Nord Beat works with Virtual MIDI, kind of.

Nord Beat, released today for free from Clavia, is quite a neat app for minimal and functional drum step-sequencing. I've been playing around with it and although it doesn't officialy support Virtual MIDI, it can be used to drive other apps. There is a big caveat here; it does not run in the background. If you have to switch apps at all, it will stop and close out. This is kind of a pain in the ass, but it will remember changes you've made to your sequences, when you return!

To get it working with other apps you need to make sure of two things.

1. The drum app is open to Network MIDI connections.
2. The drum app is listening on the same MIDI channel Node Beat is Sending.

For most apps this is easy, as they are already listening to Channel 10, the default for drum MIDI. I tested it with MoDrum and bleep!BOX, both worked great. For MoDrum you do need to go the extra step for first enabling Network MIDI and then tell it to listen for notes, but once you do the notes come flying in.

Acoustic Bass Drum 35
Bass Drum 36
Side Stick / Rim 37
Acoustic Snare 38
Hand Clap 39
Electric Snare 40
Close Hi-Hat 42
Low Tom 43
Mid Tom (2) 45
Open Hi-Hat 46
Mid Tom 47
High Tom (2) 48
Crash Cymbal 49
High Tom 50
Ride Cymbal 51

The tricky part is finding the right note numbers for all of the drum parts. Most apps use the General MIDI note mapping, so I made this handy chart.

The bold instruments indicate the most common ones. There are some minor conflicts in some apps. MoDrum's synth snare, for instance, is on the accoustic snare number. The chart should help get you going though.

Buy Nord Beat on iTunes: Free

ThumbJam added to the Buyer's Guide

Several people have pointed out the omission of this classic app. I've now spent quite a lot of time with it and have given it merely an Awesome! rating. I know this is not going to be a popular opinion, but that's the beauty of the guide. You can go leave your thoughts now, or simply insist that I'm out of my fucking mind for not making it Essential.

In my defense I'd like to point out that the focus of the guide is on iPad apps and iPad usage; as I state in the review:

On iPhones this is practically an Essential app, you really can jam with just your thumbs, but on larger iPad screens the experience is a little awkward to play.

It's still amazing for all that it can do, don't shoot!

iPad Music App Buyer’s Guide Rating: Awesome!

Recommendation: For playing sampled instruments, or with Virtual MIDI, there is a lot to like here.

PPG Wavegenerator Specs and Demos

Wolfgang Palm hired a PR company. PR companies love to draw things out, so small details have been trickling daily on Facebook to build up excitement for release. Here is a recap of what's been going on.

The official specs have been released:

  • Creation of your own waves and wavetables.
  • Playful sound creation simply by drawing or picking harmonics
  • 3D page, visualization of the wavetables, transformation from photos into wavetables.
  • 256 waves assembled within a wave grid
  • 3 Audio Oscillators
  • 3 Noise generators, for audio and modulations
  • Classic 24 dB Lowpass Filter, combined with an overdrive simulation.
  • Dual amplifier, for versatile control of 2 audio signals as well as panning.
  • 13 Envelopes, for independent control of pitch, waveform, filter and noise gain and panning
  • 4 LFOs
  • Arpeggiator
  • Delay/Reverb effect
  • Audio engine with 2 synthesis modes, and variable wave blending quality.
  • Directly accessible context help inside the app
  • Use a camera, to shoot a picture and then transform it into a sound!
  • Using state of the art technologies, but still the versatile and efficient synthesis system.
  • This is sounding like my frame by frame analysis was on the mark. Wolfgang must have played with Animoog and decided it would be more fun if users could make their own timbres. I'm betting he is right and can't wait to get my hands on this!

    One of the more unique features here is the ability to make waves out of photos. This might just be a gimmick, but it sounds like a fun gimmick! Kids of all ages will be running all over the house snapping pictures of things on their iPad just to hear what they sound like.

    The PPG origin story is being posted to the official website, at about an article a day. They are up to Part 5 in this 15 part series.

    There is a short demo song exclusive to Music Radar, as well as a collection of demos embedded below.

    Nord Beat is free and out now!

    Clavia, makers of the beautiful Nord synthesizers, have released Nord Beat for the iPad. This 4-track CoreMIDI step-sequencer is free! It was programmed for Clavia by Jonatan Liljedahl, the guy behind BitWiz and Audio Share.


    • 8 Patterns
    • 3 Velocity levels
    • Velocity faders
    • Adjustable pattern length (1-16)
    • Copy/Paste patterns
    • Flexible cueing system
    • Shuffle
    • Mute button for each track
    • Tap Tempo
    • Pad mode with velocity zones
    • Load/Save song
    • MIDI Setup (Channel/Note number)

    Buy Nord Beat on iTunes: Free

    It is worth pointing out that although you can sequence 4-tracks, you can only sequence 1 note on any given track. This limits the usefulness of the app to just drums. I'm sure Clavia would like those drums to be in the form a new Nord Drum. Still it is cool and free, and nice of Clavia to make it open to any MIDI destination; rather than tied to just the Nord Drum.

    GlitchBreaks gets a big update!

    GlitchBreaks development continues to keep a rapid pace, with yet another solid update.

    What's new:

    • Added Preset Load and Save functions
    • Added Background Audio Tracks
    • Added Snap to Index function
    • Added option to turn Dynamic Glitch on/off
    • Added Scale Time Factor option
    • 10 new sounds from Sunsine Audio
    • 10 new sounds from Alex Matheu

    Buy GlitchBreaks on iTunes: $4.99

    Alex, the developer, is quite active on Twitter. While he's been waiting for Apple to approve this 1.04 update, he's already been baking 1.05. Originally he intended on adding MIDI next, for his own live performances, but one day on his lunch break he started programming in effects! Soon, in addition to glitches, you'll have more traditional effects to play with.

    Here is a recent Glitchy Break by Alex "Distraub" Matheu, using Alchemy and Meteor along with his creation.

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