Anyone who has spent some time running multiple MIDI-based music apps until iOS will know that (a) there is a huge amount of fun and creative potential to be experienced and (b) still some workflow issues to be resolved in order to fully capitalise on that potential.
One of the key issues is just how well MIDI is handled by these various apps. The solution, of course, is for Apple and every app developer to really get to grips with Core MIDI and to ensure these wonderful music apps we have available to us are speaking the same (MIDI) language when we need them to communicate. While this sounds like it ought to be a simple enough task (after all, a similar process has proceeded at some speed for audio), we still seem to be some distance from seeing this happen…. and check out the article posted on the site a few months ago that looks at this issue in more detail.
MidiBus is, on the surface, a rather unglamorous MIDI utility app that offers one (OK, perhaps two) basic functions. First, it can function as a MIDI clock sync master device. And, so you can judge something about the quality of that MIDI clock sync, the second function is to provide monitoring of the MIDI data; you can see how the clock varies over time.
Anyway, the app has received its first update in quite a while as v.1.3 appeared on the App Store yesterday. There are the usual round of fixes and tweaks but the key new features are the ability to control tempo via an external controller (I’ve not tried this yet but it I wonder whether it opens up the possibility for changing tempo on the fly and having all your tempo sync’ed apps follow you as you go? That would be an interesting possibility but it would be equally ‘interesting’ to see just how many iOS apps might actually respond in a suitable fashion). The other new option is the ability to set the tempo via a Tap Tempo button; just tap the bpm field in the interface and the Tap tempo button will appear.
At UK£2.29, MidiBus is unlikely to break anyone’s bank and, if you use independent MIDI apps such as drum machines or synths with step sequencer features as part of your music making, then MidiBus might be right up your street. As a means of locking those sorts of apps together – providing their MIDI implementation is up to it of course – MidiBus is a simple and effective tool. It might not be the most glamorous or exciting of apps to look at but, as one of those very useful utility apps that can help everything else run smoothly, like MidiBridge, MidiBus is well worth having to hand.