Everybody is talking about mobile beatmaking these days and iPads become more and more powerful machines with fully fledged DAWs like Beatmaker 3. But if you are comfortable and productive in your DAW why not stick to using your laptop? Enter the Trackpad MIDI Controller!
One of the big advantages iPad apps have is that you can touch the screen and therefore use the actual interface as midi controller. Now MacBook owners can level up and use the AudioSwift 2 App to morph their Trackpad into a MIDI Controller!
Truth is, that every Mac laptop user has a powerful MIDI controller right in front of them and most of us are aware it’s even there. Thanks to AudioSwift 2 the trackpad can be repurposed as a very capable MIDI controller / control surface for your DAW. I tested it out with Ableton Live 10 and was surprised how well I adapted to using it accurately without having direct feedback from the trackpad itself, instead using on-screen displays. There’s several modes like X/Y pad, mixing, etc but I mostly use it for finger drumming. Not having actual pads takes a little time to get used to, but after a few minutes you”ll get the feel for how the trackpad is divided up and can easily jam out some basic drum patterns.
AudioSwift works in MacBooks, MacBooks Air and MacBooks Pro with built in multitouch trackpads. It also works with the Magic Trackpad 1 and the Magic Trackpad 2.
In Mixer Mode, AudioSwift is currently supported with Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Reaper, Cubase and Studio One. In Trigger, Scale and XY mode it works with any DAW using general MIDI standards just like any MIDI controller. And with the MacBooks Touch Bar you have quick access to the controller modes menu and the transport section.
Here is a quick overview of the five control modes for AudioSwift:
Slider. Divide the trackpad in 1 to 4 virtual sliders and send CC or Pitch Bend MIDI messages. Add expressiveness to virtual instruments or automate plugins parameters easily with a trackpad.
XY. Use your trackpad as an XY pad to control several parameters at the same time, using one, two and three fingers configurations. A great MIDI tool for mobile producers and sound designers.
Mixer. Control one or two faders at the same time using simple touches. Move the panning, set the send’s levels, use your trackpad as a jog wheel, and write automation in a quick and easy way. It’s currently supported in Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Reaper, Cubase and Studio One.
Trigger. Make quick beats using your trackpad as trigger pads. Play audio clips by tapping your fingers. Up to three fingers can be used at the same time.
Scale. Choose a tonic note and then select a scale. Slide your fingers from left to right to play notes in the selected key. Apply pressure to the trackpad and it will send aftertouch MIDI messages. (Aftertouch requires a trackpad with Force Touch).