Entries in iPhone (28)

Tune-in Tuesday Special: One Like Son - 'Start the Show' Album Released Today

We've got something special for you in this week's pick of iOS created music. We mentioned last week One Like Son's upcoming third album, this one recorded entirely on an iPhone using iOS apps. Today the album is officially released and we were fortunate enough to be included in a pre-release listen.

What did we think? Gobsmackingly good! Really. We cannot believe that this album was entirely recorded and mastered on an iPhone. We've not heard anything better so far!

Take a listen for yourself, go and order the album (we did), or click on the 'Buy all' button in the playlist below, then take a look at some of the details we have included from the press release about the album:

Here's more detail from the press release about the apps used in making the album: 

Using the GuitarJack and AmpKit LiNK hardware interface and apps such as AmpKit, FourTrack, Multitrack DAW, Pocket Organ, Moog’s Filtatron, ThumbJam and even Apple’s Garageband, the group produced an authentic rock record. Where most music composed on the iphone or ipad sounds like digital music, this record sounds like a live rock and roll band. 

Here's a quote we definitely agree with from Sonoma Wire Works' Daniel Codella [bold text ours]:

One Like Son have produced a full blown rock record on the iPhone that sounds like it was recorded using thousands of dollars’ worth of gear. One Like Son have really set the bar for what can be done with an inexpensive mobile recording setup. Bravo!"

And this from Hamilton Feltman of Harmonic Dog [bold text ours]:

“One Like Son has gone off the deep end and produced an entire rock album, on a phone, and it sounds… amazing! The quality is outstanding, the production, superb. Five years ago, who would have guessed this would happen. On. a. phone.

If you haven't listened to the album yet, do yourself a favour and give it a listen now (above) and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

JamUp Pro now expanded plus 50% Off Expansion Packs

The nice people at Positive Grid have sent us a note to say that JamUp Pro, the relatively new Guitar FX-app-on-the-block has just been updated to Version 1.3.

We loved this boutique looking and great sounding app when we reviewed it back in November last year.

What's New?

New in 1.3 are an "updated DSP engine, audio copy and paste, and 20+ new amps and effects available via in-app purchase.".

The new in-app purchases are obviously the big thing, but we are particularly excited to see support for ACP included in this update too.

If you're quick you can take advantage of a 50% discount on the new expansion packs, but for just one week only.

Go and grab your update.

App Store Link: JamUp Pro

'Start the Show' Making of Video

Want to know a bit more about that rock album made entirely on an iPhone we told you about a few days ago?

Stephen Poff, the man behind 'Start the Show' has posted this video showing the apps and equipment in use. Here's a list of them as posted with the video:

Apps/Hardware used: AmpKit, FourTrack, Multitrack DAW, GuitarJack, Pocket Organ, Thumbjam, AC-7 Core Mini. Drums composed in Drumcore by Sonoma Wireworks.

iRig Mix for iOS Opens Up a World of Portable Audio

IK Multimedia are throwing their considerable weight firmly behind the iOS platform with their latest round of product announcements ahead of this year's NAMM show, starting next week.

The first of these we wanted to tell you about is the iRig Mix. Here's the trailer video which got our heads in a spin with the sheer potential of this device for the mobile musician.

Be sure to watch through to the end to see the multitude of ways iRig Mix can be used.

Check out the iRig Mix page for more demo videos of the device in action and details.

Needless to say, we are very excited at the prospect of this new device, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments.

'Start the Show' - An Entire Rock Album made on iOS

Ignoring for a moment that this album was created on an iPhone (3GS no less!), not iPad, we are really impressed by the production values of this new album from rock band One Like Son (Facebook link), even more so since it was recorded entirely on iOS.

We've never managed to get anything close to commercial sounding results in our brief attempts at music making. 

We realised we have heard a lot of electronic music created on iOS, but not really any full on rock tracks, which is surprising given the plentiful supply of guitar and bass effects emulators out there on the App Store.

One Like Son are inviting everyone to listen to the whole album when it is released next Tuesday 17th January on their Bandcamp page. If you go there now you can here two of the tracks from their album already, or pre-order the whole album for just $7.

Here's a teaser trailer the band have posted to YouTube, which is a bit of a masterpiece in-itself.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and especially if you decide to buy the album.

Create Magnetic Attractions With StickyGram

Yes we know Instagram (a love it or hate it iPhone app for sharing moments with other Instagram users as well as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr friends) doesn't have a native iPad app. But it is one of the few iPhone apps that we have used on our iPads from time to time.

Because the iPad's rear camera is such poor quality, tarting them up a bit with the Instagram app makes photos just about acceptable when viewed on a mobile device or printed at postcard size.

With that in mind, we recently tried out a service called StickyGram and we thought we would share the experience with you in case you want to try it our for yourself.

What is StickyGram?

Using photos from your Instagram stream, StickyGram will create a set of 9 magnetic backed prints. These little 50mm by 50mm magnets are perfect for gifts, sharing with friends or just sticking on your own fridge and telling a story.

We tried the service out with some of our recent favourites on Instagram and we were really happy with the results.

Great Price and Quality

A set of StickyGram magnets will set you back a reasonable $14.99 with free worldwide shipping. Ours arrived in just a few days, but we are in the UK (StickyGram is currently based in London). 

Colour matching was good, and the size of the prints is about the same as they appear on the iPhone's screen, so quality isn't too much of an issue.

None of the images were dead centre of the magnetic tile, which annoyed us a little bit, but that's really splitting hairs.

For their intended purpose, in our case keeping the kids artwork attached to the fridge, the Stickygram magnetic prints are more than fine and a lot of fun.

The kids loved them too and spent a good while sticking and unsticking them on our fridge and metal filing cabinet.

Overall, great service, a brilliant idea and a nice tactile way to experience our photographic creations in the real world.

Find out more and order your own StickyGrams.

Have you tried out the StickyGram service? What did you think?

Tune-in Tuesday - New iOS Made Music Picks

Here's this weeks trio of tracks from the creative bunch over at SoundCloud. We are kicking off with:

'Balls - the game' by Sloman

A 2-for-1 deal from Slomen in Norway. The first part was made with the iMS-20 app from the lovely people at Korg and has some great riffs and stereo pans (try listening with headphones).

The second part was made with PixiTracker (an app we keep coming back to for experimentation) and is more of a retro arcade track.

'Big V In The Sky' by Tonwelle

Totally improvised in the wonderful Animoog app, this mesmerising spacey sounding piece by Tonwelle from Bonn in Germany is one of our big favourites this week, time to chill out for a bit.

'Bright Among the Faded (Light the Way)' by Christian Pratt

When we heard this track by Christian from Ottawa in Canada we were blown away by the audio quality and songwriting. The vocals are excellent and rich with a sparse but superbly produced musical arrangement. Most of this was recorded on an iPhone! It is one of the best iOS productions we've heard.

We want to hear your picks and productions

If you have joined the SoundCloud community you can submit your tracks to our iPad Creative group, from a computer by clicking on the 'Send us your sounds' link on the right of the screen, or on the SoundCloud group page you can click on the 'Share a Track' button.

If you have found an iOS (preferably iPad) created track on SoundCloud you think we should know about, leave a link in the comments below and let us know why we should check it out (fine to do this if it is your track too).

MobileArtCon 2011 Recap Video from iAMDA

If you couldn't make it to this year's MobileArtCon hosted by iAMDA (International Association of Mobile Digital Artists) in New York, this video they recently added to YouTube will certainly make you want to go next year.

Such a great range of artists, developers, accessory makers and other creative types all came together for 3 days from 30th September to 2nd October this year and it looks like they had a fantastic time collaborating together and celebrating mobile art and music creation.

We loved watching this video and really wish we had been there, maybe next year...

If you were at MobileArtCon this year please leave us a comment and let us know what you thought.

One Man iBand (Video)

We mentioned before Neil Johnston (Store Van Music) and his super creative iOS projects when he was working on a music education lesson with Kids and iPads.

His latest venture is another iOS affair, using an iPhone to record the video below, plus iOS apps like GarageBand to record and even play the theme tune for new game Tiny Invaders, which looks like a lot of fun.

If you really like the tune you can download the track as an iTunes Ringtone for $0.99 (69p). Check it out:

iRig MIDI & SampleTank for iOS: Hands-on Review

Ok, let's get straight to the point: If you don't already have a MIDI input device for your iPad/iPhone, if you want one and can afford it, go and order the iRig MIDI right now!

We can't think of any major reason why you wouldn't. But if you want to know a bit more about iRig MIDI, why we think you need it and IK Multimedia's new SampleTank for iOS software, be sure to watch the video below and then read on for the inside scoop...


iRig MIDI Hardware

Setting up and using iRig MIDI really is as simple as the video above makes out!

In the box, as well as the iRig MIDI, you get:

  • 2 x 5.2' standard MIDI cables - DIN to 1/8" jacks
  • 1 x very short USB to Micro USB charging cable
  • Quick Start guide

The iRig MIDI has 3 MIDI ports: In, Out and Thru with two Red LEDs which reasurringly light up to indicate throughput in and out.

Setup is very straight forward. We had no trouble at all using our M-Audio Oxygen 8 test keyboard controller with any of the CoreMIDI compatible apps we had installed on our iPad.

We tested the iRig MIDI with a fairly simple setup but the Thru port also allows some more complex setups and a few alternative use cases are detailed on IK's site.

Little Shorty

The only real problem we had was the ridiculously short USB charging cable. This cable connects your standard iPad/iPhone charger to the iRig MIDI and charges your iOS Device while in use, which is handy and very useful.

But because the cable is so short we had to leave the iPad on the floor to be close enough to the charger and this meant we couldn't control the apps or use the touchscreen as it was out of reach.

In the end we used a 4-gang extension cable and had this sat on the desk, which took up precious work space and got in the way a bit, but it's not the end of the world and the extra sockets were handy.

Update: We heard from IK Multimedia after posting this review and apparently they wanted to include a longer cable, but doing so would not meet Apple's power rating requirements to charge the iPad and so they had to go with a cable of this length to get approval. Still, as they pointed out, at least you do have the option of charging the iPad with iRig MIDI and they supply the cable in the box.

Flawless Operation

This issue aside though, the iRig MIDI worked flawlessly with our MIDI Keyboard and apps like GarageBand, Addictive Synth, Animoog and NLog Pro, all recognising the Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels without any further setup (as you would expect with Core MIDI) and there are over 100 apps that are compatible with iRig MIDI listed on IK Multimedia's site.

The iRig MIDI is highly recommended by iPad Creative. For us, it certainly lives up to the promise. Go and get one.


SampleTank for iOS by IK Multimedia

If you want to start using multiple MIDI Channels or layering with your iRig MIDI, then you will probably need to use IK Multimedia's own SampleTank app, which comes in a Free version (available now from the app store) with a limited sample set initially.


In-app purchases can be made for different sample packs as you need them. The range of options for upgrades and add-ins is a bit complex to be honest, but it does give you the chance to add what you want if not everything suits your musical or playing styles.

The best value seems to be the upgrade to SampleTank for $9.99 (£6.99). Upgrading to the whole lot will set you back around £30 ($39.99) though, making it a more considered purchase for many of us.

Professional Sounds

All the samples are taken from IK's well respected desktop version of SampleTank which has been used in many professional and commercial projects.

The app has been designed for live use and its design allows you to switch between one of the four instrument banks, play over riff loops and/or presets using a midi controller and the onscreen keyboard simultaneously. 

The samples sound really good for the most part, just take a few minutes and give them a listen in the video demo below.

The main features of SampleTank for iOS are:

  • 4-part multi-timbral live sound module
  • Over 900 MB on-board sound library with over 400 instruments in 16 categories
  • Huge selection of melodic and rhythmic patterns for accompaniment or groove creation
  • Instruments are processed using 20 different insert FX with up to 4 simultaneous inserts per part
  • Master reverb effect with individual sends

The full set of samples takes the app up to just under 1GB, which meant a bit of app juggling on our 16GB iPad. This gives you a great range of sounds with a nice batch of Presets to get you started. The presets cover a good selection of styles from Pop through Reggae to Rock and a few Thrashy ones. There are also 3 pages of empty Presets for you to save your own customised versions. 

We were especially impressed by the quality of the samples in the Woodwind sections such as the Sax samples and also the Piano and Keyboards sounded great.

A Few Issues

As impressed as we were with the sounds in SampleTank for iOS, we thought we should mention the two issues we had: 

  1. We know the app was designed with live performance in mind, but we really missed a recording function. (Update: IK Multimedia have said that a recording feature is on the wish-list but there is no timescale as yet)
  2. The app is currently not Universal, so on the iPad we have to use it in 2x mode. It isn't the ugliest app at 2x we've seen on the iPad, but the text and keys do look pretty fuzzy and the lack of clarity gets annoying after a while, especially for those of us that rarely use iPhone apps on the iPad precisely because of this. But, an iPad version is on the way according to IK and hopefully it won't be long. (Update: IK Multimedia have confirmed to us an iPad version "is on  the way and it WILL be Universal", plus it will be a Free upgrade for those who have already paid for SampleTank for iOS)

These issues are not deal breakers, and we know that both of them can/will be addressed in future updates.

Final Thoughts

Because SampleTank for iOS is initially a free download and includes a selection of IK Multimedia's professional sound samples we would definitely recommend you download the app and have a look.

Because of the onscreen keyboard you don't need to have an external controller, so SampleTank for iOS stands alone.

Combined with iRig MIDI and an external controller though we think IK Multimedia have provided live performers with a fantastic way to incorporate their iPad and favourite Core MIDI compatible app into their setup.