Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beatmaker 2 and Bus news


I mentioned in my last post that I was using both Music Studio and BeatMaker 2 as Audiobus targets. Here is the piece I put together in BeatMaker 2. Of the two targets, I reported that I prefer BeatMaker 2 overall for its functionality despite its non-intuitive interface. 

For the piece above, I started by building up a groove using Loopseque - a really unique beat making app that recently added Audiobus support. At the time I started this piece, the Audiobus support was not there yet and I created the beat first using Audiocopy/paste to put it into BeatMaker 2. For drum beats I often prefer to use Audiocopy/paste rather than Audiobus since it is easier to get an exact size for the drum loops this way.

This is where Beatmaker's semi-intuitive interface first twarted me. The size of the sample exceeded the 32 MB default that beatmaker allocates for in-memory samples. BeatMaker 2 can either use samples "in memory" or can stream them right off the storage. For the life of me, I could not find out how to convert the "in memory" sample of Loopseque to a streaming version so I needed to expand the memory buffer for BeatMaker 2. Is there an option in the app? No, actually. You have to go into the Settings app on the iPad, select BeatMaker 2 and there set its buffer size. I'm sure there is SOME WAY to change from memory to streaming, but I didn't find it in my cursory forum mining on Intua's site. The good new is that the samples you bring in via Audiobus will by default be set to streaming. 

After getting the basic groove track in, I started to use Audiobus for the remaining tracks. I brought in a nice ambient sound from Animoog and recorded that directly into the app. I then added a DX7 sounding lead from Propellerhead's Figure which I "played" directly from the app into BeatMaker 2 via Audiobus. 

Having this basic melody established, I filled in the gaps with a few native MIDI tracks using BeatMaker 2's string samples and one of their synth pads. I put an LFO on the strings with a square wave to give a stuttering electronic feel to the track.

Finally I decided to give the some some background ambience with Mixtikl which was recorded via audiobus into the final track.

Overall, once you get used to Beatmaker's bizarre interface, it works very well. I applied some light compression to the overall mix to bring everything together.

As I was completing this, Garageband surprised me by suddenly supporting Audiobus as a target. This is very exciting and gives me yet another good option to use my many synths on the iPad into Garageband, add some parts from its powerful instruments and if I really want to go crazy on the mixing, I can upload it to my iMac and complete the effort in Logic 9 or Garageband on the iMac. This will be fun! 

In typical Apple fashion however, they are sticking to their "Roach Motel" standard - you can use Garageband as a target in Audiobus but not as a source. Music gets in, it doesn't get out (easily)! 


  1. Nice post. Regarding setting a sample to streaming mode in BM2, the User Guide has you covered:

    There are a couple ways to do it. Page 13 describes one process, but here's the basics:

    Quick Load:
    - First open the Drum Sampler, choose the Samples icon (second button the left column, looks like a waveform)
    - Tap Quick Load, which lets you drag and drop samples from your library to the pads
    - Then find your sample(s), toggle the STREAMING button at the bottom, and drag them to the pad(s) you want

    Regular Load:
    - Same as above but tap Load instead of Quick Load on the Sample menu
    - Check the Disk Streaming box from the preset picker on the right side

    Also you can tell at a glance if a sample is streaming from disk or from memory... from the track sequencer view, you will see each sample/pattern has a colored square in the bottom left corner. Blue square = streams from memory, Orange square = streams from disk.

    I agree there are parts of the app that could be much more intuitive. I just got it 2 days ago and I was kinda lost, but I spent an hour looking through the PDF User Guide, which is pretty well written, and I'm much more comfortable in the app now.

    Have fun!


    1. Thanks Jesse! I did know about the blue/orange squares from my reading but I missed how to convert the sample to streaming. I'll certainly try that in future efforts. I might be using Garageband quite a bit in the meantime, but for certain uses, Beatmaker 2 still looks like a nice option.

  2. Hey,I've been having beatmaker 2 installed on my ipad for some months now. Never really got deep into it yet for I was using the impc app. I'm trying to figure out how to sample within the BM 2 app in comparison to the impc app or can u import samples from the impc app too beatmaker 2?

    1. I'm afraid I'm not using BM2 much these days - have my issues with its file system :). The intua forum is a good place to ask though. Most folks seem to love its sampling capabilities. For what sampling I do on the iPad, I tend to use Samplr.