May 25, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed...

by Chris Randall

As all regular readers of AI know, I've spent the better part of a year (and gone through two fairly expensive touchscreen monitors) trying to come up with a touch-based app for songwriting and live performance. I've just got my seventh (!!!) attempt working to the point where it can actually be used to make music, so I thought I'd toss up a quick video.

As with the other attempts, no DAW is used at all. The DSP is entirely Max/MSP (not M4L) and the app itself is written in C++ using the Cinder framework. Two-way communication between the app and Max is done with OSC. Right now, all that's working is the mixer and the step sequencer. The drum samples are hosted in Max itself for a change of pace (previously I'd used Maschine for these adventures), but all the synth noises are coming out of either the Analog Four or the Virus Ti. You get the idea.

Yeah, I'm gonna keep kicking this can down the road until it shakes out in to something usable.


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May.26.2013 @ 12:53 AM
progress looks fun.. sounds fun too. that touch screen looks... alluring.

oh, yes please keep kicking the can. someone needs to make cool touch screen stuff that isn't "dubstepper".. even if not a commercial product.

May.26.2013 @ 5:06 AM
Serious Jedi master R&D going on there.

May.26.2013 @ 10:39 AM
Seeing this app and monitor next to the Virus really puts the scale of it in perspective. Far, far more usable-looking than something comparable on an iPad.

One thing that seems to be consistently overlooked in this iPad app world, as far as performance is concerned, is the need for an app (and the device that it's hosted on) to be visually scannable. If there are no tactile keys, frets, knobs or faders to grab on to, your eyes need to be able to quickly identify where your fingers should be.

Looks like you're getting closer to something that can work in that context.

May.26.2013 @ 11:04 AM
Chris Randall
Yeah, this monitor is quite large. You have to be very "delicate" when working with an iPad in a music context, whereas with something like this, you can make big sweeping gestures, and you don't need a whole lot of aim. I was Captain Tinybuttons when I first got it; it took me a while to realize that one needs to be generous with control real-estate in this context.

Even when I just run Live on it, I use Live 9's UI size feature to jack it way up. Many of the controls are nearly impossible to hit unless you do that.


May.26.2013 @ 8:55 PM
Be careful - you might mislead some poor unfortunate soul into believing that software development is actually fun.

May.27.2013 @ 1:34 PM
Zero One
i waited and waited, but you didnt touch the screen....
i feel cheated ;0)
maybe in the next demo you can show us some live programming.

May.27.2013 @ 1:35 PM
Zero One
damn - i missed you pressing play at the beginning - i take it all back

May.27.2013 @ 1:42 PM
Chris Randall
I change the patterns several times, as well.


May.28.2013 @ 4:17 PM
now just unleash a pac-man sprite to digest/delete that delicious looking row of closed-hats - and you've got your chaos element all knocked out. ship it!

May.28.2013 @ 5:16 PM
The idea of a step sequencer stealing or placing notes is (in theory, anyway) interesting. In practice, probably irritating as hell, unless that's the sort of groove you're going for.

There was some standalone Max/MSP generated thing awhile back that had a SID-ish sound to it, that had a mode where you could turn on a game and start playing it right in the middle of your track.

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