iPhone App Directory

Will TuneStudio be delayed?

Well, it is the end of August and there's no sign of the TuneStudio as yet. However, if you look on their site at the PDF of their gift ideas, the TuneStudio is listed as a good Christmas gift idea.

So are Belkin delaying the TuneStudio until later in the year? Well, there's always the possibility that the delay is due to the new iPods that may or may not be coming on the 5th of September. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Next steps in emulation

I’ve talked quite a lot about emulation lately and it has even made it onto the first Palm Sounds podcast, so I thought I should perhaps give a little bit more information about what I’m doing and why.

Ages ago I started toying with the idea of running an Atari emulation on my Tungsten T3 so I could run and access old Atari music applications that I’d used years ago.

In many ways these apps weren’t as good as stuff like Microbe or Bhajis Loops, but they present a different way of making music with the same device and for a very little or no cost.

So, here's where I'm at:

ZX Spectrum Emulation
Still trying out old ZX apps, and slowly going through them. I think I downloaded well over 30 apps to test out so it is a slow process as you can imagine.

C64 Emulation
Struggling with this a little, mainly with getting the screen to work at a size that is actually workable. However, I have just found that the emulator has a very useful feature which allows you to record the audio output from the emulator into a single wav file on the root drive on the PPC. Nice.

Atari ST Emulation
Haven't really got started on this as yet, but I am hopeful.

DOS Emulation
Again, not started, but I hope to get this moving next week.

Mac Emulation
I have mini vMac running but I don't think that this is ever going to be really useful, which is a shame as it looks great. Still, I may find a way to make it useful at some point.

So, overall there's still lots to do but I hope that it will become useful at some point. I think my best chances are with the Atari and C64 emulation and I may try to focus my efforts there.

Pocket Gear get an facelift

PocketGear has had a facelift and is a bit easier to use now I think. I do wonder why they don't merge PocketGear and PalmGear?

Pacemaker update

Pacemaker has updated their site and has published the price of their device at €520 !!! Wow, that' more than I was expecting. They're taking pre-orders.

Pophorn in action

Here's the pophorns in action ...

What is a pophorn?

Good question. According to the Popohorn site a pophorn is ...

"a series of small software applications that transform mobile phones into various musical instruments. Pophorns acknowledge the mobile phone as a platform for active sonic (co-)creation, and aim to shorten the distance between pocket and musical action."

They are due for release in September, so let's see what happens when they arrive ...

Mobile Processing

I've only tinkered with this for a while, but I keep getting errors returned about java classes not being there. Anyone else have similar problems?

Update on Intermorphic

According to the following anonymous comment it seems that Intermorphic are making progress with their new software ...

"Seems that noatikl is already in an Beta programme, and sounds like it is already way powerful! Not available for public download yet (as far as I can see)"

OSX iPods on the 5th of September?

Most of the Mac sites have picked up the news that Apple is hosting an event on the 5th of next month which is almost certainly going to bring something new for iTunes or the iPod range. Could it be new OSX based iPods? Maybe, but what will that mean. Will the platform be open for developers to write real applications for it or just end the same as the iPhone, with no real developement capability?

I know that there are developers out there who are really interested in working with the platform, but will they get a chance?

Geekie for Palm

This is an interesting little basic interpreter. The video shows a simple game being written very quickly, but gives no details of when it will be available.

My main question would be how easy it is to work with sounds using this language. But I can’t answer that at the moment.

What's the strangest place you've used your PDA to make music?

I'm sure that plently of people have made music on trains and buses and coaches and even on the toilet! But where's the strangest place you've made some music?

Traxxpad review

If you were considering TraxxPad for the PSP, read this review before you do. It certainly goes into plenty of depth. Well worth a read.

Soldering Ironcam ...

You may remeber that I posted a while back on a project that a reader was working on to build a synth running Hedgehog and Egg. Well, the synth is still being built, and now has a soldering ironcam so you can watch the work as it happens, I know I will.

Tenori-On launch

I expect that many of you got the same email about the TENORI-ON launch. For those who didn't, here's the details ...

"Futuresonic is to co-present the worldwide launch of the TENORI-ON by Toshio Iwai and Yamaha.

TENORI-ON is a unique AV instrument - a cross between intuitive performance instrument and art object. Toshio Iwai's TENORI-ON show at Futuresonic 2006 was an undisputed highlight of the festival, and the positive audience response in the UK led Yahama to stage the worldwide launch in London and Manchester. The TENORI-ON has been showcased and refined at major music events and media art festivals; Sonar (Spain), Futuresonic (UK), Ars Electronica (Austria), SIGGRAPH (USA) and Art Futura (Spain), with the first fully realised live show produced by Futuresonic in Manchester as a part of Futuresonic 2006. Toshio Iwai will be joined by Robert Lippok, Capracara and Secondo on 4th September at Phonica in London and by Robert Lippok, Secondo and Graham Massey on 5th September at Mint Lounge in Manchester.


Event info ..


Robert Lippok (Domino/To Rococo Rot)
Toshio Iwai (Media Artist)
Secondo (Dreck Records)
Capracara (Soul Jazz)

Phonica Records / Vinyl Factory, London
Admission Free - Please arrive early to avoid disappointment!


Robert Lippok (Domino/To Rococo Rot)
Toshio Iwai (Media Artist)
Secondo (Dreck Records)
Graham Massey (808 State/Toolshed)

Mint Lounge, Oldham Street, Manchester
Admission Free - Please arrive early to avoid disappointment!"

It does sound very interesting. I'd love to have a play with one.

Update on pD Pod

Thanks to theologiae for posting this comment ...

"t's theologiae again. i go 1st gen ipod tonight and put linux on it as soon as i came home. but i've had a lot of problems getting pd to work. i get a error message when i try and launch the test files. i posted something in the ipod/linux forum, so i'll see if there is a fix to my problem.
but i'm close to getting this set up. i'm glad to have found you blog, once i get it going, i'm going to love it"

Looking forward to hearing about how you get on, please keep in touch.

Another video from Palm Sounds

Another video made on holiday. This one's a bit more sedate.

Pacemaker, where is it?

After all the attention it got at Sonar, where is it, all the news has dried up completely...

The Basics: Devices

If you are new to handhelds completely you probably have an advantage as you may not have bought a device at all as yet. If you have a device already then you know where you stand and can get a clear idea of what is available to you.

There are two main types of device. Those running a Palm operating system, and those running Windows Mobile. There are one or two others which I’ll mention at the end, but only leave out as they don’t have the range of software that is available on the Palm and Windows Mobile platforms.

Essentially your choice of device or platform will govern what is available to you in terms of music software for your PDA.

Palm Devices
If you go for a Palm device you are in many ways restricted in the types of device that are available. In fact, all you can really by are the devices from Palm. Although you might think that this is limiting (and in some ways it is), there are still a number of good devices available from Palm. The newest are the Treo smartphones, which are very good in their own way. However, you should be careful as a number of the newer ones come in Windows Mobile flavours too. The Palm TX is very good (or so I am told) although the audio is apparently a little hissy. Don’t be tempted by the forthcoming Palm Foleo device. Currently non of music applications that run on the palm operating system will run on the Foleo. If this situation changes then I will write about it on the blog.

If you are interested in buying second hand Palm devices then there are many more opportunities. Possibly the best palm device for making music is the Palm Tungsten T3. This device has a 400mhz processor and 64mb of storage RAM and a 10mb dynamic heap, which is exceptionally useful for loading samples. The T3 is arguably the palm device best suited to music making. However, there are other devices that are very handy too such as the Zire 72 the T5, and the Lifedrive.

One very important thing when choosing a device make sure it runs Palm’s operating system 5 or above. It your device runs anything less than this, you are going to be fairly disappointed in the options available to you in terms of software.

Windows Mobile
With Windows Mobile or Pocket PC devices there are far more choices in terms of hardware, as there have been lots and lots of device manufacturers. Because of this it is quite difficult to give you specific advice for each manufacturer or range of devices, so I’m going to stick to some principles and tell you my experience with Windows Mobile.

In general if you are looking for a Windows Mobile device you need to think about three things:

1. Processor speed. I would aim to go over 400mhz, the faster the better.
2. Memory. Again, more is better. You need plenty for storage and for running music applications which are very memory hungry on the whole.
3. Operating system version. Ideally you want either Windows Mobile 5 or Pocket PC 2003, nothing before this is possible.
Ok. Having given you some basic principles. Here’s my experience of the platform.

I first used Pocket PC with an HP Jornada 568 which I bought on eBay. It was a great device. I ran applications like Syntrax and Griff and it performed very well. The Pocket PC OS was ok to use, but it has issues, I guess like all operating systems. In Pocket PC / WM5 apps don’t close, they stay open until you run out of memory, which isn’t too clever. Also the way in which memory is split Is a bit strange.

I’ve recently upgraded my old Jornada to a Dell Axim. This Is another great device and some of my issues with the Pocket PC OS have been dealt with, and others haven’t.

The one great thing about Windows Mobile over Palm is that using the StyleTap emulator you can run palm applications on a Pocket PC. The same is not true the other way around.

Now, at the beginning of this post I said I’d talk about other PDAs which can be used. The two types I wanted to talk about were the Sony Clie devices, and also the Zarus.

Sony discontinued the Clie some time ago, and so these devices can only be bought on ebay. Some of the clies are very nice indeed. There were a number of different ranges, but the later ones ran Palm’s OS5, and some also had a built in Yamaha sound chip allowing them to play MIDI sounds directly.

In terms of the Zarus, I only know of one music application and that is PDa, PureData anywhere. Apart from this I know very little about the platform. At some point (when I've got the money) I will get myself one and find out more about the platform.

Anyway, I hope this has been useful and gives you some help in which type of device to look into. Remember, it is alway worth doing your own research, but if you want to ask any questions, please email me at palm dot sounds at mac dot com.

Another TuneStudio picture

... found on flickr, but when is it coming though? Belkin had said summer 2007 and that's fast slipping away, so will they make the deadline?

The Basics Series

Here are all of the posts in the basics series so far....

The Basics: Devices

Here are the ones coming soon ...



External Hardware


Audio on the iPhone

Here's some interesting (if very technical) stuff on audio on the iPhone from Brian Whitman.

Brian Whitman

Is the man behind Baby Hedgehog, Egg, and Capers (as was). I was in touch with him a while ago about making his capers code available as open source for someone else to take it on, but after months of getting no reply at all from him, I gave up.

As I’ve been mucking about with Hedgehog and Egg for a while I’ve come to thinking about it again, and I think it would be great to have some access to this stuff, even if it was just the documentation for the existing apps. I mean, that would be a start wouldn’t it?

Capers applets that never ever came about

Blueberry - MIDI Patch / Sysex Librarian and Sound Randomizer
Cardinal - dsperado Hardware Front End / Librarian
Carpetbomb - Xenakis emulation

I wonder if there was ever any code written for these, even something very alpha would be fun to try out.

I think I’m going to have to see what I can find out.


I was wondering what it would have been like to have a whole replacement OS for a PDA that was purely music based.

The intended goal of Capers was to create a "replacement music operating system" for the Palm, in effect generating a handheld music platform rather than a group of applications.

Capers used a common clock for all its "applets," and the user could page through them at will while a sequence played. There could be multiple instances of each applet; for example, three arpeggios, two sequences, and four controller LFOs could be used at once. Each applet's output (called a "Pattern") could be sequenced to create a song out of a group of "patterns." This sequence could sync in or out to a MIDI clock to talk to other sequencers such as Native Instrument's Reaktor, Akai's MPC series, Ross Bencina's Audiomulch, or even another Palm OS device running Capers. Now that would be amazing.

I can just imagine that. Running sync’d palms would be fantastic! I think it would be worth buying a few old Palm III’s just to get them all working at the same time together.

SpinPad and my SG20 Module

I still like the demo of SpinPad, and even though it was released back in 2002 I think it is worth playing with. I’ve been using it with my Swivel Systems SG20 MIDI module attached to a TRG Pro.

The demo of SpinPad was developed to access the serial port on pre-OS5 devices so it works directly with the module and sounds fantastic. I do hope that this app gets released soon, as I'd love to see it in the flesh.

Baby Hedgehog

I’ve been playing with this app for the last few days. It is difficult to use for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is no documentation for the app at all, and no web site for desperado anymore, and secondly, the app is almost entirely icon driven and very difficult to make sense of.

It really is a whole trial and error exercise, which is on the one hand enjoyable, and on the other hand quite infuriating.

And another thing, you can only run Baby Hedgehog on a pre=OS5 Palm device, so I’m running it on my TRG Pro (which is wonderful), powering a Swivel Systems SG20 MIDI module, which clips onto the bottom of the device connecting via the serial port.

More OS4 and TRG Pro experiments

I have to say that my newly acquired TRG Pro Is a lot of fun. Of course it is slow, but then it only has a 33khz processor compared to the 300, 400, and 500 of my Treo, T3, and Axim respectively.

Still, there’s quite a bit of software that can only be run on an OS pre-dating Palm’s OS5. Stuff like Burrito and Egg etc, and that’s what I’ve been playing with as well as BeatPad, AxisPad, NotePad, and MixPad from MiniMusic.

The nice thing about BeatPad, AxisPad, NotePad, and MixPad from MiniMusic is that they all work on both pre and post OS5 palms. I especially like using these apps with the SG20 module as they allow you to access all sorts of sounds in the module, and the quality is excellent.

It is odd though using a PDA that only has 8mb (which was a lot when it was first made), with such a slow processor and yet getting good results out of it.

I hope to have some pictures soon to post of the TRG Pro and SG20 module.


I've been meaning to get this project finished for ages, and I did it over my holidays last week.

Here's what I've written on YouTube:

"A short film about travelling with music. The music was made with a PDA using Microbe and Bhajis Loops software for Palm and the video was shot with a Palm Treo 650 and also a Sony Clie NX73V"

The video was edited on a Mac, mainly because there's no way to do that on a PDA (yet).

Anyway, I hope you like it. Please leave me some comments if you have time.

Back from holidays

Sorry about the lack of posting for the last week, I've been on holiday and have actually spent some time making music rather than just writing about it. In fact, it has been really good to just make some music and relax.

Anyway, I've got lots of new things to talk about and ideas to write up, all coming soon.

What are we waiting for?

I thought I'd write a post on what was coming up / stuff that I / we are waiting for. I've split it into hardware and software to make it more interesting. So here goes:


- The Pacemaker portable DJ device, coming soon I hope
- TuneStudio: iPod mixing desk launching in the US this summer
- Tenori-on: UK launch in September


- Dimitry's GBA / DS emulator for Palm
- SpinPad from miniMusic (it has been a long time in the waiting)
- MixPad updates from miniMusic
- AxisPad updates from miniMusic (record and export!)
- BeatPad update from miniMusic (new soft synth?)
- NotePad update from miniMusic (export to wav?)
- MixPad Pro from miniMusic
- Real applications for the iPhone?
- Intermorphic: Maybe something in the Mobile space?
- An update from MilkyTracker maybe?
- 4Pockets updates? Maybe to Pocket StompBox or MeTeoR

Long shots:
- I'd like to see something turn up from the screens environment project

From Palm Sounds:

- New Sound Toys? (Should be another few in the offing)
- More videos
- The Basics series

So, all in all, quite a lot to look forward to in the rest of 2007.

Poll: What's the next big thing?

Another poll. I think it'll be interesting to see the results.

Handango site wide sale still on - up tp 20% off

The Handango sale is still on until 31/8, and gives up to 20% off depending on how much you spend.

Psytexx 2 update

Psyexx II has been updated. Here's what's new:

. . .. .: :: :: [ version 2 alpha 0.5 ] [ 13 aug 2007 ] :: :: :. .. .. . .

# Optimized MakeFile - one for the Linux and PalmOS.
# Added simple piano keyboard.
# Changed virtual keyboard; now it more minimalistic.
# Improved real-time keyboard playing.
# Removed multichannel arpeggio :).
# Press CTRL + S for save BACKUP.XM.
# Background images not supported temporary (it's for speed testing).
# Added XI-instruments saving.
# Added volume, panning, finetune and relative note controls for instruments.
# Added new effect I0x - sample play mode: 0 - normal; 1 - back direction; 2 - pause.
# Added new effect I1x - reduce sampling freq on a current channel.
# Added new effect I2x - reduce number of bits on a current channel.
# Fixed auto-vibrato.

I've never really tried this app, I'd appreciate it if anyone else has experience of it.

QOTD: Could you DJ with a Palm PDA?

There's always lots of information about iPod DJs, and more and more hardware for iPod DJs, but what about DJ'ing with a Palm?

- Could you?
- Would you want to?
- What software would you use?

Any thoughts? I've been thinking about the Pacemaker device, hence the question.

Another cool street amp

I posted recently on the Crate Profiler 5 amp so when I found out about this from Roland I thought it was worth posting too.

The CUBE Street is a rehearsal, lesson, street gig battery-powered amp with built-in effects and amp models!

It boasts:

- Two high-performance 6.5” neodymium speakers
- Battery driven (6 x AA, maximum 15-hour continuous use)
- Dual-channel architecture with Guitar/Inst and Mic/Line inputs
- 8 COSM® Amps, 6 digital effects, and chromatic tuner built in
- 2-band EQ, Delay/Reverb for the Mic/Line-channel

And the Roland CUBE street amp can run for up to 15 hours on just six AA alkaline batteries.

Not bad at all, quite tempting in fact. Not out until September though.

DS Fanboy on Guitar Hero III

This could be an interesting addition to the DS for a possible release of Guitar Hero III ! Read more at DS Fanboy.

Another iPod DJ Mixer

Nice screen, just not very handheld ...

Handmade Music NYC 23rd of August

I wish I was in New York for this event. It looks like it is going to be excellent.

Maybe we should have something like this in London?

More Chiptunes Music

You only get to see the screen from about halfway through, and even then it is blurred. Is this a GB Micro?

Palm Sounds Podcast now on iTunes

The Palm Sounds Podcast is now available on iTunes.

Electroplankton and PureData

Here's a little variation on electroplankton ...

"My first youtube performance using electroplankton with PD Pure Data Software that I've programmed... all sounds are created in realtime... be patient the software isn't turned on until about 30 seconds into the performance..."

HTC Shift

Good article on Brighthand on this upcoming device from HTC running Vista and WM6.

Update on PureData on a PDA video

Thanks to John for pointing out:

"It's not technically PureData, it's a clone "PDa" which runs on Linux PDAs:


My mistake, and thanks for the link. Worth checking out.

More Tenori-on news at CDM

Update on the Tenori-on launch from CDM. Only a few weeks away now!

PureData running on a PDA

Not sure what kind of PDA this is or what operating system it is running in, but it does look interesting. The YouTube page doesn't give much help at all sadly.

Protein DS Scratch app

This looks like a really promising new application for the DS platform. Here's what the youTube entry says:

"This is the first shot of my first module of my audio manipulation suite project on DS and OSX/Linux/Win - codename Protein - the manipulation is really bad because I couldn't ear the sound while recording :-p"

It seems to be an early development so far, but one worth watching.

Palm Sounds Podcast now available

Palm Sounds Podcast now available.

Here's the first attempt at a podcast. I'd appreciate any feedback or ideas for improving / subjects you'd like covered.

Livepa: Where Electronic Music Comes Alive

Thanks to Livepa for their kind comments, and for introducing me to Livepa, which is a very interesting read.

PocketAxe - Pocket PC Guitar

PocketAxe is a good looking Software Guitar for Pocket PC. The video gives you a good idea of what it can do, but it is more than just a cool guitar app, it also features a drum kit and a piano keyboard.

I've only read a bit of the information on the site, but it seems that you could load your own samples too so you could use it to trigger stuff as and when you wanted.

It has got to be worth looking into

The makers have got a lot of improvements planned, such as:

- chord maker
- better sound samples
- full screen mode
- volume feedback
- volume increment
- left handed guitar
- recording
- stretchable frets
- duration & sample looping
- midi playing
- metronome
- internationalization
- screen scaling for VGA
- load file garbage - flash card problems
- better feedback on piano 7th chords

So, why not give PocketAxe a go.

Beepo and ranDRUM: Update

Thanks to Concretedog for confirming that both Beepo and ranDRUM work fine on a Palm TX.

If you haven't downloaded them as yet, but would like to, you can get them here.

TuneStudio gets best in show at NAMM

Belkin has been given a "Best in Show" Award for its TuneStudio for iPod, a four-channel audio mixer that lets you create high-quality digital recordings directly onto your iPod for instant playback. The announcement was made on July 29, at the Summer NAMM Show in Austin.

Chris McGugan, VP of Product Management for Belkin:

"We are thrilled that TuneStudio is receiving such an enthusiastic response from the members of NAMM. Belkin is committed to developing innovative solutions for the musician at work as well as the musician at heart. Now anyone can easily create and share music on the go."

I am really pleased for Belkin, now if they could just start shipping the thing ...

pD POD Response to Theologiae's comment

Theologiae's comment on pD POD post:

"really cool stuff. makes me want to go out and get pd running on an iPod. i have a ton of questions i'd like to ask, but first off, does the storage limit matter when installing pd? i figure the bigger the better, but i thought i'd ask.

Thanks very much for the comment Theologiae. As far as I know the newest iPod for running iPod linux is the 3rd Gen. Check iPodLinux first. Then head over to PureData, and follow their download instructions.

I've no experience of either iPodLinux or PureData, so I've no tips or help I'm afraid. However, if you do try it then please comment back on your experiences or email me photos, I'd be really interested to know how you've got on.

4Pockets gets multiple award nominations

I got an email from 4Pockets about their award nominations from Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine. Here's a snippet from it:

"The company’s application software has also been recognised in this year’s awards with 4Pockets audio products Virtual Recorder, Pocket RTA Pro(Spectrum Analyser) and Audio Box receiving nominations in the audio sections and 4Talk in the communications categories.

Bill Muir of 4Pockets said "We are delighted that not only have we received this recognition from the award judges but also the people who buy the products and nominated them for their excellence. We were so pleased when we received 9 nominations last year, so 14 this year is just excellent, I am very proud of both the products and the team behind them."

The international awards are run by the US based Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine and throughout August a team of 100 Windows Mobile experts from around the world will evaluate the software nominees in 151 Pocket PC categories and 40 Smartphone categories. Finalists will be announced in late September and winners in October at the Awards Home Page at www.pocketpcmag.com/awards.

Further information on the 4Pockets.com range of products can be found at www.4pockets.com."

Check out www.4pockets.com as they have a whole host of excellent apps including:

- MeTeoR: Multi-track for Windows Mobile
- Stompbox: Effect application
- AudioBox: Studio app

and many many more.

pD POD !

From YouTube:

"pdPod allows the creation of interactive musical applications for the iPod. It integrates Pure Data (http://crca.ucsd.edu/~msp/software.html ) a visual sound programming language by Miller Puckette which allows the rapid development of musical applications. Guenter Geiger (http://gige.xdv.org/ ) has made PDa (http://gige.xdv.org/pda/ ), a port of Pure Data for PDA Linux devices which we recently adapted to run under iPod Linux as well. Martin Kaltenbrunner (http://modin.yuri.at/ ) created a GUI application which allows the execution, display and control of PD patches on the iPod. This application was made by the creators of the reacTable at the Music Technology Group (http://mtg.upf.edu/) at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain.

This instrument was made possible thanks to the efforts of the iPodLinux (http://ipodlinux.org ) project, which provides a Linux environment for the iPod. pdPod itself can be downloaded from its WIKI page (http://ipodlinux.org/Pdpod )"

I'm sure I've posted on pD POD before, but this video was a good example of it running. iPodLinux runs well on 3rd Gen iPods and these are cheaper on eBay these days, so I may venture into pD Pod at some point.

ViziBasic - How cool is that!

Since using iziBasic, I've also been a big fan of Vizibasic, which makes life easier in lots of ways. I've found that it is often a good way of starting off a project, or even just generating a code framework to start with.

Here's what the site says about it:

"Vizibasic stands for Visual easy Basic for Palm. It is an add-on application that I especially made for easing the development of iziBasic projects requiring GUI components (well, most of the Palm applications that you will develop should need that!).

ViziBasic is an application dedicated to:

- design simple GUI applications, with forms and objects in a form
- have objects perform specific actions thanks to attached iziBasic source code to each object, source code that you write to customize these actions
- generate and write the iziBasic source code to some Palm DOC format file that can then be edited like any other iziBasic source code for further enhancing your application
- thanks to its integration with the iziBasic compiler (as its name states it!), compile directly the generated iziBasic source code for immediate result"

I have to say that the two together make a really winning combination, especially for writing simple apps as I do.

Strange looking LSDJ Workshop on YouTube

Foleo no good for music?

This post from Brighthand has the most up to date information on the Palm Foleo, Palm's new mobile companion class device. As far as I can see it isn't going to do much for the mobile music world.


iziBasic is a compiler for Palm OS that allows you to write applications in a language similar to BASIC. It is fairly easy to use and well supported too.

I have been a fan of iziBasic for ages now, but only really started using it when I decided to start the Sound Toys series.

It is a simple language to use (which is handy for someone like me), but most importantly it is an onboard language, so you can write and compile an application right on your PDA without any desktop intervention at all.

It has grown over the years and is now on version 6.0, with 6.1 on the way.

ZX Spectrum video 2

This time another short video of an app running in the Spectrum emulator. Sorry about the poor sound quality!

Making music on the bus

Or, why I love handheld music...

I was on the bus last night, coming home after having a few beers with a friend, and decided to do a little work on some tracks to pass the 25 minute bus ride home.

I re-discovered a track I hadn't to in ages and started tinkering around with it.

That's the beauty of making music on handhelds. That's why I love handheld music. It allows you to make music when you want and where you want.

Sound Toys: BeePo

Here's the other Sound Toy BeePo. It is a very simple app, and you can guess what it does from the title. It was the first app I made a few weeks ago. It doesn't do much, but it was a good experiment in getting myself back to writing very simple code.

BeePo was tesed on a Tungsten E, Treo 650, Zire 71 and NX73V and worked fine, although the icons were a bit strange on the NX73V for some reason.

Feel free to download it, and play with it as you wish, and, if you want to, let me have any feedback.

C64 Emulation

A short video on my start in emulating a C64 in Windows Mobile.

ZX Spectrum Emulation

First steps in emulating ZX Spectrum music applications on Windows Mobile.

Sound Toys: ranDRUM

Well, about time. Here's my the first couple of my Sound Toys applications. This one is called ranDRUM. It is a simple little random drum sequence generator.

It is a really simple application as I promised. Along the bottom of the app are a series of buttons. The first is the play button, the next one is the generate button, which generates a random sequence, the third button is the volume control which has three settings. The next two buttons control how long the sequence is i.e. beats in the pattern, and the next one controls how many loops the pattern will play for. There, I told you it was simple didn't I!

Please be aware that this app has been tested on a couple of Treo 650's, but nothing else as yet.

Anyway, feel free to download ranDRUM and do whatever you want with it, it is freeware.

Please let me know what you think of it, if you like it, if you have problems with it etc. Enjoy...

C64 Emulation

I'd heard about these apps ages ago, but not easy to get a Commodore 64 in your pocket, right? Still, using an emulator it is possible, albeit difficult. I found an emulator for Windows Mobile, and have got the apps running, but the biggest problem is that these were designed for running on a much larger screen.

Still, one step at a time.

Email Palm Sounds

Recently I've been getting emails from people asking for advice and information, so I thought I'd let you know that if you want to contact Palm sounds for help, advice, or to let me know about your stories or live dates, or whatever else really, you can email at palm dot sounds at mac dot com, feel free to get in touch.

Chiptunes Workshop

I didn't find out about this workshop until just now, but it looks like it would have been really interesting.

iPod game: Musika

A strange new game for iPod users somewhere between visualiser and game. The reviews aren't so good though!

The Basics: A General Overview

Palm Sounds is all about handheld music. But, for people who know nothing about the subject it may be quite confusing to work out where to start with software and hardware and make decision about what to buy and where from.

So, that's why I decided to write this series on the basics of handheld music.

PDA's have had the ability to make music since the late 90's, and have been progressing ever since. At the time of writing the sorts of things you can achieve musically with a PDA spans a wide range, including:

- Notation
- Sampling
- Synthesis
- Sequencing
- Drum Programming
- Multi-tracking

and I'm aiming to cover those subjects in this series.

So, why make music using a PDA? Well, in many ways you could say that about any form of technology, but PDAs give you the ability to jot down ideas and make music wherever you are, without having to take bulky equipment with you everywhere.

Many of the music applications commonly found on desktop and laptop computers now have relatives in the handheld world, and slowly the range and diversity of applications is increasing.

However, it is a niche area to say the least, so don't expect the big software names to be playing ball any time soon. At the moment, most development is done by individuals who are keen to explore the field, or small software houses. At best products last a few years and see some development, at worst, companies go to the wall altogether, like Tao Group who took their miniMIXA application with them.

Anyway, hopefully this won't have put you off too much. It is a lot of fun to be able to make music wherever your ideas arrive, on the train, the beach, or even in the toilet.

I hope that the rest of this series will be useful to you. To start with it is worth having a little bit of a history lesson:

1997: We had apps like 4 Octave Piano, and PocketSynth, both good apps for making beeps.
1998: Pocket Piano, simple sequencer and lots of fun.
1999: MiniMusic get’s going with MiniPiano and MiniGrid, eventual precursors to NotePad 1.4. We also get Theremini.
2000: BeatPad sequencer released by Minimusic.
2001: MelodyPad allows a conduit based MIDI export. ittyMIDI player comes out allowing playback of MIDI files. MiniMIDI appears allowing a palm to control external MIDI devices.
2002: RhythmPro drum machine appears.
2003: PocketDJ flash based music app for Clie PDAs. MusicStudio polyphonic app, again working well with Clies with built in MIDI chips and external MIDI modules. Wave Edit Pro (not strictly a music app, but excellent for sound editing). MusicPal, more sequencing and MIDI. TuneSketcher, simple sequencing / editing. Microbe released, synths and a drum machine all in one application, and then, Bhajis Loops begins giving sequencing, sampling, sound editing and synthesis and eventually export to .wav files!
2004: Palm Drum Kit Studio, nice drum app but no recording.
2005: SoundPad FM Synth app, a major leap forward for Palm Music creating a suite of applications that will all work together (SoundPad, NotePad, and BeatPad). Virtual Piano launches.
2006: ? Not much really this year, at least not in the way of new applications.
2007: Well, just read this blog.

MyStrands: More than just a player

Here's an interesting kind of music player, a little more interactive than your average...

MMW Video

Video from the 2007 Mobile Music Workshop.

Crate Profiler 5: Taking things Live?

Continuing my theme of live work with PDAs / handhelds I thought that this would be a useful addition...

This is the Crate Profiler Model 5, which looks to me like you could really use this with you mobile live set maybe?

Their site says this:

"The Crate Profiler Model 5 makes a great home practice amp, but it's so much more. Small and supremely portable, Model 5 packs your favorite amplifier tones into a single versatile, and highly affordable, studio-ready package.

You get killer guitar tones, Profiler's built-in digital effects processing, and USB connectivity, making it the perfect recording interface. Dual battery and AC power provides the ultimate in portability. Just grab your guitar, your Model 5, and your laptop to take your entire recording studio anywhere on the planet. Crate Profiler Model 5 — recording just got easier!

11 amp profiles, including: Clean, High Watt, Vintage Club, Top Mount, and a setting specifically for acoustic guitars
2.5 watts per channel stereo output
2 x 4" speakers
USB output for easy recording
DSP effects with Crate Channel Tracking™ and including delay, modulation and reverb effects
Gain/tone/level/profile-select controls
CD/MP3 player stereo input jack, Headphone jack
Mackie Tracktion 2 recording software included (for PC and Mac)
Battery and/or AC power"

I've got to admit that it is really tempting...

ZX Spectrum on my Axim (again)

Well, I thought I'd post again on this as I've made a little more progress, and have been able to load some music apps into the emulator and get them running. I will get some video of this stuff going soon.

Nanoloop 2.2

Size Comparison

Just liked this photo ...

New Poll: What's the next big thing?

I thought I'd try a new poll. The theme being, what's the next big thing going to be in mobile music? I've got some ideas of my own, such as:

- A modular environment like SynthEdit or AudioMulch
- An updated hardware device such as a new QY module
- A new operating system which is dedicated to media
- The availability of desktop strength apps on a device like the iPhone

But I'm sure some of you might have better ideas than I do, so I thought I'd post this first to see what you think before putting up the poll.

Please put your thoughts in the comments, or email them in if you prefer.

Griff Plugin: PocketKick

PocketKick is another handy plugin for Griff. For those times when sampled drums aren't really what you want, PocketKick is just the ticket.

The Griff site says:

PocketKick is a bassdrum synthesizer by Zephod. Its sounds range from most of the classic 909 and 808 sets to weird ambient soundeffects. Ideal electronic music companion.

PDA Orchestra

The ZX Spectrum Orchestra ... why not a PDA Orchestra or quartet? Is that a silly idea?

I don't know, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. If there was an application that allowed real collaboration between devices then it would be a possibility.

Traxxpad pitch bend tutorial

Another handy tutorial for traxxpad.

The Mobile Studio

Ages ago I wrote a post about the idea of having a completely mobile studio, now I think we're almost there, so what next?

In my original post about a mobile studio I thought it would include:

- Some basic multi-track capability
- A straightforward way of sequencing / arranging music
- The ability to record live sounds
- A way to combine recorded and synthesised sounds

Now, just over a year later, much of that is possible, and in theory in a single device.

MeteoR takes care of the multi-track recording and editing, and far exceeds the basic standard by including automation and multiple effects.

As you would have to have a windows mobile device to run MeteoR you could happily run the StyleTap platform as well, giving you access to the Chocopoolp and even (with time) some of the miniMusic applications may well run smoothly.

AxisPad does currently work on StyleTap, and MixPad too (I think), and I'm sure that they'll get the rest to work.

So, where to next for the idea of the mobile studio? What else would you need to add to it whilst still keeping it mobile?

Line6 PocketPod review

Here's a good review of the Line6 PocketPod on Music Gadgets.

Griff Plugin: pSyn

pSyn is one of the most useful Griff instruments. Although, expensive when compared to the rest (£14.99) it is good value for the range of controls it gives you.

Here's what the Griff site says:

The pSyn is a fantastically versatile synth capable of producing a limitless array of sounds.

Here we'll walk you through the interface to ensure you get the most out of it.

The Oscillator

First off is the oscillator. This is the part that creates a sound. The switch on the left allows you to select triangle, square and sawtooth. TheTUNE and FINE knobs adjust the pitch of the sound, the ENV and LFO knobs I'll explain later.

BUT WAIT. using the switch select the ? setting, then double tap on the ? and you can load up a sample to use as the source sound. This means no limitations. Load up strings, drums, vocal samples, even entire loops. The possibilities are endless.


The second section controls the Low Frequency Oscillator. Think of it as a wave on the sea that you sound is bobbing about on top of. The switch on the left defines the shape of the wave, either triangle, square, sawtooth or random. The RATE knob adjusts the speed of the wave, from slow swooshes to frantic bubbling. The KEY TRIG button, when selected, restarts the wave every time a note is started.

You can send the pitch of the Oscillator (see above) through the LFO by adjusting the LFO knob. This enables pitch changes from slow subtle variations to vibrato and beyond.

The Envelope

The envelope is classic ADSR. Adjust the ATTACK, DECAY, SUSTAIN and RELEASE using the knobs. Turning on the VEL SENS button makes it Velocity Sensitive, the attack will be shorter for louder notes providing an easy way to add variation to your tunes.

As for the LFO you can send the pitch of the Oscillator through the envelope by adjusting the ENV knob. So you can sculpt the pitch of your note over time. Awesome.

The Filter

Here's the classic mdaFilter section. RESO adjusts the resonance of the output whilst CUTOFF changes the harmonic content. This is where you want to mess with the real time parameter automation capabilities of Griff to create those uplifting moments.

AND THERE'S MORE. Just as with the Oscillator use as much or as little of the LFO and/or ENV to control the filter, allowing swirling filter changes or crunching attacks. Trust me, this feature is the business.

The Amp

Finally the Amplifier, where you can again completely change the characteristics of you sound using the ATTACK, DECAY, SUSTAIN and RELEASE knobs. From tight pizzicato to languid swells you can have them all here.

As you can see, pSyn gives you a lot of versatility in Griff. Worth a look, and one of my favourites.

Traxxpad Metronome tutorial

Another useful Traxxpad tutorial

Tenori-On launches on 4/9 in the UK

More info at CDM.

I have to admit that it looks nice, and I wouldn't mind a play with one.

ZX Spectrum on my Axim

I've always been interested in the possibilities of using emulation to run music software from other platforms. Yesterday I managed to get an old (1987!) Spectrum application runnging on my Axim using an emulator called UnrealSpeccy PPC, which is apparently one of the best Spectrum emulators available, and it is free!

The app I got running was called "WHAM the Music Machine". Awful title I know, but I do remember using this with a friend who had a Spectrum and actually making music with it.

It is a creaky old app, but you can make those fantastic Spectrum percussion sounds, which is great.

There's a wealth of old Spectrum software available on the net and I plan to try out some more titles soon.

When I get time I'll post a video on this too.

2005 Performance

The Arcadia Festival invited for the 8 bit generation night famous Nanoloop and LSDJ artists as Bit Shifter, Bubblyfish, David Kristian, and Nullsleep.

Roland SP-555

This really falls into the category of "stuff I'd buy if I had loads of spare cash", which is not going to be the case for a long time I think.

It is a little bulkier and not as sleek looking as the Akai MPC500, which falls into the same category of course.

The roland site gives this detail:

The newest member of the SP-sampler family breaks ground with innovative features such as Loop Capture, and Super Filter. The SP-555 is fast and powerful, but one thing has been preserved from previous SP models: fun! It’s the ultimate toolkit for DJs, producers, sample-based musicians, or performers who want to take their act to the next level.

- Ultra-easy sampling with innovative Loop Capture feature
- Versatile sampling through Line input, phantom-powered Mic input,USB audio streaming, and WAV/AIFF import
- Dozens of killer performance effects, including Super Filter and DJFX Looper
- Audio interface capability with any DAW or DJ audio application (Cakewalk SONAR LE included)
- Large Sample Memory via CompactFlash (up to 2GB)
- Bundled Wave Converter software (Mac and PC) for importing and exporting WAV/AIFF files
- Infrared D BEAM controller and V-LINK compatibility for high-impact performance

Another iPod Mixer

This time from Sergio. There are actually two models, but I've been struggling to work out what the difference is between the iSpin and iBuddy, so I shall leave it up to you if you're interested.

I know that these aren't intended for the same audience as the TuneStudio, but even so, I don't think anyone has come up with anything as simple and straightforward as it as yet.

Small mixer update

Thanks to Concretedog for this comment:

"Hello...been a long time since I posted anything but still loving the blog. I use a behringer UBB1002 desk which can and has been used many times running from 2 pp3's. its a great little mixer but is a little bigger than the samson one you cited. The great things ab out it imho are that it has real faders..yet is still compact due to each channel having the pan, monitor and eq pots at the side of each fader and that it can supply phantom power to the mics when even when running on batteries allbeit at a lower voltage (18v if memory serves) but its enough to power most condensors. I love mine and they are pretty damn cheap as well!"

Well the UBB1002 does look like it might be just what I'm looking for.

Coming soon: The Basics Series

For some time now I've been wondering what it must be like for people stumbling upon this blog with no prior knowledge of handheld music. So, I've decided to write a series of posts on the basics in a variety of areas such as:

- Notation
- Sampling
- Synthesis
- Devices
- External hardware

and probably a few more once I get going. In the coming weels I shall be posting these, but in the meantime I'd appreciate any thoughts on problem areas or ideas for stuff I should cover in the series.

Linux on a Palm?

I had sort of been aware of the development of OPIE (Open Palmtop Integrated Environment), but I didn't really know it was going to well. The Hack n Dev site is also moving ahead with a boot loader that can load Linux into a palm. Amazing.

So, what (if anything) does this mean for mobile music? I'm not sure as yet, but there's got to be some ability to run more than just the basic PIM software on mobile linux. I've had a look at the apps list at the OPIE site, and there's nothing really as yet, but maybe one day there will be something interesting to run?

Bhajis Loops Sample Packs

A reminder more than anything, that there are loads of useful sample packs for Bhajis Loops at the the chocopoolp site. Take time to check them out!

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