The Moog app sits on my iPod touch, next to its analog predecessor Moogerfooger. Yeah, okay, I still like the knobs better, but it is fun, and the Moogerfooger doesn’t fit in my pocket unless I wear really silly-looking overalls.

Moog Music, they of the normally analog-only gear, have built their first iOS application. We’ve acquired exclusive details of the innards of the app, and I’ve been testing it today on my (second-generation) iPod touch. Blasphemy? Perhaps, but it’s a nicely-designed little application, and with audio input capability, could turn your Apple handheld into a tiny recording and effects-processing unit alongside other gear. (Game Boy plus iPod touch? Casiotone plus iPod touch?)

The application, Filtatron, hasn’t yet been announced. There’s no information on pricing or availability, accordingly.

Divided onto several pages (see screenshots), it represents a set of modules for recording, sampling, effects, and filtering. The controls are cleanly laid-out, and everything makes some sound, making it familiar and fun for people who know how to use it but very “tweakable” for someone who’s never touched something like this before. (There’s no question this could be a gateway drug to Moog’s genuine analog gear for the mass market on iOS.)

What it does:

  • Filter + LFO
  • Amp (drive) + feedback for distortion
  • Adjustable, time-syncable delay
  • Sampler with adjustable playback speed, loop points, and live recording
  • X/Y pads for tweaking and performance, plus preset sharing.

You can actually use the app without any input, by transferring files from your computer or another application (with AudioCopy supprot). But connect a mic or line input (or use the internal mic on a device like the iPhone), and the Filtatron turns your device into a live filtering unit.

In case you’re afraid Moog are giving up on gear, there’s a Catalog link on the about page from which you can buy one of the Moogerfooger line. Or, you can just sport this app and a t-shirt. (It’s like owning a BMW lighter but no car. Well, okay, somewhat more useful than that.)

So, what could this be used for? One of the Moog engineers imagined importing audio, processing on the go on the device, then re-importing to your music environment. (Just in case you want to adjust that LFO just right on the bus.) You can use it for real-time effects. Or you can even use it as a really unusual field recorder, recording only in Moogified sounds.

I will say this: my impression so far is that it’s a lot of fun to use. Yes, there are other apps that do things like this. No, it isn’t nearly as satisfying to use as the Moogerfooger hardware – losing the tactile response really loses a lot. But it’s a different experience; something you could easily add to a chain of other devices or use on the go in a way you might not expect.

I also notice that, aside from getting Moog-like sounds, you really appreciate big, simplified controls. That says to me that software generally could learn a lot from hardware, not just in sound or tactile feel, but in design. Review forthcoming, but here’s the full run-down on specs.

Complete Specifications

Audio input will work via any adapter. You can use the headphone/mic jack directly (though to get audio out, you’ll need to use a 3-prong minijack – more on that as I test my camcorder cable with this and other apps). You can also use third-party devices like the Blue Mikey (good if you need a mic) or IK Multimedia iRIG (good for mono instrument/guitar input). I’m also testing the iRIG.

Via an internal design documentation, I’ve got the details on the internal specs for the app. The goal, says the document: “filtatron allows you to combine several sound sources and apply effects to them in realtime. Sound sources include line or mic input, looping sample playback, and an internal oscillator.”

Audio engine: 16-bit, 44.1 kHz. (Some apps, like RjDj, actually use less, so that’s worth noting.)

Filter: modeled 4-pole resonant filter, which Moog intended to be matched to their analog filters. Lowpass, highpass, cutoff, resonance, self-oscillation at high resonance – you know, the usual.

LFO, Envelope Filter: Routed to filter cutoff. LFO: sine, ramp, sawtooth, square, sample&hold. Crossfade/morph between LFO shapes. Bipolar LFO (sweep up or down). Free-tuned LFOs, sync to tap tempo.

Envelope Follower: Route sound inputs to sweep the filter, with adjustable reaction speed.

Tap tempo, separation, mix.

Amp (overdrive) effect with feedback. Also can self-oscillate.

Delay effect. Delay with its own LFO. Adjustable from a short flange to longer delays.

Pads. X-Y pads controlled by multi-touch control parameters for live performance/tweaking. Assignments:

VCF pad controls filter cutoff and resonance, LFO pad controls LFO Rate and Amount, Delay pad controls delay time and feedback. VCO pad controls oscillator frequency and level (amplitude) – if the VCO “Release” parameter is engaged (ENABLE button on VCO panel, main page), then the VCO x-y pad also controls the VCO volume gate — the VCO is silent when you are not touching the pad and sounds a note on each touch. ENV pad controls envelope follower amount and speed, and AMP pad controls amp drive and feedback.

Sampler: Play included loops, record your own samples, or bring in your own loops using either the AudioCopy/AudioPaste API or an FTP connection. Sampler includes play controls, playback speed (-2x to +2x), and tap-and-drag controls for loop start and stop on the waveform.

Record audio into the sampler dry, or record with effects for resampling capability. Recording is limited only by available storage, but playback is limited to 10MB each (ca. 2 minutes).

Preset recall and storage. Includes a number of presets, allows you to save your own, and provides onboard email sharing of presets.

Exclusive CDM Moog April Fool’s Pre-announcement

The Minimoog XL for iOS. All 61 keys, so small you can’t hit them. Still monophonic. Seriously. I want to see it in the traditional April Fool’s announcement, you guys on North Carolina.

More Q&A, More Moog

From comments:
Christopher Wolfe, developer of the superb Jasuto (modular for iOS and now Android), is evidently behind some of the implementation here, collaborating with the Moog design team. Great work, Christopher. So it’s sort of a meeting of Chris’ mobile development experience with Moog’s hardware and design experience, as I see it.

Looping is not something you can do live; that’s not really the focus of the amp. But once samples are recorded, they’re fun to play with.

Apologies for not having a video, but here in the CDM workshop, we have some… other things happening, too. Moog have released a video with Richard Devine, but we can do one that’s quite a lot clearer! (Looks like they only had time for a teaser. I like the Wall of Moogerfoogers, though.)

Oh, and for the record, I’m actually surprised there isn’t much controversy here regarding a Moog iPhone app. But shows that – like them or hate them – people have at least come to expect iOS music apps.

If you do love hardware, though, check out the Slim Phatty, a news story Matrixsynth broke yesterday with a leaked ad. (Thanks, sgnelson.) $799 for a rack mount-style module, leaving the question of choosing which keyboard to use to play it. $800 is a great deal on a Phatty; Dave Smith Instruments, of course, remain a strong (and incredibly affordable) choice in the same price range.

Sing along, those of you who don’t like these iPhone apps moving in on the hardware.

`Cause I’m the Slim Phatty, yes I’m the real Phatty /
All your Moog iPhone s*** are just digital crappy /
So won’t the real Slim Phatty please stand up /
please stand up, please stand up

Y’all act like you never seen an iPhone app before.

Finally, the headline from the terrific Tara Busch and AnalogSuicide.com says it all:
Moog to Release New iPhone, iPad app, “Filtatron”. Embrace it!

Tara also makes no apologies for focusing on Moog at the moment. (Don’t worry, CDMers, we can and will also cover Smith, Linn, Chowning, Mathews, Roads, and company. All in due time.)

  • griotspeak

    Does the sampler allow for live looping, even in a very basic sense? It looks very nice, but it will look so much nicer if i can record a loop and play it without a pause in the action.

  • Nick

    They should just release a massive iPad app that simulates every moogerfooger, and allow you to wire and re-wire them as you see fit. I'd pay good money for one of those.

    Or just a standalone VST, I'd pay a few hundred for a Minimoog, Phatty or Voyager VST if it came with the option to add in as many moogerfoogers as you wanted and the ability to wire them up as you see fit.

  • http://rhythminmind.net Eric

    "No, sir, I didn't like it"

  • Jim

    Oh why did they bother?! It's like Levi's making baked beans. They could but why would they? I'll only let them off if it means they create a massive pile of cash with which they can create an awesome polysynth. I don't think Bob would approve but then I can't speak for him so I could be wrong. It just dilutes the brand. Look at Akai. Once proud giants of sampling drum machines now a purveyor of tacky plastic MIDI controllers

    Moog?

    MASSIVE FAIL

  • Jim

    … I mean this is such a shot in the foot!

    "Oh? So digital emulations are as good as analogue? Ok why then am I bothering to pay for your expensive hardware?"

  • Matt Gnarly

    As a broke university student I think this is great. I'd love to have a bunch of analog Moog equipment but that just isn't possible right now so I definitely see the utility of this. Hopefully it's priced fairly, under $10 would be ideal especially considering what you get for a $20 app like Amplitube.

  • Polite

    @Jim – quality of sound is never really a reason for hardware over software, these days. Hardware is about tactile response and control, and analogue is about those little imperfections which create that warmer sound that people love so much.

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    I'm jolly excited about this!

    "No, it isn’t nearly as satisfying to use as the Moogerfooger hardware – losing the tactile response really loses a lot."

    I already own a piece of moog kit – one of their theremins – so tactile response is not such a big deal for me.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Gordon: Ha! Yes, this has more tactile response than a Theremin. ;)

    The touch knobs are quite easy to use. It's just a different feeling, dialing in a sound on hardware. But as I said, I think what does translate is simplicity in design, and thoughtfully incorporating ranges in signal processing. Those work in software, hardware, whatever.

    @Jim: "It’s like Levi’s making baked beans." Ha.

  • goofy priest

    hey why not? i don't think this will have a negative impact on their hardware. in fact i think this could inspire new users to step up to the real thing.

    you can't ignore reality. ipod is the best vehicle for getting exposure to a huge audience.

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    Peter – I've been processing sound from my etherwave theremin through my iPod for a while now. The iRig is not good for that. Lot of noise, lot of crosstalk. I'm sure it's great for guitars but not for theremins. I entered into a dialogue with their help desk about it, and they gave up after suggesting I attenuate the signal and I told them I had already tried that.

    I have also tried a video cable. That didn't work at all. You need a little resistor to simulate the electret mike the iPod expects to find. So a friend made a connector up for me with a suitable resistor built in. Sorry – I don't know the value and I managed to f*** up one of the screws on the box so I can't open it again. Silly me. It works well enough. I also had my etherwave modded to include an output attenuation pot (volume) – for the ipod to discover the theremin I connect it, turn the pot up to full and run the Voice Memos app that came with the ipod, then turn the pot down until it stops peaking on the meter in Voice Memos.

    So far I have had the best results using the Jasuto Pro app. (Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl6RXqZr4fI – this is just a couple of massive jasuto pro reverbs in series with the first one turned to 100% wet – no source signal included.)

    I am really excited by the prospect of using moogerfoogers that I can afford – and in a format that is small enough to sit on top of my etherwave where I can reach it whilst playing without distorting the theremin's playing fields too much. For me at least this is potentially an optimal solution.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/alien8 alien8

    can has on android?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @alien8: Testing for different devices on Android is a non-trivial problem with mic input, so I can see why they weren't thrilled to go do that. That said, it makes it an ideal to get a community of testers. I think we'll be ready to do some broader testing of the Pd Android app shortly, if you want to try processing with that.

    I, for one, look forward to hooking my G1 and iPod touch together for a little Pd – plus – Filtatron action.

  • Damon

    The Special Edition Version will include a Lovely Engraved Official Moog PIxel as well a Fetching Personalized Virtual Caring Case.

  • sgnelson

    I have to say, this is kind of a "who cares" product for me. There are a bajillion different music apps for the iPhone platform already, and a few that seem (to me at least) to be more interesting than this one (like Curtis, the granular app for just one of many), but hey, if Moog wants to hop on the bandwagon, I guess we can always use one more music app on the iphone.

    What's more interesting to me is the new Moog Slim Phatty, which seems to be just a rackable Little Phatty, but it's cheaper at $800 and seems to have everything except the keyboard which seems pretty nice to me.

    Matrixsynth of course has more about this here: http://matrixsynth.blogspot.com/2010/10/moog-slim… I'm kind of curious why Peter didn't include that in this post as well.

  • Paul Norheim

    Now we're waiting for Arturia to make their Moog ModularV and CS80 available on the iPhone.

  • monokit

    Excellent business decision. Put the youngsters on the drug and sell them the real shit later on. The Slim Phatty with it´s below 800 pricetag matches the strategy. Well done Moog Inc.!

  • http://bedroomproducersblog.com/ bedroom producers bl

    don't understand why the analog vs digital discussion on this one. as already mentioned in the article, you can't fit a Moogerfooger in your pocket. and playing with virtual Moog filters beats playing Space Invaders one my phone anytime.

    ps

    the day will come when us android people will have this power too.

  • Jim

    This won't make spotty teenagers by bloody great lumps of hardware for $100s when the virtual equivalents are a few bucks or even free.

    I don't doubt it's a nice little app (although hardly earth shattering) but why put Moog on it and if it didn't have Moog on it or it wasn't styled like a Moog product would anyone give a damn?

    And for those of you who think you might be getting a cheap Moogerfooger or similar then sorry but you're not. Do you really think they've bothered coding any bespoke modelling? They'll be using a bunch of DSP libraries like everyone else.

    It is not a Moog (nor is it a pipe Mr Magritte). It is merely a representation of a Moog and as so wisely said, "The map is not the territory." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map–territor

  • Shades

    @Damon: lol!

  • http://www.benhovey.com Ben Hovey

    It's worth noting that Christopher Wolfe of Jasuto fame coded this so the DSP is incredibly good. No live looping, but the resampling feature is tons of fun. This is a great UNIQUE sound design tool/toy. It really is one of my favorite music/sound apps for iOS. It can also potentially educate people about the fundamentals of synthesis as the included glossary defines basic synthesizer concepts (VCO, VCF, etc…) It's not meant as a replacement for a moogerfooger. It's meant to enjoy for what it is. I think it hits the FUN/QUALITY bulls-eye! Some of you are pre-judging this based on specs and a screenshot.

  • Jim

    @Ben:

    I am pre-judging (not that I necessarily think you were pointing a finger at me) and I am to some degree playing devil's advocate. My real objection is that I'm just not interested in music software which this is and for those people who are I shouldn't rain on their parade. I've never got the whole soft synth emulation thing. I remember the first time I saw Rebirth. I felt a bit embarrassed for the person showing it to me. They were like really excited and I was like, "Yeah but it's not a 303/808/909 it just looks like one." And they were like, "But it sounds like them?" And I was like, "Does it? It sounds like something that sounds like a 303/808/909."

    And then there's the whole issue of getting quality audio in and out of an iPhone/iPad …

  • Micah

    Moog's foray into software is nothing without the hardware legacy that this stuff is branded behind. I wouldn't worry about them ditching the physical. What we can probably expect is some exciting new (physical) hybrid synths as mobile technology progresses.

    I'm still waiting for the memorymoog iphone app that slowly goes out of tune after 10 years.

  • http://www.benhovey.com Ben Hovey

    @Jim

    I agree about the subpar audio interfacing aspect of the iOS devices. I'm sure over time when tablets start taking over laptops, some quality apogee or RME interfaces will surface. For the time being I get pretty great results field recording using the built in mic on my iphone 4 and standard earbud mic. Once its processed in the filtatron or ableton's sampler/racks it becomes something else entirely.

    The DSP in rebirth never clicked with me either, but these days it is quantum leaps better (Filtatron included). I do feel that real knobs manipulating actual voltages are more visceral and enjoyable, but I will always balance that with the amazing sounds I can get from this portable digital technology.

    Why does it always have to be Digital vs. Analog. Why can't we just enjoy the best of both worlds. They can compliment each other quite nicely.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Digital versus analog is not the flame war that should be happening here. I think it's a three-way battle, like a special themed prize fight in pro wrestling:

    Corner 1 – Hardware, knobs, analog, solid-state, the Minimoog! The Moogerfooger!

    Corner 2 – iPhone, pocket apps, Apple lovers!

    Corner 3 – Computers, plug-ins, the software we've been using for a couple of decades!

    Fight! (I'm, uh, using all three… anyone want to get into my corner?)

    Uh, seriously, with the aid of something like the iRIG, you can get decent audio in and out of the iPhone/iPod touch. Stereo in and out would be handy, though.

  • http://www.moogmusic.com Amos Gaynes

    Hi all, I just wanted to pop in with a bit more information — the code for Filtatron was developed by DSP guru Chris Wolfe of Jasuto fame, and yes it does feature "bespoke modelling" of the Moog 4-pole lowpass filter. We sent Chris an MF-101 lowpass filter and a Little Phatty for comparison purposes, he soundprinted them and looked at the sonic spectra, and then worked closely with me to tweak and fine-tune the DSP until we had something that was satisfyingly Moogy.

    Is it a replacement for an analog filter? Of course not! Is it a custom filter model evaluated by Moog engineers and tweaked to sound very nice? Yes, absolutely.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Just to echo what Amos said – I can also confirm that Filtatron sounds really, really good. It's Moog-y, yes. Chris does great work; it's well worth heading out and trying Jasuto, too, if you haven't.

    Oh, and the speed-controlled audio playback also sounds really slick, which is something no Moogerfooger does. :) Just think of this as a useful digital interface that learns something from Moog design. And as I said, that can be as much about usability as sound – the usability aspect is what somehow gets lost; I'm transcribing an interview I just did with engineer Dave Hill where he brought up that same point in regards to analog gear.

    Apologies I didn't get a video done here. One is coming. I think the Moog folks will also have video and sound.

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    So this is the mystery app that Chris was working on! Excellent. Very encouraging – I love Jasuto Pro.

    @Peter – stereo in and out – http://www.sonomawireworks.com/guitarjack/

  • Aaron

    iApps are great for generating revenue and promotion with little cost. I look at this similar to the Moog fest and Moog CDS of the past, but more fun over a prolonged period.

    More than anything I would like to see Moog make some more grounds in affordable hardware for us broke people (instead of the other direction with their latest synth)..

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Aaron: my Eminem humor aside, Slim Phatty doesn't fit that description?

    Moogerfoogers are also quite affordable. Sure, they don't do *much*, but then a MIDI MuRF could be the only outboard effect you need.

  • aaron

    More! ;) It'd be nice to see them do a KB in the 500-700 range.. probably never going to happen though.

  • aaron

    BTW Peter, if you don't mind the question… what are you using for input on your 2G Touch?

  • Mark

    IMO, the only thing Moog about this is the brand and the UI styling. As the post and comments point out, Moog wasn't actually involved in building this product, they're just marketing/distributing it. And for good reason — Moog is not a software engineering company.

    Yet that won't stop everyone from talking about how you can now get "Moog sounds" out of a iPhone.

    I have no doubt this app will be fun to use and sound good, but it will be no more Moog than the half-a-million other digital emulations of Moog gear out there on the market. The audio software industry has literally been going at Moog emulation for years — many companies are quite good at it.

    So, I simply don't believe that Moog contracting the software development and applying their brand will make this product sound markedly different from the others.

    That said, I do think it's reasonable for Moog to make themselves more accessible. Though I do think this type of thing dilutes their brand, most real Moog products (i.e. the ones that Moog engineers build) are well out of the average musician's budget.

  • Jim

    @Amos/Moog

    Fair play. I stand corrected and I would have been surprised if Moog hadn't gone the extra mile to be honest.

    At the end of day I just don't get excited at the prospect of making music with a mobile phone.

    However good it sounds, I find poking and stroking a screen as distant as typing and clicking a mouse.

    I wish Moog lots of luck with it.

  • http://www.moogmusic.com Amos Gaynes

    @Mark, I really have to take issue with your comment that "Moog wasn’t actually involved in building this product" — nothing could be further from the truth.

    The entire concept was developed here at Moog; we specified exactly what it could do and how the controls would work. Moog engineers worked to fine-tune the performance over successive beta versions, adjusting the parameter ranges, fine-tuning the filter performance… in a nutshell, working to engineer the product to reflect and express the Moog experience to the best possible extent.

    Working with an excellent third party, we brought his DSP expertise into our project, to bring life to our design. The concept, design, and direction are 100% a Moog in-house effort.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'll echo what Amos is saying. Not to mention, Chris does great work, so even if it doesn't say Moog/Wolfe on there, I think that's valuable.

    @Jim – I hear you. Honestly, I'd go even further. I'd say the people to whom this is valuable *like* that experience – even if it's something they do on the side, and they come home to gear with knobs or use it alongside.

    You only have to answer this for yourself, and no one else, and no one else can really tell you the right answer.

  • http://seanike.com soulsonic

    Folks just need to see/hear the app do something they like, and then it will make sense. This fits perfectly into the system I'm working on and EXTREMELY excited to put this app to the test, onstage and in the studio!

    Love the interface, and it sounds fairly deep and 'sweet' like my 'foogers VCA. It'll be filtered by it anyway!

  • Mark

    @Amos, thanks for the reply. I probably came across stronger than intended in my comment. It's definitely clear that this is a Moog instrument. Great instrument design is a big part of the Moog signature and an area in which you guys have always clearly excelled.

    Another big part, of course, is engineering, and while I appreciate the value of designing the features, tuning the parameters, etc., this just isn't Moog engineering in the traditional sense (i.e. analog circuitry and hardware interfaces). Re-reading my comment, I was definitely far too blunt. When I referred to the "building of the product," I really ought to have specifically referred to the types of engineering involved.

    In any event, didn't mean to come across too negatively. While I'm not personally super hot on this one, I understand the value it brings to the table, and as I said before I'm sure it'll be fun to use. Definitely glad to see you guys continuing in your core tradition at the same time, though (with the Slim Phatty and the XL).

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    I imagine we can all agree that emulation is never the best way to go. It is surely self-evident that the best way to make a great acoustic instrument is to make a great acoustic instrument, not to emulate one using some other technology, and the best way to make a great analogue electronic instrument is to make a great analogue acoustic instrument, not to emulate one using some other technology, and so on…

    But… Moog are no strangers to synthesis! They make some great hybrids – the Moog guitar, the MIDIMurf etc. I would have no objection whatsoever to Moog hardware with a "Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad" Logo and a 30pin dock, giving me a musical instrument where Moog's analogue hardware does great analogue things and Apple's computer hardware does great digital things.

    As they note at the end of their first Filtatron video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFuskgw35RA ) "This is just the beginning…"

  • http://soundcloud.com/aetherloop Keith Marquis

    The Filtatron app is a smart move by the Moog company. Applications of this kind are where it's at today and for the foreseeable future. It's not really about trying to capture the SOUND of a Moog – you can't quite do that with an App and many know that already. But who cares? No, this is about THE BRAND, MOOG, and from that standpoint it makes sense. People will want it because "it's a Moog", and people who have never heard of a Moog product will become hip to the name, the current product line, and maybe even the history. As far as it's use as a creative tool, the Filtatron will no doubt inspire some people.

  • http://www.audiostuff.ro Andrei

    Like monokit said, great business strategy. Mobile music keeps getting more and more attention.

  • henduck

    Can't wait to try this out. But my biggest question is.. how's the latency on this app? I've been looking for a tap-tempo delay app for live audio input… so far, of all the options i've found, they all have a noticeable lag… the best so far being RiotFX, but still too much lag to use on anything percussive. Also, is there any way to account for varying input levels from within the app? (for those of us working with a simple video cable for I/O)

  • adam

    i thought it was going for $4.99 -??

  • http://www.chromedecay.org Bill Van Loo

    I think this would be a perfect companion for my new Bliptronic 5000! I like processing it in Ableton Live, but it sure would be nice to have all that processing power on my iPod Touch in a package that's even smaller than the Bliptronic.

    http://www.chromedecay.org/2010/10/17/4252-bliptr

  • josquin2000

    Not sure what is in the iOS4.1 API , 'cause I still don't have an intel Mac (iOS API/SDK is intel only);

    but a real solution to the poor audio quality out of these iOS machines might be to see if we can set up buffered network audio transfer from the iphone/ipod/ipad. if they can maintain two way video and audio codecs, they can probably sustain one way streaming of some type of usable digital audio, right? (he said hopefully…)

    j2k

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Huh? How is networked streaming more desirable than processing on the device?

    And what do you mean by poor audio quality, exactly? Suffice to say these aren't pro-quality ADC/DACs, but…

  • josquin2000

    streaming ipad/iphone/ipod sound output to computer with high quality dacs?

    EG: on my ipod: as much as I love it, the sound is Flat,has slight 'gritty' edge to the sound compared to the nice RME Fireface I have on my mac. Those with advanced converter clocking, etc. are even better quality: but the sound sample output of , say,Jasuto from the processor is as good on the ipod as on my nice RME host computer: why should we have to live with this conversion limit?

    I like the touch screen interface, and the A5 sucka seems to do some nice DSP, but I would really prefer to save digital samples to my computer, rather than audio sent through the old school 'cd quality' converters on the ipod, and then transferred not through high quality balanced cables, but through a small set of "commercial headphone" leads.

    I suspect if we got the samples out of Jasuto or the new Moog app on my ipod into a computer with high quality converters, then we would have no quality loss at all with using these small musical instruments, with their cool new interfaces.

    Of course, we can always just stick to interfaces on the iOS hardware, but there is plenty evidence that the A5 can crank some nice signal processing: but we are stuck listening through cheaper DACs (and inputting through average ADCs: streaming could get higher quality sound into the ipod/ipads also).

    Just looking to improve what we have. The output *samples* on iOS are as fine as any DSP can generate, but the converters we are stuck with now are not.

    PAX!

    ymmv

    Dr j2k

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Right, but then you have to deal with any stream compression.

    What you're describing to me sounds like an opportunity for a custom Linux/Android embedded solution with the DACs you want. Totally doable, though expect to sacrifice some touchscreen quality, unless you want it to be wildly expensive. (Then again, most of these things really only use single touch)

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    You can record inside Filtatron and then ftp it over to your computer uncompressed afterwards. In a studio situation I would stream to my DAW and record in-app and use whichever version sounded better in the final mix.

  • josquin2000

    [QUOTE]an opportunity for a custom Linux/Android embedded solution with the DACs you want[/QUOTE]

    I suspect there would be buffering and codec conversion latency, but what I imagine is akin to the OSX application 'Airfoil', which streams any core audio output to the Apple wireless modem: Instead, stream any iOS audio output to a local receiver running on your Mac.

    To be honest, I'm not totally behind Android, although that and linux are open enough the applications could be quite optimized, and therefore probably perform with less latency… but I am willing to trade latency for the joy of coding again in Objective-C, still my all time fav language, even though I earn a living with Java…prob. why I don't wanna code in it for my fun, ;-) . I just want to be able to store my ipod Jasuto jams (e.g.) into my main studio machines / environment, as at least 16bit 44.1 stereo samples…without two conversions and line noise, one conversion being done by cheaper converters with no interpolation/resampling. :-) .

    Thanks for your input!

    Dr. J2K.

  • josquin2000

    Ok, if we can get authors of all these wonderful synth apps on the iOS to write their sound output as files, I'll be happy with FTP (even with apparently needing an 'expensive' $10 app currently for fully flexible FTPing on the iOS machines…).

    Don't recommend we hold our breath, though…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @josquin2000: Think hardware, not software, as the key difference with custom Android or Linux solutions.

  • http://www.chromedecay.org Bill Van Loo

    So what's the word on getting audio in and out of the iPod/iPhone using this? Here's my test scenario:

    I'd like to run the Bliptronic 5000 into my 2G iPod Touch, apply effects with Filtatron, and send audio back out to a mixer. Would a 4-section camcorder miniplug work? It seems like I've read conflicting reports about whether or not this actually works.

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    Hi Bill,

    Here's the skinny. It might work but it's unlikely. There are two deal breakers. Firstly the iPod is looking for an electret microphone on the input. If it thinks it has found one (based on resistance) it enables audio in on the headphone socket. Without being an electronics engineer I would guess your bliptronic won't fool the ipod without a strategically placed resistor of just the right value to help with the deception.

    The second issue is audio levels – mikes generate low audio levels compared to synths, so there is likelihood of clipping and sound bleeding from the input line to the output line. These can be overcome by reducing the volume of the input device, either by the expediency of being careful not to turn it up too loud or by use of another strategic resistor (or potentiometer) on the input line, and by turning down the volume of your ipod.

    It is possible that an ikmultimedia iRig will do the job – although primarily intended for guitars I have seen a demo of it being used with a synth and it does claim to work with synths in the tech specs.

    There is a caveat though – I have not had satisfactory results with an iRig and a theremin, but as synths go theremins are odd and pernickety beasts. Consequently I am currently using a custom built device that works as described above and have to go through a little routine to get it to work consistently I do all the plugging in and turn the volume limiting pot to max volume then run the Voice Recorder app to confirm that the iPod has recognised the connection, and then turn the volume down until it stops clipping on the app's meter – then I run the Filtatron app. Until Moog issue specific connecting advice I would suggest theremin players consult Thierry Frenkel (theremin electronics wizard) at http://theremin.tfrenkel.com/

  • http://www.moogmusic.com Amos Gaynes

    Line-level input to iPod? some links:

    edit: here are a couple of links that might be useful:

    iphone audio line dock adapter.htm]

    and here's the DIY version:

    making ipod dock for recording and line in

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    I note that line level input via the dock does not work on Apple's current products – iPhone 4, 4th generation iPod and iPad.

    It seems Apple are moving to a USB solution for high quality audio IO.

    USB audio already works on the iPad. See here:

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/04/ipad-usb-c

    And it seems likely that this will work on iPod and iPhone in the foreseeable future. See here and scroll down to the Compatibility section.

    http://www.sonomawireworks.com/guitarjack/

    That GuitarJack Model 2 will be USB based is not a great leap, given that it will work on the iPad.

  • http://youtube.com/gordoncharlton Gordon Charlton

    Getting back to jack socket based solutions, I just opened up my iRig – a few surface mount resistors and capacitors from the look of it. I find myself thinking "for this I spent how much?"

    Also I just discovered the Peavey AmpKit LiNK. It's in the same price range as the iRig, and getting favourable reviews in comparison to the iRig.

    The principle difference is that it is not just a passive device – it's battery powered and boasts a "Crosstalk Eliminator" which appears to be advertising jargon for "you can crank up the volume without inviting feedback problems"

    It's also a lot more upfront about being suitable for line-level as well as guitar level sources.

  • louis

    I've used a friends iRig before and wasn't really impressed. I do love this moog app, and the amplitube app as well, but I've got myself one of these.

    http://www.newsignalprocess.com/site/

    first glance the price might seem a bit steep, but in comparison to a iRig or some of the other options, it's a joy.

  • http://Www.babkubwa.com Ralph

    I would buy one of those akai synthstation 25s in a heartbeat if moog make filtatron compatible. 

    Anybody think there's much chance of this happening?