Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

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Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

Wotja 20

New thread on user & dev issues for the 2020 version of the app to declutter the What about Wotja Generative Music? thread and generally give @impete a hard time.

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Comments

  • I'll start: this is a slightly headspinning question that @impete suggested reposting here about how user-created templates are referenced and saved in mixes.

    As I understand it (which I'm not convinced I do), a user-created template is referenced within a mix but not saved with it; you have to keep the template in the folder with the mix, and if you delete or even just rename the template your mix will show red cells where it's supposed to be. It's nevertheless perfectly possible to edit the template cell within the mix without changing the original template – I often tweak or completely replace the sound in a particular instance of the template within a mix, for example – so presumably the mix somehow saves a reference to the template plus a supplementary record of what's been changed in that particular instance of it. (I'm not sure I'm right about this, but I can't otherwise see how it'd work.) I've occasionally found that I've deleted a template I thought I no longer needed, only to find that I used it in a mix, and am now missing a component of the mix; this is particularly liable to happen with mixes I've archived to Boxes to declutter my user folder. (Luckily it usually turns out to be something from an older version of the app I still have around.) And when you send a mix to someone, you need to include any user templates that it depends on.

    Here's the thing that puzzles me, though: modifications to the original template don't cascade to instances of that template in existing mixes. If you add an extra pattern to a template, for example, that pattern doesn't then appear in an existing mix which uses it; you have to go into the mix and add it to each instance of the template manually. I think if I had a better understanding of how mixes interact with templates I'd be less prone to cockups…

  • edited January 15

    Love this app @impete ... and it just got better with the addition of Ableton Link :)

    A couple of minor GUI things ... not bugs, just possible enhancements to consider at some point.

    Some of the GUI text can be miniscule and hard to read e.g. the longer names of instrument blocks in the Mix Window (sorry I don't know the correct name yet - IME?).

    Also, the names of User patches tend to break in the middle of words which makes them a little harder to read and less pleasant to look at. That's the graphic designer in me ...

  • It’s been said that the app needs a UI designer. Having downloaded the free version and being almost instantly confuzzled by it, I would agree. Reading through the other thread suggested that maybe 75% of reservations expressed by people are due to the UI, though YMMV.

  • Hi @Masanga, @craftycurate, @ahallam

    Just seen the posts - I didn't get a mail notification so I didn't realise this thread had been created - otherwise I'd have responded sooner.

    Anyhow, I'll get back to you soon - just preparing the 20.1.3 update, which fixes a crash reported by a user.

    With best wishes,

    Pete

  • OK, I've updated my Preferences, so I'll now get a mail notification if somebody mentions me :grimace: :smile:

    Pete

  • @Masanga said:
    I'll start: this is a slightly headspinning question that @impete suggested reposting here about how user-created templates are referenced and saved in mixes.

    As I understand it (which I'm not convinced I do), a user-created template is referenced within a mix but not saved with it;

    Yes, you're right. There is a lot of history behind this - you've got to bear in mind that we've been working on Wotja and pre-cursors a long time now :smile: and the original concept dates back to SSEYO miniMIXA, when it was only references to Noatikl files or Audio sample files that were saved.

    However, the current state of Wotja (this has been true for a very long time now) is as follows.

    Templates: the full "template" data (IME files, AKA Noatikl files...) is saved embedded within the mix; the reasons being that:
    1) in general, the items are often further edited a great deal (especially by Pro users)
    2) because they're embedded, the mix file contains everything it needs (sound definitions, IME templates and customised Rules etc.)
    3) and, of course, they take very little data;
    4) we still keep the template reference in the mix, as that is intended to allow you to track-down the original if you want (this info is viewed under "File Path" in the Cell Properties... down the bottom.

    Audio samples and MIDI file references: if you're using audio files (e.g. Ogg recordings) or MIDI file in a Mix cell, then those files are not embedded in the mix; rather, references to them are stored; they referenced either from a Pak, or referenced from your device's file system. The reasons they're not embedded:
    1) they're generally very large!
    2) the app has no way of editing them anyhow... generally, they're edited by 3rd party apps, and in that case you want Wotja to pick-up such changes when the item is reloaded.

    I hope that explains things!

    Pete

  • @craftycurate said:
    Love this app @impete ... and it just got better with the addition of Ableton Link :)

    Many thanks :smile:

    A couple of minor GUI things ... not bugs, just possible enhancements to consider at some point.

    We're always happy to receive customer feedback. We try our best to take everything on board, but there are only two of us and we're always maxed out :grimace:

    Some of the GUI text can be miniscule and hard to read e.g. the longer names of instrument blocks in the Mix Window (sorry I don't know the correct name yet - IME?).

    Those are content cells. They usually have IME content (AKA: Noatikl content...!) - but sometimes this is Audio or MIDI content.

    So, on to the issue - this is an ongoing battle! The reason is pretty simple, but is a challenge to deal with perfectly; let me try to explain.

    Basically, Wotja, as you know, has to run on pretty much any device. This is due to a long-standing philosophy of ours, based on our desire to allow our customers to share content as widely as possible, without being stuck inside a platform walled-garden (such as: just iOS, or just Android, or just Windows, or just macOS...)

    I've spent many, many years with the struggle to get fonts to display "nicely" on every platform, for every possible aspect ratio and window size. Frankly, this battle is never ending :smile: It is something I keep getting better at, but will probably never fully resolve.

    The biggest change for this was with Wotja 20, where we simply decided to increase the depth of every cell. That helped quite a bit!

    Anyhow - if you'd care to share a screenshot showing a particularly grating example where you think things could/should look differently, then do please share, and we'll take a look!

    Also, the names of User patches tend to break in the middle of words which makes them a little harder to read and less pleasant to look at. That's the graphic designer in me ...

    Word breaking is another challenge - I made this much better in the past 12 months or so, but frankly I haven't looked at it for a while.

    Again... if you'd care to share a screenshot... :smile: ... I'd be happy to have a think!

    With best wishes,

    Pete

  • @ahallam said:
    It’s been said that the app needs a UI designer. Having downloaded the free version and being almost instantly confuzzled by it, I would agree. Reading through the other thread suggested that maybe 75% of reservations expressed by people are due to the UI, though YMMV.

    Hi! Well, you're probably right. However, it is just Tim and me working on Wotja. We do our best and keep learning how to do things better :smile: with limited resources, but neither of us are UI designers.

    Looking back, I think it is probably safe to say that over the years, we've been more focused on adding new features, and dealing with all the platform issues and transitions we've been faced with through the long history of our development history - kind of focusing on what we're best at, I suppose. For the past several years, much time has been taking with replacing all the old UIs (Noatikl 3, Wotja 3, Mixtikl 6, Tiklbox, Liptikl 2) and consolidating first into Wotja 5, and then into Wotja X... and finally into Wotja 20.

    I must say that it is much easier for us, now that we have finally reached the point of just one product now to deal with, with a common code base for all our platforms!

    So, we're now at the stage of being able to spend a bit more of our (still very constrained) resources on trying to improve the whole "user experience". Things like adding Ableton Link support are part of this; sure, it isn't UI design, but it is about having a little more space to focus on helping users to use Wotja as easily as possible.

    If there are one or two aspects of Wotja where you think we could maybe try a different approach, without too much development pain, do please feel free to give the feedback. We certainly consider all suggestions, though as noted elsewhere, we can't make any promises.

    With best wishes,

    Pete

  • @Masanga said:

    Here's the thing that puzzles me, though: modifications to the original template don't cascade to instances of that template in existing mixes. If you add an extra pattern to a template, for example, that pattern doesn't then appear in an existing mix which uses it; you have to go into the mix and add it to each instance of the template manually. I think if I had a better understanding of how mixes interact with templates I'd be less prone to cockups…

    If you want to "propagate" your customised Cell content somewhere else, simply copy and paste that cell wherever you want; or export the IME content to a .noatikl file, and you can then easily use it in any Mix using the Template browser.

    If you use iCloud, then you can of course share any cell content you've saved across iOS and macOS devices.

    Hoping that helps!

    Pete

  • edited January 18

    @impete said:

    @Masanga said:

    Here's the thing that puzzles me, though: modifications to the original template don't cascade to instances of that template in existing mixes. If you add an extra pattern to a template, for example, that pattern doesn't then appear in an existing mix which uses it; you have to go into the mix and add it to each instance of the template manually. I think if I had a better understanding of how mixes interact with templates I'd be less prone to cockups…

    If you want to "propagate" your customised Cell content somewhere else, simply copy and paste that cell wherever you want; or export the IME content to a .noatikl file, and you can then easily use it in any Mix using the Template browser.

    If you use iCloud, then you can of course share any cell content you've saved across iOS and macOS devices.

    Hoping that helps!

    Pete

    Thanks, @impete (and neat avatar, by the way)! Yes, I was really asking a denser question about what Mixes actually do with .noatikl Templates when the Mix is saved. It seems to be perfectly possible to modify the Template within its Cell and save those changes with the Mix – but the Mix still needs to be able to find the original Template as a separate file. Yet if I modify the original Template the version in the Mix is unchanged. So it looks as if the Mix is remembering a particular state of the Template plus a set of in-Mix changes, and somehow ignoring subsequent changes made to the Template.

    If this is indeed what's going on, first off, wow. Hats off; that cannot have been easy to figure out and code. Where it potentially becomes an issue is with the dependency structure created, particularly for file sharing. I'm sure I remember a time when it was possible to send (or tweet!) somebody a Mix and it would just work. Now you also have to send them a copy of every .noatikl file referenced in the Mix. There's also the secondary hangup (if you're me) of never knowing whether it's safe to delete a .noatikl file in case it's referenced somewhere in a Mix buried in a Box that you've completely forgotten. I'm not sure whether something's changed or whether I'm just engaging in increasingly high-risk behaviour as I become more familiar with the shadowy side-tunnels of the rabbit-hole, and any problems here are mine, not yours – though in my ideal world (probably not yours!) I'd like copies of Templates to be saved in the Mix rather than referenced as external documents. But I do often feel that if I had a better understanding of the dependency relationships between Mixes and Templates, and what's going on in the saved version of a Mix that references a Template in a Cell, then I'd trip over my own laces less often and my face wouldn't look like your avatar.

  • @Masanga said:
    but the Mix still needs to be able to find the original Template as a separate file...
    ...Now you also have to send them a copy of every .noatikl file referenced in the Mix.

    Can you please send me an example of a mix you have created, with one or more cells based on one of your custom templates? I'll see if I have any problems opening it. You can share it in this thread directly, I guess, if you like!

    There's also the secondary hangup (if you're me) of never knowing whether it's safe to delete a .noatikl file in case it's referenced somewhere in a Mix buried in a Box that you've completely forgotten.

    Boxes have the content completely baked-in to the box file; so should be fine. That, after all, is how we've created our built-in albums such at Calm and Relax.

    Playlists just store a reference to the original mixes, so they update how they sound whenever you change one of the underlying mixes.

    Hoping that helps!

    Pete

  • @impete said:

    @craftycurate said:
    Love this app @impete ... and it just got better with the addition of Ableton Link :)

    Many thanks :smile:

    A couple of minor GUI things ... not bugs, just possible enhancements to consider at some point.

    We're always happy to receive customer feedback. We try our best to take everything on board, but there are only two of us and we're always maxed out :grimace:

    Some of the GUI text can be miniscule and hard to read e.g. the longer names of instrument blocks in the Mix Window (sorry I don't know the correct name yet - IME?).

    Those are content cells. They usually have IME content (AKA: Noatikl content...!) - but sometimes this is Audio or MIDI content.

    So, on to the issue - this is an ongoing battle! The reason is pretty simple, but is a challenge to deal with perfectly; let me try to explain.

    Basically, Wotja, as you know, has to run on pretty much any device. This is due to a long-standing philosophy of ours, based on our desire to allow our customers to share content as widely as possible, without being stuck inside a platform walled-garden (such as: just iOS, or just Android, or just Windows, or just macOS...)

    I've spent many, many years with the struggle to get fonts to display "nicely" on every platform, for every possible aspect ratio and window size. Frankly, this battle is never ending :smile: It is something I keep getting better at, but will probably never fully resolve.

    The biggest change for this was with Wotja 20, where we simply decided to increase the depth of every cell. That helped quite a bit!

    Anyhow - if you'd care to share a screenshot showing a particularly grating example where you think things could/should look differently, then do please share, and we'll take a look!

    Also, the names of User patches tend to break in the middle of words which makes them a little harder to read and less pleasant to look at. That's the graphic designer in me ...

    Word breaking is another challenge - I made this much better in the past 12 months or so, but frankly I haven't looked at it for a while.

    Again... if you'd care to share a screenshot... :smile: ... I'd be happy to have a think!

    With best wishes,

    Pete

    Hi Pete ... no worries. I understand, I’m a one man business myself , so I have to do everything :#

    The GUI issues are very minor and don’t detract from the experience. I’d rather you were able to focus on the core functionality.

    One thing that might help with tiny text is pinch zoom?

  • @impete said:

    Boxes have the content completely baked-in to the box file; so should be fine.

    That's what I thought, until I did a big tidy-up with the W20 release and shovelled lots of old Mixes into Boxes, only to find that some of them still depended on templates I'd since deleted (but was able to recover from W19). I'll send you something by e-mail; watch the space next to this space!

  • edited January 18

    @craftycurate said:

    Hi Pete ... no worries. I understand, I’m a one man business myself , so I have to do everything :#

    Bad luck :smile:

    The GUI issues are very minor and don’t detract from the experience. I’d rather you were able to focus on the core functionality.

    Well, we see the Usability very much as a core issue, and we've worked hard over the past several years to put ourselves in a position now to allocate a bit more time to this where we can. So if you can show a specific issue from say a screenshot, I'd be very happy to take a look!

    One thing that might help with tiny text is pinch zoom?

    Alas, that actually isn't an option for us nowadays; as most of the UI from Wotja X up two Wotja 20 (and beyond!) uses a cross-platform C++ UI toolkit that I've created on top of a cross-platform rendering layer.

    The huge advantages this has given us in terms of cross-platform availability, and "fix once, fix everywhere" ... has required a few compromises in other areas.

    So, we can't take advantage of too many platform-specific tweaks in the main user interface - the older Wotja A for iOS could have used such an technique, but it simply wasn't cost-effective for us to continue using that sort of platform-specific UI development approach.

    With best wishes,

    Peet

  • edited January 18

    @impete said:
    Well, we see the Usability very much as a core issue, and we've worked hard over the past several years to put ourselves in a position now to allocate a bit more time to this where we can. So if you can show a specific issue from say a screenshot, I'd be very happy to take a look!

    Ok so here is an example ... the Cell name is too small to read (See #1) (though it could be read from the Cell grid or the pop up menu easily enough I guess).

    Maybe the text box could be widened into the gap between cell and MIDI boxes (see #2) or wrapped within the box if the framework allows that?

    Cheers
    Richard

  • Am starting to climb the steep mountain face of getting my head round how Wotja works, and am still at the stage where I read a sentence in the manual and there are several terms I don’t recognise, so I have to then try to find out what they mean etc etc.

    A glossary of terms would be REALLY useful (does it exist already?)

    Also, I’m getting frustrated when I try to do things like adding an LFO to the Cell FX. I’ve added the Ctrl-LFO unit, but how to connect to an effect parameter? The “+” button in the controllers panel is greyed out. I try dragging between the LFO and the effect but that doesn’t work.

    What am I missing?

  • edited January 19

    Tap on the Filter, not the LFO, and then the plus-button in the Controllers window. This will populate the Controllers window with popups for the available Controllers to assign (just the LFO in this case, but if you had more controllers in the network they'd all be selectable too) and the parameter to assign modulation to (for the Filter it'll be Dry Level, Wet Level, Cutoff, and Resonance), and a slider for the value to assign to the selected parameter. Tap the plus sign again to add rows for each value you want to set. The currently selected row will show as a red line in the network. It's a different way of visualising a modular network, but it does get intuitive once you start working with it; the colour-coding of modules is particularly helpful here. The relevant bit of the manual is just above this link.

    Generative, aleatoric, stochastic, and algorithmic are all different terms that have been used historically by different people to describe music created by a combination of rules and randomness. Generative is Eno's term and is Wotja's preferred term, but there's no consensus, so they've added the rest to show people who prefer other terms that they're talking about the same thing. It's only need-to-know stuff if you're going to do further reading on the history of generative music. (Aleatoric, from the Latin for dice, means generated by a specific random process; stochastic is a mathematical term for randomness; and algorithmic means created by procedural rules.)

  • @Masanga said:
    Tap on the Filter, not the LFO, and then the plus-button in the Controllers window. This will populate the Controllers window with popups for the available Controllers to assign (just the LFO in this case, but if you had more controllers in the network they'd all be selectable too) and the parameter to assign modulation to (for the Filter it'll be Dry Level, Wet Level, Cutoff, and Resonance), and a slider for the value to assign to the selected parameter. Tap the plus sign again to add rows for each value you want to set. The currently selected row will show as a red line in the network. It's a different way of visualising a modular network, but it does get intuitive once you start working with it; the colour-coding of modules is particularly helpful here. The relevant bit of the manual is just above this link.

    Generative, aleatoric, stochastic, and algorithmic are all different terms that have been used historically by different people to describe music created by a combination of rules and randomness. Generative is Eno's term and is Wotja's preferred term, but there's no consensus, so they've added the rest to show people who prefer other terms that they're talking about the same thing. It's only need-to-know stuff if you're going to do further reading on the history of generative music. (Aleatoric, from the Latin for dice, means generated by a specific random process; stochastic is a mathematical term for randomness; and algorithmic means created by procedural rules.)

    That’s helpful thanks!

  • @craftycurate said:
    A glossary of terms would be REALLY useful (does it exist already?)

    Good idea. I've logged your suggestion!

    Also, I’m getting frustrated when I try to do things like adding an LFO to the Cell FX. I’ve added the Ctrl-LFO unit, but how to connect to an effect parameter? The “+” button in the controllers panel is greyed out. I try dragging between the LFO and the effect but that doesn’t work.

    What am I missing?

    The LFO must always be somewhere to the left of the unit you're trying to modulate.

    That particular bit of "enforcement" in the user interface is intended to make for much clearer, easier to understand FX modules. As a historical aside, we've had that rule in place ever since I created the first modular system in the Koan Pro modular synth.

    Once you've got your head around that, things should be much easier!

    See also: https://intermorphic.com/ise/20/#ise-network-controllers

    Pete

  • We've just reworded the text you highlighted, to make it clearer, we hope!

  • You might also have been referring to the old guide - make sure you're looking at the new IME guide for Wotja 20, which is here:

    https://intermorphic.com/ime/20/

    Best wishes,

    Pete

  • @impete said:

    You might also have been referring to the old guide - make sure you're looking at the new IME guide for Wotja 20, which is here:

    https://intermorphic.com/ime/20/

    Best wishes,

    Pete

    Thanks again!

  • edited January 19

    @craftycurate said:
    Ok so here is an example ... the Cell name is too small to read (See #1) (though it could be read from the Cell grid or the pop up menu easily enough I guess).

    Good idea, I've been experimenting with this today. Watch this space!

    Maybe the text box could be widened into the gap between cell and MIDI boxes (see #2) or wrapped within the box if the framework allows that?

    That wouldn't really work for Wotja, in that we need to give a "gap" there in the UI to display information as to what is going to happen, when you're dragging around having first selected a voice.

    Pete

  • edited January 19

    @impete said:
    We've just reworded the text you highlighted, to make it clearer, we hope!

    @craftycurate said:
    Ok so here is an example ... the Cell name is too small to read (See #1) (though it could be read from the Cell grid or the pop up menu easily enough I guess).

    Good idea, I've been experimenting with this today. Watch this space!

    @craftycurate said:
    Maybe the text box could be widened into the gap between cell and MIDI boxes (see #2) or wrapped within the box if the framework allows that?

    Pete

    Great thanks!

  • @craftycurate said:
    Ok so here is an example ... the Cell name is too small to read (See #1) (though it could be read from the Cell grid or the pop up menu easily enough I guess).

    OK, I think I've got this working much better now on the development system. Is this OK now?

    Best wishes,

    Pete

  • @Masanga said:

    Thanks to your feedback :smile:, and the test file you mailed us (which sounded great!) - I've fixed the issue you spotted.

    In summary, we've fixed Wotja, such that mixes and boxes continue to work, even where original IME (.noatikl) file is not present locally.

    What happened was that some code that was in place to allow the original IME (.noatikl) file to “go missing", had stopped working at some point for some file paths - an assumption in the code about file paths that was valid a decade or so was no longer valid - this was very easy to fix however.

    As a result of the change, the Mix view, cells with "missing" original IME (.noatikl) files are no longer displayed as Red; they'll simply play with the embedded items content data as you'd expect!

    Additionally, in the Cell Info cell, we append " (MISSING)" (localized) where the underlying IME (.noatikl) file isn't present.

    We'll aim to push this update for review in a few days.

    Best wishes, Pete

  • @impete said:

    @Masanga said:

    Thanks to your feedback :smile:, and the test file you mailed us (which sounded great!) - I've fixed the issue you spotted.

    In summary, we've fixed Wotja, such that mixes and boxes continue to work, even where original IME (.noatikl) file is not present locally.

    What happened was that some code that was in place to allow the original IME (.noatikl) file to “go missing", had stopped working at some point for some file paths - an assumption in the code about file paths that was valid a decade or so was no longer valid - this was very easy to fix however.

    As a result of the change, the Mix view, cells with "missing" original IME (.noatikl) files are no longer displayed as Red; they'll simply play with the embedded items content data as you'd expect!

    Additionally, in the Cell Info cell, we append " (MISSING)" (localized) where the underlying IME (.noatikl) file isn't present.

    We'll aim to push this update for review in a few days.

    Best wishes, Pete

    Fantastic, Pete – thanks so much for getting to the bottom of this. Yes, this behaviour goes back a while and I'd been thinking it was just me not getting something about how templates were supposed to work, but it'll great to be able to save and share Mixes and Boxes without all those red cells and template dropouts. I don't promise not to have some dopey followup questions about the " (MISSING)" tag once the update drops and I've managed to find a new way to break things, but I'm so glad it was a comparatively easy fix and sorry not to have thought to raise it ages ago.

  • @impete said:

    @Masanga said:

    Thanks to your feedback :smile:, and the test file you mailed us (which sounded great!) - I've fixed the issue you spotted.

    Would sure like to hear it :)

  • @Masanga said:
    sorry not to have thought to raise it ages ago.

    Wotja is very (very!) complex software, with a lot of underlying architectural components and engines, all working in something of a magic dance to help our users create their generative masterworks.

    I've been working on it for 30+ years now; considering the evolution it has been through, it has been remarkably resilient to the process of continuous change. I guess the various engines are somewhat battle-hardened by now!

    However - there are always going to be bugs that creep-in to lesser travelled areas of the code, and we're always happy to be told about them so we can get a chance to fix them! :grimace: :smile:

    Best wishes,

    Pete

  • @craftycurate said:

    Would sure like to hear it :)

    Hee-hee. Be careful what you wish for…

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