New iOS / iPad Music Production Apps: Waldorf, Reactable, TouchOSC, Polyplayground +

Reactable Mobile 2.0

Reactable Systems, creators of Reactable and Reactable Live, have released an updated to Reactable Mobile, introducing a new social networking feature, Reactable Community. Reactable is a performance oriented synthesizer that combines modular synthesis, sampling, digital audio effects and DJing with multitouch control. In the below video you can find Bostich + Fussible of Mexico’s Nortec Collective demonstrating a performance with Reactable Mobile. Here’s what’s new in Reactable Mobile 2.0:

• Direct access to Reactable Community
• Save and View Performances
• Direct table upload
• Table Meta data
• Brand new menus

Mike Gao’s Polyplayground

As a producer with no proper music theory training, I’m always interested in new methods of learning (and finding shortcuts to better music creation). Mike Gao’s Polyplayground achieves both goals with a synthesizer / MIDI controller that allows easy composition with horizontal and vertical movements across the iPad screen. The application was developed in collaboration with LA Label / Collective Brainfeeder and looks to be a creative MIDI application that can help you learn music theory.

Other Features:

• You can press the Horizontal/Vertical buttons to change your pitch space.
• Guitar/bass players can change the pitch space to 5:1 (fourths by chromatic) for their familiar layout, while cello players can use 7:1 (fifths by chromatic).
• Other notable spaces are 4:7 (Longuet Higgins) and Gerald Balzano’s 4:3. In 4:7, a square is a major 7th. You can move this square one step at a time to the left to do a very John Coltrane like progression: transposing a major 7th down by major 3rds.
• MIDI input allows one to visualize existing music in this space to understand it easier. One can jam along with another musician, or existing MIDI chords and never get lost- because you can see what is going on.
• It also works wirelessly via OSC, which will be explained on our website. This will allow for music theory lessons to be taught remotely, or notes to be sent across the stage.

Touch OSC – 1.8.1 Update

Hexler’s Touch OSC was launched in 2008 as one of the first iPad control applications on the market. With over 25 updates this application revolutionized the iPad platform with OSC and MIDI control for almost any application. In addition to connectivity, Touch OSC has a dedicated and supportive user-base who share template files and tips for the application in Hexler’s User Forums, where you can find a template for almost anything. Most recently Hexler has updated the software yet again with some fixes, tweaks and improvements to take this ubiquitous app into the future.

Updates include:

• Added setting of control/child-control color with MIDI messages (new “c” var)
• Added touch y position velocity emulation option to Push-button controls
• Added MIDI message sending/receiving for Tab-pages
• Added custom OSC messages for Tab-pages
• Added “no rollover” option to Rotary controls (to prevent jump from/to full/zero)
• Added LiveControl layouts
• Added additional control colors
• Changed resolution of Bonjour services to IP addresses instead of host-names
• Fixed Toggle-button received MIDI/OSC message value range behavior
• Fixed Multi-toggle MIDI Note message receive
• Fixed OSC size messages for Fader controls
• Fixed Rx/Tx indicator rendering
• Updated artwork (including support for the Retina iPad display)


Waldorf iPad Synthesizer

Waldorf, the German synthesizer company renowned for incredibly sonic (and expensive) wavetable synths, has recently announced that they’re joining the iOS app craze with the Waldorf iPad Synthesizer.  While the app is still in the development, it’s newsworthy because Waldorf is bringing a new dimension to this type of synthesis with visuals that give accurate feedback to the waves used for creation. The company explains:

“Thanks to intelligent gesture recognition and plenty of available graphic performance the iPad is perfect for bringing wavetable synthesis to a new level. For the first time it will be possible to plunge into the depths of wavetables and to make their sound content visible with advanced 3-D technology. The existing wavetable technology is thereby extended by two new dimensions, and it allows for formant shifts as well as numerous other unheard sounds. Also, unlike with typical wavetable instruments, the number and length of waves in a wavetable will no longer be restricted.”


Audiobus – iOS Audio Routing

In another piece of exciting iOS news, recently reported on a fantastic piece of iOS technology called Audiobus that is in the works from A Tasty Pixel, creators of the popular Loopy application. The basic premise of Audiobus is to allow audio channels to be routed from one iOS application to another, allowing multiple iOS applications to send audio signal to each other.

“Audiobus is analogous to audio cables,” said Tyson. “It lets you stream audio between two apps, on the same device or between multiple devices over WiFi. Users will be able to stream the output of audio apps straight into other apps, e.g. live-loopers or DAWs [digital audio workstations], playing along in sync with tracks.”

In addition to bus functionality, Audiobus also allows users to “jam” together on different iOS devices, while recording the whole jam session. “Apple has done something similar to Audiobus with the latest version of Garageband,” he told, “but it only works for Garageband, isn’t documented at all and not open to iOS developers. Also there’s copperLan but that’s not really adjusted to the needs of developers of iOS music apps.”

To get the whole scoop on this iOS movement, check out’s article on the subject. And to learn more about Audiobus, check out A Tasty Pixel’s Tumbler site which offers much insight into the development process of this landmark application.

Michael Walsh is a producer of audio/visual art and a journalist living in Southern California. Read more of his work at