Reader Franz (Franz Keller, VJFranzK) has been blissfully happy with a Tenori-On-inspired application for Apple’s iPad, and he’s committed his enthusiasm to video. I love his presentation style, a bit like a cheery authoritative voice from a vintage newsreel. From his description:

Aurora by 4Pockets for iPhone, iPad etc. The newest amazing synth program to enter the iScene! 14 sparkling tracks of improvisational music briliance… a full on Tenori type experience for the great price of $10!

There appear to be some tradeoffs here in the transition to the iPad. One of the strong features of using the Tenori-On was the tactile feel of those buttons against your fingertips; the feedback and precision are lost here. It’s also nice to have MIDI connectors for controlling other, often (ahem) better-sounding equipment to the Tenori-On. But there are advantages, too. Having the keyboard at the bottom and context-sensitive menu options makes programming friendlier on the iPad, and that’s to say nothing of the ability to use the iPad for other things, at a price that’s less than Yamaha’s hardware.

And, incidentally, it is very true that the iPad does multitouch better than any other widely-available device — though my big question now is, will others soon catch up? (If they do, we’ll be indebted to Apple’s developers for beginning to create usable design patterns via the iPad and iPhone.)

Thanks for the review, Franz! Now, cue the commenters complaining about the use of “Tenori-On” and “iPad” in this post. (Hmmm… if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I may have to write an automated script that posts additional made-up comments along the same lines.)

  • Totaly sounds like Ron Burgundy! Amazing App too! maybe it will encourage yamaha to reduce the tenori selling price!

  • Heh Plyci, couldn't help noticing that myself. App looks cool, a little rough around the edges but like it would be more than worthy of a $10 purchase.

    (I'm still obsessed with the actual, physical Tenori-On though.)

  • Check out the new single from Zap Mama on itunes here

  • This looks awesome. Thanks for writing about it!

  • mat

    Hey, it really looks like cool app.

    Although I wonder… without midiout and sync these standalones become more gadgets than tools.
    Wouldn´t it be better to use the Ipad to trigger your own DAW rather than to be bound to those internal sound? Without sync you can not use that with your other gear…
    That might not be the target of those apps and thats ok, but how many of these Ipad apps (specially sequencers)can be synced or send midi-data? (sure, not talking about TouchOSC or Midipad…I mean those sequencers and mini-daws)

  • Machines


    I agree. While I love all the different little music creation apps on my iPad, better integration into my DAW of choice would be a welcome addition. Until then, I'm using all these different stand-alones as idea generators. Plunk down a melody here, come up with some cool beat here and then use it as reference when I get into my workstation. Very much looking forward to Midipad, though. Hoping that's the killer app I bought my iPad for đŸ™‚

  • Daryl

    He sounds like YouTube-sensation Jon Lajoie

  • ericdano

    There is no reason why the author of this program cannot use what the AC7 mixer people used to get this to work with Midi.

  • I'm curious, what would the ideal DAW integration look like for y'all? It seems very possible with these new OSes, for the most part.

    MIDI and OSC are possible via wireless, though I'd still like to see better hardware support.

    MIDI hardware is possible via the IK/Line 6 box on the Apple platforms.

    Audio, MIDI import/export is possible everywhere.

    There are definitely ways of integrating these things.

  • Michael Coelho

    @Peter No complaints about iPad coverage and the Tenori-On yet? I'm disappointed. Actually, I'm glad that you are covering this. As a new iPad owner, I'm intensely interested in music apps for the iPad. I fully expect that as these new apps mature, integration with computer based DAW's will become the norm. I'd love to see wireless integration, but only if it works as well as wired. I can't wait until Lemur like functionality is available on the iPad. Not just sliders and knobs, but controls that are programable like the multi-balls and ring area. Bidirectional communication that would allow Mu like control of Live.

    @Plyci I think the Tenori-On's price has more to do with the limited market for the device than on the lack of competition.

  • haha
    rather quirky demo….
    awesome stuff…
    did a great job with the program it looks like…
    absolutely worth 10$
    but i gotta agree with mat and machines….
    until MIDI or OSC is standard on these apps…
    we're still in the realm of noise toys…
    as for DAW integration..
    i wish everything looked like bome's…
    just a software in, on the computer… that would accept anything… and route it anywhere..
    maybe open source, so people could get anything to talk to it….
    who knows….
    im shure some one, somewhere in code land is working it all out

  • Machines


    I guess in my perfect little dreamland, I'd like to see something like a Logic Lite that works on the iPad. Something that allows me to sketch out ideas when I'm on a plane or at my cabin without having to bring along the laptop. Use the iPad as a musical sketchpad that can sync to my main rig when I get back and can apply the proper plug-ins and horsepower there. I already do this on my laptop with a stripped down libraries of my favorite plug-ins, but I'd like to simplify that form factor even more. Again, dreamland and hopefully someday. They've done it with iWork, let's see with Logic (heck, I'd take Garageband to start).

    As for integration with these third-party apps, simple things like being able to save audio files. Most of the early iPad apps have added this like the Korg and BleepBox!, but it'd be nice if it could go a step further. I understand part of the challenge is the interface in which Apple is making people work (iTunes file transfers). I'd just like to make more productive use of all these great things people are coming up with. Right now I'm stuck with a mono out into a MOTU unit just so I can grab the rough idea and build upon it. Perhaps there's a better way and I'd be open to suggestions.

  • shotgunlab

    FYI this is not a native iPad app. it's iPhone only at this time.

  • Matt

    i'm still just waiting until it becomes viable to use the iPad as a standalone controller for HARDWARE midi devices. i'm not talking wireless, OSC, DAW, etc… i want to control actual hardware with the iPad without a laptop as an intermediary. this thing has the potential to be the ultimate midi controller in my opinion but we still don't have the ability to do this yet.

    so far, we have half the equation: the Apple dock connector to midi adaptor that Line 6 released that makes it possible to connect to a midi port directly out of the iPad (or iPhone). now we just need some software that will actually talk to that adaptor! i'm looking for a full featured app like TouchOSC or what the Lemur has that allows you to create your interface, set the midi messages all the sliders and knob will transmit, upload it to the iPad and go.

    i've got the money set aside. the day that something like this is announced is the day that i will go down to the Apple store and buy an iPad.

  • Waketek

    Aurora Sound Studio HD for iPad coming soon!

  • Rob

    @Matt Direct MIDI I/O from the iPad is what I'm hoping for too. But, the Line 6 dongle isn't the solution that is ideal. What would be really great is if Apple would enable MIDI over USB using the camera connection kit like they've done with USB audio. Apple needs to hear this enough that they do it.

  • Matt

    @Rob: yes, that would be a cheaper solution. that way you could use any of the existing USB to MIDI interfaces out there to connect the iPad to your gear. the only problem is Apple tends to drag their feet implementing things like this. it would have to wait for an OS update and they don't seem to release those very often for the iPhone/iPod Touch. at least the Line 6 dongle is ready to go right now and they have a developer kit available for it.

  • HEXnibble

    Very impressive. Thanks Franz and Peter for sharing that.

    @Matt: there's a new app for the Line 6 MIDI interface. It's called MIDI Surface developed by Audiofile Engineering for the Line 6 MIDI mobilzer interface. This turns your iPad/iPhone/iPod touch into a hardware MIDI control surface.

    As for MIDI sync, there's a way to sync to hardware modular synths:

  • Waketek

    It is now available for download…price is a little steep at 39.99 but from the demos it looks well worth it!! Downloading now so we shall see!!!

  • Wendy

    I love the visual aspect of this, since I'm a visual person! I would love even more if there were butterflies floating across the screen…

    but seriously, i'm looking up options for setting up a simple, home-based logic studio and a "logic lite" app on ipad would be great. a midi controller would be great. if it automatically turned any input, whether from the app or another instrument like the electric keyboard, into sheet music that is able to be edited by touch…that'd be great too (multiple visual formats)

  • Wendy

    i'm getting a much better idea of what's out there from the comments! thanks

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