Mixtikl is a generative music/sound creation paid-for application for the Apple iPad. It is also available on a variety of other platforms and handheld devices.
I’ve been looking at this for a while to go alongside the other sound creations apps I currently use on the iPad.
It does take a bit of getting used to; I can’t say that the interface is like anything else I have used. I think that it’s simplicity is not reflected in the interface which is at some moments, counter intuitive. The interface works OK on iPad but it looks as if it has been ported from an iPhone app without doing anymore than stretching the UI and moving a couple of icons.
The default setting of 60bpm gives a clue to where the majority of the sound works; slow ambient, atmospheric, sparse piano – that sort of thing. With some experimentation, increasing the bpm provides mixed results – the ‘tribal’ pack provided with the app ‘scales’ well. Some of the provided sounds sound to fit their preferred bpm and for some of the sample based sounds, sample start and end clicking is apparant.
Good control over effects are provided but as you cannot skip sections or sound passages meaning you can’t get a good overall view of what is needed to account for all passages which makes a good effects mix difficult to achieve. A nice feature (once you have worked out it is there and how to use it) is to be able to chain a series of effects together with some rudimentary control elements for triggering or controlling effect parameters. Careful with the control blocks, these can have very unpredictable and loud results. Export to a DAW if you are fussy about that.
Online documentation comprises a couple of videos hosted on YouTube that appear to use a different version to that used on the iPad.
Once you get used to the interface, the results are good although as the sound is generative it can sometimes seem like quite some time (many seconds thinking “is it working?”) before anything happens. This also has an impact in that if you export a mix and edit in a DAW, there can be a delay between the DAW timeline start and the start of any sound in your sample.
What does it sound like?
The first sound sample is from the built in sampler that uses the iPad microphone. As the microphone doesnt have any controls for recording levels, this is probably much the same as any other app that uses it.
Audio sample one – from a selection of the Mixtikl ‘packs’
Audio sample two – a bit more ambient. Mixtikl has some interesting generative piano sounds.
Recording your efforts can be a bit hit and miss. When you record, you specify the amount of bars that the app will record, not based on a time period, then you must wait in realtime while the sound is rendered.
Once you work out how to access the export utilites (via ‘Share’ not as would be intuitive, the ‘Export’ dialogues), exporting the sound is via an in built web server (many apps provide this as a way of getting round the iPad’s locked in, no file system concept) which is basic and is prone to crashing (around 25% of the time for me). When the app crashes it does not recover your last workflow point, so frequent saving suggested.
The final results
I took a quick render from Mixtikl and uploaded into iSequence and then rendered that back out. This is the result.