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My 24 apps of Christmas: 17 – Auxy

So day 17 is nearly over and it’s time to share my 17th choice in my list of 24 apps for Christmas. Today’s choice is Auxy. Even though Auxy has only been around for a very short time (it launched at the end of October), it’s already made a big impression. I think that apps that help get people making music are really important and Auxy certainly does that.

In fact, it does a very good job of helping people to make music in a very simple and accessible way. It doesn’t put barriers in the way of creating beats, it just lets the user get on with it straight away. There are nice easy choices for getting to grips with sound choices and limited options for tweaking the sound, which normally I’d say wasn’t a good thing, but in an app to get people engaged in making music it’s good to not overwhelm the user with choices.

I think we need more tools like this to get people exploring their creativity.

And of course, it’s free.

So I’m looking forward to seeing how Auxy develops and engages multiple audiences, the casual music maker, the complete beginner, and the experienced iOS musician.

I’m sure that they have lots of surprises for us.

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So I promised to tell you more about the black box, well for starters we’re calling it MIDI Thing …

Which has actually been the name we’ve used for it for quite a long time now. We call it MIDI Thing for two reasons.

  1. It’s a thing …
  2. It does MIDI, in fact, it only does MIDI

Which is why it’s a … MIDI Thing!

So, what does it actually do? Good question. Here’s an overview:

MIDI Thing is a portable battery powered MIDI looper. It takes a MIDI signal in on any channel and puts the same MIDI data out. So, to give you an example:

If you record a 4 bar bassline on channel 1 it’ll continue to play that on channel 1 until you tell it to stop. You then record a chord sequence on channel 2, and it’ll put that out on channel 2 as well as the bassline on channel 1. You can do this on all 16 MIDI channels and it’ll keep on playing everything until you erase a channel, or switch it off!

It listens on all channels simultaneously so you don’t need to do any switching around and it has a very simple interface. In fact, it has just 2 switches on it. One is the on/off switch, the other puts the device into command mode, and this is where it gets clever.

The MIDI Thing get its instructions from what ever keyboard controller is being used for MIDI input. We thought that would make sense as you’ve already got a keyboard in front of you and you wouldn’t want to have to navigate through lots of menus on a tiny box.

So, here’s what the commands look like …

To activate a command all you do is hold the command key on the MIDI Thing and press the key on your keyboard. It’s that simple, and actually you get used to it ever so quickly.

Of course MIDI Thing can support multiple in and out connections if you’ve got a MIDI thru box.

As you can see above we used a number of output MIDI devices on the teaser video we showed recently. The CZ101 simply acted as a controller driving several channels on the MU15, the meeblip Anode, and the Waldorf Rocket (out of shot). We could have added more, but I ran out of MIDI cables!

Hopefully that gives you a good overview of the device and what it can do. We’ve built 4 prototypes so far and it all works very well.

So I’ve got a few questions for you … Is it something you’d be interested in, and if you would, what sort of price would you pay for it?

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Let’s Play with Phase84 (Patch Design & Commentary) (video)

Video description:

“Retronyms has released their first synthesizer! This combines Phase Modulation, Frequency Modulation, and Subtractive synthesis for a very unique sound. It has qualities of 80s synths, but with a very modern tone. Here I explore the whole gamut! If you enjoyed this please consider supporting this series by sponsoring them on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/user?u=107612

Be sure to visit http://discchord.com for the latest music app news!”

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At last it’s here! FLUX:FX has arrived and looks totally amazing!

It looks brilliant, it is … Here are all the details …

FLUX:FX is a professional multi-effect audio processor app for the iPad that lets you ‘play’ your effects. Innovative, intuitive and exciting, FLUX:FX lets you manipulate any audio signal into something entirely new, and redefines the possibilities of audio and live performance in an app with an almost unlimited range of effect options. FLUX:FX is a truly authentic digital platform for next-level sound design. Guitar, bass, synth, drums, vocals, DJ setup, violin… basically ANY audio signal can be processed in real-time by FLUX:FX. Over 18 months in development, this app represents the pinnacle of touch-screen multi-effects, and was designed in conjunction with acclaimed musician Adrian Belew for both studio and live use.

TRULY CREATIVE EFFECTS: FLUX:FX has over 30 studio-quality effects to choose from, and an almost unlimited range of settings to let you twist and sculpt your sound. Chain 5 together for maximum aural impact.

POWERFUL SEQUENCER: A touch-based automation sequencer for your effects that adds a completely new fluid dimension to your sound design.

DEEP EDITING HEAVEN: Every parameter of every effect is editable, assignable and with the fine tuner dial, PRECISE. That makes FLUX:FX a tweaker’s paradise.

TRANSPARENT INTERFACE DESIGN: FLUX:FX has a beautiful, minimalist interface combining easy-to-use controls with a mesmerising liquid polygon audio visualizer. No fake road-worn pedal graphics here.

MADE TO BE TOUCHED – Designed and built from scratch as an iPad app, FLUX:FX is not a port from an existing plugin, it is MADE to be touched. And swiped, and dragged, and tapped. No tiny dials here.

MADE BY EXPERTS – conceived and created via the combined talents of guitarist extraordinaire Adrian Belew, audio software developers ElephantCandy and mobile specialists MOBGEN.

PLAYS WITH EVERYTHING – Audiobus compatibility (including saved states), Inter-App Audio compatibility, super-fast MIDI, virtually all the audio interfaces… they just work with FLUX:FX.

COMPLEX SOUND, EASY TO USE – chopping, shaping, crushing and looping – FLUX:FX can take you from subtle modulating echoes through to wrecking-ball destruction, all with a swipe of a finger.

LOWEST POSSIBLE LATENCY – FLUX:FX features ultra low-latency settings to give truly professional performance capabilities.

There are more than 30 individual effect blocks that come built-in to FLUX:FX. We do not force users to make in-app purchases to unlock essential tools, or to register in order to stop ‘advertising’ alerts.

Choose from the following audio building blocks to create your modular effect chain:

  • OVERDRIVE
  • DISTORTION
  • FUZZ
  • BITCRUSH
  • DESTROY
  • DECIMATE
  • STUTTER LOOP
  • REVERSE LOOP
  • LOOP SLICE
  • SEGMENT
  • SAMPLE SCRATCH
  • COMPRESS
  • PUMP
  • ULTRA EQ
  • KILL EQ
  • LOWPASS FILTER
  • HIGHPASS FILTER
  • BANDPASS FILTER
  • CHORUS
  • FLANGE
  • PHASE
  • RESONANT DRONE
  • PITCH DELAY
  • OCTAVE SHIFT
  • RING MODULATE
  • AUTO PAN
  • DIGITAL DELAY
  • BINAURAL DELAY
  • TAPE ECHO
  • SCATTER VERB
  • DELAY/REVERB

Plus a master LIMITER to keep all the sonic chaos in check.

”FLUX:FX makes sounds that I have never heard before from any other piece of equipment. It can truly mangle any signal you put into it… in a good way! The touch controls means that I can actually PLAY the effects – say I’m playing a guitar solo, I’ll lean over and noodle with it and create some wacky guitar sounds. This app is just so creatively inspiring and fun to use.” – Adrian Belew.

Adrian Belew is the world’s greatest experimental whammy twang bar, czar rhino, stunt guitarist extraordinaire. With a resume that features some of the biggest names in music including Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, King Crimson, Talking Heads, Paul Simon and Tori Amos, Adrian is famous for pushing the boundaries of the guitar in both technical and tonal exploration.

As seen in Guitar Player, CDM, PalmSounds, Synthtopia, Adland.TV, TeamRock, Guitar Moderne and many more!

FLUX;FX Costs $19.99 in the app store today …

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Loopy Masterpiece: Class design (video)

Video description:

“I’m trying something new this week: I’ve been designing Loopy’s code modules, and this week I’m talking about how I plan to implement the actions/sequence stuff we’ve been talking about in past weeks.

It’s gonna get a little technical – quite the learning curve for me, figuring out how to talk about software development!

http://masterpieceedition.tumblr.com

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Phase84 Available Now (video)

Video description:

“Phase84 is a next generation phase distortion synthesizer. It fuses gritty digital sounds with traditional analog punch.

Phase84 is an extremely capable synthesizer and features over 110 presets, containing all sorts of basses, leads, pads, bell tones, sweeps, atmospheric sounds, pseudo-realistic tones, and more. While you don’t need to know much about synthesizers to get a lot out of Phase84, experienced synth tweakers will be thrilled at the sheer variety of unique sounds that can be produced with this incredibly versatile synth.

*All synth sounds (bassline, chords, lead) were created with Phase84 with no external effects or post manipulation.”