7 comments on “Turn £50 into an amazing mobile music studio”

Turn £50 into an amazing mobile music studio

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time now, but haven’t gotten around to it. So it’s time to put that right.

Whilst so much news is about iOS apps and some Android stuff here and there I try not to forget that my mobile music making started off with the good old Palm OS. So I’ve decided to write a little post about what you can do with £50 (about $80) to get yourself an amazing mobile music studio which you’ll be completely amazed at.

All you need is 2 things:

  1. A Palm Tungsten T3 from eBay
  2. A copy of Bhajis Loops

Some of you will have heard me talking about just how good Bhajis Loops is, and you might be thinking it is just nostalgia, but let’s take a quick look at what Bhajis packs in:

Sample editor

  • Samples can be loaded from SamplePacks, .wav files stored on the memory card or sf2 SoundFonts.
  • Sample editing functions: cut, copy, paste, trim, silence, undo.
  • effects and transformations: loop cross-fade, gain, normalisation, distortion, reverse, downsampling, or any of the built-in effect plug-ins.
  • Draw waveforms directly with the stylus!
  • Built-in voice recorder (not available on Sony Clié devices).
  • Sample size is only limited by the amount of free RAM.
  • Modified samples can be saved as .wav files.

Synthesis section

  • Your song can use up to 64 instruments.
  • Wavetable synthesis.
  • Low-pass / high-pass filter, cutoff and volume envelope.
  • LFO controlling the pitch and the filter cutoff.
  • Instrument layering / Keybaord mapping.
  • Different voicing modes – mono, legato, polyphonic…
  • Transposition.
  • Support for micro-tuning (for traditional or historic intervals)

Pattern editor

  • 8ppq resolution (32 steps per 4/4 bar) with shuffle.
  • 3 editors: Piano-roll, Grid, and note parameters editor to set velocity, vibrato, pan values for each individual note.
  • Complete editing: cut, copy, paste, merge, demix, undo.
  • Pattern recorder for realtime or step-by-step recording of patterns, using an on-screen keyboard or the keys/buttons of your Palm.
  • Pattern library to easily manage a collection of frequently used patterns across songs.
  • Random note generator and humanization function.
  • Scale feature to constraint the input/recorded notes in a given scale.
  • Easy input of chords in standard notation (Bmin7, Asus4…)

Song editor

  • 8 tracks on which patterns can be mixed – A pattern in itself can contain up to 64 instruments!
  • Complete set of editing features with undo.
  • 3 zoom levels.
  • Looping, markers.
  • MIDIfile import/export.
  • Wav file rendering.

Mixing and effects

  • Mixer with main fader, pan, effect send, mute / solo.
  • 4 independent effect buses + one global send.
  • Open plug-in architecture – new effects are added with each update, and you can even develop your own!
  • (Ping-pong) delay, reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser, vocoder, pitch-shifting, distortion, EQ, and many more effects!
  • XY pad: You can control two synthesis parameters in realtime with the position of your stylus or your finger on the touchscreen! Advanced tracking options to smooth or interpolate stylus moves.

Automation

  • Volume, pan and most of the synthesis parameters (filter cutoff, resonance, envelope, LFO, effect send) can be automatized.
  • Effect plug-ins parameters can be as well automatized.
  • Intuitive vectorial editor taking advantage of the touchscreen and stylus.
  • A complete range of editing features.
  • Stylus movements in the XY pad can be recorded as automation tracks.

Live! mode

  • Once you have composed your song, structure it by defining sections and bridges.
  • Bhajis Loops Live! mode allows you to chain these sections in realtime, and jump between them.
  • Exclusive Warp feature allowing complex transition rules like “If verse 1 is playing, and if the next requested section is verse 2, play verse 1 and then play verse 2 from its third bar”. The accompaniment follows what you are playing, not the opposite!
  • Mute buttons.
  • Assignable controllers.
  • Controllers can also be assigned to the hardware buttons / keys.

Other features

  • Analog clock synchronization: the left and right channels of music are mixed and output on the left channel, and a 24ppqn clock signal is generated on the right channel.
  • Full support of the 160×160, 160×240, 320×320, 320×480 and 480×320 screen modes.
  • Complete Reference manual available in several formats. Contextual help in all the dialog boxes.
  • Free song replayer.
  • WinAMP plug-in to replay your songs on your PC.
  • PC and Mac OS X conduits to render songs as .wav files, export MIDIfiles, samples or individual tracks during HotSync.

So I think you’ll agree that it is a pretty amazing piece of software, especially when you consider that it is running on fairly old hardware, i.e. the Palm Tungsten T3. Bhajis is an amazing platform for making music wherever you are.

That’s not to say that the venerable old Palm Tungsten T3 isn’t a good piece of kit! I still have one and it works fine (or at least the last time I used it anyway). And of course there’s plenty of older music apps for the palm if you decide to dabble further.

Incidentally, you may be wondering why I’ve said that the Palm Tungsten T3 is the best device for running Bhajis Loops. Simply put it was probably one of the best devices that Palm made (although I think HTC actually made it) and it has a huge (comparatively) amount of memory for a palm device. Hence it works really well for Bhajis.

So if you decide to give it a try please let me know what you think, but please don’t request a refund from me if you’re not happy!

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6 comments on “Stompbox arrives”

Stompbox arrives

4Pockets iPad version of Pocket Stompbox lands. Here’s what to expect:

StompBox is an application that turns your iPad into a fully fledged digital effects unit, complete with chromatic guitar tuner, metronome and loop recording tools. StompBox allows you to build a rack of effects in any order and then save your settings as patches that can be recalled at the press of a button.

With StompBox you get the best of both worlds, a rack of professional sounding stereo effects (with far more control than simple foot pedals) and a foot controller to access a tuner and all your patches.

Simply listen through a pair of headphones, or attach to an external amplifier or hifi to truly experience the program in all its glory! StompBox uses stereo routing between effects, which results in a very professional sounding experience.

In order to use StompBox you need a way of connecting your guitar. The simplest way to accomplish this is to use an iRig adaptor (sold separately), but if you have a camera kit you may be able to use an inexpensive USB sound card.

StompBox comprises 17 unique effect modules such as delay, reverb, flanger, phaser, chorus, pitch shifter, tremelo etc. We have also included a noise gate, compressor, parametric and graphic equalizers so that you can create many unique and interesting tones. There are 7 types of distortion effect available (from overdrive, to fuzz to full out classic distortion) as well as custom amplifier EQ’s, so plenty of scope for all types of music!

Once you have built up a library of patches, you can use the virtual foot controller to quickly and easily move between patches. The Virtual Foot controller gives instant access to all patch parameters and amp settings, with the ability to enable and disable individual effects at the touch of a button. If you want to modify an effect parameter, simply scroll the effect rack into view and make your changes. The foot controller has a virtual whammy bar which can be controlled using the touch screen or optionally using the accelerometer. A tap tempo button is also available to synchronize all time based effects.

StompBox includes a Metronome which you can use for practicing or alternatively you can load your favorite MP3s into the Media Player and play along. The Media Player even has the ability to slow down the music without effecting pitch so you can play along at your own pace. You can even loop a particular part of a song so it plays over and over again!

StompBox also features a 4 track loop recorder. This allows you to record your own backing track which can also be looped, just like the Media Player. You can record up to 4 non-destructive overdubs and even save a mixdown for posterity!

Features:

  • 17 Unique Effects
  • 7 Types of Distortion Effect
  • Chain upto 12 Simultaneous Effects
  • Media Player with Time Stretching
  • 4 Track Loop Recorder
  • Metronome
  • Chromatic Tuner
  • Stereo Routing
  • Save 12 banks of 6 patches
  • Virtual Foot Controller
  • Virtual Whammy Pedal
  • Tap Tempo
  • Built In FTP
  • Comprehensive Help
  • Effect Synchronization with Metronome
  • USB Camera Kit Supported
  • iRig Compatible
  • 3 Unique Skins

StompBox

iPads at the Apple Store

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2 comments on “Vestax Pad One”

Vestax Pad One

MacMusic posts on a new controller from Vestax. Details here.

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4 comments on “DJ Player updated”

DJ Player updated

DJ Player got a significant update. Here’s what’s new:

We’re very excited about the performance improvements of the new update. Again, many thanks to our customers: we just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your continued support! Here is the list of the new features, Enjoy!

  • new Split Headphone for Split Cable Adapter mode
  • Better performance with NetOut app
  • Waveform display, great for easier CUE points settings.
  • Automatic BPM detection in combination with vinyl vision creation.
  • New Skip to Start button.
  • Better sounding lowpass/highpass filter effect.
  • More independent controls/multitouch improvements.
  • iPod library import (iOS4 required).
  • Some MP3 related bugfixes.

DJ

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1 comment on “Serious Rock Guitar for iPhone”

Serious Rock Guitar for iPhone

I got contacted by Bryan Aspey about his app Serious Rock Guitar as he’s been using AmpKit LiNK (as have I), and I think that his app is just what I need for my guitar skills!

I’m going to check it out and let you know what I think later.

Serious

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0 comments on “New version of FingerBeat on the way”

New version of FingerBeat on the way

Good to know that this app is still being developed. Here’s what to expect:

This update includes:


  • Import&Export sounds using OSX.Finder + Win.Explorer. + iTunes file sharing.

  • Send/Export beats by email
  • Shake to undo
  • Faster loading time & better stability and performance
  • Better experience

FingerBeat

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0 comments on “Pixelh8 trailers for his new double album”

Pixelh8 trailers for his new double album

New stuff coming from Pixelh8.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=15594780&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0
The Schematic “Trailer 1” from Pixelh8 on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=15594992&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0
The Schematic “Trailer 2” from Pixelh8 on Vimeo.

Pixelh8’s existing stuff at iTunes:

Pixelh8

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0 comments on “iWriteMusic Free”

iWriteMusic Free

I posted about this app a few days ago. A notation app with no sound! Well now there’s a lite version too.

iWriteMusic-Free

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2 comments on “StepPolyArp – Midi Step Polyphonic Arpeggiator”

StepPolyArp – Midi Step Polyphonic Arpeggiator

Another MIDI app arrives for the iPad. StepPolyArp works over wifi and not with the MIDI mobilizer. Here’s the app’s description:

StepPolyArp is a midi step polyphonic arpeggiator. The arpeggiator does not play any sound itself, it transmits midi notes to a Mac or a PC to be used in combination with any sequencer, virtual instrument (VSTi, Audio Unit) or midi synthesizer.

The arpeggiator can transform chords into sequences of notes played one after the other in several ways. A matrix polyphonic step modulate arpeggiated notes in time and pitch. The main controllers (velocity, modulation, panning, volume, aftertouch, and pitch bend) are also programmable through a step editor. The integrated keyboard automatically adapts to the selected musical scale.

Features:

  • 32 steps programmable matrix
  • 11 configurable transposition lines
  • Features copy and paste
  • 8 octaves virtual keyboard
  • Velocity, modulation, pan, volume, aftertouch and pitch bend step controller
  • The apeggiator and keyboard fit the selected scale
  • 6 arpeggiator modes
  • 1 chord mode
  • Unlimited number of saves
  • Random patterns creation
  • Presets manager
  • Presets shared between computer and iPad using iTunes 9.1 or later
  • 128 Undo/Redo levels
  • Lockable keyboard (latch mode)

Supported midi connections:

  • DSMidiWifi (free)

Requirements:

  • A computer running Mac OS X, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • DSMidiWifi server (free) installed on the computer for wireless midi connection
  • A sequencer installed on the computer (Logic, GarageBand, Cubase, Ableton Live, Digital Performer, Reaper, ProTools, Sonar, Studio One, …)
  • An iPad with iOS v3.2 or later

StepPolyArp

iPads at the Apple Store

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2 comments on “Arduino based oscilloscope”

Arduino based oscilloscope

Looks like a fun use for an Arduino! More at the Arduino blog.

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