Old yet cool news



Browsing around CDM I found this, a thing of complete beauty...

Master chip musician Gijs Gieskes has outdone himself this time: his second Walkman tape sequencer controls the Game Boy music cartridge LSDJ via various knobs and circuitry. His typography is utterly mysterious (in other words, completely illegible), so here’s my translation:

It has got LSDJ sync, because it uses gwems lsdj pitch control as master clock . . . the red potentiometers determine the playback speed of the cassette deck, and the yellow potentiometer controls the clock speed.

In other words, the sequencer he built controls both a Walkman tape deck and a Game Boy.

Now how cool is that!

Software from PDA Musician



This stuff has been around for a long time, but it doesn't seem to have been updated for quite a long time now, which is a bit of a shame really.

If you check out their site there is lots of software there. From sequencers to MIDI apps and even a 4-track. However, the four track takes 4 .wav files and puts them side by side with some control of the volumes of each file. Still, worth a look.

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Capers applets... what's going on?

So, in 2006 I posted a few times about the capers applets, and in fact the demos are available on the Palm Sounds site (click title).

I had hoped to be able to make the source code for capers available in case anyone did want to take the project forward. However, to date I've not had a response from the original developer, so I have to say that I don't think it is going to happen now.

I'm sorry if I got anyone's hope's up. If things change I'll let you know.

Downloads

Don't forget to check out the downloads page of the Palm Sounds site with what's available there to download. The stuff is all freeware or demo apps, no commercial stuff at all.

Milkytracker how to videos







A very useful selection I think

KP3 Video



I like this video, I think it shows some of what you can do with a Kaoss Pad. I'd like to think that miniMIXA will give a lot of this functionality when the X-Y pad functionality is introduced, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens next since Tao Group have restructured.

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The Hughes & Kettner Chord Finder



The cool mobile tool for Guitarists. News from Hughes & Kettner:

Have you ever harbored the burning desire to learn how many ways you can voice a B major 7/+9 chord? The new Hughes & Kettner Chord Finder has the answer to this and many other questions composers, enquiring players, and wannabe know-it-alls may have about guitar chords. Turn your mobile into a hip and handy guitar tool! Chord Finder knows all the standard guitar chords and shows their variants in tablature format. You can even audition the chord played with different clean and overdrive sounds at the touch of a button! Now how cool is that for copping tunes and composing songs?

Chord Finder is based on Java software that runs on most current models of mobile phone, and the silent PC version is the perfect tool for home studios. Both versions are now available for free downloading.

I wonder if this will run on a Palm using Java MIDP?

Mobile Music Application Directory

Over the next few weeks / months I plan to compile as complete a list as I can for all the mobile music making applications I know of and can find links to. The final directory will be a post on the blog, but I'll also make it easily available so it can serve as a reference point in the future.

Once the list is done, if you have suggestions for applications to add to it or think of stuff I've missed off, please let me know.

iPhone will have extra apps!!!

Apple said Wednesday it will leverage its proven capability in the area of software development to gradually add new software features and applications to its iPhone and Apple TV products free of charge.

"We are taking this bold step to leverage what we do best," chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said during a conference call with analysts and members of the media.

The software updates and applications will be made available via software updates.

I expect that these kind of applications will be phone related or web related, but maybe, just maybe there'll be some music applications on the horizon? Either way, it means that there might just be some scope for 3rd party applications in there?

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Ubisoft to Publish Jam Sessions



In June, Ubisoft will release Jam Sessions, a game that turns a Nintendo DS portable into a handheld mini-guitar. To play it you use the stylus, your finger or a guitar pick to strum the touch screen, selecting the notes you want (which have been digitally remastered from an acoustic guitar) using the D-pad and a shoulder button.

The game has two modes: Free Play and Tutorial.

In Free Play Mode, no lyrics or notes are provided, you just rock out as you please. In tutorial Mode promises to teach you how to play a guitar from scratch. The game was previously released in Japan under the name Hiite Utaeru DS Guitar M-06 to critical acclaim and consumer delight, but it didn't include a save mode. Jam Session does, so you can record your Unplugged masterpiece to entertain your friends. You can further customize your playing style with adjustable reverb, chorus, low/high pass, tremolo and other settings. And on the visual front, you'll be able to change the look of the virtual guitar string and unlock backgrounds for a job well done in performance mode.

Sounds like a very cool addition to the DS music making apps. I think I need to put that one on the Palm Sounds calendar too.

What does Palm Linux mean for audio?

So what does the new Palm Linux based OS mean for music making and audio applications? Will it mean that apps like Audacity will be easier to port over to the PDA? Will it mean easier development for new palm applications? Or, will it mean that existing apps will need to be re-written for another version of the OS meaning cost and time for developers but with little benefit?

MilkyTracker for PSP released!



How did I miss that then!

What with this and PSP Rhythm, the PSP is fast becoming an interesting platform.

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QOTD: Where do you find new applications?

Given that quite a number of developers have moved away from the likes of PalmGear and Handango because of the high % fees they charge. So, where do you find out about new applications that are coming out?

QOTD: The iPhone as a new music platform?

If Apple keep the platform closed then I doubt that anything will come of it. However, there's quite a lot of people now saying that while it will be closed to start off, but then will open out slowly.

What would you like to see on the iPhone?

I think there are lots of interesting possibilities with the iPhone. Not just because it has a lot of power, but also because it has some of the most interesting input possibilities around for a long time. Apart from the multi-touch interface, it has a proximity sensor, and a sensor to determine portrait or landscape mode (I'm sure there's a better word for that). So with all this power, what could you do with it?



What would be the killer use for those sensors and Mac OSX running on a portable?



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Wrap around

Whilst I'd love it if there were more music applications for the palm platform than you could poke a stick at, there aren't, but there are lots of supporting applications, or applications that wrap around your music if you like.

What do I mean by this? Well, applications that help you to make music whilst not actually doing any music making. Apps like chord finders or musical databases, or tuners, or spectrum analysers for that matter. There are lots and lots of these kind of applications, and I have reviewed some of them over time.

So, what's your most useful non-music making music application?

Audio input on Dell Axim X51v



I sort of knew that my Axim could take a mic in using the 4-pole 3.5mm adapter. Then I happened to be looking at the Manual for StompBox and I on the first page is a picture of this audio adapter that allows you to connect headphones and a mic simultaneously. In fact you can even make one yourself so it seems.

So, once I've got that sorted out I can have more fun with StompBox, and also see what other possibilities open up.

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PiooPioo!



PiooPioo player is one of those applications that you almost forget you have around, but is a fantastically useful little application. Apart from being a great add-on application to Bhajis Loops allowing you to play song files without having to open them, it has that wonderful visualisation which I love.

I was using it today to play a whole bunch of tracks all in the same folder, really handy.



TuneStudio Price check $249



Thanks to PetitsPieds for the tip off that the price tag for the TuneStudio has risen to $249 from the original £180. Makes you start to think about it differently maybe.



OT: OSX Leopard delayed

Apple has just announced that Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard has been delayed until October. The reason? iPhone: "we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS(R) X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned."

However, Apple will still be displaying a "feature complete" version of Leopard at June's WWDC event, and will be giving beta versions for developers to take home and help put the finishing touches on.

At least the iPhone is still coming in June.

Sorry about this fairly non PDA music related post. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

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What would Bhajis Loops 2.0 have looked like?

This is one of those "what if" type posts about Bhajis Loops. What would it have looked like if it had got to a version 2.0? I can imagine lots of features that could have been added along the way, but I bet there's an even longer list somewhere of all the feature requests from users.

Anyway, for what it is worth, here's my list:

- Audio support. Two channels (or more) of audio to go alongside the instruments.
- Synth plug ins. Like an FM synth.
- Bluetooth support. To sync multiple handhelds to the same clock.
- Increased effect plug ins. What kind I'm not sure.
- Ability to connect to a bluetooth keyboard (for input)

What would you have liked?

TCL Labtec Stereo Headset Review at PalmInfocenter



Click on the title of the post for a useful review of this headset. In fact, very useful if you're a TX or T5 user as it gives you a mic on your device as well.

AxisPad: A real PDA instrument



Of all the applications I've looked at for PDAs I have to say that I think that AxisPad is the only true instrument.

If you think about it all the others are sequencers of one form or another, that allow you to take sounds or create sounds for use somewhere else, or in another application, but AxisPad is an instrument in itself. It is the only handheld music application that you actually play.

Now, that in itself makes it very unique, but it also makes me wonder what are the attributes of a PDA (or smartphone) instrument application. So, what makes a PDA music applcation an instrument?

Here's my first stab at a list of those attributes:

- It has to be playable, like a real instrument
- To play it well will take time
- It must have an interface that copes with expression in some form
- It must be more than just recording or sequencing

For me AxisPad is the start of a new form of music application for handheld devices that is more than just making music on the go or arranging new tracks. It is about giving mobile musicians the ability to find new forms of expression in mobile music.



According to the miniMusic development calendar the next step for AxisPad will be the ability to record and export. I am really looking forward to having the ability to record performances and then export them to enhance and manipulate them, I think that opens up some interesting possibilities.





QOTD: Mobile music platforms?

Following on from the last post on this subject I had some more thoughts (especially after yesterday's news about the new Palm OS) on the pros and cons on either side:

Palm OS (pros)

- Simple clean interface
- Good range of applications available (MiniMusic, Chocopoolp, Psytexx)
- Hardware still being developed (Treos)

Palm OS (cons)

- Current OS is old and out of date
- Only a liimited number of true music applications available
- Double headed development
- Uncertainty over what the new OS will look like and support

Windows Mobile (pros)

- OS and interface being developed
- Relatively large number of applications available
- Styletap platform allows use of palm apps such as Bhajis Loops and Microbe

Windows Mobile (cons)

- Many developers no longer working in the mobile music space

Ok, now that surprised me as I expected to have lots more negative things to say about Windows Mobile, but when it came to it I couldn't think of any really!

So, what do you think, which is best for mobile music, and how will Palm's new departure impact mobile music making?

Palm Experts: Music Creation

I like the expert series from what was PalmSource and is now ACCESS. This one has a focus on music creation but with a slight twist in that a lot of the applications refered to are ones that you might think of as supporting music creation rather than actually doing it. From that point of view it is quite a bit different from the stuff I normally cover. It makes for interesting reading though.

Palm's new OS?

So Palm announce today that they have been working on their own new OS based on a linux kernel. This leaves me with lots of questions.

- When will palm bring out new hardware and will it have the new OS on it?
- How compatible will old apps be with the new OS?
- Will the new OS give new musical possibilities?
- Will a linux kernel mean it is easier to port existing linux music apps to the new palm OS?

I'm sure that more details will appear as the days go on, and I dare say that there will be lots of speculation on how this new OS will change the palm ecosystem.



QOTD: Audio recording on a Palm device

There are a number of audio recording solutions available. I've only really used Bhajis Loops and Wave Edit Pro Enterprise edition, which is really good, and my preferred application for field recording and other audio.

However, there are loads of other applications out there which could be used, I'd be interested in any opinions?

Quotes ...

I love reading quotes and finding out how people use software in different ways. Here's a lovely collection on the miniMusic site of what people think of the software, and also some interesting ways in which they're using it.

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ittyMIDI SysEx Manager


ittyMIDI SysEx Manager is a universal SysEx dump utility for the Palm OS.

SysEx Manager can do the following:

Record Bulk SysEx into the MIDI books used by the ittyMIDI Player. With the latest release of Player, you can incorporate these SysEx files into normal playlists. Send Bulk Sysex with the ability to set a time delay between each message to give slower devices the time to process it. The latest version of Songloader, available with the installation for Player, you can load .syx files directly into books for use with SysEx Manager or Player. Send All SysEx Messages located in any standard MIDI file.

Whilst not something that I am going to find that useful I am sure that others would value this application.

QOTD: OS Compatibility?

Why is it that some palm OS 4 applications run under OS5 and some don't? Why is that?

Pocket RTA Professional from 4Pockets


Pocket RTA Pro is a real-time spectrum analyser for your Pocket PC. I like RTAs, and this one is particularly fully functional.

PocketRTA samples sounds picked up by the built-in microphone on the Pocket PC and then applies a Fourier Transform to the samples to obtain a frequency spectrum. The result is an accurate representation of the sampled sound broken down into its frequency components.

PocketRTA gives total control over input sample rate and FFT length, so you can tailor the display to your needs. Sample rates up to 44Khz allow frequencies of up to 22Khz to be measured. Various display modes include, linear narrow band, logarithmic narrow band, Octave, 1/3 Octave, 1/6 Octave, Sample, SPL and Spectrogram displays with ANSI A and C weighting curves. PocketRTA allows real-time magnification (up to 250 times) of a selected frequency range. The touch screen allows selection of the nearest FFT point giving a display of it''s frequency and decibel level. Up to 64 times averaging and variable decay settings allow more stable readings for fluctuating or unstable input signals whilst our unique noise cancellation system allows you to remove unwanted background noise.

New Features of the Professional Edition:

PocketRTA Pro features the ability to calibrate the display using a 1/3 Octave display in order to compensate for imperfections in frequency response of the internal microphone.

Another new feature is the ability to capture any input signal and overlay it as a reference for a live signal. Captured traces can be saved and later loaded as a reference or exported to ASCII text for use in packages such as Microsoft Excel. You can even take snapshots of the screen which are saved in BMP format.

PocketRTA Pro also introduces a Compare / Transfer mode which allows you to compare a captured input signal against a live trace. The difference between the two traces are displayed using a 0dB reference point making it ideal for calibrating EQ''s. A smoothing option has also been added (wide band averaging) to remove unwanted spikes and make the display more readable.

Another new feature is the ability to capture a peak trace over time. Again this can be saved or exported for use in external packages.

I've not had a chance to play with this as yet, but it looks like one of the most rounded RTA apps I've seen so far. At some point I will get around to trying it out and then I'll post a review.

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MOVEMENTO 0.1



This has been around for some time, and I don't know if it is ever going to be updated or developed further.

MOVEMENTO FEATURES:

Powered by MODULA Audio Engine
MOD song player
Background playback
Powersave mode
Playlist
FREEWARE (always nice)

MOVEMENTO REQUIRES:

PalmOS 5.x powered device (SndStream API required)
MCA2 tool by CliePet for Sony Clie NX/NZ/TG series devices
SD/MMC/MemoryStick card

Not all devices MOVEMENTO works on are displayed here!!!

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Symbian Tracker



I thought I'd post again on the Symbian Tracker "mobitracker" project which seems to be moving forward.

Of course, I have no device to check this out with so any feedback on it would be more than welcome.



The site is quite sparse and doesn't contain too much information but it looks to be maintained which is good news.




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Symbian Synthtec



SynthTec is from the same developer as mobitracker, and is a simple keyboard application for Symbian devices.




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QOTD: Dedicated hardware or software?

Sometimes I think that using dedicated hardware is better than using software products that bend and stretch the abilities of a handheld device.

The thing is that I like the swiss army knife approach of using a PDA / handheld / smartphone so I avoid using the dedicated stuff, and also it means carrying too much stuff with you.

What would be really nice was if there was a dedicated hardware / OS / software combination that included all this stuff as well as an open platform for developers. Like a PDS (personal digital studio).

A good Bhajis Loops review at Socket blog

I liked this review of Bhajis Loops. I found it quite interesting to read.

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QOTD: What handheld platform is best for music?

For me the two main platforms for mobile music making are:

- Palm OS
- Windows Mobile

But I have to admit that I know very little about other platforms and how they shaps up. I know that there was a tracker for Symbian which I did write about ages ago, but I don't know of very much else.

Also, I think that as Styletap takes off and allows more and more Palm applications to run under Window Mobile it will become easier to run everything in one place as it were rather than keeping and maintaining multiple platforms.

Windows is still developing and moving forward, although, not in leaps exactly, but Palm don't seem to be doing too much of anything right now.

Sure ALP is coming along, but what will that do for existing applications? Will it bring in more developers? Will it bring new possibilities in terms of hardware from palm or ease of development from ACCESS? Will it mean that Linux music applications are easier to port over to ALP?

The other possibility is that Palm will kick off their own OS separate from ACCESS and ALP altogether.

So, what does the future hold?

Views?

Bhajis Loopers

I'd forgotten about this page on the chocopoolp site. This is a good selection of information about people who use Bhajis Loops and how they use it. Quite inspiring really.

Click on the title of this post to check it out.

miniMusic on StyleTap

I've been trying to get some of the miniMusic applications to run on StyleTap and I'm having lots of problems. Mainly with MixPad and SoundPad to be fair. Anyway, I've been in touch with the people at StyleTap, and I'm just waiting on a response. It would be nice if these apps could run under StyleTap, it would be great to have everything in one place.

Alesis iMultimix - More info

Here's some more information on the Alesis iMultimix 8 USB.

Alesis CEO Jack O’Donnell said “The iMultiMix 8 USB is an exciting new addition to the Alesis product line, with forward thinking functionality and an innovative design. Alesis always strives to deliver quality and features to meet the needs of users. The iMultiMix 8’s iPod recording features will give users a way to easily record their live performance directly onto the world’s most popular music device.”

Click on the title to link to kaosaudio.com for more information on the iMultimix.

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TuneStudio Promo



Nice pic of the promo boards for TuneStudio, gives a little bit of a close up too.

Tao Group Support SYPC Mobile Mashup

Now, this is a positive story. Tao Group who now own / run the miniMIXA suite of applications (as they evolve) are backing the Slough Young People's Centre Mobile Mashup initiative. I think that's great, a really positive act.

I am intrigued to see what will happen to the miniMIXA group of apps as you can't actually purchase these applications at present anymore.

Where will they take these apps?

Where will they go? Not solely OEM I hope. I guess we'll have to wait that one out.


Piano User Control from Clever Parrot



A useful sample project for anyone considering palm OS audio / music applications.

OT: Widgets for iPods?



Koloroo have launched two widgets for the iPod, which, as far as I can see means it must be possible to run application software on it. If you can do that, then it is a platform, and then someone can do something really interesting with it from an audio / synthesis perspective.

Maybe?

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Interview with Chad Mealey on MixPad

An interesting interview with Chad Mealey from MiniMusic about the release of MixPad 1.0


Virtual Recorder from 4Pockets Software



I was looking at some of the other products from 4Pockets and found this.

Virtual Recorder is a personal voice recorder for your Pocket PC which works just like a good old fashion tape recorder. The program uses a ''true tape'' mechanism which gives the ability to record over any portion of a previous recording, and is not limited to a simple append process.

One of the advanced features of Virtual Recorder is the ability to time stretch your recordings. This would allow you to listen to a full hours recording in as little as 30 minutes, without it sounding unnatural or like the recording had been speeded up.

This means that you can sample music and slow it down without affecting the pitch; allowing you to practice those difficult guitar solos or whatever!

The software also has a Cutting Room which allows you to splice recordings or remove unwanted sections. (Cut/Copy/Paste and Fade In/Out facilities are supported). Now that is quite advanced for a PDA application.

iPod as a (real) studio?



As more iPod mixing devices appear as I'm sure they will do, I can't help but wonder why the use of the iPod in these devices has been restricted so severely.

The iPod has an operating system, and is capable of supporting application software like games, and games support their own sampled or synthesised sounds, so, why can't the iPod be used in or part of some kind of software / hardware hybrid studio device?

Any thoughts? I mean, RockBox firmware has been around for a while as a replacement OS for iPod among others, and pdPod has been around for a while too offering a port of PureData, so why not some kind of music making OS or application software for the iPod?

Is that too much to ask?

Mobile Studio: Palm OS4: Piezo Power - Download


For anyone who is interested, Piezo Power is now available to download from the Palm Sounds site. Click on the title of this post and the follow along to downloads and you'll find it. Please note that it is an OS4 application and I don't think it runs in OS5.

The download is made available on the basis that the original software was freeware. If you are the developer and object, please contact me to let me know.

Upgrade

Well, I've finally upgraded my old HP Jornada 568 for a Dell Axim 51. I have to say it is fantastic. Apart from the fact that there is much more space for applications, and there's two expansion slots, the speed is wonderful.

Of course I'm running StyleTap on there as well so I am loading on Palm apps to to see if I can eventually make this my sole music device.

QOTD: Where do you use make mobile music?

What's the place that works best for you?

- On the train?
- Lunch time?
- Tram
- Tube
- Bus
- Toilet

Where's best for you?

TuneStudio: Video



Here's another video on the TuneStudio coming soon. I quite like this video as it gives an idea of the size of the thing.