AudioKit is an Apple platform music open-source project. It’s behind the music and audio functionality of countless iOS apps. They are releasing some code to enable budding app developers to build their own software instruments – for free. To demonstrate this they’ve released the DX7 inspired “FM Player” instrument for iPad completely free.
The FM Player is a multi-sampled instrument. It contains over 50 presets recorded from original FM synthesizers. They’ve then added further synthesizer components such as a lowpass filter with LFO, and a bunch of effects like reverb, auto-pan, bit crush etc. It’s all wrapped up in a nice looking interface with an on-screen keyboard and touchable controls over the filter and effects.
It supports Inter-App Audio, AudioBus 3, MIDI control and it’s advert free. It’s pretty neat. But the neatness doesn’t end there. AudioKit have made the app open source to enable anyone to build their own multi-sampled instrument just like the FM Player.
AudioKit ROM Player
The source code is available for free from their GitHub repository in the form of a “ROM Player” from the 11th December. With a bit of coding know-how, you can replace the samples with your own and re-jig the interface to create your own unique instrument. It supports EXS24, SoundFont and Wave files, all you have to do is drop them in there. The pre-made code is in Music Framework for iOS and MacOS. AudioKit includes all sorts of ready-made filters, effects and other audio processes that you can use in your instrument. You can then, if you want, sell it in the app store.
It’s kind of mad and you do need to know what you’re doing in terms of manipulating source code, but it doesn’t look difficult for the software tinkerer. The idea of being able to build and sell your own iPad instruments is pretty alluring. If you’re someone who enjoys building sample libraries then this is definitely something worth checking out. Does it offer anything over building instruments in Kontakt or other desktop samplers? Probably just the reach via the app store and the undeniable coolness of putting your own samples into an iPad instrument.