Interesting start

Now that we're at the end of the 1st quarter of 2009 I thought it would be interesting to share a few thoughts on the what's happened so far.

I think it is fair to say that the main push of the mobile music news has been around the iPhone platform. The iPhone has dominated mobile news to the point where anything else has been of interest just because it isn't iPhone related. Of course there has been other news, like yesterday's announcement of the OP-1 from Teenage Engineering. An amazing looking device, let's hope it doesn't turn out to be vaporware.

But hardware like that costs money to develop and prototype, and it is good to know that even in this global recession that someone is still innovating in hardware. I hope it materialises and isn't just too expensive to buy when released.

Of course a recession hasn't stopped Apple's app store from being an $800 million business. They must have got something right as so many other vendors are following suit. And even though there are lots of less than useful applications on the app store there has been some really innovative stuff, like the Vocoder SV-5 from YUDO:


NLog Synth the excellent synth app.


Randgird the mini studio app, and Technobox the 808 / 909 emulator.

Other apps like iShred have brought real innovation in the guitar space, and Noise IO and Beatmaker have brought the beginnings of application integration to the platform. There are lots of other excellent apps, too many to cover in this post.

Of course, as I said before, not everything happens in the iPhone space. BugLabs announced their innovative BugSound module amongst a number of others, although we're still waiting for these to be available in the UK. And of course, Mixtikl has been one of the biggest things to hit Windows Mobile music in recent months.

In the Palm space of course the Pre and Palm's new webOS have sounded the end of music app development for Palm devices. A big shame if you ask me. However, Sunvox continues to go from strength to strength on the Palm OS and windows mobile too.

So, lots to look forward to in the next few months, with Apple's iPhone 3.0 and possibly new hardware too. YUDO's spring line up on apps which I hope will arrive and not turn into vaporware. The OP-1, Mixtikl on the iPhone and maybe even Sunvox too? Who knows?

I'm looking forward to the next few months being a little quieter in terms of new apps coming out, at least until the summer when Apple delivers 3.0. But even so, I'm sure it'll be an eventful time, as I think 2009 is shaping up to be a big year for mobile music.

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Concretedog on Nanoloop and trumpet


Interesting selection of instruments from Concretedog, and even more interesting sound ...

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Noisemaker kit demo



Maker Shed Noisemaker kit demo using a 555 timer chip, via Synthtopia.

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Teenage Engineering at Musik Messe


Images from the Teenage Engineering site on them setting up at Musik Messe today.


And also this image of something they describe as '100% compatible with the OP-1' Not sure what that means.



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Song Idea Generator for iPhone


Probably not the most inspiring application to be seen for a while, but there's not too much going on at present app store wise, so I thought I'd mention this one.

This is a simple idea for generating song ideas, you might find it useful if you're experiencing real mental block.

Song Idea Generator

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Mixtikl iPhone progress

Excellent news from Intermorphic today. They are making real progress on the iPhone version of Mixtikl.

This blog post describes where they've got to and a rough timescale for when they expect to have Mixtikl up on the Apple app store.

More than that there's a new skin on the way and some demo videos too.

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Happy birthday MixPad


Another missed birthday today. This time, MixPad from miniMusic. MixPad was the last Palm OS app that miniMusic released. It had its 1.0 release in 2007.

I've written a few posts on MixPad over since the first release. I've used it in a variety of ways and on different devices.

Sadly, as with many palm OS applications I doubt that we'll see much in the way of future development of MixPad, which is a shame. According to the miniMusic development calendar there was a Pro version coming too. I don't think that'll see the light of day, and I think we have Palm themselves to blame for that.

Still, happy birthday to MixPad, a great little app for the original Palm OS. Well worth a look if you're running a Palm PDA.

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OP-1 Wow !!!


I found this from the awesome True Chip blog. This is an awesome piece of hardware. Here's what the site says:

OP-1 stands for Operator 1.
The OP-1 is a pocket size controller for your favorite software sequencer. Connect it to your laptop and it lets you control your sequencers transport with the common play, stop, rec, forward and rewind. Use it to control your software synthesizers with the 4 rotary encoders and 16 dedicated quick keys for fast selections.

... and a synthesizer
When you disconnect the OP-1 from your computer you suddenly have a stand-alone portable wonder-machine with 8 synthesizer models, 8 samplers and effects like Delay, Flutter, Filters and EQ all built in. Use all that synthesizer power to record your work with the truly unique (at present time, secret) sequencer. We promise you a really cool and creative way to record your sounds and tweak them in a completely new way.

A Portable Wonder
Use the magic step sequencer/arpegiator to get the notes right. If that is not enough use the built in motionsensor that sense every shake or move you make and turn it into really cool sounds.
Then relax and sample a beat from the built-in FM radio or memorize a tune by whistle it into the built-in microphone. Play your piece to your friends through the built-in speaker. Or...convert it right away to mp3 and mail it to them.

But the device is 10-12 months away and no details on price are available as yet. Start saving.

CDM have picked up on this too now, I'm guessing this will be a big story for the next few months.

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SynthPond driving MKS-80


Synthpond driving MKS-80 via OSC/Pd from Chris Randall on Vimeo.

Nice video. Shows what can be done using the iPhone as a controller to drive a much wider set of hardware.

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CDM on SDK limitations

I was a bit disappointed to read CDM's assessment of some of the limitations of the new iPhone SDK.

From what this post has to say there won't be scope for real DJ apps. If this stays the same then it'll be a real shame. I just hope that Apple can address the issue.

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What is Teenage Engineering Working on? (via True Chip)



I have no idea, but this does look really interesting.

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Tracker help comes from Concretedog

Concretedog commented in this link to a useful handbook on trackers. Thanks a bunch.

If you know of any other links or site, please get in touch.

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Sunvox 1.3b

NightRadio has updated Sunvox as follows:

* fixed bug with incorrect sunvox_config.ini file loading;
* added new "videodriver" option to the sunvox_config.ini file; possible values for WinCE devices: gapi (default), raw (raw hires framebuffer), gdi (compatibility mode);
* graphics in PalmOS version changed from grayscale 8bit to colour 16bit;
* added possibility to change the color (foreground and background) of pattern's icon;
* code optimization;
* fixed several bugs.

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Happy (belated) birthday SoundPad


SoundPad first came out in 2005, and I've just missed the app's 4th anniversary. I first wrote about SoundPad in September 2006 in the first year of Palm Sounds starting out.

I've always thought that SoundPad was ahead of it's time. It allowed you to create sounds for all the other minimusic applications like AxisPad, NotePad and BeatPad.

The sad thing now is that I doubt that we will see updates to any of these applications as Palm has decided to get rid of Garnet in favour of webOS which brings nothing to the mobile music community at all.

Still, SoundPad is still around, and if you have a Palm OS device why not check it out.

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Neighbourhood watch with 100% DS-10 Sound



Nice video with DS-10 music via Matrixsynth. I was impressed by the music most of all, I must go back to my DS-10 soon.

What did the word spell out?

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Ellatron video



Jordan Rudess on the ellatron (I've bought this one already so I'm ok to watch it).

Ellatron

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What will 'in app purchase' mean?


I was wondering what the whole 'in app purchase' thing could mean for mobile music making. This is what the Apple iPhone developer site says:
Allow users to purchase content or services from your application using the Store Kit framework. This new framework handles the financial aspects of the transaction, processes payment with the iTunes Store, and provides your application with information about the purchase.

Could this mean that developers could make audio content available from within an app? Like sample packs or loops? But then I wondered if this framework could be used for apps to utilize a plug-in architecture in the way that Griff used for both effects and instruments, and Bhajis did for effects?

It would be amazing to have apps with their own plug in collections, and I'm sure it would suit developers too.

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STOP PRESS: Sunvox port for the iPhone

According to this comment from Nightradio, developer of the cross platform modular studio app Sunvox, he is currently working on a port of Sunvox for the iPhone.

Nightradio is still contemplating whether the app should go down the app store or the jail break route. What's you view?

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Musique non Talent on breath control apps

Nice post from Musique non talent on the use of breath control in iPhone music apps. Worth a read.

And, for what it is worth, I agree, it would be really cool to have breath control in Noise IO.

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Any good tracker resources?

So, following on from my last post on Sunvox, Drewzle has commented that it would be useful to have a bunch of tracker tutorials / videos / resources for those of us who are 'tracker newbies' (me included). So, if you know of any good site / videos etc, please email them or comment them in.

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Thoughts on Sunvox


I've been trying out Sunvox 1.3 and getting a bit more used to how it works. Although. as I've said before I wasn't a tracker person, I'm getting my head around the interface and actually starting to make use of the application.

When you get into it Sunvox is an incredibly powerful application and very versatile indeed.

Version 1.3 has changed the way I use Sunvox. Now that I use it in Landscape mode I find it much simpler, and the resizing keyboard is excellent, especially for use on the train.

I think that now I can start to see how Sunvox can be an actual studio app in the same way that I've used Bhajis or Griff in the past. I'm not there as yet, but I am getting there slowly. More train journeys would help I guess.

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Slowing down?

Now that Apple have announced their OS 3.0 for the iPhone and iPod Touch I wonder if we will see a slow down in developers actually releasing apps? Will they instead be developing new apps using the 1000 odd new APIs in the SDK and updating and expanding existing apps?

I don't know about you, but I've noticed a slow down in the number of new apps arriving just lately. Is it the new SDK and possibly the thought of new hardware, or maybe something more mundane like the general state of the world economy?

Any thought?

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FourTracks 1.3 arrived


As I mentioned in a post just the other day about this app, version 1.3 is now here. I haven't tried it out as yet, but to be honest, I am still looking for the features promised in the next version (1.5) which will have a bounce feature, be able to duplicate a song, and have a metronome too. All of which sounds very cool indeed.

FourTrack

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SunVox SpectraVoice: four harmonics video



Here's another Sunvox 'how to' video. I have to say that I'm starting to actually get to grips with Sunvox in a big way. It is a really complex application and has a lot of depth to it.

For me, as I never really got into trackers, the sequencing interface has always been a challenge, but that's getting easier now, and these videos really help.

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Say hello to Arduino Mega


Arduino have announced a new board, mega. More memory, more power, but still blue!

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4 Tracks DX Pocket Studio


Having checked out the new version of 4Tracks Audio Recorder, I noticed that the MIDI export is coming to the app soon.

4 Tracks DX Pocket Studio

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Pacemaker gets red dot award

The Pacemaker device has been given a red dot design award. Nice.

I've been wondering whether Pacemaker might get into the iphone app market and make a pacemaker app. Now that Apple are going to open access to the iPod library on the device I wonder if we'll see a bunch of highly developed iPhone DJ apps? I hope so.


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WWDC Dates Published


WWDC dates have been published by Apple. June 8-12 will be the time to look for something new perhaps, and of course, it isn't too long to wait now.

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Jordan Rudess and Wivi Band



In the same way that I completely ignored Bebot until I saw Jordan demo it, I also ignored this app too. The video is a good intro to the app, but if nothing else you have to watch the quartet at the end. It is amazing!

Wivi Band

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