It was a beautiful early summer evening here yesterday – just right for a quick bit of recording in the garden. Here’s the result, featuring bouzouki, Friedlander Violin, wood pigeons and distant police sirens.
UPDATE 2: After reading this, also read my follow-up post describing how several of these issues have been addressed in recent updates to the app.
I really, really want to like WholeWorldBand. Not only does it allow you to record collaboratively over the internet, it also enables musicians to make money out of it. Their video explains it very well…
Since I first saw the video, I’ve been eagerly waiting its released. And yesterday, I got an email saying it was now live. The first 5000 users get a free upgrade to the full app (that allows recording) and some in-app credit for starting & joining sessions, so if you’re quick, you might also qualify.
So far, so good. Unfortunately, the app (iPad only) isn’t really finished, either from a functionality or stability point of view. It crashed frequently, and I had terrible audio sync problems when using external audio devices. In the end the only way I could construct a tune was recording directly through the iPad mic, so the audio quality is not great.
Here’s the result – a short burst of “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” on two bouzoukis and an accordion.
Obviously this is all just me – I haven’t had anyone create a session from my track yet, which is not very surprising as (a) it’s not very good and (b) I only published it half an hour ago.
It was also quite a tortuous process getting this video onto here. You can post your “mosaics” (which is what WWB calls mixes) to Facebook and Twitter, but that just seems to post a link to an obscure URL. So I downloaded it from there, and found the audio was only exported in 64k mono.
This highlights another oddity about the platform – for a music recording app, it seems more fixated with video than sound quality. The mixing controls are very primitive and there are no editing controls at all. Although WWB and OhmStudio would appear to superficially be trying to do the same thing – let you record music over the internet – they are a million miles apart in the way they do it.
The focus on helping musicians get paid for their work is commendable, but it certainly makes the platform confusing at first as you have to wade through all sorts of terms and conditions about each track you create or contribute to. I tried to create an entirely free track that anyone could use for whatever they wanted without any cost, but it wouldn’t let me – the lowest price you can set for using a track is 1000 credits (€0.89). And it forced me to choose between my track being an original song of my own, or a cover version that royalties should be paid on – there was no option for a traditional tune like the one I was doing.
I’m really excited about the potential of WWB, but the app appears to have a long way to go. Well worth a try, but don’t expect it to be perfect.
UPDATE – this morning I got an email from WWB’s CEO asking for my feedback as an early user. I mentioned most of the issues in this post, and got a very quick reply from him. They’ve not seen the audio sync problem elsewhere, so I’m going to try and work out if it’s my Blue Snowball mic (which they hadn’t tested). Many of the other issues are things they are expecting to fix in future releases. So my hopes remain high, and it’s great that they are taking feedback seriously.
Yesterday was a bit of a milestone, as it marked the halfway point of my tune-a-day project. 183 tunes and just under 4 hours of music so far – some of it quite good, some of it rather less good. I was wobbling a bit after the first 100 days, and was seriously considering giving up, but rediscovered a bit of inspiration, and October has probably been the best month so far.
So, to mark the milestone, a rather silly accordion-based version of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”.
I discovered OhmStudio this week, which describes itself as
the first real-time collaborative digital audio workstation. Start a project, invite musicians and make music together. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve always been interested in the idea of online collaborative recording but have never got round to trying things like Kompoz and Indaba. They all seemed rather awkward to get started with.
What makes Ohmstudio different is that the online collaboration is built into the recording software itself. You can start a project or join an existing one, and anything you do will be synced with the others members’ copies of the project.
So I tried creating my first project today. It’s “Mairi’s Wedding”, because it’s a well-known tune that I can play reasonably well. I recorded some bouzouki chords, and played through the melody once. That was today’s contribution to the tune-a-day series.
Now to sit back and see what else other people contribute. …
Within about half an hour of opening the project up, a melodica part has been contributed. I had walked away from the computer for a while, and when I came back, the melodica part had magically appeared in the project. Really impressive.
That said, I think the interface is going to require a lot of learning – it’s significantly different to Logic, Garageband, Cubasis and other DAWs I have used. There’s no iPad version – maybe that will come later.
So getting the hang of the interface will take a little time, but if the community of users keeps growing and remains active, it could be a fantastic tool.
The project page for my tune is here, and the preview version of the tune there contains the contributed melodica part. Please feel free to join the project and contribute to it!
By the following morning, members of the Ohm community had contributed drums, bass, percussion, a flute/whistle type thing, and a strange sort of fiddle that I think is called an erhu. Here’s the result….
A post on musicradar.com yesterday advised everyone using iOS for music recording to wait before upgrading to iOS 7 due to a number of problem with the audio engine. Of course, I read this less than an hour after I’d upgraded my iPad (3rd generation), so I was stuck with it.
However, my first attempt at recording using Garageband didn’t encounter any major problems. It was a version of the Game of Thrones theme (we’re halfway through watching series 3 – don’t tell me what happens in the last 4 episodes) for bouzouki, accordion and piano. The bouzouki and piano were recorded through a Blue Snowball mic without any problem at all. The piano was recorded through a Roland UA-3 interface, and that did at one point start making a funny noise, but I just unplugged it, plugged it in again, and it was OK.
Haven’t done anything through Audiobus on iOS 7 yet – maybe that will expose other problems.
UPDATE – just recorded in Cubasis via Audiobus on iOS7 successfully. At first there was no sound output from Cubasis, but I’ve had that happen before. I stopped the app, restarted it, and it was OK.