How to Use Korg WIST to Record Music with Multiple Apps on Multiple iOS Devices

By Ryan C. Williams, Mike Levine

What if you need to use multiple apps on multiple iOS devices to record your music exactly as you want it? Getting everything started and stopped on time can be a matter of luck, or you can rely on a standard technology that keeps everything moving on track.

A MIDI sequencer sending commands over a wireless network can work, but you cannot always rely on the presence or access to a wireless network (even if you establish one yourself). However, depending on the apps you use, you may have another alternative — WIST.

What is WIST?

The Korg company developed WIST as a way to keep multiple iOS devices using WIST-enabled apps in sync when you start and stop them. WIST keeps two devices (a parent and a child) in sync using information relayed over a Bluetooth pairing (much more reliable and secure than a wireless connection, in this case). The parent device transmits the start, stop, and tempo information. The child device . . . just follows along. WIST is simple and effective.

One issue with WIST is that, compared to the number of apps that support features like Audiobus or Virtual MIDI, the number of WIST-enabled apps seems pretty small. Currently, only about 42 apps let you sync with WIST. This list includes some familiar names from Korg, Yamaha, and Akai, as well as popular apps like Beatmaker and DM1. But given what’s available on the App Store, you’ll find a lot more apps that don’t use WIST than do.

WIST only works with two iOS devices. No more, no less. Even if you use multiple WIST-enabled apps on the same iOS device, WIST only functions by pairing two devices together. If you’re not using two iOS devices, just keep moving along.

Configuring multiple apps using WIST

Decide before beginning which device you want to use to control the WIST connection. In this case, use an iPhone to control your iPad. On your iPhone, start by opening Figure and tapping the WIST button on the System tab.

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Turn Bluetooth on for both devices before you begin this process. WIST reminds you if you don’t, but taking care of this step beforehand saves you some time.

Now that your iPhone is looking for a connection, move over to your iPad and open up Korg Gadget. Tap the gear icon, then tap the WIST button to start the iPad’s search.

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If you still have problems making the connection after enabling Bluetooth, try rebooting both devices.

When both devices are looking, WIST makes the connection and shows available apps.

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Tap the name of the other device in each WIST menu, and you’re ready to go. The parent app can control the tempo, start signal, and stop signal for both devices. Each device plays whatever song is loaded at the time — WIST doesn’t sync song information or anything like that. All it does is keep the enabled devices in sync. That may not seem like much, but it does it very well and solves an otherwise troublesome problem very gracefully.