Noir is part bass, part drum synth – a must-have iOS drum machine

Dark, crunchy, synthetic sounds, grooves that morph somewhere in the shadows between bass line and percussion pattern – Ruismaker Noir is exactly the sort of drum machine you’d want with you at all times. And as it’s an iOS app, you can take it with you.

Here’s the idea: what if the drum synth were also a monophonic synth? And what if you could morph between those, for basslines that start to get edgier and more rhythmic, or rhythmic lines that start to get more melodic? And what if you had an integrated sequencer so you could mess with both of those at once (including all the mighty morphing modulation)? Well, uh, obviously the answer to that would be yes, please, I would want that.

Noir is the latest in the Ruismaker line from Dutch developer/designer Bram Bos. Bram has had a series of synthesis-focused drum machine apps for iOS mobile, and as if that weren’t already enough experience for you, he has a long history of plug-in development dating back to one of the first software drum machines ever.

But that’s the thing about developing electronic instruments – it’s often not about a single breakthrough but lots and lots of iteration. So Noir is the most full-featured of the Ruismaker series yet, but also reaches a new level of playability and sound. Sorry, that sounds like marketing copy, but having used Bram’s stuff over the years, I mean that from first-hand experience – I’ve watched him add those details and refine ideas as he goes.

And it comes at the right moment. You hear a lot of these sort of aggressive, synthetic sounds (uh, winter is coming for the northern hemisphere). But a lot of people use modulars to get them, which means you need a modular rig and some time in the studio. (Time, money, space … uh oh.) Plus, having this in an iPad app with an intuitive touch sequencer will also be a far shorter path to articulating a groove that’s in your head for a lot of people. And the results here are distinctive enough that even if you do have that modular rig, you might tinker around with this anyway.

You can also use a standalone mode to fine-tune presets, then jam with the plug-in later.

It’s built as a plug-in, so you can use it with DAWs like Cubasis, Garage Band, and Modstep. Or combine it with other drum machines like Elastic Drums for some serious drum mayhem.

Delicious with effects:


– AUv3 (Audio Unit) plugin, with integrated sequencer
– Basic standalone mode for tinkering or preset creation
– Universal; runs on any iDevice with iOS10 or higher
– All parameters accessible via MIDI CC and AU Params
– AU MIDI output from sequencer (requires iOS11+)
– Fullscreen plugin GUI in all compatible hosts
– Modest CPU and resource loads

This whole thing packs a lot into one app. There’s a full MIDI implementation, which means you could even make a hardware controller mapping if you like. But it’s also nice that the internal sequencer will do the job if you don’t want to switch back and forth to an app.

I have a feeling I may not sleep on my flight back from the USA to Germany as I’ll get sucked into playing with this. See you on the flipside.

The app:

User manual available on

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Apple’s new iPad Pro: USB-C is in, headphone and home button are out

Apple’s new iPad Pro again establishes the high-end of Apple’s tablet line. But it also reveals some significant changes that iPad-using musicians will notice – USB-replaces Lightning, and the headphone jack and home button are gone.

Apple’s own marketing reveals something of how they think of computing – “a magical piece of glass that does everything you need.” And in that regard, the new iPad continues Apple’s leadership both in quality of display and the computational and graphics horsepower underneath. The iPad Pro has a dramatically better display, and dramatically faster hardware to power it, both of which will benefit creative apps including music and visual creation. These are the high-end models – US$799 and up for the smaller model starting at 64GB, $1149 for the bigger display.

The chip in this case is the A12X Bionic, which boosts all three categories of hardware performance we’re now seeing in mobile – CPU/computation, GPU/graphics, and now machine learning-specific optimizations. Apple has also vastly improved their Pencil for those using that. Most notably, you don’t have that awkward problem of charging with the pencil balanced from a Lightning port; you can just magnetically attach it to your iPad and it charges automatically. There’s a new keyboard design, too, which is also welcome. (I prefer my Logitech keyboard to Apple’s offering on my older iPad Pro; we’ll see if this time round, the first-party offering is more competitive.)

The boosted performance comes at a nice time for Apple apps, as Adobe ships full-blown Photoshop and promises an augmented reality platform next year.

About that port: now in place of Lightning, you get a USB-C port. The good news about this is, you get a single port for connectivity and charging. And it’s the same one you’d use with your later-generation MacBook (or newer PC).

The bad news is, there’s only one port. That means dongles not only for USB-C use, but also you’ll need an adapter that has pass-through charging if you want to charge your iPad and use accessories. Lightning-based accessories are also out.

Oh yeah, “USB-C” – a phrase which is utterly confusing, since it describes the connector but not what the connector implements. (I will reach out to Apple for comment on that.) We do know there’s support for advanced external displays, but that requires … still more dongles. (“Up to 4K through USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter and USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter,” sold separately.)

And Apple has eliminated the headphone jack. That’s defensible I think on a phone, which has limited space and benefits from better water resistance. On a hefty tablet, though, it’s inconvenience without any real purpose.

This doesn’t mean the end of iPads for audio use – you just add an adapter. But it adds some additional resistance for pro users. And I remain puzzled as to why Apple doesn’t offer its own more innovative pro solution based on USB-C, other than a bunch of plain-vanilla but very-expensive adapters.

There’s another, subtler problem. For a lot of us, one of the big use cases for the iPad is use as a control surface for other apps. If you’re using an iPad onstage, though, one of the first things you’d want to do is disable all those gestures, so you don’t accidentally trigger them while running your live show or jamming. Since the new iPad Pro eliminates the dedicated home button, that’s no longer an option – and the upward swipe for the home button means you’re liable to accidentally exit your controller app. That’s pretty unpleasant if you’re onstage.

All of this could be another reason to consider something like a Windows touch-enabled device instead of an iPad Pro, particularly at the high end. $300-400 iPads are just phenomenally better than anything running Windows or Android right now, so there it’s no contest. But at the price point of the high-end iPads Pro, you might want to do some pros/cons with Windows.

And I don’t expect this news to go over terribly well, because it’s coming atop a year that left anyone looking for high-spec Mac desktops in the cold … again. So you get some utterly gorgeous iPads, but they’re still port-challenged. And you get updated MacBook and Mac mini, but still favoring slimness and battery life over high-end specs.

Apple has hinted there’s more in the pipeline, but it seems that we’ll see those results some time next year. In the meantime, some iOS developers I know are taking a more serious look at competing platforms – but that may be for the best, anyway.

Heavy iPad users I’m sure will want these, and if you’ve been putting off Mac mini or slim MacBook purchases, now you finally can make your move. Just expect some added griping from pro users about losing ports, especially when there’s not a clear immediate benefit in trade.

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AudioKit launches Digital D1 virtual hybrid digital polysynth for iOS

AudioKit Digital D1 Digital D1

AudioKit has announced the Digital D1, a 64-voice virtual analog/PCM synthesizer instrument for iPad. Digital D1 is inspired by the classic 80s and 90s digital synths like the D-50, JD-990, 01/W, Wavestation and more. Digital D1 features 64-voice Hybrid Digital Poly Synthesis. Fully loaded with 300+ presets by Brice Beasley, Matthew Fecher, Red Sky Lullaby, […]

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Apple registriert Hardware beim EEC: neue iPads und Macs zur NYC Keynote!?

Apple KeynoteApple Keynote

Apple kündigt eine Keynote  in New York für Dienstag den 30.Oktober an und endlich scheint neue Hardware im Anmarsch zu sein. Software wurde schließlich ausreichend ausgerollt in den letzten Wochen, darunter Mojave und iOS 12 zusammen mit den neuen iPhones.

Neue iPads?

Als erstes ist eine Serie überholter iPads fällig, gefertigt mit dem neuen A12 Prozessor in 7-nm-Technik. Er ist bereits in den neuen Smartphones im Einsatz, die damit allerdings auch preislich einen neuen Höchststand erreichten. Apple ist so schlau und verkauft die größere Variante als neues Produkt. Soweit so gut. Als recht sicher gilt, dass der Rand der neuen iPads schmaler werden soll, ja sogar nahezu verschwinden könnte. Dazu wird das iPad vielleicht nicht mehr per Touch-ID, sondern mit den Augen geöffnet werden können. Allerdings ist Apple neuerdings sehr aktiv bei der Diversifizierung, was ein zusätzliches „Billig-Modell“ mit Touch-ID bedeuten könnte und dazu eine Pro-Serie, welche dann die Gesichtserkennung Face-ID beinhaltet, mitunter auch eine ältere Gehäuseform, um die größeren iPads teurer verkaufen zu können. Lassen wir uns überraschen.


Das Logo oder besser gesagt die Apfel-Logos, die man gerade im Vorfeld zu sehen bekommt, sind bunt und in Scheiben geschnitten. Bunt ist eigentlich ein Indiz für Hardware und die Scheiben-Variante könnte auch auf einen modularen Mac Pro hinweisen. Es gibt außer den Logos bisher keine handfesten Belege, dennoch sind ID-Nummern in anderen Geräten und Software aufgetaucht, die die Gerüchteküche befeuern. Darunter natürlich die 12,9″ und 10,5″-Varianten des iPads, die gerade beim größeren Modell durch den Wegfall des Rahmens „größer“ werden könnten.

Weiter gemunkelt wird über

… USB-C-Anschlüsse anstatt Lightning. Für Musiker extrem tragisch wäre das Weglassen der Audiobuchse, die Apple unheimlich gerne los werden möchte, was das iPad meiner Meinung nach insgesamt extrem entwerten würde und alle zu einem Audiointerface zwingen könnte, welches gleichzeitig USB, Strom und Audio liefert.

Die Audiobuchse ist bei den Smartphones seit dem iPhone 7 dem Rotstift zum Opfer gefallen, weshalb es für Pro-Zwecke den Namen ebensowenig verdienen würde, wie ein iPad Pro ohne Audioanschluss. Besonders für Anwender, die keine Computer-Infrastruktur auf der Bühne wollen, wäre das ein immenser Rückschritt.

Mac Pro Modular?

Der Mac Pro Modular ist eigentlich für 2019 angekündigt und trifft damit mehr als viel zu spät ein. Viele User sind bereits auf Windows-PCs oder iMac/iMac Pro umgestiegen. Alle, die Open CL/GL nutzen, sind wegen der Abkündigung bekannter Firmen ohnehin gezwungen, das System zu wechseln oder haben sich einen Hackintosh gebaut. Genau jener wird aber auch nur so lange existieren, wie es nicht in allen Macs die T2-Sicherheits-ARM-Chips gibt. Sie verhindern aktuell weitere Hackintosh-Modelle. Die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist eigentlich klein, dass man mehr als eine Präsentation des Systems bekommt, aber gegeben hat es das schon.

Apple weiß genau, dass sie in Bringschuld sind und die aktuellen Angebote von Intel lassen ziemliche Rennmaschinen für ein vergleichsweise überschaubares Budget zu. Wie und was Apple daraus macht, steht aktuell noch in den Sternen. Für Audio und Plug-Ins sollte man auf einen sehr hohen CPU-Takt Wert legen, denn Mehrkern-Support liefern Audiotools meist nicht in dem Maße, wie man sich das als Musiker oder Producer erhofft. Deshalb sind Single-Core Messwerte noch immer realistischer für die Einschätzung.

Mal Air ansagen?

Das Macbook Air ist seltsamerweise noch zu haben, da es einen Intel-Chip verwendet und damit deutlich schneller als das MacBook One (12″) ist, das kleinste und heute sogar „günstigste“ (für Apple-Verhältnisse) sowie für Audio-Anwendungen gerade noch sinnvolle Book. Es hat auch nur zwei USB-Ports und ist eigentlich ziemlich veraltet, weshalb man annehmen mag, dass die MacBook Pro-Reihe sowohl in Gewicht und Abmessung als auch in Leistung dem Air überlegen ist. Nur ist es auch wesentlich teurer und so wartet die Gemeinde darauf, was und wie man die Linien weiter bringen wird oder ob das MacBook Air nun begraben wird. Technisch gesehen ist es, wie das iPad Mini, ein „Stevekind“. Das gleiche gilt für den …

Mac Mini (Pro?) und iMac

… der zuletzt 2014 runterskaliert wurde. Korrekt und sinnvoll wären heutzutage 4- oder 6-Kern-Varianten. Hier sollte man nur noch hoffen, denn Apple wird bestimmt nichts davon günstig machen, da man sich SSD und RAM überteuert kaufen muss. Apple macht durch seine unterdimensionierten Angebote mit 8GB RAM oder 256GB SSDs, die für die neuen Modelle eigentlich eine Frechheit wären, besonders wenn ein Pro dran steht.

Ebenso könnte ein Mac Mini Pro vorgestellt werden, der MacBook-like wenig Platz benötigen, aber die gleich Leistung bringen und ggf. sogar ein besseres Lüftungssystem anbieten könnte. Auch iMacs (ohne Pro) wären wieder mit einem kleinen Update an der Reihe. Ohne dieses Logo dürfte man wohl von einem reinen iPad-Event ausgehen, aber wir denken, dass Apple sich seiner Bringschuld bewusst ist und aufgrund der Vernachlässigung der Hardware und extremen Preisvorstellungen heute anders vorlegen muss, als es „früher“ akzeptiert wurde. Der Musiker von heute muss nämlich nicht mehr 1500 € sondern viel viel mehr für ein MacBook hinlegen, ebenso verhält es sich bei den iPhone-Flaggschiffen. Nach unten fehlen in meinen Augen einige Produkte, jedoch würden entkernte oder unterdimensionierte Angebote nicht viel helfen, zumindest nicht Musikern. Übrigens ist New York eher selten der Ort des Geschehens. Dort gab es auch schon mal äußerst langweilige „Education“-Events, die nur für die USA relevant sind…

iPad , iPad Pro, iPad Max , iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Moular oder Macbook Air, hoffen wir mal dass Apple zur Keynote NYC am 30.10 endlich abliefert. So sprechen Ex-Fanboys. Und du? Was denkst du?


Positive Grid launches BIAS FX Mobile Universal for iPhone & iPad

Positive Grid BIAS FX MobilePositive Grid has announced the release of an update to the BIAS FX guitar effects processing app, which now works on both iPhone and iPad. Now guitarists can turn their iOS devices into a world-class guitar amps and effects processor. The BIAS FX mobile app will come stocked with two free amps and eight effects […]

Positive Grid launches BIAS FX Mobile Universal for iPhone & iPad

Positive Grid BIAS FX MobilePositive Grid has announced the release of an update to the BIAS FX guitar effects processing app, which now works on both iPhone and iPad. Now guitarists can turn their iOS devices into a world-class guitar amps and effects processor. The BIAS FX mobile app will come stocked with two free amps and eight effects […]

Ampeg Collection 2 adds more iconic Ampeg amps to AmpliTube for iOS

IK Multimedia Ampeg Collection 2IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube and AmpliTube CS apps for iPhone and iPad now offer the new Ampeg Collection 2, a selection of popular Ampeg amp and cabinet models featuring IK’s exclusive Dynamic Interaction Modeling technology. Users of both the AmpliTube for iPhone and AmpliTube for iPad apps – or the free AmpliTube CS versions – can […]

Audiomodern updates Riffer MIDI plugin to v1.0.3

Audiomodern RifferAudiomodern has released version 1.0.3 of Riffer, a MIDI processing plugin that generator random riffs. Riffer is a creative MIDI sequencer that generates random patterns and melodies for you. Built for you sounds, synths, basslines, beats, Everything. Designed to feed any Synth, Sampler, Drum Machine and anything that accepts MIDI signal both software and hardware. […]

Control all of Ableton from iOS, Android, Windows: touchAble Pro

Ableton Live: lug along hardware, or … be forced to use a mouse or touchpad. No more: touchAble Pro continues to unlock more and more of Live’s functionality, and now it’s available across touch platforms – iOS, Android, Windows.

That last bit in itself is already news. iPad owners have had plenty of great stuff, but … what if you’ve got an Android phone instead of an iPhone? Or a Microsoft Surface? Or what if you want controls to jam on a big touchscreen display – in the studio, for instance?

It’s possible to target all three of those platforms; the fact many developers haven’t tells you they haven’t yet figured out the business case. But with Ableton Live a massive platform, numbering millions of active users, and use cases that focus on making things happen, uh, “live,” the touchAble devs could have a winner.

And whichever platform you choose, there’s simply no way to put this much control of Ableton Live at your fingertips, with this much visual feedback. We covered this release in full earlier:

touchAble Pro for Ableton Live: touch control on iOS, Android, Windows

But here’s a recap of why it’s cool, whether you’re a returning user or new to the platform:

Piano Roll editing (top), and custom Devices (bottom).


  • Audio clip view with waveforms, including side-by-side waveforms
  • Piano roll view for pattern editing
  • Draw and edit automation
  • Track I/O
  • Custom layouts with Template Editor
  • Custom Device templates (even with third-party plug-ins and Max for Live, via an In-App Purchase coming soon)

And this matters. Now you can quickly whip up a custom template that shows you just what you need to see for a live performance – without squinting (it’s all scalable). Add in side-by-side waveforms to that, and you could twist Live into a DJ tool – or certainly a more flexible live performance tool, especially if you’ve got other instruments or vocals to focus on.

Plus a lot of other good stuff:

Transport, metronome, cues, and quantization
Clips and scenes and control looping
Arm, mute, and solo tracks
Adjust monitoring
Mix, pan, crossfade, and control sends and returns
Play instruments with grid or piano-style layouts, with scales, note repeat, aftertouch, and velocity (based on finger position)
Control device parameters, using faders or assignable X/Y pad modules
X/Y Pad: assign physics, make and morph snapshots or record full gestures,
Navigate Live’s Browser, and drag and drop Devices or Samples to the set

Enlarge stuff – like this clip overview – and make the custom layout you need.

Side by side waveforms, and a bunch of clip options. Oh yeah.

Touch on Windows isn’t just about devices like Surface – it’s also big touch-equipped displays, so ideal for studio work.

Three new videos are out now to walk you through how it’s all working.


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Zaplin Music updates Triqtraq – Jam Sequencer for iOS to v1.9

TriqtraqZaplin Music just released an update of its music app Triqtraq – Jam Sequencer, featuring a refreshed graphical interface, various interface improvements and a free license for Ableton Live 10 Lite. Triqtraq is an award-winning mobile jamming sequencer for iPhone and iPad, that combines a fast workflow with advanced sequencing capabilities. It features multiple track […]