The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek
19Mar/150

After the Book Came Out – ScoreCloud

Screenshot of my ScoreCloud dashboard

So this particular app requires some linkage with a computer to use, but the gist of ScoreCloud's functionality revolves around taking your playing (via MIDI or audio conversion) and creating sheet music from the results. The desktop/laptop can handle a little more full-featured editing capabilities (similar but not up to par with Sibelius or Finale). However, the iPhone/iPad app handle only recording and basic viewing and editing.

ScoreCloud presents an easy way into making sheet music - just sing or play into the mobile device, and the app takes what you do and tries to convert it into standard notation. This process includes interpreting a key signature, tones, and duration - everything you'd expect out of standard notation. The conversion process isn't too bad, but you should plan on making some edits post-recording. ScoreCloud won't get everything right the first time, although it will give you some helpful hints if it notices something is wrong (like my television in the background). And those edits will probably take place on the desktop/laptop component of ScoreCloud, where you can move notes around, put in chords, and changes voices for the instruments you're scoring out.

And, because everything requires cloud support these days, you can access your files either at home or while mobile using the app. ScoreCloud's cloud storage seems free for now, but that could obviously change. The access remains a handy feature, though, and all changes sync fairly quickly.

ScoreCloud won't replace full-featured notation editors right now, but you do get handy sync and note-taking options. And the singing function is a nice feature.

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2Mar/152

After The Book Came Out – FLUX:FX

The finality of print media keeps me from going back and updating the text as much as I'd want to when new apps come out. Luckily, this blog lets me carry on those updates as much as necessary. So let's get started with the audio processing app FLUX:FX, a collaboration with elephantcandy, MOBGEN, and guitarist/noise wizard Adrian Belew.

Despite Belew's stringed leanings, you can route more than guitars through FLUX:FX. a The app accepts audio from other apps via Audiobus, connected instruments via whichever jack and interface you wish to choose, and any connected mics (although it does mute the internal mic to prevent feedback). From there, you see the performance screen of FLUX:FX:

FLUX:FX Performance Screen

FLUX:FX Performance Screen

This screen accepts up to five effects (divided into different categories by function, like modulation, delays, and so on). Just drag the effects you want to use into the slots to activate them. You can also connect the effects to the x/y pad for live manipulation. The x/y implementation is handy - you can choose to only enable the effect when you touch the pad, or let the pad modify the sound continuously wherever you leave the control. A built-in 16-step sequencer automates the pad movement to give you hands-free manipulation while you play.

From this screen, you can also determine the amount of wet and dry signal you mix in, which can be handy for bassists who need to maintain some foundation in the tone without going too crazy. However, should you need some more precise control, tap over to the Edit screen to fine-tune the effects. The user interface does a great job of shifting around to accommodate whatever view you might need to use at the time, and the controls give you a full range of options to tweak to your heart's content. FLUX:FX also includes a bunch of presents to try out and modify, including a few from Belew.

The manual includes MIDI information you can use to send messages for control, such as tap tempo for the sequencer and effects shifts. I had no problem syncing FLUX:FX with a drum machine app's clock out to get the effects at the same tempo as the drumbeat, although the sequencer did not return to the first step on starts and stops. Keep that in mind as you plot your recording or live manipulations.

Overall, this app gives you a solid audio processing experience. FLUX:FX regularly topped 60% CPU usage and did give me the occasional dropout, so I wouldn't recommend running too many high-demand apps at the same time. I did not disable the animation that goes along with the app, though, and the option to do so will give your processor a little more breathing room. As weird at he sounds get, though, the glitch may just fit right in. FLUX:FX gets deep into sound manipulation for just about any source you can throw at it, and the real-time controls make it a unique and valuable tool.