Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
Tags: I Would Walk 500 Miles
June 18, 2017
by Chris Randall
There are two major side benefits of switching to JUCE for our plugin dev. The first, you've already met: AAX versions essentially for free.
The second, you're about to meet: iOS versions for moderate effort. JUCE 5 projects on OS X have two targets in addition to the bevy of plugin formats: AUv3 and Standalone. Both of these are essentially pointless on OS X, where the AUv3 is an actual step backwards, lacking everything but the most basic ability to talk to anything but the DAW. Standalones have their purpose, but mostly as synths. A standalone effect is about as useful as... well... nothing really comes to mind. I'll have to ponder for a bit to come up with something that useless.
Switch that target from OS X to iOS, and we're on to something. AUv3 is the only audio plugin format allowed on iOS, and standalones actually have some merit. The screenshot above is Rough Rider 2 running as an AUv3 insert effect in GarageBand. These AUv3 builds will work in any host that can stomach it; right now that list is mildly limited: GarageBand, Audiobus 3, Cubasis (full version), and some others. The situation will improve quite a bit when Intua drops BeatMaker 3 on July 15, in my opinion.
Digressions aside, the only difference between Rough Rider 2 for iOS AUv3 and Rough Rider 2 AU/AAX/VST/VST3 is some mild fiddling with the UI to get it to cooperate in the context. It will run on any device that can run iOS 9.3, which is pretty much anything from iPad 3 / iPad Mini 2 / iPhone 6 on.
Rough Rider 2 is available now in the app store, and like any good drug dealer, we give you the first taste for free. If you run in to any issues at all, don't hesitate to drop us a line.
Grind is next in line, and is currently awaiting TestFlight review so the testers can get a piece of that action, but it is pretty much done. Once that's released, we're going to turn our attention back to desktops for a bit, so we can see how things shake out. I don't want to release everything for iOS, and then find out I did something terribly wrong. But once we're sure that things generally work, we'll push out Dubstation 2 and Eos 2 in short order. I don't expect any trouble building either for iOS.
If you're an iOS musician, I'd like to hear about how you feel about pricing. I'm of a mixed mind on this; obviously, these are identical to the desktop plugins internally, and require a bit extra work, so they should be priced accordingly. On the other hand, the iOS music ecosystem doesn't really have a place for a similar pricing model, and we're in a situation where people are expected to effectively double the price of their purchase to get a 12th format to go with the other 11 they already own.
I went through every AUv3 product I could find on the App Store, and I feel that, in general, plugins seem to be in the $5 to $10 neck of the woods. There are some outliers, but on the whole, that seems to be the case. I'm okay with this in general.
The other option would be to do it free, and have an In-App Purchase to unlock all the features. This isn't terribly complicated, but it does add some frustration to the proceedings, both on my part and on the consumer's part. So I'm less likely to look favorably on this, unless someone can offer a compelling argument in its defense.
April 9, 2017
by Chris Randall
Hectic April continues. The Audio Damage event this week at Perfect Circuit was outstanding. Huge turnout, and Baseck did a crazy excellent set. Much love all around, and thanks to everyone that came out and put up with my stream-of-consciousness presentation style. (Roughly akin to standing there and going "BLEARRRGHGGHGGHHH!!!!" for 30 minutes. Good times. Good times.)
Next on the agenda: the very first box of Eos modules will be arriving here tomorrow; I'll have time to test them and turn them around. They're all going to Control in NYC, so until l get back from Europe, that'll be the only place on the planet you can buy them. I'm going to get the product page up today, with specs and at least one overview video.
I buried the lede in that last paragraph. "...get back from Europe." Superbooth is right around the corner, y'all! The marquee event of the Eurorack World is April 20-22 at Fex in Berlin, and AD (in the form of me) will be in attendance, showing off Ensō and Eos, and all our other products. I'm very excited for this; it is, by far, my favorite event of the ones we do yearly, and I'm really looking forward to it. Instead of flying direct to Berlin, I'm going to Prague (much cheaper) and renting a car to drive to Berlin. I'll only be in Prague a couple days, but if any AI readers live there and want to grab a beer and whatever it is that Czechs eat, I'm totally down.
So, tl;dr: LA was fun. The Czech Republic and Germany will be fun. First Eos will be out the door Tuesday. Crazy times!
February 9, 2017
by Chris Randall
Sync02 is the second in what is apparently going to be a yearly 1st-Saturday-Of-March affair. Last year's event went off well enough that we decided to do it again, despite the torential rain. As you may remember if you attended, Sync01 took place at JWZ's excellent CodeWord venue in San Francisco. Saturday, March 4th at Holocene. It is over twice as big as last year's, so we got a partner. Audio Damage is doing it in partnership with Control Voltage. The manufacturers that will be exhibiting include:
Industrial Music Electronics
S1 Synth Library
Roger Linn Design
Control Voltage will have a pop-up store at the venue, so warm up your debit card. The exhibition runs from 10:30A to 4:30P, and then we close the venue for a bit to remove the tables, and reopen at 5:30P for the show. The performers include:
The exhibition is free to attend, and all-ages. The performance is 21+ and $10. So, if you're in Portland, and you don't come to this, well... I am given to understand that Modular On The Spot will be doing a separate event the night before. The Facebook event page is here. Please hit the little button to let us know you're coming. That number is helpful.
It may be a little early to bring this up, but I'm also open to ideas for where Sync03 should be. It takes a while to put these together, so the city needs to have a good confluence of both manufacturers and customers. My initial first choice for Sync03 was Washington, DC, but I'm also open to European cities, or something I haven't thought of.
August 10, 2016
by Chris Randall
A nice trip to Oregon last week; visited my mom on the Coast, did an event at Control Voltage in Portland, and visited my 90-yr-old grandparents in Eastern Oregon. A lot of driving, but good fun overall.
Side note: while I generally do the requisite things to keep my creative batteries charged, all the usual shit that everyone does, once in a while, a good set of circumstances can give me an extra boost, and that occurred Saturday morning in Portland. I had some time to kill, and the hotel was right next to the Portland Art Museum, so I figured "fuck it, let's go have a look." The Portland Art Museum has a relatively small permanent collection, largely given to portraits of overweight Flemish bankers, like most small museums that exist due to the largess of a cattle baron or some such. So most of the museum is given over to temporary exhibits.
The combination of shows at the PDX museum last weekend was really stellar, is all I'm saying. In particular, there was an installation of material studies from Allied Works Architecture that really got my gears turning. Super inspirational. I think I caught it on its last day there, but what a great exhibit. Also, the new collection of graphic art in the basement is well worth a look if you're in Portland.
Anyhow, I'm changing the schedule on these videos a bit. I've moved The Weekly to mid-week, and Tech Time will stay in the weekends. Since those are more popular, I'm going to devote the entire weekend to their creation, and bang out The Weekly during the work week, since it is inherently easier to do.
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!! to the YouTube channel if you haven't already.
April 5, 2016
by Chris Randall
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few whiles, you are perfectly aware of last week's Superbooth 16 in Berlin. Schneidersburo is one of the largest Eurorack retailers (and via their Alex4 subsidiary, the European distributor for almost all North American Euro manufacturers), and every year they've had an Analogue Superbooth at MusikMesse in Frankfurt.
The MusikMesse has, in the last few years, become a hostile environment for boutique manufacturers, and Schneidersburo/Alex4 decided, to their credit, to make their Analogue Superbooth a stand-alone event, and put it in Berlin (where it's cool) instead of Frankfurt (where it's basically Dallas Plus Schnitzel). We'd been dreading the inevitable trip to Messe, so when Schneider's announced this event, we immediately jumped on board, as did virtually everyone else. All the larger North American Euro manufacturers were in attendance, with one notable exception. Essentially all of the European manufacturers were there, as well as many other companies that ran the gamut from one-dude-in-a-basement-with-an-invention on up to U-He, Ableton, Native Instruments, Roland, Korg, Yamaha, and Moog, along with several pro-audio companies.
It was, basically, all the cool shit in the music tech business under one roof.
The venue was the splendid former state radio building of the GDR, and while it was a bit run down, having sat idle for some decades now, the Schneiders folks did an amazing job cleaning it up and running the event. I'll admit that the potential for a clusterfuck of massive proportions was a distinct possibility, given the location of the venue (on the corner of the Ass End Of Nowhere and Bumblefuck) and the high cost of attendance. I am personally of the mind that these sorts of events should be free to the attendees, and I give any event that has even a moderate fee the side-eye, but in this case, the stars aligned and all went perfectly.
Schneiders organized it so the first half of the (very long) days were for trade only and the second half were for the public. Since we don't actually have a whole lot of trade to do, being distributed exclusively by Alex4, the first parts of the days were spent hanging with old friends and meeting new ones, seeing the new stuff everyone's working on, and talking about the industry. The public half of the days was outstanding; the people that attended were the best informed I've personally come across at one of these events. I didn't talk to a single "so... what does this... do... exactly?" n00B. (I despise those conversations, as I've worked in this business so long I just assume everyone I talk to has the same knowledge base I do, and when I find myself explaining how an oscillator works, my eyes glaze over immediately.)
All in all, this was the single best event of this sort that I've ever attended. We've been discussing not doing the major trade shows any more (NAMM in particular) because the signal-to-noise ratio is so bad that there's no noticeable return on our investment. This, however, was money and time well spent, and we very much look forward to next year.
Adam was unable to attend, as he had a vacation in Japan planned for the same time period, and due to personal reasons was unable to change the dates. So I took Jeremy Highhouse to work our booth for the public parts. I've been to Frankfurt many times, and spent a couple months in Hamburg and Cologne, but I've never visited Berlin. I only had about a day and a half to explore, but what an outstanding city! I loved every minute I was there, except for the first day. (And this is my fault, not Berlin's. Like some sort of diptard, I left my one and only coat in Phoenix, and arrived to a very cold and wet Berlin at 7AM, unable to get in my rented flat until 3PM, after 21 hours of travel. That was... amusing.)
It was great to see people in real life that I've known for years online and talk to daily, and to make a whole mess of new friends. Well worth the trouble of getting there. Special shout out to the Koma Elektronik boys, who are, quite frankly, the coolest people I've ever met.