Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New touch sensitive pad from Sensel.com just what we needed

Just what we needed looks like is finally being developed by Sensel.com called the Sensel Morph https://the-sensel-morph-interaction-evolved.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders. But the first problem is that it is still on the expensive side with preorders now priced at $250 usd. But this is still a better price then that of any other competing product with these features. I expect it won't be long before others also move into this market and the price will drop. But in any case, new inexpensive touch sound musical instruments are not so far off into the future any more.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

OSC (Open Sound Control ) was the missing ingredient

I can't believe I didn't see it before but I now found the missing part needed to complete a prototype of some of our new musical instruments. OSC or also know as Open Sound Control http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Sound_Control is just what's needed to start a quick development of a new touchpad musical instrument or for that mater many. Within just a few minuets I was able to interface my new android Acer Z5 phone to PD (Pure Data) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Data that I have running on a Linux Mint desktop with a wifi interface that was so easy even with a modified XML user interface, I couldn't believe it could possibly work but it DID! So the fact is that we can now design a custom touch control interface with a simple XML file on your android phone or pad with totally free software that I'm presently playing with called Fingerplay Midi https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.goddchen.android.fingerplay&hl=en . This provides me the needed interface to PD (Pure Data) that can convert the touch screen of any android phone into needed events that control ether a PD synth or make PD into a gateway to one of the many (free) midi and OSC software synths that are already available on Linux and Microsoft Windows repositorys. Oh and also yes, all this is also available on cross platforms so as we develop new XML files to run on the android OSC touch controller and new PD synth and gateway patches, it will also run on both windows and Linux and I guess on OSX (apple) also with the same file set. On the downside I'm still not sure of how fast this preset OSC software interface will be. So it might require more development when we find what we like to make it more real-time based by moving the code into C++ or asm code to allow older and present day devices to run it in real time. But I see a future when that won't be needed as computer performance improves and the code libs are improved for performance the conversion won't even be needed. For all I know maybe the hardware needed is already available and the cost of development to improve performance is minimal. So I've already started testing with this concept with my new Acer Z5 android phone to see what can be done to get us started. I'll start to publish some of my PD patches with some XML file examples with fingerplay. I also looked at a few other OSC interface software that now already exist on android repository. There are many with some free as seen with fingerplay and others that charge to install on an android system. As what I see so far none have everything that I'm looking for. The most important missing part that is needed as soon as possible is to be able to modify what image is seen below the touch pad on the android OSC software. I would at least need the lines that define the note boundary of a present setting. So after I get a prototype sound interface with what is presently available I will promote some development time to having an android OSC user configurable interface that has more options of images seen bellow controls that would include sliders, bottoms and touch-pad surfaces. At the same time we will see what can be done to improve latency time from the android device to the OSC server side interface. As I see it the bandwidth needed for OSC protocol to function on a local network or even Wan is minimal so the speed improvements in software must be possible. So that's all that I've learned today so stay tuned. I think we will have what is needed for a good start soon.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The "Beach Bum Band" is born

My “Pattaya Beach Pocket band” or "Beach Bum Band" has almost become a reality. I've now got myself a new acer Z5 android phone that I needed to setup a really cool musical instrument using an app called EerieSynth http://tactilemusicpad.surething.biz/2014/01/eeriesynth-coolest-android-app-ive-ever.html. It is almost everything I was hoping to create with some added stuff that I never even dreamed of. I also picked up some blue tooth speakers that enable me to wirelessly hook eeriesynth to a speaker system that can be heard within a small range of say 20 feet or so. I got two of these so that I can have at least one other person with an android phone that wants to add to the band sound. If I can't find anyone else to start I plan to play along with some music like the artist Moby music would be perfect. Most of it is slow and simple and not too loud as I need as I'm just a beginner at this new instrument. But it seems quite easy to play and think I will get much better over time with more practice. So in this article I will also add some links of other synths that I found that run on android that others can play along with us as a group. Each synth has different qualities and total different ways of human interface so it doesn't mater if you can play an instrument or not you can still add to the sound even if only with pre-edited midi format or mp3 sound tracks or just loop tracks or drum machine lick tracks in any format that your android can output over a blue-tooth link to our public speaker system. I later have plans to have each android send there audio stream to a central android or computer server that will be controlled by another human to balance the sound of each of the instruments and at some point cut some off and setup solo events on other instruments. And all this cool stuff will be just by things that most people can just pull out of there pockets. In the future when we want to setup a bigger event One or two people could just bring some bigger blue tooth speakers that I also saw at tookcom that cost about 3000 baht ($100USD) when we want to totally jam down and crank up a bigger beach party. These are still small enough to fit in a backpack and include rechargeable batteries that I'm told will play for like 20 hours or so. So tonight will be my first attempt to see how just the two small speakers work to start.

OK and now to start a list of what others should start to install and learn to play with on there android phones to find out what is best for how you want to play or Generate noise. the first group of apps that I will add to the list is drum sequencers and midi type synths that are the next most needed part of what we already have. The sequencers will allow someone to just sync a prerecorded or generated track to start into the complete group track or just be the first to start and others can be the ones that start adding there licks to the complete public sound at any time they feel ready. It's just an adlib jam session that you and others fill in at any point in time they want.

OK to start our android play list:
start with some percussion instruments

we need some bongo drums

since I think simple is best a simple tambourine for one person should work

oh this one looks cool for shaker instruments

tambla drum

anther drum set that also records (if maybe we don't have a player)

now for some synthesizers and sequencers:

first on the list and most favorite synth instruments is:

and another much like it that I like to play

another more complex (and not free) is costic a complete set of synths and midi sequencer set
it's a bit complicated so you might want to try a simpler instrument but this could also be a automated backup band

This one looks cool as it's a simple fm synth and simple sequencer in one

if you like the original DX7 keyboard sounds this one simulates is almost to a tee




we could use some string instruments
like some guitars

maybe a violin

The list goes on and on I can't try them all I'm hoping some of you might want to give these and others not listed here a try and feedback how you think they might be in a live band environment. I hope this just gets you started in a search for a musical instrument that best fits what you like and your skill set and desires.

Also make sure to start to add some of your favorite mp3 tunes in your phone so we can get an idea of the type of music you like and would like to learn to play or just listen to when we are not playing. Remember any phone can become the master of one of the public Beach Bum Band blue-tooth speaker systems so we can all hear what mp3 music and instruments you have.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

PocketBand Android app

This android app isn't quite in my thoughts of being a touchpad musical instrument but I think it still fits into my concept of the goal of creating a group with a pocket band as that's just what it's called. I more like the complexity of a jam with real people each putting in parts in realtime but at some point we still need a backup band in our pocket when we don't quite have all the players in the band needed to get things started. so this can perform as your drums and backup base synth and much more, and be modified in the field to best fit the mood of the group so here it is check it out. definitly adding it to the list of things for a adhoc band to bring to the beach. See what the experts can do with this and also note it includes wan network collaboration:

Droiditar another cool android musical instrument app

Droiditar another cool android musical instrument app. Not sure I like this one as much as the EerieSynth but I will have to try it to be sure. cool stuf, check it out.

EerieSynth coolest android app I've ever seen

Another one of the best android apps I've seen with multi-touch sensitive and slide microtonal support. just what I was looking for. Only problem is it won't run on my old android phone. So this makes me want to get a new android device just so I can play with this program. Fantastic. check it out in the video bellow:

There is a free demo version and another version you can buy for like $3usd. It's available on google play to install on your android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bv.eeriefull The only thing I can think of that would make this even better is if it had a method to output it's play data to midi over wifi or bluetooth. That would make it possible not only to record jams, but to also make it possible to create live beach bands in an instant with a adhoc wifi setup that you could carry in a backpack or for most the rest of the group band in there pockets. The dream of having an instant group that only has a single boom box speaker to all play through is now almost a reality. Just think of the fun we can have with that.

The AxMOD android musical instrument app

In my search for touch-pad instruments I did find something cool that is an app that runs on an android device that looks like it works very well from the video. Also note it's multi-touch supported. see video bellow: