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.


Artiphon brings version 1.1 of their app and new INSTRUMENT 1 firmware

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,…

SpringSound 3.0 is interesting, in a lot of ways

File under, ‘apps that I think I should look at again’. I hadn’t realised the complexity and versatility of SpringSound. I certainly hadn’t realised that it was also an MPE controller, leave alone operating as a Haken Continuum IOS Remote. This is an impressive app.

So I thought it would be a good idea to restate this app’s description:

SpringSound is a physical-modeling audio synthesizer that produces sounds by simulating interactions and vibrations of a set of activators and masses connected to springs. The model offers detailed control of an array of features including: gravity, bouncing, fluid and static friction, mechanical limits, non-linear functions, and more.
SpringSound is provided with a very large set of sound presets that you can tweak and save.

It can be used as a sound generator or as an effect using its Audio-In feature, opening a new world of physical modeled effects. It is fully Audiobus® 2 and inter-app audio compatible, and manage state saving.

SpringSound can be controlled by a standard MIDI keyboard and directly from the iOS device screen. It is complete with the new MIDI MPE (expressive MIDI) and therefore can be controlled by most expressive controllers like the Haken Continuum, ROLI Seaboard, Linnstrument, Madrona Labs Soundplane, etc.

SpringSound app is designed for optimum use with the Haken Continuum (www.hakenaudio.com) and integrate an IOS Continuum Remote (iPad only) allowing a very comprehensive and accurate remote control of the Continuum from your iPad (access to all parameters except programming the Eagan Matrix).

SpringSound has be designed to explore sounds domains you won’t be able to access with other synthesis technics. It expands your sonic palette with a new world of physical sounds. It is a rich musical instrument, a sophisticated sound-design tool and an entertaining sonic playground.

SpringSound is the big brother of my former Ackorage-Spring app.

And here’s what’s in the latest version …

Totally renewed UI for the Haken Continuum IOS Remote for iPad. The Continuum IOS remote is now compatible with the version 8.00 of the Continuum firmware (and also with previous versions). Reworked SoundEngine (development still in progress, other updates will come soon, the current update doesn’t yet use the new features of the sound engine)
Audiobus SDK update.

SpringSound on the app store:

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