2012 was the year of Audiobus. Audiobus provided tunnels out of the IOS sandbox by allowing a simple input-effects-recording chain to be instantiated. Audiobus ends up on my list of top apps for the year, but this was a year when I spent much less time in the sound studio than I originally thought I was going to spend, so I ended up not digging much into the new world of Audiobus possibilities. I ran steel guitars through the iPad’s Audiobus chain and next into Audiobus on the iPhone and then out to the laptop’s DAW–crazy possibilities abound in leveraging two devices worth of IOS processing power and goodness.
Over last year I stockpiled almost every synthesizer, as each was released on iTunes. I spent the most time with Animoog and Alchemy, but the riches are seemingly endless and deep when I consider the sweep between, say, Wolfgang Palm‘s two wavetable synths, WaveGenerator and WaveMapper, and the parametric flexing of Grain Science.
I spent a lot of time with four apps that provide innovative interfaces: Gestrument, a GM and soundfont resynthesizer, Orphion, a hybrid instrument interface, TC-11. a gestural synthesizer, and, Borderlands, an odd granulating sample player. On the generative side, old pal Mixtikl, Peter Chilver’s and Brian Eno’s Scape, and DroneFX sucked up spare minutes.
I came to appreciate apps I could dive into without any fussing around, such as DroneFX. I spent the most time with Gestrument. These two end up being, for me, the IOS audio ‘apps of the year 2012.’ They share a single glaring deficit too: there’s no easy way to plug in your own samples, or, import a modern format like the sample format used in Kontakt. Soundfonts do not rock. Still, in a testament to where these wonderful tools stand with me, I devoted extra time to imagining how much better both could someday be.
(DroneFX, has a free browser version.)
The bonus to the surprising power of an iPad, and to its touch paradigm, is running audio out into the DAW (via a Focusrite I/O interface,) and, so, plugging it into Logic. For example, I can chain Gestrument to Reaktor effects and other go-to inserts, like Camel Space, WarmVerb, and, Absynth. My big vision for this year is setting up the iPad to control Absynth and Reaktor and Mixtikl/Noatikl, and launch the generative-gestural balloon.
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