What Is Audiobus & How Will It Change Mobile Music Making?

Audiobus has been one of the most talked about new music technologies since it was announced earlier in this year.

One of the key limitations for music apps on iOS has been the challenges of working with audio from multiple music apps ‘in the box’. Audiobus - a new option for routing live audio on iOS – promises to change that.

Since the initial Audiobus announcement, there’s been debate over whether iOS 6 would derail the project, skepticism that it would get approved by Apple and confusion about what it is. Even now that Audiobus has been approved by Apple, there’s still confusion over how it will work and what it means for iOS music making.

To address this, we talked with developer Sebastian Dittmann and beta user Tim Webb.

Audiobus: The Developer’s View

Sebastian Dittmann is one of the founders of Audanika, the creator of SoundPrism Pro. Audiobus is a joint venture between Dittmann and Michael Tyson of A Tasty Pixel, creator of the iOS looping app Loopy.

We asked Dittmann about Audiobus, how it came about and how he sees it fitting into the future of mobile music making.

Synthtopia: To start off, Sebastian, what is Audiobus? What is your vision for Audiobus and how it will be used?

Sebastian Dittmann: Audiobus is a standalone app and an API for other developers to include in their own apps. Audiobus allows live audio streaming between apps, providing for the ability to use apps together like modules in a studio.

It’s the virtual ‘cabling’ that ties everything together.

We envision a whole new way of making music, bringing together the work of many different developers. We also envision a whole new class of music apps that provide audio processing capabilities to other apps.

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Google Nexus 7 – The First Android Tablet For Musicians?

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Joshua Topolsky, of The Verge, reviews the Google Nexus 7 – a new 7-inch tablet.

The Nexus 7 is a flagship device for Google’s Android operating system. It runs the latest version of Android, 4.1 ‘Jelly Bean’, and features nicely designed hardware for the device’s $200 price point.

And it sounds like Google, at least on its own branded devices, is addressing Android’s audio latency problem:

Audio latency on the Galaxy Nexus, running on Jelly bean, has been reduced from 100ms to 12ms. But, they’re still not satisfied as they want to reduce it to below 10ms. So it looks like some of those iOS music apps which are heavily reliant on low audio latency targets may finally be coming to Android.

Based on early reports, though, upgrading older devices to the latest Android OS won’t deliver this level of audio performance.

“Google’s Nexus 7 isn’t just an excellent tablet for $200. It’s an excellent tablet, period,” notes Topolsky. “It’s the first Android tablet that I can confidently recommend.”

If the Android 4.1 audio improvements pan out, the Google Nexus 7 tablet could be the first Android tablet that offers a viable alternative as a tablet music platform to iOS and the iPad. Apple’s iOS platform still offers many advantages – including MIDI support, a mature hardware ecosystem and a more profitable app store for developers. But the Nexus 7 could help make cheap tablets viable music tools and drive Apple to continue innovating with the iPad.

The Google Nexus 7 tablet is expected to ship in 2-3 weeks, priced at $199 for the 8GB version & $249 for the 16GB version.

Update: Based on developer feedback on the Nexus 7, audio latency is still a problem:

“I have developed 4 music apps for IOS. I have today ported them over and they all still have audio latency problems.

I’m not saying that its totally impossible as there may just be a way to get round it but I’m sharing 4 developers experience with the Nexus 7 today and tested 5 musical apps that cannot perform well enough. The audio latency is still behind the iPhone 3G”

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Moog’s Chief Engineer Explains The MiniGoog Moog Doodle Synth

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In celebration of Bob Moog‘s birthday, Google created an awesome web based synthesizer – the Moog Doodle Synthesizer, aka the ‘MiniGoog’.

In this video, Moog’s Chief engineer, Cyril Lance, explains the doodle’ s capabilities and how they relate to the classic MiniMoog design.

via MoogMusicInc

Android Plays Mozart (Open Accessory Demo)

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Forgive the Bourne-o-vision camera work, but this video, from Google I/O, captures a demonstration of an Android-played piano.

Details weren’t provided with the video, but it looks like an Android device connected via the Android Open Accessory ADK to a MIDI player piano.

Is Android going to catch up with iOS? If so – when?

via palmsounds

Will Google + Arduino Open Hardware Kill The iOS Music Juggernaut?

android arduino usbLong-time readers know that, for better or for worse, we’ve been talking about the way iPhones and iPads are going to be major new platforms for electronic music from day one.

Our coverage of mobile devices has focused primarily on iOS because Apple was the vendor making the right decisions, for the time, to create a viable mass-market mobile music platform. And until now, other platform vendors have been focusing too much effort on trying to imitate Apple’s success and not enough effort on leapfrogging Apple and doing something truly original.

But at this year’s Google I/O event at Moscone Center in San Francisco, Google made an announcement that has the potential to trigger a new explosion of mobile music making innovation. Google announced the Android Open Accessory Kit, a standard for connecting USB peripherals to Android mobile devices that is based on the open source Arduino hardware standard.

If that’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo to you, here’s how it breaks down:

  • There are about 100 million activated devices based on Google’s Android platform. These are mostly mobile phones.
  • People are using 200,000 Arduino devices. Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on hardware and software. It’s designed for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
  • The Arduino is already very popular with music hackers, who’ve created Arduino music sequencers, Arduino synths and Arduino MIDI controllers.

So – if you want to make a custom musical instrument or music controller and use a cheap Android device for the “brain”, Google’s trying to make it easy for you.

Bottom line – Google is betting that unrestricted development and natural selection are going to lead to a more dynamic platform than Apple’s walled garden approach. Continue reading

Cool Opportunity For A Student To Program Open Source DJ Software This Summer!

mixxx_screen2_smallOpen source DJ software developer Mixxx has been accepted into Google’s Summer of Code 2010, and they’re looking for students developers:

If you’re a student with C++ experience, an interest in DJing, and enthusiasm about open source software, then we encourage you to apply to work on Mixxx for the summer! Mixxx is a great opportunity to gain useful experience not only with open source software development, but also with multithreading and realtime multimedia applications.

Mixxx previously participated in Google Summer of Code in 2007 and 2008, and saw the success of several projects like the new waveform widget, improved BPM detection, and our first library overhaul. We have an enthusiastic team of mentors supported by a great community of artists and developers, and we think we’ve got an intriguing list of project ideas for this year.

Sounds like it could be a cool opportunity. Get the details at the Mixxx site.