LFO assignments via MIDI

I'm a relative noob to complex MIDI setups. I make music exclusively on the iPhone mostly using AB and/or AUM to connect various apps. I usually use a combination of Xynthesizer, DotMelody, and Aleph Looper to sequence synths. A few things I've found frustrating about creating music on the iPhone are:

  • Inability to start/stop apps with their own play button with AB's/AUM's play/record button. I feel like I must be missing something pretty obvious here, but it seems like it should be a simple matter to start all of these apps at once. Right now I am basically working around this (in AUM) by hitting record, starting them all as quickly as possible by double-tapping the home button to switch apps, and just fading into tracks if it sounds crappy. I know Audiobus Remote would make this less painful, but I use Audiobus less these days and only have one iOS device anyway.

  • Inability to record and edit automation data. I've been thinking that the best way to get around this would be to plan out each song better, and use LFOs instead of knob-twiddling to get the movement I want. My question is: Is there a way to do this through MIDI for apps without a lot of good built-in LFOs? Could I send LFO data from an app like Mitosynth to, say, the shape knob in Viking? I guess another alternative could be to play with velocity values in whichever MIDI sequencer I'm using, but not all apps will allow me to assign velocity to any knob. Are there set standards in MIDI that most apps adhere to? Should I stop looking for an app to do this and read a book about general MIDI?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Comments

  • In AB generally if you press the play button in the AB tab it will start all the other apps that have an AB play button on their tabs at the same time.

  • Good news! There's an app for that. :)

    midiLFOs - midi modulation toy by Arthur Kerns
    https://appsto.re/us/XmhG7.i

    Also, have you had a play with Nanostudio? It's all self contained (can't control other synth apps with it) but it does a lot of what you're after. Built in synth ain't Model 15 but it's quite capable.

  • there's no obvious mistake, your experience is a fairly common description of the situation.
    Most people use Ableton link to sync-start multiple apps, or Korg WIST, all a bit tricky.
    For live performers it's a requirement to get these things right, but for studio recording you have a bit more slack.
    I either record snippets/sequences directly in the app (many have a record button) or use Audioshare at the end of an Audiobus chain.
    Later the takes are either 'send to...' a sequencing App or to a PC for arrangement.
    Audioshare is quite convenient to trim things, but I wouldn't suggest any of these on a single iPhone.
    It's mentioned just for explanation, how people get along with those restrictions.

    As much as I like IOS for playing and recording... the final track will be 'better' on PC/Mac in the majority of cases.
    You'll frequently find a 'mastered on PC' mentioned with the examples posted here.
    The best IOS-only results I know were from Auria, some of the really (!) good.
    So it can be done, but I'm not shure if such a small screen estate is much fun.
    Bottom line: get a 2nd device for recording or as a controller surface, there are several options.

    1. AB Remote can be used on your one device.
    2. Link keep apps in sync but you can't, via Link, start/stop other apps.
    3. If you have a very capable synth it can be used to control other synths.
    4. You might want to look into ChordPolyPad and StepPolyArp as both have excellent midi capabilities. This would be in addition to midiLFOs (which is one of my fave apps)
  • @syrupcore said:
    Good news! There's an app for that. :)

    midiLFOs - midi modulation toy by Arthur Kerns
    https://appsto.re/us/XmhG7.i

    Also, have you had a play with Nanostudio? It's all self contained (can't control other synth apps with it) but it does a lot of what you're after. Built in synth ain't Model 15 but it's quite capable.

    I started with Nanostudio. I love the app, but it's too limited for what I want to do. I wish I could use it as a MIDI controller as its piano roll is my favorite of all mobile apps!

    Thanks to you and @hellquist for the midiLFOs app recommendation. I purchased it and it looks like it will be very useful.

  • @Telefunky said:
    there's no obvious mistake, your experience is a fairly common description of the situation.
    Most people use Ableton link to sync-start multiple apps, or Korg WIST, all a bit tricky.
    For live performers it's a requirement to get these things right, but for studio recording you have a bit more slack.
    I either record snippets/sequences directly in the app (many have a record button) or use Audioshare at the end of an Audiobus chain.
    Later the takes are either 'send to...' a sequencing App or to a PC for arrangement.
    Audioshare is quite convenient to trim things, but I wouldn't suggest any of these on a single iPhone.
    It's mentioned just for explanation, how people get along with those restrictions.

    As much as I like IOS for playing and recording... the final track will be 'better' on PC/Mac in the majority of cases.
    You'll frequently find a 'mastered on PC' mentioned with the examples posted here.
    The best IOS-only results I know were from Auria, some of the really (!) good.
    So it can be done, but I'm not shure if such a small screen estate is much fun.
    Bottom line: get a 2nd device for recording or as a controller surface, there are several options.

    I'm with you about mastering on a PC. Right now the final step of my workflow is exporting everything to Reaper. I also love Renoise, but I haven't really figured out a way to integrate it with the rest of what I do. The main thing keeping me on mobile is that I don't really have any sound generators or FX for my Mac - just what comes with Reaper, and macOS. I'm hoping to jam as live as possible then stick the whole works into Reaper for final touches.

    Thanks for the reply. My favorite threads on this forum involve approaches to workflow - especially on the iPhone. Like many here, the whole reason I got into iOS music is lack of time and space to work with a full setup.

  • Cool, I think you'll find it useful, especially after some planning.
    Also, just to expand on ChordPolyPad capabilities, as it could look just like a chord player: each of the chord "pads" have X/Y sensitivity. This basically means that each pad is also an X/Y controller for whatever you choose. You don't even have to have it play chords to use this functionality, though I have found it awesome for that too. Great to plan LFO shifts over time, say to build up intensity in a chord sequence, and depending on where on the pad you play said chord it can have different character. I have even used ChordPolyPad to control Ableton on my desktop with great success this way. Just so you don't just think it is a chordplayer.

    The same goes for the sister app to ChordPolyPad, which is StepPolyArp. You can trigger it from CPP, or where ever, and you have excellent control over all related midi settings for a sequence. This then means you can play a chord in CPP (with or without having set-up X/Y) and have SPA play little arpeggios or sequences, and on that timeline in turn control various midi variables.

  • Oh, this does look very useful. For some reason I had a different app in mind when CPP was mentioned.

    One thing I'm wondering is how one goes about determining the midi CC number of controls on a poorly documented synth or fx app?

  • @gleandibson said:
    Oh, this does look very useful. For some reason I had a different app in mind when CPP was mentioned.

    One thing I'm wondering is how one goes about determining the midi CC number of controls on a poorly documented synth or fx app?

    I always run MidiFlow in any case, it has a decent log view for the regular stuff, so you can see on numbers dancing along your screen what just happened when you tweaked a knob or pushed a button. There are more in-detail apps too, that I've forgotten the names of (but I'm sure someone soon will enlighten us both, in here) as I haven't needed them, and thus haven't re-installed them. MidiFlow is, in my book, a must-have app as it can handle pretty much anything and everything with regards to midi. It can also re-assign functionality (change notes to cc or vice versa etc) and you can build conditions in it (possibly need an IAP for that, totally worth it in any case). I see MidiFlow almost as essential as AB/AUM.

    Also, normally it either works, or it doesn't. The one notable exception would be Thor Synth, where you could be doing something in vain, when you actually should have done something else, along a magic formula outlined at the end of the manual. The documentation for it is in there if I recall it correctly. As you say though, midi implementation within apps is completely and totally up to the midi skills of the app developer, and sadly it is often lacking (as they are more interested in sound/audio).

Sign In or Register to comment.