Nov 24

1.0 & Beyond: Cue Points

Posted By Russell

THE BEGINNING

When we started developing Sonorasaurus we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.

Outside of offering a fully functioning deejay application we had specific ideas for handling the audio output and how music was accessed and managed. We discussed our ideas with Apple early on and learned that there were quite a few restrictions in place. Some of them Apple planned to eventually lift given an increased demand for the functionality. Other restrictions were vague and uncertain.

At that point we had to make a decision. Either put our project and ideas on hold until all the restrictions were lifted (if ever) or revise Sonorasaurus and continue to shape it in the right direction with updates.

At the very least 1.0 could offer people of all skill types a practice and backup solution in addition to a means for casual and non genre deejays to play their sets and record mixes.

So now that we are out in the world and Apple has yet to lift their restrictions we are revising our focus again. Our ideas for additional features and functionality will have to remain on hold but we are still going to find ways to satisfy our users and give them the extended functionality they deserve.

BEYOND 1.0

One of the features that will make it into the first update is Cueing.

sonorasaurus-cue

CUE and SET buttons to facilitate this. Tapping the CUE button will allow the user to jump to the beginning of the track or any new point they set. Holding down the CUE button will play the song from the cue point until the button is release. The SET button will be used to lock in new cue points or reset the cue to the beginning of the song.

We have also been asked a lot of specific questions about certain features and lack of features. Read on to view our answers to some of these questions.

Are you going to release a lite / trial version soon?
We do not have plans for a lite version. A lite version means building a whole other app, even though it appears to be the same app with some features removed. We want to keep our focus on the main app and taking care of the features that the users want.

Why doesn’t Sonorasaurus have a visual mode or display waveforms?
We did come up with variations of our interface that factor in visual representations and waveforms for songs. For the time being we decided not to use these types of interfaces. Displaying a waveform takes additional processing away from other areas that we we feel can be used more consistently; like effects.

Also we felt the screen size was too limiting. Yes you can see a zoomed in portion of a waveform, but you are not able to also see the full waveform and where you are in the track at the same time. Something like this works very well as an additional aid in programs like Serato, but could prove to be cumbersome or misleading when used in a limited capacity on a device like the iPhone.

Will Sonorasaurus have a BPM counter at some point?
We are not sure. We are looking into this, but much like utilizing waveforms a BPM counter and display would require additional processor power on a device with limited CPU and RAM. The BPM counter can also be useful, as it is used on most CDJs, but can also be inaccurate at times. For now we are devoting all the limited processing power to functions that are more consistent.

Why doesn’t Sonorasaurus 1.0 offer a split mode with the Y adaptor?
We were hoping to offer another, currently restricted, option for separating the audio to include in our first update. Split mode for us is plan B.

The buttons are very small, can you make a multi screen mode?
When we revised our focus during the development phase we decided to make 1.0 very clear to new deejays. The layout allows the user to see all of the buttons, input areas and information all at once. This keeps confusion to an absolute minimum and allows the user to familiarize themselves with all the functions before moving on to a more advanced layout with aspects of the set up occasionally hidden from view.

We have other interface designs and will incorporate them in future updates, but to a degree some of our interface ideas are dependent on restrictions being lifted and good workaround solutions being consistently tested and proven.

A special thanks goes to Peter. A lot of our discussion recently helped shape this post.

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2 Comments
  1. I just want to say that I love what you guys are doing with this app – I’ve been waiting for such a thing for the iPhone as it seems like a logical use for the device. If Apple would relax their restrictions there’s no reason why this couldn’t turn the iPhone into the likes of a Pacemaker.

    I bought the app because I want to support this but I would say that there are still a lot of things required to make this more useable. As it stands, it’s quite hit and miss picking the exact point in a tune to be able to mix in properly. One advantage of a waveform is to be able to line up the peaks visually. But even just to pick the beat and punch it in would be useful and the current latency doesn’t seem to allow this

    My feeling is that there are two ways you could go 1) is the split monitoring route – along the lines of traditional dj-ing. The problem with this is there just isn’t a natural way to find a monitoring channel. If you wanted to say, use the iPhone to dj at a party, You can’t just have the left channel monitoring your mix attempt. The other way is to go for some sort of autosync feature along the lines of Torq which I’m sure is a lot more complicated to do but would fit with the concept of an IPhone dj-ing device much neater. With an autosync (and ideally a waveform) you don’t need to monitor the other deck to be able to mix it in.

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