I might annoy some people when I say I can’t recommend using the iPad for much when doing audio production, I simply prefer creating sounds with a real keyboard, plenty of display space and synthesizers that eat up a quad core cpu. I really enjoy hearing analog synths, but they are out of my price scope at the moment. So why should I produce and sell Sketch Synth 2? Well it solves a problem I have and a problem that anyone wanting to move from simple loops to an arrangement will have. That problem is how do it start the arrangement? That might sound a bit simple, you may have all sorts of rules and ways of experimenting; well I need a way of experimenting really rapidly. I don’t want to faff around with arrangements and automation until I actually have a feel for how this will work. This is the bit that Sketch Synth 2 does for me, I don’t seriously think of it as an instrument or a synth that could produce a sound to rival Sylenth or Massive, it is a purposeful tool and at this one thing it is in my mind absolutely perfect.
So lets go back to the problem: I’m using Ableton at the moment and I have a bunch of loops that I want to turn into stems. For each instrument I have 2 alternate parts and I want to experiment with bringing one sound in after another, rapidly fading some sounds in and sometimes slowly cross fading between other sounds. I will also want to experiment from time to time with putting a bit of fx like reverb or delay on the drums to see what kind of transition that helps pull off. So what is my problem: I take an age to work out how to transition nicely between different sounds and so often produce soundscapes and loops over songs. Sketch Synth 2 is a swiss army knife like solution here, in blueprint mode I can rapidly experiment with layering up and transitioning sounds ready for when I want to make my final arrangement in Ableton, I have a chance at genuinely understanding the interactions between sounds before committing to making stems.
So does this mean I am saying that 50% of Sketch Synth 2 is pointless, well, it’s there because it’s expected not because it really adds anything to the world of music making. The most requested feature for Sketch Synth 2 is audio bus and unfortunately I can’t give people what they expect there; although inter app audio may be possible later down the line; however adding audio bus would not extend the real use of Sketch Synth 2 by much, the point is to experiment so that you can put stuff to paper later on. I wouldn’t dream of recording stems on my iPad, I want to do stuff in a DAW with my favourite mastering, eq and compression plugins. The iPad is there to experiment with while I am on a flight or a train.
I am starting to consider an update to Sketch Synth 2 again and I need to consider extending it to improve on what it does best, and the most important thing next is to be able to communicate with a DAW so that when I make my sketches I can export them to DAW. There are two ways to do this, via Midi live, or via Midi files. I am actually considering breaking from the age old norm of live midi output using Wifi to outputting midi clips using iTunes file sharing so that the midi clips can be imported into Ableton to automate tracks, I need a little while to think about this because merging existing ableton clips with these clips might be a problem; it is not the normal way of doing things but Midi over WiFi is sometime flakey whereas file based capture is an interesting prospect. Hmmm, I’m umming and ahhing this problem a bit. Possibly may be better to just do midi over wifi… I’ll give it a try and see, at least over Ad-Hoc connections midi over wifi seems to work and whilst rapid note presses sometimes suffer from latency, modulation is often slower and it may worked fine in Sketch Synth 3D.