It’s that time again, when another app is pushed out onto the stage, blinking under the lights: Mitosynth is the latest synthesiser app from Wooji Juice. It’s not yet in beta testing, and there’s plenty to do before it’s ready for people to get their hands on, but it’s already sounding pretty good!
It’s been a while since the website got a fresh design. I’ve been mostly announcing things on Twitter since way more people follow @wooji there, than follow the blog feed. But it’s time for spring cleaning, and posting things that require more than 140 characters!
Grain Science 1.4 has been released, and the headline feature is Audiobus support!
Some of you just read that, and are already heading to the App Store to update (and some of you will have already updated before reading this!), but some of you may be wondering: what’s this Audiobus business?
Audiobus is a new technology (and a new app) for iOS that allows you to link audio apps together. Just like you might take a real audio cable and connect (for example) a synth to a reverb unit, and the reverb unit to a recording device, you can now launch Audiobus, and connect Grain Science to other apps on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.
2012-11-02: The update, Grain Science 1.3.5, is now released; this should resolve the issues mentioned below. If you run into issues with Grain Science, and you’ve checked you’re running the latest version, please let us know and we’ll check into it for you.
So, iOS 6 was recently released, along with the iPhone 5, and we promptly issued updates for our apps where needed. With one exception: the app we didn’t immediately release an update for is Grain Science. This is because we ran into some last-minute issues and had to pull the update until we could address them.
So, version 1.3.2 of Grain Science is out, and it’s primarily a bug-fix update. I wanted to talk a bit more about this update and its implications.
You see, the main bug that’s addressed in this update, isn’t actually a bug in Grain Science at all — it’s a bug in iOS that we’ve uncovered. Unfortunately, it can cause data to be lost. This is a serious issue which we reported to Apple, who are taking steps to fix it in a future iOS update, and have also provided us with some assistance in working around the problem in the meantime.
Recently, I posted a new Grain Science demo track to SoundCloud. It’s just a series of experiments, but quite a few people found it interesting because it demonstrates a side to Grain Science that maybe not everyone is aware of: the ability to bring to life the awesome synth instruments that are lurking in the everyday sounds all around you:
All the sounds you hear in this demo are created from four short recordings: a glass being struck, a coin being spun and dropped, a short whistling sample, and a tiny bit of beatboxing.
Today, version 1.2 of Grain Science was released. It’s another big update!
The things I personally like the most in v1.2 are the new Chorus unit, Pulse-Width Modulation and (just because it “feels” nice to use) swapping FX units by drag-and-drop.
Here’s the complete list of changes:
- New: Chorus FX unit
- New: Pulse Width Modulation blend mode
- New: Wave list shows a count of how many instruments use each wave
- New: More musician-friendly BPM system, goes up to 180bpm with ¼, 1/8, 1/16 and 1/32 options (old system can still be selected)
- New: Multiple-octave chord arpeggiation
- New: Swipe to delete unwanted audio from wave & audio import lists
- New: “Reed” built-in wave
- New: 6 additional built-in instruments
- New: Tube Resonance Bass can be programmed
- New: UI improvement — swap FX units by dragging them around by their names
- New: Setting to choose whether recording is hold-to-record or tap-to-start/tap-to-stop
- New: Mini VU meter on recording button during recording (or, in hold-to-record mode, tap to toggle on/off)
- New: Cropping selections now snap to zero-crossings for smoother results
- Improved: Easier to see when a cropping selection is about to begin
- Improved: Avoids “popping” while installing/uninstalling FX units
- Improved: Slightly more useful naming for newly-created instruments
- Fix: Crash bug when mapping certain kinds of parameter in otherwise-unmodified instruments
- Fix: Issue with reverb resetting itself after re-opening Grain Science
- Fix: Control Mapper shows the same names for Tube Resonance parameters as on their FX dials
- Fix: Issue with Control Mapper Auto-Reset not always auto-resetting to the correct value
- Fix: Issue with Single-Shot grain mode
Most of the posts here are aimed at the people who use the stuff we make. This one is aimed at fellow iOS developers, who might be searching for a solution to a particular problem.
That problem is that UISegmentedControl doesn’t offer good VoiceOver accessibility. This is unusual for Apple as their accessibility stuff is normally extremely strong.
(If you’re lost already, VoiceOver is the name of Apple’s technology for making devices usable by people who can’t see — amongst other things, by reading out the names of items as they pass under the touch of a user running their fingertip across the screen. UISegmentedControl is the technical name for those widgets that look like one long button, split up into pieces, where you can tap the pieces to select one of several options. If you open up the Maps app, it’s the thing that says “Search | Directions”. )
Grain Science has been out for a month, and our first update has just been released. Version 1.1 brings quite a lot of new stuff!
The most exciting is probably the virtual MIDI/background audio support. This allows you to launch another app while Grain Science continues to play music in the background, either to combine their output, or because you want to use the other app as a controller. It’s pretty neat tapping, say, the controls in Polychord and hearing Grain Science’s distinctive sounds in response.