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Now there’s a real alternative to SoundCloud

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked a lot about the issues I’m having with SoundCloud and I think it’s only fair to say that I’m not the only one too. Add to that the current rumours around a possible purchase by Spotify, which could generate some serious changes, if indeed it does go ahead.

I’ve also posted about a few of the possible alternatives to SoundCloud, but one that I haven’t really talked about in detail is Orfium. I’ve been watching Orfium for a while now. Looking at what they’re doing and where they seem to be going, and I’ve been very hopeful about their direction. So just the other week I decided to get in touch with them and have a serious chat about what they were about and about their proposition for a community like ours in the mobile music world.

I have to start by saying that I was more than pleasantly surprised. In fact I’d go as far as saying I was really impressed with not only what they’re doing, but also with what they’ve got planned too. On top of that, Orfium was actually very easy to talk to (not so with all services in this space), and also very open to ideas.

So now seems like a good time to talk in more detail about what Orfium has to offer for the mobile music community and why I think that it looks like one of the best options for mobile music people to switch to. Let’s start with why Orfium is worth taking a look at in the first instance. The simplest start point here is to check out this comparison:

orfium-brand-asset-6

Now of course you can argue that Orfium is a lot smaller than SoundCloud is right now and that without a significant user base there isn’t going to be the same level of community and possible interaction. True, I won’t argue with you there, but without people moving over to Orfium, or at the very least giving it a try that’s always going to be the case. Which is why I’ve now set up on Orfium, and as soon as they’ve got their groups functionality I’ll get a group set up for mobile music. Yes, that’s right, they’re implementing groups! One of the most recent issues that we’ve all had with SoundCloud, the removal of groups, is not going to be a problem with Orfium!

Now that’s got to be a good reason to take a look. But there’s more, lots more. Let’s take this one feature at a time and make a detailed comparison.

But before we move on let’s dwell for a moment on that issue of user base. Whilst it’s true that Orfium is just starting out and that we, as a community, should get behind them (in my view). It’s also fair to say that from a monetisation perspective their user base is not an issue. If, for example, you take YouTube monetisation then this is not restricted by Orfium’s size at all. It’s worth remembering that.

Let’s move on and take a look at some of the areas where Orfium really excels:

80% artist pay out
This is about as high as it gets and I don’t think that you can argue with it really, especially when you look at what others have to offer.

Remix monetisation
This is an unusual feature, but quite welcome I think, and one that will make sense and be useful to a lot of readers.

Distribution terms
It’s up to you the artist, you choose, free or priced all within the same platform without having to add links to out where you can buy the track. I like this a lot, and for me personally it works just the way I want.

Rights management
Now this is probably one of the most interesting parts of the platform. Orfium is actually is a digital rights platform built to facilitate a social network for musicians. This makes Orfium a real choice for someone looking not only to get their work heard, but also to get paid for it fairly. That’s a very powerful feature in my book. Add to that non-exclusive publishing, micro-licensing, sync-licensing and creative commons licensing service options. It all adds up to a very powerful service for hosting your music. Add to that the current issues in the world of licensing and it really is a better way forward.

So what else? There’s more …
For now Orfium has no iOS or Android apps. When I say for now I mean for now. Orfium has these in their plan and their working toward getting these out there and into the hands of users.

But it doesn’t stop there at all. There’s plenty more coming too. But that’s for another day, as I can’t tell you everything that Orfium are doing or have planned. But let me sum up by saying that I think that what they’re doing and where they’re going is right for musicians, iOS, mobile or otherwise and I think that it adds up to a real alternative that we should all take a look at and think very seriously about moving to.

To finish off it’s worth mentioning that Orfium offers unlimited free hosting, and they have special accounts for record labels and distributors (add to that they’re working on special accounts for publishers and curators). Orfium only take a percentage of revenue when the music actually generates revenue, meaning there are no upfront costs (as well as no long-term contracts).

In my view Orfium is a real alternative to SoundCloud and they’re moving forward with new features that truly serve the artist community. Go try it and tell me what you think.

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modstep 1.1.4 brings iOS10 compatibility and much more

It’s only fair to say that modstep is a truly versatile app, and is also among the very few that still support the iPad 1. This latest update brings iOS10 compatibility and a lot more besides. Here’s what’s new:

  • iOS 10 support
  • “Autostart Plugins” allows you to decide whether you want to load AUv3 and IAA with the Session
  • “Load last Session on Startup” allows you to decide whether you want to load the last Session on Startup or start with a new Session
  • Preset support for AUv3 FX
  • State-saving for AUv3 (except for bassalicious)
  • new Templates for Ruismaker, Ruismaker FM, Korg Volca Kick, boom808, boom909, DM-2, bastl micro granny and FLUXFX (thanks to Tom Wies and Oscar South for the last two!)
  • updated Templates for Roland Boutique synthesizers

Bugfixes

  • fixed a bug that would cause mono AUx to play only on one side
  • improved AUx loading
  • improved IAA handling
  • fixed a bug that prevented state-saving of AUx
  • volume is enhanced
  • fixed a bug that could cause notes that are outside of the scale to be recorded
  • lots of additional bugfixes and improvements

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Jussi – Vocal Synthesizer from Klevgränd has arrived

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As you probably already know, I do like apps that are a little further off the beaten track than most, and this really fits the bill for me. Jussi is pretty unusual. In fact, I’d say I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite like it before.

When I first launched Jussi I have to say that it was a surprise. Not quite what I’d expected at all. For the most part vocal synths often sound a little too robotic for my liking. Not that I don’t like robots or robot sounds of course. But it was a real surprise, a very different and very unique sound.

I’ve really enjoyed using Jussi so far, although I’m not sure quite where I’ll use this in my own music. Having said that, I might just have to make something special with it.

For now, take a look at the app’s description:

This synthesizer emulates male voice vowels in a unique way. Thanks to a set of powerful parameters you can make Jussi sing anything from soft and airy choir-like vowels to hard and angry shouting.
Formants are controlled by playing with different velocity, which makes it fun and easy to play using a MIDI keyboard.

Features:

  • AUv3, works with AUv3 compatible hosts like Garageband, Cubasis, AUM etc
  • ADSR with ”Turn-in” and ”Turn-out” option (Turn-in and Turn-out affects the pitch and maps it to attack and release)
  • Voice character XY pad (Intensity and Narrowness)
  • Legato mode (glides between notes and velocity levels)
  • Legato Hold mode (polyphonic legato when using a sustain controller, consult the documentation for more info)
  • Throat emulation XY pad (Grain and Tonality)
  • Built-in reverb

Note: Jussi in stand-alone mode does not support IAA, Audiobus or MIDI. You can play it using the keys at the bottom, but that’s it. We recommend using Jussi with AUv3 compatible hosts.

  • iPhone 6 or later is recommended.
  • iPad 4 or later is recommended.
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n-Track Studio 8 arrives with amazing new features and a very different model for iOS music making

It’s been a big day today, firstly seeing the arrival of Cubasis 2 (plus the LE version), and now with n-Track Studio 8 arriving too.

This is a big and very significant shift for n-Track is a lot of ways.

  • Firstly, this is a big update with a lot of new functionality in it so it’s well worth reading all of the detail below.
  • Secondly, n-Track 8 is now an AU host, which makes it one of only a few in that category
  • Finally, and this is really different, n-Track 8 is free, but is using a subscription model for pricing. This is a real shift for mobile music and needs a little thinking about.

So what do we think about subscription models?

Well firstly I’d like to point out that this isn’t something entirely new. In actual fact when Sunvox first arrived on Palm OS is used a subscription model. Not many people will remember that at all (I’m looking at you Jo), but it worked like that for a while. Secondly, this kind of model is actually starting to gain ground in the desktop world, with Splice launching their ‘rent-to-own’ model recently.

Personally I think it’s a model that’s worth exploring. If you’ve got a project that demands the pro features in n-Track 8 you could use those for a month or two then scale back. If anything it’s probably more flexible than paying up front for an app where you’re not going to use all of the features, or indeed buying an IAP only to find that it doesn’t really suit you.

It’ll be interesting to see how this is accepted by the wider community, but I’m positive about it, and if anything, I’d like to see a few more apps go down this route. For now, take a look a the new app’s description, grab it (it’s free and universal) and tell me what you think of the model.

n-Track Studio 8, all the detail you could want!

n-Track Studio 8 turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a complete recording studio. Record and playback a virtually unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks, mix them during playback and add effects. Edit your song and share it with your friends, or join the Songtree community and jam with other artists.

HOW IT WORKS:
Record a base track with the built-in mic or an external sound card, add other audio tracks or create a melody using the internal keyboard or the built-in virtual instruments.

Import a groove or create it using the step sequencer, use the mixer to adjust levels, pan, apply equalization and add effects, save or share the recording directly from your device to your friends

MAIN FEATURES:

  • Stereo and mono audio tracks
  • Virtually unlimited number of tracks (max 11 tracks without in-app purchases)
  • Group and Aux channels
  • MIDI tracks with builtin synth featuring 128 General MIDI instrument sounds
  • Pianoroll MIDI editor
  • Step Sequencer
  • On-screen MIDI keyboard
  • EQ with 2D and 3D Spectrum analyzer + chromatic tuner*
  • Import existing tracks from your iTunes library
  • Reverb, Echo, Chorus+Flanger, Tremolo, Pitch Shift, Phaser, – Tube-Amp and Compression effects can be added to any track and master channel*
  • Automate track volumes and pan using volume and pan envelopes
  • Supports the new AudioUnit plug-in standard: open 3rd party effects and instruments inside the app, without switching to another app*
  • Audiobus input and output: you can send audio from other apps to n-Track, play your favorite instrument app and record the output inside n-Track alongside the device mic/line input. Each Audiobus app can be recorded to a separate track*
  • Interapp audio: receive audio from instrument apps, use other apps as effects or host n-Track inside another app*
  • Share your recordings on Facebook
  • Collaborate to create music with other musicians with the integrated Songtree online music making community
  • Quick one touch drums and bass grooves tracks
  • Built-in metronome

ADVANCED FEATURES:

  • 64 bit double precision floating point audio engine*
  • Internal audio routing
  • Support for multichannel external audio devices on the iPad: record 4 or more tracks simultaneously from pro-audio devices such as the RME Babyface, Fireface, Focusrite Scarlett etc.
  • Support for multiple audio output when using compatible USB devices*
  • Record 16, 24 or 32 bits audio files*
  • Set sampling frequency up to 192 kHz (frequencies above 48 kHz require an external audio device)
  • Sync with other apps or external devices using MIDI clock and MTC sync, master & slave*
  • Choose microphone on multi-mic devices and set microphone polar pattern (e.g. cardiod, omnidirectional)
  • Allows monitoring and processing live audio input with near-zero latency
  • AudioCopy 2.0 allows transferring audio files between compatible apps
  • Support for DropBox and SoundCloud

SUBSCRIPTION INFO*
Some features require one of the two available in-app subscriptions levels:

Standard edition:

  • Length: 1 month
  • Price: $0.99 for 1 month
  • What you get:
    • Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks (Free edition is limited to 8 audio tracks, 1 MIDI track and 2 step-sequencer tracks)
    • Unlocks all the available effects (Free edition has Reverb, Compression, Echo and Chorus)
    • Unlimited number of effects per channel (Free editon has up to 2)

Pro edition:

  • Length: 1 month
  • Price: $1.99 for 1 month
  • What you get:
    • 64 bit audio engine
    • Export in 32 and 64 bit uncompressed (wav) format (the Free and Standard edition are limited to 16 or 24 bit wav)
    • 3D frequency spectrum view

Get n-Track Studio 8 on the app store now:

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And of course Cubasis LE 2.0 is here as well

Not only does the full version of Cubasis get updated to 2.0, but also Cubasis LE moves up as well, so here’s what’s New:

New features in Cubasis LE 2.0

  • MIDI over Bluetooth LE – Connect compatible MIDI gear without any cables
  • MIDI Auto Quantize – Sync MIDI tracks with the beat while recording
  • A Refreshed User Interface – Enjoy profound usability by straightforward workflows
  • Ready for iOS 10 – Cubasis LE 2.0 is fully tested and proven iOS 10 compatible
  • New demo mode – Give all LE features a free check-out within a thirty-minute period
  • Maintenance and improvements – For the complete list of improvements, issues and solutions please visit http://www.steinberg.net/cubasisleforum

New features in Cubasis full feature set IAP (2.0)

  • Real-time Time-Stretch – Tempo match audio loops to your song’s tempo in a snap
  • Pitch shift with formant correction – Easily change keys of any tracks and tune them to perfection
  • A studio-grade channel strip – Reach true sound perfection for all channels
  • Spin FX – Tweak and mash-up your tracks with DJ-like breaks, stops and stutters
  • MicroSonic TAPE instruments – Perfectly recreate trademark sounds from the ’60s era
  • 76 new Micrologue presets – Lay down your tracks with cutting-edge modern synth sounds
  • Factory loops tempo match – Enjoy the freedom to use included audio loops at any tempo
  • Maintenance and improvements – For the complete list of improvements, issues and solutions please visit www.steinberg.net/cubasisforum

You can find Cubasis LE 2.0 on the app store by clicking below:

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Cubasis 2.0 has arrived!

Well that was unexpected, Steinberg have released version 2.0 of Cubasis.

  • A Refreshed User Interface – Enjoy profound usability by straightforward workflows
  • Real-time Time-Stretch – Tempo match audio loops to your song’s tempo in a snap
  • Pitch shift with formant correction – Easily change keys of any tracks and tune them to perfection
  • A studio-grade channel strip – Reach true sound perfection for all channels
  • Spin FX – Tweak and mash-up your tracks with DJ-like breaks, stops and stutters
  • MicroSonic TAPE instruments – Perfectly recreate trademark sounds from the ’60s era
  • 76 new Micrologue presets – Lay down your tracks with cutting-edge modern synth sounds
  • Factory loops tempo match – Enjoy the freedom to use included audio loops at any tempo
  • MIDI Auto Quantize – Sync MIDI tracks with the beat while recording
  • Ready for iOS 10 – Cubasis 2.0 is fully tested and proven iOS 10 compatible
    Maintenance and improvements – For the complete list of improvements, issues and solutions please visit www.steinberg.net/cubasisforum

And it looks like Cubasis is still $24.99! Go get it on the app store (if you haven’t already of course)

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A belated happy birthday to Trackd!

If you don’t know Trackd (Create, Sing, Collaborate & Record Songs) then perhaps now is the time to take a look. It’s a pretty interesting and versatile app and I think that it’s just going to get better and better. For now I want to say a belated happy birthday to Trackd and the team behind it.

If you don’t know about Trackd, then here’s some information behind it.

“Trackd is the best new way to record songs and ideas to your iPhone. It is packed with simple tools that makes recording and mixing audio on mobile quick and easy on up-to 8 tracks.

Note lyrics, set a metronome, mix, pan and even import audio from Dropbox to kick-start new projects.

Trackd is also a place where musicians from all over the world meet to share ideas, message and collaborate. Follow your friends and collaborate with them as easily as sending a text.

You can quickly and easily share your music to Facebook, Twitter, and even save multi-track projects to your camera roll for video sharing.

Share your songs on socials @trackdmusic and #trackd for the chance to be featured, and mail support@trackdmusic.com if you have any queries, needs, or simply want to give us a pat on the back for making such a beautiful, lovely, and groundbreaking app”

And here’s what’s new in the latest version …

  • Faster navigation for the quicker-fingered amongst you.
  • Improved the tutorial so it’s a bit clearer how to delete things (just play it right the first time though!)
  • We still don’t want no drama, so we crushed more bugs.

And now a little bit about Trackd’s birthday!

“The other day we gracefully and silently turned a year old, so to celebrate our move into the awkward toddler phase here are some fun facts!

  • There has been over 250 days-worth of music recorded using Trackd. Get listening.
  • Over 115,000 musical projects have been created using the app.
  • Almost 10,000 songs and stems have been made public by the community and have got everyone all inspired and collaborating!
  • We’ve been nominated for awards all over the globe from SXSW, to San Fransisco Music Tech, to Midem in France! So many feels.
  • Major love shown by Apple, with a number of features over the year – thanks guys!

The best and most fun fact of all though has to be that over the past year we’ve seen a community of nearly 70,000 musicians come together and create some completely insane beats, jams and melodies both solo and through collaboration. Every day when we log in to see what you guys have been up to it still blows us away. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep creating, and enjoy every second!”

I think that Trackd has a bright future, and I hope to tell you more about that soon enough, so go check out Trackd on the app store now: