Regular iOS music makers will be familiar with AppBC as the developer behind the Studiomux app which was updated recently. AppBC do like to keep themselves busy though and, back in December we saw the launch of a new app – Modstep – that includes some of the Studiomux technology but also offers a fully-blown MIDI sequencer with both step sequencing and piano roll editing environments.
I did a full review of Modstep just after it was launched but the feature set is impressive. You can use unlimited MIDI tracks and there is support for multiple MIDI continuous controllers on each MIDI track so you can modulate your sound sources to keep your sounds changing, etc. The first significant update appeared only a couple of weeks ago and added Audio Units (AU) support which was great to see.
However, progress is obviously going on at some pace as a further update – v.18.104.22.168 – has appeared on the App Store today. There are a number of routine bug fixes that have been applied (always welcome) including a fix for note editing in the Piano Roll and in the import process for MIDI files. However, there are also some improvements and these include better display of levels within the Mixer, better sound from the reverb effect, improvements with the IAA sync and, top of the list, support for state-saving with AU apps (as Audiobus can do with Audiobus compatible apps that support the feature).
The last of these will, eventually, be a big deal as we see more AU-based apps. That our plugins return to the state we last left them in within a project is taken for granted on the desktop…. it would be great to be able to do that under iOS as well.
I have to say that Modstep is rapidly evolving into a very powerful MIDI music creation environment and each update simply adds to the already impressive functionality. It is perhaps not for the faint-hearted as that power comes with a depth that does involve an initial learning curve but, as a stand-alone MIDI sequencer, it’s clip-based approach is both very flexible and very creative.
The app requires iOS8 or later if you want to use the audio and MIDI streaming to PC/OSX provided by the Studiomux technology but, as a stand-alone (iOS only) app, will work with iOS5.1.1. It requires an iPad, is a 35 MB download and is currently priced at UK£14.99/US$19.99.