TouchOSC: The Poor Man’s Lemur
I have always wanted a controller where I can easily map controls for my software and finally came across TouchOSC. TouchOSC is an iPhone/iPod Touch app which allows you to use the touch screen of the device as a controller. TouchOSC, as in the name, uses the Open Sound Control(OSC) protocol which transmits data over WiFi. This information can be used immediately if you have a software with OSC implementation or convert into a more popular format like MIDI with OSCulator.
It comes with 5 non-specific layouts for you to get started, or you can download the TouchOSC Editor from the website to create your own custom layouts which I highly recommend. The editor is very intuitive and easy to use. The only drawback with the editor is the lack of ability to reorder your pages. This means you have to plan your layout well before creating it as you can’t insert a page in between something you have created.
I have been using TouchOSC and OSCulator to trigger clips and control filters in Ableton Live. Working with a layout I have been creating myself, it makes Ableton Live a much better performance tool as I am able to perform multiple functions with one hand on the MacBookPro and the other on my iPod. The best tool in TouchOSC would be the XY pads and the labels. The XY pads allows you to have more creative sonic possibilities by changing two parameters with one control. Some might contest that you can map two parameters to one control but you would not be able to change the ratio between the two parameters without some inconvenience. Labels are great if you need to view visual feedback of control values. I found this out by accident when I mapped a MIDI CC output to my label and the label changed to reflect the current value of the controller. This could be useful to some who would like visual feedback of a particular set of value, with the editor this can be easily displayed on one screen.
With the ability to create a network with the MacBookPro, I can use TouchOSC where ever I choose to go without fear of not having a WiFi network to connect to. Connecting on a busy shared network could also pose problems with transfer rates although I have not attempt anything similar.
I highly recommend this amazing app to anyone who does music or video performances and has an iPhone/iPod Touch. You would definitely find some use for a customizable controller at such low price point. I understand that OSC has implementations outside of audio and video applications like controlling robotics and other interesting fields and this could also prove interesting for such applications.
TouchOSC in iTunes Store
Filed under: iPod | 5 Comments
Tags: Open Sound Control, TouchOSC