Audio on the iPhone

Here’s some interesting (if very technical) stuff on audio on the iPhone from Brian Whitman.

Brian Whitman

Is the man behind Baby Hedgehog, Egg, and Capers (as was). I was in touch with him a while ago about making his capers code available as open source for someone else to take it on, but after months of getting no reply at all from him, I gave up.

As I’ve been mucking about with Hedgehog and Egg for a while I’ve come to thinking about it again, and I think it would be great to have some access to this stuff, even if it was just the documentation for the existing apps. I mean, that would be a start wouldn’t it?

Capers applets that never ever came about

Blueberry – MIDI Patch / Sysex Librarian and Sound Randomizer
Cardinal – dsperado Hardware Front End / Librarian
Carpetbomb – Xenakis emulation

I wonder if there was ever any code written for these, even something very alpha would be fun to try out.

I think I’m going to have to see what I can find out.


I was wondering what it would have been like to have a whole replacement OS for a PDA that was purely music based.

The intended goal of Capers was to create a “replacement music operating system” for the Palm, in effect generating a handheld music platform rather than a group of applications.

Capers used a common clock for all its “applets,” and the user could page through them at will while a sequence played. There could be multiple instances of each applet; for example, three arpeggios, two sequences, and four controller LFOs could be used at once. Each applet’s output (called a “Pattern”) could be sequenced to create a song out of a group of “patterns.” This sequence could sync in or out to a MIDI clock to talk to other sequencers such as Native Instrument’s Reaktor, Akai’s MPC series, Ross Bencina’s Audiomulch, or even another Palm OS device running Capers. Now that would be amazing.

I can just imagine that. Running sync’d palms would be fantastic! I think it would be worth buying a few old Palm III’s just to get them all working at the same time together.

SpinPad and my SG20 Module

I still like the demo of SpinPad, and even though it was released back in 2002 I think it is worth playing with. I’ve been using it with my Swivel Systems SG20 MIDI module attached to a TRG Pro.

The demo of SpinPad was developed to access the serial port on pre-OS5 devices so it works directly with the module and sounds fantastic. I do hope that this app gets released soon, as I’d love to see it in the flesh.

Baby Hedgehog

I’ve been playing with this app for the last few days. It is difficult to use for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is no documentation for the app at all, and no web site for desperado anymore, and secondly, the app is almost entirely icon driven and very difficult to make sense of.

It really is a whole trial and error exercise, which is on the one hand enjoyable, and on the other hand quite infuriating.

And another thing, you can only run Baby Hedgehog on a pre=OS5 Palm device, so I’m running it on my TRG Pro (which is wonderful), powering a Swivel Systems SG20 MIDI module, which clips onto the bottom of the device connecting via the serial port.

More OS4 and TRG Pro experiments

I have to say that my newly acquired TRG Pro Is a lot of fun. Of course it is slow, but then it only has a 33khz processor compared to the 300, 400, and 500 of my Treo, T3, and Axim respectively.

Still, there’s quite a bit of software that can only be run on an OS pre-dating Palm’s OS5. Stuff like Burrito and Egg etc, and that’s what I’ve been playing with as well as BeatPad, AxisPad, NotePad, and MixPad from MiniMusic.

The nice thing about BeatPad, AxisPad, NotePad, and MixPad from MiniMusic is that they all work on both pre and post OS5 palms. I especially like using these apps with the SG20 module as they allow you to access all sorts of sounds in the module, and the quality is excellent.

It is odd though using a PDA that only has 8mb (which was a lot when it was first made), with such a slow processor and yet getting good results out of it.

I hope to have some pictures soon to post of the TRG Pro and SG20 module.

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