Alesis iO Mix - Read The Fine Print Before You Lust

Alesis has announced their newest iPad docking peripheral, the iO Mix 4-channel Mixer/Recorder. Clearly a very sexy bit of engineering, and lots of people got very excited about it... but then we read the text right next to it.

The marketing copy is just bizarre; actually promoting the fact that it is standards complaint and probably won't break WiFi.

 iO Mix is Core Audio-compliant, allowing you to use it with virtually any app in the App Store. Plus, your iPad's WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and 3G connectivity, allow you to tailor your sound at a moment's notice or playback audio through compatible wireless speakers.

So-fucking-what? Of course you're using Apple's Core Audio and I'd sincerely hope that your design wouldn't interefere with the WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay or 3G!

Things take a turn for the Orwellian when they go on to promote the downside to their design; your video-out options will be severely crippled to just AirPlay, Composite and S-Video. iPad 2 and 3s naturally support HDMI out, so why would the dock have these antiquated options?

Rounding out this disappointment, is the lack of MIDI I/O in the Alesis iO Mix. This might not be important to many musicians, but for those of us who live or die on MIDI this feels like a big step back from their iO Dock. Don't bring your drummer to the session either as there is no way to extend the recording capabilities to include more channels with optical inputs.

Addictive Synth 2.0 is now out!

Just a quick update, I know a lot of you are fans of Addictive too. The new version is out now and on the App Store!

New in version 2
  • Spectral noise generator with dynamic filter structure.
  • Hi end reverberation unit.
  • revised GUI with retina support for new iPads
  • 32 new sound presets.
  • Many MIDI controllers added.
  • revised PDF Manual (Google Docs viewer) PDF Download here.
For those of you don't already own Addictive, it was the second app I reviewed:

Buy Addictive Synth on iTunes: $5.99 (Or use the banner up top, to support the site!)

For more information on Additive Synthesis, this guy gives a great tutorial:

Propellerhead announces Figure for iOS

Propellerhead Software, makers of Reason (PC/Mac) and ReBirth (PC/Mac/iOS), have announced a new app that should be arriving shortly! Figure looks to be taking on the Korg iKaossilator, as a minimialist X/Y controller instrument. You play around on the screen with your finger, and the movement is translated into notes that trigger a couple of synths or 4-part drum kit. 

They insist that some amount of the Reason engine is under the hood, but from what I've seen in the coverage coming from Music Messe; I think this is a tremendous exageration. The presets are limited to a "fixed" set, with only a couple of sound design options (e.g. Filter). Their usage of the word "fixed" there seems to imply that Reason owners will not be able to import their own patches. 

One bit of innovation that might give them an edge over Korg's iKaossilator is their recording function, which looks to be based on your finger movements, rather than any specific note or audio data. This allows you to record a little finger-wiggling groove, and then dramatically change it with different scales or patches.

Perhaps the best feature is the price, at only $1! The app has been submitted to Apple for review, so we should hopefully be seeing it this week or next. If you want to see it in action, the best video for it is over at Sonic State.

Grain Science 1.3 Update, now Universal and more!

Wooji Juice has just updated Grain Science (link to review)... a lot! The app is now Universal for playing on your iPhone, without having to buy a second iPhone specific version. They've also added an Animoog style Ribbon Controller, to replace the keyboard. I spent a lot of time this afternoon playing around with it and they really got this right. It plays and feels exactly the way I like it in Animoog.

This is an excellent example playing with aftertouch, from an on-screen controller. Simply assigning the cutoff on a low-pass filter to the keyboard velocity will have you sliding around through harmonics as you play. This is easily one of my favorite features from Animoog, so I am really excited to see it so perfectly reproduced in Grain Science. 

This alone would make for a sizeable update, but Wooji has been busy! They've completely rewritten their Arpeggiator, which can be zoomed in to fill up your whole screen. There is now the ability to assign Velocity along with Control A & B, within the Arp, to modulate any of your science. This works just like you would assign the X/Y controllers or a MIDI assignment, through the extensive assignment panel.

Additionally there is the new "G-1000 Shapeinator" effect unit, which applies customizable wave-shaping to your audio. I played around with it a bunch and it is definitely an interesting effect for pushing some wild shit, but I have no idea what I'm doing with it yet. Hopefully Wooji will release another of their excellent video tutorials to explain this one!

Buy Grain Science on iTunes: $9.99

Addictive Synth Makes Noise in Version 2

The additive synthesizer, Addictive Synth, is nearly a year old and is still one of my favorite synths on the iPad. This is absolutely the first app I turn to when I want to make some aggressive sounds. I am really excited to hear that VirSyn is getting ready to release version 2, which will be adding even more bite to this baby's harmonic teeth.

The new version brings a "Spectral Noise Generator", which sounds awesome, but they don't provide many details on what the fuck that actually means. From watching their video, it looks like a noise oscilator that is following the harmonic spectrum of the pitched oscilators. This allows all of the morphing goodness to play with the noise generator, which keeps an otherwise chaotic mess in sync. That's just my guess though, watch the video below to see whatever it is in action!

Put on some headphones, this has some nice stuff going on the stereo spectrum too.

Buy Addictive Synth on iTunes: $9.99

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