Touch Music Podcast - Episode 2

Chip Boaz from iOS Music and You, Sean Walker from iOS Musician, and myself got together to record the second episode of the Touch Music Podcast! I know we haven't released one of these since October, but we've been trying to get one together for a while now. It is such a pain trying to work out all the time-zones of guests with our own busy schedules, so we've opted for a simpler format. Now it is just the three of us chatting about what's going on in music apps, which we hope to be able to do more regularly.

I don't even remember what we talked about in this episode, but it was both topical and insightful I assure you. The three of us just yammered on for over an hour and then Sean edited all of that down into something we hope you'll enjoy.

Subscribe to the Touch Music Podcast on iTunes

Welcome To Disc(ch)ord - Where Dubstep is Magic!

When I first started doing YouTube videos there was a disproportionate amount of new subscribers who were into My Little Pony. There were a hell of a lot of conspiracy theorists too, but I really wondered at all the My Little Pony fans.

For nearly a year I was baffled, wondering why my videos would appeal to a Brony!
I'm not one to judge, I was just glad anyone was watching, but this seemed like a bizarre coincidence that so many men and boys into My Little Pony were also interested in me!

Then one day I saw this image, to the right. I was then able to track down that "Discord" is the arch-villain in the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. People were looking for him, and ended up liking what they saw when they found me.

As we can all tell by the disastrously poor results of my Easter Egg Hunt over the weekend, I have failed to maintain them as an audience. This is deeply unfortunate. Young men are a key demographic advertisers are looking for. The average age of readers now is 45! I've got to do something here to bring back the 18-35 year olds.

I am proud to announce that disc(ch) is your new source for all the best PMVs; that's Pony Music Video for you old-timers. These fan-made creations feature original and popular music set to video clips of the TV show. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time researching this, and promise you the ones featured here are the absolute best of the genre!

To be honest, Brony subscribers never bothered me. But every time a conspiracy nut subs I have this scene play in my mind.

Meteor Multitrack Recorder, Not Really Multitrack Recording

Meteor Multitrack Recorder was updated with support for even more tracks, but unfortunately you will not be able to record into any of them simultaneously. Reader Kevin (DC) wrote to me earlier this week explaining that he was unable to actually use the multiple inputs on his Alesis iO4 in Meteor.

Initially I thought he must be doing something wrong, so I asked Alex from iDesignSound to test this out on his iO4. He had the same results. Kevin also thought he must be doing something wrong, so he emailed 4 Pockets for support. I will not publish the entirety of that exchange, but 4Pockets did confirm that Meteor Multitrack Recorder cannot record multiple tracks simultaneously. Furthermore, 4Pockets concludes the support email with:

"We have mainly focused on features that are useful for a one man band and would rather users use professional equipment for recording live multi-track sessions."

- Paul, 4Pockets Audio

4Pockets is informing customers that their $20 app, with over $50 worth of In-App Purchases, is not suitable for professional recording of live multi-track sessions. Unfortunately they are not informing them of this upfront.

If you're in the market for a multitrack recorder and make the erroneous conclusion that an app named Meteor Multitrack Recorder might fit the bill, upon visiting their iTunes page there is nothing there to disabuse you of this notion. In fact they continue to give customers the false impression. As of this writing the iTunes description is as follows:

Meteor is a digital multi-track recorder DAW designed specifically for the iPad. The program features up to 24 tracks of high quality Stereo, Mono and MIDI audio, a built in mixer and multi-effects processor. Meteor is ideally suited for creating musical compositions, and also a great tool for journalists and business people who need to splice and piece together voice notes, narration or dictation. Compositions once mixed can be exported to standard file formats for use on your desktop PC or MAC.

Meteor includes a fully featured sound editor allowing recordings and Stereo Sounds from other Apps to be trimmed or spliced together. You can apply various effects to your recordings either directly, as part of the recording process or in real time during playback. Editor features include cut, copy, paste, fade in/out. clear, reverse, gain, normalize, remove DC offset, time stretch and pitch shift. Effects include digital delay, chorus / flanger, reverb, graphic equalizer, noise gate, tremelo, tone boost and distortion.

The Mixer and effect levels can be fully automated using definable controller tracks. An integrated metronome with count-in helps you record your masterpiece, and If 12 tracks isn't enough there is a full stereo mixdown facility.

The MIDI Editor available through In-App purchase allows full editing of MIDI Note and Controllers as well as Scrubbing, Step Recordings and In-Place Editing of MIDI Parts.

When an app calls itself a Multitrack Recorder, and begins the iTunes description with "Meteor is a digital multi-track recorder DAW" I can see how customers might be deceived. I spoke with Paul from 4Pockets about this and he seemed entirely untroubled by potentially misleading customers. I do not share his disinterest. Despite his assurance that they are not being deliberately deceptive, he clearly isn't going out of his way to amend the iTunes description to avoid any further confusion.

Therefore, fuck these guys. Deceptive names and marketing are a part of the game, but they're making no attempt to give consumers a sporting chance. I would think twice about purchasing any of their apps, if this is the sort of developer they want to be.

Live Guitar Vs Korg iPolysix

This week I've been beta testing Live Guitar for Secret Base Design. Fessaboy wanted me to test VirtualMIDI, plus the new Audiobus support, and while I was at that I got to thinking about interesting uses for guitars as MIDI controllers. Typically pulling MIDI from a guitar is pretty lousy, so guitar-controlled synths are often just monophonic bass synths.

Live Guitar greatly expands the options! A simple bass synth would miss the point. With 6 strings I needed a synth with 6 voices, and for that I turned to a rich pad patch in Korg iPolysix! I liked the results enough to work up a little drum backing and share them here with you. Expect the Audiobus update for Live Guitar to arrive sometime next week, but you can play with MIDI today.

Buy Live Guitar Free on iTunes: Free


Buy Live Guitar on iTunes: $1.99

Friday Frivolity: Beethoven Was Hardcore

You should always listen to WNYC's Radiolab for its amazing use of sound design to explore science, but you should definitely listen to this week's podcast! Speedy Beat considers the tempo Beethoven indicated his Symphonies should be played at, which most people ignore when playing them.

My parents dragged me out to a lot of Classical concerts and ballets. At the time I did not appreciate this, but that's one of the reasons I'm classy as fuck today.

I've always been impressed with the epic scope in Beethoven's work, but a lot of it is just too slow and boring. It turns out this is exactly the sort of thing Beethoven wanted to avoid when he retconned his first 8 with fast tempos!

Beethoven's supposed to sound more like PsyTrance than Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Think about it, if you're in the early 1800s and you're going to see Beethoven, you want something moving! Life was boring. Beethoven didn't want you drifting off to sleep, he wanted you to feel alive and experience his drama!

Radiolab takes a look at why we've only ever heard Beethoven played wrong, and then they get some pros to play it right.

The reason I wanted to share this with you today is what happens when they go beyond that. Once you hire a quartet for the hour you might as well abuse them, so they push the limits and get them playing the Fifth at 160 BPM! It sounds amazing. Seriously, if you listen to nothing else, scrub up to 16:00 and hear that. The vibrancy inspires a picture in my mind of a sweaty, disheveled, conductor gesticulating at and on the edge of madness; struggling, and successfully keeping it together.

This is Beethoven alive! Stop mourning him. Instead of making his music sound like a funerary dirge, make him come alive.

Subscribe to Radiolab podcast on iTunes: Free

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