Virtual MIDI in BeatMaker 2 is a little bit more confusing than in other apps, so I thought I’d make a walk through to clear up any confusion. Virtual MIDI has opened up iOS music making to several interesting and useful possibilities. You can record synths that don’t have MIDI sequencers, experiment with new synths for your track using a sequencing app like BM2, or make an entire song using sounds from several different apps at once by controlling them all with Genome MIDI Sequencer. This tutorial should contain everything you need to know to get BeatMaker 2 controlling other Virtual MIDI apps.
Set up and settings
First, open up BeatMaker 2 and another Virtual MIDI app of your choosing. In BM2 you’ll want to create a blank keyboard sampler track. To do this, click the add instrument button, and select keyboard sampler (or drum machine). The app will prompt you to load an instrument, click the X in the upper left corner and the track will be created with no sounds loaded. This is exactly what you want because you’ll be using the sounds from other apps. Make as many tracks as synth apps you’ll be using, and assign each a MIDI channel…
Assign a MIDI channel for this specific track to send MIDI through:
From this menu, you can also set up a CC to control stuff like volume or pan or save/load a MIDI configuration if you want to load it to a different track/project.
Next we need to tell BM2 to actually send out the MIDI to other apps.
Go to the main menu and tap on the ‘i‘ in the upper right corner:
Hit MIDI setup,
and plug in these settings:
This page is the command center for MIDI coming in and out of BM2. If you wanted to control BM2 with another app – say, Slide Control, which doesn’t generate any sound on it’s own – you’d need to turn it on in the inputs column. If you want the MIDI being played in BM2 to control another synth app, you’d need to turn on said synth in the outputs column. Here, I’m recording Cassini Synth for iPhone (using Cassini’s built in audio recorder) with the MIDI being played in BM2. Using sequencing apps with Virtual MIDI ports like BeatMaker 2 or Genome is a great way to get that perfect recording in synth apps that don’t have a sequencer.
After you’ve set that up, go back to the synth(s) you want to send the MIDI to and make sure audio background is turned on in it’s settings. This will tell the application to continue generating sound after you leave the app (press the home button or double tap the home button and switch apps).
Background audio in Cassini synth for iPhone:
Background audio in SunrizerXS synth for iPhone:
There are 16 MIDI channels. Channels are used to send MIDI data to certain destination (in our case, a synth app) so that you don’t end up sending the notes generated in one place to two places by accident. If you want to trigger multiple apps at the same time, set each track in BeatMaker to a different MIDI channel.
Troubleshooting: OMNI mode sends all of the MIDI notes generated on any channel (1-16), to every channel. If OMNI mode is on in BeatMaker or some random synth app, you might run into sound issues (this has happened to me before with Sunrizer, but not Cassini), if something doesn’t sound right try turning off OMNI mode and setting up a specific channel.
If you’re looking for more apps with Virtual MIDI, check out my regularly updated list!