Modstep A ‘Full-Blown’ MIDI Sequencer For iPad

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AppBC, creators of touchAble & Studiomux, has introduced Modstep – a new iPad app that’s describe as a “Modulation Monster and the first full-blown MIDI sequencer for the iPad”.

Modstep is designed to let you to create and perform music with your iPad, controlling MIDI hardware, compatible iPad music apps, and Mac and PC software. In addition, Modstep features an internal drum sampler and synth.

Here is a quick video intro to Modstep:


  • MIDI sequencer with Step Sequencer and Piano Roll
  • Unlimited MIDI tracks
  • Audio and MIDI streaming directly via charger cable to Mac and PC using studiomux technology
  • Up to 128 MIDI CCs per Track can be modulated
  • Built-in drum sampler with filter, delay and reverb, fully modulateable
  • Built-in synthesizer with filter, delay and reverb, fully modulateable
  • Templates to control external MIDI hardware
  • Template editor to create your own templates for IAA Apps, desktop Apps and external MIDI devices
  • Supports all MIDI interfaces for the iPad
  • Core functionality controllable via external MIDI controllers
  • Works on all iPads (iPad 1 restricted to MIDI only)
  • Trigger out
  • Integrated IAA mixer
  • Step Sequencer with active steps
  • Use third party IAAs as instruments and effects within one app


  • iOS 8 or later
  • for audio and MIDI streaming to a Mac or PC, the studiomux server software is required (free download)

Modstep is available now for US $19.99.

If you’ve used Modstep, leave a comment and share your thoughts!

59 thoughts on “Modstep A ‘Full-Blown’ MIDI Sequencer For iPad

  1. This app looks nice, shiny, and useful, but I hope the sync is not based on the same sync as MIDImux ! And why are they releasing new apps when MIDImux is still broken ? Glad Ableton Link is popping it’s head in the game. Seems they gave up on MIDImux… Sync still broken… Support is silent… worst of all no refunds.. I have heard great things about Touchable, but based on my experience I would stear clear of any appBC products until Apple allows demoes of apps (which will be never). Would a person pay full price for a Moog synth with LFO’s that couldnt stay in sync ? Would you buy and rely on faulty pedal to gig with ? I didnt think so…

    1. i purchased this solely on the fact that this came from the same people behind touchAble… i do agree that midimux leaves a lot to be desired, but honestly touchAble is an amazing app! and this one seems like it’s great as well…. i do however wish that they would go the link route instead of midimux sync because after testing link it’s hard to think anything else can be so solid.

      Sucks that there is no proper documentation or video tutorials though i found myself extremely confused and decided to just wait until someone made a decent tutorial video (was hoping i could be one but i gave that up pretty quickly)

      also it would be great if there could be more ableton integration like exporting and importing midi clips and stuff

      1. Hi fayek,
        a manual will come soon. Until then, you can use the in-app help (question mark) to find out about functionalities. The first update is on the way and will feature Ableton Link integration and some bugfixes.

  2. Apple sympathizers in 3…2..1.. I want an app that works, not the same ol’ lame excuses such as ” it was only a few dollars from the app store”.. or this one ” 20 years ago this would’ve cost thousands to do a fraction of what this app can do”… both “excuses” are correct, however that does not fix the sync:)

  3. ..and yes I know MIDImux is officially merged with Audiomux to form Studiomux… The Audiomux portion works great with Ableton Link…

  4. Does Studiomux even have a manual yet ? Or is appBC still using that incomplete walkthrough ? Support gives up on you… they delete your comments on their FB page when you ask for help and they cant fix it… I had an issue with Waldorf Nave, and Waldorf support was very dedicated working with me for days… appBC should take note…

    1. Hi Smanman,
      pointed this out earlier, it’s a little complicated:
      >modstep and all it’s MIDI features will run from iOS 5 on.
      >All the IAA features & the internal synth require iOS 7
      >The internal Sampler requires iOS 8.
      So the lowest version of iOS that supports all features is iOS 8, therefore we put it as the requirement.

  5. I bristle a little bit at “First full-blown sequencer for iPad.”

    IMHO, MultiTrack Studio is the first Full-blown MIDI sequencer for iPad. Auria Pro is the second. And there are others if you count the ones that lack the ability to change meter & tempo, etc.

    This app is probably down the list quite a ways.

    Now, whether it has other lovely features that make it cool and wonderful is another matter. Looks like it might have some interesting sounds and modulation capabilities.

    1. Agreed, the wording could have been better to sound less offensive towards other apps. It is safe to say modstep does not compare to Auria or MTS – it does not have the traditional type of MIDi sequencing these apps offer (on top of a lot of other stuff we do not have included in modstep, like audio editing for example).
      What’s maybe a first about modstep is the way it allows live jamming and remixing of sequences on the fly.

  6. Excellent app and works flawlessly on my iPad Pro. Studiomux integration also works very well indeed.
    The only 2 things that I found missing and would like to see in future releases are Audiobus and AU implementation.

  7. Hi there, Benjamin here from Modstep. Just a quick answer on what the drum sampler can do (more in a tutorial to follow):

    – it holds 16 samples per Sample Kit
    – samples can be up to 30 seconds long (we recommend shorter ones to save space)
    – samples can be dragged on Modstep in iTunes to add them to the Sample Browser
    – Modstep comes with a small collection of 17 Sample Kits to get you started

    Each Sample Pad has the following individual settings:
    -Pitch (can be applied freely or quantized to semitones)
    -REV (allows you to play back the sample backwards)
    -FX allows you to send the sample through the FX Chain (EQ, Delay & Reverb)
    -Start and End-point

    Each Sample Kit has these global settings:
    -freely configurable FX-chain with EQ, Delay & Reverb that can be modulated directly and in the Step Sequencer
    -Master Volume

    Hope that helps!


    1. @Benjamin Weiss

      This looks great!

      Is there a way to get samples in other than through iTunes? i.e.: Open In, AudioShare etc? Access to Dropbox or AudioShare should always be included in any iOS sampling app. Thanks

      PS- check out the Audiobus forum if you dare!

    2. thank you very much for the info. I’d like to request that you implement loading audio into the drumsampler from our iTunes library, have lots of songs in there I like to sample… also if you would implement truncating/destructive trimming option in the drumsampler as well so that after setting loop points I can get rid of the audio I don’t need and not have it stored on my iPad. this way I can conserve storage space.
      thanks for your consideration.


  8. This app looks like it could get THE Midi DAW for a lot of people. It has all the different options you would like to use in either a drum related or a melody related sequencer and it supports IAA apps in there. Plus it has a drum sampler and an additive synth in there included in vers. 1.0 already.
    For me, Studiomux works like a charm. I know the guys, they are working damn hard, it’s a small company.
    Apart from that, I see Modstep as a device central for sequencing/controlling other apps or external hardware gear, haven’t tested sync yet even. They will implement Ableton Link in there too soon, so it will be even much more fun !! 🙂

  9. “Works on all iPads (iPad 1 restricted to MIDI only)”
    iOS 8 or later”

    … but the iPad 1 doesn’t run iOS 8…

    1. From the developers on the Audiobus forum:

      A clarification about the iPad / iOS support situation:
      -modstep and all it’s MIDI features will run from iOS 5 on.
      -All the IAA features & the internal synth require iOS 7
      -The internal Sampler requires iOS 8.
      -So the lowest version of iOS that supports all features is iOS 8, therefore we put it as the requirement.
      Hope that helps!

  10. Hey guys – Cheers for your comments so far!

    Drunk Brain Surgeon:
    First of all: we never deleted any comments on facebook, or anywhere else.

    We’re sorry for your bad experience so far! We did not give up on midi/audio/studiomux (we released an update for Mac yesterday..) nor did we give up on any of our customers.
    By sync problems, do you mean a jittery clock, or the good old issue with the Korg apps expecting a transport signal?
    midimux does not have a sync engine by itself – nor does it have a transport – it only transfers MIDI/IAA-MIDI signals to other apps which then have to translate these signals to a clock themselves.
    If it’s with korg apps, the problem lies deeper: if they are loaded via IAA, they expect a transport signal (tempo, position in song) – and if they do not get it, they refuse to work correctly. However: as studiomux does not have a transport (yet…) we can’t give any reliable information about tempo or song position. We have contacted Korg about it several times but have yet to hear back from them.
    In modstep this problem is non-existent because we do have transport & tempo information that we can send over – something we will now integrate into studiomux itself as well, probably in combination with Ableton Link.
    Last thing about the refunds: apple alone is able to give refunds, as app developers have absolutely no insight into sales/customer data whatsoever. You can easily request a refund via iTunes -> Account – give a brief explanation as to why (“not working” is a probable cause as far as i know) and you should get a refund within a few days.

    AU Implementation is on the top of our List, as well as some kind of possibility to record multiple tracks to a file or other apps. There’s been some great comments over at the audiobus forum 🙂

    Depends on what you expect from a song mode 😉
    There is no actual timeline included as in a traditional DAW. But It is definitely possible to lay out and play an entire song using modstep – you’d play it vertically – playing one scene after the other.
    Undo/Redo: Unfortunately not, but there is the possibility to jump back and forth in time by 15-90s. Admittedly, a bit coarse, but gets the job done if you just deleted the last 5 hours of work by accident!

    Sorry, that’s indeed a tad confusing:
    modstep and all it’s MIDI features will run from iOS 5 on.
    All the IAA features & the internal synth require iOS 7
    The internal Sampler requires iOS 8.
    So the lowest version of iOS that supports all features is iOS 8, thus we put it as the requirement.

    1. Hi Christian, thanks for your reply. I’m not sure if there’s a feature I always missed during the beta phase, but it seems you have to manually switch between different scenes. Not looking for a full fledged, incredibly detailed timeline management here, I understand Modstep does other things (and very well!), but even a basic implementation would be so welcomed, even just like Gadget with a super loop of all the scenes, to focus on all the other instruments you’re sequencing. Cheers and happy festive season

    2. I left a frustrated comment on the Studiomux page the other day after having to reboot Studiomux, the middleware and Ableton for at least twenty minutes, all futile attempts. It is not only the sync broken, but the audio stream too. It’s all a roll of the dice. Studiomux has even worked on first attempt, but mostly it’s nothing but reboot after reboot until it works. There was not any obscenities in the comment. The comment was deleted in minutes. I reposted it, and it was deleted again. Now quite angry, I left the post in replies of the posts of others hoping support would respond but their posts were deleted. Thanks for calling me a liar. Might want to talk to who is running the FB page, so you can watch them lie to you too. I’ve heard great things about Touchable, but based on my experience with Studiomux, and appBC support, I will not purchase it nor Modstep. Statistics say an unhappy customer will share their experience with at least 10 other potential pre-sales, I will make sure it is more in my instance. It took 3 weeks for a reply for my original support request, when I did get one the staff was blind to any sync issues with Korg apps. I was told Korg was contacted and appBC was waiting for Korg to send them an instance of iElectribe ( that was comment was deleted too ). I never heard back after that. Your explanation now regarding the sync issue is several weeks too late after my support requests and it’s a shame, and amateur, your staff didn’t report this to me and I have to read a reply to a support requests on a blog instead of being contacted directly. Now let’s talk about your reply: No apology needed, but a working app or refund is ! My comments were deleted, thanks for calling me a liar indirectly. You did a rollout of a Modstep while the reliability of Studiomux was still questionable which says a lot about appBC’s priority of profit over product reliability and customer satisfaction. So appBC may have not given up on Studiomux, but it feels like it, since support abandoned my requests, deleted my comments, and shown where their priorities are, releasing new apps before fixing existing ones. Your reply tells you have not given up on customers, but my abandoned support requests tells a different story. Regarding the sync problems, both. Yes there is a jittery clock, what my original request was regarding, as well as no sync with Elastic Drums ( Studiomux advertising displays Elastic drums as a compatible app) which has been fixed but only with Elastic drums. Thanks to Ableton Link MIDImux is basically useless collecting virtual dust now and no more jittery clock. Yes, Korg apps expect a transport signal, and receives from Ableton via MIDImux instantaneously, there is no latency either. There are 2 problems though, you never know how many times you will have to reboot before it actually works, and when it does work you get random jitter at least every 2 bars. I record 32 bars and cut out the parts with no jitter and paste them together to compensate for the MIDImux error. The Audiomux has the side has the same problem, it works ” when ” it works, again roll of the dice, how many reboots are needed. Sadly you have to reboot Ableton everytime Studiomux and the middleware fail too . So while it is somewhat of a support effort you do acknowledge Studiomux doesn’t play nice with Korg apps, it was never reported back to me directly by support staff, I had to read about it after complaining on a blog that support made an afford and work is in progress. Very unprofessional and impersonal customer support. I am pretty sure the problem is not on Korgs end, as I have gotten the sync to work with no drift and instantaneous transport, you just never know when it’s going to work, and how much time you will spend rebooting Ableton and the middleware, and when it does work you have to deal with jitter. It’s nice but kind of sad you had to inform me about the refund policy, I thought Apple had a strict policy of no refunds. Studiomux is advertised as the first revolutionary product to do audio and MIDI over one cable, and rather dealing with working with me you pointed me to the door only re-emphasizing that you do give up on customers. I had a problem between Waldorf Nave VST demo and graphics that left Waldorf support perplexed. They put in dedicated effort over 4 days working with my PC and collecting data. After 4 days of back and forth emails I decided to tell them thanks for the help but I have music to make and no time for troubleshooting. They email me every few weeks thanking me for working with them as it has helped them collect data for updates and they still want me to demo Nave and want me as a customer, that is how it is done. I myself have several years of customer support experience as well as beta testing VST’s and firmware for Cable TV boxes. AppBC has some work to do in the support area as well as the informatics side.. Rollout too early..

  11. I agree it is a cumbersome app, Studiomux, but it’s working flawlessly now on my iPad Air 2 on iOS 8. It’s the lynchpin right now in my setup and Touchable is already a great sequencer and MIDI machine. I honestly can’t see myself buying this MIDI machine as my needs are as yet satisfied. It has been a rocky path with audiomux, but somehow midimux and whatever Studiomux is seem to be working right now. Knock on wood. But make no mistake folks. We are on cutting edge technology here with these guys!

  12. iPad 1’s go for under $100 on eBay. With a MIDI interface (like the iconnect series) that will also charge iPad, this is another app that that is making a setup like that extremely cost competitive as a stand alone piece of sequencing hardware.

  13. Can it record incoming midi from a midi keyboard/external interface and loop it?
    Using one keyboard to record sequences for different apps and synths is all I need.
    If I can do all in real time that would be what I’ve been waiting for years!

    1. Hey Yanakyl,

      yes it can! modstep has advanced routing capabilities that let you select a different MIDI In and Out port and channel per track. It also allows recording and overdubbing into a looping clip.
      If you want to use just one keyboard, you can arm the first track you want to record in, record, then arm the next one, record …etc.

      1. Is it possible to set quantisation on for some tracks on recording, and set it off for others?
        More important though, can you set it to not quantize on recordingand do some 50% quantizing after if desired?

    1. Now that is a bit of an exaggeration. Sure there’s a couple of obscure bugs, but it is not broken.

      HOWEVER, trying to use this with Ableton Live 9.5 will simply “break” a couple things because of an incompatibility issue. But an update is for sure on the way.

      Until then, everything works great with Live 9.2 and below

  14. I beta tested this app and was really impressed with it! It has way more options than I expected for ios. I look forward to continue using it to trigger my eurorack setup cheaply through my hexinverter midi2cv. Thanks Benjamin for your hard work!

    1. Why do all the beta testers report a solid product yet the actual customers report bugs and crashes ? Did anyone find it unusual they left the beta open upon rollout for modstep ? Beta tests end before the release and re-open when a bug appears and close upon the update. Modstep was released with the beta still open, why ? Again the beta testers report a solid product, but within hours after modstep was released, actual customers were reporting and posting crashes and bugs. Why do appBC release products prematurely ?

  15. You shoould probably review your AppStore listing. ModStep is tagged as sutable for “kids 6 – 8”. Might get some down reviews from dissappointed parents.

    When you say songs can be played moving vertically scene to scene, is this only by manual selection, or can it be automated as Gadget does?

    “Piano Roll” – when I see that I think of full length as in BeatMaker 2, nanoStudio, Caustic, etc. But the vid implies it is only on a pattern basis. Which is it?

  16. No mention of the new Audio Units? Better get on that train, or does that compete with StudioMux? If so, might want to think about the bigger-picture architectural issue at hand.

  17. Very interesting write up on CDM —
    “Version 1.01 is coming, too; Modstep tells CDM that will bring some significant bug fixes as well as support for Ableton’s Link technology. Link will be a huge boon: it’ll let Modstep users jam together, wirelessly, with a couple of iPads, or let you sync up with Ableton Live.”
    As for myself, money well spent regardless, love it. Hey, it is Xmas after all 🙂

  18. First of all I would like to say thanks to the developers as I have been waiting for this and it seems like a good app. I spent some time with it yesterday and I must say it fills a lot of my needs of sequencing gear. I loved the templates for synths such as my tetra so I can pretty much instantly control parameters without having to set up from scratch. I also intend to make my own for my other gear. Apart from some crashes it seems mostly stable. Also I have an issue where if I mess about with the midi channel controls on a track it sends out on midi channel 1 regardless of what’s selected. Changing the midi channel out to off then on again fixes this.
    Just a few things I would like to see or may have missed or not figured out yet:
    Changing time signatures doesn’t seem possible as I was having issues with midi not playing notes correctly on modstep slaved to ableton at an unusual time signature.
    More complex step sequencing such as reverse, random, note repeat that works like genome (so repeats note and doesn’t play the rest of the sequence until released and continues sequence from where it should be normally)
    MIDI icon in the top left doesn’t do anything for me, could this go to midi settings or something?
    MIDI CC, Chords and Pads dont’t have anything in the templates section, maybe some basic templates would be helpful.
    Sysex would be awesome. I have some old synths so being able to use sysex is important to me. If I could automate parameters on my DX7 with it then that would be awesome, otherwise I will have to continue using lemur for these duties.

    Also I must say it’s disappointing there is no manual nor even a short video to show you main features. Given that this is a complex app, just having to figure it out yourself can be frustrating (especially with crashes) as I don’t know if I have missed something obvious or if it doesn’t have a certain feature. Spending even 30 minutes making a video showing how to use the main features would have been extremely helpful. Anything is better than nothing.

    Lastly I would like to say this is a very good app and has the potential to be really great. Minus the crashing and midi issues. I wouldn’t let them put anyone off as its a lot of fun and once it’s a bit more stable then should be extremely good. For anyone worried about stability when making music, it auto saves regularly and so when it has crashed on me it loads back up pretty much where I left off, which is an excellent feature. Great job!

    1. Its cause appBC rollout products while still in Beta phase. Whether your tool is a moog synth or a lofi guitar pedal, would you buy a broken instrument ? Of course not . I wonder how many employees appBC have ? Is the product coordinator the coder and support ? The only reason Modstep would sell at this point is gearlust for shiny app. AppBC promise features, but clearly dint beta test thorougly. Since Modstep is based
      on the studiomux server middleware which is a nightmare expect problems.

  19. Won’t StudioMuxx be sort of moot once the iOS Audio Units are in play? Theoretically, all iOS apps will work with Desktop DAWs and other IOS apps on a plug & play basis– precisely how Logic Remote Works via Wifi or Bluetooth. No Audiobus. No Audiomuxx side of StudioMuxx needed. No IAA. Potentially a play for the Midimuxx side, though unclear.

    The iOS ecosystem is changing and when in full force, like this spring, the current connectivity model, including HW, will theoretically be extinct. WIth Logic Remote (for Garageband and Mainstage too, I believe,) you can do wireless or with the lightning cable if you don’t trust the airwaves.

    Don’t people– e.g. consumers, the press, and developers, understand this is imminent, impending, and not vaporware (look at iSem, for instance.)

    WIth Ableton’s Link, this could get very cool overnight. Perhaps we’ll have developers offering solutions on the iOS infrastucture that is “open–” meaning the FabFilter Solution would not necessarily be tied to Auria– but any app that suports the IOS Audio Units. And those in turn can sync up with desktop DAWs that support AUs– as iOS AUs are of the same architecture as traditional AUs.

    iOS does not equal OSX, but iOS AUs = Desktop AUs. It’s in the developer notes and many articles.

    ****** How do people not get this? ******

    LOL Will Steinberg actually play with Audio Units on the Cubasis App? Talk about the best kind of irony.

  20. Hi everybody,
    Just wanted to let you know that the bugfix update Modstep 1.0.1 is out now and features Ableton Link support and improved Midi sync. We are already working on the next update that should fix all remaining bugs.

    There’s also a manual covering all current functionality:

    Changelog for modstep 1.0.1

    New features:

    Ableton Link support
    Delete in Browser

    improved MIDI sync
    Fixed bugs:

    fixed a bug that would cause modstep to crash when deleting a Track with an IAA app
    fixed a bug that would cause a crash when an Autosave Session was loaded
    fixed a bug that would cause a crash when a New Session was created
    fixed a freeze that could be caused by recording Note Repeat
    fixed a bug that prevented saving of root notes
    fixed a bug that could cause modstep to show a black screen when switching to an IAA app
    fixed a bug that could prevent modstep from loading Sessions from the root folder
    fixed a bug with the IAA browser index
    fixed a bug that could cause a crash when long-tapping a Session in the Browser
    fixed a bug that would keep Delete active although another Edit tool was selected (red frame kept on flashing)
    fixed a crash that could occur when a MIDI Track was armed and external MIDI was recorded
    fixed a bug where the first loaded Synth Patch was empty/displayed no name
    Known bugs 1.0.1:

    wrong IAA FX are loaded (IAA Effect slot)
    adding an IAA FX can lead to crash (IAA Effect slot)
    crash when deleting IAA FX (IAA Effect slot)
    quickly dragging sample kits might cause a crash in rare cases
    import and export of separate CCs, chords and Pads doesn’t work (whole Templates work though)

  21. Hi all,
    Just wanted to give you a heads-up on the update to version 1.0.2 that has been uploaded to the AppStore yesterday. It fixes all bugs mentioned here and introduces audio recording, audiobus support, AudioShare support, extended MIDI remote and comes with a significantly improved performance. Also, if you are looking for the manual, it can be found here:

    Here is the changelog:

    New features:
    – audiobus support: added 8 audiobus output channels
    – AudioShare export and recording of all tracks (hit the new tapedeck button to record all tracks with internal instruments or IAAs, the files can be found in the /Recordings/ folder and exported to AudioShare or the internal Sampler via the file browser). The recordings are quantized to the current clip quantization.
    – improved Reverb
    – massively lower CPU usage – especially older iPads will run a lot more tracks now.
    – iPad 1 support is back (unfortunately it’s getting harder and harder to keep it that way!)
    – new parameter on Sampler ‘One Shot’ that disables the ADSR completely
    – Clips, Scenes and Arm, Mute, Solo, Volumes per Track are now MIDI mappable to external controllers.
    – Tempo Up/Down and Nudge are now MIDI mappable.
    – CPU meter is much more accurate now and only monitors the audio-thread.
    – Tracks will now correctly remember their MIDI setup and restore it upon load.
    – lots of small enhancements

    – IAA Effects load the proper effect now
    – IAA Effects will delete/restore fine again
    – IAAs show the proper icons in the VST when used with studiomux
    – fixed a bug that would prevent tempo changes when Ableton Link was not activated
    – fixed a bug that would cause wrong IAA fx to be loaded
    – tons of enhancements and other bugfixes
    – fixed Clip & Track Import & Export
    – new externally recorded notes and CCs will be played back immediately now

  22. This is a very powerful app. Problems have been fixed quickly and the dev is very responsive and open to suggestions. I have received replies from them here, AB Forum and by email. I don’t understand some of the nasty comments here. They are really uncalled for.

  23. This app is proving to be a real powerhouse but my main requests would be

    : Some form of snapping implemented for moving notes and sizing.

    : Undo/Redo

    : Quantize note division option in the quantize menu and quantize note length.

    Thanks for being quick on updates and fixes guys!

  24. Please tell me: Can you offer me a step by step guide on recording midi into a pattern? A Googke search didn’t yet provide me with the answer. The app is severely limited by a shortage of how to guides. The manual is basically a list of what each function does. But no workflow diagrams, or setup hints. Help!

  25. I can’t get MIDI Clock in to work with an Ipad 2 and MIDI DIN coming into Alesis IosDock. Other apps are able to see clock but I can’t figure out how to get ModStep to lock onto it. Any help appreciated.

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