Entries in music (38)
It may not feel and respond like a real guitar, or bass, or drum kit or other instrument, but with the right app the iPad can sound like one if you play it well enough.
This is ably demonstrated in the video above by Dutch band Rigby, who you can see performing their new (Aha like) single 'One Life To The Next' [iTunes Music Store link] live on Vara, a National Dutch media network.
Instead of their usual instruments, the band travelled light with just their iPads, plugged into the radio station's sound board and they were ready to go.
We were very impressed with the result, what do you think?
App spotting will be rewarded with our deep respect. Leave a comment and tell us which apps you can see in the video.
Covering songs used in Apple's adverts, it is a personal tribute to both Apple and Steve Jobs, created and recorded entirely on the iPad and shot with an iPhone 4. Ellen does it Once Again!
Be sure to check out Ellen's post for more on how she made the track and what apps she used.
IK Multimedia are at it again, throwing their considerable weight behind the iOS device platform as a viable tool for Musicians and Music Producers.
iRig Midi looks awesome, just watch the video below! More soon...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
It is Monday again and for many of us it is back to the 'day job' after a weekend of playing around and trying something creative with our iPads.
To keep your inspiration going and to maybe spark a bit of creativity on this the furthest day away from the weekend, we would like to offer a few videos from our readers who have shared their iOS device creations with us recently - we hope you enjoy them.
Plastic Man by Paul Kercal
First up, Paul Kercal's Plastic Man sketch which we liked a lot. Paul created this with the Brushes app on his iPod Touch (but he is also prolific on his iPad too) whilst on the Bus, at home and wherever he happened to be, showing off the versatile and portable nature of the multitouch interface as a drawing canvas.
Fender AmpliTube Recording by Michael Coffman
Michael recorded this whole track on his iPad using the new AmpliTube Fender for iPad and the in-app upgrade 8 track recorder. Drums were audio copy/pasted from InstantDrummer Heartbreaker. It has a great Bluesy vibe which we liked a lot.
There you go, we hope this gets your creative thoughts going for today, even if you do have to wait until you get home to try them out.
If you have anything you want to share with us let us know on Twitter or on our Facebook page or you can email us using the link at the top right. We would love to see what creative things you are up to with your iOS devices.
Fancy giving your toddler a head start on their musical creativity? Juno's Piano aims to make teaching the piano to your little ones a fun and easy process. We take a quick look at the app and let you know if you should buy it.
Here in the UK, the Juno Baby brand isn't that well known, so I had no idea who Juno was when I first saw this app, despite having 3 and 5 year old kids.
The price of the app though and a desire to cultivate any musical creativity our young software testers may have, makes this a no-brainer. For $0.99 (59p) you can't go wrong with this app which children are sure to love.
How the app works
There are three ways to use Juno's Piano, or modes of play:
- Learn a Song
Learn to play one of three Juno songs by following the keys pressed Juno jumps on to - a bit like the Simon game - but helped by the notes being highlighted in Pink one after the other during their go so they don't have to remember the sequence
- Play Together
You play some notes and your little one plays them after - similar to above but you choose the notes
- Free Play
As the name suggests, they can bang away at the keys while Juno dances and spins above the keyboard
At any time you can go back to the Home screen and jump into another mode. The app is fast and responsive, including playing notes on the keyboard (although one at a time, not polyphonic).
What the kids thought?
Even though they had never seen Juno before, the iPC kids loved seeing her jump around and talk them when they pressed the right keys whilst learning a song. It probably would have helped if they were familiar with the songs so that they could hear themselves playing something they knew.
There is a clever marketing trick here, because now they want to see more of Juno's world, I am saved only by the fact that the Juno stuff isn't currently easy to get hold of here in the UK. Having said that, the philosophy behind education through and by music is something we wholeheartedly support and for every Juno product purchased a music education DVD is given to children in need under their One for All program.
Things we liked
- Constant encouragement from the Juno character and animated actions keeps children's attention
- Pace of play is set by the child, they follow as quickly or slowly as they need to
- Colourful design and graphics
- Non-academic and fun way to learn
- Price! Just $0.99 (59p)
- The choice of songs in Juno's piano are limited to just three and likely familiar only to those who already know the Juno brand, more songs and perhaps better known ones would be appreciated
- Keyboard is not polyphonic (not a major issue given the app's goals, but it would be nice to play more than one note at a time)
- You can't turn Juno's voice over off on the Home menu or when first entering the modes, she says the same thing every time which can get a bit annoying, for the adults anyway. It would be good if we could tap on Juno to mute her momentarily or have a voiceover on/off button.
It feels a bit like nitpicking to be honest finding fault with an app this cute and inexpensive with such a great educational value, so we recommend you go and get this app if you have little ones. Our kids certainly enjoyed it and for fans of Juno Baby and now Juno Jr. it is probably a must have.
We let you know how great we thought The History of Jazz iPad app is in our review a few days ago, you should really check it out if you haven't already. We're sure you will want a copy of this $9.99 app when you see the review and the promo video.
Now the, lovely people at 955 Dreams have given you, as a valued iPad Creative reader, a chance to win one of five free copies of the app.
Here's how you can win:
1) Follow us on Twitter (you can, of course, skip this step if you already follow us). You have to be following us so that we can DM you if you win. Plus we post loads of cool stuff on Twitter that we don't cover here on the blog so we promise to try and make it worth your while.
2) Click on this link to be taken to your Twitter page and tweet the message exactly as it appears before 1855 GMT on Friday 18th February 2011 (click this link to see this time in your Time Zone). Mutliple entries will be accepted but please do not spam your followers!
We will randomly select five winners from those who have tweeted the exact message as per Step 2 above. We will let the winners know their promo code via DM as soon as we can after the closing date.
Ellen Hinton (aka EllenOnceAgain) has created a new iPad based song and iPhone video showing off her incredible musical talent and creativity.
A few weeks ago we let you know about her video featuring music played on an iPad, and video recorded on an iPhone 4. Now Ellen has released the new video above, a fantastic sounding retro mashup of Bruno Mars “Marry You” and Train’s “Marry Me".
To find out more about the super-talented Ellen and her music be sure to check out her site, where you can find out about the apps she used to create this song.
Congratulations Ellen on this one, we love it!
iTM MidiLab is actually an iPhone app and is promoted as "a dynamic showroom allowing for new users to experience the iTouchMidi concept" and a "gateway to iTouchMidi".
Just The Basics
So the app is limited in functionality, providing just the basics, but it is useable enough for amateurs and the MIDI-curious to get an idea of what can be done with MIDI controllers or just to play around with different instruments (and to save us from the awkward 'Musical Typing' mode).
In this free app you get three different control interfaces, the site lists them as:
- Button Matrix 4 X 4 with Midi Feedback
- Midi keyboard (C-2 -> C8) with pitchbend
- XY Pad, sending CC 18 & 19 on midi channel 1
Quick tip - Shake your iPad to switch between the different interfaces.
Once you have the MidiLab app on your iPad, all you do is download a bit of server software for your Mac or Windows Computer (or even transfer it from the MidiLab app itself via browser file sharing), install and run the server on your Computer, select your Computer name from the MidiLab startup screen on your iPad and you are away.
We liked the idea so much that we put together a hastily recorded video for you to see how simple it is and importantly, how little latency there seems to be.
On a technical, iOS, note: We recorded the video with an iPhone which was held in the other hand so it is a bit shaky but the whole thing was edited entirely on the iPad with ReelDirector, a bargain at $1.99.
If you want more advanced functionality iTouchMidi sell standalone interface apps which are a little pricey at $5.99 each, but they do allow more control and add functions like Velocity (by hitting the top of the keys for a louder sound) and Program/Bank changing in iTM Keys for example.
Let us know what you think and if you try out iTM MidiLab yourself. We would be interested to know if your experience was similar to ours, especially with the low latency.
How about this then? Probably one of the most technically proficient iPad recorded songs we have ever featured, this Stairway to Heaven cover, played on the iPhone and recorded entirely on an iPad using Multitrack DAW, shows what can be done exclusively on iOS devices with some careful planning and probably quite a bit of musical talent.
The interesting thing here is that InrockK has used a Behringer USB audio interface connected to the iPad dock connector via the CCK rather than going via the headphone socket with something like iRig or Ampkit Link.
The result, although a little muzak sounding, is an impressive display of the iOS devices' potential to create and record music independently. It has also made us think again about Multitrack DAW which, amongst many other features, has waveform editing and a paid upgrade to 24 stereo tracks for recording!
What do you think? Tried anything similar yourself? Let us know in the comments.
This initially seemed like an odd idea for an app. Using the studio mixing desk as a basis, Mixeroo aims to help kids learn about music and the relationship of the instruments to each other within the overall song via a very simple (in a good way) interface.
We've played with audio mixers before on our iPads but we would never have thought of handing them over to our kids so they can learn in this way, yet Mixeroo Developer/Dad/Professional Sound Mixer, Kirk Wheeler, obviously did.
We were kindly provided with a review copy of Mixeroo by Kirk and we were not really sure what to expect but, in short, we loved it.
Remixing The Songs
Mixeroo is supplied with 4 songs with the music created by Michael Farrell, a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with some well known recording artists and with some big name TV shows. The four songs are: Twinkle Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Ode to Joy, each with their own mix of instruments and, in most cases, percussion.
These songs run on a loop when you hit the play button so that you can continuously make adjustments without having to restart the song every time. The instrumental arrangements are not just repeated each verse either, there are variations played in each verse emphasising different instruments or parts, the audio is very high quality too.
The very simple interface hides a lot of versatility. For example, you can fade out the drums for the verse, then bring them back in for the next verse to build up the song, you can make one instrument, maybe the main melody, louder then do a 'hush verse' before bringing everything back in. You can also use multi-touch and adjust more than one slider at once.
We were surprised at how much fun it is playing with the song mixes and changing the overall sound and presentation of the song, we even let the iPad Creative kids have a go in the end and they loved it too. It was interesting to watch how children learn the interactions and how they quickly understand how to control the sound they are hearing with the simple but attractive sliders.
Overall we would say that Mixeroo is a surprisingly fun and educational app that kids love experimenting with. We would recommend it for iPad users who want to encourage little ones to explore and learn about music.
Mixeroo is available for $1.99 (£1.19) in the app store and we think it is great value.
What do you think of this idea? Have you tried Mixeroo with your little ones? Let us know in the comments below.
When Akai Professional brought out the SynthStation25 with integrated iPod Touch/iPhone dock we were desperately scouring the Internet for hacks that would allow a dock extender to work with our iPads but most reports were that the full functionality was not going to work this way.
But worry no more, Akai have just announced at NAMM 2011 the iPad version with a larger keyboard to match, the SynthStation49 (with 49 velocity-sensitive keys as opposed to the 25 keys of the smaller version).
The SynthStation49 is iOS CoreMIDI compatible so should act as an interface to pretty much any App using MIDI but it also has an onboard USB connection so that you can hook it up to your computer / DAW and control that too.
We think this might just be what live gigging musicians have been waiting for to use some of the awesome iPad apps in a real context.
The iPad is charged when docked and can be adjusted to different viewing angles so it looks like they have put a lot of thought into the iPad integration.
We hope that Akai have addressed the latency issues that some were reporting with the SynthStation25 but we are sure we will hear about that soon enough!
You can read more details and a full description of the features on the SynthStation49 webpage, but here are the main ones from the announcement:
- Portable, velocity-sensitive keyboard with pitch and modulation wheels
- Nine velocity-sensitive MPC-style drum pads which light when triggered
- Dedicated transport control buttons including Play, Pause and Record
- Play MIDI keyboard and drum pad performances into an iPad via CoreMIDI or AkaiConnect apps
- Built-in, adjustable dock charges your iPad while positioning the screen at the perfect angle
- USB port for connecting to a Mac or PC, receiving power and controlling MIDI music software
- Professional ¼" stereo outputs with volume control to connect mixers, speakers and recording equipment
- Headphone output to practice and compose in private
If this is just what you have been looking for or you have any thoughts about SynthStation49 let us know in the comments.
By now, you may already have heard the rest of The Fall, Gorillaz new album recorded primarily on the iPad. We mentioned it in our last post, but if you haven't heard it, the whole album can be streamed for free on a dedicated page at the Gorillaz site.
Music is, of course, highly subjective and The Fall is a bit of a mixed bag musically. If you like the Gorillaz previous work or are a fan of electronic based music, then you may well enjoy it as we did, but we know that some people will not be quite so keen.
Whatever your opinion of the music itself, we think you can't fail to be impressed that the album was made primarily on an iPad, in hotel rooms and tour buses, over a period of just 32 days, whilst the band were busy with their 'day job' of performing live in front of thousands of fans.
It feels a bit futuristic to say that a portable tablet device can replace a recording studio, at least in many ways. What is interesting for us especially, as dabblers in all things musical, are the iPad apps that were used to create the album, and we have listed them below.
It should be noted that the iPad wasn't the only instrument used in the creation of The Fall. The site mentions that the other instruments used were Korg Vocoder, Ukelele, Microkorg, Omnichord, Moog Voyager, Melodica, Guitar, Piano, Korg Monotron.
This was in addition to vocals recorded by the band and also on Track 13, Bobby in Phoenix, Bobby Womack. Oh and we shouldn't forget 'Track' 15 Seattle Yodel featuring the Archie McPhee Yodelling Pickle.
Give the album a listen if you haven't already and then check the links below to read more about each app used. As always, we would like to know what you think, of both the album and the use of the iPad in this way, let us know in the comments.
So without further ado, here are the iPad Applications used to create The Fall, with links where we could find them:
Speak It! / SoundyThingie / Mugician / Solo Synth (despite digging around, we couldn't find an app with this name) / Synth / Funk Box / Gliss / AmpliTube / Xenon / iElectribe / BS-16i / M3000 HD / Cleartune / iOrgel HD / Olsynth / StudioMiniXI / BassLine / Harmonizer (check out the overlay template for your iPad on this page) / Dub Siren Pro / Moog Filatron
As you may already know, the new album from cartoon rockstars Gorillaz, entitled The Fall has been 'made on an iPad' and there has been much anticipation of the album release. The 15 iPad composed tracks are described as a 'musical diary' recorded during the Gorillaz recent 32 day North American tour, reflecting the sounds and experiences of the places they visited.
The track in the video above, 'Phoner to Arizona' is the first track off the album and has been released today as a sneak peek. Tomorrow, paid subscribers to Gorillaz fan club Sub Division will be able to download the album for free, but even if you are not a member of the fan club you will be able to stream all 15 tracks from tomorrow here.
We are looking forward to hearing the rest of the tracks, but at the moment we are reminded of a BTTF quote, "That's very interesting music, Marty".
It is difficult not to be a pushy parent sometimes, no matter how much you try, but surely a little gentle coaxing in the creative, musical direction is ok, isn't it?
Baby Chords is an app that might help both entertain and distract little ones, whilst introducing them to the principles of making music with scales and chords.
The app has been specifically designed to make basic, possibly harmonic, noise making easy for anyone. This is from the iTunes description (capitalisation as per the original):
Pressing any three consecutive notes ALWAYS PRODUCES A CHORD. Sliding your finger across notes ALWAYS RESULTS HARMONIOUS.
Select among delightful instrument sounds of the PIANO, HARP and GLOCKENSPIEL with beautiful baby musical instrument interfaces, baby PATTERNS and baby BLOCKS as display options.
Baby Chords is in the app store now for $2.99 (£1.79). Let us know if you try this app, and what your little ones think, in the comments below.
This is probably the cutest song we have seen played entirely on the iPad so far. Madonna's Material Girl is covered here by Finnish acapella 'girl band' Viisi (meaning Five in Finnish - not to be confused with 90's British boy band Five).
The music, of course, is played exclusively on their iPads. It looks quite impromptu and makes for a bit of viewing fun on a Friday. Interestingly, there were a few apps used here by Viisi that we didn't know about iBone XL (a Trombone sim) being the main one that we hadn't come across before.
The other apps used are... actually, for a bit of fun, we'll let you work that out for yourself. There is a place where you can find out the apps used, let us know in the comments if you can identify any of them.
Viisi have also posted a much more polished song played on the iPad which really shows off their vocal talents too called "Aikaisintaan sunnuntaina" ('The Earliest Sunday' - according to Google Translate), a track which appears on Viisi's eponymous album. You can see the video for that one below.
Can an iPad replace a laptop as a Music Studio? Here is someone who thinks you can.
In this video, recorded on an iPhone, Andrew Turner (deepliferecords on YouTube) discusses replacing his failed two year old HP Tablet with an iPad and a bunch of apps plus hardware add-ons, as a music creation device.
Andrew demos IK Multimedia's Amplitube for iPad and the iRig hardware interface along with NLogSynth PRO and a Korg nanoKEY midi controller plugged in via Apple's Camera Connection Kit. He is certainly impressed and at the end of the video he says:
"Overall, I'm very happy with the iPad as a replacement for my laptop... there's nothing that I can't do so far with the iPad that I could do with the Windows Notebook or a Windows Computer."
We tend to agree with Andrew, but what do you think? Can an iPad replace a laptop for music creation? Let us know in the comments.
A few weeks ago we told you about the release of the Korg iMS-20 app, at the time we were flabbergasted by it and we remain so. Since then there have been a few demonstrations of what you can do with the app posted around the Web, but none as impressive as this video from cyberspacecowboys on YouTube.
We loved it, we hope you do too! If you have seen any more stellar examples of what you can do with the iMS-20 iPad app let us know.
We let you know how much we liked IK Multimedia's iRig hardware as a general iPad input device a few weeks ago, but of course it was primarily designed to partner with their own software for (mainly) guitarists AmpliTube for iPad (and separate iPhone version).
We have been testing AmpliTube for iPad for a while now and we have been hoping on an upgrade to version 2.0 (as the iPhone version has been recently) before posting our review.
As version 2 of the app has not turned up yet we thought we would let you know what we think of version 1.0.2 of AmpliTube for iPad so far anyway.
This is one of only a few guitar effects / amp simulation apps specifically made for the iPad, so what did we think of it? Read on to find out.
The Premise - Analogue Amplitude
Any guitarist will tell you that as much as they love their amp and the special relationship it has to their 'sound', the biggest bugbear is carrying that hulking great box around to band practice, gigs or anywhere else they may wish to take it.
If their amp doesn't have a headphone jack then another major problem is that getting that great sound usually involves cranking the amp up to levels far too loud to be compatible with sleeping kids upstairs, tolerant but deafened spouses and elderly (or litigious) neighbours.
The Digital advantage
The first thing that you will notice is that AmpliTube for iPad weighs a lot less than a guitar amp! Seriously though, the advantage of any audio app should be that it means you have to carry less equipment with you especially if that means you can play your guitar, amplified with effects, in places where you would not have bothered taking a real amplifier.
IK Multimedia have a software/hardware solution in the iRig and AmpliTube that could in theory replace a physical amplifier for example when recording demos, rehearsals, private practice and even plugged directly into a house PA.
The User Interface
One thing that has always impressed us about IK Multimedia's apps on our Macs, iPhones or iPads, is the attention to detail in the User Interface (UI) and AmpliTube for iPad is no exception.
The effects pedals are drawn beautifully, as are the amps, with all the knobs and switches replicated in exact detail. Other UI elements are also well drawn and for the most part their function and mode of operation is clear.
AmpliTube for iPad operates only in landscape orientation and this allows you to see four effects at once next to each other, compared to one at a time, up to a maximum of only three pedals, on the iPhone.
Most of the time we were able to adjust amp and pedal settings by directly 'turning' the control knobs on the screen without any problem.
What does it sound like
Arguably, the quality and authenticity of the sound is of utmost importance for any app trying to simulate a real guitar amp and effects. It is probably best to acknowledge that any digital version of an amp is not really going to sound like the real thing exactly.
Bearing this in mind, we were really blown away by the sounds we got from AmpliTube for iPad.
The default settings need a bit of tweaking to get the best out of them, but as mentioned above the controls are accurate and responsive on the iPad's touchscreen and they shape the sound as we would expect their real world equivalents to.
We used an Epiphone Les Paul for most of our testing and the double humbuckers push too hard to get a clean sound from the Clean amp without some serious tweaking of the default settings. With a Strat type of guitar the default was fine.
As you would expect, switching to the Crunch amp gave a nice punchy rhythm sound with the Les Paul Humbuckers which was hardened up with a quick adjustment of the tone controls on the guitar.
The Lead amp gave us a sound we preferred over the Crunch amp to be honest and the Metal amp really does give a nice high-gain setup which, when combined with the Overdrive pedal covered most of the Rock/Metal styles easily. However, you will probably always need to include the Noise filter as one of your four pedal choices to control feedback and hiss.
The Bass amp was actually quite a surprise and gave us a nice, warm, bass sound generally which was fairly easily shaped using the tone controls. A definite bonus.
Cabs and Mics
Each of the amp sounds is further enhanced, or shaped, by a selection of five different Cabinets along with a choice of Dynamic or Condensor microphones, which can drastically change the tone of your sound.
We found most of them useable and it is worth running through the Cabs and Mics to see how they affect your tone.
A few of the eleven effects pedals we really liked. The standout ones for us were Chorus, Flanger, Phazer, Delay and a lovely sounding, infinitely controllable Distortion pedal.
We were not so impressed by the Fuzz pedal (we found it hard to get anything but a badly broken sound), which was actually a bit of a disappointment but this might be our ageing ears.
The Wah too seemed a bit gimmicky. You can adjust your Wah snap in manual mode via the accelerometer, by tipping the iPad which makes for a fun demo to friends. In practice though, we found it very difficult to hold the iPad, tip it backwards and forwards, and play a lick on our guitar, obviously not the intended use.
The Auto-Wah settings failed to impress as well, being either too harsh or not effective enough for our tastes.
We found the Octave pedal a little heavy handed too, but it was useable with some careful tweaking.
Other Key Features
Some of the other features included with AmpliTube for iPad are the adjustable Metronome, bypass Tuner and the useable-but-slightly-clunky song or backing tracks Wi-Fi import function. This last feature lets you practice by adjusting the track's volume so that you can play over the top with your AmpliTube driven sound.
We look forward to the iPad catching up with the iPhone's new 'slow-downer' function so that we might have half a chance of playing along with real guitarists playing at half speed.
There are also 36 presets, some of which are pre-populated but overwriteable, but unfortunately in this version you cannot rename the numbered squares so you will have to write down or remember what is saved to each preset (this has been changed in the iPhone version 2.0).
We can highly recommend AmpliTube for iPad to any guitarist looking for an app written and optimised for the iPad and its relatively large touchscreen. There is no doubt in our minds that IK Multimedia have set the bar for other app developers in the guitar amp/effects arena.
The range of sounds and effects that you can achieve for less than a quarter of the cost of just one decent effects pedal is truly amazing. For just $19.99 (£11.99) for the full version you really cannot moan about the price, but if you do think that is too much (really, it is not) then you can get a FREE lite version with a reduced number of effects (Stompboxes) and just one Amp and Cabinet, with other Amps and Cabs available a la carte style via in-app purchase.
Further Info and Specs
If you have never seen or heard AmpliTube in action, the video below gives you an overview of the UI and sounds that are available. If you are still not sure we would recommend downloading the lite version and give it a proper run through, there is nothing to lose and it sold us straight away on the full version. We have listed the full specs for AmpliTube for iPad below this video.
AmpliTube for iPad is available in two versions (there are three versions on the iPhone):
- Free - includes 3 stompboxes (Delay, Noise Filter & Distortion once registered), 1 amplifier (Lead) and speaker cabinet as well as both microphones (dynamic & condenser). New stompboxes and amp/speaker cabinets can be added through in-app purchases.
- Full - £11.99 ($19.99) - everything available via in-app purchase in the free version all in one package. So that's 11 stompboxes (delay, fuzz, distortion, overdrive, wah, envelope filter, chorus, flanger, phaser, octave, noise filter), 5 amplifier/cabinets and the two microphones
Other key features of AmpliTube for iPad include:
- 36 preset slots
- Built-in Tuner and Metronome
- Import songs via wi-fi and playback for practice
- Low-latency as good as the Mac/PC system
We mentioned a few weeks ago the sheet music, page turning, app Masterdaelion that required both an iPad and an iPhone paired together, but what if you haven't got an iPhone? AirTurn have another solution for you.
The AirTurn BT-105 is being launched this coming Tuesday 16th November. It is a little black box with a Bluetooth transmitter that you can place on the floor and connect it to one or two foot switches.
The box basically sends a signal to your iPad that equates to 'Page Up' (Left foot switch) to move back to the previous sheet or 'Page Down' (Right foot switch) to move on to the next sheet. It can be used with apps that allow you to read sheet music in PDF format as well as guitar or other instrument tabs.
Ready to roll
The press release names a few apps it can already work with:
but we would expect more apps to enable Bluetooth as this type of accessory becomes more common for the iPad.
Of course, if you are a musician and also have a Bluetooth equipped computer, the BT-105 will work with any app that accepts Page Up / Page Down commands, even PowerPoint, although we are not sure you want to control presentations with your feet, but you could - let us know if you do!
The BT-105 will retail for $69 and you will have to buy foot switches on top of that if you haven't already got them lying around, so it is not the cheapest musician's hardware accessory, but it does serve a niche.
More technical detail can be found on the BT-105 announcement page and the video below demonstrates how it works in practice. Do let us know if you get one of these units, we would love to hear how well it works for you.
AirTurn have sent out an update today to their email list stating that they are having a few "production delays". The email says:
At this point, it looks like we may have to delay the release of the BT-105 by a few more days. We anticipate starting to take orders on this Friday November 19th and shipping on the 22nd.
They also mention that they have produced prototype 'silent' foot switches to go along with the BT-105 and they will be selling these off when the BT-105 launches. Some are Black and some clear or see-through. Check out the AirTurn blog for more info.