iPad VCV Rack Port

A developer has just released a touch compatible port of VCV Rack for the iPad. I just purchased, as it is currently $8 in the App Store. Check it out!
miRack for iPad

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Can you review for us? How different is it from the original? Is it worth it with the processing power of the iPad? Is it iPad only or iPhone as well. Audulus 3 runs better on my iPhone than my Macbook Pro.

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Sure. I like it a lot. I find it to be a lot more intuitive to use my hands directly, rather than a mouse for setting modules and pulling cables. I have the 10.5” iPad Pro with the A10X and 4GB of RAM, so it has a little more memory than the typical base model iPad (which can range anywhere from 1-3GB, depending on which year base model you have), but the newer iPads also have processors that are just as capable as mine, if not more. I have a nice big 16 module patch running FM synthesis between the dual VCO’s with a lot of neat movement going on between the sequencer, filter, envelopes, LFO’s, mixers, VCA and the output, and I feel like it runs just as well as it does on my computer.

This app project was originally built to run on Raspberry Pi, which is VERY minimal (until the release of the 4B recently), and so I don’t expect there to be any issues with performance. Also, it contains all of the CoreMIDI modules that let you do MIDI I/O like @futureaztec, @stschoen, and @robertsyrett had discussed for my hardware a couple months ago, so there is that added bonus, if you have the CCK and a USB MIDI cable for your iPad.

Unfortunately, this app is iPad only, and I think that is purely from a performance point of view, as the iPad has more memory, same or better CPU as the current model iPhone of the year it was released, and the GPU of the iPad is a step above, and can handle more since it is more focused on AV consumption than a typical iPhone would be. (BONUS!) It also contains the majority of the best modules already built in that you would have to go to the VCV website and log into your account to add to your install separately for your computer. All in all, I think it was definitely worth the $8 purchase price. Lemme know if there is any other info I can provide :smiley:

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Hey Stevo, does it work with more than one stereo output?

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I was very excited to see this coming to the iPad, but find myself somewhat conflicted about paying money for something that has VCVs opensource origin and community. Not that I don’t want to pay money for things – it’s more that the originators of a large part of that code aren’t receiving any of it.

I know that there are all kind of details about the various licenses and that this was built on the 0.6 version which had a different license than VCV 1.0 and should be thought of as a new app rather than a port etc etc. (See all the comments on Synthtopia ).

Anyway, maybe it’s just me being silly but I’ve held back on buying it for those reasons. Perhaps someone can explain to me why it’s all OK. (Andrew Belt who developed VCV rack seems to have given it his blessing in any case.)

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It’s all OK because you don’t get from vcv fork to an app in app store with a snap of the finger - its hard work, too.

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@RudigerMeyer I can understand why you would say that, looking as an educated person from an outside perspective wondering why an open source project would be something deserving of a monetary contribution. As an amateur developer, I can shed a little light on this, although @taylor and @stschoen would be better resources to chime in here, coming from a professional dev point of view that I cannot personally represent, as I am not yet there.

From my limited experience and the things of which I have experienced, VCV was built for and runs on x86_64 architecture, and this was adapted to run on ARM64, and now includes full touchscreen support. As @Fedor mentioned in his comment, there is a LOT of work that goes into adapting a codebase from one platform and making it fully compatible and functional with another platform. (Not quite the same thing, but similarly) I once spent ~40 hours of free time researching, writing and integrating a new module for the Linux kernel that would allow my wireless chipset to work with ARM, when there was only support for x86, at that time.

Not every community is as awesome and open as Audulus, as far as development of features in the open source world (think about the Max for Live model of doing things on the other hand). This also is kinda similar to the idea that Linux is open source and meant to be free, but some companies have developed proprietary, non-free versions of it (Oracle, RedHat, Ubuntu, etc.) for people and companies to be able to opt in for monetarily compensated models of support and development that might not otherwise be there in a free and open source project.

That is not without hardship, as it has the potential to be able to make something more reliable and hold someone(s) accountable for any bugs or lacking features, as the users are not just users anymore, but customers. RHEL has a completely different package management system, a support site you gain access to when you become a customer, a dedicated group of support engineers, way more professional documentation of processes and applications for the OS, etc. which you can access, depending on the subscription model you subscribe to. You can always opt to not pay for it, and the codebase for CentOS is almost exactly the same, but you lack all of the premium features I mentioned above, and if you are not a pro Linux user, you will most likely spend a lot of time between GitHub, StackExchange, Kernel.org, and other doc sites searching for answers when you find something that is not yet developed or well documented.

In summary, I get what you are saying, but consider the positives of paying the equivalent of a typical fast food dinner for the dev(s) to be (ideally) more reliable, responsive, and keep a more rapid release cycle going for this project. It will almost certainly be better than what you typically see in a completely open source project with no proprietary code, in which people are all doing the work in their spare time out of the goodness of their hearts. This is how I rationalize it. Perhaps you will feel different, but I figured I would at least mention why it is ok (at least for myself). I hope this helps! :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Fedor As far as I can tell, no, it appears the stereo output is singular, as shown in the pic, as I see no menu options for mapping different output channels to different interfaces, presently. There are plenty of stereo effects and mixers I see though. Not sure exactly how you would like to use it. Lemme know if I can be of any other form of assistance! :slightly_smiling_face:

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I have to agree with @stevo3985 as far as paying for the app. As he points out It’s a lot of work. In addition, in order to post the app in the App Store you have to be a registered Apple developer which isn’t free and have all the necessary hardware for development and testing. It seems to me that $7.99 is pretty cheap for what you get. I might point out that many other open source based projects aren’t free. Reaper comes to mind. In any case the license for VCV rack allow anyone to develop and sell modified versions of the code so long as they adhere to the other terms of the license.

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@stevo3985 @stschoen @Fedor Thanks for the (extensive!) replies. I very much appreciate that 8$ is not a lot of money and that building the iPad version involves a lot of work. I guess that on some level my thinking (or perhaps rather feeling) was that since so much ‘free’ work has gone into getting it thus far, that it should continue in that spirit.

On the other hand I can totally see the benefits of payed models (regular updates, support etc.) and am very much in favour of opensource/payed license arrangements such as Reaper.

Thanks for the input and helping me think it through. :slight_smile:

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I loved using VCV Rack with ES-8 and modular, for audio and cv back-n-forth. But using the mouse kinda breaks the flow for me. So with MI Rack I’m expecting the same thing at some point, plus hosting auv3s, (hopefully), with the advantage of the touchscreen.

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@Fedor this is a discussion of the app on MuffWiggler where someone pulled a quote from the dev:


The discussion is here.

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Maybe someone can confirm for me, but I believe this app doesn’t have IAA or AudioBus capability. I know a lot of work has gone into it, but I would like to be able to use it in conjunction with other apps.

Also (and I don’t seem to be able to confirm this either), I believe it’s built from older source code as the current VCV Rack license restricts it from being deployed to the App Store? Just wondering where it will go without being able to use the current version of the source code.

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I checked and miRack doesn’t show up in AB3 or as an IAA or AUv3 app in AUM, so it looks like it doesn’t support any interoperability at this point.
Here’s the developer’s website:
http://mifki.com/blog/mirack-is-coming-to-ios/
It appears that he forked the VCV code a while back with the intent of getting it to run on Rasberry Pis and similar and is only now porting it to iOS. Depending on how far his version has diverged from the main fork, it may not really be significant that VCV has changed. While the module list is similar, they aren’t really the same app. I expect that they will diverge even more as time goes by assuming he continues to develop miRack.

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@ElectroHell if you follow the link to the muffwiggler discussion, or check the screenshot I snapped and placed in my post a couple posts above :arrow_heading_up:, the info about AB3 and IAA (although I think Apple is currently making plans to do away with IAA as a standard in the near future in favor of pushing devs to the more functional and efficient AUv3 standard, but perhaps someone else can provide more info or correct me on this) is indicated by the dev of miRack to be a highly requested feature that is in the near future roadmap, according to the quote. I hope this helps!

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Thanks guys. I did see the post afterwards, but it does say that the developer will start to explore app connectivity, so I’m guessing it’s not going to be too soon.

The code did come from porting to Raspberry Pi, but I think the problem with using more recent code is the licensing. I guess the problem is with the open source licensing and whether or not Apple will allow uploads based on (I think) GPL code. I’ll check, can’t remember for sure.

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