When you’re discussing iOS DAWs, NanoStudio is one app that easily makes its way to the top of the list. While it doesn’t deal with audio like a traditional DAW, its massive MIDI capabilities allow electronic musicians to create full songs, overflowing with rich detail. This power does come with a price though – NanoStudio is an incredibly detailed program that requires a bit of learning to push it to full potential. The interface is fairly friendly and it doesn’t take too much research to figure out the basics of the app; there’s so much sitting under the hood of this workspace that’s easy to miss though. When you dig into these vital details, your NanoStudio songs can become professional sounding, fully featured songs that breath with vibrant energy. From sonic manipulations through effects to lively colors through parameters automations, NanoStudio has got it all, giving your music every chance to come alive. We’re going to be visiting a few areas of NanoStudio with quick tip collections that will take your music even farther, this time taking a look at some of the features of the TRG-16.
Quick Tip #1: There Are Three Different Screens On The TRG-16
Each TRG-16 that you create within NanoStudio holds three different screens that each have a slightly different purpose. You can switch between these three screens through the buttons found on the upper left hand corner of the device. The buttons read “HOME,” “EDIT,” and “OUTPUTS.” The button representing the window that you currently occupy will be highlighted in yellow. As you move between the three screens, you’ll see a slightly different layout to the device with different options for shaping the way that you manipulate your samples.
Here’s a little bit about what you can do with the three screens:
HOME: This screen works best for live interaction with the pads, providing an ideal environment for tapping out some music on the pads. You can trigger the pads on any of the three screens, but the inclusion on the “AUTOBEAT” and “VELOCITY” features on the HOME screen gears it more towards performance. This screen also allows for loading full banks of sounds into the device.
EDIT: This screen lets you load new samples and set individual playback parameters for each pad. It will also lead you to an audio editor that allows you to do even finer detail editing upon the audio in each pad.
OUTPUTS: This screen allows you to activate an individual filter for each output bus, which can be designated as Low Pass, Band Pass, or High Pass. You can also direct the audio from each individual output bus through either the Send 1 or Send 2 Mixer Channel.
Quick Tip #3: Use The HOME Screen For Live Performance
As I mentioned in Quick Tip #2, you can trigger samples on any of the three TRG-16 screens, but a couple of elements make the HOME screen is ideal for live performance. When I say live performance, I’m not necessarily recommending that you bring NanoStudio on stage to play music in front of an audience. You certainly could use the app in fashion, spontaneously tapping out killer combinations of samples on the pads. The real advantage of the HOME screen comes through when you perform a pattern live while recording into NanoStudio’s sequencer. The uncluttered screen really makes the visual aspect of live performance much more feasible. There are also a couple of convenient features that make this screen ideal for performance.
The “VELOCITY” knob allows you to make some important changes to your performance that will change the overall attack of each sample. Turning the “VELOCITY” knob to the right increases the strength of the attack upon the sample, and in most cases, the volume. A move to the left will decrease the strength of the attack. All of this information is captured in a recording, so changing the “VELOCITY” knob during performance will add some variety into the recording.
When you use the “AUTOBEAT” function, you can capture a steady stream of attacks on any sample, based upon the tempo of your song. Start by selecting the type of rhythm you want to capture – you can choose:
1/1 – whole notes or one attack per measure
1/2 – half notes or two attacks per measure
1/4 – quarter notes or four attacks per measure
1/8 – eighth notes or eight attacks per measure
1/16 – sixteenth notes or sixteen attacks per measure
1/32 – thirty-second notes or thirty two attacks per measure
Once you’ve selected your chosen rhythmic value, you’ll notice that your selection will turn yellow and a red light will appear, letting you know that the “AUTOBEAT” function is active. Now hold down a sample pad and you’ll hear that audio repeated in your chosen rhythmic value.
Quick Tip #3: Use Full Banks To Your Advantage
Besides being a great place for live performance while recording into your NanoStudio track, the HOME screen also lets you manage your full banks of sound. The ability to get collections of sounds in and out of NanoStudio starts in a blue area on the left side of the screen labeled “BANK.” Within this area, you’ll find three black buttons, with the heading “CLEAR,” “IMPORT,” and “EXPORT.” Each of these buttons will help you deal with your collections of banks.
The “CLEAR” button does just what you think it would do – it will erase all the samples currently loaded into the sixteen pads on that TRG-16. Simply press the “CLEAR” button and you’ll be presented with a pop-up window that asks “Are you sure?” Once you press the “OK” button, the pads will be cleared; you’ll see an “
The “IMPORT” button allows you to load saved banks of samples into the TRG-16. Once you press the “IMPORT” button, you’ll find yourself in a folder full of .trg files, which represent collections of samples ready to be loaded. NanoStudio comes pre-loaded with 21 .trg files, each based on a different collection of sounds; if you’ve got your own banks saved, then they’ll be here as well. When you find a bank that you’d like to load into your TRG-16, tap on it and then press the “Import” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen.
At this point, NanoStudio will ask you if you’d like to copy the samples from your chosen bank into the project file; your TRG-16 will work whether you choose to do this or not, it’s more an organizational issue that this addresses. It’s also convenient if you later choose to move the project file to your desktop for storage; if you return to the file, then you’ve got all of your samples ready. After you decide whether to transfer the files into the project folder, you’ll be on your TRG-16 screen, ready to play with the new collection of samples.
The “EXPORT” button will let you create your own .trg file holding a unique collection of samples. Once you press the “EXPORT” button, you’ll find yourself in the folder full of .trg files. In the lower left hand corner of the screen, there’s a “New Folder” button that will do just that, create another folder for your .trg files. You aren’t required to use this feature; it’s simply for organizational purposes. On the lower right hand side of the screen, there’s a “Save As” button. Press this button and you’ll be presented with a keyboard where you can type in a name for your new .trg file. Type in your name and press the button with the green arrow in the lower right hand corner of the keyboard. You’ll return to the TRG-16 screen as if nothing has happened, but when you return to the .trg window, you’ll find that your original sample bank will now be saved and ready for future use.
The live performance capabilities that you’ll find on the HOME screen of the TRG-16 in NanoStudio offer a great way to get musical information into your songs. The TRG-16 is a massively powerful device though, and a key piece of the appeal behind NanoStudio. Hopefully these quick tips about the HOME screen will give some new insights, but we’re just getting started. We’ll be back soon with another collection of NanoStudioquick tips that will continue our look at the TRG-16.
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