iYM2151 Impressions and Tutorials

Reader Garrett let me know about a bunch of great tutorials and other videos DETUNE Ltd. has put out for their new iYM2151.

I've been playing with it a lot today and I'm kind of taken aback. It is seriously complicated, which is fine, but the archaic interface makes it a pain in the ass to navigate the complexities. SunVox is a great comparison, but in terms of complexity and power. Note input in iYM2151 is easier and more fluid than in Sunvox, but getting around to all of the parts is a chore. I'm going to stick with it, and do a review, but for now I would only recommend this to people who really love 16-bit game sound tracks or have a passionate love of FM. If you're just FM-curious, you should check out the $2 DXi.

For the brave, you can find some tutorial videos on DETUNE's YouTube Channel as well as a manual here (English version is not complete). Here's a tune by composer Keishi Yonao:

Buy iYM2151 Sequencer on iTunes: $34.99

Reverse Dev Interview: Quid PRO Mode?

If a typical interview would be me asking a developer questions on your behalf; today I present the reverse! I'd like to ask you questions on a developer's behalf.

In a recent comment on Arctic Key's latest update, reader gatearray pointed out some weird behavior in Arctic's delay effect. I asked the developer, Peter Johnson at One Red Dog, about this and he agreed that it was not working very well. But he was already on the case, developing an entirely new rewrite for Arctic's engine!

Alas, such a drastic change has some pitfalls. Most notable among those is compatibility! The delay does work, so it is something you may have already used a dozen times over, working with its quirks. With the quirks gone, your patches will not sound the same as they did when you designed them.

Additionally, Apple prevents developers from charging for App updates. Which means there would be no compensation for Peter's effort to rewrite everything. Essentially doing the whole App over for nothing.

With these concerns in mind, he has been considering releasing the rewrite as a separate "Arctic Pro" App. He'd love to get user feedback ahead of time, before you guys go hunt him down with pitchforks and torches. So I'll present his dilemma here and I encourage you to share your Answers in the comments!

Q1: Is it worth buying a separate app if an update would break your current patches?

Q2: How do you feel about buying a new version of an app you've already bought?

Please share your thoughts and help Peter with his quandary!
And be nice, at least he's asking instead of just doing shit to you like other developers have!

iYM2151 - New app from the makers of iMS-20!

DETUNE Ltd. has answered my prayers! I've been asking for a serious Frequency Modulation (FM) synthesis workstation on the iPad for a year now. Today they have delivered with an emulation of the classic Yamaha YM2151 chip. This chip was used in 80s Arcade games, and is the bigger brother to the classic YM2612 used in Sega's Genesis/Mega Drive.

This workstation features 8 synth parts, each with their own 4 Oscillators of FM goodness. That's a lot of synthesis! When you add it all up that even beats the iMS-20 for total Oscillators. There's a built in sequencer for working with all of it, as well as an "Easy Mode" for people not familiar with the Dark Arts of FM.

Here's a little review from one of my favorite YouTubers, jetdaisuke! Watch this on your computer so you can see the embedded English subtitles:

Buy iYM2151 Sequencer on iTunes: $34.99

bs-16i with Genome Tutorial

Dave Wallin, White Noise Audio, put together a great tutorial on how to use his Genome MIDI Sequencer with bs-16i, the SoundFont app that now has lots of Virtual MIDI goodness. Since bs-16i has unique MIDI channels for all of the different instrument slots, it is a great way to make a lot of sounds with just 1 app. It greatly benefits from Genome's sequencer to actually play all of those parts, since bs-16i lacks its own sequencer. What a great combination of apps from independent developers!

via iOS Musician

Buy bs-16i on iTunes: $4.99 (On Sale, from $8.99)

Buy Genome MIDI Sequencer on iTunes: $12.99

Epic Free Synth Frolic

Matt Olgesby put together a great sounding song, using nothing but free iOS Synths. He even made a nice video of the process:

I love this sort of thing! Take what you can get your hands on and make music!

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