Korg Gadget: New All-In-One App For iOS

Korg is back in the iPad app space again with an “all-in-one” box offering called “Gadget.” With a wide variety of percussion and instrument synthesizers coupled with a fairly robust sequencing engine Gadget eschews the in-app purchasing model in favor of giving you an entire mini-DAW workspace right out of the gate. Gadget is optimized for use with the iPad Air and newest Mini models. Check out the full hands-on with the guys from Sonic Touch in the video below.

Hello Inter-App Audio! So Long Audiobus?

audiobus dead because of inter-app audio on iOS7?

Does iOS7 mean the death of Audiobus as we know it?

Well, it’s been a year since Audiobus – the third-party magicapp that routes audio between iOS apps – was released and it looks like we may be saying a quick and tearful goodbye… sort of. As amazing as Audiobus has been it always was considered a bit of a hack around Apple’s walled garden, even to its makers. Since then Apple has clearly seen the value of offering audio and midi routing between apps and has now included it as a core feature with the release of iOS 7. It’s now up to the app developers to update existing audio apps to support the new routing system – a bit of a bitter pill to swallow for some considering that the mad scramble to support Audiobus is just barely in the rear-view mirror.

To hasten adoption of the new standard, it seems there are quite a few bugs popping up between the way Audiobus routes signals between apps and the new way under iOS 7. That leaves developers with a choice between focusing support for the current accepted standard (Audiobus) vs a potentially limitless future that, perhaps unfortunately, only Apple can provide with Inter-App. If developers rally around Inter-App, where would that leave Audiobus? There may still be room for Audiobus in the marketplace yet, but it may possibly be in a diminished role that serves as an add-on to what Inter-App audio ends up providing. Perhaps it can function as a handy visualized routing system for all midi and audio paths currently flowing on your device (although it looks like it may have competition going forward with JACK)

As it stands, it’s still a bit of a wild west in the land of audio production on iOS. Standards have yet to be set in stone, and there are still growing pains to be felt. But with the release of Inter-App audio it appears the future is a little bit clearer, and brighter, for everyone using the platform. Until then, expect to see a lot of bullets flying in attempt to shoot down those bugs.

May 2014 UPDATE: Audiobus 2.0 has hit the App Store with unlimited input chains as a new core feature, and seems to have ironed out much of its existing iOS 7.0 stability issues. Meanwhile Inter-App audio is still struggling with adoption and has a lot of bugs to iron out. The audio production game is still wide open on the ever-changing iOS platform.

Tutorial: Mid-Side Processing Basics

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about mid-side processing and are thinking, “great, one more thing I have to learn just to make my tracks presentable.” Well, not really. MS processing is just another tool you can use to add depth to, or clean up, your mixes and in practise it is just another way to apply the fx and mixing routines you are allready familiar with. MS processing at its base is simply a different way of splitting up a stereo signal. Ordinary stereo signals are split between a left and right channel, whereas an MS processor takes a stereo signal and splits it between the sum and difference channels. The sum channel would be any audio signal which is equivalent in both the left and the right channel, or in other words, the mono audio material which is dead center in your stereo field. The difference channel would be all other audio content. The terms “sum” and “difference” are just another way of understanding “mid” and “side” processing.

Once you have your mix separated by its middle (sum) and side (difference) audio content, it will sound exactly the same as your usual left/right channel stereo mix with the notable exception that you can separately process the middle of your mix from the sides of your mix. This is useful in a myriad of ways, but here are some common uses of the technique:

She’s a thing of beauty ain’t she? Believe it or not, this unassuming little plugin can totally change the sound of your mix.

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Tutorial: Sidechain Compression And Its Various Uses

For its fancy sounding name and esoteric roots, sidechain compression is an extremely simple studio technique both in principle and practice. What is sidechain compression? Basically, it is the same as ordinary audio compression except that it uses another audio source as its input, and then uses the resulting gain reduction on the destination audio track. The most common application of this method is in the ubiquitous ‘ducking’ or ‘pumping’ effect heard peppered throughout just about every dance track recorded in the last 15 years. This effect is achieved by using the kick drum as the sidechain input, which then sends the resulting gain reduction to, usually, a sustained sound on another track like a pad, chord, or noise loop.

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Integrating iOS Apps Just Became a Reality With Audiobus

Like a lot of musicians today, you probably have an iPad filled with really cool apps in and of themselves, but struggle to find a way to bring them together into your recording workflow. You realize, for example, that Animoog sounds fantastic, but without a way to integrate it with your other iPad apps it’s on its own little island. Thankfully it appears that that is all changing with the introduction of AUDIOBUS.

Delivering the promised land of iOS app integration is no small feat but early reviews are showing that we may just have a winner. The app works by routing your individual apps as input and output busses to and from eachother. So you can, for instance, load up a drum machine like iELectribe and while you have that beat going, open up a synth app and compose a line and then bring them all together in a recording app like Multitrack DAW for a fully multitrack recordable session. You can then export those output busses to a mangler tool like Loop Twister or GlitchBreaks and then resend them back. Same goes for FX modules (finally, a practical way to make use of iKaossilator!)

This app has just became available as of Dec, 2012 but is already supported but many of the most popular apps on the AppStore. Time will tell, but it’s virtually certain that all of your favorite app developers will come aboard and issue updates to allow compatibility with AUDIOBUS.

Check out AUDIOBUS in the AppStore, or take a look at some videos below showing it in action.