My favourite posts of 2015, some thoughts, and a Happy New Year too

I thought I’d end off 2015 with a round up of my favourite posts of the year. Now the easiest thing to do would have been to simply direct you at the featured tagged posts, but that seemed like a bit of cheap way of doing it, so instead here’s a more considered list of my favs this year.

Let’s start off with music as an app, that still is an interesting idea and one that people still struggle with and don’t really get right. This was a great step towards getting it right in my view. Music tech funding is an odd area and one that is hard to understand, this post aimed to try to clear up a few things and ask some questions too. Speaking at Abbey Road Studios was probably one of the most amazing and also important things I did this year and this post is about just that.

But even though that was quite important it doesn’t mean that everything has to be so serious does it? I posted this in an attempt to make the point that creating music doesn’t have to be so serious and needs to be fun too.

Mobile music has become about apps in the main, so here, in this post I decided to point out a few of the things I thought were important in an app. Just 10 things to consider, but important things and all of it still stands in my view, but I would say that!  On a similar note, I had to ask if there were too many synth apps in the iOS world, and, if anything, that question is more salient now than then! If you’re interested you can also read my top 24 apps for 2015, which probably isn’t the list you expect.

Staying with the apps theme for the moment, I thought it was interesting that Korg’s latest two apps were both iPhone versions of existing apps, one from their iPad collection, the iElectribe for iPhone, and of course the iDS-10 for iPhone. This is important. I love that more apps are coming to the iPhone now, it saying something about mobility and the iPad and where the iPad range is heading.

Also on apps, Modular has been big in 2015. First we had AnalogKit modular and then Audulus 3 of course. Modular is not going away and I think both of these apps, and of course zMors modular too are really important. I did ask the question here about whether modular was actually right for mobile. You make up your own minds. Either way I think we’ll see more of this in 2016 especially considering what’s happening in Pd at the moment.

In terms of mobile hardware 3D touch is, for me anyway, a really big thing for mobile music, although it doesn’t seem to have been adopted nearly as much as I’d expected so far and its potential is, in my opinion, huge! Although one notable adoptee is Roli with their Noise 5D app, and I hope that there’ll be lots more soon. I’m hoping that this will change in 2016. But what seems to have happily eclipsed 3D touch is Ableton’s Link technology, which I expect will roll out to even more apps in 2016.

I also expect that we’ll see more crowdfunded (Kickstarter or Indiegogo) products in 2016. Aside from the fact that I’m waiting for a bunch of them myself it seems to be becoming the defacto way to get a good idea going these days. One of the best examples for me in 2015 was the Arpeggio, and I think it’ll do really well as it will connect to its own iOS app.

Finally, one of the most important things I did this year was to help to run the SoundLab Play Space. You can read all of the posts about the Play Space here, but it was amazing to be a part of such a brilliant event and work with such great companies.

So that’s a whistle stop tour of 2015. I’d like to say a quick thank you for everyone who’s read PalmSounds, commented, tweeted etc in 2015.  Here’s to an even better and more mobile 2016!

24 devices that have been important to me in 2015

I’d been meaning to post this before Christmas, but just ran out of time before I could get it done, but I thought I’d squeeze it into 2015, just!

  1. Teenage Engineering OP-1: A pure genius device from Teenage Engineering, I love it and it just gets better and better with every new version of the OS. I can’t wait to see what they add next.
  2. Teenage Engineering PO-12:A fantastic little device and possibly the shape of things to come from other manufacturers.
  3. Teenage Engineering PO-14: That compliments the PO-12 very nicely and works well with the …
  4. Teenage Engineering PO-16: Which completes the set, and they do work well together. I like the idea of small and well designed hardware. I think that the only thing that TE missed with this series and also the OP-1 was a way to connect and expand the devices with a mobile device. That sounds kind of obvious now, but probably when the OP-1 came out originally it didn’t make that much sense.
  5. Monotron: The original and excellent Monotron I think it would be interesting to see if more synth makers did a Monotron equivalent. What would that look like for Yamaha? For Roland?
  6. Monotron delay: Was a great addition to the line, as was the …
  7. Monotron duo: As was Korg’s decision to open source the circuitry. Very nicely done.
  8. Casio VL-1: Is where mobile music started off for me, so it’s something I’m really fond of.
  9. Casio VL-10:
  10. Thingamagoop: I’ve got the 2nd edition of the Thingamagoop but of course the new one comes out in 2016 and I’m really keen to see how good it is. I’m tempted, but haven’t ordered one as yet.
  11. BC-16: The rarest of rate micro modular synths. Almost impossible to find but really interesting to play with and a device that gives you an appreciation of modular synthesis and analogue work.
  12. Handera 330: The first of two of my PDA entries. This one is the rarest of them all. Only ran Palm OS4, but it had an SD card and CF card slots onboard.
  13. TRG-Pro: From the same makers, the Pro had a CF card slot and was pretty amazing in its day. Of course it is very good at sending MIDI, and works well with older devices.
  14. Nebulophone: Another Bleep Labs device and a cool and cheap noise maker for having fun.
  15. DS: I included the DS as, pre-iPhone / iOS, it was a great platform for mobile music and of course had the original DS-10 synth.
  16. iRig acoustic: I’ve been really impressed by the iRig acoustic, especially when using it with my Ukulele and a bunch of effects apps.
  17. TouchBoard: I’ve become a fan of the TouchBoard since using it at our SoundLab play space event. I think that the device has a lot more to offer than perhaps anyone has thought about it so far, and I hope to explore that more in 2016.
  18. MuteSynth II: This is an incredible piece of hardware for exploring sounds. I’ve really enjoyed using it and have found it a great way to lose myself in sound design.
  19. Olegtron: Another interesting and very different hardware device. Something that feels like it’s going to start growing into more than just a single device, but I’m not sure where it’ll end up. That’s quite exciting in it’s own right though.
  20. Littlebits: If you wanted a modular experience and eurorack is too expensive, then this is (or so I’m told) a good alternative. It’s also great to learn about how synthesis works.
  21. Ototo: A very underrated device with great expansion through sensors and the ability to play anything, like fruit!
  22. iRig MIDI 2: For connecting iOS and MIDI hardware, this is it for me. Solid and reliable and that’s it.
  23. Molecule synth: Rare, unusual, modular and strange. I’d hoped that this could develop into something and there could’ve been more molecules available, but it’s unlikely I guess now.
  24. Mixtape alpha: Another rare device which is difficult to play and worse to find one these days, but an interesting design and, in it’s own way, quite soothing and pleasant. I like it anyway.
So there’s my list. Not the usual list of hardware you might find on a blog, but a list of things I find interesting sonically and inspiring too. I hope you find it useful.

NOIZ is coming …

It has been a long time coming, but it is still on the way, and next month it looks like things could get even more interesting.

If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, then take a look at these videos …

If you want to know more about NOIZ, then check out Studio Amplify’s page and sign up.

There’ll be more to say about NOIZ in the new year, stay tuned!

Musical Android on Pd party developments in Android …

And if you’re an Android user then you really want to take a look at this article a video on the Musical Android site about Pd party. Things have really moved forward and it seems that there’s a lot happening in the Pd world and mobile now, especially on Android.

I think I’ll have to take a bit more time over this too.

MIDI Designer Pt, 4: Testing and Debugging (video)

Video description:

“Today, I go through some of the glitches and missed programming parameters. I’m trying not to make these particular videos too long or talk too much. I hope you get something out of these. Thanks for watching.”

Video published by Brian Kupferschmid.


Olegtron 4060 plug in board available

Olegtron have released a new plug in board for the Olegtron 4060. The new 7-bit plug in module is on their site although there’s now way to order it as yet. It looks pretty cool though and hopefully I can get hold of a copy of it soon.

When I do I’ll let you know.

Best iPad Synthesizer Apps Released in 2015 (video)

This is an interesting list, and I’ve annotated it with a few thoughts of my own (see below).

Video description:

“This are my favourite releases in 2015. I consider in majority only releases from 2015 and two updates from apps released in 2014.
If you missing Nave and other synths, please consider that the choice is only for Synths released in 2015. This choice is only my favourites and maybe you have another selection.

The included apps are available here:

Video published by Synth Anatomy.

Pocket Calculator by Modified Toy Orchestra
Released as a small run by Static Caravan records on white 7″ vinyl now for the first time here’s a digital copy as a free download.
Get the SoundCloud app to listen on your iDevice.

Heard of Chew TV? If you haven’t, then you should and think about investing too

Chew.TV are doing some really interesting things for DJ’s right now, and what’s more they’re crowdfunding on Seedrs right now and doing well too.

Go take a look on Seedrs. See what you think, and maybe chip in too.

Taylor from Audulus talks to Synthtopia

Some interesting stuff in this interview with Taylor, the man behind Audulus 3 (and of course the earlier iterations of the app too). Well worth a read.

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