For all the app choices in music, a lot feel like plug-ins crammed onto the mobile screen. Auxy may have the essential combination of ingredients – a simple, quick UI, but now the ability to make sketches you finish in Ableton Live, and sounds you can more easily tweak.
Auxy always had an elegant, approachable UI. The tool basically strips the essential function of the familiar piano roll-style view so you can quickly sketch ideas with your fingertips.
But just being simple isn’t quite enough. Mobile apps all face the common problem of having to satisfy two very different use cases or workflows. Some people want to focus on music making right on the phone or tablet, stay away from their computers (or other gear), and yet make finished tracks. Others want the app to be a rough sketchpad for ideas they can use on the go, then finish in the more comfortable environs of their computer rig or studio. The problem is, of course, those come with different demands.
Swedish app Auxy has had two updates that address some of these cases.
First, Auxy 5.4 in April added direct export to Ableton Live projects. Cleverly, this exports both audio and MIDI, so you retain your sound designs from the app as stems, but can also use patterns to work with new sounds inside Live.
Auxy 5.4 also represents a new high water mark for Ableton’s SDK. Auxy encouraged Ableton to add features for populating the Arrangement, so that song ideas and arranging choices you make on the go are reflected when you open up your project in Live. These features will be available to other developers, too, so if you’re a dev, you can get in touch with Ableton. (And that’s important, too – the better this support works in different apps, the more useful mobile-to-Live workflows become.)
5.4 also added improved import/export for samples, imported samples that share when you share projects, and updated Ableton Link support.
Auxy 6 is a major update just released this month, focusing on giving you more control over sounds and effects. And that addresses the other thing that might have kept you from adopting Auxy in the past – the simplicity is great, but you might feel constrained by the available sounds.
Auxy launched as a kind of preset machine. That makes things simpler, but might be uninspiring if you feel like you can’t shape your own sounds. That changes with some significant features:
More effects for instrumental sounds: distortion, delay, reverb, chorus, filter, ducker, and EQ sounds everywhere – customizable, not locked to presets.
More effects for drums, too: delay, distortion, compressor, filter, EQ, and ducker are now available on drums.
Shape sound envelopes: attack, release, glide, offset. (works on drums, too)
Free grid mode: move notes and automation freely as you edit.
Browse sounds by category.
This isn’t going to sound so revolutionary, but of course that is always the challenge when trying to keep things simple – there’s a lot to think about adding even simple features.
All in all, Auxy has really evolved into one of the easiest, most elegant sketchpads for music on mobile. There’s many things it isn’t – it’s not really about live playing, it’s not a full-featured DAW (and doesn’t try to be), it’s not really an audio multitrack. But what it is, it really focuses on. And with Live export, that could prove invaluable.
Auxy regularly select favorite user tracks, which is a nice way to get a feel for what people are doing. Here are the Staff Picks for last month:
Plus one creation made in this latest release:
Check out Auxy for iOS (no Android version, sorry):