Holiday sales for iPad musicians

So your wallet survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday? It’s not over yet, now start the holiday sales. If you are an iPad musician, you owe yourself to check out these deals, since they are a great opportunity to stock up on amazing iOS music apps.

Here is a roundup of the sweetest end-of-year / holiday deals I could find. Prices are quoted at the time of writing, and may change at any time (probably won’t until their respective deadlines, but don’t blame me if they do).

Native Instruments iMASCHINE 2 is $4.99 (normally $9.99) – no indication of when the sale ends, but it is an essential purchase.
iMaschine 2 – NATIVE INSTRUMENTS GmbH

Elastic Drums half price ($4.99 not $9.99) until end of 2016:
Elastic Drums – O-G-SUS

Cubasis 2 special price until January 9, 2017 (now $24.99, regular price $49.99):
Cubasis 2 – Mobile Music Creation System – Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH

KORG iWavestation 33 % off until January 5, 2017 ($19.99 instead of $29.99 )
KORG iWAVESTATION – KORG INC.

KORG Gadget 50 % off until January 5, 2017 ($19.99 instead of $39.99). In-app purchases are also discounted 33–50%.
KORG Gadget – KORG INC.

KORG iM1 50 % off until January 5, 2017 ($14.99 instead of $29.99)
KORG iM1 – KORG INC.

IK Multimedia Amplitude is 40 % off at $11.99 (regular $19.99) until December 31, 2016. Also some in-app purchases are discounted.
AmpliTube for iPad – IK Multimedia
AmpliTube – IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia UltraTuner for iPhone is $5.99 (regular $9.99) until December 31, 2016.
UltraTuner – Ultra Precise Chromatic Tuner for Guitar, Bass, Strings, Brass and More – IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia SampleTank is $11.99 (regular $19.99) until December 31, 2016.
SampleTank – IK Multimedia

Quantiloop live looper is $5.99 instead of $9.99. Grab it now, version 2 incoming!
Quantiloop – Live Quantizing Looper – Stephan Marx

Alexandernaut’s amazing Fugue Machine is on sale through January 12, 2017 (and all other Alexandernaut apps too).
Fugue Machine | multi-playhead sequencer – Alexandernaut

I don’t know how long the Arturia sale will last, but iSEM, iMini and iProphet are still $4.99 each, and iSpark is $9.99.
iSEM Synthesizer – Arturia
iMini Synthesizer – Arturia
iProphet Synthesizer – Arturia
Arturia iSpark – Arturia

I’ll probably add more when I come across more. I have personally purchased all the apps mentioned here now or earlier, so I should be able to answer any questions you may have about how they work, individually or together through Inter-App Audio or Audiobus. Many of these apps also work on the iPhone, but some have separate versions for tablet and phone.

The music of Super Mario Run

Nintendo’s Super Mario Run for iOS is finally out.

Download Super Mario Run on the App Store

 

 

 

Since I like to think about, and listen to, game music, before even playing the game itself I thought about what kind of music it might have.

And what do you know, a YouTube user by the name of ohnoskellitanz has already made YouTube videos of its music. It’s bouncy, it’s synthy, it’s gamey – well, what did you expect? Death metal?

I’m going to find out who actually did the music for the game and give them credit. In the meantime, here are links to those videos – just the splash screen and the music, no gameplay:

There could be more music, for all I know. Maybe I need to download the game now and start playing.

Black Friday software deals for iOS and macOS musicians

Should you? Of course you should – namely fill up your iPad, iPhone or Mac with sweet synths, effects and maybe even full DAWs, but use only the best software and take advantage of only the best bargains.

Here are a couple of choice examples of Black Friday deals on music software, in effect right now and extending days or weeks ahead. You don’t need to be American to appreciate the shopping madness that precedes Thanksgiving on Black Friday, and follows it on Cyber Monday.

The usual disclaimers apply: prices are quoted at the time of writing, and they may change in the future. Any deals are subject to the terms and conditions of the manufacturer or retailer. I’m not responsible for any errors or lost deals.

I will update this list occasionally if I hear from other good deals. You’re welcome to report some in the comments below.

IK Multimedia

Half price discounts on iOS apps (from $/€ 6.99 to 11.99 per app) until December 4th, 2016. This includes the following apps:

There are more, when I get the time to edit the list. Some in-app purchases for sound sets are also half price.

Loopers

Arturia

The great Arturia vintage synth emulations for iPad – iProphet, iMini and iSEM – are on sale for US $4.99, as is their iSpark drum machine for US $9.99.

Steinberg

The Cubasis 2 mobile DAW for iPad is on sale for US $24.99 (half price; seems like the launch sale is still going on, but I won’t complain: Cubasis 2 – Mobile Music Creation System

Moog

The amazing Animoog for iPad, Animoog for iPhone, and the new Model 15 for iPad and Model 15 for iPhone are on half-price sale at US $15.99 each.

DM2

The DM2 drum synth, a kind of successor or sibling to the DM1 drum machine, is just US $1.99.

KORG

KORG’s Happy Holidays Sale gets you their iOS synths and computer plug-ins for 50% off, and additional items from 33% to 50% off, until January 5, 2017:

  • KORG Gadget is US$19.99, and the Kamata, Gladstone, Madrid, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi gadgets are on sale.
  • KORG Module is US $19.99. The add-ons 80s Electric Piano, Mellow Tape Keyboard, TRITON Best Selection, PREMIER Vintage Organ, Ivory Mobile Grand, and Wurley Electric Piano are also discounted.
  • The iPad version of legendary M1 workstation synth, KORG iM1, is US $14.99. The M1 and T1 sound card packs are US $2.99 each.
  • KORG iPolysix for iPad is also US $14.99.
  • Another legend reproduced, KORG iMS-20, is yours for US $14.99.
  • KORG iELECTRIBE for iPad – KORG INC. is US $9.99.

KORG is also running a special launch sale on their brand new ARP ODYSSEi (see what they did there) for iPad and iPhone, a reproduction of the legendary ARP Odyssey hardware synth. Your piece of synth nirvana to be had for US $19.99 until 30 November, 2016.

LinPlug

LinPlug are having a 40% off seasonal sale on synths like Spectral, MorphoX and CRX4, and soundware. See the LinPlug website for eligible products and cart code.

Klevgränd

Korvpressor – smart dynamic hotdog device, or adaptive compressor/limiter with a neat user interface for the iPad, is US $2.99. The AU/VST version for macOS is also 63 % off.

Alexandernaut

Fugue Machine, multi-playhead sequencer for iPad, is 50% off or 4.99 € until 29 November, 2016, and so is Arpeggionome Pro. To top off the Alexandernaut Autumn Sale, Arpeggionome for iPhone is just 0.99 €.

iZotope

Until November 30, iZotope Trash 2 is US $29, bundled with DDLY.

VirSyn

VirSyn has their iPad synths for 40% to 50% off:

Arturia

Arturia’s Sense of Sound promotion runs until January 10, 2017. Special price for V Collection 5, individual instruments 50% off, and special offers for existing customers (mine was good, so thanks Arturia!).

Propellerhead Software

Propellerheads have good deals on Reason ReFills and Rack Extensions in their Rack/Black Friday campaign until 27th November.

There is also a Holiday Offer on Reason 9: buy it and get €/$ 430 worth of Rack Extensions.

Native Instruments

Native Instruments wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving with 50% off of selected products, like MASCHINE expansions, synths like Massive and Battery, and soundware like Alicia’s Keys and Studio Drummer, until December 5th, 2016.

Sugar Bytes

Black Friday Madness has Sugar Bytes’ iPad apps for 33% to 50% off until Monday:

Their VST/AU plug-ins are all $69 for a limited time, except for the brand new Factory synth.

Nucleus Soundlab

Nucleus Soundlab has Black Friday prices for some of their Reason ReFills and virtual instruments like Viral Outbreak, until December 2nd, 2016.

…aaand stay tuned for more. Did we miss a deal? Probably! Report it in the comments below!

Most links go to the App Store, and any purchases earn a commission to keep this site running.

Steinberg UR22mkII now works with iOS 10

Three weeks ago I got a new iPad after four years. I replaced my iPad 3  (of 2012 vintage) with an iPad Air 2, and the difference in speed is obviously huge. As software demands have grown, the old iPad 3 (the first one with a retina display) simply has not been able to keep up, even though it could be updated all the way to iOS 9.3.4.

When I got the new iPad Air 2, I immediately updated it to iOS 10, but when, a week later, I started a recording session with my Steinberg UR22mkII*, I noticed that the playback and recording suffered from stuttering and crackles. A quick web search resulted in similar complaints from others with the same or similar hardware combination, but also a message from Steinberg about the issue being recognised and a promise of a forthcoming firmware update to the UR22mkII.

The firmware update was published a week ago, and today I got the chance to install it. Based on quick testing with Apple’s GarageBand for iOS**, KORG Gadget** and Native Instruments’ iMASCHINE 2**, it looks like the problem is truly fixed now. Here is some more detailed information; note that all of this applies to OS X only; for Windows, just read the release notes and the update guide included with the firmware update. There is an update available also for the Steinberg UR12*, if you happen to have that other handy iPad-compatible audio interface.

To update the firmware you need to have at least version 1.9.9 of the Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver, which I had, but there was version 1.9.10 available, so I grabbed and installed that first. Of course, installing the USB driver requires a restart. I’m running OS X El Capitan version 10.11.6 with OS X Server 5.2** on my main studio iMac. As they say, ”one does not simply reboot a Mac”, especially one running OS X Server, but I took a plunge for the betterment of all things. (Of course, you might want to ask why I’m running OS X Server anyway, and on the main studio computer. Well, I’m using it for software development also, and as a Continuous Integration host for Xcode Server. So now you know.)

After the driver update, it was a quick matter to connect the UR22mkII to the iMac with USB, fire up the Firmware Updater and hit Start.

steinbergur22mkiifirmwareupdaterstart

Firmware updates are always just a little scary – something could go wrong, and you could end up with an expensive brick in your hands. But that never happens, right? This time at least it didn’t, even though on the first attempt the Firmware Updater complained that it couldn’t find the UR22mkII, even though the white USB light was glowing steady. Unplugging and replugging the unit did the trick, and after just a few seconds the update was completed.

steinbergur22mkiifirmwareupdatercompleted

Then came the bit that had originally caused the problem, namely the iPad running iOS 10. I bought an Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter*, which does more than its name implies: it allows you to connect a USB device like the UR22mkII into your iPad’s Lightning socket with USB, while allowing the iPad to charge through it, because it has its own Lightning socket. Brilliant!

Since the iPad can’t power the UR22mkII, I connected a USB charger (an old Nokia unit from some Lumia phone) to it and set the power source switch to ”5V DC”. Now both devices were powered separately. There were no problems with playback from KORG Gadget and Native Instruments iMASCHINE 2.

I plugged my Rode NT-1A microphone into the UR22mkII and turned on the 48 V phantom power it needs, being a large-diaphragm condenser. A quick recording test with GarageBand for iOS yielded a nice sound captured through the Yamaha D-Pre microphone preamplifier on the UR22mkII, as expected.

garagebandiosaudiodeviceconnected

Naturally I also tested with Steinberg’s Cubasis LE 2**, the version of Cubasis which is unlocked out of demo mode by the presence of a UR22mkII or UR12 unit and is upgradeable to the full Cubasis with an in-app purchase. For other audio interfaces which unlock Cubasis LE, see the app home page. With other gear (or no gear, relying solely on the iPad), you could go straight to the full Cubasis 2**.

It was also an eye opener, or should I say ear opener, to hear the iPad sounds from proper studio monitors – in my case, a pair of Genelec 8010A* powered monitors. While the iPad Air 2 has a headphone socket, any solution that relies on audio to be distributed to studio-grade monitors through it will lose to a digital audio out from the Lightning connection and onto the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) of the UR22mkII or a similar audio interface. If you’re interested in reading more about the technology, there is a nice product development story about the UR series published by Steinberg.

It’s good to see that Steinberg and Yamaha are backing their nice and affordable hardware with software solutions, too. The identification and fix for the iOS 10 problem was quite quick for such a large company, so kudos to the people who made it happen in a timely manner.

All the gear mentioned in this article was paid for and remains in active use in my studio, so no freebies here! If you are in the market for this kind of gear, why not give Musikhaus Thomann* a try. All the links marked with * take you their huge web shop, and if you buy something from them as a result, I get a small referral. Same thing with the App Store or Mac App Store, but those links are marked with **. Thanks for your support!

 

Computer Music 236 ja Focusrite Red -plugarit

Tässä hieman kuluttajapalvelua Konesoitosta, lyhyesti ja ytimekkäästi. Nyt jaetaan ämpäreitä, punaisia ja jokaiselle kaksi!

Brittiläinen Computer Music -lehti on monille tietokoneistetun musiikintekemisen harrastajille jo tuttu, mutta jos et tätä aviisia vielä ole lukenut, niin suosittelen lämpimästi. Lehdellä on tapana tehdä varsin asiapitoisia ja helposti sulavia juttuja digitaalisen musanväännön alalta, ja joka numerossa on myös ilmaisia plugareita ja sampleja.

Tuli mieleen hehkuttaa Computer Musicia juuri nyt siksi, että lehden uusimmassa numerossa 236 on ehkä kovimman luokan lukijalahja pitkään aikaan tai kenties koskaan: Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite, johon kuuluvat Red-laitteistoa jäljittelevät ekvalisaattori ja kompressori. Paketin yhteishinta Focusriten verkkokaupassa on 229,99 Iso-Britannian puntaa, eli tällä hetkellä noin 261,75 euroa. Se kauppa ei kuitenkaan kannata, koska monien Focusriten äänilaitteiden* mukana saa samat plugarit kaupan päälle.

Computer Music -lehden numeron 236 lukijalahjana on Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite.
Computer Music -lehden numeron 236 lukijalahjana on Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite.

Jos et juuri nyt ole ostamassa halvintakaan Focusriten äänilaitetta, niin ostamalla Computer Music -lehden uusimman numeron 236 lehtipisteestä hintaan 12,30 euroa tai lataamalla sen iPadiin** tai iPhoneen** Applen Newsstand-ohjelmalla hintaan 4,99 euroa pääset käsiksi näihin Red-plugareihin. Toki tämä edellyttää, että teet myös ilmaisen tunnuksen Computer Music -lehden Vault-palveluun, josta plugarit, samplet ja lehden muu oheissisältö, kuten erilaiset neuvontavideot, muutenkin ladataan.

Toki tarjouksen takia pitää vielä hieman jumpata. Kun olet saanut Focusrite Red Plug-in Suiten ladattua CM-holvista, sinun pitää tehdä tunnus Focusriten omaan palveluun, jotta saat aktivointikoodin näille plugareille. Tarvittava koodi löytyy latauspaketin sisällä olevasta ohjeesta, ja myös Focusriten CM-erikoissivulta, kuten myös seikkaperäiset ohjeetkin.

Uskoisin, että tämä Computer Musicin numero viedään käsistä, vähän kuin aikanaan se vuoden 1999 Wired-lehden numero, jossa oli Jorma Ollilan haastattelu, tai se MagPi-lehden numero, jonka kylkiäisenä oli Raspberry Pi Zero -tietokone.

Ilmaisia plugareita (tai ämpäreitä) ei välttämättä kannata hankkia ihan ilmaisuuden ilosta, ei edes vaikka diili olisikin yhtä hyvä kuin Focusriten ja Computer Musicin järjestämä. Jos käytössäsi on jokin DAW-ohjelma, siinä hyvin todennäköisesti on jo sekä ekvalisaattori että kompressori, tai useita, eikä niidenkään laatu ole erityisen huono. Tärkeämpää on se, miten niitä käyttää. Kannattaa toki ihan kiinnostuksesta lukea Sound Affects Premierin arvostelu/esittely Red Plug-in Suitesta.

Kaupalliset linkit on merkitty näin: ** = App Store, * = Musikhaus Thomann