Since we now have http://www.whitenoiseaudio.com/, we won’t be posting many updates on this site. I’d recommend following us on Twitter @whitenoiseaudio or @bleepboxapp if you want to keep up with the latest news.
We’ve released our full-featured MIDI sequencer for the iPad. More info at:
White Noise Audio Software
It’s become a tradition for me to whip up some bleep!BOX patterns while I’m on vacation at the shore. This year’s results are up on the bleep!BOX SoundCloud page.
To celebrate bleep!BOX player cracking the Top 100 for Free Music apps in the app store, we’re lowering the bleep!BOX price to $6.99 USD (see store for your region’s price) for today, June 18th.
Thanks to those who have offered to test my next app – We have enough testers now, so unfortunately I won’t be sending out any more invites to the beta group. I will post if that changes. I have finally settled on a title for the new app. It will be called ‘Genome MIDI Sequencer‘ and I posted a quick video of me triggering some MIDI chips and showing a couple screens. I’m controlling a couple voices on the Access Virus and a Korg Electribe SX2 using an iPad2 and CoreMIDI (CCK).
UPDATE: This generated quite a lot of interest! I have enough testers for now, but I will let everyone know if that changes. Thanks!
I’m looking for a few dedicated individuals who:
The app focuses on sequencing songs and patterns using the iPad to control other synthesizers over MIDI. It supports CoreMIDI, network MIDI, MIDI Sync, .MID export and import, and the Line6 Midi Mobilizer interface. It also features a great multitouch interface to quickly and easily get down your ideas and hear them live.
If you are interested in getting your hands on this app, get in touch with us.
It seems that MIDI is the new hotness for iOS music apps. Every week brings more apps adding MIDI features. Among the best so far are Bassline, Modrum and Funkbox, all of which have implemented MIDI Sync and local Network midi. This allows for cool stuff like this.
Looks like more big names are getting in the game when it comes to MIDI peripherals. We already have stuff from Line6 and Alesis. Yamaha has also announced the i-MX1 which looks a lot like the Line6 Midi Mobilizer but supports CoreMIDI. Still waiting to hear what the price will be.
All the attention that MIDI is getting validates my decision to work on developing a MIDI sequencer app. I expect to post some more info on it within the next month; all major features have been implemented and I am currently working on implementing the final interface designs. MIDI updates are coming for bleep!BOX and bleep!Synth too, most likely after the launch of the sequencer app.
Got some good patches you’d like to share? Email it to me or pick the ‘Submit’ option in the app!
First, the Midi Mobilizer. It has the advantage of working on both iPads and iPhones. It’s very compact and requires no external power. You just plug it into the dock connector and you have a 1×1 midi interface. Price wise, it costs a little more than your average 1×1 interface for a desktop computer. It’s still fairly affordable, considering that the Camera Connection Kit (CCK), which is necessary for any CoreMIDI stuff, is about $30 and you’d still need to buy a USB midi interface if you don’t have one. With CoreMIDI on the other hand, the iPad is notoriously stingy when it comes to supplying power to USB devices, so you may want to find an interface which can be powered externally.
CoreMIDI also only works on the iPad (haven’t tested this, but I’ve heard it from multiple sources). [UPDATE: CoreMIDI does in fact work on the iPhone, but the CCK does not. So it's network MIDI only on the iPhone.]
As far as the two API’s go, the Line6 API is easier to get up and running. It’s an Objective C library (as opposed to a pure C library), which will probably be easier for most iOS devs. The CoreMIDI framework is not terribly hard to figure out, but it has more complexity to deal with since you have to manage multiple devices with multiple inputs. You also have to deal with host timing and MIDI packets more directly than you do with the MIDI mobilizer. Also, finding examples dealing with CoreMIDI was difficult whereas the software engineers behind the Mobilizer were fairly responsive to my questions.
The area that musicians will probably care the most about is performance and I can honestly say that both interface have pros and cons. With the Mobilizer, my main disappointment right now is that there seems to be some issues when mixing ‘Timestamped’ events (midi events queued up to occur in the future) and immediate events (midi events you want to happen immediately). My application is a sequencer, but I want to have an on-screen keyboard so people can play along and record realtime. The Midi Mobilizer seems to be unable to do both at the same time and the ‘immediate’ events end up being delayed by half a second. This could be something that is fixable in the Firmware, but I haven’t reported it yet. CoreMIDI seems to be able to handle this case perfectly well, but it has other drawbacks. When testing CoreMIDI with dense event streams (such as when issuing lots of CC messages) the whole playback stream slows down and does not keep the proper timing. My guess is that since CoreMIDI is an OS level thing, it depends more heavily on the iPad’s CPU for the timing and playback of messages. The Mobilizer was able to playback these streams without slowing down or losing timing, so maybe it offloads some of this processing to the actual attachment. I am just speculating here. I hope to get my hands on an iPad 2 in the coming weeks so to see if it does a better job handling dense MIDI streams with it’s two processor cores. I should also clarify that I was testing with a couple hundred CC messages per second so while it is disappointing, I think most musicians can work around the limitation by using sparser CC events or modulating less parameters.
Overall it seems that CoreMIDI is lower latency than the Mobilizer, but more CPU dependent. Recommending one over the other would really depend on what your needs are and what kind of USB interfaces you already have in your posession. But, I can say that some people have been overly quick to dismiss the Mobilizer because of it’s proprietary nature – it’s a good piece of gear. I imagine I will probably get some good use out of both interfaces. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for news about my new MIDI app. I think it will really change people’s minds about what is possible on the iOS for sequencing MIDI gear.
Have a track made with bleep!BOX? Send me your track