bs-16i update – interesting tweaks for bismark’s multi-timbral virtual instrument

Download from iTunes App Storebs-16i logoI mentioned bismark’s bs-16i 16-part multi-timbral sample-based music app in my ‘virtual instrument round-up‘ article some time ago. Given how blessed we are with some excellent iOS synth apps and the fact that we are starting to see some very high quality sample-based instruments appearing for iOS – with Korg Module now leading the way on that front – you could be forgiven for not getting overly excited by an app such as bs-16i based on the (fairly) humble SoundFont.

With an app like bs-16i, I think that perhaps misses the point though. This is not intended to be a sound source for recreating the detailed nuances of an acoustic piano (for example); it is, instead, an efficient, multi-sound source, workhorse. When you need a single app to produce multiple sounds at the same time, and to do it with a relatively low CPU overhead, this is just the thing.

bs-16i - a great workhorse multi-timbral sound sound for iOS - and now with iOS9 support.

bs-16i – a great workhorse multi-timbral sound sound for iOS – and now with iOS9 support.

Anyway, bs-16i was updated today to v.2.5. As might be expected, this update includes support for the latest Audiobus SDK and, therefore, ensures a smooth workflow via Audiobus under iOS9. There are a few other minor tweaks and improve support for the iPhone 6 screen dimensions.

However, the update is notable for one further reason; the app now offers support for the new 3D touch facility introduced on selected new iOS devices. As many commentators have speculated (including myself when iOS9 was launched), 3D touch could open up all sorts of interesting possibilities for iOS music apps if the touch sensitivity turns out to have enough resolution to make it useful as a means of ‘performance expression’. Bismark have been quick off the mark here and, if you have compatible hardware such as the new iPhone 6S, then you can now toggle on 3D touch support and it will generate MIDI aftertouch data from the app; very cool.

bs-16i now supports the new 3D touch technology.

bs-16i now supports the new 3D touch technology.

It will be very interesting to see where this technology might lead and just how widely Apple are eventually prepared to built it into their future hardware. I imagine that it makes screen production a more expensive process (?) so, whether it will be something that finds its way into something like an iPad Pro 2 at some stage…  well…  we will just have to wait and see. Until then, keep your eyes peeled as I suspect there will be other iOS music app developers who follow bismark’s lead and explore what the new touch response may have to offer.

At UK£5.99, bs-16i is a very respectable virtual instrument workhorse and particularly useful if you find you need lots of different sounds all going at the same time. As iOS only allows you to run one instance of any app at a time, being 16-part multi-timbral is a big plus (it makes for a good comparison with IK Multimedia’s SampleTank that is four-part multi-timbral but perhaps features a somewhat more details set of samples). With support for iOS7 or later, bs-16i is a very useful little app to have within your music production toolkit.

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