Mixtikl 5 for OSX by Intermorphic & Demo *Updated 28/4/12*

Veterans of this blog will already know of my love of Mixtikl.  On the back of SSEYO’s Koan generative music software, it’s nothing short of incredible.  I reviewed Version 3 last year, and have been playing with that and the iOS version since its inception.  And while I love the version for my iPhone (which means I can annoy people on the bus), version 5 which I’ve just purchased for OSX is even better. I can have it full screen on my 13″ MacBook Pro (still cursing getting rid of my 20″ iMac).  Yes, I can have it as a box in the centre of my screen, but no – use up that screen acreage – get it full size! 

It really is a joy to be able to see everything so clearly, and the workspace is draggable to make it as big or small as you like.  Clearer, higher quality user interface is just the start.  Movement between the screens is less “jerky” than before.  And more key features than ever before:

  • 12-track sequencer, mixer, arranger and mix performance screen;
  • Tiklpaks which include 380 customisable “parts” and 30 audio loop beats, plus 50 FX presets;
  • Integral Partikl MIDI DLS wavetable / modular synth for Mixtikl sounds / FX – tone generators, FX units, FX control units;
  • Editors to create / customise Partikl synth sounds and FX;
  • Integrated Noatikl generative music engine with editors;
  • Note-sensitive visualiser screen with word bank and click-entry tone creation;
  • Export / Import;
  • Auto-time stretch and pitch shift Tiklpak content;
  • Set individual track volume, pans etc;
  • Play and record live / mixdown to CD quality;
  • Use your recordings royalty free in your own compositions, movies etc;
  • Mic audio recordings;
  • Extendable with purchasable Tiklpaks of additional audio loops;
  • Use your own Audio & MIDI loops in compositions;
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Above you can see the Mixer Screen.  It’s composed of three main sections – the top menu bar, the centre ‘creation’ area and the lower toolbar.  The top toolbar includes a number of functions including track volume/pan, play/stop, solo/mute, mix recording, mix tempo etc.  The central section has 8 columns and 12 tracks, each containing four content cells which display the content names of the contents within it!  When the mix is playing, the “active” content cell in any track will display a “gold” dot at the top.  This dot has one of 4 horizontal positions which indicate which bar of the content is playing (eg:  bar 4 of a 4 bar loop).  If the playing cell has content loaded, then the cell adopts a faint orange colour so that you can more easily see that this is a cell that is creating sound! A blue dot at the top left of a cell indicates that it is using non-default generative bars/range settings, and a black dot at the top right indicates it is using non-default cell repeat/range settings. A solid blue bar at the top means that the cell will loop forever (more accurately, it plays for as long as the underlying generative part is set to play) and only applies to generative content where the default gen bars/range values have not been changed). A solid orange bar at the top indicates that the cell is “Looping”, ie: has been forced to loop.  Go into the Content Cell to edit the content.

The Bottom Toolbar gives button shortcuts to a number of key actions, such as online video tutorials (any that are available on the Mixtikl Youtube channel), mute/solo store/restore, column locks (when locked, only sequenced cells in that column will play), tools, and the actions menu.

The bottom right “i” for online help is available in most Mixtikl screens. Simply tap on it to go to the relevant page in this online Mixtikl User Guide. Mixtikl is a deep tool, and this makes it easy to find out about the operation of a particular screen or control.

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The above image shows the legends for all the functions on the Mixer Screen.  A full description of what everything does can be found on the Intermorphic Page for their Mixtikl Product HERE.

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The main menu screen (above) allows you to compose new music, create music from random sounds (chosen from selected Tiklpaks, rate the program and join the online forum, as well as purchase extra Tiklpak content online.  Here, you can also import and export sounds and songs.

Visualiser
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The visualiser screen displays random textures and images with (optional) random words.  The word dictionary can be edited to add or remove words at your discretion.  Extra Tikl sounds can be added as the music is playing, by clicking on the screen with your mouse.  Extra elements are added at different pitches according to where on the screen you click.  Words will also appear when each element sounds.

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The equaliser screen (above) can be a choice of 5 or 10-band.  There are also a number of presets included within Mixtikl to make the final output of your mix as lively or as flat as you wish, with a lot of other presets inbetween!

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There’s no point in creating this great generative music if you’re gonna keep it to yourself.  There’s a plethora of different ways to get your creations “out there”, including Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud integration.

You can check out Mixtikl at the Mac App Store HERE. It only costs £13.99, but I think this is an absolute bargain.  There is a free version to give you some idea of how powerful this program is, and that can be found HERE.

Here’s a LINK to a quick MP3 I put together with version 5.

*Update 28/4/12*

Mixtikl for iOS has been updated to version 5.1.1.1.  There are fixes for an intermittent crash on the new iPad, a fix for display problems in the visualiser selection screen, and a fix for a bug in network sharing.

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