Moog Music‘s update last week to Animoog has caused problems for a lot of users – crashing on start and causing users to lose custom patches that they’ve created. The update also introduced a new feature, MIDI Out, that Moog is making available as an in-app purchase.
When we realized Synthtopia readers were having problems with the update, we reported on this and asked Moog to fix Animoog asap. We also asked them to keep MIDI free. Our view is that MIDI is an important standard to support, it’s a standard feature of both hardware and software synths and that keeping MIDI standard benefits both users and app developers.
Animoog Update On The Way
Moog realizes that the Animoog 1.1.0 release has been a rocky one and is working hard to get an Animoog fix available asap. We’ve been in contact with them and this is what they had to say about the Animoog update issue:
Prior to launching Animoog V1.1, we rigorously tested its functionality. Neither we nor Apple found any issue with it.
Once released in the App Store, a missing file created a communication error, which crash logs immediately reported. We have addressed the issue and are currently awaiting Apple’s approval of V1.1.1, which adds this missing file.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and are working with Apple to secure a safer upgrade path for all Animoog users in the future.
Moog also responded to our concern about charging for MIDI out in Animoog.
The Animoog MIDI Expansion Pack
Moog shared details on the apps new MIDI features and their reasoning for releasing these as an in-app purchase:
The MIDI Expansion Pack transforms Animoog into a MIDI controller as innovative and richly expressive as the Animoog sound engine itself.
The Animoog touch keyboard becomes a source for polyphonic MIDI notes with velocity and aftertouch, using Animoog’s custom note scales which are saved per preset. Poly-pressure translates the dynamic of each finger movement into MIDI data, while Channel pressure ensures compatibility with the widest range of existing synthesizers. Of course the on-screen Pitch and Mod strips send Pitch Wheel and Modulation messages as well.
The keyboard MIDI output also uses a special Polyphonic Legato message, created by Moog in order to accurately record the unique playing styles made possible by Animoog’s polyphonic, continuous ribbon-style keyboard. Polyphonic Legato allows you to record and play back Animoog performances while preserving expressive glides from note to note, with full polyphony. Since the performance is recorded as MIDI, you can keep tweaking the sound even after you’ve nailed the perfect expressive rendition of the notes.
MIDI Mapping is also expanded, with the ability to send any assignable MIDI CC messages from Animoog’s on-screen controls, including the X-Y Pad. This allows you to use all of Animoog as a control surface for your plugins or external hardware. In addition, you can record and play back MIDI knob tweaks in the same way as you can a keyboard performance.
We can understand Moog’s position on the Animoog MIDI Expansion Pack. They’ve obviously put a lot of thought into it. They’ve also had to push the limits of what is possible with MIDI in order to be able to capture full range of polyphonic expression that Animoog is capable of.
We still question handling MIDI Out as an in-app option, though. The biggest benefit of MIDI is interoperability and this depends on the ubiquity of the MIDI standard.
In the case of Animoog, its MIDI out implementation offers some unique and powerful capabilities. Ideally, you’d be able to use Animoog as a controller to play a variety of software synths – as expressively as you can play Animoog itself. This depends on other synth developers supporting Animoog’s unique MIDI implementation, though, and there’s less impetus for them to do this, when only a subset of Animoog users will have this feature.
Ultimately, Moog has to be able to support continued development on Animoog – and charging for the MIDI Expansion Pack is one way to do this. We’d like to see MIDI support stay standard and ubiquitous – but we’d rather pay for the feature than for it not be possible for Moog to make it available.
Animoog is available now in the App Store.