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.

How to use the OP-Z’s new sampler with your iPhone

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This is all you need to make a hit record. Well, maybe a few dongles, too…
This is all you need to make a hit record. Well, maybe a few dongles, too…
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Teenage Engineering’s awesome, pocket-size OP-Z synth can now record and use samples. Thanks to a massive software update, it can now sample live audio in through its mic, or via its USB-C port. And yes, if you hook it up to an iPhone or iPad via USB, it shows up as a standard audio interface: You can record from, and send audio to, the OP-Z in lossless digital quality.

Today we’re going to check out these new features. A few limitations prove annoying, but Apple users should feel accustomed to that by now.

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.

Ableton puts a synth inside your browser

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Ableton has put a synth school into the browser.
Ableton has put a synth school into the browser.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Did you ever wonder how a synthesizer works? It’s all just “electronic noise,” right? Well, yes, it totally is. But if you’d like to know a bit more than that, Berlin-based Ableton will teach you. The electronic music giant launched a website that puts a synthesizer inside your browser, and uses it to teach you exactly how a synth works.

The synth simulator works great in Mobile Safari, too, but if you use Google’s Chrome, you can hook up an actual keyboard to your Mac and use it to play. That’s thanks to Chrome’s support for Web MIDI, which Safari doesn’t offer.

Let’s have a quick look at this cool teaching tool.

This single iPad knob costs almost $400

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My, what a beautiful knob!
My, what a beautiful knob!
Photo: Synclavier

The Synclavier is a digital synthesizer from the early 1980s. Synclavier Go! is an iPad app that mimics the classic synth. But this post isn’t about those. It’s about the Synclavier Knob, an accessory for the app.

The Synclavier Knob is a single knob on a mounting plate the size of an iPad mini. That’s it. Oh, and it costs $399.

iOS’ most essential music-making app gets a massive update

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AUM should be on every musician’s iPad.
AUM should be on every musician’s iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you’re an iOS-using musician, then AUM is an utterly essential app. It’s an audio mixer, but that description hides its power. AUM does let you mix the audio from various apps, but it also hosts audio units (like plugins), routes audio between them, records those channels, and more.

This week, AUM got a huge update, adding a whole bunch of great new features.

Stark is a new kind of guitar amp for iPad

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Stark looks as good as it sounds.
Stark looks as good as it sounds.
Photo: Klevgrand

A new music app release from Klevgrand is always something to get excited about. And a new guitar amp simulation app? Almost as rare as an in-the-wild sighting of an AirPower mat. Combine both, at an introductory price of just $10, and you have a pretty special day. The app is called Stark, and it’s also the first Audio Unit amp sim for iOS.