Csound Touch Puts All Of Csound On The iPad

csound touch

Boulanger Labs has announced that they are bringing Csound – an open-source programming language designed for sound design, music synthesis, and signal processing – to the iPad.

Csound Touch is a new app that lets you to render, process, compose, and perform with the Csound language. To accommodate various experience levels, Csound Touch comes with a large collection of synthesis, signal processing, and MIDI instruments waiting to be played and customized. Tutorials, manuals, and examples are also provided to help new users learn Csound.


  • Built upon and synchronized with the latest version of Csound5
  • Real-time rendering of virtually any .csd file
  • MIDI control of virtually any Csound-based MIDI instrument
  • GUI control of instruments with sliders, knobs, xy controls and a keyboard
  • Selections from Dr. Boulanger’s Csound Instrument Catalog
  • Documentation to further your Csound knowledge, including:
  • Chapter 1 of The Csound Book, Csound Manual, FLOSS Manual, and more
  • Import/export audio via Dropbox, AudioCopy, or Email

Pricing and availability for Csound Touch are to be announced.

58 thoughts on “Csound Touch Puts All Of Csound On The iPad

  1. Want. Will be curious to see if Max or Reactor gets ported.

    Apparently they didn’t get the memo about the iPad being just a toy…

    1. The 70 million people that have bought iPads didn’t get that memo either.

      Somebody is clearly slacking off in the memo department!

      1. What about the 150 millions people who bought a Nintendo DS, I don’t think they all got it for the Korg DS-10 and homebrew music apps. The DS can also be a tool, but to most people its a toy, just like the ipad.

        To me, as long as access to the filesystem is denied and apps are forced into sandboxing, I cannot consider the ipad (and IOS) as a complete tool, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy things like Geosynth, SynthX and Nanostudio on my ipad.

        1. Its complete tool for musician. Sounds good and has many intriguing, as well as unique synthesis engines and methdos for controlling them. It could be even more complete, but so could everything else too.

          1. Not being able to share sample libraries between apps and the inability to export or record from every apps or from a centralized host does not make it a complete tool.

            I’m not saying its useless, I find plenty of uses for my ipad, but its just not complete.

            1. Nor can Kurzweil PC3 or MOX or M50 and they too are complete musical tools. They too could be even more complete. iPad is half the price and it can at least expand its synthesis engines, sample banks and programs. iPad is complete musical tool, and it can expand any studios functionality at affordable price. But those features you mentioned would indeed make it even more complete.

              1. Also expanding the iPads engines, sample banks and programs is usually one tenth – one hundreth of the price of VSTi prices, so the lack of “sadboxing” is not that terrible shortcoming in case of iPad.

              2. “Sandboxing” and standardization (which is often bitched about as “limitation”) is the primary reason why there is a wealth of music tools on iOS, and a dearth of them on Android.

              3. No, the lack of music app on Android is because of high latency. Where did you got that false information?

                OSX and Windows lack this “Sandboxing and standardization” you are talking about, and there is much more music tools for OSX and Windows than for IOS.

            2. “OSX and Windows lack this “Sandboxing and standardization” you are talking about, and there is much more music tools for OSX and Windows than for IOS.”

              You mean, time has nothing to do with it? iPad has been here for, what, 2 years and it has quite rapidly grown some serious music apps that even Windows and OSX lacks. The pace is so rapid, that I hardly even dare to think what another 2 years brings to table(t).

        2. If root level access is really that big a deal for you, jailbreak it. I’ve found use cases that made me jb my iPhone, but there has been no compelling reason for me to do so with my iPad. YMMV.

          1. Its not about root access, my ipad is jailbroken, but you know what? It doesn’t change anything when it comes to Apple approved apps. Nanostudio does not see the file system even if my ipad is jailbroken, no apps can work with the filesystem if they want to be approved by Apple.

            Although jailbreaking my ipad does give me access to a plethora of app that Apple would never approve, like the PalmOS emulator for example, which I still use with Bhajisloops and other Palm apps.

  2. My inlaws got that memo, they took one look at my Lemur setup and told me I’v made music making into a game, I responded by asking “is it not supposed to be?”

    And my thoughts on this…Great, another programming language I HAVE TO learn…

  3. Itll be interesting to see if this app gets approved. I know apple has a policy of not allowing apps to execute code. Having said, if this app gets approved I will totally upgrade to the newest version of the iPad.

  4. Likewise, if apple does approve this app it will set the precedent for porting other Turing complete audio processing languages like supercollider, max/msp, etc. I would love to have a native supercollider iOS app that I don’t have to have an apple developer account or a jailbroken device to run.

  5. Two or three apps actually do execute code, one actually designs games to be played within the app, the other is for webdesign and results can be uploaded to your site actually

    How is the iPad a toy, anymore than a synth being a toy?only difference is one has keys and another has a touchscreen,even then, one can plug in a keyboard in via a camera kit

    I get fed up of app heads dissing synth heads and vice versa. If it works and sounds good,MIT c be used and is thus not a toy but a tool

    As far as sand boxing and file systems denied, I don’t know about how that affects musical output, if something makes a good sound and can be recorded and exported then that’s a tool, save the technicals for others.

    I think what is pissing people off is the fact that a reasonable home studio can be had for much less a price and put in ones pocket or bag

    Something’s use is really an individual thing! Throw me a guitar and I’ll have no idea, throw me a 303 and I’ll jam, throw me an iPad with a 303 emulation on it and I’ll jam, both sound the same and do the same thing

      1. About sandboxing and access to the filesystem, no it does not affect the sound quality, but it really does affect workflow. Things like Audiocopy and Audiobus wouldn’t be needed on IOS if apps could use plugins and connect to other apps. Imagine how great it would be to load an app as an instrument in Nanostudio or Garageband.

  6. Ok, so it affects workflow, admittedly, having to acp from one app to another is a bit of a drag, but it is worth it
    For me at least, when I go to my MacBook, it feels alien, having to press keys and all that, using a mouse, so in one sense, I’d say iPad for me is faster

    I say, to each their own, but 303 and 808 sound equally as good on an iPad to be honest and I’ve used their external counterparts..

    It’s what you do with the sounds I reckon..

    iOS is just a different ball game, one has to learn a different approach to working, some like it, some don’t, that’s fine

    I like it, and if you prefer desktop or hardware, great!

    1. One should not have to learn a different approach just because some corporation decided it would lock its users purely for business reasons.

      That said I have always loved touchscreens and Bhajisloops on my Palm was my first love with mobile music. Have you ever tried a Modbook or a Macbook with a touchscreen?

      1. >One should not have to learn a different approach just because some corporation decided it
        >would lock its users purely for business reasons.

        Statements like this are hilarious to someone who remembers all the bitching about moving to digital recording systems when they came out! 🙂 People swore up and down that analog tape was the best workflow and the only way to go. Now people defend the digital desktop (having given up tape long ago) and bitch about the extreme portability and low cost offered by iOS.

        What you are all really saying is, “Damn, now anybody can do what I do, and for very little money, and that means my tools don’t make me special anymore”. Time to stand on the merits of your art rather than your purchases.

        1. No, what I’m saying is why is IOS from Apple the only operating system which locks access to the filesystem and forces sandboxing for all apps?

          Do you think Apple should remove the access to the filesystem on OSX?

          1. No – it would be a mistake. But Apple should find ways to make filesystem access unnecessary for most users.

            Unlocking the file system would be a mistake, because it would put developers in the same situation that they are on Windows, Android and on the Mac. Tons of people would use cracked apps. One of the main reasons there’s so many interesting, cheap music apps on iOS is that developers can actually make money on them.

            Open filesystem access is also looking backwards instead of to the future. Being able to save your files to the cloud and have them immediately synced to any device you use will be much more powerful in the long run.

            Opening filesystem access is also a support nightmare. If you have ever done tech support, most people have no clue where they save their files to. Would you rather that the money you spend on an Apple device to go towards supporting clueless users or towards developing new features?

            Instead of opening up the filesystem, they should do two things:

            They should provide a user folder that’s available to all your apps, so you could share files between apps.

            They should develop a way to do AU/VST’s for iOS.

            Making these changes would accomplish most of what musicians need, without introducing the problems that unlocking everything creates.

            1. Tons of people use cracked apps on IOS, but this has more with being cheap and not wanting to support devs. Last year game developers like Gamized said up to 90% of the people who got their app pirated it. Its so easy to jailbreak an IOS device that I don’t think opening the filesystem (or a part of it) would drive piracy higher.

              There would be some warning that if you go in the filesystem you won’t receive support unless you restore to factory settings. That way it would accommodate both the people who wish to keep it locked and the others who wants to use it, and Apple wouldn’t have to provide support to the people who used the filesystem (much like they don’t provide support to jailbroken devices).

              “They should develop a way to do AU/VST’s for iOS.”

              YES! There’s already plenty of nice hosts with small footprints that could work in IOS (like VSThost from Hermann Seib, I’ve been using it for years and it has never crashed). Apple could even integrate this in Garageband. And we could possibly also load apps like plugins. That would be awesome.

              If Bhajisloops on PalmOS was capable of handling plugins and a filesystem, I’m certain IOS can, if Apple allows it.

  7. Now if iOS gets with the times and a “media shared folder” where files can be stored, managed and all music producion, video, image, related apps could access without being a hassel. The iPad would be unbreakable.

  8. I personally welcome this, but I expect it will be even less popular on iOS than it was on desktop. Editing code isn’t something most musicians want to do. Dragging around blocks and fiddling with connections, knobs and switches will always trump text. Also, the user experience is going to need to be rock-solid when it comes to bug testing and feedback of custom script. Two or three crashes of this app will be about all many people will tolerate.

  9. Why can’t we honor the similarities between iOS and other production methods or tools? What do we hope to gain by focusing on the differences? It is not as if any of us discussing here ( and thanx for being gentlemanly about it btw, as some blogs allow full scale warfare lol) have a direct line to apple and can change things is it..

    But here is another angle..

    Some people come into music making via ios apps and not from desktop or hardware/ instruments etc..so that means a whole new market has opened up and that should be celebrated, wether it is as pro as the other methods is secondary…the primary factor is that they have creative expression, and that is amazing

    1. I agree with what your saying here. But I believe IOS could be better, and I hope it will get better. Just like it has evolved from an OS that did not had copy/paste to an OS that supports MIDI, which is really great.

      Things can get better, but some people seems to be opposed to that (not talking about you here).

        1. Have you seen the 3 people who downvoted my post? There was nothing negative in there except “it will get better” 😛

          1. Perhaps they have just gotten bored of always having instant 5 dislikes when discussing with you. Or the bitching tone, that almost desperately tries to budge the “completeness” of iOS as musical tool into something really incomplete.

    2. Great points. A lot of people seem to always look at iOS with a cup-is-half-empty viewpoint.

      It’s great that the iPad can be an inexpensive synth module or a mobile DAW, in addition to doing your standard tablet tasks extremely well.

      I had to spend about $500 to get my first synth, and it can’t do a fraction of the stuff that Animoog can do. These apps open up doors to lots of people. But better yet, the fact that iOS has so many users means that I can buy lots of interesting music apps for very little money.

      There are things I’d like to see Apple do differently, but iOS has been a win for longtime musicians and casual musicians alike.

  10. If there are so much dislikes on the replys I get, it means I probably am not the one with the “bitching tone”, nor not the only one if you prefer.

    Texts leads much more to tone interpretation if you ask me, I’m only saying I wish it would be better, which seems to be insulting to fanboys but not to the regular users who also wish it would be better. There are people who dislikes what I say whatever I say.

    1. Yes, and people get it, if they really didn’t know already. You just repeat it so often and in every place possible. Often several times in one discussion. You are also the only one calling others fanboys, which is insulting, and I have not seen others insulting other people here.

      Nothing is perfect, iOS can get better, but it is already a complete musical tool. Windows isn’t perfect; every windows laptop I have had, 6th or 7th going now, had gone almost unusably unresponsive in 6 months.

      And I am the king of dislikes here. Greatly thanks to you.

      1. Every laptop you had died within 6 months? … really what do you do with them?

        Listen, this is a discussion, people here discuss of things, sometimes people are not on the same level and don’t always have the same opinion, and many times I have been insulted by people who couldn’t find better words or arguments to defend their opinion. What I find funny is that there are people who strongly defend Apple’s decision to deny access to the filesystem and will even go as far as to say its good for everyone, oblivious to the fact that OSX lets them do everything IOS doesn’t.

        “And I am the king of dislikes here. Greatly thanks to you.”

        What is that supposed to mean? How is it my fault if other people don’t like your opinion?

        1. That’s because you down-vote people from multiple IP addresses. I’ve seen it in almost every thread you’ve posted in on this forum. Someone says something you don’t like and they have four or five down-votes within a couple minutes. It’s not a coincidence.

        2. I have stopped doing anything else than just music apps on Windows lap tops, because their registry gets so bloated in 6 -12 months, that it just stops working fluently(for example my current laptop cannot even run internet browser fluently). Now I’m running Windows 7 with 4 core processor and despite MS’s marketing bonanza its just the same as with Vista.

          Like I said, I have never seen anyone else calling others by names but you.

          1. I’ve been running the same windows box on the same setup for 3 years now, with 1000 plugins and music apps installed, and I ha never ran into such problems, although I have debugged my friends machine a few times because they were not careful.

            And I think its sad that you believe I go around and insult people all the time, yes I have been harsh to the people who have been harsh with me, but I’m not one to take insults without responding, theres even someome right here in this tread accusing me of gaming Synthtopia, which really is insulting, especially considering I’m being downvoted all the time.

            Yeah, I shouldn’t spend so much time in comments sections, it gets pretty depressing.

            1. Good for you. I have heard, that some people have been able to maintain their Windows clean and fluent. I’m sure my problems come from buying laptop with preinstalled Windows and not having the DVD for clean install, but I have heard, that this lagging Windows problem is very well known all over the place, and it doesn’t stem from users carelesness, but from quite normal use.

              Being labeled as fanboy(= some one who doesn’t think with their own brains) is far worse, than noticing and mentioning about a clear pattern in likes and dislikes. Theres nothing fanboy in being very content with iPad as a synthesizer and rather complete musical tool in general.

              1. I never called you a fanboy and I’m sorry if you were offended by such remarks which I meant to be generalist. I too love my ipad very much, but I just wish it had some basic features that every other OS has (yes again, the filesystem, or even just a shared document folder, and to run a host with plugins), is it so bad to want something like this?

                People who do not want this are not forced to use it if they don’t like it, but they don’t have to stop people who would use it. Some people used to fight against copy/paste and multitasking because they were convinced its bad for their system, and some other are still fighting against desktop widgets.. Don’t use it if you don’t need it, but let the people who needs it use it.

                And yes its true, most pre-installed Windows are total crap, I don’t get how Microsoft can let people meddle with their OS. And there’s no lag if you use good ASIO drivers or even ASIO4ALL, why is something like this not included with Windows is a mystery to me.

              2. aa, I used wrong term when describing my Windows’s usability. When playing VSTi’s I get pretty ok latencies, the overall performance in opening apps, stability and using browser is laggy. My Windows music apps crack and crash every day though. I use Asio drivers. The good ones.

                But calling everyone fanboys generally is just as annoying than being mocked personally. And I don’t even have iPad yet, but I have tried it, and I vastly prefer it as a musical tool compared to all my Windows computers combined(I have been so gullible, that I have used more money in my PC’s as musical tools than synthesizers, and I regret that more than anything in my life). If anyone would take my craptop, I would exchange my PC to iPad in less than a second, and never would I miss its filesystem(which openess would be nice to have in iPad) without also remembering the ghastly qualities of the OS. If anyone would take my craptop, I would exchange it to iPad even when my PC costs more than twice the iPad.

    2. goode

      It’s insulting for you to dismiss people as ‘fanboys’ simply because you disagree with their opinions. I’d rather read a thoughtful comment that challenges my opinions, than a comment that reads as bullying or trolling.

      Apple is clearly making a lot of the right decisions with iOS, whether you measure their success in terms of sales, profitability or customer satisfaction.

      You can’t expect those decisions always to be the ones that musicians might want, though, because tablets and phones aren’t single-purpose devices, like a keyboard.

  11. iOS is catching up and on fast, people see it as

    An alternative

    An addition

    A work in progress

    A joke

    The first three are valid but the last one is inexcusable, that is simply not the case, people ARE making good music on iOS and they enjoy making it

    We must remember, it’s still early days

    1. iPad kicked it into totally another gear and it has only been here for 2 years, and it has already grewn some serious musical muscle.

    2. As much as we’d like all the problems to be worked out for musicians, the platform is still pretty young.

      Windows was about 15 years old before there were VSTi’s. Things seem to be moving pretty quickly on the iPad!

        1. Did you ever think that Apple employs a lot of smart people and that they might have thought this issue through?

          VSTi support would be nice – but current mobile hardware isn’t ready to handle the types of load that desktop computers easily handle. Performance would suck and it would be out of developers’ control. Customers would be pissed and not know who to be pissed at.

          And plugins running with apps would exponentially complicate troubleshooting iOS apps that crash or run down your battery.

          They’ll probably revisit this as mobile hardware gets more capable, but even then there are serious issues that they’d have to deal with to keep users happy.

          1. The current mobile hardware processing power are comparable to 5-10 years old computers, which were powerful enough to run VSTs and software like Reason or Cubase.

            I don’t see why the ipad would not be capable to run most plugins, sure it couldn’t handle some newer cpu intensive plugins, but comparatively my ipad 1st gen cannot run all the newest apps. Some newer apps are very slow and others are prone to crash, and some other won’t even start because they require an ipad2.

            I think the reason Apple did that is they didn’t wanted us to be able to use any pre-existing software on IOS.

  12. I’m the rare guy that actually prefers typing code in Csound rather than using a visual “patcher” like Pd or Reaktor. But, when it comes to musically interacting with these instruments, that’s a completely different story. I’m hoping the “Controls” section in this app help me in that area. I know real-time processing and MIDI have been possible with Csound since the late 90’s. But, I haven’t been able to grok it at this point.

  13. I place almost all of my personal identity and self-esteem into product brand-names, thanks to a lifetime of exposure to commercials on TV and elsewhere. Therefore, I will judge fellow musicians based on their affinity or loathing of [iOS or Android]. I do this without actually considering their musical talent, because that is inconsequential.

    Also, Nikon rules, and Canon sucks.

  14. Ha – looks like the trolls took over the comments on this one!

    The more I think about the idea of Csound on an iPad, though, the more it puzzles me.

    I will be interested to see how this works.

  15. exactly, I think there are many who are interested in the scope of possibilities Csound represents but are kind of intimidated by the perceived learning curve. I know that’s how I feel even after scratching the surface.

Leave a Reply