Patterning’s new shortcuts transform iPad keyboard into drum kit

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Street drummer with buckets
This guy makes better music with buckets than I can manage with any app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Patterning is probably the best drum machine app on the iPad, and one of the best iOS music apps, period. Which makes it criminal that we’ve never written a dedicated post about it. That can change today, because the developer, Olympia Noise Co., just added keyboard shortcuts.

Wait, come back! These aren’t just any keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts let you use your iPad’s Smart Folio Keyboard, or any Bluetooth keyboard, to fingerdrum on the iPad.

Roxsyn app turns your electric guitar into a synthesizer

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Roxsyn app on ipad
Roxsyn -- a synth that rocks.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Roxsyn is the “world’s first metamorphic guitar synthesizer” for iPad. The app lets you plug in your guitar and, when you play it, synthesizer sounds come out. It also offers a full suite of knobs to tweak and shape the resulting sounds, just like a regular, keyboard-driven synth.

But — and this is important — it’s not just using your guitar as a MIDI controller for a normal synthesizer. Let’s take a look.

Overcast adds fantastic new podcast recommendations feature

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News, iPhone apps, iPad apps, podcasts
News, iPhone apps, iPad apps, podcasts
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Overcast, the podcast app of choice for lovers of good design, powerful-yet-straightforward features, and the color orange, just added a brand-new recommendations feature.

Previously, Overcast used a Twitter-based recommendation engine. But developer Marco Arment says almost nobody used it. Now, he’s replaced it with recommendations based on users’ personal listening habits, and the result is amazing. I already added a few new podcast subscriptions based on its suggestions.

How to create smart playlists in Apple Music on iOS (finally)

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Cassette tapes
Let's do this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It’s impossible to create smart Apple Music playlists directly on the iPhone. Or rather, it was impossible. Previously, you had to fire up iTunes on your Mac or PC, create a smart playlist there, and then let it sync to your iPhone over iCloud.

Even in iOS 13, this is still the case. But now there’s another way. A new iOS app called Miximum can create smart playlists, and even sync them to the regular Apple Music app. It is, as they say, a game-changer.

AudioKit’s retro ’80s synthesizer now works inside your favorite music app

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Even the promo pictures are pretty 1980s.
Even the promo pictures look pretty '80s.
Photo: AudioKit

Here’s some pretty big news for iOS musicians: AudioKit’s Digital D1 synth is now an Audio Unit. What? That means that, instead of running as a standalone app, you can now run it as a plugin inside your music app of choice. It also means you can run more than one copy, putting one instance on each track of GarageBand, for instance.

And what makes D1 more interesting than other synths for iOS? A few things. One, it’s open source and built by volunteers. Another is that it looks and sounds amazing. And finally, it’s totally ’80s, giving you the synth sounds of pop music’s best decade. Radical.