Thanks to Daniel Davis and Saxifraga for helping me realise that you can use your iPhone as a midi junction box with ios7. They contacted me after reading about my experiences with the wonderful OP-1.
What I have been doing tonight thanks to them is playing my teenage engineering OP-1 via my CME Xkey. The big deal is both units, although they respond to midi, only have USB ports on them and not the usual midi sockets. Previously the only way you could connect one USB midi device to another was if you were attached to a computer. The cool thing about both the OP -1 and the Xkey is that they are both pretty small and entirely portable. I had been seeking a way to achieve this without nessicatating the hassle of a laptop around for what should be a sitting on a couch/train/aeroplane kind of thing. Using an app called MIDIbridge on my iPhone I have been able to achieve this. I have a USB hub with the two midi devices attached, then it’s plugged into my phone using a CCK (camera connection kit). Only with advent of the recent ios7 have iPhones been able to use the CCK. See my blog.
Filed under Gear, Music Tech
This exciting news for iPhone users kind of slipped out relatively unnoticed during the various hubbub surrounding the recent launch of iOS7. What it means is that you can attach a camera connection kit (CCK) to an iPhone and use it as a USB input for connecting midi keyboards and/or an audio interface. This is something that iPads have been able to do for a while but not iPhones until now. I think this is quite big news as it means you can now attach a class compliant device to your diminutive phone. Class compliant means that the device doesn’t need any drivers and will just simply work. Units that require drivers sadly won’t work as iOS doesn’t allow installing hardware specific drivers. A decent list of class compliant audio interfaces can be found here. Whilst here is a list of compatible midi interfaces.
Below is a quick video I made to illustrate this using Animoog for iPhone:
I have a CCK connected to an iPhone 5. Plugged in to that I have a newly released CME Xkey midi keyboard. This keyboard is quite special as not only does it feature (kind of) full size keys, it also supports polyphonic aftertouch.
A holy grail of sorts to keyboard players, polyphonic aftertouch allows for each key after being pressed to modulate the sound independently from other keys, for instance differing vibrato rates or filter cutoff. Better quality keyboards have featured aftertouch for years but this is usually monophonic aftertouch meaning that if you applied aftertouch to one key, it would affect all notes played equally. A guitarist essentially does this when they apply finger vibrato during chordal playing. When applied to a keyboard, it really makes the instrument feel more organic, more alive.
Mobile music making nirvana!
In many ways this really does open up the world of micro studios. I thought that iPad studios were quite minuscule but compare that to an iPhone running say Garageband with audiobus with a whole bunch of synths like Animoog, Modular, Alchemy, Cassini or Magellan Jr plugged into one of the tiny midi keyboards (QuNexus, CME X Keys) and you really have the most portable but very powerful synth rigs around!