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Audio Apps: A Helpful Guide

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Soundflower by MAX/MSP guys is free - is loopback any better?

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I looked if there were any interesting programs (DAWs) for Android tablet I recently got ... reading on free vuKnob, I noticed that the developer mentioned Jeskola Buzz as an inspiration, and I decided to look what Oskari Tammelin, the programmer of BUzz Tracker, has been up to ... well it appears that he has recently "solved poker" -LOL! I knew he was smart! (his extension to the Counterfactual Regret Minimizing algorithm developed by the University of Alberta improves it by the order of magnitude and thus made Heads-Up Texas Hold'em poker "essentially weakly solved" - very nice!







I have always had distaste for skeuomorphism in program interface design, and felt that less skeuomorphic the better ... Buzz was/is pretty hardcore in non skeuomorphism ... anyway gotta to try vuKnob ( "designed for expert knob twiddlers") and CAustic ...

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Yeah he's got stuff on the main Jeskola page - http://jeskola.net/cfr/. Mentioning Buzz - funnily enough this week has seen the first update the DAW has had since the summer.

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For Mac users who struggle with multiple audio sources and managing them, there is the (rather pricey) Loopback:



I bought this and have been very happy with it. I use it to record random things into Ableton and pipe audio to Skype and OBS Studio. It didn't even take a restart to install, which surprised me.

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on OSX, you only need to restart if the kernel needs to be rebooted, e.g. after installing certain hardware drivers.

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There is a 50% sale on Auria Pro for iPad in the iTunes Store:


$24.99 sale for Labor Day


• Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks
• Lyra multi-format sample player with a free downloadable 4GB sample library. Lyra is a true disk streaming sampler, capable of playing multi-GB sample instruments. Supports SFZ, EXS and SF2
• FabFilter Twin2 and One analog synthesizers included
• Up to 24 tracks of simultaneous recording when used with compatible audio interfaces (Lightning to USB Camera adapter required)
• Real-time audio warping using élastique Pro v3, allows audio tracks to be stretched in real time.
• Powerful audio busing system allows flexible routing of audio between tracks, subgroups and Auxes.
• Piano roll editor
• Tempo and Time-signature Tracks
• Real-time MIDI parameters allow immediate control over MIDI tracks
• Comprehensive MIDI processing functions
• Groove quantizing, includes a free set of DNA grooves from Numerical Sound (additional grooves available for purchase).
• User groove extraction from MIDI and audio tracks
• Audio quantizing
• Audio transient to MIDI conversion
• Transient slicing
• Project templates
• Support for external iOS-compatible Hard Drives for project backup
• 24-bit recording
• Vintage-inspired ChannelStrip and MasterStrip on every channel by PSPAudioware includes expander, multiband EQ and compressor
• 64 bit double-precision floating point mixing engine
• Third party plug-in support via in-app purchase
• MIDI Sync support with MTC Chase, MIDI Clock and MMC
• MIDI Remote Control (Mackie MCU and HUI protocol)
• Supports sample rates of 44.1KHz, 48KHz and 96KHz
• AAF import and export allows transferring complete sessions between popular DAWs like Logic, Pro Tools, Nuendo, Samplitude and others
• StereoDelay, StereoChorus, ClassicVerb and Convolution Reverb plugins included
• 8 Assignable subgroups and 6 aux sends
• Time Stretching using ZTX technology and élastique Pro v3
• Real-time audio scrubbing
• Flexible snapping tools allow snapping to events, cursor, bars, beats and more
• DropBox, Audiobus, IAA, SoundCloud and Audio Copy/Paste support
• Track freeze for minimizing CPU usage
• Full automation support
• True 100mm faders when used in Portrait Mode
• Adjustable pan law
• Auto-punch mode
• Full delay compensation on all tracks, subgroups, busses and aux sends
• Adjustable metering modes, including pre or post fader, RMS and peak
• Sample accurate looping
• Automatic sample rate conversion



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what is your favorite app for making drum sounds and drum loops? I was thinking about getting an ipad for on-the-go loop creation. I would like to be able to make high quality, unique drum sounds and be able to get the audio loops back later so I can chop them up in renoise later. My workflow right now is very sit-down oriented and the one thing I lack is percussion sounds and loops. I've got all my synths hooked up through hardware, got all the effects and arrangement and all the shit I want down. But I don't have a convenient drum workflow besides opening up a shitty sample pack of drum machine samples.

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I really like Patterning, but it may not be for everyone. The interface is refreshing and it's pretty intuitive and deep enough for me to keep coming back to it after months. 

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Some spectral synth maybe, something like 2Caudio kaleidoscope ? (with pitch on the y axis, time on the x axis and colour being panning or timbre or something)



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Agree it looks spectral, the shapes are intriguing me and I want to give it a go.

Will check out Kaleidoscope too cheerz

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For electronic sounds I've been using ios for years, have downloaded a lot of apps that were fun for two minutes, but a few that I've gotten the most use out of:



Really easy to use and fun nintendo style sounds (3 pulse, a triangle, two noise waveforms, plus various sound effects samples), attack, release, one or two keyboards with different voices or alternately nes and famicon controllers to play the sounds, up to 5 voice polyphony, sweep using the accelerometer, vibrato, and arpeggiator, plus it midi's really easily for external control. Currently only see the free version in the app store, can't remember what the difference was between the free and paid version (think it was only like $2). http://newforestar.com/nesynth/



There are three versions of this app, iphone, ipad, and computer. I've only used iphone and ipad versions, and I like the iphone version better for it's ease of use. The step sequencer is super easy to use, can also tap record quantized pads, and it has a list of effects with xy kaoss, a randomizer, and full midi implementation (including WIST and Ableton Link as well as standard midi i/o for notes, and tempo, seriously the best/easiest midi interfacing I've seen in any app). Apparently there's a dm2 now, can't wait to see what it can do. I've used this app A TON, and I just keep having more and more fun with it. $5. Skip today's cappucino and buy it.



Expensive as far as apps go at $50, but well worth it if you use Cubase. Easily transfers project files over to your computer. I picked it up to use with the Steinberg UR44, which I rarely do as my UR44 has stayed connected to my computer the whole time. It recognizes my Alesis dock just as easily though, so that's been good enough for on the go recording.



I'm just gonna lump all of their synths into one write up. I fuckin love Arturia. The iMini mentioned previously is a beast. Most of their presets are pretty harsh sounding to my ears so I recommend saving and banking sounds once you find what you like. iSEM and iProphet are just as amazing and powerful. All of their apps have really great midi implementation as well.



iMS20, iPolysix, ARPOdyssei, and iM1 are all great reproductions of the classic synths with easy midi integration. As with the Arturia synths, the preset samples can tend to sound harsh, so I recommend saving and user banking with these as well.



Another great synth app in the same vein as those mentioned previously.



Animoog. The anisotropic synth engine is just fun as hell. Great sounds, but same sentiment about presets as those above. Why can't synth app makers create better sounding presets? Which brings me to the Model 15. Finally an app that sounds smooth right out of the "box". Never used the original but I imagine the digital synthesis of the signal pathways is pretty faithful, you won't set circuits going haywire but this app just makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I play it. Requires some knowledge of modular synthesis, the in-app tutorial does pretty well to give the basic basics. The interface kinda sucks as far as navigating around the module on an iphone, can't speak for ipad as mine is too old for most of the newer synth apps :(... But find the right tones and control it with a keyboard and you'll be having fun soon enough.


Odds and ends:


Sampletoy: Record a sample with your internal mic and fuck it up. One of the first apps I ever bought and I still use it cuz it's so easy. Think it's still $2? If you just want to record a sample of you singing while in the bathtub and slow it down to make it sound creepy or speed it up ala chipmunks then this is the perfect app for you!


Midi Monitor:

Not sure if this app is still available, last I looked I couldn't find it, but this free app let you monitor exactly what midi messages are coming and going. Was essential for my early learnings in the art of midi connectivity.


Music Ball:

Pretty sure I heard The Orb use this one on one of thier tracks on Moonbuilding 2703 AD. Free app, makes pretty sounds. Download it, use it once and delete it.


I just downloaded Beatmaker 2 based on the recommendations here, looks like it's on sale right now for $10, gonna read through the 92 page manual first as I'm not sure it's gonna do what I want it to do the way I want it to do it yet, but we'll see.


Finally I'd like to say FUCK YOU APPLE FOR GETTING RID OF THE HEADPHONE JACK!!! Stevie Jobs would have never approved of something so revolutionarily stupid. Sad.

Edited by Claudius t Ansuulim

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Get a kyma capybara 320 with no cards. Its got 4 dsp's on the motherboard. You can get em for 400 usd now

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!!!!RED ALERT!!!!



Just came out. It’s like a DFAM with a better interface, flexible shuffle, and a 808 hi hat oscillator. All for $10. Don’t sleep on this one. Having this kills my desire for a DFAM.


The dev, Bram Bos, has a very clear vision of the possibilities of iOS music making. I see a bright future of many useful audio units. So far I’ve just used the Rosetta sequencer suite and the Noir, but it’s brilliant stuff. I was routing the arp and the cluster sequencer to my tempest yesterday, and it was amazing. Eventually I want a small class compliant I/O for my iPad. Then I could sequence AND process/mix my hardware synths with no laptop.




Rosetta is just a bundle of AUs, and I’ve been using AUM as a host. AUM is also an amazing app. For my money, the best way to route midi in my studio, better than Ableton (You just need to plug into a laptop and install midimux, a $2 app).


Kymatica, the dev, makes audioshare, which is the most indispensable app for anyone doing audio. They also have a nice bundle of effects. A really great delay and reverb, plus a compressor and EQ, which don’t work as AUs, but are great as a send effect.



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I really want someone else to geek out on NOIR with me. It’s pretyy amazing.

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