Asking fans of Propellerhead’s Reason software what keeps them coming back, you’ll hear a lot of answers about how modular it is, how creatively inspiring…but you’ll also hear about Thor.
The flagship synth has been the heart and soul of Reason since its introduction in version 4 of the desktop software, and now we can harness that power wherever we go with Thor for iPad. But does the mobile music world have room for another synth? We put Thor through its paces to find out!
Music is often seen as the art-form that most frequently utilizes the cutting edge of modern technology in its performance. Most popular modern-day musicians are as reliant on Logic Studio as they are on a recording studio, and as skilled at operating arpeggiators as they are at playing arpeggios.
But if you are a musician of the more traditional type, the outlook is somewhat different. Instrument design has been adapted only marginally in three hundred years, and most dedicated musicians still go to music shops to buy manuscript in print. Why? Because, as yet, technology simply hasn’t been able to compete with the usability of paper. The opportunity to scribble notes on the music, the ease of page turning, and, of course, the lack of concern over battery life, remain as factors that trump any conveniences technology has to offer.
What if an app could solve some of these issues? That’s what Tonara is aiming to do. Along with a large library of purchasable music, Tonara offers performance recording, automatic page turning and manuscript annotation. But is this enough to outweigh the benefits of the traditional, tried and tested medium?
As excited as we get about apps that raise the bar for professionals, the iPad has always been respected as a tool for educators and their students, and this applies to the musical space as much as any other. Back in July, Nathan Snelgrove took a look at a new app from MiQ Limited designed to help budding musicians wrap their heads around some of the theoretical underpinnings of good songwriting.
I found Jamn to be a superb tool for picking up chord theory and kickstarting your songwriting, and the latest update brings with it a brand new feature that builds on the visual learning methods of the first. Is it enough to make Jamn the de-facto app for iPad songwriters? Let’s find out!
Professional and at-home DJs have been offering praise for djay throughout its evolution from freeware to an app. But it’s not one to rest on its laurels. Djay 2, its latest evolution, has just been released with enhancements that make it even easier to use on the fly at the club or in the privacy of your own home.
But is easier necessarily better? Are more gimmicks a boon or a bane to what is typically a simple-to-use app? Find out after the jump.
IK Multimedia wants to bring music creation into the mobile world, and its suite of apps and gear is a fine step in the right direction. I say step, it’s worth noting, because neither the apps nor the hardware I’ve been testing over the past few weeks manage to produce the full package.
But it’s a great start, and much of what we’re about to discuss would suit both professional musicians, journalists, podcasters, and DJs doing some light work on the road and hobbyists or amateurs on a budget or just dabbling in audio production.
I’ll be running through most of the IK Multimedia apps for Android and iPad, while touching on a few worthy competitors and alternatives, and weighing in on the hardware I was sent for review — the iRig Mic Cast, iRig Mix, iRig Pre, and iRig Mic. First, let’s look at the gear.
Being a music producer, I love to see when some of the music technology giants, such as Novation, bring classic or even new synthesisers and other cool tech into an app form, such as the LaunchPad — a variety of Korg synthesisers — and this, the Novation LaunchKey.
LaunchKey is a fully-featured synthesiser that has been condensed into an app with some really awesome features and functionality. The app includes 80 preset adjustable sounds for you to play around with and modify to your hearts content. Can the app do justice to its hardware counterpart? Let’s take a look.
I think it’s safe to say that my collection of iPad synthesizers is becoming ridiculous. It can’t be helped though, as more and more inspiring instruments are released for everyone’s favourite tablet.
Most recently, the venerable German audio gurus, Waldorf, have distilled their famous wavetable synthesis technology into a modern, elegant, and incredibly powerful iPad app called Nave. Hugely anticipated in the audio community, we’re excited to dig into Nave’s capabilities and see what we find!
Little-known fact about me: back in my high school days, I used to be the frontman for a hard rock band. The band fell apart, as most high school rock bands do, shortly after we all started going to university and college. I didn’t play guitar for a while, but I’ve been flirting with the idea of starting up a solo indie project with just me and my acoustic. The real problem, apart from no possibility of success and the utter likelihood of failure, is that I often have trouble cracking down the whip and writing music.
Jamn aims to fix that problem for me. I’ve tried a lot of apps meant to help floundering musicians, but none of them work on either a visual or musical level. Most of them are ripoffs sold based on empty promises. Initially, I was worried Jamn would be the same way. I was wrong. Read on to see what makes this app so compelling for musicians. (more…)
The standard Music app on my iPhone has always been one of my favourite iPhone apps. It does what it does really well. Let’s be honest, for many of us, it was likely the reason we got an iPhone or an iPod Touch to begin with in the early days. Over the years though, there have been a lot of changes to the app. With the iPad, we really saw some huge changes. When the iPad 2 dropped, the iPad’s Music interface was rejiggered again and there was a huge outcry. With iOS 6, Apple gave the Music app a huge visual overhaul with a lot of chrome (which, for the record, looks terrible on anything smaller than the iPhone 5’s taller display). But there’s not a lot of new functionality to go with it.
iTunes for Mac, on the other hand, got a ton of new functionality last year. There’s absolutely no comparison. For all of its flaws, iTunes is still the best music player I know of for OS X. It’s a powerful jukebox. One of my favourite features from last year’s massive update was Up Next, a feature that lets you add any song and play it next before returning to your current playlist. I can’t tell you how handy this feature has been at my house parties. The iOS Music app still doesn’t have this feature (or many others). Party Monster aims to fix that.
It’s time to turn the dial up to 11 on professional iPad audio. We’ve been here before — me telling you that a new app takes audio production on your tablet to the next level — but whereas many successful apps focus on instrument functionality, or creative sound design, the folks over at Steinberg dreamt bigger.
They pushed the envelope to bring us what is nearly a fully-featured Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) like Logic or their own flagship Cubase, in a portable and touch-oriented form. Cubasis is the result, and we take an in-depth look at it after the jump.