Saturday, March 3, 2012

My underutilized iPad music tools

As I wait for the next iPad announcement, I am dusting off some of my portable music tools that I have yet to use much in my music. I often return to NanoStudio, Mixtikl, Garageband, Music Studio and the usual suspects when making music on the iPad but I've picked up a number of other tools that are taunting me to use them!

All of the Korg tools are great on the iPad and recently I've acquired iKaossilator which has been sitting on my devices as a pattern toy. With a little experimentation, I find that I can string together variations on the patterns in other DAWs and add some very nice sounds to my pieces. Such as here:

This piece uses the iKaossiliator patterns along with some NanoStudio tracks overtop of them.

One thing Korg does very well is to integrate their tools with Soundcloud, but to upload to their groups, the ENTIRE piece has to use only the Korg tool in question. This can be somewhat limiting but it lets other Korg users download your patches and setups as well as the music and gets TONS of hits, listens etc., so on my to-do list is to make a piece with only the iKaossilator. The only way to really get a full piece composed is to use the live recording function and to manually switch between patterns, parts or play them live while recording. This works well but if you want to tweak or edit the final piece, you are limited to audio editing.

Another tool that has been on my devices and even desktop for ages is the Tracker sequencer Sunvox. I tried on several occasions to fire it up, start programming patterns and....ran away screaming! Its a bit um...fugly in its interface but there's a reason for that!

Sunvox runs on almost every device known to man. Windows, OSX, Palm devices, old tablets and iOS. Therefore its odd interface is consistent in every environment - sort of reminds me of Mixtikl in that respect. Equally bad everywhere!

Nonetheless it is a very powerful DAW if you can get your head around the tracker concepts. I guess it brings out the geek in me typing in hex numbers for volume values. 

I have yet to get a full piece put together with this but it is a very interesting process. Like Mixtikl, Sunvox lets me move my pieces from device to device and work on them anywhere. 

I will eventually figure this thing out!

Still another synth that baffles me is the TC-11 which everyone raves about. It is a completely new idea on interface and is made from the ground up for touch screens. Incredible depth and sounds but I have yet to get anything remotely musical out of it. I think if you want a melodic line, you really have to use its internal sequencer since there is nothing remotely similar to a keyboard in the synth. It was a bit expensive as well, but its another piece I want to add to my sounds soon.

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