The stream of iPad and iPhone apps for musicians gushes endlessly, but among that river of software, there are some visible trends. Demanded by users, features for sharing between apps – and other mobile artists – flourish.

Hardware heavyweight KORG has been one of the developers that’s been especially good at offering that kind of support. Their just-announced iKaossilator 2 app adds native iPad screen support (previously iPhone-optimized only), and a new “flex play” for fills and breaks.

But most notably, it offers options for sharing:

  • Audio export for saving your audio – ideal for use elsewhere or sharing
  • SoundCloud export (increasingly popular in desktop and mobile software of all stripes)
  • AudioCopy for sharing audio between apps – adopted by many indie developers, this feature is becoming a demanded addition even if you’re releasing an app costing only a couple of bucks

This is addition to WIST, “WIreless Sync-starT,” Korg’s mechanism for syncing up multiple wireless apps. That’s ideal if you’ve got a friend with a device and want to jam. (It’s, unfortunately, iOS-only based on its reliance on Apple’s wireless sharing tech.)

The upshot of all of these features is, naturally, to help ease the tablet/phone app into the larger workflow, with desktop software and other tools. Korg’s other apps are similarly flexible – their iMS-20 synth works with MIDI and SoundCloud, for instance, and it and iElecTribe will wirelessly sync.

Korg iKaossilator

KORG isn’t alone. An updated Intua BeatMaker – more of a full-fledged beat-making and groove production workstation – added loads of similarly sharing-focused features.

Indeed, Intua goes further than KORG. Developers have been working together to route MIDI signals between apps with something they’re calling Virtual MIDI. (That deserves its own article, clearly, but worth mentioning in this context; see discussion on Google Groups.) As desktop apps have allowed collaboration between plug-ins and hosts, or multiple apps, this allows a MIDI app to control a synth app. It’s less powerful, arguably, on the limited horsepower of an iPad than it might be on a beefy desktop, but it can still be very useful for combining one controller or sequencer with something else that makes sound.

As reported on Synthtopia, Virtual MIDI is just one of a number of MIDI-centric features in the new version:

BeatMaker Getting All Sorts Of MIDI Love [Synthtopia]

There’s MIDI Out, yes, but also Thru and MIDI-over-WiFi for talking to other MIDI gadgets. There’s Virtual MIDI for communicating with other iOS devices. You can hot-plug MIDI and the app keeps working (essential onstage). And in place of SoundCloud support as in the KORG offering, there’s Dropbox file sharing support.

You can export and import MIDI – not just audio, but actual patterns – as well as read and write slice points in Apple Loops.

In fact, Intua even support Korg’s own WIST, so you could sync BeatMaker to KORG’s iElecTribe or the modulation of the iMS-20 and get synchronized rhythms between apps from different developers.

Intua BeatMaker @ iTunes

This is not to say iOS devices are identical to a desktop experience – in fact, their limitations and unique features are clearly part of their appeal. Instead, it seems part of an increased awareness that connectivity with other applications and other users is of growing importance to musicians. iOS developers seem eager to make these central design features, both emulating what’s been done right on desktops – and where there have been missed opportunities. It’ll be fascinating to see if other, non-iOS platforms follow the same trend.

  • Love Korg 🙂

    Also starting to use the iPad more to create samples and bits of lead etc to dump into my Live rig. So being able to record and export audio is a big plus for me!

    I can sit on the lounge and jam out some sounds, record them on the fly and export it to Ableton or the samplers. iElectribe wins for this in my books 🙂

  • zymos

    Yet the 2 apps you mention can't share with each other (directly), because Korg uses Sonoma copy/paste, and Beatmaker uses Intua copy/paste.

  • Ik

    I still cannot trust this Wist tech. I tried with iPad and iPod. They can not start exactly same together. Nintendo DS was a little bit better.

  • If people can take a field recorder out and bash sticks and stones against random found objects and import those sounds into a recording and deem that "professional" then I would see no fault in using a sound generating tech such as an iOS device to do the same sort of "sound collecting". 

    Great article. The more attention that can be brought to the iOS music community the better. It really is growing at an extremely fast pace and we are treated with professional developed apps every week.  

    I hope that soon,ios music creation will be looked at as just another avenue for sound design rather then just an amusing novelty. There is definite power in these devices just waiting to be tapped.

  • @zymos 

    I think that even if the two are using different pasteboard API they can still paste into each other just fine. The main difference being that the intua just labels as "General Pasteboard" and those files can be pasted in using Sonoma ACP under the very first option of paste able copies in the general pasteboard tab. The general pasteboard can hold one copy at a time with no meta data about what is in the pasteboard at any one time. 

    The advantage of sonomas copy method is that is takes the apple general pasteboard much further by allowing each copy applied to the Sonoma method(up to 12 different files)to be named,have the app it originated from,time/length,and in many cases gives you option of amount of "loops" to be pasted in to the next app. The Sonoma board has an in app,app log wich lists each app that supports the method. You can then directly open the Sonoma qualified app if you own it or be directed to the app store to buy it. This is just Sonoma doing some of the finger work for you as you can,by all means,copy "intua" and paste into sonoma at will.  The fact that intua pasteboard is called intua pasteboard at all is because they were the first to really use what is really jus the basic Apple SDK audio pasteboard ready to be used by Any developer willig to code for it. 

    I have been using Sonoma/intua/Apple pasteboards since I first "slide to unlock". I might be wrong on a few of my "facts" so take them as just what one user has discovered through trial and error. I have ONLY iOS music apps on my device and that all I use it for is creating music and working on the web so I stand by my comment and I feel it's pretty safe to say that although the previous post by @zymos might be his first impressions,I don't think it might be a true to fact reality. 

    Good luck on your adventures and play hard. 

  • zymos

    I'm pretty new to the whole ios thing, and could well be wrong, but I snagged Koassilator last night, and have Beatmaker also (and am admittedly not very familar with it), and could not get BM to recognize data on the clipboard, yet with Thumbjam, which specifically supports Sonoma, it worked just fine.

    I also recently read an app's update- can't remember which- where the change notes said they had dropped Sonoma copy paste and adopted Intua's.

    But like I said, I'm pretty new at this, and could be mistaken….

  • Does the iKaossilator UI really have to be that ugly? It's actually painful to look at. If it had a non-hostile UI I'd probably have bought it by now.

  • WIST is an interesting idea – it uses the Apple Game Kit, normally used for finding game players via a peer to peer connection. This same technology could be profitably used for making ad-hoc OSC connections as well, an then you could connect up visual synths running on iOs and synch their content in some meaningful way.  Interprocess communication is still a hard thing to pull off on iOs – it has to do with the amount of resources running in the background can take up. 

  • strata189

    I feel like the korg approach – at least as it stands now – is sort of isolationist. I (dammit) only have one iPad, so I'm a lot more inclined to go with the apps that participate in the OMAC style. Genome and Midibridge are really helping to coordinate a very cool workflow for me.

  • @zymos

    Open thumbjam(or any app you want to pasteboard)use the apps import/export to copy to pasteboard. If you are going to paste into an app that doesnt use Sonoma such as beatmaker then there is no reason to name or when promted to,open or select an app from the Sonoma copy/paste menu. After the Sonoma pasteboard says copy complete or such. Just exit the screen to the main screen. Your sound is now pasted to the general pasteboard/apple/intua pasteboard. 

    You can now open Bearmaker 2 or multitrack or any other app that has ACP. In beatmaker. Use the home icon to open your instrument selector,the shows a keyboard or drums.  On the top row you will see an icon that looks like a iPhone that handles all your import/export options. Next press the button "pasteboard" the menu will ask what you want to do. Select "import iOS to beatmaker" or such. Now it asks you where you want to save the new loop without really asking you. It just sits there. Hit enter or select a folder you'd like to use or make a new one such as "my loops" after selecting the place to save the pasted sound file hit ok. You are asked to name your loop and once you do so it save to your loop library in what ever folder you selected. You can now use the loop from thumbjam in beatmaker2 for anything in the app that needs a sample resource,drum pad(needs truncation)keyboard map,insert to track…..have fun. Just because the app doesn't promt you to do things doesn't mean it didn't happen. Just find out as much stuff about what you are working with as possible. you tube is a great help for learning how to do the most with apps. There are many forums that explain how to do things. Until all resources are tapped to find out if something is or is not possible then it might be better to keep absolution comments less out in the open in case there are users out there that are looking to pick up the apps but might be turned away due to "Internet rumors". Hope this helps.  If you need anymore help with ios music creation visit my page for all iOS produced music. You can message me or get me on twitter @freesoulvw I'm always down to help any way I can. Have fun. 

  • Leslie

    Exciting times indeed, but I also wish that Korg (among others) could give us an option of good old MIDI sync as well as WIST.

    This is the only option at the moment for syncing iOS apps with the computer based DAWs.

  • zymos

    "Pasteboard is empty!" is what Beatmaker says.

    But as I said, apps that explicitly support Sonoma copy paste see the data from Kaossilator on the clipboard.

    And I can copy to BM from other apps that DON'T support Sonoma Copy paste, such as Mulitrack DAW.

    Furthermore, in an app that supports BOTH formats, such as Mixtikl, I can see that 2 different separate files are available to paste- the one from Kaossilator, in Sonoma format, and a DIFFERENT one , in Intua's format, that I copied from Multitrack DAW.

    So, you are wrong- these are not compatible formats, at least among the several apps that I've tested.

     If you have both of these apps, try it yourself and you will see what I mean…

  • s~

    you can get iKaossilator data into BeatMaker if you go *via* ThumbJam – it can make a mixdown available to the intua paste apps as well as serving the sonoma wire works apps ! a bridge of sorts, like audioview (haven't tried)

    it does sorta work, so you were both sorta right !

  • zymos

    Sure there are workarounds, but I just couldn't help pointing out the irony of picking 2 apps that CAN'T directly communicate with each other to highlight an article about sharing data between apps.

  • Gerren b

    Yes. I tried it just now. The direct paste from ikaossilator into BM2 shows pasteboard empty. You have to use the work around like the other poster mentioned. However. I did open another app that uses both Sonoma/general methods,nlog. Nlog doesn't seem to acknowledge any copies on the board in either case. It seems that whatever method Korg chose to use is hit or miss depending on the app you choose to use. I tried in many apps and there were only a couple that directly showed Korg copies. So yes. You were correct in pointing out that the two apps the author did choose to post are in fact not able to collaborate DIRECTLY,but in all fairness to the author I don't think that was the message. The two apps he chose were nearly two individual apps that are expanding collaboration and that they do. Applying various methods described here in this page by myself and other members you can very much indeed use both of these apps on the same device and in fact have them sharing data(even if it does take a middle man to do so). This has been the only app ive ever used/seen that has had this type of work around  the only one that could really put a close to the "sitiuation would be the Korg coders themselves. Any Korg devs want to chime in? No? OK? So that about sums it right….right…all done…got your loops into the app you need them in….great….anything else…..I'm guessing we can close the topic…..on to the next adventure in…THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF IOS APPLICATION….coming soon to a Discovery network near you. 

  • Just to add to the "episode". I just opend ielectribe on my iPad. It uses the same Sonoma clipboard but it actually can directly paste into BM2!  Like I said. Something in the way ikaossilator did their method is pretty funky. So if anything this may just be an isolated type of issue. Maybe with the latest update to ios 5 SDK the way the general audio pasteboard has changed. I have been using the systems like I said for quite a while and this is just a single instance that I've seen such a problem. Just trying to tie up the loose ends of Sonoma board working with "intua" boards. The answer is yes.

    Ikaossilator…..a whole different ball of wax. Cool. Cool. Thanks. If you still need any thing feel free to get in touch. I'm OUT! 😉

  • Ikaossilator into Moog Filtatron=works

    ikaossilator into Alchemy Pro(beta)=works

    ikaossilator into Music Studio 2=works

    Ok I'm board….

  • Hogo

    Does ikaossilator allow you to control sounds from other apps? Or to import? Or is it export only?

  • WIST should work with other OSes as well since it is based on core audios midi. This again is like so many Apple features just an implementation of standards. In this case: RFC4695. I am no Apple fanboy, but when they do one thing right it is going for standards instead of wasting time to develop something else. And if there is no standard they define one 😉