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.Download on the App Store
Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.
Pulsar-ES: An Adventure in Audio Exploration on iOS Emulation of Old-School Drum Machine
The Pulsar-ES is an iOS emulation of an old-school preset drum machine by the TripleTech squad. The original hardware is known for its versatility and ability to play a wide range of unique drum rhythms embedded in it. In this post, we’ll take you on a journey with a group of friends who embarked on an adventure to purchase the Pulsar from the factory, sample its audio in a Kyiv studio, develop an AUv3/IAA app in Florida, and test it on iOS with multiple MIDI devices worldwide. Along the way, they discovered how the Pulsar-ES could be infused with more features, adding a new spectrum of presets and some industry-standard mobile music production features.
A Trip to the Factory
Our story begins with three friends – Dmytro, Yevhenii, and Anton – who shared a deep passion for music and technology. After hearing about the Pulsar preset drum machine and its history of development, they decided to visit the Elektrovimiruvach factory (located in the heart of Ukraine – Zhytomyr) to see it in action for themselves. The device impressed them with its simplicity and sophistication. For a long time, the team couldn’t tear themselves away from a diverse set of rhythmic patterns and a special feature – remote access, very unique for that time. The trio decided to bring the Pulsar into their studio for more in-depth exploration and just for fun. After 1 month, the drum machine was in place.
Sampling the Pulsar
With their newfound enthusiasm, TripleTech started to explore the Pulsar’s capabilities in the manual. Then they connected the drum machine to their digital audio workstation and began sampling various drum sounds (it is half analog half digital, this means that Clap, Hats, Crash – are samples, and BD, SD, TOMs are synthesized). After a couple of days, and some manipulation with equalization, the sample pack was ready.
Building the Audio Plugin
As the trio grew more familiar with the Pulsar, they decided to take their creative endeavors to the next level by building an AUv3/IAA, iOS emulation drum machine. By combining their knowledge of programming, audio engineering, and design, they crafted an iOS app that could fully harness the power of the Pulsar preset drum machine.
Design Process of iOS Emulation Drum Machine
The Pulsar-ES design process was based on an exact reproduction of the shapes, color palette, and module layout of the original analog hardware. At the same time, the space organizing of empty parts made it possible to implement additional modern effects to the classical functionality of the drum machine. Cyrillic font of the logo was modified to non-trivial Latin in accordance with all the requirements of visual and design thinking components.
Convert to MIDI
A very important part of the emulation of the Pulsar preset drum machine is conversion from audio to MIDI. The team used Ableton DAW features and their ears. It was not a trivial task, and the transcription of all 64 rhythmic patterns (1.5 bars, 2 bars, 3 bars, 4 bars) and making correct MIDI mapping took about 2 weeks. They even had to involve Dmytro’s younger brother, who is a musician.
Testing on iOS with Multiple MIDI Devices
Once the iOS app was ready for release, the team set out to test its compatibility with iOS hosts (AUM, Audiobus, etc.) and various MIDI controllers. They connected multiple MIDI devices – including keyboards, launchpads, and sequencers – to an iPad and found that their app worked flawlessly with each device. This opened up possibilities for Pulsar-ES’s users, allowing them to create complex drum patterns on-the-go by tapping on 8 sample pads over the already embedded presets. Initially, the Pulsar device did not have a MIDI-in/MIDI-out feature on the board – not to mention Ableton Link, but its software reincarnation now allows more!
Emulation of the Pulsar preset drum machine proved to be an invaluable experience for TripleTech as they ventured into the world of audio development. Their journey from first touch the Pulsar at the factory to building a AUv3/IAA version and testing it on the iOS ecosystem with multiple MIDI devices not only showcased the versatility and power of the drum machine, but also highlighted their creativity and passion for music and their true love for Ukraine.