Entries in Phil (438)

BIAS Promises to be Epic

It is hard to imagine how the crowded Guitar Effects / Amp Simulation field could be improved upon, apart from perhaps the realism and authenticity of the sounds or tone of the amps.  Quite a few of the current batch sound very ‘digital'.  

Positive Grid (makers of JamUp Pro) seem to be thinking along the same lines.  We liked the more resonant and authentic sound of their Amp Simulations when we reviewed JamUp Pro a while ago.  

Now they are on the verge of releasing BIAS which promises “Tone revolution on an epic scale”.  A bold claim indeed!

We hope to be getting our hands on a copy of BIAS very soon and we will be giving it a thorough run through, but in the meantime check out the teaser video above.

Real Green Screen Effects on your iPad from Do Ink

Check out the above demo video for new app Green Screen from Do Ink.  We think it will be a massive bonus for iPad content creators, especially in the Education field.

We have covered several times already Do Ink's brilliant iPad Animation app widely used by Educators. They released Green Screen a couple of days ago for just $2.99 / £1.99, we think it is going to be a big hit.

We are downloading the app now and will be roping in the iPad Creative kids to test it this weekend.  More on that soon!

In the meantime, grab your copy of Green Screen and be sure to share your results with us in the comments. 

Snapseed Makes HDR Easy

It isn’t going to satisfy ‘proper’ photographers or HDR proponents we realise, but the latest version of Snapseed (now offered for Free under Google’s ownership) has a new tool in its arsenal, known as HDR Scape.  

Now iOS photographers can have a stab at HDR photography whilst editing their photos in one of our favourite iOS Photography apps. 

Grey card test

To show just how powerful this new tool is we took out our iPad 3 on a very dull and grey November day here on the South Coast of the UK, and we grabbed one of the dullest photos we could, without giving it too much thought.

Live demo

Then we brought that photo into Snapseed on the same iPad and ran it through the HDR Scape tool to see what happened, recording it as a little screencast for you at the same time.

Whilst the results are far from great, we think it is pretty amazing what Snapseed was able to pull out of this dull, flat iPad photo and the potential is clear.  Check out the video and let us know if you have achieved any results with the HDR Scape tool in Snapseed that you would like to share with us (links to any examples would be nice too).

Is the iRig BlueBoard the One We've Been Waiting For?

After being announced back in January at NAMM by IK Multimedia, the iRig BlueBoard was released a few weeks ago and we think this is probably the solution guitarists have been waiting for.   

For a long time we have been extolling the iOS Amp Simulation apps as a viable, more portable, alternative for gigging/recording musicians and we think iRig's BlueBoard takes a big leap closer to that reality (and it also works with your Mac!).

Switching it up (and down)

One of the most essential requirements of any guitarist's pedal board is the ability to switch effects on-the-fly and, to be honest, this was the least practical element of using a touch device in a live situation.  

Changing effects just before a solo in a darkened room was a hit-and-miss affair at best, especially when trying to quickly switch from a rhythm to a solo sound.

We haven't been able to try it ourselves yet, but we are hopeful that the BlueBoard, as seen in the video above, will enable us to do this with any MIDI compatible iPad app, including GarageBand, AmpKit, JamUp as well as all of IK's own apps.  

Likes and dislikes

We like the small and portable sizing that makes it likely to slip into a cables bag. The adjustable backlit pedals are going to be really useful in a live situation and we are fond of the blue too.

If we were being picky, the pedals themselves look a bit small, especially if you tend to wear clodhopper boots on stage.  We would have liked twice as many footswitches really (e.g. one row to switch Banks and another row for the effects switching) but the BlueBoard may have been less portable with 8.  

As it is, with some forethought into the patch setup and ordering of the Banks plus the use of one or two external expression pedals, e.g. a Wah, this will suit most guitarists.

Bluetooth 4.0 is supposed to be more efficient but we are not sure how long a set of 4 AAAs are going to last, although they should see you through at least a few gigs if not several more.

What do you think?

Are you a guitarist or other musician looking to use Amp Sims or iPad Instrument apps live?  Would you use the iRig BlueBoard in your live or studio performances?  Let us know in the comments what you think.

PSA: Don't Update to iOS 7 if you use Audio Apps

The Audiobus team have just written out to their registered users with a caution about upgrading to iOS 7 if you rely on audio apps.

They say:

"iOS 7 audio is not ready. There are a wide variety of bugs that are causing performance problems, crashes and other problems in a large number of music apps."

We have heard several reports that iOS 7 isn't really ready for general release, but this is the first specific warning we have seen for content creators,

The Audiobus team go on to say in their email:

"...until we see a few point releases for the OS, we strongly urge you to stick with iOS 6."

We just wanted you to be aware of this warning before the imminent release of iOS 7.

It may be wise to leave the update for a while and see what issues are reported once it has been tested more widely.

Video: Think an iPad can't be used as a Live Guitar Amp? Think Again!


We have mentioned before the potential for your iPad to replace those hefty and bulky guitar amps you have to carry around with you to gigs as a guitarist.  Actual documented examples are less common than we would like, but here's one.

In the video above Gene Baker is using the brilliant JamUp Pro (or XT) app by Positive Grid as his 'Amp' (read our in-depth review for more on JamUp).  He is switching effects/rigs using JamUp's integration with the Bluetooth AirTurn pedal, allowing for live use as a virtual pedalboard.

Although the sound quality of the video isn't that great, guitarists will be listening out for the solo in Mean Gene Band's cover of the Aerosmith classic 'Walk this way' and we think it definitely passes muster.

What do you think?

Photomadic Re-imagine the Photobooth with iPads

Photomadic - Social Media Photo Booth Explainer Video from Ty Williams on Vimeo.

Relatively new company Photomadic have made the iPad an integral part of their all digital, mobile photobooth.

With an iPad occupying two sides, there is a larger touchscreen on another side which is used to set up the shoot and select options.  The fourth side is taken up by the camera lens and ring flash, after all, photography is all about the light.

The iPads feature a custom app allowing sharing via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail, with secure log out promised when the user is done sharing.  Customers can completely customise the branding/styling of shared images and, of course, you can order prints on paper or a range of other novelty items like keyrings, etc.

We think it is a really fun idea and a clever re-imagining of the old photobooth experience using touchscreen technology.

Get Smart with your Art

You can now get a customised iPad smart cover printed with your own artwork or photo(s) to show the world how much you love creating art on your iPad, or maybe even just how much you love your kids, pets, bike, car, etc.

Photobox here in the UK are one such company producing these smart covers with all the usual features you find in Apple's Smart Cover such as magnetic snap-on hinges, sleep when closed and the Toblerone style stand action.

At £34.99 for a custom vinyl smart cover it is actually a penny cheaper than the Apple's Smart Cover, although, without seeing one in the flesh we can't say if the quality is anywhere near as good. Photobox has always been fairly impressive in the past though in our experience.

Do you fancy getting your own customised smart cover? Let us know if you do, and what you decide to put on it.

Beautiful Ambient Music Created on the iPad by Michael Wadlow

This beautiful, haunting, reflective and emotional track entitled Vortumnus...Refracted Memories was created by one of our Soundcloud group members Michaelw (Michael Wadlow from Wales).  

Michael wrote this recently as a cathartic expression of his emotions at a really difficult time.

Do yourself a favour, grab a drink and a pair of headphones, close your eyes and take a listen.

Video: Quick Look at Repix with the Sensu Brush

Quick Look at Repix with the Sensu Brush from Artist Hardware on Vimeo.

Here's a video we thought you would enjoy from Artist Hardware, makers of our favourite 'combo stylus' Sensu Brush (check out our review).  

They are testing the Sensu Brush with the free painting app Repix and its new Live Brush feature.  

Check it out and let us know what you think if you have got a Sensu Brush.