap for more settings per row. Here, you can determine playback direction/random steps, and customize the kit sound and step length.
Save patterns. Record to a song, or save directly in the pattern browser. The latter is nice if you want to make a bunch of patterns on the go, then import them for arrangement later.
Live audition. You can audition different kits without stopping the sequencer and hear the results live.
Step edit. There are actually a lot of per-step edit functions: Velocity, Note Repeat (for sub-step rhythms), Chance (the likelihood it will play), and Loop Start/End.
16-64 step length. The pattern length can be extended, too. Oh, and this is interesting: it automatically copies steps when you expand.
To me, this sequencer is probably the best feature in the update.
iOS 11 support. So, that convenient Files thing – you can now use that to use a Mac-style file system on your iPad and iPhone, at last.
iPhone X. Yes, the GarageBand interface has been adjusted so it looks great on that ultra-high res display on the iPhone X. Or so I’ve been told… I’m still on a 6S.
For Logic users. In addition to porting your projects back to GarageBand on your Mac, you can open them in Logic, too.
Logic Remote also gets some updates: chord strips on iPhone displays for touch control, not just on iPad, and Super Retina support on iPhone X.
It has to go to eleven. There’s just one catch: you will need iOS 11. I’ve had some pretty significant reliability issues on an iPhone 6, and confirmed those with some other developers and testers. (I’ve just updated to 11.1, and hope that fixes this.) So, serious mobile music producers, you might want to sit on this for a little bit. (I’ve heard fewer reports from the iPad, but you’ll want to make sure all the apps you use are 64-bit ready, as the update drops 32-bit support.)
Compatible hardware: iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation), iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, and iPod touch (6th generation). You just have to be happy with iOS 11.
GarageBand is available for free today on the App Store.
The post GarageBand on iOS adds powerful sequencer and a lot more sounds appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Jérémy Pinat has released version 1.2 of Ton, a drum machine for the iPad that offers an advanced sample-sculpting engine. The update makes it possible to import custom samples (in-app purchase required), as well as various improvements to the step-sequencer, timing accuracy, tempo range, graphics, and more. Each one of the 6 available tracks have […]