NS1 Demo by The Sound Test Room and Some FAQ

by Nikolozi Meladze

Here’s another great demo video of NS1 made by Doug from The Sound Test Room. This time NS1 is running inside GarageBand.

I saw a few questions in the comments section of the video and a few people have asked me questions regarding the preset management and Core MIDI. So I thought I would use this post to respond some of those questions/concerns.

Some people thought that NS1 doesn’t work with MIDI. Whilst, the standalone app itself doesn’t respond to MIDI message when NS1 is launched as an AU extension inside a host app like AUM, GarageBand or Cubasis it will of course respond to incoming MIDI messages. I imagine most people would want to use NS1 inside a host app. The standalone app itself is intended to be used to demonstrate the synth capabilities and maybe to create some presets. But if a lot of users end up using it in a standalone mode for one reason or another I will consider adding the Core MIDI support there too.

The way the presets currently work is that you can launch the standalone NS1 app and make some presets inside it. Next time you launch it inside a host you should see the preset that you created as one of the factory presets. You can try this with AUM and GarageBand. While you are inside these hosts you also have ability to save presets. However, these presets are local to the host and can’t be accessed from the other hosts. This is pretty much iOS limitation.

Currently, iOS 9 only allows very limited interaction between a host and an AU when it comes to preset management. The host simply asks AU to provide a flat list of preset names (i.e. no folder structure or any kind of grouping or tagging). Then host can let the user select a preset from this list. The host has no way of telling AU to create and save a new preset to the factory presets. The host can only create its own local ones.

Now, some people have asked me to add preset management as part of the AU extension UI. I have 2 issues with this approach. First, AU already has a very limited space to display knobs and sliders for users to play with. I’m not a fan of crammed interfaces. It makes synth programming harder and less inspiring. The second reason is that I believe interacting with presets should be a uniform experience inside a host. Doesn’t matter what AU I load inside a host I want to have the same experience.

I’ve filed a radar asking Apple to enhance this capability. Please do the same if you want this feature to be enhanced system wide. You can do that at https://bugreport.apple.com/ and reference the radar I filed: 24714202. We all know what the desktop preset management experience is like. Take Logic or Live for instance, they both have nice left hand library browsers. But a lot of plug-ins provide their own custom preset management UI and the presets don’t even appear in these browsers. I’m not a fan of that to say the least. But I understand why some of the plug-in developers have done it. For instance, some of them wanted to add tagging/grouping capabilities etc.

Having said all that, I’m not very stubborn, and if the situation doesn’t improve I’ll add the custom UI for presets to the NS1 extension.