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Author Archives: Michael Tyson

Thirteen Months of Audiobus: Part 2

This is the long awaited sequel to the tale of Audiobus’ development. I’m completing this article now, on the day we say an emotional farewell to our motorhome Nettle, who has today been sold to a new family in the UK. It seems like a fitting time to tie off some loose ends as we start the next chapter of our lives in our new home in Australia.

In Part 1 of this article, I wrote about the early stages of the technology which was to become Audiobus, our inter-app audio platform, now supported by over 500 great music apps. Part 1 ended just as Sebastian had one of his genius moments, which I obnoxiously left as a cliffhanger. So, onwards:

It was winter in the south of France, and I was buried in the best kind of work: A new project, and one that brought together a bunch of different interests into a challenging, exciting heap.

But first, it was time to move on and find a more satisfying place to spend the rest of the winter.

Read More »

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Help! iOS 7 broke my microphone input!

We hear a lot about people having problems with their music apps on iOS 7 no longer receiving audio. I thought it was time I posted an article describing why this is happening, and how to fix it.

iOS 7 introduced a bunch of new security and privacy features and restrictions. In particular, when an app wants to record audio, iOS 7 will block the app from doing so until the user gives permission. Usually this happens via an alert dialog in the app:

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However, if one taps “Don’t Allow”, the system won’t ask again — ever. That can spell confusion and frustration (and support emails, and 1-star App Store reviews!) for users who tapped the dialog away without reading it, and then discovered they’re unable to record audio.

Alas, there’s not much that can be done about that from our end, except for explaining how to fix the issue once this happens.

The trick is to open Privacy Settings for the device, and enable Microphone access for the app. The controls can be found in the system Settings app:

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Once you’ve turned this on, the app should begin receiving audio. Depending on certain factors, you may need to quit and restart the app.

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Want to be able to downgrade your apps? Save ‘em before updating.

Regrettably, the App Store doesn’t really make it easy to downgrade apps if an update goes awry. This can be pretty problematic if you use your apps for critical stuff like live music and it all goes horribly wrong the day before a gig.

That problem’s pretty easy to solve though. Just back up your apps before upgrading. That way you can try out new updates without the risk. Here’s how:

Open iTunes, then select the “Apps” section from the drop-down box on the top right:

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Next, find the app you want to back up, right-click on it, and select “Show in Finder” (or whatever the Windows equivalent is!).

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Finally, grab the “ipa” file, and copy it somewhere safe.

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If you want to be really safe, grab a piece of software like Macroplant iExplorer which lets you access the files on your device. Then hook up your iDevice via USB, and back up the Documents and Library folders from within the app. That’ll save all your files and config just in case the update applies some non-backwards-compatible changes.

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Now, you may update your app with impunity.

If you change your mind and want to go back to how it was before, drag that backup you made back into iTunes, and tell iTunes to replace the current version. Sync your device, and if you backed up your Documents/Library folder, drag your backup back into the original app folder within iExplorer.

By the way: If it’s too late to make a manual backup, but you use Time Machine or another backup utility, then you’ll find the older version of the app in your backup, within your iTunes music folder. For me, it’s in ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications.

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Loopy update, now fully accessible via VoiceOver!

“Loopy HD. Double-tap to open.”

Loopy’s now VoiceOver-accessible for blind users!

Here’s what else is new:

  • Added “Toggle Reverse” MIDI Action
  • Revised behaviour of “Toggle record, then record next track”, “Toggle record, mute, then record next track” and “Mute and unmute next muted track” controller functions
  • Auto-select tracks when recording while using MIDI/Bluetooth controllers
  • Added “Simultaneous Recording” setting
  • Re-record action now cancels in-progress recordings
  • Accuracy improvements in MIDI sync
  • Reduced loop boundary crossfade duration
  • Assorted bug fixes

Please note: As of this version, Loopy’s no longer iOS 4 compatible. If you are one of those users still on iOS 4, I recommend you back up the existing version of Loopy prior to updating, by right-clicking Loopy in your apps list in iTunes, and clicking “Show in Finder”, then copying that file somewhere safe.

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Loopy HD 1.4 and Loopy 2.5 Bring Reverse and Decay; Loopy HD on 50% sale

Effects Update

Loopy News!

I’m happy to announce Loopy HD 1.4 and Loopy 2.5 – a significant update that brings the features most frequently requested by users: Reverse and decay.

Also – Loopy HD is 50% off!

You can access the new effects via the track menu, which can now be rotated to access the new menu items.

Reverse will play the track back in the reverse direction – you’ll see the position indicator move in the opposite direction. You can still do everything you usually can with reversed tracks, including position offsetting, overdubbing and merging.

Decay works while you are overdubbing a track: While it’s enabled, it will eat away at your track audio as you overdub new audio on top of it, fading away old layers as you make new ones.

There’s also a change to the way you finish track recordings: Now, when you punch out, Loopy will count out to the next cycle. That means you can tap the track at any time, and it’ll automatically end on the next cycle. To punch out immediately, tap twice. The first tap begins the count-out, and the second tap ends straight away.

New actions that can be triggered via MIDI or Bluetooth:

  • Toggle fading
  • Mute and play next muted track
  • Toggle record, mute, then start recording next track

More changes:

  • New tracks recorded that are multiples of the clock now always start at 12 o’clock
  • Audio engine tweak to now have sample-level latency compensation accuracy
  • Fixed bug with count-in quantize slider resetting
  • Fixed timing problem with blank loops from saved/autosaved sessions
  • Fixed an issue with recognizing MIDI note controls
  • Fixed some problems with re-record feature
  • Redesigned tutorial system
  • Make panel display selector always move in one direction when tapped on iPad

Loopy HD and Loopy are available on the App Store right now.

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Searching iOS header files with Xcode

I’m often having to grep through various iOS frameworks in search of error codes that appear (“What the bloody hell does -10867 mean?”). This can be a bit annoying – especially while working with Core Audio – so I put together an Alfred workflow that does it for me.

Here it is – type “hs” (short for “header search”) then the text you want to search for, and it’ll give you matching results. Hit enter to open that file:line combination in Sublime Text, or edit the action script to work with the editor of your choice.

Search Xcode Header Files.alfredworkflow

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Encrypting and decrypting text with Alfred 2

Here’s a couple of Alfred 2 workflows that implement encryption and decryption via AES256, useful for doing things like sharing passwords.

Select some text (or copy it to the clipboard), and hit the encryption hotkey, and you’ll be prompted for a password; the encrypted contents will be copied to the clipboard.

Then when the recipient has the encrypted text, select or copy it, hit the decryption hotkey, and the original password will be requested. Then, the original text will be displayed and copied to the clipboard.

Encrypt.alfredworkflow

Decrypt.alfredworkflow

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The Amazing Audio Engine is here, and it’s open source and Audiobus-ready

Taae

I’m very pleased to announce that The Amazing Audio Engine has pulled into the station. It’s been a long time in the making, and there have been one or two minor distractions along the way, but I’m proud of the result:

A sophisticated and feature-packed but very developer-friendly audio engine, bringing you the very best iOS audio has to offer. We’re talking audio units, block or object-based creation and processing, filter chains, recording and monitoring anything, multichannel input support, brilliant lock-free synchronization and rich Audiobus support.

You’ll find The Engine, a bunch of documentation and the brand-new community forum at theamazingaudioengine.com

It’s also open source. And it’s ready for Audiobus.

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