As more musicians start taking iOS seriously, the expectations for apps become increasingly serious too. A thread on KVR laments MIDI timing and jitter issues with apps. Kevin McCoy replied with a great video documenting his own struggles.
This guy has a lot of gear, he is used to trying to keep his timings and track delays tight in his rig, so it is worth hearing him out.
A damning example of iOS failing to live up to the needs of serious musicians! I immediately set out to do my own tests. I noticed he's using Animoog for iPhone on his iPad, so I started there. I had the same results at even 60 BPM with Animoog for iPhone.
The recorded notes should be on the lines, or at least consistently distant from the lines. These are all over the fucking place!
Update: I got in touch with Amos, Moog Product Development Specialist, and showed him this article. He is on the case!
That is some terrible jitter. I switched over to Animoog for iPad, running a similar patch, to compare results.
Much more consistent!
At this point I should probably detail my MIDI setup. From my PC I'm going out via USB to my keyboard, then out of my keyboard's secondary MIDI DINs, into an M-Audio Uno USB-MIDI adapter, into a camera connection kit, connected to the iPad. Far from ideal, this is a sloppy mess. Some amount of jitter is unavoidable with any external MIDI hardware, but these results from the iPad version of Animoog are something I think most people could live with. To test this further I did the same tests with Magellan and BassLine, both at 60, 120 and 160BPM.
Magellan for iPad
Once again, excellent results from both! I was beginning to think the problem may be related iPhone apps running on iPads, so I tried another test with Sunrizer XS.
Everything looks good in Sunrizer XS too!
I'd be interested in hearing from other people and, if at all possible, similarly documented screenshots of recordings. It looks like this is just a bug with the iPhone version of Animoog, but that doesn't explain the issues experienced by the original thread author.
In a first for Yamaha, they've released an app that looks pretty damn cool! Visual Performer is a MIDI-aware visualization app.
Yamaha's Visual Performer is a App for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch which you can express your playing in graphical animation.
• Graphic animation appears synchronized with the playing by the MIDI instrument (WiFi or a cable is required)
• 10 types of graphic animations and the projected image by iOS device's camera
• Customize your original animation by combining with two patterns
• Change the animation pattern during your play by using chain function
• Record your sound and the animation on your iPhone/iPad. *Video format: mov.
• Play with your iPhone/iPad (XY Pad or Virtual keyboard)
• Synchronize with musical playing application on the other iOS device (WiFi is required)
The app is free, but there is a $3 IAP called Special Package. It looks like this could be handy for livening up some of the boring videos I see on YouTube of people just pressing Play in Garageband. Thanks to reader Rafael for pointing this out!
Yamaha has an annoying habit of breaking up their apps by region and language. The one on iTunes Spain is also in English, and it isn't even available in Yamaha's home country of Japan! If you can't use this first link, the second one seems to be a generic European version, but it is also only localized in English. Amusingly iTunes Canada also points to this European version.