Live compositions, which apps to use to be unstoppable on iOS?

Live compositions performances are very fun and interesting to do.

I find Gadget very efficient for that, nice recording looping mode with quantize, easy to arrange scenes, you can really make a full song without stop transport. Only real BIG limitation is no scenes triggering via midi.

Using various AU in Audiobus recorded in Loopy slots works quite well too, even if it’s a more complicated setup. It’s possible to control everything by midi. But CPU management can be a problem quickly, it’s also harder to use lower than 256 buffers latency in that configuration. Quantize also misses, waiting for Photon.

How do you manage that and which apps do you use?

Comments

  • All my compositions start out as live playing of one form or another - I don't like to write by entering notes in a grid.

    Personally I tend to use all the options available: Gadget, GarageBand, Nanostudio 2, Cubasis, and Auria. I also use AUM when experimenting as well. A few years ago I would also just work on sketches in Loopy, but it actually seems more efficient just to do the same thing but in a DAW. Otherwise I would have to try and remember what I played to recreate it in the DAW.

    I think for playing and performing my favourite is probably GarageBand (especially the bass guitar), but I genuinely enjoy them all.

    I tend to record a ton of different ideas and then discard most of them in an attempt to just keep the best bits. I particularly enjoy writing bass lines and instrumental melodies, but also drum parts and chord progressions. My favourite thing about the whole process is how simply noodling around can suddenly blossom into a useable tune, one minute you have nothing, and the next you have a riff, or a melody, that can form the backbone of a song. It's a very mysterious but profoundly satisfying moment.

  • edited February 9

    Thanks for your input @richardyot

    I also use GarageBand or AB/Blocswave a lot, and some of my creation/production processes are similar to yours. I agree about satisfaction :smile:

    I think I should have been more clear. What I want to do is to create song in real-time on stage without stopping anything, with loops/scenes midi control, all instruments already prepared per set, etc. Think Ableton DJ performance creation process with Push, and how to do that on iOS. It’s not only noodling but also construct some evolutions in real-time, recall some elements by midi etc

    GarageBand don’t have scenes or loops midi triggering, so it’s not an option.

    I think on iOS Audiobus/AU with new midi learn feature is the way to go, with Loopy and upcoming Photon or another combination of apps (Group the Loop, Aleph Looper...). But there is CPU management/latency and other things to consider. Is it only possible to do reliably that kind of stuff on iOS yet?

  • Sorry, I misunderstood your original post. Live looping improv isn't really my workflow, so I'm not sure which apps would be good for that.

  • edited February 9

    @richardyot no problem I should have more clear too :smile:

    This is not exactly about looping, but also arrange the song in real-time like we can already do on iPad with Grouptheloop, with intro, main theme A and B, verses, outro and ability to switch between them by midi once recorded. I search a way to do this with midi. I need to try deeper with Aleph Looper, and hope Photon allows for that too (I read the manual just now). Gadget is really cool for that but too much actions need to be made on screen, no midi control for scenes, etc...

  • How about Launchpad?

  • Launchpad is audio only too. In fact Loopy is not a solution too. Recording a midi part then recording it to audio are too much actions to manage in real-time. Or I need to do everything as audio but I find tricky to not have sloppy grooves without any quantize. Quantize is less needed in a DAW as you can make multiple takes, which is not possible in live situation.

  • AB3 with MIDI features is the bee's knees for live improv.

  • KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

  • edited February 9

    @lukesleepwalker said:
    AB3 with MIDI features is the bee's knees for live improv.

    Yeah this is my central hub that’s for sure. Ability to switch presets by midi and lot of other things have changed iOS music making game. This is mostly live midi sequencing I need to add to the 🧩.

    @AudioGus said:
    KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

    I love KRFT too, it’s a nice surface but midi input is missing when you want to record your midi keyboard, as misses ability to trigger groups via midi. Too bad it’s not updated anymore as it’s should have been perfect.

    Is Grooverider able to send sequences to midi outputs, and to record/play/launch by midi? Same triggering question with the other Photon’s dev apps, Quantum and Midi Sequencer? I’m less comfortable with those apps GUI so never bought them. I’ve tried KEW but the workflow killed by brain, even if it’s a great app.

  • At a cost of sounding like an old automaton:

    SAMPLR

    Of curse any sampler will sound as good as the samples you put in it but this is actually half true with Samplr because a sample can sound completely different depending on how it is played. Full live compositions can be easily achieved live without stopping. Just search for @deltAdata on YouTube.

  • @Janosax said:

    @lukesleepwalker said:
    AB3 with MIDI features is the bee's knees for live improv.

    Yeah this is my central hub that’s for sure. Ability to switch presets by midi and lot of other things have changed iOS music making game. This is mostly live midi sequencing I need to add to the 🧩.

    @AudioGus said:
    KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

    I love KRFT too, it’s a nice surface but midi input is missing when you want to record your midi keyboard, as misses ability to trigger groups via midi. Too bad it’s not updated anymore as it’s should have been perfect.

    If KRFT had midi group triggering what hardware would you use to trigger it?

  • edited February 9

    @supadom said:
    At a cost of sounding like an old automaton:

    SAMPLR

    Of curse any sampler will sound as good as the samples you put in it but this is actually half true with Samplr because a sample can sound completely different depending on how it is played. Full live compositions can be easily achieved live without stopping. Just search for @deltAdata on YouTube.

    I was waiting for your reply :) is deltadata you?

    @AudioGus said:

    @Janosax said:

    @lukesleepwalker said:
    AB3 with MIDI features is the bee's knees for live improv.

    Yeah this is my central hub that’s for sure. Ability to switch presets by midi and lot of other things have changed iOS music making game. This is mostly live midi sequencing I need to add to the 🧩.

    @AudioGus said:
    KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

    I love KRFT too, it’s a nice surface but midi input is missing when you want to record your midi keyboard, as misses ability to trigger groups via midi. Too bad it’s not updated anymore as it’s should have been perfect.

    If KRFT had midi group triggering what hardware would you use to trigger it?

    I’ll use my Nanokey Studio, it has 8 pads and you can configure different midi notes or CC’s for those pads with 8 easily switchable scenes. It also has a keyboard and kaoss pad and is super compact. Perhaps Nanokontrol Studio could do the trick too, with faders and lot of buttons, or any other controller of this kind.

  • No @Janosax I wish I had his skill and dedication!! I’ve not been using Samplr in a creative way lately but if you have free hands to mess with it live it is one of the best out there. This is in terms of stability but also how much can be done in a single, relatively simple app.

    So put your sax down and get playing with Samplr every now and then ;)

  • @supadom lol you know where I want to go, no need to play my sax all the time ;)

    The deltadata guy has skills, great music and great videos too, thanks for sharing that, he gives some great inspiration.

    I know that you stick with iOS for your live stuff. That’s a bit crazy, I have my laptop with Ableton but it seems I can’t find any inspiration with it. Touchscreen and candy tasting apps seems to be an irreversible conversion? Lol, I think again about the iPad, and Samplr seems very powerful and interesting, is it still updated? I remember you mentionned an issue about that. I feel constricted on my iPhone since a few months, I’ve made a lot of things with it but perhaps it’s time to get a bigger screen and not universal apps access :smile:

  • @AudioGus said:
    KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

    Could you give me/us a para on what you're doing with the Krafty in NS2, haven't even thought of joining them up.....

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @AudioGus said:
    KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

    Could you give me/us a para on what you're doing with the Krafty in NS2, haven't even thought of joining them up.....

    I may have to put on my youtube cape again.

    In a nutshell it is just awesome.

  • @AudioGus said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @AudioGus said:
    KRFT into Nanostudio2 is really working for me these days.

    Could you give me/us a para on what you're doing with the Krafty in NS2, haven't even thought of joining them up.....

    I may have to put on my youtube cape again.

    In a nutshell it is just awesome.

    Nutshell not good enough. Need pail, bucket or sack full of ferrets.

  • edited February 10

    So one very good combo for what I want to do is still Gadget/Nanokey Studio (with advanced midi/channel control) with direct recording in Loopy. Really that works well for me. I don’t use midi recording, but direct Gadget audio looping and overdubbing in Loopy which has extensive midi control capabilities. CPU usage is much lower than with various AU instruments, and I can still momentary use some AU effects in Audiobus in the path with on/off midi control. Quantize don’t miss that much, except for drums. It’s not easy to record them with tight timing and only Loopy’s flash light metronome. Any advice for that, excepted obvious training? Or perhaps I could use Rozeta for control Gadget drums, at least for kick and snare. And I can use low CPU AU like Lorentz, ok that’s endless experimentation lol.

  • @Janosax Have you tried modstep? It's basically like Ableton Live's Session view and you can dive in and out of patterns, record, quantize, transpose, step edit, etc. all on the fly, without stopping playback.

    I would also recommend pairing that with a more "playable" performance sequencer like Fugue Machine, Quantum, Xynthesizr or the upcoming PolyPhase. You can evolve sequences with these and record their output into clips in modstep and them use the clip launching there to create sections and changeups.

  • Ive played a few sets with Quantiloop , using AudioEffx as my main input FX , and Turnado as my main output fx, and its been rock rock solid even on my old Mini 4. Also, ive noticed when an fx plugin DOES crash (dammit flytape and virsyn bandshift) that there are no crackles or crashing of the app itself, you just lose that FX sound. In fact ive never had a single crackle from quantiloop even when im pushing the DSP meter into the red. Its probably the most stable of all the apps ive tried. I do wanna play with Samplr more, i always have a blast with it, but dont have it down well enough to bring it into my gigs yet. I wish BM3 would be solid, i would use it as a clip launcher of prerecorded beatboxing loops with sexy automation of fx parameters, but alas.

    (Bearing in mind that im looping strictly audio, beatboxing and other vocals, and wind instruments flute, didg etc through mic inputs. I wanna incorporate some AU sound generators into the mix soon and that might futz with the Quantiloop stability a hair)

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