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Mark Mosher - Ambient Improv for Short Attention-Spans

Music technology pioneer Mark Mosher put together a video of excerpts from his live ambient performance, to try to keep things interesting! I wish more ambient musicians would do this! Here he's jamming on lots of fun gear and Waldorf's Nave.

Video Description:

I spent the weekend working out a on a new computer-less ambient jam rig. Tenori-On and Waldorf Nave (play with multi-touch and via CME XKey) on an iPad are food for Octatrack. I'm using all custom presets I've made on Nave for this piece plus processed Tenori-On (using only Octatrack FX). Just to add some mood lighting I'm using Resolume on a laptop with some video footage in 2 layers. I've mapped the MIDI form Octatrack's cross-fader to do double duty to morph Octatrack parameters and cross-fade between the layers.

iPad is on a TheGigEasy mount with sidearm. You can just make out Thomas Dolby's signature on my CME XKey.

Buy Waldorf Nave on iTunes: $19.99

Synthecaster Updated with MIDI Out

Daniel Resnick continues a rapid pace on his Synthecaster developments!

What's new in Synthecaster v1.2:

  • MIDI: Synthecaster is now Core MIDI compatible as a MIDI controller. The app outputs messages for note on/off events, pitch wheel changes, legato pedal events, and polyphonic note ties compatible with Animoog.
  • Scale highlighting: highlight keys for any scale. Choose from a long list of scales or create your own custom scale.
  • Fixed LFO Target display bug that occurred on iPhones with 4 inch screens.
  • Adjusted output volume to reduce clipping.

Buy Synthecaster on iTunes: $0.99

BIAS Tone Shaping for Synths

While the guitarists have been all over the new BIAS app for designing their own custom amps, I've been plugging in synths and synth apps. In this tutorial I'll show you some tips I've figured out, and then demonstrate the results of my tinkering in JamUp.

Video Description:

The new BIAS app is great for tone shaping guitars, with custom amp modeling, but I've been getting some great results plugging synths and synth apps into it. Bias is especially meaty on the Korg Volca Bass, but in this tutorial I run a TT-303 through it for very dramatic results and then take my invention into JamUp's effects..

Buy BIAS on iTunes: $19.99


Buy JamUp XT Pro on iTunes: $19.99

Apollo MIDI over Bluetooth

Secret Base Design has released an entirely new kind of app. Acting as a bridge for all of your other MIDI apps, allowing them to communicate between iDevices and Macs over Bluetooth LE instead of WIFI. The results are unbelievably low latency!

Apollo MIDI over Bluetooth iTunes Description:

MIDI connections between iOS devices have been a continual problem; hardware MIDI adapters are expensive and bulky, while MIDI over WiFi introduces too much latency.

With Apollo, MIDI can be sent over Bluetooth wireless connections, eliminating hardware adapters, and providing much lower latency than is possible with WiFi. Apollo uses Bluetooth LE: this is supported by the iPad3 and newer, the iPad Mini, the iPhone 4s and newer, and recent Mac desktop and laptop computers.

Important: Apollo is not compatible with the iPad1 and 2, and the iPhone4 and earlier. Please make sure that your device supports Bluetooth LE.

Install the app on two iOS devices, select an "A" endpoint for one, and a "B" endpoint for the other. Press the search button on both, and a Bluetooth connection will be established. After connecting, MIDI messages sent to Apollo running on one device will be forwarded to the other -- and these messages can then be redirected to synthesizer or sequencer apps.

In addition to MIDI connections between iOS devices, Apollo can also be used to connect to Mac desktop and laptop computers. Recent iMacs and MacBooks support Bluetooth LE; for older Macs, a USB Bluetooth adapter may be required. The OSX version of Apollo will be available in the Mac app store shortly.

Buy Apollo MIDI over Bluetooth on iTunes: $2.99 (On Sale, Intro Price)

I've had the opportunity to play with this one a lot during the development, and I've been continuously surprised by just how low the latency is. If you've ever used MIDI over WIFI you'll be amazed at how much more responsive everything feels. Bluetooth LE really is that amazing, and even blows away Korg's WIST on the old Bluetooth 3.0, which would often take ages just to establish a connection.

Audiobus has allowed us to have lots of different apps running in the background, but to play them you'd need to swap them to the foreground. I've been using Apollo on one iPad to play synths in the background, or manipulate apps in the Audiobus effects slot, on a second iPad!

Here's a brief demo from Secret Base Design's Patrick Madden.

Steinberg Nanologue - Free Analog Synth

Steinberg surprised everyone today with the release of Nanologue for iPad, a genuinely free (no IAPs) virtual analog monosynth!

Nanologue iTunes Description:

Nanologue boasts a wide scope of inspiring sounds and professional sound effects, sporting a straightforward multi-touch interface and a great-sounding monophonic synthesizer. Used stand-alone and in connection with your iOS host application via Inter-App Audio, Nanologue brings the power of VST 3 technology to the iOS platform.

Buy Nanologue on iTunes: Free

Conspicuously absent from this one is Audiobus, but IAA is in here! Nanologue also requires iOS 7. I was having some fun with it this morning. It isn't a very deep app, what you see on the screenshot is what you get, but it is quite capable of making some nice sounds. This offers an oscillator wavemorph, which can be modulated by the LFO, producing very growly sounds if you crank up the resonance and distortion.

Perhaps the biggest news in this is that the app is a VST in an iOS wrapper! The VST 3.6 SDK adds iOS support and this is Steinberg's way of showing that off! We may be seeing a lot more VSTs ported to iOS soon!