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2017

Ongoing work on patch libraries by MusicInclusive LLC for Roland Gaia, Korg Microkorg and Moog Little Phatty / Little Phatty Stage II.


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Issue #2

Another interesting week. ....

This week saw me using the new (to me) BBE DI-100X for bass guitar recording as well as what I purchased it for, which was primarily for acoustic recording, particularly with the new Ovation.

It worked very well. Added a bit of coloring with the built-in Lo-Contour knob, stuck on a compressor and built a personalized amp/cab chain from Waves' GTR rack that worked out very well to complement the acoustic guitar I had previously recorded.

Talking of which, I've been doing some M/S + DI recording with that new Ovation and that also turned out OK too. I'm deliberately not recording this in a dry space and I had some background noise (mostly fans) being picked up by the ribbon mic I'm using for the sides (an MXL R40 I picked up on a deal some time back).

I run that ribbon mic in through a CloudLifter CL-1 as well to give it 20dB extra lift and it seems to work nicely, as well as isolating the ribbon mic from accidental phantom power application.

I don't have a picture yet of recording the Ovation, but here's one I took a while back recording a Fender nylon string acoustic with a pickup

Using some of the built-in DSP on the 16.0.2, I had cured most of the noise without sacrificing signal quality, but although I have a gate on the SM81 I'm using for the mid part of the recording, gating the already low signal on the R40 proved to be unhelpful - left a very "ragged edge" as it tried to detect the signal that would open the gate.

Hmmm. What to do? Well, an expander is a gate without a sharp cutoff, so I threw an expander on in Studio One (its stock expander which is pretty good) and used the guitar preset there - worked well. I may need to tweak it some but so far the results are very pleasing. The DI recording from the Ovation is, as expected, better than I had been getting previously with my mid-range Takamine. The Takamine's a nice guitar to play acoustically, but the electronics are not as good as the Ovation (which is why I bought the Ovation in the 1st place). Also, for all that people say that Ovations lack resonance and warmth of a wood-bodied instrument, I've actually found I can get a pretty nice warmth out of it with judicious M/S mic placement. I guess the proof of the pudding will be in the eating when the track I'm using it on is complete :-)

Also this week ran into an issue with iLok.

In the previous MusicInclusive Manor, I'd mentioned that I'd had to get the motherboard replaced in a 2011 Macbook owing to a GPU failure. Well, the one thing I forgot about was that software likes to tie itself to something on the motherboard for license restrictions - often the MAC address. The Wifi MAC address was the same, but the Ethernet MAC address had changed with the motherboard swap. No problem with Studio One since I could log in, deauthorize and reauthorize. Arturia responded to my email request right away (I was impressed!) and removed the authorization. Ah, but, there's a catch. :-) I reathorized the V suite on the machine immediately afterwards too and being impressed by their rapid servivce, I sent a thank you note back to Arturia and they thought I was making a new request and removed the new authorization I'd just added. Sigh. No harm done, I just did it again.

But, then things got more difficult. Waves... I could not deauthorize the Waves plugin (I only have L1 on this particular machine since it's not either of my main studio machines) because it's node-locked to the old MAC address. After a call to Waves to find out what to do, I did a one-time license recovery via the Waves License Center and that solved that problem. However, there ought to be an easier way to resolve this, just like with the PreSonus Studio One situation IMO.

More difficult still were the licenses I have registered with iLok. I have them node-locked on that machine using a second license count - rather than using the dongle - because the dongle is permanently in the Mac studio system. So, I went to call iLok to ask them what to do but, guess what. iLok doesn't offer ANY phone support. None. Nada. Zilch. Nothing! Says so right on their website. Hmmm. Customer Service? Seems like something could change on that front. OK. No problem, I'll send a support request via email. Ah, well, try and find a support email form on their site either!!! Nope. Nada. Zilch. WHAT ?!?! Apparently, there are a number of predefined ways things can go wrong and all are answered (supposedly) by iLok's FAQs (and answers). Well, no, they're not. My case was not. In the end I did find an email form and submitted a request, but to do so, I had to dig and dig down in a series of FAQs for something that was vaguely similar to what I was dealing with until I hit a dead end and then it provided a form. Phew! But, really, it wasn't for my problem. Still, I filled it in, and sent it off and they replied.

Ah, all's well that end's well - right? Nope. :-) iLok tell me they can't just decrement the license count. I have to contact each vendor and get them to reissue the license. Apparently it's too difficult to simply remove the machine from the database and decrement the license count by one... Their reasoning is that since they are not the license issuer, they can't do that (unlike PreSonus, Waves, Arturia who all were and maintain the license counts themselves). Hmmmm. Sounds like that's a system that's in need of complete overhaul to me... So, my only recourse is to contact each vendor. One has replied so far. In order to accomplish the task they have to remove ALL my existing licenses and reissue a completely new one entirely, so then I have to reauthorize it on my iLok as well. Sigh. I guess that'll be true for the others also. Talk about wasting time and money (where time is money - I'd made that point to iLok, wondered what I do about the time it's costing me, all because of a motherboard issue that was Apple's "fault" and a broken (non) system of license recovery). I cannot be the only one who has had to swap a motherboard out ever, so, this must be causing a good number of issues for other people too. Someone needs to resolve this. Takers?

One other strange thing with the Macbook is that it's still doing odd things on booting - giving a blue line and then booting normally

...or, if connected to an external monitor, the screen dives off over to the right, recovers and then boots normally

... but at least it seems to be working fine. I guess they made some alterations in the GPU that means it does this in this model when it boots now. Still seems a bit odd. I'll see how it plays out

In other matters, I'm really rather fond of Xhun audio's Little One LPSII emulation. It comes with an arpeggiator and built in FX too, and unlike the real LPSII is polyphonic.

Here I've shown it alongside the real LPSII as well as the SoundTower editor/librarian with more or less the same patch in both the LPSII and LittleOne - sounding pretty similar

It's not complete yet, but the developer says that updates are coming. Currently it's missing the 1,2 & 3 pole filter settings (only has the 4-pole setting), as well as the filter sensitivity and EGR release settings, but otherwise is a pretty decent emulation. I've been asking whether we can get an iOS port after the macOS port is completed (as I'm pretty sure they would share a substantial code base. We'll have to see :-) )

I also like the Studio 192 Mobile from PreSonus. It's a great little interface standalone, but when paired with some ADAT interfaces it begins to shine. However, that'll end up being another MusicInclusive Manor entry when the time comes to talk more about it.

On the other hand, I did find out this week that the DSP in the Studio 192 Mobile isn't accessible via the iPad.

I wasn't sure, but I set up a fairly radical gate, compression and EQ so that I'd immediately recognize it and recorded my voice. Yep. Weird! :-) So, I then unhooked it from the Macbook and hooked it up to the iPad. I've written elsewhere about the Studio 192 Mobile working with the iPad (it does), but the DSP clearly wasn't engaged. Oh well, at least it works as an interface that way if I needed it.

Meanwhile, I'd also read about some issues with the iConnectAUDIO4+ and iOS 10 / Sierra. Someone had reported what sounded like a loss of sync and a need to reset. I hadn't experienced any with that setup, so I thought I would do a test. I hooked it up to the Macbook and the new mini 4. The Macbook is running Sierra and the mini 4 iOS 10. Both up-to-date. I ran Studio One Pro 3 (latest version) on Sierra, and Auria Pro (latest version) on the mini 4. I also hooked up an Xkey 25 to the host port on the iCA4+. I set the routing for the Xkey 25 to go in to the Macbook and then back out to the iPad rather than directly route in the iCA4+ so as to test the MIDI throughput path as well as the audio path. The Macbook was connected to port 1 and the iPad to port 2, and I had previously set up the routing in the iCA4+ for the audio to send from the iPad to the Macbook. Then I recorded 15 mins of Animoog playing into Studio One, driven in part by the MIDI keyboard. Simultaneously, I used a mic sat next to the cans to record the same audio via the iCA4+ back into Auria Pro. I was syncing the iCA4+ from the Macbook, and using a buffer frames setting of 3 and a sync factor value of 2. I recorded at 44.1/24 in both cases and there was no sync loss or need to reset the iCA4+ over the whole 15 mins of continuous recording. So, seems like that's working at least. There is a known problem that Apple have apparently introduced with rtpMIDI but that's being addressed. Otherwise, things seem dandy.

I also decided to pick up one of these - a NuVision tablet


-  (https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/NuVision-TM800W560L-Signature-Edition-Tablet/productID.608755100) since they were on sale for $49 on Friday. Yes it's Windoze 10. Yes I don't like Windoze 10. (or 8), but it's what it comes with, so I'll live with it and make it as acceptable as I know how. There's a good tutorial here:

My thought was to try setting up a really ultraportable mini studio using desktop tools such as Studio One and some 32-bit plugins (it comes with 32-bit Windoze). So, we'll see how that turns out. I figured that for $49 it was getting to be "disposable item" cost if it didn't work out. Hey, I could probably watch Netflix on it if it's no good for audio :-)

By the way, that reminds me - if you are a Studio One user, I wrote a quick performance / system optimization document for the Facebook Studio One users group. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/presonusstudioone) I might publish that here too, but meantime, you can head on over there and join up to see it. The group is flourishing with well over 14,000 members!

Mrs. Jones' hand-off mini 1 is working out alright - so that's good :-)

Oh - and, finally the new washing machine arrived.

So, maybe all's well that ends well after all :-D

Issue #1

I miss Byte magazine... Some of you will remember that; it was one of the best computer magazines ever. I still have a number of years' worth of paper copies, and they are so full of information that is still valid that to this day I occasionally go and pick one up and read an article.

One of the columns I really liked was Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor where he described his recent dabblings with various things. He often mentioned his wife Roberta too and how his ongoing dabblings helped her out. Back issues of Byte can be found at archive.org (https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine) if you are interested in catching up.

Anyhow, I decided to write something therefore in the style of "Chaos Manor" :-) but with a musical slant. So, here we go. I'll add these from time to time as I accumulate tidbits to write about.

I had originally written this one on the 3nd December, but to make sense of the flow, I thought I would include it here first even though it has the same blog publication date as today's edition.

The week so far

It's been an interesting week. Picked up a refurb mini 4 128GB in the Black Friday sales for a decent price.

Now all set up - more or less.

I might yet remove some apps - like BM2 - but I'll keep FLM3 for a moment - see if it gets better ;-). Still, it's nice to have pretty much everything on there and nearly 80GB spare to *start* recording with. :-D Finally have some decent breathing room.

I still need to load the SSO samples into both Thumbjam and Auria Pro, and transfer over some Auria Pro, Cubasis and Notion projects, set up a couple of logins, and add some Alchemy sounds, but once done it's pretty much there. Got most of the IAPs and patch sets installed for nearly everything else.

But there's more ;-) We had a "What happened to Z3TA+?" concern earlier in the week - it had disappeared from the app store for a while - I decided to immediately download my complete app purchase set to a new pristine iTunes library. Well, there begins a tale... ;-)

So, just after I'd finished downloading 30GB I decided to close down the Macbook and restart. No dice. :-/ Oh! Wouldn't respond from the machine itself. As it happened, I had an ssh login from a Linux machine already, (I commonly do :-) ) and I did a "shutdown -r now. "

It didn't come back up...:-O

Repeated reboots and... No dice! Uh-oh....

(Uh-oh esp. since I had just downloaded 30GB to it too! :-) )

Hmmm. So, after hunting round, it seemed like it was the 2011 graphics board problem. That, as it happens is still (until the end of the year only!) repairable free under an extension deal from Apple. So, I figured I need to avail myself of that, BUT, I didn't want to let the disk out of my hands. It's a 1TB Trion SSD (actually 960GB) I put in, so I removed it and then cloned it with Super Duper on another Mac to a 1TB HD. (More on that in a moment). Meanwhile I created a fresh 1TB Yosemite blank install on the other Mac, (with a dummy PW I don't use for anything else), and put that in instead. No dice. OK. So, not a disk issue. Most likely the 2011 graphics bug, but, swapped the memory in and out and around too just to check. Nope. OK.

So, call Apple. Yep. Sounds like the 2011 bug. Yes, should be a free repair. Take it in. My nearest repair shop is 1hr away. OK. Drive up into the mountains on a dark and stormy night with the lowering clouds full of rain (and fog in the mountains)...

Meanwhile... I wanted to clone the SSD to an HD so that I could try booting the clone on the other Mac without messing up the original SSD. Worked *except* SuperDuper failed to rebuild the prebinding after successful copy.

Hmmmm.

Tracked down what it was trying to do, ran the command (/usr/bin/update_dyld_shared_cache + args), but that still failed. OK. So, reading around, didn't look critical because it just affects 1st boot time.

So, on to next step that SD normally does, which was to make the system bootable.

Learned about the bless command, managed to figure out how to run it to activate the "Blessed" system folder and system file, and, managed to boot OK off the HD SSD clone.

Phew! :-)

By that time the mini 4 had arrived too, so, I could then install the apps I'd downloaded without having to redownload 30GB. Keeps my ISP happy! :-)

Mac is now back and working again too. A trip with Mrs. Jones to the store and back this morning. No rain or fog thankfully. Swapped the HD out and the SSD back in. Put back the extra 4GB memory to make 12. Definitely a new motherboard since there's no serial # on it.

Oh and Mrs. Jones gets a new (new to her) iPad out of the whole deal too. Her mini 1 had been on the fritz; display was jumping around, sometimes without being touched a bit like my old 5C that gave up, and not responding or mis responding to touch. So, now I have the mini 4, I passed on an older mini 1 (she doesn't need more than a mini 1 for her landscape architecture work).

Also this week, on the Mac system I use the iCM2/4+'s and other iPads with, which is connected to a 16.0.2, I also had an issue with the headphone jack. Being very careful not to trip on the cable, I, err, tripped on the cable! :-O Sheared the housing out around the jack.

I worked for a while with the jack hanging out the side...

... but then Rick Naqvi of Presonus very kindly expedited me a new housing and I got that replaced as well.

So now the system I integrate the iPads with the DAW in is also back up and running.

Was a bit fiddly and I didn't have a socket to fit, so had to make do with a screwdriver. Even the needle-nosed pliers I bought were too big

The Ovation I ordered also arrived. Well, it's actually the *second* Ovation I've had this week. The first one had a broken tuner, but Sweetwater did a turnaround advance replacement (Kudos!) and the new one is now here too. Cool!

Been an interesting week as I say. :-)

Now - hopefully - we also get the washing machine replacement sorted out this evening. Been waiting for two weeks on that too.

All's well that ends well as they say. :-D

-----

So, not quite Mr. and Mrs. Pournelle there, but hey ;-) 

The iConnectAUDIO2+ - a review



(Note: Any of the images in this review can be opened full-size if you want to see more detail. How you accomplish that will depend on your browser: View image/Open in new tab/etc.)


Introduction

With the iConnectAUDIO2+ iConnectivity is on to another winner in unique audio interfaces capable of connecting together iOS devices and PCs/Macs combined with analog audio hardware at a great price point ($199 street).

A smaller brother of the iConnectAUDIO4+, the iConnectAUDIO2+ provides a lower-cost option for the more cost-conscious musician to be able to record analog and digital audio to iPhones, iPads and MacOS / Windows machines with ease as well as allow the routing and mixing of digital audio right within the device.

Like the iConnectMIDI2+, iConnectMIDI4+ and iConnectAUDIO4+ before it, the iConnectAUDIO2+ permits bidirectional digital audio - via iConnectivity's audio passThru (TM) technology directly without any D/A -> A/D conversion - as well as MIDI communication between iOS devices and desktop / laptop machines. In addition to the digital audio connection however, and like the iConnectAUDIO4+, analog audio from the XLR/HiZ/Line in inputs on the front can also be mixed with that digital audio. Using the connections on the front one can connect dynamic and condenser microphones, guitars and basses and synthesizers or other line-level devices.

Control of the audio and MIDI routing and mixing is accomplished using the iConfig application.


This runs on the desktop as well as on iPads. There are some slight differences between the desktop and iPad versions of iConfig but the core functionality is present in the iPad version as well to control both the audio patchbay and mixer and MIDI routing.

Audio quality with the iConnectAUDIO4+

While I was writing the review for the iConnectAUDIO2+, I realized I had not shared the testing I had done previously on the iConnectAUDIO4+'s audio quality anywhere. So, here's a very brief blog post about that :-) It should be noted that I did these tests over a year ago, so I don't have the waveforms available any longer otherwise I would post examples here as well.

Testing scenario

To test the audio quality on the iConnectAUDIO4+ I used the following scenario:

  • 1.) I compared the iConnectAUDIO4+, a Focusrite 6i6 and an Impact Twin. All are devices I own, like and use - so nothing below should be taken as being critical, just observational.

  • 2.) I set the same input and recording gain levels on all devices. In doing so, I observed a small amount of noise on the inputs of the 6i6 and the TC, but none on the iConnectAUDIO4+. This will likely not be noticeable in everyday use, but it's a plus for the iConnectivity device.

  • 3.) I then recorded a reference track at 90dBSPL peak, played through studio monitors using both a dynamic and a condenser mic in turn (an SM58 and an AT4033A respectively) via each device into a connected desktop DAW and saved the waveforms. Each recording was made at 44.1K/16. The recording level was first measured with an SPL meter at the point of convergence of the monitor outputs where the mic was placed.


Results


Comparing the results, the iConnectAUDIO4+ sounded marginally brighter - very slightly less muddy - in the high frequency range than either the 6i6 or the Impact Twin whichever mic was used.

At low frequencies I did not observe very much difference.

It appears therefore that the iConnectivity device has the slight edge in clarity in the high-frequencies over the other devices. Having said that I would not (and do not) hesitate to use any of them day-to-day.

What was also noticeable was that the gain adjustment was more linear on the iConnectAUDIO4+ than either the 6i6 or the TC using the physical gain controls.

I also repeated the test with a Presonus FireStudio Tube running at 96K/24bit for comparison. As expected there was a very slight audible increase in clarity with the higher sample rate/bit depth but again not to any degree that one would audibly notice unless one was particularly looking for it, specifically in the lower frequencies this time.

Regards,

Derek.

Books as an example

Bear with me a little here - I get to the point at the end of the post ;-)

I have a book from the 1800's that I paid £2.50 for in a second hand store. Priceless (to me) - and probably worth about $200 if I were to sell it now. When it was originally sold, I would guess it cost the equivalent of, maybe, $20 in today's money. We have lost something in terms of appreciation of value by the electronicization of things I think.

Sure, we've gained a lot too. Portability, accessibility, availability (?) - maybe - if the Internet is up at the time we need it to be...

The Joy of Reading

I have bookshelves upon bookshelves of actual paper books, probably over 150ft of bookshelf space - haven't really counted - and I've read a good number of the books on those bookshelves over the years (academic texts to novels, travel guides to language books, music texts, programming texts, encyclopedias, technical manuals, humor, plays, commentaries and so on).

I remember the days I would fill a backpack or a briefcase with books. Oh the weight! The need to take care I didn't mess them up; rumple up the pages or get something else lodged in them by accident. Learned about caring for things though.

I love being able to browse a book. There is still a benefit to being able to open a book and flip through it to find information - especially the visual associations - "this comes before that in the book", "this is early on", "that's on the right hand side near the top" etc. And you can keep multiple fingers in multiple places very easily - still far more easily than being able to flip between bookmarks electronically.

I don't consider any of those, even the ones I've paid pennies for, to be consumable items, but precious in the sense that that's what's informed my thinking, altered it sometimes, kept it in check at others and so on.

Ongoing Utility

I still go back and re-read some of those books. I would not want to throw them away nor have the ability to browse through them removed. I've recently picked up a book from my bookshelf that I purchased 34 years ago that's just come in handy this year! Glad I still have it! And the information is still as fresh today as it was then.

We had a small basement flood some years back. No serious damage, but I had some old electronic project books on the floor and they were water damaged and unrecoverable. The only way to replace them under the insurance - new for old - was to buy new copies. Unfortunately, it was a "buy-then-we'll-reimburse" policy. Some books that I'd paid a few pennies for back in the UK many years ago were now only available as collectors' items for over $200 - EACH (!) and there were several of the same kind. And, no, they weren't worth $200 each - to anyone (IMO). So, I didn't replace any of those.

And so to electronic media...

Now, getting closer to the point: the issue of physical books vs. ebooks - I can't take those physical books with me so easily. I can however take the equivalent in bookshelf space on a single iPad! And, yes, nowadays I do a reasonable amount of reading on electronic devices. In fact I have done so since the Palm days, then Pocket PC, then Android and now iOS.

Would I transfer all those physical books to e-book equivalents? Not a chance - even if it were possible! For the reasons stated above, among others, I would not want to lose that permanence, nor availability. Do I buy new books? Yes - sometimes, and I buy ebooks too, but I don't want those to disappear.

iOS music apps: The Crunch

I've paid money for those ebooks. Actually - again as with all electronic purchases, one has purchased a license to use the item - even ebooks. They can't be willed to my children - whereas the paper books can.

This is the non-transferable license issue. I value those ebooks however - as much as I value older iOS music apps that I've "paid for" (a license to use).

What if they go away? What if the author removes them from the App Store? Under Apple's new rules they will be unavailable for me to download and continue using. Sure, I have backups of the ipa files, and that's one way round the issue. But, what if you don't? Suddenly, something you have "paid for" and perhaps rely on can't be installed on a new device.

What about IAPs? What if you still have the ipa and can restore it from a backup but the IAPs you have also purchased are now no longer available for restoration?

And that's the problem. Lack of real ownership. How do we solve that?

Not anytime soon - it's a money-go-round for the "seller".

This is also a contributing reason as to why I don't buy into subscription-based software - libraries, DAWs etc.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

MicroBrute + SGenerator on iPad

Hi! On a roll here with MicroBrute modulation...

Even more experimenting :-) - this time with the SGenerator app on iOS as a means of again modulating PWM on the Arturia MicroBrute. (App link here)

 

 

So, here's another short video clip showing an iPad mini modulating the PWM using two different LFO sources within SGenerator.



One thing that's nice with Sgenerator is that you can also change the duty cycle of the square waves as well which adds further modulation possibilities.

I did find with Sgenerator that it was a little tricky to change the dials since they are set for very careful frequency choices, even with the coarse setting. But, the sliders are no problem. Still, very nice and a further option for adding spice to the MicroBrute!


Regards

Derek.

Keep on making music! :-)

MicroBrute + Synth 76477

Hi! more experimenting - this time with the Synth 76477 app on iOS as a means of modulating PWM on the Arturia MicroBrute. (App link here)

 

In the short video clip below I show an iPhone modulating the PWM using two different LFO sources in Synth 76477.



Regards

Derek.

Keep on making music! :-)

2 x Brute LFO on iPhone to control the MicroBrute

Hi! I've been experimenting a little with the Brute LFO app on iOS as a means of modulating various aspects of the Arturia MicroBrute. (App link here)

In the short video clip below I show two iPhones modulating different items in the MircroBrute patch bay, along with the built-in LFO acting separately.

This opens up all sorts of modulation possibilities for the MicroBrute to create some very interesting sounds. Check it out! :-)

 

I've also been experimenting with using Filtatron on the iPhone as well...

...but I'll save that for another demonstration. (App link here)

Regards

Derek.

Keep on making music! :-)

Using the iConnectMIDI4+ to pass audio between iPads!

This is very exciting! Using the iConnectMIDI4+ you can now not only send MIDI data between two iPads or an iPad an a computer - or send MIDI into an iPad from an external device, but you can also send audio (yes audio!) between two iPads using the passthru technology. 

Remember - this is routing the stereo digital audio (or even two pairs of stereo digital audio or four channels of mono if you like - it's up to you how you configure the Audio Patchbay and of course depending on which apps you use), so there is no loss using the iConnectMIDI4+ as there is in using the jack output. It's like having one great big audio chain in a single device!

In the short video below I demonstrate that and show how to set up the audio patchbay in iConfig to achieve it!

Enjoy!

Keep making music

Regards

Derek.

Four new items on the iConnectMIDI4+

In the first video I had mentioned four items that in the end I didn't get to in that initial video overview and demonstration but I wanted to cover, and so here we are again in a second shorter video that address those.

Here, we take a look at:

o Connecting iPhones as well as iPads (Two different iPhones via both 30 pin and lightning adapters)

o Using a MIDI controller in more depth - the transparency of MIDI via the iConnectMIDI4+

o Latency - a simple measurement to show how low it is with the device

o An overview of iConfig - the new features for the iConnectMIDI4+

So, without further ado - enjoy - and thanks for watching! :-)

 

See you next time. (Oh - and don't forget to read the other blog entries on the iConnectMIDI4+ as well! :-) )

Check back again and on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates too!

Like: www.facebook.com/MusicInclusiveLLC

Friend: www.facebook.com/MusicInclusive

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MusicInclusive

 

Keep on making music!

Regards

Derek.

Routing via the iConnectMIDI4+ makes the most of older hardware

I've been getting more into using iOS to do sequencing recently. Z3TA+ is a very nice synth app - a port of the desktop version to iOS, but is quite CPU heavy - esp. on "older" iPads.

Thesys is an intriguing step sequencer - again a port from a desktop version to iOS; it allows multiple simultaneous CC selectable and flexible parameter control - but is again doing a lot of work on an iPad to achieve this. 


Putting them together on the same device (if older) taxes the CPU - esp. if you want to also record into something like Cubasis, Auria or Multitrack DAW. However, using the iConnectMIDI4+ makes it a breeze to facilitate using all these wonderful pieces together! 


By running Thesys on one iPad connected to the iCM4+, and then Z3TA+ on another, and routing the MIDI from the first via the iCM4+ to the other, and then recording the Z3TA+ output via the ICM4+ again on a desktop DAW I was able to get a completely clean (no CPU glitches) recording. 

More kudos for the iConnectMIDI4+ as a facilitator of new goodness using iPad for music production! 

Keep making music!

Derek

Two items from iConfig of interest...

iDevice speaker/jack audio while connected to the iConnectMIDI4+

I am indebted to "Zymos" on the Audiobus forums for pointing out something I hadn't tried before - even with the iConnectMIDI2+ device, but it works on both the iConnectMIDI2+ as well as the iConnectMIDI4+. 

And that is… if you disable the iOS device audio out in the iConfig settings you will get audio coming out of your iPad speakers or jack connection rather than the audio being directed via the digital audio interface to the iConnectMIDI device. Here's a picture from the the iConfig application for the iConnectMIDI4+ that illustrates where one does that:

Part of the reason I hadn't tried doing that before was that I actually wanted to have the audio only ever go via the digital interface, but as the conversations have been multiplying about use cases in various forums and groups, this has come up several times and I thought to try it as a result of Zymos' suggestion. Thank you Zymos! :-)

The host port and USB MIDI controllers

Also wanted to briefly illustrate the use of the host port with an external powered USB hub for more than just keyboards. In the following screenshot from iConfig, you'll see that I have a CME XKey 25, a Korg MS-20ic, and an Axiom Pro 61 keyboard connected via an external hub to the USB host port. Note in the Name column that you can set aliases for the device names which makes it easier to figure out which MIDI device you are directing where in the port routing elsewhere in iConfig.

BUT! that's not all, - notice anything else? ;-) I have also added into the hub that is connected to the host port, an Alesis electronic drum set. It's class compliant as it happens, so it shows up here just fine. Using this, you can drive any number of drum applications on an iPad (or Mac or PC), that respond to the standard MIDI drum notes. That's very cool too!

More soon folks. 

Keep on making music!

Derek.

 

Overview and demonstration of the iConnectMIDI4+

Hi folks. I've just uploaded a video overview / review / demonstration of the iConnectMIDI4+ in action to youtube. You can check it out here or directly on the MusicInclusive Youtube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/MusicInclusive. Also don't forget to check out part 1 of the review.



In the second video installment I'll hopefully demonstrate using alternate devices such as iPhones in combination with iPads and also audio passthru between two iOS devices. Exciting stuff! :-)

In the third, I plan to do an overview of the iConfig setup - what's available, what's new etc.

In a few weeks I hope to have completed a separate set of more detailed short tutorials also which will feature on the iConnectivity website.

Check back again and on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more update information as it becomes available.

Like: www.facebook.com/MusicInclusiveLLC

Friend: www.facebook.com/MusicInclusive

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MusicInclusive

Kind regards

Derek

Keep on making music! :-)

iConnectMIDI4+ Preliminary Review - part 1

Introduction

It's finally arrived! It exists! It's here!

 



The long-awaited and anticipated iConnectMIDI4+ is not a myth as some have speculated. It really does exist and is now ready for order from various mainstream retailers.

As some of you who follow the blog here or our Youtube channel know, I have owned an iConnectMIDI2+ since they first came out and I have been delighted with the device as a means of connecting an iPad to a Mac or PC with bidirectional digital pass through audio and bidirectional MIDI, as well as DIN control of external MIDI devices. I have been eagerly waiting for the iConnectMIDI4+ and now that I've had a chance to play with one for this review let me tell you I am very very excited by this gear!

I like many of you have been looking forward to the iConnectMIDI4+ for a number of specific reasons also: the increased number of DIN ports, multi-iPad support, USB hub MIDI controller hosting and Ethernet connectivity, but let's take a look at the specs for a moment to get a side-by-side comparsion:

I've been experimenting a bit with 4Pockets' Stompbox since they added stereo pass through on the input channels. Very nice! I recorded the very short classical / acoustic noodle below as a test using an RP255 pedal on the Acoustic setting (adjusted), via USB directly into an Apple Camera Connection Kit with 30-pin to lightning adapter straight into an iPad mini 16 (original). The Guitar used was an Ibanez GA5TCE shown below.

The pedal was set to have some small stereo ping pong delay, which is passed through in stereo perfectly via Stompbox now, and a small amount of reverb. The SB app was first set to clean, then - after a short delay in the wav file, you'll hear I added Chorus in the SB app. The result was recorded into Cubasis via Audiobus.

It's perfectly understandable that an amp app would normally only take a mono signal - guitar output is usually a mono signal - but - it's not the only use case, and being able to feed stereo output not only from pedals that produce stereo, as noted above, but from synthesizers or other apps into Stompbox in the FX slot in Audiobus makes such apps all the more valuable on an iPad of course for more than just guitarists.

Something I should also mention - one advantage of using a pedal like the RP255 via USB is that you get the direct digital output from the pedal direct into the iPad - no A/D conversion. There are other digital / HD guitar interfaces that work this way too for iPads, but I happen to already have Digitech Pedals, and hence can already make use of their built in amp and FX modeling to augment what I might want to do with further processing in the iPad.

Kind regards

Derek.

classical.wav


 

As I was reading recently, I came across the quote below. I think - what's interesting in reading some of the pioneers who brought electronic music and instruments onto the scene in the 60s and 70s as they recount their "struggles" in seeing electronic music accepted, is that there's something of the same going on with folks today as iPads become increasingly accepted as valid musical instruments and even standalone "studio" environments capable of producing whole albums. The screenshots I included BTW show, Auria, Cubasis, iMS-20 and iSEM - all running on an iPad mini (original).

Here's an interesting quote from a book on the subject at the time:

"Electronic music is not a new and startling development, it is a logical extension of man's musical endeavors. It is the next step in man's efforts to be able to control sound for music communication. Perhaps in terms of the conventional symphony orchestra, electronic music seems to present a radical departure. In reality, however, such is the case only because many people in the field of music regard present instrumentation and musical groups as being in some way permanent. The instruments presently in use in conventional music actually have a very short history, are very limited, and will be quite archaic in the future .

The art of music is, or perhaps should be, based on man's desire to extend his capabilities in communication. And with this in mind, the ideas in this book are not at all surprising or revolutionary. It is a sad fact that music all too frequently becomes a struggle with the idiosyncracies of stretched strings, hollow tubes, and taut membranes which, quaint though they may be, lead the composer and musician into a state of physical struggle against nature."

"Electronic Music - A handbook of sound synthesis and control" - by Manford L. Eaton, 1971, p63

I guess I'd not quite agree with everything there, but, it's interesting. Food for thought anyhow.




 


 

 

The iKlip 2 - simple yet very useful!

Hi folks.

Just took delivery today of an IK Multimedia iKlip 2.

(See here for the IK Multimedia site and details of the iKlip 2: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/iklip2/ )

It's a very simple device but oh so useful!

If you want to position an iPad at a given angle for whatever reason, the iKlip 2 holds it sturdily and gently but firmly in position on a rotating ball joint. The iPad slides very slickly into the clasps which are just tight enough to hold things steady but not so tight they scratch the device. The whole unit then attaches to a mic stand - or any other support that can be contained within the screw clasp at the back. There is no slippage of the ball joint - and one does not have to do it up so tightly that it feels like it will break to achieve that.

MusicInclusive purchased the iKlip 2 to position a second iPad for recording and for easy placement and access when not situated on an already crowded recording desk. It's great for that - but I also discovered a second use... Have you ever wanted to lie down on a couch (many studio's have couches!) and read something on an iPad - like a synth technical manual, or a mic spec sheet - without bending your neck or having the iPad sit at an awkward angle? It's great for that too! One can position the iPad facing down (i.e. with the front facing toward the floor) without fear of it falling out, and look up at it from a prone position. How about recording video or a picture using the iPad camera at some unusual angle while holding it steady? Perfect!

Of course, you can also use it for all the IK Multimedia suggested reasons - like reading sheet music - or controlling an iPad stomp box or other recording app, but the extra uses I've outlined make it additionally worth the price. Admittedly I did use up some Jam points to lower the cost - but even so - even at full cost, it's the sort of purchase that you might debate over for quite a while and then wonder why you didn't buy it before. I know I did.

The iKlip seems at first glance like a piece of equipment that might appear redundant. After all - you can set an iPad on a desk - and with a suitable case, place it at several different angles. But the flexibility of the iKlip to position an iPad just where you want it, at whatever height (when attached to an appropriate mic stand of course), at whatever angle you need without having to precariously balance your expensive investment awkwardly, makes it worthwhile. (Note: I did not try it hanging from a boom - only attached to the upright part of the stand - so YMMV if you were to attempt using it from a boom).

The one small downside is that you have to remove any existing case to use an iPad in the iKlip 2. But - for the utility gained it's a small price to pay.

A purchase that MusicInclusive is pleased to have made and recommends if you have any need to place your iPad anywhere but on a desk or hold it in your hands.

Very pleased.

Regards

Derek.

(iKlip™ is a trademark property of IK Multimedia Production Srl.)

USB woes... and a fix! :-)

After playing with the iConnectMIDI2+ box for a while I noticed that I was hearing some pops and clicks in my audio. Buffers were all set appropriately. Samples were OK. Machine is powerful enough. So, what could be wrong? It started when I added the box into the rig, and, at first I thought it might have been a production problem. I was wrong...

I must applaud the iConnectivity support team. They have been working with me to find the issue, and, we were both scratching our heads trying to figure it out. They looked at replicating the setup I had, checked their device clocks and timings and so on. Kudos for sticking with it guys! Thank you!

Turns out - it's nothing to do with the iConnectMIDI2+ box as far as I can see. Rather - NEVER buy anything less that good quality USB cables and hubs. (Yes - I do have to use a hub in this particular studio setup - as do many of you.)

After messing around moving USB connections between ports, finding out what likes a direct connection and what will live on a hub quite happily, removing and re-adding USB audio devices, changing the combinations, etc. etc. I finally swapped out some of the USB cables, and, - whaddayknow? The clicks and pops have gone away! :-)

Of course, now my rig is a spaghetti mess! So, time to buy some new, higher quality, USB cables. I think I'll look at upgrading the powered hub too while I'm at it.

Once again - thanks to the iConnectivity support folks for working through this with me. It is of benefit to everyone - especially since it nicely demonstrates the integrity of their kit and the dedication of their support team. Way to go guys!

Kind regards

Derek.

iOS 7 - now for the teething troubles...

Well, although apps may run, they don't all play nicely in combination.

Following this thread: http://forum.audiob.us/discussion/2147/crash-issues-after-updating-to-ios7 I tried putting Addictive Synth in the Input slot for Audiobus and recording to FL Studio.

As other posters noted, FL Studio records and shows the recorded waveform, but there is no audio audible.

Putting an effect in the FX slot cures this (I chose Echo Pad). Someone suggested loading an effect but not launching it, but that caused FL Studio to crash. Launching the FX app (but not necessarily selecting any effect), allows the audio from FL Studio to be heard.

So, - yep - there are some teething troubles - and some workarounds. Is it a showstopper to not upgrade to iOS 7? I'll let you decide that.

Meanwhile we'll keep on testing on iOS 7 and reporting.

Watch this space - and - keep on making music!

Regards

Derek.

iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test - results: Part 2

iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test - results: Part 3 - Audiobus

Last post for the day on this.

Fired up Audiobus, then Cassini into NLogSynth Pro in the FX slot to flange with and then recorded in Auria in the output slot. Worked just fine! :-)

Pics, videos and audio to follow soon hopefully.

Keep on making music!

Regards

Derek.

 

 

iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test - results: Part 2
Hardware...

OK. So, using an Apple 30-pin to lightning adapter - I successfully managed to fire up Animoog via iRig MIDI and both send and receive MIDI to the iPad mini running iOS 7 and record audio out via the jack.

Same worked with iConnectivity iConnectMIDI2+ via the iConnectMIDI2+ USB interface directly.

Also - iRig (the guitar input jack system for iPad - original version using the jack audio) also worked fine with Amplitube, Ampkit+, Guitar Tone, JamUp Pro, Shredder, Sonus G2M and MIDI Morphosis (though I did not morph anything on the latter - but it was seeing the input just fine.)

As on an original iPad / iOS there appears to be an issue with how Ampkit+ handles the audio - only one stereo channel appears to get picked up with any volume - but it does work.

So - hardware seems good too!

Regards

Derek.

iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test - results: Part 1
iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test - results: Part 1

iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test - results: Part 1


Here are the results so far on the "Runs and plays" test on iOS 7 on an iPad mini wifi-only device with 16GB memory.

Nothing complicated was attempted in each case - simply running the app, choosing a preset and playing a short melody (for synths at least). In some cases I messed with a little modulation too but nothing extensive yet.

I have NOT yet tested:

 

  • - Background audio
  • - WIST
  • - Anything extensive with Audiobus (one test - see below)
  • - Jack
  • - Hardware input / output (E.g. iRig MIDI, iRig, iConnectMIDI2+, etc.)
  • - External MIDI input by any means (even over wifi)
  • - Recording in any recording app. (E.g. Auria, Cubasis, etc.) Simply fired up demos.

 

All sounds at this point were played through the iPad mini's own speakers - no external jack or speaker connections of any kind.

In any apps where I had made IAPs I restored those also without any problems. Also where an app requested access to the mic I allowed it.


Disclaimer: do not take anything here as a guarantee that these synths will load, run or play on your iPad hardware. However they do load and run on a freshly loaded iPad mini with iOS 7 freshly installed:


 

Synth apps:

 

  • - iMS-20
  • - iPolysix
  • - Animoog
  • - iMini
  • - Nave
  • - Magellan
  • - Galileo
  • - Modular
  • - Alchemy
  • - Addictive Synth
  • - Arctic Keys
  • - NLog PRO
  • - Audulus - HOWEVER the in-app keyboard did end up with a note stuck on
  • - Cassini
  • - iTuttle
  • - CrystalSynthXT
  • - SampleTank
  • - Sunrizer
  • - Nodebeat HD
  • - LaunchKey
  • - Rebirth
  • - SunVox
  • - Grand Piano
  • - DXi
  • - Argon
  • - Xenon
  • - SynthX

 

iPhone synth apps:

 

  • - Animoog for iPhone
  • - Cassini for iPhone
  • - Magellan Jr.
  • - miniSynth
  • - miniSynth 2
  • - miniSynth Pro
  • - iGrand Piano for iPhone
  • - Sunrizer XS

 

Drum / beat synths:

 

  • - DM1
  • - Beatforge
  • - Molten
  • - RhythmPad
  • - Impaktor (which was of course using the mic - and worked just fine)
  • - Tabletop
  • - Rhythm Studio
  • - SynthDrum
  • - Synth Drum - starts up with a warning about an Audiobus initialization problem and says Audiobus will be disabled. Need to look at that. However - it does work and play.
  • - Studio 1111

 

Guitar-related apps (I did not connect a guitar to test them - simply fired them up):

 

  • - Amplitube
  • - Ampkit+
  • - GuitarTone
  • - JamUp Pro
  • - Shredder
  • - iFretless bass (this one of course I could hear immediately - works OK.)
  • - Sonus G2M
  • - MIDIMorphosis

 

FX apps:

(Again I only fired these up - did not yet run anything thru' them with one exception below):

 

  • - Turnado
  • - Echo Pad
  • - Filtatron
  • - (I tend to use some of the other synths as FX, hence the small list here)

 

Recording suites / sequencers / file sharing etc.

 

  • - Cubasis - On and On demo ran OK
  • - Auria - took a while to load the 1st time - but played "The approach" demo OK.
  • - FL Studio HD - Electroconductor - Walker demo ran OK
  • - GarageBand - Loaded up OK
  • - NanoStudio - Eden 1 demo ran OK
  • - Music Studio - Blue Danube demo ran OK
  • - AudioShare - loaded up OK
  • - Meteor Multi Track Recorder - Initial demo ran OK
  • - Genome MIDI Sequencer loaded OK

 

Non-synth audio apps:

 

  • - Sound Wand Midi (Did not move around yet because I had the iPad mini on a stand)
  • - DJ Player
  • - db Meter Pro
  • - SPL Meter

 

Other music apps:

 

  • - Notion (played a Mozart score OK)
  • - Symphony Pro (Played Pachelbel's Canon in D OK)
  • - Avid Scorch (Played Tom Clarke's Nacirema People OK)
  • - Songwriter's Pad
  • - OnSong

 

One Audiobus test:

 

  • - Animoog -> Echo Pad -> NLogSynthPro - Worked fine!

 

Other things:

 

  • - iConfig started OK
  • - MIDI Bridge started OK

 


 

So - where are we?

So far - nothing crashed and burned - and a simple Audiobus test worked.

Using under load and in combinations is obviously going to be the next step - and also to see if there are any interface issues - knobs that don't turn etc. I'll also want to explore IAA to see what works with what as things develop.

I'll keep you posted!

Keep making music - maybe on iOS 7 too ;-)

Derek.

BTW: If your favorite app is not on this list I would still be willing to try it. Here's the plan. Drop me a line in the comments with an indication of how much you would be willing to gift via iTunes or PayPal and which apps you would like to see tested in some sort of order with the most important to you at the top.

If enough people vote for a given app, and then in mutual agreement when I've totted up the vote counts, follow through with an iTunes / Paypal gift, I'll download, install and test each voted for app - covered by the sum of any donations - on iOS 7 as extensively as I am able!

 

iPad Mini iOS 7 "Runs and plays" test coming soon

Hi folks

The iPad Mini arrived today that MusicInclusive obtained for the specific purpose of testing out iOS 7 audio without affecting the studio's main music production iPad - which is still running 6 and will continue to do so until iOS 7 is confirmed for audio use in every circumstance.

The mini is being loaded with iOS 7 right now. This is a fresh clean iOS 7 update directly on top of an out-of-the box iOS 6 unit. Once that's complete, I'll load up various iPad synth, effects, drum and recording apps,  - as well as Audiobus of course - and then do an initial "runs and plays" test - with some Audiobus routings in to test that also.

After that I'll try and test some iPad audio hardware too and see if there are any obvious gotchas there.

It won't be an exhaustive test of every synth or piece of iPad audio hardware on the market - I have my own personal selections of each - but it should give you an idea of perhaps what to choose from that does work at present. Hopefully everything will eventually!

Watch this space! :-)

Regards

Derek.

Connecting synths using iConnectMIDI2+

Hi folks,

Before getting into this post, some may ask "why so many postings on the iConnectMIDI2+ box?". First let me say that I have no connection with the company - I'm just a customer! What I also am however is excited about the potential of this little box - and in due time its bigger 4+ brother - to be a very portable, flexible and above all productive addition to our studio - both in-house and in a mobile setting. It has immediately expanded the possibilities of interconnections between and simultaneous use of analog, virtual analog and iPad instruments and all with a very compact design and clean user interface. The 4+ promises to bring even more flexibility with more ports and the network MIDI potential. Looking forward to exploring that too.

With those things in mind - I am hopeful of showing more connection options in the next few blog posts as well.

OK. Let's get to it.

Just wanted to show the setup for connecting an external analog or virtual analog synth in via the iConnectMIDI2+ device and how to access it within the DAW.

First the hardware connection using a DIN cable from MIDI port 1 OUT on the unit. This is going in to MIDI IN on the MS2000 you see behind it. (The audio out from the MS2000 is connected in to the KB37 Line in connections).

Next, choose the correct port in your DAW - here in Studio One Pro - which is port 2.1 on the iConnectMIDI2+ unit:

 

Lastly - set up two tracks in the DAW - at least in Studio One again - an instrument track for the MIDI out to the MS2000 and an audio track to record the audio from the MS2000 (in this case being routed in through the KB37).

That's it for now.

Hopefully shortly I'll add a recording of this in use too. Watch this space - and keep on making music!

Derek.

Driving iPolysix via iConnectMIDI2+

Hi folks,

Here's a quick video showing the routing of two separate MIDI channels to iPolysix's two synth engines via the iConnectMIDI2+ unit. No extra setup is required except in the DAW to ensure that the correct keyboard is driving the correct MIDI channel. Both are then routed to the iPad instrument and iPolysix routes the MIDI channels to its separate synth engines internally. Very cool. Especially nice to be able to use two separate keyboards to drive the two channels as well!

 

Here's what the MIDI channel tracks look like in Studio One Pro:

More videos coming - including driving the MS2000 and the iPad simultaneously - hopefully RSN!

Keep making music!

Derek.

iConnectMIDI2+ MIDI channels and synths

Another quick update: For synths that support two MIDI input channels - like Yonac's Magellan or Korg's iPolysix - you can send two independent MIDI channels from two keyboards to play each channel - and hence each independent synth engine within the given synth - from a different keyboard. That is very nice!

Derek.

iConnectivity iConnectMIDI2+ and MS2000

Hi folks,

Well the studio's borrowed MS2000 was returned today as expected - and I hooked it up (just with MIDI out to it) via the iConnectMIDI2+. Works great! I only had time to snap a couple of pics here - running alongside the iMS-20 - also connected via the iConnectMIDI2+. With the two MIDI keyboards I have in this studio rig, one can be channeled out to the MS2000, and the other to the iPad at the same time. Works - very nicely.

Channel change messages are also being sent fine from S1Pro to the MS2000 which is very useful. Haven't tried clock changes yet - but it's early days!

Here's the MS2000 connected to the port 1 DIN MIDI out on the iConnectMIDI2+:

And here's the iMS-20 on the iPad:

 

More as time permits.

Derek.

iOS 7 Audio app test coming soon!

Hi all.

I have a fresh iPad mini arriving in the studio this week hopefully. I plan to convert that immediately to iOS 7 and load it up with the same suite of apps I use on the iPad 3 in my main digital studo rig - which is still running iOS 6 and is very stable.

When I've done that, I'll then try and do a run thru' of all the apps I have loaded and list off any issues I find with any of them under iOS 7.

Keep watching - and keep making music!

Derek.

More iConnectivity iConnectMIDI2+ feedback

Hi all. Just a couple of pieces of feedback on the iConnectMIDI2+ in use. For a couple of reasons I did an A/B test of the audio pass thru' quality vs. jack output yesterday and the difference is very audible - so much better. I plan to try and scope that in some way and add to a video shortly hopefully.

I'm also very pleased with the responsiveness of the iConnectivity team as I've been interacting with them trying to address one or two things that I have observed thus far (I'm still interacting, so, I'll wait before posting details - watch this space :-) ).

Thus far I've been testing with Animoog and iMini. Oh - I did also fire up Nave as well to check that out too - forgot that. I plan to try out more of the suite of apps I have installed and see how each of them responds and sounds and try and give a fuller list of what works well (I expect them all to - but just in case!).

I'll keep you up-to-date.

Keep making music! :-D

Derek.

What would an iOS 7 targeted synth look like?

With all the hard work that iOS synth developers have put in to make many virtual devices we know and love look like the physical devices - or some approximation of a physical device - and with iOS 7's move away from representing things in a manner similar to how they look in the world (i.e. away from skeuomorphism), I got to wondering what an iOS 7 synth look'n'feel would be if it adopted the new iOS 7 design look and feel.

We could consider the gorgeous representation of the physical MS-20 by Korg in the iMS-20. Korg did an amazing job - as did Arturia with the iMini. We could also cite the very attractive and real-world representative efforts of the iFretless series of apps, or Nave or Modular (which - although not representing actual physical instruments that exist in hardware, are designed to incorporate what we know and love about physical instruments alongside other virtual elements). The same could be said for any number of the guitar pedal board apps, drum synths that show kits etc. You get the idea...

But - for sake of an actual example, the iMS-20 is a wonderful iOS instrument (Kudos Korg!) and a very good replica in software of the physical instrument. Beautiful and functional (and, as we synth players know, those two things are not antithetical to each other!)

Here's a quick screenshot of the iMS-20 running on an iPad:

We want it to look like it does because it is intended to represent the reality we know (which the move away from skeuomorphism assumes is somehow not as helpful any more) and we can therefore immediately transfer the skills of knob turning and patch cord plugging into a rapidly useful emulation on the iPad to get the job done quickly - which is making music. The form here leads to the function. Familiarity helps.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm not saying that designing a new interface for a synth - even for iOS 7 - is a completely bad idea. That would be especially true for one that does not relate to any existing hardware. Witness Animoog; parts of it are like hardware synths, but there's a lot about the design that's innovative. At least it's green and black though - not white and, err, white (or a slightly pale gray). Same with Nave and Audulus which show great innovation as well and good use of a new medium. I'm not saying there is no place for new ideas, just not a requirement that everything change just because it "has to"... ("has to?")

/Humor on (i.e. the following is satire!)

So, I thought about the main differences between iOS 6 and 7 in terms of other apps we're getting used to in iOS 7, and came up with the following "iOS 7 version" of the iMS-20. Of course, I didn't redesign it completely - that would be the ultimate end of this - dials that move in and out in some parallax fashion - or zoom in from the sides when needed (wonder what that would do to latency. Hmmm....). Keys that don't move at all when you press them and modulation wheels that fade out into the distance except at the center point. I did show the jacks without nuts around as just plain circles, and replaced a couple of dials with some "sliders" . But - I didn't have time to do more than that - so I just tried to aim at the other main differences - an almost white color scheme, pastel cables and somewhat hard to read text... ;-)

Here's what it looks like:

Overview of iConnectMIDI2+ in action

This is an overview video - I haven't gone into great detail here - just trying to get all the pieces shown to make things work in a basic fashion. I hope to upload some more videos soon with that more detail in.

So - without further ado...

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: ....

Hmmmm. There was something funky going on with the setup of my particular iConnectMIDI2+ device as delivered. Here's the issue - in the video I show the connection between ports 2.1 and 1.1 (Mac -> iPad) - but - as I have looked over the manual again - that should not have been the default setting. Rather - ports 2.3 and 1.3 are cross-connected by default as they represent the USB connections in and out. 

Here's what the manual says:

The factory default set-up is as follows.

MIDI DIN ports: routed to each other.

USB Device ports:
Port 1 – DIN 1

Port 2 – Din 2

Port 3 – the other USB device port (to allow routing between computer devices connected to both ports)

Port 4 – free. 


So, - the correct settings for adding in to Studio One are to use port 2.3 for the keyboard and instrument settings and port 1.3 on the iPad (assuming that your particular iPad app lets you choose - as Animoog does).

What I ended up trying was a simple reset of the device to factory settings which established the ports like so:


and

 

Now - in S1Pro the port connections are like this:

and



and in Animoog:

 

Hope that clarifies a little. As I mentioned in the video - we'll do more on the channel routing later hopefully.

Derek.

 

Patch Library Progress!

Wanted to give you a quick update on the status of the work.

Development is continuing on the patch libraries apace! Currently focused on the Roland Gaia and Little Phatty / Slim Phatty patch sets with the MicroKorg close behind. We have some exciting new sounds for each of these synths in process that we think you'll enjoy using when they become available. 

We plan to post some sound samples shortly as well on SoundCloud that will give you a taste of things to come.

Watch this space! (And check out our earlier post for more details).



Quick thoughts on the iConnectMIDI2+ in use


Time is tight at the moment, but I hope to get back to some more videos and blog entries on the iConnectMIDI2+ done shortly. Won't be all at once - I'll have to stage them. 

I'm very excited about this little device - even the 2, and I think the 4 will be even nicer.

Some quick thoughts:

The audio quality is noticeably better without the D/A -> A/D conversion and LP and HP filtering of the audio out from the iPad audio output: crisper definitely. 

I also discovered also that it was possible - with some jiggling - and with the help of Audiobus - to use an FX program in the FX slot of Audiobus as an FX in my desktop DAW using this device. That has great potential where there are cheaper but high-quality / different / unusual effects or apps / synths that can shape sound in interesting ways available on iOS vs. desktop.

I think the mainstream use for this however will be:

a.) to get high quality audio out from the iPad audio apps,

b.) to control via MIDI without needing wireless. I have iRig MIDI in my "Studio B" setup with a different iPad - but, this iPad in "Studio C" has been using MIDI over a private wireless network (direct wireless connection to a Mac from the iPad for lower wireless latency) until now. 

c.) to see the iPad as a device directly in the DAW  - esp. as part of an aggregate device in MacOS. I already had the iPad set up, as I do any external device, in a similar fashion using in/out keyboard and instrument devices in Studio One Pro, but having it appear as a device directly is very nice.

d.) Using the MIDI DIN ports to control other devices. I have an MS2000 that I'm planning to hook up to it to test - and - since I have effectively freed up an audio stereo pair that was previously being used for the iPad output, I can use that for the MS2000 output.

More shortly. Watch this space!

Derek.

iConnectivity iConnect MIDI 2+ interface Arrived! Unboxing

The unit has arrived! Here's a quick unboxing video from our youtube channel: Check back again for more on connecting and using this neat little device.

 


An update on the power: Port 2's power input only powers the device. To charge an iOS device you need to purchase the power adpater separately.

Derek.

iConnectivity iConnect MIDI 2+ interface on order!

Just ordered a unit from Musician's Friend here: iconnect_midi_2+_link with a promo code of FALLSALE13B (thanks to Tim Webb at http://discchord.com/ via a note from iOS Musician at http://www.iosmusician.com for the discount code) for only $69.99 with free shipping!

Here's a link again to the iConnectivity promotional video.

 

We'll try and post a review of this when the unit has arrived. Looking forward to it! Looks like it'll be a great addition to the studio - especially the audio pass thru' and the ability to see the iPad as a device in the DAW.


Derek.

Modular Synthesizer for iOS

This looks like a great synthesizer for the iPad. Looking forward to checking it out. From their main page http://www.pulsecodeinc.com/modular.html it appears it will be available in the App Store on 9/12/13.

The main app will be free with IAPs (In-App-Purchases) to obtain modules as you desire, although they are promising a bundle IAP as well to purchase all modules at once.

Here's a demo teaser of the app in action:


 

iConnectivity iConnect MIDI 2+ interface arrives!

Seems like the iConnectivity iConnect MIDI2+ Audio / MIDI / USB iPad / computer interfaces are finally coming in stock in various stores online.


Here's a promotional video they've put out:


 

Audio through+MIDI is a nice combination. It'll be good to see what the fidelity of this is and its responsiveness, but it looks like it'd be a nice interface to add to a studio setup as well as a mobile one.


The 4+ might also be in stock soon from some of the main online stores it appears which offers more ports.


Derek.

Touch Keys Keyboard controlling an analog synthesizer

Hi folks. Andrew McPherson has developed a very useful piece of hardware in the Touch Keys keyboard / overlay mechanism that allows multiple ways to add expression - modulation - to keyboard use and have that affect synthesizers. This is bound to transform how keyboards are designed in the future, but should be shipping soon in various forms as well as kits or complete keyboards.

An earlier video demonstrated how to use the Touch Keys to control Arturia's CS-80V emulation - in particular how to control the CS-80s polyphonic aftertouch. (BTW: The CS-80V s a virtual analog synthesizer VST / AU that we like here very much at MusicInclusive LLC as well along with all of the Arturia emulations).


Here's a link to that video:



   

Recently Andrew released a new video demonstrating the Touch Keys keyboard controlling a real modular analog synthesizer which is also very exciting news. Great demonstration. Lots of potential in this product.

Price may not be cheap on these keyboards but they do promise a great deal for adding expression to synthesizer playing.

Tell us what you think! Will you be buying one of these?

Derek

Announcement - Patch libraries from MusicInclusive LLC

Introduction
MusicInclusive LLC is pleased to announce the upcoming release of several patch libraries for popular analog and virtual analog and modeling synthesizers.

This is an exciting new development for MusicInclusive LLC and along with our own personnel, we have partnered with one of the best patch designers who has himself not only also created virtual analog synthesizers that come bundled with a large array of patches, but also a wide variety of patch libraries for legacy analog synthesizers. 



Details

We are currently working on patch sets for the Roland Gaia, Korg Microkorg and Moog Little Phatty Stage II / Slim Phatty with more to follow. We anticipate releasing lead, bass and pad patch libraries initially and expect to have others developed by the new year

Patch sets will be available to purchase directly from the website here as a download. Each library will comprise a complete set of of patches for the respective synthesizer's user memory area.


Update information - watch this space!
Keep an eye on our social media pages:

  Twitter feed:            
www.twitter.com/musicinclusive 
  Facebook (Like)        
www.facebook.com/musicinclusiveLLC 
  Facebook (Friend)     
www.facebook.com/musicinclusive 

for up-to-date information, where we'll let you know where you can find the links on our main website here as the libraries become available for purchase.
 
Courses 
MusicInclusive LLC also runs courses in learning about analog synthesis where you can also understand how to create patches like these and many others. For information, please refer to our

  Courses page:    
www.musicinclusive.com/courses 

and send us an inquiry on our

  Contacts page:    
www.musicinclusive.com/contact 

if you are interested in taking any of our courses. 







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