A different perspective on the frenzied NS2 hype train and BM3 comparisons.
Nanostudio 2 has been released and it’s an excellent app by a Marvel superhero of a developer, however, through a slew of limitations, it has now ironically revealed how advanced BM3 actually is.
I was looking forward to NS2 but then after purchasing, found myself scratching my head. ‘What was I not seeing that everyone else was?’ I spent a couple of days. I put it through it’s paces. And I was left still scratching my head.
I am a relatively seasoned producer from the desktop world of Cubase, logic and maschine, and have a good knowledge base. So it then dawned on me, could this possibly be another case of emperor’s new clothes. People are wowed by the UI and rock solid stability ie the wrapper. But what about the filling.
The software has nice built in fx, but no proper AU FX automation, no au fx per pad, no timestretch, no audio tracks (incoming and will no doubt kill bm3s, unless serious overhauling is done), a very simple sample play back mechanism in the form of slate, but no genuine fully fledged sampler, let alone the bm3 beast, a fun synth in the form of obsidian, but nothing that moves the needle. The synth is another generic sounding analogue synth. More of a sound sketch tool for generic dance sounds to help sketch out your ideas. If you want phatness and a unique inspiring palette though, for me the sounds would need replacing later with sunrizer, poison, noir, Magellan, isymphonic, synthmaster one, d1, aparillo etc. I don’t understand the hype. It’s well built, solid, clean, pretty and has low cpu. But if it contains a sound palette that doesn’t inspire you to use it, then none of that even matters. You always reach for your best synth. Not a filler.
I auditioned all of the presets and nothing stood out to me. Other than a couple of neuro basses. Everything else was average sounding. So I began tweaking lfos, envelopes and oscillators to tease some more out of them. This upped the ante a little and in tandem with the xy pad yielded some more pleasing sounds but nothing that would make this a go to synth for me above all the many others. All the demo songs I have heard built solely with obsidian sound like elevator electronic dance library music. Maybe more time with it will reveal other elements but I’m not yet convinced.
There’s also no scene mode in NS2 which is one of bm3’s many great features for lightening fast idea sketching (you can sketch a full track in literally minutes).
NS2 is clearly slick. In fact it’s kinda glorious in it’s UI implementation and work flow. However BM3 really is not that far off. (Though I wish the dotted line was brought back in midi piano roll with some other finessing. Day one forum users will know what I mean.) I like how NS2 does its midi editor. But I also like bm3s. But maybe that’s because I’m more used to it. NS2 has some nice additional touches but nothing to warrant me swapping daws.
In BM3 I use many plugins and have not had ONE SINGLE CRASH since the bm3 interim update. It is solid stable and reliable.
It’s been a while since I have witnessed such intense hype for an iOS app. Now after playing with NS it has confirmed how much overselling by users happens in this market. Nansostudio was hailed as the second coming. And pretty much by the beta testers who self proclaimed themselves as the beta testing dream team which I thought was an interesting statement. It has definitely laid strong foundations, and I am glad it is here to help move iOS music production forward, but it has a long way to go.
To @mathieugarcia @vincent and team I felt I needed to do my small part in helping to redress the balance.
Your software has been the blue print to a world of amazing creative possibilities.
Unfortunately bm3s workflow can be a little daunting for some at first, and in this time of instant everything, some people aren’t interested unless they can hit a button that initiates an instant top ten hit. The original manuals possibly did not travel deep enough on some of the basic workflow mechanisms, but tk’s manual may help supplement that for the newbies.
I am so exited by what more is to come. It would be great if the updates were more incrimental rather than long periods, only because I know that some people get fidgity waiting, and unfortunately start unfairly talking down the software. Also please consider using some of the forum stalwarts for beta testing like @5pinlink and @tk32 as they are valuable in helping to advance this software to it’s greatest potential.
I understand however that it really is a balancing act between PR, business and resources. But you guys are SO talented. One day when you come to london, I’ll get to buy you a pint to say thanks for bringing your vision into this world. Much appreciated. It has massively changed the game. And will for a long time to come.
Enjoyed reading this thread and share your views on BM3. Its my musical home on iOS.
I followed the NS2 discussion since it’s release (don’t have the cash to throw around to pick it up at the minute though) and it looks pretty decent, but I'm past the point of jumping in a new DAW for it's potential and waiting for it to catch up with the pack -- I just want to make music with something that's already proven itself to me. BM3 has more or less grown into it's promise (with a few areas coming closer with each update) and I'm comfortable with it's nuances.
One thing that disappointed me actually with regard to NS2 (from a wider 'iOS community' point of view) is that on the NS2 message board, there seems to be a culture of 'self-appointed figureheads' who not only shoot down ideas/suggestions with an aggressive/condescending manner, but also throw around BeatMaker3 as a 'pseudo-insult'. Plenty of this kind of thing going on: "that's a BM3 thing", "perhaps you should go use BM3 instead", "maybe BM3 is the app you're looking for". That kind of speaking is not good for either community and we should actively avoid joining in that mentality here. I'm very happy that there is such a supportive and creative community getting behind BM3 -- hopefully the contrast, comparison and competition between the two apps can drive both innovation in their development and excellence in their usage in both cases.
Well written post. The guys that you've mentioned are now part of the beta team.
Great post @groovey
I feel the same.
NS2 certainly has some sex appeal, but is a little shallow under the surface.
BM3 is still the most mature platform, and can only get better.
Great to have you back btw
Nanostudio 2 sucks balls!!!!!
Just wanted to see if that BS from their testers worked here too, it doesn't, they look like tits everytime they do it.
Both are good apps.
@OscarSouth agree completely. And yes I saw some of that nonsense on the blip forum and kinda switched off after that. Not a good look. I see where they are coming from in that the developer has worked so incredibly hard and they therefore have some loyalty, however people were simply trying to help improve with genuine polite suggestions. Really bizarre.
@hansjbs thanks. That’s great to know those guys are onboard as I feel like that helps to strengthen the team. My mind literally cannot fathom what’s to come next, since it’s such a fully fledged all econcompassing daw already.
@tk32 cheers mate 🍻
@5pinlink apologies for some of the things I said in the past. You’ve helped me in my music productions big time like you wouldn’t know. Very grateful. Cheers
You never said anything bad mate, we all need to blow off steam once in a while
I am super enjoying NS2. The workflow and navigation is sweet and for me yes, so far I do fire up Synthmaster One, Aparillo and Egoist right away with Obsidian just as padding/filler. A shame it did not come out two years ago as I think the beta folks were right to be so super excited about it at one time but dayum that synth bar has shot up fast lately on iOS. I am not an init patch programmer, only a tweaker/audio masher but have not heard any really interesting results from Obsidian. FX can help/save this sort of thing but, oh what do you know, no AUFX automation. At least I can split and join midi clips and retain automation. Huge for me. Freaking HUGE. But wait, no mod wheel? Ahh but it exports midi... but no decent audio chopping capability... yet? Give/take/give/take... things are tough all over in iOSLand, heh.
Whatever, its cool. I do enjoy the quick workflow. I am using some AUs in a different way and there are some things I can do now that I have wanted to do in BM3 but never could. It is more or less like just rolling over in the middle of the night to sleep on the other side, not a huge paradigm killer, game shifter but bought it, makin tunes, having fun. BM will never die but I doubt Gadget survives the winter on my iPad.
I am fed up with the garbage online from the Blip reps.
I have sent an email to Matt asking him to have a word with his beta test team.
Dendy has accused me of being a spammer and troll of this forum in the Discord, rapidly followed by an apology, this was while he was telling everybody they shouldnt be using Beatmaker.
Today he has decided to call me a Liar and a troll on facebook, he removed it immediately but obviously a copy was sent to my email, all this while again attacking Beatmaker. (Note, this mugg doesnt even know he has already had to apologise to me publicly in the last seven days for the same crap lol)
All that aside, nobody calls me a Liar, that pushes me over the edge lol.
Just to provide a slightly provocative counter-sound: I love NS2 for its limitations. I grew up (probably like Matt) making lots of music on extremely basic linear MIDI sequencers. Mine was Cakewalk Pro 3: no audio, no samples, no clip-launching-funny-business; just extremely fast and streamlined MIDI editing.
Any music features that became mainstream after 1999 are considered non-essential luxuries in my book - unless they get in the way of user experience; in which case I consider them a burden. NS2 takes me back to that experience of productivity. Not everyone will share this view; because a lot of people grew up on clip-launchers or audio-heavy workflows. Which are completely different paradigms, which can't be force-fitted into something else. Square holes, round pegs, etc. Will never feel satisfying.
Just saying that if you see NS2 for what it is, you'll see that it achieves what it sets out to do and that feature-for-feature comparisons with other hosts, like our beloved BM3 are rather pointless, because they don't aim at the same goalposts.
Really classy post from Matt, developper of NS2 : https://www.blipinteractive.co.uk/community/index.php?p=/discussion/163/feature-requests-and-bug-reports
Well said. Thanks Bram.
Unfortunately picking a DAW has become a bit like supporting a football team or choosing a religion. Most people generally invest and stick with one, and that's why the faithful can so easily be tempted into defending their choices, or vehemently dismantling others.
I consider myself pretty even-tempered, but even I've been lured into stupid and embarrassing dead-end discussions about "which DAW is best"
Thanks for the jolt of perspective - and agree with your sentiment about limitation being good. Some of the best electronic music ever made was when there were strict hardware and technical limitations.
Abundance of choice often leads to an abundance of paralysis
As the creator of one of my most favourite ever apps Noir I respect your take completely. (God that app is great). I simply felt compelled to write this in support of bm3, in light of many comparison threads that have cropped up in various places, which have sometimes been rather disparaging of bm3. There’s room for both. People should use whichever works for them, though without feeling the need to slate other daws. And that’s what’s happened in amongst some of the NS2 folks. And often criticising bm3 for not being able to do things which actually it does do, hence lack of user knowledge rather than the app itself lacking.
I will be using both apps. Yes Beatmaker 3 has its fault and NanoStudio 2 has short comings but they’re both great apps. I’ve been saying to them what @brambos said. They can’t really be compared to another as they are different apps with different aims.
Sounds like a proper diamond geezer.
He mailed me to let me know he had noticed the nonsense himself and had a word, great stuff
Good stuff. I have to admit the more I use NS2 the more I see how immense it is. It is lacking in a few areas for me, however overall it really is a work of art. The refinement and attention to detail in some areas is astounding.
Another T-Shirt for you right there.
Hehe too true, nice extract.
These were my first two more intense (obviously ‘for the time’) computer music programs in the 80s that I started with, which were my first step above programming bleeps and bloops in Basic. The Adlib Visual Sequencer and Soundtracker. The Tracker won my early affection because the idea of a computer that could actually work like my tape recorder (my first love) seemed like it defied a law of nature.
So yah after all these years, the progress of tech etc BM3 is really just my Soundtracker, which was the path most endearing initialy (that led to Samplitude; again audio focused), and NS2 is my Adlib Visual Composer, the path I always kind of wondered about and now am revisiting much later.
Despite going on a few threads and moaning yesterday about this and that indispensible feature invented seemingly in the last handful of months I did find myself super captivated and motivated to work on the track I have going. I haven’t felt this way since, oh... uhh, BM3. So yah, I do agree. I think part of it is that some of us want to reconnect/rekindle that source of our roots.
Anyway, (more brass tacks level) I found myself even putting static Turnados (because, you know, the cruel world of no automation) on ‘aux’ tracks and then just automating the sends to them.... and it actually is a pretty good way to work... which I now will likely even do more of in different hosts instead of feeling compelled to scrub the dictator simply because I can scrub the dictator. Nature finds a way,
You win two internets today for posting a screenshot of Adlib Visual Composer. That was the first piece of musical "gear" I ever bought with my own money. Now those were limitations...
Someone really needs to make an Adlib Visual Composer tribute bank or template for BM3 so we can all go back to basics
Whoot! I will put them on the mantel next to my bauds.
Nice! When I was a kid I went to the big city with my parents for a root canal. Spent a good hour at a computer store drooling over the Adlib jukebox that was playing. A month later I opened my (birthday/christmas?) present and low and behold my life had changed.
Man, BM3 is the damn cats meow, don’t know what those ns2 whores be saying over in their forum, they just mad ns2 falls short of what can really be done in BM3.. hahhahahah🤗😂🍿 I just couldn’t resist... hey but, I’m stoked for ns2 it looks nice(not as nice as bm3) but still I will probably cop it in the future, but as it stands right now, nope...I haven’t been over at the forum for ns2 to see the shit talking but it’s funny to me and I totally believe it, ol Matt shouldn’t make excuses for those clowns. Both apps are different and sick in their own way,. The thing i love about bm3 is how you can go about creating in different ways.. coming from a mpc background I can create beats just like you would on a mpc using the same type of workflow, also coming from a reason background I can create just like in reason with the same type of workflow I use in reason.. I mainly write hip hop and DnB when I’m writing hip hop I go about it in a totally different workflow then when I’m writing DnB, this is where the different workflows come in handy, also having to learn Abelton Live in school for some of my projects I can see some of that workflow in BM3. For a cheap app to have so many ways to work really puts into perspective how well rounded and powerful bm3 really is. Don’t get me wrong there are still issues, crashes and glitches but all in all no one should be talking any crap 💩 We have all these choices, things are looking up for the iOS producer
I am loving NS2 and BM3 together even if Link is acting like old school IAA anti-sync these days (ps, what the fudge pump is going on with that anyway?)
@Audiogus hey id love to see or hear more about how you use your combination and link up of the two apps. Honestly I know everyone loves obsidian but for me I can take it or leave it, however the app as a whole - wow - it’s really growing on me. It’s so slick
@selfinflict3 I’m with you on all of that. I feel at my most creative on bm3. It works in so many cool different ways. Though I wonder if some game stepping towards the upwards direction may now be required since ‘sshhh you know who’ has ridden into town. N2 and B3 are hot tickets right now and I’m so happy to have a front row seat at both of those gigs.
The appeal of NS2 for me is how confident I feel that it’s not going to crash. Knowing how rock solid it is makes me feel more experimental and less tense.
I love BM3, but in truth there are times —usually when my tracks start to get more complicated and full of plugins— when I begin to get anxious about the risk of crashes. Most of the time when this happens I just begin to save a little more frequently and it’s actually all good —BM3 gets through without a hiccup— but memories of a few lost ideas from earlier versions (my fault for not saving sooner) still manage to haunt some of my BM3 jam sessions. Hopefully over time, and as the app gets even more stable, I’m sure I will worry about crashes less.
Exactly my thoughts the past couple days as well. I find myself doing waaaay more safety saves now than is rational... but yah, I been hurt before.
Right now it is primarily BM3 as a sample editor/browser finding complimentary bits to what I am doing in NS2. Once Link works again I will be more ambitious I think.
@tk32 that’s interesting, for me having that slightly nervy anticipation of a crash completely disappeared. Partly because after the update I purposely pushed it hard. I threw every plugin and every crash prone scenario I could to see how it coped, and other than several instances of audio damage stuff, it never seemed to break. So I felt I was good to go and get stuck in again without ‘the fear’. And it’s been solid so far. Hasn’t crashed once in hours of use every day. (Though it’s taken a cheeky back seat for a minute, while I’ve been ‘investigating’ n2, the seductive temptress who’s unexpectedly just walked into the party. .