Review: WIST: Collaborate across iOS Devices & Apps

The GarageBand update for iOS brought a new jamming feature. But before its release Korg's WIST opened the doorway to cross-device and app collaboration. Mike Watkinson shares his thoughts.  

A common complaint with music making on iOS devices is the lack of collaborative opportunities. Until the advent of the subject of this article (and before the recent GarageBand for iOS update), you were limited to the following workflows:

  • Copy and paste the file via an audio clipboard protocol such as Sonoma Wire Works AudioCopy/AudioPaste.
  • Email the file to yourself or someone else, again hoping that file formats are compatible.
  • Sync the device with iTunes on a Mac, hoping that one of the export formats from the app you were working with on the iOS device is compatible with the application you are intending to use on the Mac.

So, ranging from the slightly awkward to the downright clunky, users are limited to working in one app at a time which is of course the iOS way, and are required to set a 'project' tempo at the outset so that each file plays in sync in the app into which you import it. So no real time collaboration then, and only one user can work on the 'project' at any one time.


Wireless Sync-Start Technology

To address this issue Korg has come up with WIST (short for Wireless Sync-Start Technology) a clever solution for syncing two iOS devices via Bluetooth. Both devices need to be running WIST compatible apps (see below) in which WIST must be activated. The device that initiates the pairing becomes the master with the other taking the role of slave. Once paired the protocol synchronizes the transport of both master and slave, so that the slave will start and stop, when the master commands. Tempos are also kept in sync, and song position is also maintained.

Step one - open WIST compatible apps on both iOS devices; here I have ReBirth on the iPad and BeatMaker 2 on the iPhone

Step one: Open WIST compatible apps on both iOS devices (here I have ReBirth on the iPad and BeatMaker 2 on the iPhone).


Step two - initiate WIST sync opinion in both apps - each will look for other Bluetooth devices that are looking for WIST sync

Step two: Initiate WIST sync opinion in both apps. Each will look for other Bluetooth devices that are looking for WIST sync.


Step three - tap the device requesting connection; this screen will appear on both devices but the one you select will become the master once paired, so in this case ‘Mike Watkinson’s iPad’ will become the master

Step three: Tap the device requesting connection. This screen will appear on both devices but the one you select will become the master once paired, so in this case ‘Mike Watkinson’s iPad’ will become the master.


Accept the connection request from the slave on what will become the master device

Accept the connection request from the slave on what will become the master device.


ReBirth (on Mike Watkinson’ iPad ) indicating that it is now the master

ReBirth (on Mike Watkinson’ iPad ) indicating that it is now the master


BeatMaker 2 (on Jack’s iPhone) becomes the slave

BeatMaker 2 (on Jack’s iPhone) becomes the slave


  • Pressing play on the master causes the slave to play in sync.
  • Try changing the tempo and you will see the tempo also stays in sync.
  • It should be noted that in apps that have a timeline, song position synchronization is not maintained between master and slave; the slave will start from bar 1 wherever the master starts from.


WIST Compatible Apps

The following image shows the list of WIST compatible apps up to date at the time of writing, courtesy of the Korg website:

Wist Compatible Apps


For a more up-to-date list check out the Korg site here:

http://www.korguser.net/wist/



Mike has been obsessed with music software since he first saw Fairlight's Page-R, and has tracked its development through his work as a performer, composer and producer. As a writer he has contributed articles to Sound On Sound since 1999, and currently writes their Apple Notes column. As well as being a certified Logic Pro and Pro Too... Read More

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