AudioSwift is an interesting new app for macOS that lets you use your Macbook trackpad (or a Magic Trackpad) as a control surface and MIDI controller in your DAW.
You will be able to move one or two faders at the same time, set the values of the panning, sends, master fader, write automation and use the trackpad as a jog wheel, all by just using simple touches and without the need of moving the mouse pointer, click and drag over each parameter.
AudioSwift also lets you make beats, play notes in a key and use the trackpad as an XY pad.
Check out the promo video:
I only spent a couple of hours with AudioSwift, but considering mine was a pre-release version, I was quite impressed.
I tested it on a Mac Mini with a Magic Trackpad, installation went smooth and Logic Pro X immediately recognized the new device. I only had a problem once, with Logic getting stuck while using the Scale mode with Sculpture, but I’m sure the developer will address bugs like this in the next updates.
I mostly tried Audioswift in trigger mode, with a few drum machine plugins, and if you don’t have a dedicated drum pad controller, Audioswift can be a convenient alternative option. It won’t be as nice as using actual pads, but for some quick beats I’m sure you won’t mind.
I also used the Scale mode with some synths, and it’s definitely better than using your Mac’s keyboard if you don’t have a proper controller around you (or if you just want to sketch a quick part without plugging stuff).
The app features a good number of scales, and I believe more are coming. Scale customization would be a nice extra feature. Also, it would be cool to use the trackpad as a sort of ribbon controller for continuous sounds, for Theremin-like instruments. Those users with a Force Touch-compatible trackpad can also enjoy the extra expression features of the app (time to upgrade my Magic Trackpad, I guess!).
I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Audioswift, and we’ll have more about it soon. Make sure you try the demo to see if it works for you.
If you have an iPad, you can do this kind of stuff using a remote controller app for your DAW, but your trackpad is already there for you and Audioswift might be a quicker and more convenient option – four finger tap, app is enabled, you do what you need to do, press ESC on the computer keyboard, done (and repeat when needed).
Also, I recommend watching these videos that cover 3 of the 4 modes (you can quickly learn the most important gestures and shortcuts), starting with the Trigger mode:
Here’s the Scale mode:
And the X Y mode:
As for the Mixer mode, this is how to set it up with Ableton Live:
Four controller modes: Mixer, Trigger, Scale and XY.
User configurable preferences settings.
Compatible with several DAWs (see requirements).
Compatible with MacBooks, Magic Trackpads 1 and 2.
Force Touch and Touch Bar support
Requires macOS 10.11 or newer.
A Macbook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro with built in multitouch trackpad, or any Mac with a Magic Trackpad 1 or 2.
Force Touch support requires a compatible trackpad.
Touch Bar support requires macOS 10.12.2 or newer.
Mixer Mode currently supported in Logic Pro, Pro Tools, and Ableton Live (more DAWs to come).
Trigger, Scale and XY Mode works with any DAW just like any MIDI controller.
Pricing & Availability:
AudioSwift is available from today for $24 for one license per user (volume discounts available). You can also try it free for 30 days! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Get a 30% discount using code GOLDENFROG30 until December 31, 2017.
For more information, please visit the AudioSwift website.
About The Author
Founder & main editor here at ANR, 'non-musician' and music-tinkerer. His first keyboard was a cheesy Yamaha PSS-270. He still loves it.