Thank You, Developers, For Listening! (MIDI Support Is On The Way)

electronic piano synthesizer

We may have ruffled a few feathers with our iOS Music App Developers – Where’s The MIDI? rant earlier this week.

But, based on the dozens of comments on the post, MIDI support is one of the top things Synthtopia readers are looking for in iOS music apps.

Fortunately, developers of serious iOS music apps seem to be listening. In fact, the developer of the app that triggered our rant, Electronic Piano Synthesizer (App Store link), says MIDI support is coming in the next update.

via iDesignSound:

Christian Bacaj – the developer behind the excellent new Electronic Piano Synthesizer for iPad – has said that MIDI support will be available in the next update, and that Audio Recording (sound file export) and AudioCopy is planned for the future.

Bacaj goes straight onto our ‘developers that care’ list.

And when that update hits the store with MIDI support, Electronic Piano Synthesizer looks like it’s going to be a no-brainer purchase. 

iPad drum machine

We called out FingerLab’s DM1 ‘Advanced Vintage Drum Machine’ for its lack of MIDI support earlier in the week, too.

And guess what’s now ‘coming soon’ to DM1?

MIDI, along with AudioCopy export and sample import. Another no-brainer purchase for a lot of people.

We can’t really take any credit for these announcements – the timing may just be coincidence.

But your comments on these posts, and your feedback to the developers, does seem to make a big difference.

Instead of seeing one guy ranting about MIDI support – developers see dozens of thoughtful comments on the topic, representing a lot of perspectives on the subject. And when they see that, they know that this subject is really important to a lot of electronic musicians.

So, let’s thank the developers that are listening – by checking out their apps, rating them in iTunes, sending them constructive feedback and buying their apps.

And, if you want to see more progress made on MIDI support in iOS apps, keep talking about it.

Developers, thank you for listening!

28 thoughts on “Thank You, Developers, For Listening! (MIDI Support Is On The Way)

  1. I *still* don't quite see the value in audio copy/paste though for live performance oriented instruments though. 😉

    the hardware doesn't seem capable (based purely on observations during testing) of responding to a touch in less than 12ms when 8ms is ideal overall response including the sound, with 50ms being pretty normal for ipad apps. … i run out the headphone jack into a guitar amp or external daw … yay! i already wrestle with an impossibly low latency goal and using huge amounts of memory for echo buffers… more junk to deal with!

    what i *would* see value in is a DAW simply being able to keep recording while i navigate to another app and play while the audio is still running… (it's not the instrument's job to support it…it's the DAW's job to record what's being played.). audio copy/paste seems backwards, awkward, and frankly… a loop-tard solution to the problem of not-really-multitasking.

    … eh… i will look into it though.

  2. One of the high points of the current iOS scene (not just music) is that the developers engage with users in a way that just doesn't happen with software anymore (try getting someone from NI to even acknowledge you exist, for instance…)

    Well done, devs.

  3. i know all those guys, and know what acp is. in the case of a sampler, it is one of the most important requirements. what i am questioning is these silly checklists. why on earth would a non-sampler app ever need copy paste? how did anybody ever live when guitars only had audio out, violins had no copypaste, and no giant maze of knobs and sliders?

    it is getting the responsibilities all backwards. you should press record inside of garageband and switch to any task that makes sound and have it recorded in the track. games, music instruments, your music collection, even your video cam.. effects processors and eq and all that crap…is in the wrong place. it is rewritten into every damn app rather being in a few daws. now instead of tracking, you are armwrestled into non-realtime copypaste support as well. btw, everything would support midi if step 1 of making any app was not to build a whole audio engine (because even if you support midi, there is no on board synth to rely on)

    1. We are living in a different world now Rob. ACP is important for most of us users, and it is a good way to also create our own samples to then audio copy into a sampler.
      Some of us prefer to just use one iPad and copy recordings around to different apps, for different processing. This isn’t necessarily a plug in instrument and what’s wrong with recording within an app, synthesisers have let us do this for some time now!
      We don’t all use DAWs on computers, especially now Auria has arrived.
      We also don’t always want to record directly into a DAW, we often prefer to collect recordings within the app then decide which recordings will go where. I might decide to send one recording to an effects app to spend time tweaking things, and another recording might even go to a different DAW first then end up in Auria.
      Sometimes I think things like AudioBus are going to be less useful than the combination of MIDI, recording and ACP.

  4. I think it is really funny the discussion about midi support. Things without midi really are almost to me kiddies toys, they can't be used in a practical enviroment, It again is just some daft app that someone get's a five min thrill from. Also something that amused me is the i pad isn't velocity sensitive.That is hilarious and so old fashioned in modulating synthesisers. By the time people have adapted their toy Ipads to work in the real world they would have spent their money better on hardware. I would not want an Ipad or any synth without knobs and sliders. These gimmiky soft synths are of no value to me. If its people first introduction to synthesis then that is a plus, but to not have midi , what are we meant to say to that. Its a joke. The emperors new clothes!!!!!
    Midi Boy

  5. Great! Now next, will developers of apps like Electronic Piano Synthesizer let their users hide the on-screen keys when they use MIDI? I'm sure the screen real estate could be used for better things.

  6. Good point ! And please, do not forget a standard midifile exchange platform between all these software taht are becoming serious demo tools on the go… We'll see after how to expand the MIDI standard to include nice relevant features between these nice mobile DAWs 🙂

  7. Terrific follow-up post and I agree with Rob's vision as well. While I won't rule out using my iPad for a live performance someday, I enjoy composing and recording and would love to be able to capture the beats from drum machine app X into DAW app Y and then lay down some pads from synth app Z on the next track in DAW app Y.

    While audio copy/paste does have some useful and interesting capabilities, in the scenario that I am in most of the time, it is indeed a work-around (while it generally works well enough, someday we'll look back on this approach and smile with relief that we've advanced beyond it).

    To the points on CoreMIDI support, again for my general "studio-in-an-iPad" scenario, the ability to not have to use the on-screen interface for "standard" music apps and instead use a controller is key. I haven't encountered any latency issues but my needs in this respect are quite modest.

    (Having said that, I couldn't imagine using my Oxygen 25 with the delightful Bebot app, which alas lacks audio copy/paste but is oh so fun…).

    Cheers ad again, thanks for the terrific topics and discussions!

  8. the price of apps that users are willing to pay changes everything by the way; game theory essentially.

    i have a free app in the store that got socked with a two star rating that says "this sounds great but it's actually useless without copypaste". if you are running a free app, in as much as you even care what the unbelievers think, you don't want to work to make complainers that want something meeting different requirements happy; you want to make them GO AWAY so that only people that are a good fit even bother to download and rate the app. in the free app world, you add what you find useful for yourself and quit and move on to another project when all the feature requests want something else.

    with paid apps, whining works a little better because you will put in features that you don't use yourself. the downside is that paid apps can have the fundamental suffering at the expense of creeping features as you try to take simplicity for granted and try to make everyone happy with giant feature lists. but that's my deep dark secret… i am resistant to adding anything in the form of a 1 star feature request, because i don't want people prone to complaining to come anywhere near my ratings board.

    1. Apps that get a lot of complaints tend to come from developers that are out of touch with what the users are actually wanting. I don’t understand why people complain about free apps but I think Geo was worth complaining about.

  9. One thing at a time.

    Once we've got the MIDI action down – why not use the iPad screen as a multi-touch sound manipulation tool – ie, multiple x/y pads?

  10. One thing at a time……

    Once we've got the MIDI action down, though, why not use the iPad screen as a multi-touch sound manipulation tool – ie, multiple x/y pads?

  11. Haha, yeah I don't know why he's so cocky seeing as he only knows one language (the obsolescent Delphi) that only compiles on Windows in a world were Windows is become less and less relevant.

  12. when i wrote Xstrument, i had discrete keys but tried to support basic microtonal scales like maqam bayati (quartertones) … it was a pure midi instrument, that might have used tuning tables but used bends to do it. i learned to hate midi during that experience. then with Mugician, for the first time i was writing the waveforms manually and was totally fretless. it was totally wonderful not having to deal with midi's broken notions of pitch. i did add midi to its successor, but i must say it is a tradeoff. the timbre i can get from a midi instrument is far superior, but pitch handling in midi is just irrideemably broken! for all the limitations of my simple sound engine, the reliability of running onboard and having correct pitch handling is indespensible. independent bends are required on any glass surface instrument where you can bend via fingertips, and midi doesnt do this basic thing right. midi is thoroughly overrated as a magic sauce that doesnt have problems of its own.

    midi note 33 is an A, as an example. 34 is an A#. we know these frequencies. what is 33.5 then? is it bend exactly 3/4 of the midi bend value? i dont get consistent handling everywhere. the fact that there is no standard midi message to make note 33 *become* note 34 to get rid of the bend resolution tradeoff is equally annoying. as an exercise, play note A1 and bend it to A6 over the course of a second. midi cant even represent it. 16 channels is not enough for a single instrument featuring a dozen playable strings plus sympathetic strings (midi bazantar,etc)

    1. I think Rob should try to find a better system to replace MIDI, rather than constantly complaining.
      Also, why hasn’t Morphwiz got MIDI? Why hasn’t MorphWiz had an update?
      Geo Synth would have been a far better instrument if it included audio copy and paste, seriously!
      Even SampleWiz hasn’t ever had an update, it has MIDI and audio copy, but it could still offer more.

  13. As a user, you can engage without 'whining.' I don't mean that it's easier to badger iOS devs into features — I've just found them more engageable than other platforms.

  14. Well. Eh. Okay. There are 2 key components that every app should have at this point: 1. Full MIDI and 2. Audio Copy/Paste.

    I use my iPad for live shows every single week with Ableton Live. Using something like NLogSynthPro on the iPad to record MIDI into an Ableton Live track and feed that data back into the iPad is nothing short of awesome. Doing realtime parameter changes within the app and have them recorded into the MIDI track? Priceless. Going into touchAble and then manipulating the MIDI track? Also priceless.

    I've got an enormous amount of control over my sound creation because a handful of developers ignored the nonsensical cries of 'there's no demand for MIDI!' and just did it. Hopefully the same will hold true for expanded audio copy/paste. It's vital. Who gives a shit if it's not a sampler app? The ability to capture an audio snippet within the above mentioned NLogSynthPro scenario – then load that into a sample app – is killer.

  15. Hopefully DM1 will also add the ability to record the pattern created from the incoming MIDI. So far all the iOS drum machines that include MIDI don’t give you the option to also record and use the results.
    Please, there must be some developers that can implement this, all the synths apps can do it :-/

    1. Yeah, don’t underestimate how necessary it is to have recording and ACP with MIDI, all in the one app.
      I can create tracks in Music Studio, use MIDI from the created parts to trigger Nlog, then audio copy the Nlog recording back to Music Studio. Then I can audio copy each track to say Auria for greater mixing ability.
      I agree that AudioBus won’t replace ACP, it will just be another method, but MIDI really can be the most useful of tools, when recording and ACP are also provided.
      Developers, please listen to us!

    2. Surely it’s easy to add a live recording feature to all the drum machine apps. Especially when they already have audio copy. I think iElectribe is the only one to do this so far.
      So please DM1 developers, put live recording into your app because it has great sounds!

      1. iElectribe doesn’t have MIDI though. So no there aren’t any devs getting it right so far, with drum machine apps. The synth apps are doing a great job, mostly.

        1. DrumJam, ThumbJam, DrumsXD, MusicStudio, BeatMaker2, NanoStudio, and Meteor all do MIDI, recording and ACP! They also do a very good job for drums 🙂

  16. I don’t think some developers understand how useful it is to have record and ACP within an app. Being able to record loops or samples of your playing or newly created sound, without leaving the app, lets you create a better collection of results. Then you can transfer the results to a DAW when you are ready, you can even transfer your recordings to apps like iDensity or GlitchBreaks for further creativity before moving it to a DAW. Apps don’t have to just be performance orientated, sometimes it’s great to spend time finding extra effects to put on your recordings rather than recording with an effect. I sometimes audio copy things through multiple apps to achieve more interesting results. If one app did everything then things would be different, but I quite like each app having it’s own unique capability. Audio copy and paste will always be useful, even when AudioBus arrives!

  17. I also wish more developers would include MIDI with recording and audio copy & paste.
    On these portable devices, we can’t always just plug into another device to record or even connect MIDI, hence virtual MIDI. Portability is really the key, but also having good connections between apps.
    The developers that see these 3 things as necessities will get the sales.
    I also agree that AudioBus will only be another method, but it won’t replace these 3 methods or the combination of them!

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