Is This The Future Of Synth Patch Editing?

iPad Music Software: Federico Solazzo created this iPad interface for his Studio Electronics ATC-Xi synthesizer using TouchOSC on the iPad.

Interface Notes:

  • Blue: OSC section
  • Purple: VCF section
  • Green: LFO section
  • Red: master section

By exposing most of the synth’s parameters via a multi-touch screen, the TouchOSC interface makes patch editing tactile and fast.

It’s still a beta version, but the video below offers a preview of the potential of Salazzo’s interface, and of this approach to patch editing and sound mangling:

Between Apple improving MIDI on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and new approaches to wireless MIDI, it’s easy to imagine editors like this for all types of synth hardware.

Check it out and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Technical details:

TouchOSC (iPad) > OSCulator > Logic Pro > emagic amt8 > Studio Electronics ATC-Xi

The ATC is being played via MIDI on a Kurzweil K2VX.

via Alfredsolax

28 thoughts on “Is This The Future Of Synth Patch Editing?

  1. These are great tools, especially for synths with limited front panel control. There are hardware Midi controllers with lots of knobs and faders of course, but here you can design custom control surfaces for each of your devices! Once OSCulator will be able to generate SysEx (or, even better, when the iOS includes CoreMIDI) we can also use TouchOSC for synths that cannot be controlled completely by Control Change messages.

  2. Clearly he didn't get the Android fanboy talking-point list — everyone knows the iPad can't be used for anything but content consumption… 🙂

  3. This could be nice addition…but I still vastly, VASTLY prefer knobs! BCR-2000 and X-Station FTW!!!

    Perhaps this could be alternative method to cut cost of next gen workstations. I always(for 15 years!!!) wondered why Korg didn't use their touch screens this way.

  4. with coremidi coming out in nov. we should be able to use touchosc evrywhere all the time, when that happens we can really take advantage of the endless possibilities!!!!!!

  5. Where'd that whole iPad is only for content consumption meme come from, anyway?

    There's already a jillion and a half iPad music apps and I'm sure that's not unique to music creation.

    Some people must think that typing = content creation, and that's that.

  6. There's pro's and con's to both approaches.

    If you've got several hardware synths, this approach should allow you to have a touch-screen interface that's customized to all of them. Going the hardware route, you have static hardware forced to conform to the parameters of your synths.

  7. I'm not sure what you ment, but I totally could control all my synths with BCR-2000 and X-Station. But yeah, both have plusses and minuses.

  8. iPadist

    With something like the BCR-2000, you've got lots of knobs and switches, but they are fixed and the layout doesn't correspond to the synth you're controlling. So, it's very tactile and you've got lots of knobs, but you've got to remember that filter cutoff is Row 2, Knob 3.

    If you switch to another synth, with different options, Row 2, Knob 3 might be the FM modulator depth, or sample bit depth reduction.

    Each approach has its advantages and no one approach will be right for everybody's rig.

  9. Hmm, I'm one of the critics. Touch screens are picking up but IMO it will be many years before they'll be really somewhat ready for serious usage. There is simply still too much overhead. You can't be sure that when you place your finger on a slider it'll pick up right away. Most screens still suffer from 'parallax'. Due to the size of your finger you simply don't see where it makes and doesn't make contact; usually resulting in many different and unexpected results.

    As to if this is gonna happen? For sure. When I look at my (touch screen only) phone then I see potential. But right now I also see too many false positives. No problem on a phone; but it could be disastrous on a live gig (no matter how cool it might make you look when doing this).

    But in a few years? Absolutely. Just think of the space you can spare with such an approach..

  10. quite boring…..The whole point of a controller is to create some sort of a meaningfull abstraction, that can be used creatively. This is just an editor ……by the way the ATC-Xi comes out quite horrible in this video…

  11. Don’t understand the meh responses.

    This blows away programming on my DX or my Six Track. Its not about chops, it’s about ease of use and speed.

  12. I've been programming my synths with an iPad for months, it's hands down, the best way to edit a synth. The iPad goes anywhere, usually right on top of the synth, it's totally "Next Generation" magic. All you haters on Apple will see what I'm talking about when HP or Dell comes out with a PCpad, Once you use a multiTouch screen that has a fast response, you'll never go back to a mouse. You need to ask yourselves, if you can get a musical performance out of an iPad synth, how great would it be using it as an editor?

  13. Fortunately I have good memory. My friend, who is not willing to train his memory, makes changeable paper or cardboard overlays of his setups. They are very nice and VERY easy to do.

  14. My theory is that this whole touchscreen frenzy now is kind of like 10 years ago with the first vsts. Of course touch interfaces will be part of out future, but as usual the hype makes us a bit blind and we don't realize they will never replace a hardware interface for certain tasks. Like plugins don't replace a hardware synth or effect for certain uses. Why would studios still spend horrendous amounts of money to get hardware compressors?
    I predict we will understand the true power of touchscreen only after 5 years of "tabletgazing", and at the same time that's when we will start diggin out our monomes, theremins and audiocubes from the basement to use them again and wonder how we could have been so silly… 🙂

  15. rumpelfilter –

    Confused by your comment! Do you think touchscreen computers are important or not?

    I don't know anybody saying that we should abandon hardware – things like the iPad are just another tool.

    The reality of it is that plugins have replaced hardware for 90% of what people do – so it's important to look at new technology skeptically, but also to figure out what it's useful for.

  16. Well that's basically what I'm saying, but there is a lot of people I've talked with who think about replacing their launchpads or other hardware controllers with an ipad just because it's the trend of the moment. So I don't think many people perceive the ipad just as another tool, I think they dream about it becoming The tool.
    For the rest I think touchscreens are a great resource, but right now the developers only focus on replicating on screen what we already have as a physical object (grids, sliders, knobs). They will become really interesting once developers start to look a bit further. Though of course there is alreay first signs of what we can expect in the future.
    Time will tell…

  17. Have to agree with you, in that case!

    The whole touchscreen thing is an important trend – like the move to virtual studios – but it doesn't mean that old hardware isn't as useful as ever.

    I'd think a lot harder about something like a monome or Launchpad than I would have a year ago.

  18. What has been highly sought-after for years is now available to musicians for the fraction of the price: A Jazzmutant Lemur in the shape of an Apple iPad with TouchOSC software.
    I have watched different musicians using these live on stage, and I can only say that it simply works.
    Also, one big advantage imho is that the controls are always illuminated which makes the setup easier and smaller than hardware.
    The iPad's touch screen is excellent and very precise to use, and if you have clunky fingers, then just increase the size of the controls using the free TouchOSC editor.

    BTW, current TouchOSC versions support both Line 6 Midi Mobilizer and the CoreMidi interfaces (using Apple CamConnectionKit and any supported cheap USB MIDI interface).

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