Mitosynth 1.2 is now available! Mitosynth remains iOS 7 compatible, but some new features do require iOS 8. Here’s the quick overview of what’s new:
- Automation Step Sequencer
- Pitch & Note Tracking
- MIDI Program Change & Patch Bank mappings
- MIDI Polyphonic Aftertouch
- iPhone performance mode enhancements
- iPhone 6/6+ screen size extensions
- 20 new built-in patches
- iOS 8: IAA Transport Controls
- iOS 8: Bluetooth MIDI Configuration
- iOS 8: Import & Export audio using File Providers
- iOS 8: Audio Plugin support
- iOS 8: Finger-angle sensitivity
Let’s get stuck into the details! First up:
Wherever you can set up LFOs, noise and so on, you can now program in sequences of up to 16 steps. Each one can have, not only a value, but also a curve. So, as well as holding values at a particular level for the duration of that step, you can also have them curve towards the next value, with different curve shapes to achieve different effects.
You can also set a “sustain step”, and some options related to it. This lets you create something more like a traditional ADSR envelope, where when you trigger a note, it plays through the sequence until it reaches the “sustain step” and then holds that value until you let go of the note, then it resumes playing through the “release” stage of the sequence. Unlike a typical ADSR, you can have many steps in the attack/decay and release stages, and it’s easy to make complex shapes.
Also, like most of the automation options in Mitosynth, you can set Max and Min values, and they also can be automated, to achieve a variety of effects. To give a very simple example, you can program one LFO into Min, another LFO into Max, then use steps of 0% and 100% to create a pattern switching between the two LFOs.
There’s enough stuff here that I’ll probably end up writing a blog post just about the step sequencer at some point! So, onwards to:
These provide two different ways of linking a value to the note being played. Pitch Tracking is the simplest: you just dial in a value, which is the value to use for Middle A (440hz) on the keyboard. Higher or lower notes will automatically use higher or lower values, keeping the ratio the same. So if you go one octave up (880hz) the value will double, and so on. This works well for things like filter cutoff frequencies.
Note Tracking is an alternative method where you use 4 dials to describe the mapping between notes and values. Two represent the min and max note, and two represent the min and max values to use.
Let’s say you program the min note as A3 (220hz) and the max note as A5 (880hz). Then you set the min and max values, and when you play A3 (or below), it will use the min value, and when you play A5 (or above) it will use the max value, and in between it will blend (so that A4 would use values exactly half way between min and max). Used in combination with the Blender or Gridcøre modes, this can be useful for multisampling, as well as other effects.
Mitosynth provides powerful patch management: you can quickly call up patches by name or by using a tagging system that lets you “cross-cut” tags (eg “show me all the ‘bass’ patches that are also ‘retro’”). However, most MIDI devices don’t know anything about tags or even giving names to patches, and just refer to patches by number.
In Mitosynth 1.2 you can assign a number to patches, so that you can switch to them via MIDI. There are currently 4 “banks” of patches (which you can also switch between via MIDI), and by default Bank 1 (and a bit of Bank 2) is filled with built-in patches, and Banks 3 & 4 will fill up with patches you create yourself. But, you can reassign patches wherever you want using the Patch Bank editor:
If you have a MIDI device that sends polyphonic aftertouch, you can now set up Mitosynth’s automation to respond to it. Polyphonic aftertouch is where a MIDI device can send an extra “performance variation” for every note. A typical example is a keyboard where, after you play a note, you can press the note down a little further, and the amount of pressure you apply is the “aftertouch” value.
If you’re using Mitosynth on iOS 8, you can even do this with the touchscreen! Mitosynth already lets you use the Ribbon Controller to vary the velocity after you’ve played the note, but in iOS 8 it’s now able to detect how much of your finger is in contact with the screen (even with the regular piano key controls). Note: iOS 8’s aftertouch sensitivity isn’t very high! So using a MIDI device will get better results.
For all iPhone users, there’s now an “up/down arrow” control on the performance screen. When you tap or swipe it, it changes the control panels between the usual XY Pads, and other controls such as tempo or the master volume control.
And, if you’re using a shiny new iPhone 6 or 6+, Mitosynth 1.2 is set to take advantage of the extended screen space, providing larger keyboards (up to 2 full octaves on 6+ using the standard key size) and XY pads.
Mitosynth has supported Inter-App Audio since v1.1, but with v1.2 and iOS 8, it also adds IAA Transport Controls, allowing you to send controls to an IAA host app (eg to tell it to start recording). This is available from the performance screen. On the iPad peformance screen, it’s visible any time IAA is connected. On iPhone, you can use the “up/down arrow” control to flip to the IAA controls.
iOS 8 also supports MIDI-over-Bluetooth. The actual Bluetooth support is an iOS 8 feature, but Mitosynth provides quick access to the Bluetooth configuration panels from the Settings screen.
Mitosynth supports iOS 8’s file system plugins, so you can import and export audio files to iCloud Drive, as well as other services that provide compatible plugins.
And, the audio editing plugin technology I mentioned previously is also supported — I don’t know if anyone will use it, but it’s there!