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The MSXII Lo-Fly Dirt App and Why iOS?

Posted on 04 December 2017

As many of you know, we've recently launched our first app, Lo-Fly Dirt, in the App Store. We're, as of say mid 2017, hard core believers in the iOS platform for pro music production.  However, I wanted to address somethings that keep coming up from numerous users of Lo-Fly Dirt--and even iOS music production bystanders. Why iOS only?


The answer is simple...this has been the future. Think about that...MSXII Sound Design is mad late to the iOS party. So when I say this has been the future, I feel fortunate enough to get my company positioned to play a part in this huge opportunity. I come from a very unique perspective with this. I have kids, who daily, are in the lab with me--toying with hardware vintage synths, outboard gear, pedals, numerous gadgets and devices. One thing that I noticed though is that while the dad in me would love to peak their interest in music & the benefits of studying it, when the iPad comes out, that this isn't very hard to do. There's a natural gravitation with them towards things like Beatmaker 3 and it's 16 pad, MPC style paradigm that comes with LIGHTS on every pad. Or an app like Bebot who brings a cartoon style character to animate the musical movements you give the app. So many more to list so I'll just say it's simply intriguing for them to see this.

So when I look at where I'd like to see my company go, this makes sense. Tech is so good these days. You can hardly tell a VST from a hardware synth sometimes. Now, with these same companies bringing that tech to the mobile side, how PRO does that make mobile music production? Ultra pro. 

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However, peep the differences in costs for us as music producers. We all know hardware, even with the recent pushes by numerous companies to make things much more affordable, can be mad expensive. Additionally, great plugins like UAD can definitely hit the wallet hard as well depending on how deep into an ecosystem you'd like to go. Meanwhile, you can snag an iPad for $350 or so, pick up 5 music apps for another $50, and a dope midi controller to run your situation for another $50-100. Do this and you're literally set! It really makes no sense to me why more of us don't look at it this way. Some desktop software alone will run you $3-500+. So looking at how good the tech is + what you get with iOS and how far it can get you, it's a no brainer in my opinion. 

Sometimes I think the real issue is more of us are not yet willing to shed off old ways of thinking. This is usually the case when things are new to us and challenge our current ways of doing things. Too often we can miss real gems and opportunities that are right in front of us simply because of our mindsets. Will switching up how you've always done things challenge you? Absolutely. Will it be uncomfortable learning new things? Most likely. Will you have to sacrifice time, energy, effort in order to do something new? You bet. However, will it be worth it? I'd say 9 times out of 10.

Yes, music production on a mobile device (tablet or phone) is not widely shown as being "pro." We're still seeing tons of "in the lab" videos with guys sitting behind SSL 4000s etc (most times they're not even using it). I would agree that a lot of iPad based or iPhone based videos for music making are simply to convey mobile music making as a "starting point" or "sketch pad." To me, this has been what's really set my guy Henny apart in his Adventures in Beatmaking series. I'd say you're missing it entirely if you don't think what he's doing is pro. Or check out my bro J Myracks on iOS. He's been giving up keys for the community on his Youtube channel for a while now on the sheer sense of iOS for music making. If you're aiming to do this at the highest levels, look no further. iOS music production has been here.

I say all that to say this, at this time there are no plans release a VST version of Lo-Fly Dirt. We're "gone off that mobile" as you've seen on our Instagram channel. iOS is a great platform, provides tons of opportunity for everyone to make music (who doesn't have an iPhone?), and it's simply fun at the end of the day.

We're ok with that...for now.  We're moving forward and looking ahead to what's next for our community. We are challenging ourselves daily to think above and beyond what we can currently see. We're here to positively impact the music production community.

Lo-Fly Dirt is only a glimpse in some really beautiful things we're doing here at MSXII. For the few reasons I've listed above and many more that I won't, I simply hopes this helps. We're super grateful for the opportunity to serve you all with what we do. MSXII is family. So many of you all that are supporters have become friends over the years...and we've been listening to you. Right now, our hearts are set on iOS mobile music production and we will continue to put energy here amongst other things.

Please enjoy Lo-Fly Dirt and as always...stay with us. To further prove the viability of it all, check out my man Miccheckmate showing you how easy it is to work with a free app such as Garageband on your phone with Lo-Fly Dirt. Don't schleeeep.



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  • Hugo: December 05, 2017

    Great read. I’ve been really considering adding iOS music making into my workflow. and possibly shifting to it completely. I like the idea of simplicity/minimalism and want to translate that into my music workflow. As you mentioned, iOS seems like a good move considering the total cost versus working out of a DAW and buying plugins, midi controllers, etc. I’ll be sure to look into Henny and others already creating dope iOS based music.

    I have a few questions:
    -Will you still be releasing future drum/sample packs as you do now or will they only be iOS exclusive like MSX Constituents?
    -I’m curious about your current iOS setup and the apps you use. Could you make a future blog post about that?
    -Would you recommend starting with Beatmaker 3 or Garageband for a beginner iOS music maker?

    Thanks again for an informative article on the iOS music making wave.

  • Complete_Beats: December 05, 2017

    Love to see where you guys are venturing, and taking things. I agree wholeheartedly with your approach and explanations above. Challenging conventions and using under-explored platforms for creation, takes music to new places, and hopefully creates dope shit. I applaud MSXii for that.
    For me, I’m open to finding new ways of doing things, that I’ve always done or things I want to accomplish. I’ve invested about 5 years, and a good amount of money in Ableton, alone. So a big part of me wants to maximize my skills/experience in that ecosystem, I work 50-60 hours a week, with two young children, a home, and a wife who works even more than I do. So I have to balance art/creativity with life.
    That being said, when you guys come out with products that help people like me, bridge the gap. That’s cool as hell. So if you ever make a video showing how iOS apps can be integrated into Ableton Workflow, then hit a brother up, I’d love to peep that. In the meantime I’m gonna check out the apps you guys have been big-uppin’. I’ve already looked at Snap, and Drum Pad Machine, and I’ll peep the Lo-Fly Dirt as well. As you forge into the future, throw a look at some of us Ableton heads as well. Cause there’s still heat to be made, no matter the platform!

  • Jake: December 05, 2017

    Just got it! Any chance of making a 404 vinyl sim plug in? :p

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