Archives for January 2015

Sound Canvas launch – Roland bring their classic Sound Canvas technology to iOS

Back in the day, I owned a Roland Sound Canvas. There were a number of popular models but, essentially, there were digital sound sources covering a wide palette of instrument sounds but supplied in a fairly anonymous black box format; no keyboard, just a set of sounds you could play via a suitable external keyboard or through a MIDI sequencer. At the times, the sounds were pretty good but some of the less expensive units did suffer a bit from General MIDI syndrome. Lots of sounds were … [Read more...]

iOS music technology – the good, the bad and navigating the ugly

A few weeks ago, having dusted off my crystal ball, and made an early start on my Christmas List for 2015, I put up a post about some personal ‘this would be nice…’ items/topics/issues I thought it would be interesting/fun/desirable to see come to pass over the next year. I got some interesting feedback from some readers, both via the comments on the post and via email. That, and a few other iOS music-related things I’ve read in the last week or so (stuff on some of the popular forums) and … [Read more...]

DFX Digital Multi-FX launch – Fingerlab add creative multi-effects to the iOS music app line up

I posted a news item a few days ago about the welcome update to Fingerlab's excellent iOS drum machine app DM1. This app has been a firm favourite of mine for some time and I reviewed it here on the blog some time ago. However, when iOS8 appeared, DM1 became problematic for many users so this update was good to see. However, as I also mentioned in the news item about DM1, Fingerlab had a new app in the pipeline. This app is DFX, or, to give it its full title, 'DFX - Digital Multi-FX'. No … [Read more...]

FM4 review – Primal Audio give us a taste of the Yamaha DX series synths in an iOS music app

Synths, synths and… well… more synths…. If there is one thing the ‘music’ section of the App Store is not short of then it is synth apps. Amongst some of the apps that might best be labeled ‘also ran’ there are, fortunately, some absolute synth stormers and I try to ensure that I give the best of the considerable bunch some coverage here on the blog. However, just because we already have a very good crop of iOS synths – and the obvious competition for attention that creates between apps – it … [Read more...]

Rock Drum Machine update – Luis Martinez’s ‘rock’ drum app gets new features

If you like your drum and rhythm parts to be electronic then there are plenty of iOS music apps that can turn a good trick. However, when it comes to acoustic drums for rock and related styles, there are perhaps somewhat fewer choices. One such app that I took a look at a few months ago is Rock Drum Machine by developer Luis Martinez. It provides a compact, streamlined, but very useable universal (iPad and iPhone) drum machine format but with sounds and styles aimed very much and the rock … [Read more...]

FM4 updated – Primal Audio bring Audiobus support to their FM-based synth

There are all sorts of different types of sound synthesis but, if you are of a certain age, then I expect you will have a fondness for the Yamaha DX series from the 1980s the the FM synthesis engines upon which they were built. If these are sounds you hanker after, then the recent release of Primal Audio's FM4 iOS synth for iPad may well of been of interest. FM4 features - surprise, surprise - a four operator FM synth engine and attempts to model the same gritty sound - albeit within a very … [Read more...]

SampleTank update – IK Multimedia’s sample-based virtual instrument gets tweaks and SALE pricing

With RAM at a bit of a premium in iOS hardware (OK, the new iPad Air 2 has finally taken us to 2GB but most of us don't own one yet and most apps can't necessarily exploit it fully even if you do own one), the iPad or iPhone is perhaps the platform to expect the most sophisticated of sample-based instruments to exist. However, that hasn't stopped a number of iOS music app developers from trying to squeeze as much performance out of the 1GB-equipped current generation of the hardware as is … [Read more...]

News from NAMM – iOS-related news from the annual trade show – part 3

The NAMM show kicked off in California on Thursday and, as usual, amongst all the more generic music technology news, announcements and launches, there has also been some related stuff. Some of the specific things that have really caught my eye I'll post separate news items about (such as the official launches of the Casio CZ app and UVI's BeatHawk) but there are other things that might appeal to the iOS musician. I've done a couple of previous posts (here and here) but here are a few other … [Read more...]

Audulus update – modular synthesis app from Subatomic Software gets some performance tweaks

If you are the kind of person who likes to program their own synth patches then an iOS music app such as Audulus is pretty much the ultimate playground. Not only do you get to program your own patches but - because of the modular nature of the virtual instrument - you also get to build the synth engine in the first place. I first reviewed Audulus back in December 2013 and, while the app has had a number of significant updates since then (here and here for example), the basic principles remain … [Read more...]