6 months ago Mixvibes released Remixlive for iOS into the iPhone and iPad music making scene. In July they made the uncommon move of releasing the same software onto MacOS. Today they’ve released it for Windows – no one ever ports an iOS app to Windows. That fact makes this a very exciting event on its own but hopefully Remixlive is exciting as well.
It’s a sample triggering, loop syncing, effect tweaking, remixing performance tool. Load up one of the sample packs and tap the pads to trigger the loops or one shots all beautifully in time with each other. There’s a mixer with EQ and a filter built into each channel and an effects page with 12 effects plus beat repeat pads. The effects range from delay and reverb through phasers and jets to freezers and reactors. They are controlled via an XY pad either globally or individually per channel. It’s all a lot of fun.
The grid can be configured with anything from a single pad up to 10 columns and 10 rows. The sounds come from sample packs of which 7 are included and many more are available as extras. You don’t have to be so predefined though as you can import your own samples in pretty much any format you can think of. Or, simply record directly into it with your laptops microphone.
Sample editing is available directly inside Remixlive. You can have them auto sync to the master tempo – or not. This is particularly useful for one-shot samples that can often get messed about when software tries to force them into some kind of syncronisation. You can crop your samples, time stretch with or without pitch change and apply an ADSR envelope.
MIDI and Touch
Remixlive is completely MIDI mapable, either coming in or going out. So you can map in any hardware MIDI controller to control the pads, mixers or effects. You can also do the same with your QWERTY keyboard. So if you are running on a regular laptop you don’t have to try to be creative with the track pad or mouse. Of course a major benefit of Windows is the touch-screen support which aptly demonstrates just how well an iOS app can translate to a touchable Windows device such as the Microsoft Surface. In fact the image above is a little misleading because if you are running it on a Surface as the image suggests then you’d have no need for the APC MIDI controller. Although of course you can use touch and a controller – why not?
To round off the feature list is the inclusion of a VST plug-in version so you can run it right within your DAW – not going to get that on iOS.
I can’t help but make a comparison to Novation’s Launchpad iOS – it’s inevitable. They do very similar things and I’ve enjoyed playing with Launchpad on an iPad. Remixlive is no less fun and holds its own in terms of features on iOS. This new desktop version however creates some interesting possibilities that Launchpad can’t really match. The benefit comes in the integration with a larger setup, the ease with which you can import and export samples and that you can run it within a proper DAW like Cubase or Ableton Live.
I think my only criticism is the slightly uninspiring effects and mixer section. All the controls are there it’s just very dull to look at. It would be nice to be able to automate the effects or record movements onto the sample pad. There’s a handy “lock” button that locks the effect in while you adjust a different one – that’s a nice idea. I also like the fact that the stop/start button gives a short little vinyl style scratch when you press it.
Is the price right?
There’s a lot of great music apps on iOS and I often think it’s a shame that these can’t be made available to a wider, computer based music making world. Mixvibes are demonstrating here that there is in fact no reason why you can’t develop for OS X and Windows as well as iOS and we’re all the richer for it. Well, there is that – software is always mysteriously more expensive on the desktop. Remixlive for iOS is free…. on the Mac or PC it’s regular price is $69.99 but at the moment it’s on a special of $29.99. That seems a shame. Sure there’s more to the desktop version and you get a standalone and plug-in format but I do get annoyed at what seems to be a desktop tax. Anyway, at $29 it seems about right – they should stick to that price.
Along with the PC release the Mac version also gets an update to keep them in line. And the iOS version has been updated to support iOS 10 and an option to export sample packs.
More information is available on the Mixvibes website here.