5 comments on “Some first impressions of the Artiphon Instrument 1”

Some first impressions of the Artiphon Instrument 1

I promised that I would write about the Artiphon Instrument 1. I thought I’d start with some photos of what it used to look like as a prototype. Of course, it’s quite different now and doesn’t have a bay for an iPhone, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. However, it is essentially the same instrument.

The version that shipped from Artiphon’s Kickstarter campaign is a nice evolution of the original, and, on first impressions, is pretty easy to use.

What’s shipped may not look as beautiful as the original, but the shipped version is still rather lovely anyway. But more than that it works and works really well.

When I unpacked it and got it out of its box the first thing I noted is that it is really well presented. The packaging is protective and works and you’ll probably want to keep hold of the box just in case.

The instrument itself feels the right weight. It’s smaller than I’d had in my mind. It’s around the size of a ukulele or maybe slightly bigger. I’ve got the black one. The surface of the device is smooth and it feels nice to handle. Of course the most important thing is how it works and handles as an instrument and I’ll be coming on to that in just a moment.

What struck me first off was that it does actually feel like an instrument and not like a piece of digital technology that you’re going to have to learn how to use and isn’t immediately obvious. That might sound like a subtle distinction, but in my view it is an important one. It means that you feel, or at least I felt, like I could pick this instrument up straight away and get going with it, and that is exactly what I did.

So let’s move on to hooking it up to a device and getting going.

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The app that Artiphon have created to go along with their device is great for getting started, but if you’re a seasoned iOS music pro you’re going to get bored of these sounds very soon.

The app is very good for setting up how the instrument works though.

It gives you all the options for setting the tuning and layout of the instrument. Which is very useful in getting the thing to work how you want to.

Inside the app you can play with some basic instrument settings, although the sounds aren’t going set the world on fire, but the main thing is that you can set up MIDI here, and that’s where, for me, this instrument is going to be really useful. MIDI is very easy in the Artiphon app so you won’t have any issues I wouldn’t think.

After getting some sounds out of the thing I spent most of my time experimenting with playing with it and that’s what I’ll be sharing next.

What the ArtiPhon Instrument 1 is like to use:

I have to say, that even after just a brief time of playing with this instrument I can say that it’s a joy to use. It really is an instrument. I’m not much of a guitarist, but it does work well when you play it in guitar mode. In piano or keys mode it’s even more interesting and useful. I found that I could play and experiment with how the device worked with a variety of apps and sounds for ages as it was such a novel way of interfacing with apps.

I think that I’ve only scratched the surface with this instrument and it’s going to take a lot more interaction to get to a point where I can talk about where I think it really excels. However, I think it’ll be a lot of fun getting there.

3 comments on “The AC Sabre arrives, delivers, changes iOS music making”

The AC Sabre arrives, delivers, changes iOS music making

Every now and then an app comes along that you really think is going to change how things work, is going to change how people perceive making music on iOS. It doesn’t happen often because it’s a big change, but I think that this is it.

Yesterday the AC Sabre launched on the app store. It’s an app, but that doesn’t really describe it properly at all. The Sabre is an instrument that gives you real control over your synths, VST’s and libraries. It’s one of those things that has to be seen to be understood, has to be used to be appreciated.

Let’s face it, gestural control has been around for a while now. There have been all sorts of approaches to it. Lots have used MIDI, back in the early days some used OSC. Lots of gestural apps worked well, but none really caught on as instruments in their own right. That is, not until now.

The AC Sabre brings truly instrument like control to an iOS device. It transforms your iPhone / Touch into a real instrument with emotional range and expressivity you won’t have experienced before.

You’re going to be hearing a lot more about the AC Sabre over the coming weeks, not just from me, but from lots of people!

Here’s all the app details …

AC Sabre is a revolutionary wireless MIDI instrument and motion controller for electronic music producers, composers, performers and DJs which brings the dynamic richness and performance energy of traditional instruments to your digital music library, in a way that is not possible with the existing studio and stage tools.

“A very unique and sophisticated virtual musical instrument” –The Next Web

AC Sabre reads your movements with the built in gyroscope and accelerometer and translates them into musical actions. It lets you pluck invisible strings in the air while controlling up to 7 additional parameters, intuitively with your movements, via MIDI CC messages.

VIDEOS: http://air-craft.co/demos/

“I had to check AC Sabre out and it immediately lived up to the hype…surreal and instinctive…like Augmented Reality” –Discchord

PLEASE NOTE: AC Sabre contains no sounds of its own. You’ll need a computer with MIDI compatible music software (Ableton, Logic, Cubase, FLStudio, Reason, Garage Band, Massive, Kontakt, Sylenth…), or other apps which support MIDI input (Animoog, Nave).

PUSH THE BOUNDARIES

PRODUCERS…

  • Use AC Sabre to compose distinctive hooks that go beyond the MIDI keyboard
  • Conduct automation in realtime with human sensitivity instead of spending painful hours with the mouse
  • Add sophisticated musical elements without the need for years of theory and training

DJs & PERFORMERS…

  • Play electronic instruments without being shackled to your gear
  • Introduce spontaneity into your live digital performances
  • Infuse signature attitude and style into your performances
  • 3 words: Live Bass Wobble.

FEATURES

RICH MUSICAL VOCABULARY:

  • Scale-synced, velocity sensitive note play
  • Harmonies, trills, arpeggios…
  • Gesture-based vibrato
  • Note shift (for playing out-of-scale notes)
  • Circle of Fourths/Fifths key changes
  • Note range and octave shift
  • Legato and Portamento modes
  • Note-clamping pitchbend
  • A Drone for sustain and guitar “tapping”-style effects

HONED FOR PROFESSIONAL USE:

  • Low latency (<10ms), 50m+ range via Wi-Fi
  • QuickPanels allow realtime access to most common parameters
  • Save/load/export configuration Patches
  • Wi-fi/Bluetooth support + Bonjour auto-detect
  • Supports multiple devices running AC Sabre as separate MIDI inputs into your DAW
  • MIDI Learn wizard for quick CC assignment
  • MIDI channel selector for playing multiple instruments

POWERFUL EXPRESSIVE CONTROL:

  • 6 assignable Motion Controls
  • Pitch, Roll and Yaw angles
  • Linear Shake & Shuffle
  • Play Intensity
  • 2 configurable Touch Ribbons
  • 1 configurable User Button
  • Vibrato on Shake

OVER 150 MUSICAL SCALES

  • Major, Minor and Pentatonics
  • Jazz modes: Dorian, Phrygian, etc
  • Bebop Dominant, Octonic, Nine-tone scale and other exotics
  • World scales like Hungarian Gypsy, Hirajoshi, and Mississippi Blues
  • Arpeggio scales like Dominant 7b5
  • 1-4-5-b7 and other Bassline scales
  • A few centuries worth of Indian Raag scales

TWEAKABILITY

  • Vibrato amount from 1/4 step up to full PB range
  • MIDI CC’s and output range are fully customisable
  • Motion range calibration
  • Virtual MIDI support, play other apps

AIR CRAFT ONLINE

Online manual: http://air-craft.co/support/ac-sabre-manual/
Videos: http://air-craft.co/demos/
Website: http://air-craft.co
Forum: http://community.air-craft.co
Questions? Email us: hq@air-craft.co

NOTES & SUPPORT

AC Sabre is a high performance application that requires iPhone 4s+ (iPhone 5+ recommended), iPod Touch 5th gen+, or newer running iOS 8.1+. Also, while playing is definitely tailored more for handheld devices, it works splendidly on the iPad.

Windows users: You’ll also need a (free) copy of rtpMIDI for connecting AC Sabre to your computer

AC Sabre is 50% off and on sale until the 19th of August.

Get it on the app store now!

0 comments on “FingerFiddle – Play music like on a real violin”

FingerFiddle – Play music like on a real violin

I’ve been playing with this app for a week or so and I have to say that I am completely smitten with it. I have to say that I’m already not seeing this app as an app at all, but rather as an instrument in its own right. I think that the closest thing I’ve seen to this is ThumbJam, which is of course brilliant, but has a much broader appeal. FingerFiddle is as it says it is, a fiddle instrument you play with your finger. It is amazing, and I mean that sincerely.

Anyway, enough of my gushing. Here are the app details …

Turn your iPad into an instrument of the violin family and play just like on a real instrument !

FingerFiddle introduces a new and highly sensitive musical experience with your IOS device. Your actions on the screen are turned naturally into an exceptionally realistic and responsive sound, whatever you do. Place your fingers on the fingerboard to change notes. Move your other hand on the screen to rub the strings with the bow and shape the sound continuously in real-time. Pluck the screen to play pizzicato. FingerFiddle responds accurately to your movements and lets you play with the full palette of violin expression, just like with a real instrument.

FingerFiddle is a musical instrument that you can bring with you everywhere to play, practice, have fun and perform with others. It includes a full collection of fine-tuned instruments from the violin family (violin, viola, cello and double bass). The basic version comes with a cello, and other instruments are available to try and purchase. Wherever you are, at any time, pick one of the instruments and play music for real with FingerFiddle.

Who is it for?

  • Anyone interested in music playing can find something in FingerFiddle:
  • For the beginner, FingerFiddle is an affordable way to experience and enjoy fiddle playing, alone or in group. Play, practice to improve your playing, try different instruments and maybe, eventually, buy a real instrument…
  • For advanced players, FingerFiddle is a new instrument to discover and have fun with. Use it in your musical productions and live performances, when jamming with others, or just to sketch ideas.
  • In all cases, FingerFiddle is a musical instrument that is always right at your fingertips, whenever you feel the need to play music.

Features:

  • Natural mapping between movement and sound: your finger is the bow !
  • Outstanding sound rendering for a realistic output
  • Pitch is controlled with a fingerboard on the screen to allow fiddle-specific playing techniques (vibrato, glissando, chords)
  • The fingerboard is customizable: set its width and the space between notes for a comfortable playing
  • A specific area is dedicated to pizzicato playing
  • Inter-App Audio / Audiobus support (generator)
  • Very low memory requirement: no samples library is used
  • Inter App Audio and Audiobus support
  • The basic version includes the Cello from the Classic Collection. Other instruments are available as In App purchases (Violin, Viola, Double Bass, normal or with mutes)

What’s New

  • Compatibility with all IOS devices
  • Improved reverberation engine
  • Implementation of several possible interface layouts
  • Redesign of settings menu
  • Scale settings to display various scales on the fingerboard
  • Fixed bug with audio when the sample rate is changed
  • Various improvements with graphic design

FingerFiddle is on the app store and costs a mere $2.99:

2 comments on “So what we need is a proper list of iOS AU instruments”

So what we need is a proper list of iOS AU instruments

However, I think that there’s only one for now. I think it’s iSEM. If you know of others, please comment them in as I plan to set up a page of AU instruments, and maybe AU effects too.

Would that be useful?

0 comments on “SoundBow from Binura has arrived and is beautiful”

SoundBow from Binura has arrived and is beautiful

SoundBow from binaura on Vimeo.

Binura bring their beautiful SoundBow app to iOS at last. It is a gorgeous instrument with huge possibilities for expression and creativity.

I think that in many ways these are the kinds of apps that iOS was made for.

Here’s what Binura have to say about their app in the description:

“SoundBow is a drawing based music instrument with a clean and simple visual interface.

Create music by drawing curves over the screen. Your gesture will be remembered and played back continuously. Each time your ever-looping gesture hits a string, a sound is produced. Apart from drawing, you can experiment by moving the strings around freely to rescale your instrument. Record any sound through the microphone and start creating melodies, soundscapes with your own voice. If you wish, you can also export your composition as an audio file.

SoundBow is made with free and open source tools. The interface is built with OpenFrameworks, for accurate polyphonic sound sample playback, the sound engine is made with SodaLib, a free Data Sonification Library built on top of libPd (Pure Data).”

It’s also worth checking out their site too.

But apart from this being a really lovely interface that just cries out to be played it says a lot about PureData too. Pd is getting more and more useful, not just for people who want to make apps, but in apps for mobile and desktop.

If you can do this with Pd then the sky’s the limit really.

SoundBow is on the app store and costs just $2, which is nothing really, so you should go and buy it now.

0 comments on “Oriental Strings arrives for your iPad”

Oriental Strings arrives for your iPad

Oriental Strings is the latest app from the developer of iSymphonic Orchestra. Here’s all you need to know …

Oriental Strings is a professional sound module app for oriental keyboard players and for musicians who simply want to resemble the typical sound of the Middle East in their songs. Connect an external MIDI keyboard to your iPad by using the Apple USB camera adapter or another adapter supported by Apple, or launch Oriental Strings as virtual instrument directly within your favourite DAW app on your iPad!¹

This app supports Apple’s “Inter-App Audio” System (requires iOS 7 or higher) and the “JACK Audio Connection Kit” (up to iOS 6.1.3) for audio & MIDI connections from/to other audio apps!

The sounds of Oriental Strings were exclusively recorded with players who are professionally dedicated to oriental style of music. Typical string instrument sounds for the arabic genre are covered by this app. Besides rather exotic instruments like the Chinese erhu, typical western string instruments were used as well, but since the players of the recording sessions are focused on oriental music, those western instruments sound completely different than you might be used to from western orchestra players.

The sounds of this app were once again created by Kurt Ader, nominated as sound designer of the year for the upcoming NAMM winter show.

32 Sounds are included with this App:

  • Chinese Erhu 1 – 3
  • Chinese Erhu Trill
  • Turkish Strings 1 – 4
  • Arabian Strings 1 – 3
  • Tremolo Strings 1 – 5
  • Spiccato Strings
  • Oriental Spiccato Strings
  • Oriental String Quartet 1 – 3
  • Oriental Staccato Strings
  • Arabian Solo Strings 1 – 3
  • String Quartet
  • Oriental String Ensemble 1 – 5
  • Slow Oriental Strings

There is no in-app purchase in this app. So all sounds and all app features are immediately available to you as one buy.

General Features:

  • Scale tuning editor, which allows you to adjust the standard well-tempered scale to all kinds of oriental scales (save and restore them as presets at any time).
  • Low latency disk streaming.
  • Polyphony up to 140 stereo voices.²
  • Configurable audio latency down to 5 ms.
  • Integrated effects with 18 presets.
  • 16 parts.
  • MIDI velocity response curve editor to fine tune the feeling of your MIDI keyboard.
  • App can keep running in the background, so you can play on your keyboard while e.g. using Safari or another app to display scores or surfing the Internet.
  • Supports Apple’s “IAA” system for audio & MIDI streaming between other apps (iOS 7 or higher).
  • Supports “JACK Audio Connection Kit” for audio & MIDI streaming between other apps (up to iOS 6.1.3).
  • Virtual on-screen piano keyboard with velocity support, scalable & scrollable.

MIDI Player / Recorder:

  • Record, save and load your songs in standard MIDI file format.
  • Unlimited amount of tracks.
  • Configurable target MIDI channel per track.
  • Unlimited recording and playback length.
  • Open MIDI (.mid) files directly from other apps (i.e. from Safari, Mail).
  • Download or upload MIDI files with iTunes.
  • Load your favorite songs as MIDI files from the Internet, and watch at the virtual keyboard how to play it.
  • Metronome.
  • Use the “Tempo Zoom” dial knob to i.e. slow down playback at any time and learn your favorite songs more easily.

¹ For more informations about supported adapters and MIDI keyboard devices, please visit our product website.

² Some sounds are using several voices per note. Polyphony depends on the exact device model being used. You find a polyphony table on our product website.

Anti-Spy Commitment: We take your privacy very seriously. None of our apps contain so called „spy” behaviors and we committed ourself to a very high privacy standard. For more informations about our privacy commitment, read our „Privacy Policy for Mobile Apps”.

Oriental Strings costs $54.99 on the app store:

0 comments on “Earhoof (Virtual Instrument for iPad) – Introduction (video)”

Earhoof (Virtual Instrument for iPad) – Introduction (video)

Compelling stuff isn’t it?

0 comments on “Earhoof for iPad arrives”

Earhoof for iPad arrives

Wow, this is a really interesting looking app. Here’s the description:

Earhoof is a futuristic virtual instrument which turns your iPad into a rhythmic gradient of sound.

A sophisticated instrument creation tool, it allows you to layer multiple audio files and combine them with high quality digital signal processing. By continuously changing the sound parameters along the length of your device, Earhoof allows you to create highly expressive playable surfaces.

Its innovative internal rhythm engine allows you to easily play this surface, switching seamlessly between complex rhythms while remaining in complete control of the generated sounds. The result is a playing experience unlike any other, blurring the line between sequencer and instrument.

  • Includes over 80 carefully crafted presets, each one a unique multi-sample instrument
  • Intuitively draw curves to modulate DSP parameters for Gain, Pitch, Pan, Filters, Delay and more
  • Easily import your own WAV and AIFF files with iTunes File Sharing
  • Record or manually create your own rhythms
  • Audiobus and Inter-App Audio support allows Earhoof to interact with other music apps
  • Record your performances as audio files without ever leaving the app
  • In-app help manual will help you quickly learn the ins and outs of the program 

Earhoof is priced at $4.99.

0 comments on “Gestrument for iPad arrives”

Gestrument for iPad arrives

Another new instrument comes along to your iPad from the maker of AudioShare. I’m really looking forward to trying this out. Here’s the app’s description:

Gestrument – the revolutionary gesture instrument! Swipe your finger to play – it has never been easier to make music!

Developed by Jesper Nordin (www.jespernordin.com) and Jonatan Liljedahl (www.kymatica.com)

  • Play and compose music with the swipe of your finger
  • An intuitive tool for composers in all genres
  • Generate music within defined scales and rhythms
  • The ultimate tool for making truly new music in any genre
  • Improvise freely within a fully controlled musical framework
  • Use the internal GM sound bank or your favorite MIDI synthesizer
  • Use Gestrument to control other iOS apps or external MIDI programs through a MIDI interface or Network MIDI
  • Create and save your own presets and share with your friends or download new presets from www.gestrument.com

Improvise or compose within the scales and rhythms you choose. Use parameters like pulse density, scale morphing, rhythm randomness or pitch fluctuation to find new paths for your musical expression and creativity. Use the tutorials or define your own settings to fit the musical style you want to play and compose in. Play on up to eight instruments at once – all with different individual settings.

Gestrument works equally well for rhythmic music or sweeping soundscapes, for solo melodies or chord blocks, for long lines or short staccatos. It can help you make music in whichever genre you can imagine.

Gestrument works directly with its built in sounds and is therefore perfect for the amateur or beginner who wants to make music in an intuitive way. But it is first and foremost built for professional musicians and composers who can work with the settings to build advanced theoretical frameworks that they can later improvise or compose within.

The app is priced at $7.99.

Gestrument - Jesper Nordin

0 comments on “Thumbjam, the app that keeps giving”

Thumbjam, the app that keeps giving

I just love how there are occasional batches of samples available for Thumbjam. Always excellent quality.

I love using Thumbjam, especially the cello, viola and other strings. They’re so expressive.

ThumbJam - Sonosaurus LLC