New movements in iPad MIDI control: Konkreet Performer, Kapture app, new Griid

In 2010 music apps were all the rage. Beat makers, modular synths, recording devices and studio-in-a-box applications on the iPad were the most exciting thing we had seen in music production for some time. But after a while all of these boxes (inside the box) seemed frivolous when they didn’t work together and I found myself wondering how to integrate the iPad into my (already complex) studio workflow. It seems that app creators had the same thoughts. This year seems to have developers looking deeper into our iOS studio experience with an emphasis on applications that help control the apps we already use in the studio. The addition of  WiFi Midi to Apple’s OS has opened up many new possibilities while the OSC protocol finds continued support as well. Below we will take a look at some new options for controlling Ableton Live as well as new interfaces that can be applied to a variety of situations.

Konkreet Performer – The coolest looking interface we have seen for touch-screen music control has finally been released into the wild and it’s getting great reviews. Konkreet Labs Performer “is a music control and performance instrument that was designed to utilize multi-touch technology to the full. Instead of faders and knobs, an intuitive remote operation of software instruments on the computer, made through manipulation of an abstract objects on your device.” In action it seems to work best with Reaktor (many mappings available currently) in uses where you want to grab 4 different parameters and tweak-away. In use I’ve found it to be an amazing idea, interface and idea-starter but fairly complicated to customize. If you are handy with programming your own controllers you’ll probably have a ball finding configurations for new control. For the rest of us there seem to be a healthy amount of Reaktor and Ableton Live templates to keep us busy for a while. In the above video Performer is controlling Twisted Tool’s Buffeater Lite which you can grab for free here. Twisted Tools has also posted a nice guide to setting up Reaktor with Konkreet Performer (below).

Griid – We are excited to have some exclusive news from Liine, the company behind the fantastic Ableton Live controller called Griid (which we featured last month.) Originally developed for Plastikman’s live performances, Griid offers clip control and midi note editing for Ableton from your iPad. We have learned that the next version of the software will integrate Miixer – a mixer module that offers “track-based navigation” and will be available for the iPhone as well as the iPad.

Kapture – While Griid continues to evolve with the control options of Ableton’s interface, the real excitement is for a new iOS app they are releasing that claims to add new functionality to Live. Richie Hawtin explains more on his blog: Building on the free Max4Live Kapture patch (created for the Plastikman Live show), Kapture iPad Edition allows Ableton users to take snapshots of their entire working session, recording every possible parameter possible, levels, plugins, sends, returns in one press of a button. But where the iDevice version excels is its new 4 quadrant morph feature where you have the ability to morph in realtime between 4 recorded channel snapshots, automating a ton of parameters with one gesture. Sounds simple enough, but wait until you hear it! We will have more details on this clever application for you soon (and we can’t wait to try it in action!)

Another movement that I’m excited to see emerging is the use of iOS to control parameters in some notoriously difficult to program hardware / synths. First up – a user by the name of Armatronix uploaded a very handy Touch OSC template that alllows you to program the Yamaha DX-7. The template is called “The Missing Link DX7 Sysex Editor” and can be downloaded here. As the owner of a MicroKORG synth I was also excited to find the above video of Marcus Padrini using the S1 Midi Trigger application to control the MicroKORG’s parameters (which are also a bit hard to access without a number of steps on the hardware.) Marcus has uploaded his MicroKORG template which you can download here.

While the above links are the result of an open-source community there are some companies offering similar products for a price on the Apple App Store. iControlMidi is offering quite a few of them, actually. Aimed mostly at vintage hardware (and software re-creations), the company currently offers custom controllers for the MinimoogV, CS-80V, Chroma, MKS-50, Juno-1 or 2, DX7, TX81Z and Waldorf Blofeld (above video).

Michael Walsh is an audio/visual artist and journalist living in Los Angeles. Read more of his work at

  • NooN
  • 2/28/2011

Also a nice one: MidiPads. Seems to work quite good according to the reviewers…

  • Glennzone
  • 2/28/2011

Simply amazing revolution regarding the missing link which has remained elusive for far too long; that void we call control, which now seems to be flooding while we are in silence. It is quite a welcome change having the tools to create such interface innovations.

You go, Mr. Walsh ! Break it down ! Bring it on ! Hat’s off to you to, Mr. Peter Kirn, wherever you are ! !

Thanks for being the bearers of gooooooooooood news ! :-)

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