0 comments on “So, Modular is huge right now, but is it right for mobile music?”

So, Modular is huge right now, but is it right for mobile music?

I was prompted to think about this because of two app initially, Patterning, Olympia Noise Co’s new drum machine for iPad, and AnalogKit, a new modular app, again for your iPad. In addition, I think that what tipped me over in writing this piece was the latest update to zMors Modular (see last post below).

For ages now I’ve seen mobile music as having a number of really important elements that in many ways differentiate it from other types of music making, especially electronic music making. These are:

  1. Immediacy – The app is obvious, you can see how to use it and understand it. You’re able to get up and running really quickly.
  2. Accessibility – And I’m not just talking about accessibility from a disability perspective. I’m talking about music software that’s easy to get to and once you’re there it’s easy to make use of.

There are other elements, but for now these two will do.

If you look at Olympia Noise Co’s Patterning app, that fits the bill really well. You can work out what’s going on very quickly, it’s pretty obvious how to use it and how to create patterns. Sure, there’s more depth to it, but you can get to that later, and if you don’t want to go there you don’t have to at all. But in terms of immediacy and accessibility I think it does very well.

Then we have a whole different type of app, the modulars. In this I’ll include zMors, Jasuto, Audulus and Modular. I haven’t actually tried out AnalogKit so far, so I’ll mention it, but not go into any depth with it.

Arguably non of these apps fulfills either of the two elements above. In terms of immediacy they all fail. In fact with a lot of the modular apps on iOS (as there are precious few on Android) you’d be hard pressed to know what to do without a fairly advanced idea of how synthesizers work. You’d probably also need to know how modular synths operate, and then also have a clear idea of some of the specifics of how all of that is implemented in the app in question. So, immediate, no, not really, in fact, not at all.

In terms of accessibility all of these types of apps also fail. There’s no real question of that at all.

It isn’t to say for one minute that I’m not a fan of either these types of apps, or indeed some of the specific apps themselves. I am. However, the point I’m trying to make or explore is how these hugely complex apps, within which users can create some totally awesome patches, can be made more immediate and accessible.

That might sound like a huge and overwhelmingly difficult task, but I think that it can be done and at the very least should be attempted. It isn’t impossible either. If you look at what Korg did with the DS-10 interface for the DS-lite you can see that they managed to make that easy to use (or at least easier anyway), and in some ways almost gamelike.

So what am I trying to say and why?

Well, if you’ve got this far it’s only fair to say thanks for reading this somewhat rambling post. I’ll get to the point though. I like the idea of modular and I like the idea of mobile music, but I think if we’re to get more people interested in and using modular apps on mobile we need to make these apps more accessible. That doesn’t mean dumbed down, not at all, it means more accessible and easier to get up and running with, and that won’t be easy at all.

However, that, I think, is exactly the challenge that’s needed.

0 comments on “Well done Artiphon!”

Well done Artiphon!

0 comments on “This is just so cool”

This is just so cool


0 comments on “Important note about Lemur”

Important note about Lemur


0 comments on “Cubasis gets a maintenance update”

Cubasis gets a maintenance update

Here’s what’s new in Cubasis 1.9.6:


  • Full iOS 9 compatibility
  • New Audiobus SDK 2.2.1
  • Audio device information has been added to setup


  • CB-2448 Fixes a problem where resizing of the keyboard was not possible
  • CB-2453 Solves an issue where the audio and automation editor action list icons appeared greyed out

You’ve got to wonder what version 2.0 will bring to Cubasis …

0 comments on “Yonac begins updates for its apps with Magellan”

Yonac begins updates for its apps with Magellan

Yonac’s Magellan gets updated to version 3.2. Here’s what’s new:

  • Expanded and improved SPAWN – use AI to magically create new and better presets at the touch of one button
  • Free preset bank from New Wave Presets (NWP Lab30)
  • iOS9 compatability
  • Check out the Magellan Store – more preset packs coming soon

0 comments on “In case you missed it … PMA 5 on eBay”

In case you missed it … PMA 5 on eBay

I posted this yesterday, but I thought I’d put out a reminder in case you missed it …


0 comments on “ToyTone gets a little update”

ToyTone gets a little update

Here’s what’s new in ToyTone 1.2:

  • Tone Randomize implemented.
  • iPad supported.

0 comments on “zMors Modular 1.3 is huge!”

zMors Modular 1.3 is huge!

This is a truly massive update for zMors Modular in version 1.3. Here’s everything that’s new:

  • add a new controller module with keyboard, XY pads and JavaScript support
  • add a new ADSR module with retrigger and build in VCA
  • add a new 8/1 multiplexer module
  • add a one knob module with midi cc send option
  • add a new console mixer module with pre routed macros and midi filter
  • add midi cc input as alternative to cable connection on each module input port
  • add midi out port on main module
  • add midi merge programm to combiner module
  • add cpu save option to VCA module
  • add init phase parameter to OSC module
  • add simple expressions on context menu parameters
  • add alias free saw mode in MathDSP module
  • add a audio input port to cv sequencer
  • add bi polar option to matrix mixer
  • add cv to midi cc option in midi filter module
  • add ‘Mix with other Apps‘ option to setting menu
  • add a score editor in midi player/sequencer
  • allow JS sample access to wave table module
  • fix autostart in sampler
  • fix a problem with recording function
  • fix a problem with zoom modules
  • fix a problem when cables not showing
  • fix a problem when mix with other apps
  • update module descriptions
  • add factory defaults function for all presets
  • target for this update ist iOS 8.4

0 comments on “Reverb – Feedback Delay Network 1.2 arrives”

Reverb – Feedback Delay Network 1.2 arrives

Here’s what’s new in Reverb – Feedback Delay Network:

  • New: Stereo Sampler with scrubbing, loop-points fade, fine zoom selection etc…
  • New: UI Skins
  • iOS 8.4 SDK
  • Audiobus 2.2
  • Bug Fixed