ModStep bugs and new features
I know there’s an update to ModStep in the works. Since I’m not in the beta test and I haven’t heard back from AppBC, I thought I would just post a little missive about some bugs on the off chance that someone who is in the beta can verify that they’ve been fixed, or else bring the issues to the devs’ attention.
-Audio weirdness: often when I load ModStep into Audiobus 2 or AUM it seems that ModStep’s audio output isn’t actually in those apps’ channels, but rather seems to be directly connected to the device output. Starting ModStep by itself and then adding it to the apps seems to help, but even that is not consistent. Like most people I just host things in AUM now (actually Audiobus into AUM as I use State Saving and Audiobus Remote), but still it would be nice to get these issues squared away.
-Exporting clips don’t seem to save their CC modulations. Notes are saved in the exported clip, but CC data seems to vanish.
-Exporting clips as MIDI does save the CC’s but when those MIDI files are imported into another session, the CCs are not as smooth (or maybe they’re doubled up, it’s hard to tell) regardless it doesn’t sound the same as the original clip
-Clips can't be deleted - at least there doesn’t seem to be a way other than using iFunBox and deleting from that.
-Play state not shown in Audiobus Remote (or Audiobus side panel). In both cases the play button stays a triangle when pressed and doesn’t change to a Stop button to indicate that the app has started playing. Not a major issue, but still.
I have experienced some other random weirdness, but it’s sporadic and not replicable:
-Sometimes when saving, file name becomes track name
-CC assignments don't get properly saved in sessions
Now, I do have a couple of suggestions / requests that I think would make working with ModStep even more useful. It’s probably too late to get these added if they haven’t been worked on already, but I might as well ask!
ModStep is the king of modulation, but while it’s very fast to use, it’s not precise. Here are a few suggestions:
-High res modulation editing. Ability to 'maximize' the 'mod' window into the area the piano roll occupies for high precision modulation drawing. It's already possible to maximize the piano roll, hiding the mod area, so it seems logical that the reverse could be possible.
-Ability to enter an exact value for a node by long pressing it. Sometimes you need to hit an exact value.
-Ability to generate preset curves to begin working from (Sine, Saw, etc.) with definable ranges and rates Basically an LFO that writes into the mod window. Actually, just having LFOs would be pretty cool….
-Show guide lines at values 32, 64, 96 in the small mod window. When expanded to full screen have more detail.
-MIDI CC range limit applies to piano roll editor too. You can apply range limits to CC controls in the Template Editor page, but they only apply to the X/Y pads in the Step Sequencer. You should be able to toggle a setting in the Piano Roll to just have the reduced range in the mod window. e.g. some synths have buttons that respond with 0 off, >=1 on. This is very hard to draw in the Piano Roll, but if the range was limited to just 0 -1 it would be easy.
-Show all CC's recorded, even if modulation isn't in the X/Y pad. If you enter some modulation for, say CC5 and then change your template to something that doesn’t have CC5, it will look like the modulation is gone. It won’t be active, but it’s still there. If you add a template with CC5, you’ll see it again. There should be a way, even with XY pads empty to see all CCs that are currently written into a clip.
In terms of setting up templates and modulation there are a few things that would help:
-Full template editor. Instead of having to add a CC number and then assign a name, it would be much quicker if the template editor opened a window with 128 fields like a spreadsheet. You would then just enter the name next the number you wanted. Much, much quicker to build out a new template. Empty fields wouldn’t show up in the palette.
-MIDI CC range or switch saved in template. I know you can save a reduced range to a controller when it’s assigned to an X/Y pad, but I would prefer if you could save that reduced range in the base template itself. I don’t like to have assignments in the X/Y pads, I prefer to just add what I want per song.
-Normal, iOS keyboard. The custom keyboard is very poor as compared to the built in iOS keyboard:
—Capital letters are not shown
—Two finger cursor moves are not supported.
—Bluetooth keyboards are not supported.
Also, when an entry is just numeric, the keyboard should switch to just a numeric keypad instead of a full alpha keyboard.
Finally, there are a few other refinements I would love to see:
-Clip modifications. While you can set clip measures to play at different speeds it would be great if you could actually change the MIDI data. @gonekrazy3000 showed a technique for doing section chopping with the new version and AB3, but it would be great if this was just part of the editing suite. Also, the ability to reverse or invert (flip on the Y axis) a MIDI clip would be fantastic.
-Activate button on finger up. This is a common paradigm for buttons in audio hardware and software. Basically, it’s more precise to set your fingers and lift up to active, say Mutes, rather than pressing down. A settings toggle to change the behavior would be great.
-Other time signatures - not just Active Steps. Active Steps are great, but you should be able to set a base time signature first.
-Regarding Active Steps, they need to be much more visible in the Step Sequencer!
-Regarding Step Sequencer: the ability to see chords would be great. There could be a disclosure triangle like in the Piano Roll to expand the size of the note area.
-Audiobus Remote. More controls visible through AB Remote: scene triggers, possibly channel mutes.
-Ableton Export of MIDI. I know that early versions of Ableton Live Set Export were limited in MIDI export, not sure if that’s changed, but getting a Session out to Ableton would be amazing!