From the makers of Ruismaker, Ruismaker FM, and Phasemaker comes a new bass synth, Troublemaker! Apparently it is not a 303!
Here’s what to expect …
The legendary TB-303 has magical properties; it is filled to the brim with analog shimmer. Its output jack is a gateway to a parallel universe and when you twiddle the filter knobs an army of highly trained pixies chisel the square waves from freshly harvested unicorn souls. So if you want a TB-303, you should buy a TB-303. But if you’re after *that sound* Troublemaker will give you everything you need in spades.
Troublemaker sports a carefully crafted diode filter emulation and among the available oscillators are the typical raspy, nasal sawtooth and rubbery squarewave with its oddball shape and shifting pulsewidth. It also has the wow.
Troublemaker is fully Audio Unit (AUv3) compatible, so you can go wild running multiple instances in your favorite DAWs.
It also has:
Ableton Link synchronization,
MIDI CC mapping,
Core Midi, Virtual Midi, Bluetooth Midi input,
Exports MID and WAV files from the standalone sequencer
And unlike the TB-303, it can actually sound like a bass guitar 😉
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.
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.
The 1.1 update brings new functionality and improved playability to the INSTRUMENT 1 firmware and Artiphon software for iOS. String Flip The String Flip feature uses the INSTRUMENT 1’s built-in accelerometer to automatically switch between lefty and righty tunings based on how the instrument is held. With this update, String Flip becomes a global setting,…
I haven’t mentioned this app before although I have looked at it and thought that it does look strikingly like another app (feel free to guess in the comments). But with version 1.2 it has got my interest again. Mainly because of what’s in that update …
Sampling – use your own sounds to make unique beats
Audio editing – trim, pitch, and time stretching
Import from your music library
Exporting – more freedom to use your creations how you want to
Bounce all tracks
Audio unit extension support
New microphone w/ microphone input display
New effect presets
Not bad for an update I think. So maybe it’s time to pay a little more attention.
Tize is free on the app store, although has IAPs, mainly for content packs as far as I can see.
Klevgränd are steadily building a very credible and impressive set of apps to their name, and Pads adds nicely to that.
Pads is basically a wavetable synthesizer with a noise/grain generator and a high cut filter. With a carefully developed ”wobbler” that detunes the waveforms and makes small inconsistencies to several internal parameters and a nice sounding chorus, this synthesizer is able to create some really interesting and non-statical pad sounds.
AUv3, works with AUv3 compatible hosts like GarageBand, Cubasis, Auria, AUM etc.
30 handcrafted presets created by professional musicians
Filter, Attack and volume can be modulated by velocity
Controllable grit/grain level, sampled from a real hammond organ with a broken tone wheel
Controllable wobble factor that adds analogue unpredictability
Important: Pads in stand-alone mode does not support IAA, Audiobus or MIDI. You can try it out using the keyboard at the bottom, but that’s it. We recommend using Pads with AUv3 compatible hosts.
maximum polyphony value is limited depending on device type for better performance;
Patch Selector: additional bank selection bar added to speed up switching between banks;
now you can hold the next/prev patch buttons for fast forward/backward scrolling of patches;
new knob parameter added: “velocity to cross modulation”. Some of the factory presets were tuned with this parameter to better react on velocity changes, making loud notes sound “brighter”, and vice versa;
new Arpeggiator parameter added: Note Repeat;
smooth parameter change algorithm added for Pitch Bend, Modulation Wheel and Filter Cutoff parameters;
sound clicks removed, which could appear when switching between patches;
other improvements and bug fixes.
Note if you are updating from version 1.0: After this update, please run Poison-202 standalone before running Audio Unit version. This will keep safe your previously created user patches. It needs to be done only once.
This is excellent news for users of Auria and of course for everyone who wants to use Audio Units in their work. Of course there’s a growing list of AU’s now, you can find most (if not all) at the PalmSounds AU page.
But that’s not all that’s in the latest builds of the different versions of Auria. Here’s everything per version:
As you probably already know, I do like apps that are a little further off the beaten track than most, and this really fits the bill for me. Jussi is pretty unusual. In fact, I’d say I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite like it before.
When I first launched Jussi I have to say that it was a surprise. Not quite what I’d expected at all. For the most part vocal synths often sound a little too robotic for my liking. Not that I don’t like robots or robot sounds of course. But it was a real surprise, a very different and very unique sound.
I’ve really enjoyed using Jussi so far, although I’m not sure quite where I’ll use this in my own music. Having said that, I might just have to make something special with it.
For now, take a look at the app’s description:
This synthesizer emulates male voice vowels in a unique way. Thanks to a set of powerful parameters you can make Jussi sing anything from soft and airy choir-like vowels to hard and angry shouting.
Formants are controlled by playing with different velocity, which makes it fun and easy to play using a MIDI keyboard.
AUv3, works with AUv3 compatible hosts like Garageband, Cubasis, AUM etc
ADSR with ”Turn-in” and ”Turn-out” option (Turn-in and Turn-out affects the pitch and maps it to attack and release)
Voice character XY pad (Intensity and Narrowness)
Legato mode (glides between notes and velocity levels)
Legato Hold mode (polyphonic legato when using a sustain controller, consult the documentation for more info)
Throat emulation XY pad (Grain and Tonality)
Note: Jussi in stand-alone mode does not support IAA, Audiobus or MIDI. You can play it using the keys at the bottom, but that’s it. We recommend using Jussi with AUv3 compatible hosts.
And I think that this fits the bill pretty well for me. I have, on occasion used Indian instrumentation in pieces, so I can see that it could come in handy I suppose. It also seems reasonably priced although I think that you need to buy the bulk of the instruments via IAP.
Anyway, you make up your own mind. Here are the details …
Add up to 79* perfectly sampled virtual Indian instruments to your iPad’s sequencer! SwarPlug is an Audio Unit Extension that will load in AUv3 compatible hosts like Garageband, Cubasis, etc… as additional voices that can be played through the keyboard, in new loops created from scratch through your MIDI editor, or by using the thousands of MIDI loops included in the plugin.
*This app initially only includes the Tabla instrument, but you can download any additional voice you like through In App Purchasing.
From the developer who recently brought us Envelope Audio Unit Reverb by DDMF comes another handy Audio Unit.
The 6144 is an Audio Unit equalizer which aims to recreate the legendary sound of the Neve hardware EQs. It will add that extra shimmer to your sound already when being added to a track flat, without turning any knobs, due to its carefully designed higher harmonic generation algorithm. Now start turning the knobs on any of the five bands and you’ll be amazed: it’s really possible to add copious amounts of gain without ever sounding harsh, at all. The 6144 has been a not-so-secret weapon for audio engineers in the desktop realm for some years already, and is now finally available as an iOS plugin for use in an Audio Units compatible host.
A new drum synth that’s an AU and works with your favourite host. Here are the details:
The first drum synthesizer plugin for iOS. Works conveniently inside your sequencer and Audio Unit Instrument hosts so you can focus on making electronic music without app switching and screen juggling like before.