This app turns iPhone 3D touch into an expressive instrument

You can get the feeling of “pushing into” an iPhone as of the iPhone 6S. It’s an expressive, intimate gesture, which is generally used for … wait, really, shortcut menus? That’s pretty boring. Ever since I saw the feature, I wanted to see it used for music applications. And one obvious fit is an emerging standard for sending expressive pressure-based control over MIDI. The futuristic, sleek black ROLI Seaboard does it. The lovely, wooden Madrona Labs Soundplane does it. Roger Linn’s innovative grid-covered Linnstrument does it. It’s all a (draft) specification for control called MPE – Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression. (Early …


One Awesome Jam, Four Sequences, 32-Steps: New MTRX Hardware Sequencer Video

Fyrd Instruments’ MTRX is a beautiful-looking, boutique hardware sequencer. But its one drawback had been the 8-step sequencer. Now, this should give you steps: think four simultaneous sequences, 32 steps, and the ability to output on the MIDI port and USB port simultaneously. Commenters frequently complain that technology for its own sake gets in the way of music. Well, that may be so, but here, the sequence sounds excellent. Our own MeeBlip (in the older SE version) joins some other great hardware and software: the Shruthi open source hardware, Native Instruments’ Monark, and Madrona Labs’ Aalto – three of my …


Expressive Soundplane Touch Instrument: Decibel Video, Preorder, Tour, Images

Touch on devices like the iPad is functional, but limited in its expression – there’s no pressure or tactile feedback. That’s why we’ve enthusiastically followed Randy Jones’ “continuous capacitive sensing” technology on the Soundplane for some time. Sensing pressure, it behaves more like an acoustic instrument might – that is, if such an acoustic instrument were possible beyond the imagination of the digital realm. As advertised, it “transmits x, y and pressure data for every key continuously at 12 bits of resolution and about 1000 samples per second, letting players move beyond the ADSR envelope model of synthesis and articulate …


Plug-in Watch: New Urs Updates and Videos, Images, and an Aalto Update

From the wonderful world of plug-ins, we’ve got some good news for soft synth lovers. I covered the forthcoming Z3TA+ 2 release from Cakewalk last week, and a number of readers pointed to the brilliant work of Urs Heckmann. As it happens, Urs has a number of updates releasing this week, adding 64-bit support, compatibility fixes, and new tutorial videos. Check out the mapping generator and “tap map” LFOs for one terrific example in ACE (the modular Any Cable Everywhere). New features in the ACE modular and More Feedback Machine delay/multi-effect:


For Lovers of Aalto, Semi-Modular Soft Synth, a Place to Share Patches

Producer Sam Greene was so in love with Aalto, the semi-modular, Mac and Windows soft synth whose developer we profiled last month, that he made his own place to share patches for it. Patches are free to download and use in your music, and you can upload your own; the only restriction is that the site asks that no one re-sell the patches themselves. Find the results: You can thank the synth for making it easy. While discussion of sharing features often turns to sophisticated cloud and social features, here’s one solution: just make exchanging files dead-simple. As the …