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Stereolizer - Let's Radio like it's 1984

One of my abiding memories of growing up is my Dad's Hi-Fi systems. One of them was a big, chrome, all-in-one unit with a tuner, twin tape deck, lots of buttons and orange backlit EV meters. I used to sit staring at those EV meters bouncing back and forth whilst trying to tape record the Sunday night Top 40 show here in the UK. It was great fun trying to pause the tape just before the DJ started talking again in between songs.

So when I saw the new app Stereolizer by French developers Lesmobilizers (French language site) I was immediately taken down nostalgia lane. As you can see from the screenshot below, they have taken great care in recreating the look of the old 80's Hi-Fi.

Channels

Stereolizer is like a lot of other iOS apps that allow you to 'tune-in' to numerous Internet radio streams, in this case over 10,000 of them, although this one has been designed exclusively for iPad.

You see the stations in an alphabetical list but you are also able to search through them or Sort by Country.

Each station can be previewed from this list, useful to audition the station if you are not entirely familiar with it.

You can use one of the 30 (3 sets of 10) Presets to save your favourite stations but you can't choose which of the 3 banks of Presets you save to.

Not the end of the world, but as I suggested to Lesmobilizers, it would be useful to have all my Rock Channels, Jazz/Classical, etc. grouped together. They said they would consider it for a future version, so you never know.

Controls 

The controls, such as the Preset buttons, Tape transport and Power buttons all make a satisfying clunk when used, very evocative of the real thing.

The Treble and Bass controls are just for show, sadly, but it would be great if they did shape the sound. The volume button works though and is independent of the system volume, so you have a dual-level volume control.

There are also Blue backlit EV meters which bounce around a lot when something is being played or recorded but I don't think they are actually responding to the audio. It all adds to the retro feel of the app though.

Tape Recorder

The animated tape recorder is brilliant. It allows you to 'tape' whatever you are listening to at the time, for as long as you have space available, so you can record whole shows, interviews, etc. It looks exactly like the real thing as it spins during recording and playback, even down to the handwritten font used for writing the name of your recording on the front of the tape. I found myself repeatedly pressing the eject button to replay the eye candy tape eject effect.

When you do press Eject you are brought to a list of recordings from where you can play, rename, reorder or delete each one. Once you start playing a track, it continues on to the next one automatically so you could use this as a playlist of sorts.

As an added bonus, you can also record from the iPad microphone or compatible external microphone, for example the iPhone headset mic worked fine, if a little thin sounding. There is even an animated headphone plug that is inserted into the 'Phones' jack when you plug in your headset which is a nice touch.

Stereolizer headphone jack animation capture

Social Sharing

There is the ability built-in to share what you are listening to on Twitter or Facebook, but unfortunately this bit lets the app down. When I tested these it posts the radio station being listened to Ok (no song info, which is probably not available on the streams anyway). But you cannot edit the tweet before it goes and the tweet was in the French language. Facebook wasn't in French but not phrased how I would have posted it, and it is heavily dressed with links to the app, which was a bit much I thought.

Overall

Although the retro styling is a little gimmicky, it is also a fun way to wrap up a very good, internet radio listening app. You can use the app in the background to listen to your radio whilst browsing the net, Twitter, reading a book or whatever and you can use it as a voice recorder, something which the iPad (unlike the iPhone) does not have by default.

If, like me, you sometimes work at a desk with your iPad docked next to you, it is great fun to leave Stereolizer running for some 80s Hi-Fi on your desktop.

At $1.99 (£1.19) in the app store Stereolizer is a recommended app and a wonderful trip down memory lane, or even a history lesson for those of you not as aged as us. Be sure to check out the video below for an overview of the app in action:

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Reader Comments (3)

This looks fantastic! Can it play stuff out of your iTunes library? Having your playlists as "tapes" would be kinda cool.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSt.G

St. G - Unfortunately not, but that would be cool to create mixtapes!

March 16, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

The only thing it is missing is the access to iTunes library then. Really cool app!!

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoLeFo

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