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.

Best handwriting experience with Apple Pencil?

There are a lot of note taking / writing apps out there. I am trying to find ones I like the ‘feel’ of. So far my favourite in terms of how it makes my handwriting look and feel is the fountain pen choice inside NoteShelf 3. What lets this app down for me is that it seems very limited in the colours it offers you.

Moleskine Flow has a very beautiful implementation for choosing colours but I can’t get my handwriting to look as nice using it. It also doesn’t have the ‘bite’ I’m after.

INKredible makes my writing look nice and it feels good to use but it has a weird kind of lag between the actual time of writing and the appearance of the characters.

So basically I am looking for:

An experience similar to using a quality fountain pen, preferably with a range of nibs. Something that looks and feels like a ballpoint pen will not satisfy

Ideally, some control over the wetness / dryness of the ‘ink’

The right amount of resistance / ‘bite’ from the virtual paper, while writing, without the accompaniment of any weird visual lag.

Lots of colour options, customizable but quick to dial in

I know lots of people here use their iPad for art etc as well as making music, so am looking forward to hearing people’s views and experience. I’m sure, like everything, a lot comes down to taste, which is why I’ve tried to be as specific as possible about what I personally am looking for.

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Comments

  • edited September 2023

    I like Zinnia. It requires a subscription, but I find that it offers the greatest amount of flexibility for what you want to do in a Notebook. I create custom .PDF journals to import to it as well which helps me to personalize my experience.

    I just made this .PDF for some UX/UI flow explorations for the OpenSource Deluge project:

    Notability and GoodNotes also offer really nice inking experiences.

    FWIW, after years of searching, I've decided to hitch my horse to the Zinnia wagon.

  • @echoopera said:
    I like Zinnia. It requires a subscription, but I find that it offers the greatest amount of flexibility for what you want to do in a Notebook. I create custom .PDF journals to import to it as well which helps me to personalize my experience.

    I just made this .PDF for some UX/UI flow explorations for the OpenSource Deluge project:

    Notability and GoodNotes also offer really nice inking experiences.

    FWIW, after years of searching, I've decided to hitch my horse to the Zinnia wagon.

    Thanks EO - Looks pretty good, though it seems that at one time it had a calligraphy pen but now doesn’t? I don’t really see anything fountain-pen-like in there, apart from maybe the paint pen. It has a lot of features I would never need or use, so I don’t think I could see myself paying the pricey sub for this!

  • Goodnotes, Notability, Collanote

    Zinnia is f*** expensive and has much less features than the others.

    Even the concept of Defter Notes (like a second brain) is better

  • edited September 2023

    My vote goes for GoodNotes6. I’m using Apple Notes but will be transferring everything to Obsidian soon. Also, for ‘Moleskine’ duty, using Sketches Pro.

  • Nebo is incredible. Amazing handwriting recognition. Diagrams with shape recognition. Sketching. Everything you need. I use it for my consultancy work. It's been a game changer...

  • @charalew said:
    Nebo is incredible. Amazing handwriting recognition. Diagrams with shape recognition. Sketching. Everything you need. I use it for my consultancy work. It's been a game changer...

    Yes. Nebo is very good. I use it all the time. It is very "practical", but maybe not the most beautiful one and not the best feeling.

  • I recently discovered Noteful. So far I like the minimal looking Ui, it is customizable, writing feels great, very responsible and stable app.
    The app can be tested for free with an full unlock iap 5,99€.
    One downside I see could be that there’s no search for handwritten text yet.

  • @OnfraySin said:
    Goodnotes, Notability, Collanote

    Zinnia is f*** expensive and has much less features than the others.

    Even the concept of Defter Notes (like a second brain) is better

    Defter Notes looks pretty cool but I already have something similar, Liquid Notes - also very cool but I just find I don't really need these kind of wormhole type features. What's the writing experience like in Defter? Seems it doesn't have a manual, only a bunch of short ipad vids? That's a bit annoying for a 20 dollar app, but at least it's not a sub like Zinnia

  • @Nathi94 said:
    I recently discovered Noteful. So far I like the minimal looking Ui, it is customizable, writing feels great, very responsible and stable app.
    The app can be tested for free with an full unlock iap 5,99€.
    One downside I see could be that there’s no search for handwritten text yet.

    Yes Noteful seems good. Nice writing experience, I agree! And very cheap for the lifetime Pro upgrade

  • Collanotes I can't really get my writing to look nice in, unless some of the paid features like stabilizer make a big difference.

    Goodnotes and Nebo are both pretty nice but I can't get that bite I like about Noteshelf 3 from them.

    @Luxthor yes, Sketches Pro is one of the best writing experiences, for me. Tried their calligraphy app and was a bit disappointed by it tho

  • Notes+ is a free one I just discovered. I like the way that writes. I'm using a matte screen protector, btw, that also helps

  • Also Margin Note gives a pretty nice fountain pen experience, though a bit too fast flowing for me

    @Luxthor I'm still on Goodnotes 5 btw... Not sure how much better the writing experience in 6 is?

  • @Gavinski said:
    Collanotes I can't really get my writing to look nice in, unless some of the paid features like stabilizer make a big difference.

    Goodnotes and Nebo are both pretty nice but I can't get that bite I like about Noteshelf 3 from them.

    @Luxthor yes, Sketches Pro is one of the best writing experiences, for me. Tried their calligraphy app and was a bit disappointed by it tho

    I use Sketches Pro mainly because of its simplicity, great watercolor simulation, and pristine privacy protection. Regarding your question, I have 30+ fountain pens, and with every single one I have a different experience, so I don’t know what experience exactly you are aiming for. Also, a great deal of this experience is in the ink and the paper.
     
    I didn’t test Tayasui calligraphy, so I can’t say anything about it. Procreate is hands down the best app for calligraphy because you need all of the pen control features.
     
    I love this thread, maybe we will discover some hidden gems. ;)

  • @Gavinski said:
    Also Margin Note gives a pretty nice fountain pen experience, though a bit too fast flowing for me

    @Luxthor I'm still on Goodnotes 5 btw... Not sure how much better the writing experience in 6 is?

    They largely upgraded AI for writing recognition and correction. I decided to migrate to Obsidian, and I’m not using GoodNotes much. I thought it would be best for your needs, but then again, do I really know what your needs actually are? 😅

  • I like Apple’s Notes app. Super-low latency, you can access a note by tapping the Pencil on the locked, sleeping iPad screen, you can search on your handwritten text, and none of the privacy worries of the using third-party apps.

  • The only thing with Notes is that it doesn't have a fountain pen option and I really prefer a fountain pen experience to ball point pens.

    @Luxthor yes, great thead! Wow, 30 fountain pens lol. Of course you're right, it all depends on the pen, paper, ink etc. That's why ideally an app should seek to give flexible emulations of various combinations of these to come close to the real experience of writing. I love pens but I can't afford, and don't want to, go down a collecting rabbithole. Although I still use pen and paper, I'd mostly prefer to get my fix from a good app. I mean, you could spend thousands on colored inks alone, irl, not to mention various pens, nibs, paper, etc 😂

    You'll have to check out that free Notes+ app I mentioned above. Really amazed that's free, nice writing experience, very nice.

  • I like to see ZoomNotes as the end and crown of note-taking with a pencil:

    App "ZoomNotes"

    Developer: Deliverance Software Ltd
    URL: https://apps.apple.com/app/zoomnotes/id462234530

    Minimum OS Version: 11.0
    Universal: Yes
    Price: $7.99

    DESCRIPTION:

    ZoomNotes is the most comprehensive visual note-taking app with huge zoom range. Make handwritten notes and sketches on virtual paper, huge WhiteBoards , PDF files, images and MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents (via GoogleDrive). Sync your documents between your iPad and iPhone with iCloud.

    ZoomNotes is compatible with any capacitive stylus pen and also with the top electronic pens on the market including the fabulous Apple Pencil.

    ZoomNotes Desktop for Mac now also available.

    Features include:

    MULTIPLE PEN TYPES
    There are 8 pen types to choose from including gel, nib, pencil and watercolour each with unlimited line thicknesses.

    HANDWRITING RECOGNITION
    Search handwritten notes.

    DIGITAL PLANNING
    Either import a planner pdf or use the ‘Custom digital planner’ option to create your own. You can configure a planner to show events and reminders from the Calendar and Reminder apps.

    SUB-PAGES
    This unique feature allows you to use ‘pages within pages’. This allows you to use sticky-notes and enables the creation of hierarchical visual files. You can also insert whole pdf files as sub-pages, or import pages from other ZoomNotes documents into a sub-page.

    BOOKMARKS
    Bookmarks allow you save views in your documents, and then return to them at a later date. There are animated playback facilities to allow you to present with or to create videos from your document.

    LINKS
    Add links between pages, and even between documents. This lets you create your own digital planners, enhance imported pdf planners or create indices.

    SPLIT_SCREEN
    Edit and view two documents side by side (or above and below). You can now also have 2 views of the same document.

    CALENDAR EVENTS
    Add events/reminders linked to your documents, possibly with alarms. The URL in the event links back to the document in ZoomNotes.

    HUGE ZOOM RANGE, WHITEBOARD MODE
    Zoom in and out without arbitrary limits including rotated views.

    LAYERS
    Layers let you control what is visible on a page, also options for 'master layers' which show on all pages.

    WRITE OVER PDF FILES
    Import and write over PDFs, Microsoft Office files Word, Excel and PowerPoint (via GoogleDrive).

    UNLIMITED PAPER SIZES AND STYLES
    Make your page as small or as large as you like. Choose any type of paper with our configurable paper types.

    FULLY EDITABLE
    In ZoomNotes, you can select, scale, rotate, shift and flip (mirror) objects. Cut, copy and paste are also available, including between documents, pages and other apps.

    SHAPES AND ARROWS
    Regular shapes and arrows (ideal for visual mapping); they can be drawn with the polygon tool or roughly drawn by hand and automatically converted into the exact geometric shape.

    SYMBOL LIBRARY
    Fully configurable library of reusable shapes and images.

    IMAGES AND IMAGE EDITING
    Insert images (photos) in your documents at any size and scale. Crop, mask, re-sample, edit transparency, scan-correct and deform images. Insert images and videos from camera or photo library.

    TYPED TEXT
    Enter typed text via keyboard; with a wide range of fonts and font sizes, font colours, fills and borders. Text can be entered at all zoom scales and can be selected and moved, scaled and rotated.

    RECORD AND PLAYBACK SOUNDS
    Including import and export of mp3 files. You can also insert a sound recording on the page to which it relates. Now linked to drawing.

    SHARE DOCUMENTS
    Share documents as PDF files, images, videos or ZoomNotes documents (via email, iTunes, clipboard, Dropbox, Twitter and Evernote, Airdrop, iCloud Drive and Open in.

    USE FOR PRESENTATIONS
    ZoomNotes is VGA compatible for use with projectors, monitors and AirPlay.

    MAGNIFICATION WINDOW
    Write into a zoomed in view whilst still viewing the zoomed out view.

    There are lots more details including videos or the app in action at www.zoom-notes.com.
    We respond to every email sent to [email protected]

    RELEASE NOTES: Version 8.8.15

    New link function - 'Toggle hidden'. This will alternately hide and show the link shape and can be used to obscure things on a page and have them revealed when the link is pressed
    Added date/time to Dropbox, GoogleDrive and MS OneDrive directory lists
    Added an ‘Reset hidden' to the pages section of the selection settings
    Improved import of pdf files (could take a long time)
    Fix for 'Move to back' not showing updated position until items de-selected. This was a general problem (especially noticeable with translucent items) which I have now fixed.
    Fix for auto-straight line

    If you are enjoying using ZoomNotes please leave a review - thanks.

  • There is even a lite version that allows to buy more features and can reach the full version:

    https://apps.apple.com/app/zoomnotes-lite/id621255925

  • This one seems ok, I downloaded the free version yesterday, but for me the writing experience does not match that of Sketches Pro, for example. I also find the UI a bit ugly and dated looking. Icons are crammed together. I care about Ui in general, but especially when it comes to things like a note taking or writing app.

  • @gav Stabilizer probably makes a huge difference in quality of lines incl handwriting in programs like procreate, fwiw

  • To me, a huge, huge, HUGE advantage of the Apple Notes app is you know it’s going to be there tomorrow. I’m worried about notes apps that use a proprietary format, and are the only product of some company that could go under. Much bigger risk than posed by IAA apps with their uncertain futures…

  • @GUB said:
    To me, a huge, huge, HUGE advantage of the Apple Notes app is you know it’s going to be there tomorrow. I’m worried about notes apps that use a proprietary format, and are the only product of some company that could go under. Much bigger risk than posed by IAA apps with their uncertain futures…

    Yes... Look for example at 'Defter Notes' which looks like a great app but they clearly don't have the first clue how to do marketing! Wonder how long it will last.

  • edited September 2023

    @Gavinski said:
    Notes+ is a free one I just discovered. I like the way that writes. I'm using a matte screen protector, btw, that also helps

    Which screen protector do you use? I bought a pack of three once (something similar to Paperlike but wasn’t that brand) and couldn’t get one cleanly on til the 3rd try. Then shattered my iPad within a week and switched sizes. I did like the feel for both writing and touching though.

    Apple Notes has always remained my go to. I tried what had to be everything back in 2019-2020 or so, but keeping an eye on this thread just in case. I just personally never found anything more enjoyable to write with.

  • Zoom Notes - does a lot, even word/excel documents
    Notability - now a subscription model but turns handwriting to text if you want.

  • For something external they have those Rocketbook Pads and Pens

    Digital Notes is currently free usually $.99

  • Anyone remember the Palm Pilot and their handwriting recognition? It was actually quite good if you learned properly how to write using their alphabet.

  • @NeuM said:
    Anyone remember the Palm Pilot and their handwriting recognition? It was actually quite good if you learned properly how to write using their alphabet.

    I have one around here somewhere… There have been many “optimized” schemes to make the journaling of words more efficient. Shorthand, court reporter terminals (8 levers with specific combinations (like chords) for words or phonemes).

    @Gavinski is so old school he wants experience the joys of “beautiful” penmanship. In another couple generations this might be a lost art for many. We will likely skip the intermediate form and just dictate with flawless error, spelling and grammar correction on our personal devices.

    This respect for handwriting as a task seems to be high;y respected in japan and most likely many other cultures. I recall reading that D.T. Suzuki liked to write handwritten notes for all his violin students after their recitals. Calligraphy is elevated to high art in japanese culture. In other cultures there are individuals that also see the beauty in an artfully crafted page of text.

    Who can say they have better handwriting note than they did 20 years before the advent of the personal communications devices and email?

  • @oat_phipps said:

    @Gavinski said:
    Notes+ is a free one I just discovered. I like the way that writes. I'm using a matte screen protector, btw, that also helps

    Which screen protector do you use? I bought a pack of three once (something similar to Paperlike but wasn’t that brand) and couldn’t get one cleanly on til the 3rd try. Then shattered my iPad within a week and switched sizes. I did like the feel for both writing and touching though.

    Apple Notes has always remained my go to. I tried what had to be everything back in 2019-2020 or so, but keeping an eye on this thread just in case. I just personally never found anything more enjoyable to write with.

    I got one in Thailand that I read about online and bought in store. It's magnetic so you can take it on and off. Cost slightly over 20 dollars. I just put it on top of the tempered glass screen protector I had. Haven't had it long but so far I like it. The brand name is Apple Sheep, no idea if you can find them outside Thailand. You might want to look at this, which seems very promising, but is not available where I am and no way I'm going to pay for DHL or whatever to buy a damn screen protector lol:

    https://shop.astropad.com/products/rock-paper-pencil?variant=41534944182404

  • @McD said:

    @NeuM said:
    Anyone remember the Palm Pilot and their handwriting recognition? It was actually quite good if you learned properly how to write using their alphabet.

    I have one around here somewhere… There have been many “optimized” schemes to make the journaling of words more efficient. Shorthand, court reporter terminals (8 levers with specific combinations (like chords) for words or phonemes).

    @Gavinski is so old school he wants experience the joys of “beautiful” penmanship. In another couple generations this might be a lost art for many. We will likely skip the intermediate form and just dictate with flawless error, spelling and grammar correction on our personal devices.

    This respect for handwriting as a task seems to be high;y respected in japan and most likely many other cultures. I recall reading that D.T. Suzuki liked to write handwritten notes for all his violin students after their recitals. Calligraphy is elevated to high art in japanese culture. In other cultures there are individuals that also see the beauty in an artfully crafted page of text.

    Who can say they have better handwriting note than they did 20 years before the advent of the personal communications devices and email?

    Yeah man... I found an old letter from about 25 years ago the other day and apart from bringing back so many memories of the joys of letter writing, I definitely noticed the worsening of my handwriting over the years! Although I'd say it has a lot of character. But yes, there's great pleasure in putting a good pen on good paper, and definitely even with the iPad with a matte screen protector and the right writing app, you can get close. It can be better in some ways - infinite canvases, infinite colour possibilities for both ink and paper, the ability to write huge text that would cost you a small fortune if you were doing it regularly with ink and good fountain pen paper.

    Having played around more the past few days, I think for pure writing experience that free Notes+ app suits me best, using the fountain pen in that with the large nib size. As mentioned, pleasure of the act of writing is my main criterion. But yes, Nebo is incredible in its text conversion - blows my mind how accurate it is.

  • edited September 2023

    Regarding Apple Notes, they are great for casual usage, have perfect integration with the Apple environment, and have automatic iCloud backup. What I don’t like for normal usage are:

    • Developers motto is "Just Enough!"

    • Export one note at a time only in PDF (no Markdown).

    • No support for custom IDs (anchor links).

    • Primitive tables, almost unusable.

    • Only one image in the row.

    • Unable to change the global default font, the current one is terrible for anyone with astigmatism. (This is bottom-line insulting.)

    • Proprietary (hidden) document for all notes.

    • Memory hog.

    • etc.

    It’s essentially a tourist app. 🏕️ Just enough to have something before you find a true solution. 😎

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