Odessa becomes Rozeta – Bram Bos breaks new ground with AU MIDI tools

Download from iTunes App Store

I originally put up this blog post a few days ago when Bram Bos launched his new Odessa app….   but I’m re-poting because, due to circumstances beyond Bram’s control (there is a full explanation on his website), he has decided to give the app a new name; Odessa has now become Rozeta on the App Store….  In all other respects, the app remains the same….   Anyway, I’ve tweaked the post below to reflect the name change :-)

In the UK, there is a cliche about public transport buses that you wait for ages and nothing comes…  but then two arrive together. It feels the same with apps – and hence posts on the blog while it is in ‘hibernation mode’ because, alongside the interesting Kauldron synth from Yonac that was launched yesterday, Bram Bos’ new Rozeta Sequencer Suite app also arrived on the Store.

I reviewed all of Bram Bos’ various iOS music apps here on the blog including Troublemaker, Ripplemaker, Ruismaker and Ruismaker FM. They are all very good indeed, but the first two on this list are something special. I suspect both will make my ‘top 10 of 2017’ list as and when the time rolls around to put that together. All of these apps include their own take on a sequencer and the ones within Troublemaker and Ripplemaker are something quite special. However, the downside is that, when using the apps via AU rather than standalone, the sequencers are not available. There are workarounds to this but, obviously, it is a bit of a shame…..

Troublemaker’s sequencer as a stand-alone AU plugin? Yep, just part of the Odessa Sequencer Suite from Bram Bos.

Enter, stage left, Rozeta – or, to give it its full name, Rozeta Sequencer Suite – and the ‘suite’ bit is appropriate because, for the single purchase price of UK£9.99/US$9.99, you actually get six different AU plugins. In essence, Rozeta provides six different sequencer/MIDI generator tools. These are AU-only – there is no stand-alone mode for any part of Rozeta – and, as you might already have guessed, some of these AU plugins replicated (and expand upon) the sequencing tools found in the likes of Troublemaker.

What’s new AU?

I’ll get to the details of the various plugins in a minute. However, it is first worth noting that Apple have, without making a real fuss about it (which I guess says something about where music making might be amongst their user base and, therefore, advertising priorities), made some interesting tweaks to the AU spec in iOS11. For example, the recent Garageband update included support for the new ‘full screen’ format (although I’ve not dug into this as yet)…. This is a significant development because the full screen mode could, potentially, make it much easier for developers to port any complex non-AU apps over to the AU format…. Fingers crossed…

Odessa includes a ‘three LFO’ plugin that can be used to generate all sorts of synth parameter fun….

The second change is that there is now support for MIDI out from AU plugins….  and it is this change that has allowed Bram Bos’ new Rozeta release to happen. All of the six AU plugins within the Odessa suite are essentially MIDI generators. They make no noise themselves but must have their MIDI output routed to a synth or drum app to do something useful. Rozeta is, I think, the first release to make use of this MIDI out change within the AU spec.

The arpeggiator is fairly simple… but very effective.

However, to make use of Rozeta, you do require an AU host that also supports the new AU MIDI out and it is here that the other bit of the jigsaw comes together with the recent update to the excellent AUM from Kymatica. As far as I’m aware, this is the only iOS AU host that has been updated with this new AU MIDI out support….  it will take some time for both other AU hosts and AU plugins to adopt/adapt to both of these changes I guess…. but I’m sure it will happen sooner rather than later as there is much potential here.

Anyway, the Rozeta and AUM combination does allow you to take a peak at what AU MIDI out might have to offer….

Hit for six

Rozeta’s six AU plugins are as follows. Rozeta Bassline provides a monosequencer, much like the one found in Troublemaker. Rozeta Rhythm is a Euclidean drum sequencer, set up to work with any drum app. Rozeta X0X is a classic TR-808 styled step sequencer, with triplets and polyrhythms. Rozeta LFO provides three MIDI CC LFO generator (and, as you can use multiple instances, you essentially have unlimited LFOs). Rozeta XY is a configurable XY Pad Controller with pitchbend and modwheel support. Finally, Rozeta Arpeggio provides a compact arpeggiator that can (MIDI routing permitting) be used with any synth you own.

Euclidean rhythms anyone?

I’ve not had time to explore all the details but I have given each of the apps a run out within AUM and all work very smoothly. As shown in the various screenshots, you install an Rozeta plugin as an ‘instrument’ in an AUM channel – although this channel creates no audio output – and you then configure your target app to use the MIDI output that appears once any of the Rozeta plugins are present. This is incredibly easy to do and I had no problems getting the MIDI data into the various synths or drum apps that I tried.

I can see how all of the six plugins would be useful. It is, for example, great to have some LFOs, XY pads and an arp that you can then use with any suitable MIDI destination. However, for me at lest, the starts of the show are the three different sequencers and, in particular, the Bassline and Rhythm plugins, the latter of which provides an euclidean step sequencer that can create some very complex patterns.

Odessa’s twin XY pads can give you real-time control on any suitable synth target.

The sequencers include Bram’s usual ‘random pattern generator’ function (great for a bit of random inspiration) but the really cool thing is that each sequencer instance allows you to store multiple pattern and you can switch between these on the fly either manually or via MIDI. This is obviously very useful in the context of a full ‘song’ style production.

All this works brilliantly within AUM but, of course, not yet in other AU hosts. I did experiment within Cubase briefly but, obviously, without any joy at present. It will be interesting to see just how quickly other iOS DAW/sequencer add this to their feature list….   Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than latter….

For more conventional drum programming, the XOX plugin does the trick.

In summary

Anyway, at just UK£9.99/US$9.99, Rozeta is an absolute bargain and if you are already a fan of Bram’s other apps, then this is a no-brainer. Other AU hosts will, I’m sure, catch up soon….  but if you use AUM in your workflow then these new plugins are going to provide a lot of fun. Check out the Rozeta demo videos below…  and then hit the App Store download button to find out more.

Odessa Sequencer Suite

Download from iTunes App Store


Troublemaker

Download from iTunes App Store


Ripplemaker

Download from iTunes App Store


Ruismaker FM

Download from iTunes App Store


Ruismaker

Download from iTunes App Store



 

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    Comments

    1. A future AudioBus update could be the bridge for the other hosts too I think…

      Anyway, nice! Thanks for the review. :)

    2. Very well explained John. Thank you.

    3. Thanks John, this now makes complete sense to me! It’s going to be very useful in my setup. Great to have you back on loan for a bit mate!………..Hope the other projects are going well…..cheers……mark…

      • Hi Mark…. thanks for that. I did promise to pop up when something interesting arrived…. and hope to keep doing that…. It just won’t be quite so often as I was posting for a while :-) Very best wishes, John

    4. Ah so ios11. I’m not ready to go there. I’m afraid of losing all my 32 bit apps. But I haven’t done the research yet to see if this is true. I have homework to do!

    5. Eric i believe you will lose alchemy in the ios11 update even if others update to 64, apple ruined alchemy :( Im not updating my ipad 4 ever, im keeping my alchemy the way it was, i will update the other ipads when i know for absolute sure every single part of my workflow is improved not BROKE. So that will be a while i guess, i dont really care, because there had to be a time when i finally bought all i need to make my music…

    6. Charles Telerant says:

      Thank goodness, John.. I knew you’d be back because these reviews are in fact , art and I suspect an actual means of expression for you. Great reviews as always

    7. Charles Telerant says:

      Oh, and thanks again.. The thought of the ios community existing g without you was bleak. Best of luck in your new endeavors and please post when you can.. Cheers

    8. I give Bram Bos his merit and credit. The only one who has created a real FM closest to dx7 synth app. The phasemaker. Good work Bos.

    9. Hey thats not good, this thing about non compatibility with sone ipads, at least should have been compatible with ipad4, I dont believe that only 64 bit is required here. make rozeta compatible with ipad4 at least. dont let anyone blackmail you BramBos.

      • Unfortunately it is not possible to do it on an iPad 4. MIDI Audio Units are a new feature, introduced in iOS11, so they will need a device capable of running iOS11. There’s not much I can do about that from my end unless Apple bring the feature to older iOS versions too (which is not very likely to happen).

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