Tag Archives: wholeworldband

WholeWorldBand Revisited

I’ve had quite a long break from WholeWorldBand, after getting a little frustrated with it for a variety of reasons. A lot of the recent updates have focused on the new iPhone version, but as I don’t have an iPhone, those haven’t been very interesting to me. However, the latest update has finally added a metronome, making it easier to make a quick recording. There’s also a MIDI clock to let you control external instruments, but my preference for “real” instruments means I’ve never really got the hang of that.

I remain very excited by the idea of WholeWorldBand, and am very pleased to see the app getting gradually better. I just wish it was a little less gradual!

Here’s my latest recording on it…



Adventures With WholeWorldBand #3

Final series of WholeWorldBand videos for now. On the first two, I play piano on seed tracks from Emma Stevens. I love the delicacy of both arrangements.

(Edward Butler: Vocals; Shane McKenna: Guitar)

(Graeme: Electric guitar)

And finally a rather quirky number from Irish band I’m Your Vinyl. Shane McKenna (again!) on xylophone, I play accordion.

Next – some suggestions on how to get the best out of the WholeWorldBand app, based on my experiences so far.

Adventures With WholeWorldBand #2

At first glance, WholeWorldBand is a little dominated by guy-with-a-guitar seed tracks. But search around a bit and you find a much more interesting variety. As a Dublin-based startup company, it’s not surprising there is a disproportionate number of Irish musicians on WWB. I’ve always been particularly fond of traditional Irish music, and here are contributions I made to 4 traditional seed tracks.

The first two are with fiddler Ger Doyle. I added bouzouki and piano.

The next is “The Parting Glass”, sung by Eleanor Shanley. This was a bit of a challenge because the seed track was  unaccompanied singing. I play electric bouzouki and ebow.

Finally, a bit of hardcore singing-in-Irish trad from Rónán Ó Snodaigh. Shane McKenna (who seems to play on almost everything on WWB!) plays the guitar; I play the accordion.

Adventures with WholeWorldBand #1

I continue to be very excited by WholeWorldband – I think it’s the best thing to happen to iPad music since, well, the iPad. I do oscillate though between frustration with the app and some of its foibles, and joy when I remember to do everything in the right order and successfully add to a track.

After a few initial experiments in November and December, last month I started trying to make proper contributions to other peoples’ tracks. One of the things I’ve noticed is that seed tracks created by amateur musicians don’t tend to attract a lot of contributions so I felt that there is currently more fun to be had by contributing to existing tracks than creating your own (although I have been studying what makes a good seed track, and will eventually get round to trying to create one). So here are a few of the results.

The first track I contributed to was Ronnie Wood’s “Fill Her Up Honey”. This has by far the most contributions because it was the track involved in the recent competition.

(Ronnie Wood: Vocals & Guitar; Sarah-Louise Keane : Vocals; Shay Cosgrave : Drums; Paul Flood : Bass; Me: Accordion)

In fact, there are so many vocal contributions to this track I was also able to create an acapella version….

(Ronnie Wood, Sarah-Louise Keane, Clodagh Ryan & Roisin Doyle, Soul-On Z, Glenn Rosborough)

The next one is one of my favourites, Ethan Johns’ “Morning Blues”, featuring some great harmonica playing.

(Ethan Johns: Vocals & guitar; Natsuki Kurai : Harmonica; Beth Porter : Cello; Me: Hammond Organ)

More in part  2.


WholeWorldBand – update

Last month, I wrote about my first impressions of WholeWorldBand. I was very excited about the concept, but a few issues with the initial version of the app made it hard to use.  In the last couple of weeks there have been two updates in quick succession that have vastly improved the app.

The biggest problem I had previously was latency when recording from external sound devices such as my Apogee Jam and Blue Snowball mic. I was very pleased to find that this seems to be completely fixed in the latest version – in the example below, I recorded 4 takes through the Blue Snowball without any latency problems at all (all timing issues are my own bad playing!)

The sound quality of the  audio in the exported video is also much better. It’s now somewhere around 256k stereo, whereas it was 64k mono before. And the latest version has added stereo panning of each take (the example above doesn’t use that though, because it was recorded before that update).

2013-12-20 08.59.24

Finally, but equally importantly, I’ve found the app to be a great deal more stable.

I wouldn’t describe the app as perfect yet, but it’s certainly improved vastly in the last two weeks, and I’ve been very impressed with the responsiveness of the team to feedback. Top of my wish list for future features is Audiobus and/or inter-app audio support, and maybe some basic editing features for dealing with less-than-perfect takes.

If you haven’t tried it yet, now would be a great time to do so because they’re running a competition where you can win a guitar signed by Ronnie Wood and a variety of other equipment.



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.