Tuesday 17 July 2012

How to make an Audio App for iOS

Samplers for iPhone and iPad
In a recent article we covered the popular iPad/iPhone audio app: SpaceSampler. The sound apps creator has been kind enough to grant us an intereview where we hope you'll learn some useful facts about making a sound app for iOS.

SpaceSampler Developer Interview

1. Why have you chosen iOS as your preferred medium

iOS has become the mobile platform of choice for music creators.  There are several great audio hardware interface options available for the iPhone and iPad and a wealth of information for developers.  

2. What programming background do you/your company have?

I have a background in Electrical Engineering and DSP.  I work with partners who help with various parts of the programming and it all comes together from there.

3 Do you regard Apple devices as a good tool for musicians?

Yes, absolutely.  In reality, iOS devices are still relatively new, however people suddenly have all of these new and unique options for music creation.  It's going to be really interesting to watch how the ways we create music on iOS filter through to finished music.

4. Have you used SpaceSampler for any of your own projects?

Absolutely.  It works really well for capturing sounds when out in the field or recording demos for my band Emperors Club (www.emperorsclub.net).  I've used it to process audio I've previously recorded in other apps and of course it's always fun to share something funny with a strange effect on it.  In that regard, it's been called "Instagram for audio."

5. Do you know of any fellow musos using SpaceSampler or other iOS music apps?

Yes - I always enjoy getting little shared creations from various people.  Doing a SoundCloud search for "SpaceSampler" brings up some interesting results.

6. What made you decide to make this type of app?

My favorite iOS apps have always been the simpler ones, with a great interface, that you can easily use on the go.  Photography apps like CameraBag and Instragram were a big inspiration.  I kept asking myself why there wasn't an app like CameraBag for audio, so i just decided to make one. 

7. Any insights into how the app was made would be great, recorded in a studio, what actual hardware was used etc,-with this question I'm just looking for a general insight into how the app was made with specific info that would be of interest to musicians looking for music apps or other developers looking to develop this type of app
Whatever article I cook up with your answers I'll link to SpaceSampler and hopefully generate some more interest in your app.

The fun part about making this app was concocting the filters.  Periscope Audio also does online mixing (www.onlinemixing.periscopeaudio.com) for artists worldwide and because of this I have some great audio tools at my disposal.  I brought out all my delays, effects, high end reverbs, EQ's and vintage mic preamps.  I used material I recorded with the internal iPhone microphone to create filters that would enhance it's sound.  I cross referenced this with other material recorded with high-end studio microphones so the filters would sound good on different sources.  Once the filters were created, I captured their response with a swept sign wave, performed a deconvolution and then edited them to create the Impulse responses found in SpaceSampler.

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