All Your MIDI Are Belong To QWERTY

Secret Base Design, makers of the MIDIMorphosis and Apollo over Bluetooth apps, has just released a new music-making iOS app, Double Decker, which turns the user’s Bluetooth keyboard (or iPad keyboard) into a MIDI controller.

In the Double Decker app, the middle two rows of the keyboard (the “asdf” row and the “qwerty” row) are arranged like a piano keyboard. The bottom row of keys uses a different synthesizer patch; the top (number) row triggers drum patches, with the option to add more drum sets using Soundfonts. The user can also send MIDI notes to apps (like SunRizer) running in the background. There are also four different 4×4 grids for triggering samples.

Secret_Base_Double_Decker_iPadDouble Decker supports Soundfonts, and also has full support for MIDI. Using the MIDI Learn feature in apps such as Loopy and Genome, you can start and stop recording, play synthesizers, and switch tracks, all with a Bluetooth keyboard.

If you have multiple iOS devices, you can link them together using the low latency connection provided by Apollo MIDI over Bluetooth. Run Double Decker in the foreground on one device to catch keystrokes, and then send MIDI to a second device, which can have a synthesizer or sequencer app in the foreground.

Double Decker key features:

  • Innovative use of an external keyboard to trigger notes.
  • Keyboard arranged into two groups, each with four different playing regions.
  • Each region can be assigned a Soundfont patch, a set of MIDI destinations, or both.
  • Soundfonts can be added using “open in” or iTunes file sharing.
  • Each key in each region is configurable as either a note or a chord, with independent velocity control.
  • Key configurations can be saved as presets, shared through email, or downloaded from the web.
  • The app supports the Audiobus “input” slot.
  • Built-in support as a Apollo MIDI over Bluetooth “A” endpoint.

Pricing and Availability. Double Decker is available through the Apple App Store at an introductory price of $1.99.* App requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. For more information about Double Decker, go to the Secret Base Design website.

*Secret Base Design has also put many of their other apps on sale, to celebrate the release of Double Decker.

9 thoughts on “All Your MIDI Are Belong To QWERTY

  1. Thanks for the mention!

    (And with respect to the “All your MIDI” thing — it’s an old people thing, get off my lawn!)

    1. Hey! I’m not old 🙂

      Thanks for this. Instant buy.
      Now, instead of calling attention to myself, while using my USB MIDI keyboard, I can be just a guy using a keyboard. Stealth music making 😉

  2. Anyone got it to work with Korg Gadget? I have have both apps running, Double Decker set to midi ch 1, but no response in Gadget…

  3. Just to check — Double Decker needs to be in the foreground (there’s no keyboard access for background apps). Also, check the Gadget settings (using the Settings app — it’s not accessible directly from Gadget, AFAIK); you’ll need to have Background Audio turned on.

    I just tried Gadget, and things seem ok — MIDI output from one of the DD keyboard regions, and also the on-screen keyboard, can be set to send to the Gadget virtual MIDI input, with channel 1. No trouble with the Chiangmai synth. The drum gadgets (London) seem to respond to MIDI notes starting at C3/36, so you may need to poke around to get the assignments working.

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