Modstep is … an app that does a lot of sequencing things on iOS. Step sequencing and sequence recording with … a lot of stuff. And then those things all connect together, and there are templates for…

Okay, it’s hard to explain. Those of us in the business have gotten used to the “it does a whole bunch of stuff” quality of DAWs. But now, new organisms are crawling out of the sea and walking on land, and they don’t have a genus and species yet. Fortunately, a new Modstep video does it absolutely perfectly, so let’s watch that.

Also, best of all, the video manages to do this without touching on any horrible “we think we are the next Jony Ive” Apple clichés. There’s no cheery toy piano music and Silicon Valley drone narration. “Meet Modstep. Modstep is a way of expressing how you feel through music, even if you have absolutely no skill. Modstep gives you powerful music tools all in pretty colors and lights.” No. That doesn’t happen.)

Along the way, this video also makes an excellent case for owning an iPad. And fortunately if you’re on a budget, “owning an iPad” can be as simple as “finding someone with an iPad 1 that’s collecting dust in a closet.” (Alternatively: steal it from some young child. I didn’t have a hand-me-down touch device in the 80s, because they didn’t exist. So why should these spoiled rug rats have one? Here, they can watch Toy Story on this portable DVD player I found in the second-hand store. Builds character.)

Lost my train of thought. Oh, yeah – why the iPad, specifically, for this app? Well…

1. Touch means you can get the functionality of desktop software, but with direct fingertip control. And unlike hardware, there’s no menu diving.
2. Since it’s running on iOS, all the other music apps you need can come along for the ride (either the built-in sampler and synth or other connected apps).
3. Since it’s mobile, you can easily connect to hardware without balancing your laptop somewhere.

Simple, really.

But Modstep’s “let’s sequence everything” approach is looking really powerful.

So congrats to Jakob Haq for teaching us what an intro video ought to be.

Check out Modstep:

  • Tom

    This guy sounds like he’s whispering all of this into your ear creepily, hovering over you while you sleep

    • Jakob is. You didn’t know?

      • recue

        I’m quite sure this is an excerpt from a scary children’s book he’s narrating about Middly Moddly Midi Modulations in the Land of Diddly Doddly DAWs.

  • john glossenger

    I really like this vBlogger, Jakob Haq. His videos have lots of substance and personality.

  • James

    I’m curious about the round-trip or hand-off to a DAW with studiomuk. Anyone diving into this yet? Specifically, when Jakob shows just how extensive the track count can be, and you can see how moving to a computer could make things more comfortable. On top of that, I’m already interested in the iPad mini, where the track juggling could run away real fast.

  • Anangel Argonaut

    I love that Jon Snow is narrating this.

    • Clef Wangleer

      it’s Werner Herzog

  • wingo shackleford

    Jakob makes great iPad app videos. Very knowledgeable and very passionate, with an extra bit of personality. I think I’ve watched all of them (and there are a lot).

    Edit: Also, I grabbed Modstep a few days ago, and like he said, it is a little daunting. And I would consider myself pretty ‘fluent’ in music app operation. It’s just hard to grasp the magnitude of what it can do. It seems like it basically does everything? Crazy.

  • ekkord

    Perhaps… If you have “absolutely no skill”, you shouldn’t be expressing anything.

  • Dubby Labby

    I need a tutorial about custom midi template to sync it with loopyHD and use modstep as translator. Hit one midi note, send a chord to translate the playlist control to LoopyHd…

  • Polite Society

    I keep forgetting I have this. Every time I try and use it i get bogged down too much with trying to make it do anything useful. Which is a shame, because it seems amazing.

  • Great video Jakob, nicely done!

  • Foosnark

    Nope, I still don’t want an iPad. I’m quite happy with Maschine. 😀

  • SevenEyeballs

    Modstep is hard!

    I want it to work, but even after devoting a considerable effort to learn it now the sequencing sounds off.. I’m not sure what’s going on. Maybe I’ll contact the guru and quit whining.

    This COULD do so much.

    Anyone else have jittery issues?

    • Dionysus the Areapagite

      Nothing but jitter when I used Studiomux… Support was very untimely.. Such a bad experience I would never purchase anything again by appBC. Funny too, bc their beta testers would jump in threads praising the app but the actual consumers report nothing bugs.. Both studiomux and Modstep.. Shame as I hear their Ableton app is good, but based on my frustrating experience with their apps and support I refuse to part with my cash again on any of their products.

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