Entries in Phil (405)
After we complained on Twitter this morning about the hassle we had trying to get a SoundCloud embed working on the iPad (well Safari for iPad really), SoundCloud tweeted us straight back and basically said, "Wait til later today!", and they have delivered.
They have just gone live with the announcement of their new HTML5 Widget, it's now an extra tab on the 'Share' pop-up and it works great. If you are reading this on your iPad, check out the lovely HTML5 widgetyness below (sorry about the tune, I didn't have much to use).
Expect lots more audio goodness from SoundCloud on your iPad now that this widget is finally live.
Here's a nice sounding trance track made entirely on an iPad by Software Developer Rodi de Boer (@RodideBoer on Twitter). Here's what Rodi says about the apps he used (from the Soundcloud page for this track):
This is made on an iPad 2 with NanoStudio as the base. Sounds come from NanoStudio, BassLine and Addictive Synth and I used Hokusai for some sample editing when I got it to do what I wanted. Drum sounds come from layered and edited NanoStudio TRG samples.
Ivan Osario (@IvanArley on Twitter) painted this Steve Jobs caricature as his tribute to the man using Artrage for iPad (and presumably the new Script Recording function to make the video). Check it out in the video below.
Alfonse describes how he made the track using two great iPad apps from Korg:
All parts were performed using Korg's iElectribe (beat) and iMS20 (synths) for iPad and each take was videoed as it was played. The parts were then mixed in Logic, adding some side-chain compression and overall mastering goodness.
Thanks for sharing this track Alfonse!
We know AutoPainter HD has been out for a while, but it has just appeared on our radar after it was recently updated and we are ever so slightly besotted with it.
Mediachance, the Developers behind the iOS and more feature rich Windows and Mac versions of AutoPainter, claim that the app doesn't apply a filter but instead paints a version of the image using the original photo as guide.
The 3 stage 'painting' process is fascinating to watch and usually takes under 2 minutes on the iPad, but you can stop Stage 3, where detail is added, at any point before it has finished if you like what you see.
We have to say the results and textures used are impressive. Even when you zoom in you can see detail like the simulated canvas texture, brush strokes and scratches. Although limited to only 4 styles in the iOS version (Aquarell, Benson, Cezanne and Van Gogh) we think it is very well done.
It is a guilty pleasure too, because we know it's cheating and not 'real art', but we can't help liking the results, and so does everyone we show them to. You may have to experiment a bit with the original image, some don't work very well with any of the 4 styles, and some only work well with 1 or maybe 2 of them. Mediachance suggest starting with things you know will work well with a style, for example flowers, then experiment with other source images.
We think it would fun to try this in a school art class where children could take photos of themselves or objects around the school, import them into AutoPainter HD and learn about the different styles of painting, how they interpret the original image, using this app.
Pricing and Demos
At the current price of $0.99 or 69p in the App Store, we think it is a bit of a bargain for creating small prints, postcards, gift cards, portraits with a twist for family and a whole host of other uses. Here's a video from Developers Mediachance showing what the app can do, this was at release and before they added the 'Portrait Mask' feature to enhance details on faces or other areas of a picture. When you have watched that, check out some of our results below.
Here is an original image taken in a nearby Bluebell forest and below that the AutoPainter HD results for each style (the Benson version is now our iPad Lock Screen wallpaper). As you will see, not every style fits every photo exactly (select any image to see it at a larger size):
This time a portrait shot, results here are a little less pleasing in all styles. We used the 'Portrait Mask' feature to select the face for extra detail work, as shown below:
Not the most flattering effect!
Have you tried AutoPainter HD on your iPad? Let us know what you think in the comments.
We liked the original version of Casual Underground's Loopseque a lot and now they have released a special version of the app aimed at younger ones starting to explore music creation on the iPad. It is being offered for only $0.99 (69p for us) at the moment so we purchased it to see what our little testers thought of it.
Fun and Familiar
Loopseque Kids is a fun app with cute graphics and sounds, some of them restful, some not so much. If you have used Loopseque before then the user interface will be familiar to you with it's circular soundfield but unlike the original, to switch between one of the (only) three sound sets you touch the circle in the middle. This changes the sounds, graphics and colours to match a particular time of day, either daytime, dusk or nighttime.
Too much choice can be confusing for very young ones or those new to music making and this app is aimed at being an introduction to music creation for youngsters, but within those three sound sets there is a good range of tunes that you can create.
In addition to the main circular sound grid there are little trees, houses, hills, clouds and sun or moon, all of which have their own assigned sounds too that can be played over the top of your arrangement.
Whilst limited, the app is a lot of fun and, with a bit of experimentation, can even be quite soothing with the nighttime sounds especially.
Play Your Own
For slightly older ones, the limited soundest can be a bit frustrating and our (admittedly short attention spanned) 6 year old tester found this to be the case.
That's where the piano mode comes in. This gives you a circular keyboard with a couple of different instrument sounds covering a lower and higher octave. We liked this mode for enabling experimentation and it is multitimbral so you can play chords plus a melody if you have the skills.
For less than a dollar (or pound) we think Loopseque Kids is a great app to have on your iPad both to encourage musical exploration for your little ones and as another distraction technique on long journeys.
You can download Loopseque Kids from the App Store now and if you have little ones using your iPad we recommend you do so.
If you try this out with your young iPad users be sure to let us know what you think.
Here's a short video that any guitarist will find interesting and it may even tempt you to replace that hefty amp that you're lugging around, at least for jamming round a friends house anyway.
YouTube user soaresgiu1 made this demo using IK Multimedia's iRig for the guitar input and iRig MIDI to connect the classic Boss GT-8 controller via the dock connector, both played through the new guitar fx app JamUp (our review is on it's way).
We think this set up has potential for playing live, what do you think?
Here's a video that creator Eyal Amir (Google+ login needed) let us know about and that already has over 23,000 views on YouTube in just a few days!
Showing off what you can do with new iOS app Geo Synthesizer from Jordan Rudess (a previous collaborater with Eyal), who has already brought to the platform two other brilliant apps MorphWiz and SampleWiz, the song is a cover of Maroon 5's "Moves like Jaggar":
Eyal describes how the song was made on the video's YouTube page:
Geo was used as a controller, and sounds came from Geo's internal sounds, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Fxpansion BFD and Steinberg Halion. The cool device connecting the gear - iConnectMIDI - http://www.iConnectivity.com Mixed using Steinberg Cubase and Waves Plug-ins.
From Kickstarter to Production
The Adonit Writer (for the original iPad) was one of the first Kickstarter projects we remember seeing. There was quite a bit of excitement around the web when the first images of the prototype appeared with its compact Bluetooth keyboard integrated into a portfolio style case.
It seemed like a long time from that first glimpse until the Writer was actually made available on general release and by the time the final production versions of the Writer were available we had moved on to the iPad 2 and the different form factor meant a new version was needed.
Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too much longer for Adonit to update the Writer for the iPad 2 and it is this new version, the Writer 2, that each member of the iPad Creative team has been testing for a few weeks.
As part of the testing, this whole review has been typed up with the Adonit Writer for iPad 2, using the iA Writer and SquareSpace apps.
The packaging is impressive; a heavyweight end-capped box that is mostly black, with a nice product shot on the front and 'Adonit yellow' trim detail around the end-cap. This adds to the feeling of quality, a bit like an old book box.
The first thing we noticed was that the box (and its contents) was quite a bit heavier than we thought it would be.
In fact, the Writer 2 is really quite weighty in the hand. According to our kitchen scales the Writer 2 weighs in at 2.75lbs (1250gms).
We think most of this weight comes from the sturdy construction of the steel and aluminium keyboard and the magnetic panel on the inside of the case cover.
This magnetic panel is a lot larger than those used on other portfolio cases but there is a good reason for this. This is part of Adonit Writer's unique design.
Where other cases use a magnet as a catch and to 'sleep' the iPad 2, Adonit have included a larger magnetic panel which does both of those things, as well as its primary function of acting as a magnetic track for the adjustable keyboard.
This magnetic attraction keeps the keyboard very firmly attached to the case whether it is on your lap, a table or most other surfaces where you use your Writer 2. But it also has another very important function.
Due to the clever design of the case, moving the keyboard back and forth across the magnetic section adjusts the angle of the iPad so that the screen is tilted further back as the keyboard is slid further forward.
This arrangement means that the iPad, in horizontal mode, can be angled however you want without sticking to pre-defined positions. This adds an easy to adjust flexibility that in our opinion is a key selling point of the Writer.
Build Quality and Design
We were very impressed with the design of the Writer 2, it is obviously well thought out and easy to use once you get used to where everything is.
The materials used in construction of the Writer case give it a reassuringly robust, solid feel (they also have good environmental credentials being 98% recyclable). We think the Writer would certainly live up to daily use and never gave us cause for concern as far as build quality.
The cradle where you snap the iPad in holds your device very securely but it is really easy to pop the iPad out again for quick access if needed, just by applying pressure to the specific point. Adonit call this feature Quick Eject. It is a nice design touch and has obviously been carefully thought out to work the way you would expect it to.
We wanted to rave about the keyboard in the Adonit Writer 2. It is, after all, the main reason why we wanted to review it in the first place. We always tell it as we see it though and unfortunately, our overall feeling is that this is a missed opportunity for Adonit.
On the positive side, in use we found the keys responsive. The scissor action design means the keys spring back well and whilst typing this review we had bursts of speed that matched other keyboards we have tried, but there was a big problem, or rather, a little one.
The keyboard, in our opinion, is just too small and cramped for everyday use. We are not the kind of chaps who have 'plates of meat' for hands but we found the spacing of the keys too restrictive. In fact, we think the keys are smaller and closer together than the iPad's own on-screen keyboard!
In practice, nearly every paragraph of this review required us to re-type words where we had hit the wrong keys or too many keys at once. We also managed to lock the screen plenty of times by accident as the 'lock' key is just above the perhaps necessarily diminutive Delete key. This may partly be due to our incompetence, but the very tight key spacing really didn't help.
We know there is limited space to work with here, and we realise that it can not of been easy to decide where to compromise in the design, but we were really disappointed with the keyboard size because we were so excited about finally getting hold of this case and it prevents us from unreservedly recommending the Adonit Writer 2.
We have also got a Logitech iPad 2 keyboard case by Zagg that we reviewed a few months ago and although the Logitech is not a portfolio case, the Adonit Writer 2 keyboard feels decidedly cramped in comparison. We thought you may like to see a direct comparison so we took a photo of the two together with the Adonit Writer on top of the Logitech/Zagg case.
The Logitech keyboard uses all but one of the function keys, adding Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo and Redo keys where Adonit have left them blank. Not essential by any means, but useful all the same.
Adonit do include the more essential music transport controls, volume, mute, lock, home, search, slideshow and on-screen keyboard buttons. These all worked flawlessly with no delay.
Seeing the two keyboards together we wondered if the fairly large bezel around the edge of the Writer's keyboard could be reduced to make more room for the keys? We realise it could affect the robust feel of the case but perhaps this would help open up the keyboard spacing.
When you are on the move, quickly folding up the Adonit Writer is a cinch. The heft of the case with iPad in place can actually help weight it down in your hand whilst it is carried.
The magnetic panel will keep the case closed if you carry it as shown in the photo above, with the keyboard closest to the palm of your hand.
Hold it the other way round though, or especially horizontally and turn it over so that the flap faces towards the floor, and the weight of the keyboard will be too much for the magnet to hold and the flap will fall open. It is probably as secure in this regard as Apple's Smart Cover.
This may not be an issue for you and it will depend on whether you put the Adonit Writer in your bag next to other items while in transit which could hook it open fairly easily.
If you use a bag that has a dedicated pocket for your iPad, like the brilliant iPad Messenger Bag we reviewed a back in July, then this won't bother you at all.
The Adonit Writer 2's Bluetooth keyboard is powered by 3xAAA batteries. These should provide you with many hours of usage as the Writer possesses power management features that shut off the keyboard when you close the lid or after a period of inactivity.
Having to purchase replacement batteries is a pain and may or may not bother you. We know it is not very environmentally friendly to use replacement batteries and in our house the AAA batteries have a habit of disappearing into the kids' toys and appliance remotes before we have a chance to use them.
On the whole though, we would prefer a built-in rechargeable battery. Remembering to charge built-in batteries is always a hassle, but at least if it runs out 3 hours into a flight or train/car journey there may be more chance of finding a power outlet to recharge from than a shop selling AAA batteries.
It is obvious that a lot of thought has gone in to the Adonit Writer 2's design and we were impressed with the build quality and robust feel of the case and keyboard.
With its multiple-angle positioning the Writer 2 will suit most situations where you need to use your iPad, as long as it is in the horizontal orientation. When you want to, you can very easily pop the iPad out of the case using the Quick Eject feature.
You may have issues with the size of the keyboard and we have to be honest and say that we think it is too cramped and the keys are too close together. As we said earlier, we think it is a missed opportunity for Adonit to nail the built-in-Bluetooth-portfolio-iPad-case market. You may find otherwise, but even after a couple of weeks use we still felt the same way and it really disappointed us because we so wanted to unreservedly recommend it.
As it is though, we still think the Adonit Writer 2 has many positive points and is one of the best designed cases, aside from the keyboard, that we have seen. Sadly, the keyboard is what we would be buying this case for, so we recommend you try it out first to see if it fits your hands and typing style.
The Adonit Writer is available in two versions, for the original iPad at $79.99, and the version we reviewed for the iPad 2 at $99.99.
Following this review we heard from Adonit that they are already in the process of updating the Writer keyboard with increased key spacing, based on previous customer feedback.
The new version will have a keyboard experience "very similar to a MacBook Pro", which sounds promising. We hope to get a look at the new Writer soon and we'll let you know what we think.
More iPad accessory news, this time for anyone taking photos that they want to get on to their iPad using Compact Flash (CF) cards.
Our favourite purveyors of all things fun to do with Photography are Photojojo. They have just added to their store a CF card reader at $30 that plugs directly into the iPad's dock connector. They have also added an SD card reader at $15 or both for $40.
This is good because if, like me, you bought a DSLR that uses CF cards only (two weeks before they brought out a new model that uses SD cards), you are not specifically catered for by Apple's Camera Connection Kit (CCK).
Instead, you have to connect your camera, via the cable that comes with it, to the USB dock adapter in the CCK. This is slow, and it means you have to remember to bring it with you when you go out and try not to lose it when you do.
With this new card reader that's all you need to bring, so one less thing to lose and less cables to cram into your travel/camera bag.
Need CF and SD in one?
If you need both CF and SD in one device (e.g. for a new and old DSLR, or for an additional pocket camera) rather than Photojojo's two seperate card readers, then you may want to take a look at Capdase's Dock Connector Card Reader.
This fairly chunky adapter accepts CF/SD/MMC/Micro SD and M2 memory cards (one at a time) so it is ideal for those who have room for it and want as many options as possible.
We saw this Capdase device on Amazon for just under $60 and in the UK for £24.99 (mobilefun.co.uk), which isn't too bad really given all the options.
Have you tried either of these card readers with your iPad? We would like to know what you think, leave us a comment below.
Here's news of a new guitar fx app in town, and it looks and sounds very interesting. With its boutique looking UI for the pedals and amps, sampler with overdub, jam tools and more, JamUp has a few tricks up its sleeve that might just entice guitarists to take a look at it despite being amongst a fairly crowded corner of the iOS app store.
Developers Positive Grid have released two versions of the JamUp App, a Lite (Free) version and a Pro version at $19.99 (£13.99). Interestingly, they have also released a guitar interface called the JamUp Plug that retails at $39.99, using the headphone/mic socket of your iOS device like the iRig and AmpKit Link .
Positive Grid say that their focus was on the tone of the guitar amp simulations and they have tweaked the standard sound from the industry standard amps to come up with a tone that they claim is better than anything heard so far on iOS.
Hopefully we will be able to tell you more about it soon, but for now, you may be as impressed as we were with the demo below, the end product sounds pretty fantastic!
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:
The 30/30 Project
Suzi began a particularly challenging project a few days ago. From 21st October Suzi and 6 other (non-iPad) artists will be producing one painting each day for 30 days.
The paintings will be exhibited in a show at the Peninsula Art School in Fish Creek, Wisconsin running from 11th November to 30th December this year.
Suzi will be the first iPad artist to exhibit in this gallery and her paintings will be printed onto archival paper and exhibited alongside the other artists' work.
Suzi's hard work will culminate in a special iPad Fingerpainting Demo on 19th November when she will paint the last of her 30 images in front of an audience.
We are sure that, like us, you will blown away by Suzi's talent and wish her all the best in completing this challenge.
You can follow Suzi's Flickr stream to see her paintings as she posts them and keep up with her progress on the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, we're sure she would appreciate your encouraging comments too.
Below we have included Suzi's first 2 iPad paintings to whet your appetite. They are beautifully painted and detailed as always and we are loving the 'hidden' numbering too.
If you are able to make it along to the Peninsula Art School to see the exhibition, especially if you attend Suzi's Fingerpainting Demo on the 19th, we would love to hear what you thought in the comments.
When we saw the above trailer for Cinderella for iPad by Developers Nosy Crow we knew we would have to try it out for ourselves (or rather, we had a certain little Princess who would love to try it out).
We were given the chance to see a pre-release copy of the app and we handed the iPad over to our more discerning 6 and 3 year old testers to see what they thought.
Beautiful Animation and Voices
The book is beautifully illustrated and presented, the animation is colourful and appealing with a classic pop-up book look that comes in large part from the stunning 3D illustrations.
You really just want to sit and take in the artwork, whilst the kids will find themselves drawn to the character animations with their retro, yet modern, feel. The characters are really well voiced too, with the child voice actors fitting very nicely with the warm and friendly feel of the book.
Packed full of Interactivity
Unfortunately for my little boy, he didn't really get a look-in on this book as his older (and really rather bossy) Sister claimed the Cinderella app for herself and she is in love with it. It has become her main bedtime story.
In fact, when I removed it temporarily from my iPad to make room for a very large music app I was testing, she got quite upset. Fortunately, the Cinderella app is Universal, so you can put it on your iPhone/iPod Touch too.
Much of my Daughter's adoration of the Cinderella app comes from the plentiful interactive elements within the book. These aid the telling of the story so that your little ones will feel much more immersed in the story and its progress. The sheer range of interactive elements also makes the app ideal for repeated viewings.
Favourites here were the garden scene (lots to discover and do) and the dance scene at the Ball (with the choice of dance music).
A Special Feature
For those using an iPad 2 there is a very special interactive feature that the kids will love. Using the camera they can actually appear in the story themselves (see the mirror in the screenshot below) with the story's characters even saying "Who's that in the mirror?", a very nice touch that literally makes your kids a part of the story.
We were really impressed by Cinderella for iPad, but more importantly the target audience in our household loved the app and keep coming back to it. That makes it a hit for us.
At $7.99 (£5.99) in the App Store, Cinderella for iPad is about the same price as a well illustrated children's print book. It is definitely one of the most enjoyable, beautiful and engaging iPad picture books we have seen.
If you have kids who use your iPad and like the story of Cinderella (who doesn't), we think it will enchant any little Princess (or Prince for that matter), keeping them entertained for many hours.
As always, if you get this app, let us know what you and your little ones think in the comments below.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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)
- 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.
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.
We heard from IK Multimedia after posting our review, with a bit more information on the reason that such a short charging cable is included (Apple's power requirements), on the upcoming Universal SampleTank iPad app and the wish-list recording feature.
We have added these notes in Italics at the pertinent points as we were happy to clarify the text.
We love seeing what iPad users are creating with their 'magical' devices, and our iPad Creative Flickr Group is very active with more and more iPad created images being added every day. If you haven't been there before, or haven't visited the group in a while, you should really go over and take a look.
We wish we had time to highlight some of the more wonderful, odd, amazing, bizarre and beautiful images we see every day and it is our intention to try and share more of them with you in the future.
Here's an image that grabbed our attention today, a classic subject with an interesting idea behind it, painted using Artist's Touch and processed with Pic Grunger (an iPhone app). Be sure to click on the picture and read the comments from artist Jeannie (a.k.a. madlyinlovewithlife on Flickr).
Yet another Kickstarter project, but this one is for iPad artists. It's also time sensitive and you can save $10 if you act quickly.
The retail price for the Sensu will be $34.99, but if you get your Kickstarter pledge in now (or within the next few days) you only have to pay $25.
We have ordered one so we will let you know what we think when it arrives, but if you are after a brush/stylus for your iPad at a reasonable price and you can wait for few months act now!
Despite it's erroneous claims to be "the first professional synthesizer designed for the iPad", a PR statement which has caused a flurry of disgruntled comments from some of the music press and a number of very fine iOS Developers, Animoog by Moog Music Inc is definitely a great sounding Synth app with a fine looking UI.
We have only just begun to play with it but we are very impressed with what we see and hear in Animoog.
We are, of course, not synth experts or Moog purists by any means, but we do know that this synth app has a fantastic range of sounds and offers some interesting and creative interactivity as a musical instrument.
These interactions are delivered, in part, via the Fairlight-esque wave modulation front screen and the unusual keys which respond to vertical movement of your fingers to effect modulation of the notes.
Then there are the backscreens which let you fiddle to your heart's content with the built in modules, some modelled on classic Moog hardware so that you can, as the Moog website says, "quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them."
We had no problem getting Animoog to work with our MIDI keyboard using iRig MIDI into the iPad.
Apparently it will work with Virtual MIDI in a future version.
30-Day Bargain Price
Animoog will normally cost you, a slightly too pricey in our opinion, $29.99 (~£20) but for the first 30 days it will only set you back $0.99 (69p) and for that price you have to download it and see for yourself what it can do.
Here is a video overview, including some helpful interface clues, from Moog themselves:
"Addiction: a physiological and psychological compulsion for a habit-forming substance. In extreme cases, an addiction may become an overwhelming obsession."
For substance read the literally amazing array of sounds that Addictive Synth can generate and the obsession comes from knowing that despite hours spent with the app, we have only just scratched the surface of what it can do.
We love playing with this app so much that it has taken us a lot longer than it should have to post about it. Why? Because every time we sit down to write the review we start playing with Addictive Synth and that's it, the review is forgotten about and the evening has gone.
Before we go on, take a look at the video below from VirSyn for a taste of what Addictive Synth can do:
Watching that video you were probably as surprised as us at how much this little app can do. It sounds fantastic to our 80s-tuned ears and features some very strong customisation options.
We were absolutely blown away by the sheer range of sounds that Addictive Synth is capable of producing. Many sounds defy definition and they can be so minutely tuned away from the standard sounds that any synth/electronic type sound is probably achievable.
Digging into the Presets, one minute we were tantalisingly close to getting that Knight Rider sound (Dip Down Preset 1/16 Arp) the next we were sending the cats running out of the room with the strangest sounds they may ever have heard from the iPad (Resozz with Chase Arp) then calming things down with much nicer sounds (like the haunting Ethereal Preset).
When you find that perfect sound you can save it as a Preset for use again. Addictive Synth comes with 128 Presets giving you a good range of starting points but there are 192 slots altogether for you to use.
All of this is, of course, just the beginning. You can further shape the sound using a wide range of tools that include the following:
- Six dynamic wavetable oscillators per voice, up to 48 total.
- Continous morphing between two oscillator sets.
- Realtime editing of up to 128 partials (overtones).
- Realtime editing of filter structure to create arbitrary body resonances.
- Extensive modulation possibilities using up to 4 LFOs and 4 Envelopes.
- Control matrix allows real time control of five parameters using the X/Y touch pad, the modulation wheel and the tilt sensors of the iPad.
- Monophonic or polyphonic with 8 voices.
- 128 factory presets, unlimited user presets can be shared.
- Up to three effects concurrently usable selected from: equalizer, phaser, flanger, chorus and stereo/cross delay
Really, you need to get this app and play with it to see and hear for yourself what the app can do, especially when editing the Waves or Filters simply by drawing the waveform with your finger across the screen it is very Addictive, we have to say.
Addictive Synth's Arp mode really impressed us with its versatility and depth. As you can see from the screenshot below you can customise the Arp with up to 32 steps, you can program the Tie, Accent, Note transposition and also randomise any of these parameters using the 'randomizer' or dice icon.
This is a brilliant feature we liked a lot. The 'randomizer' is described as intelligent and gives useable results at almost every throw of the dice.
Of course, Addictive Synth is CoreMIDI compliant and we were able to play the app with our MIDI connected keyboard via the iRig MIDI (more on that very soon) without any problems. A little bit of fiddling in the parameters on the Control screen can reap some great benefits when combining effects on the Modulation wheel too.
We had a few crashes with Addictive Synth, which is always a bit of a concern with a performance app, but we think making sure there are no other background apps running and perhaps even a restart before a recording session would minimise or preclude these crashes completely.
We did find the Record function a bit flaky, we usually had to give it a couple of goes to get it working and this was usually when the app crashed in our experience. If you follow the tips above though it will help.
You can record any loop or sequence you play and using ACP export it to GarageBand or one of the other compatible apps, but Addictive Synth also records it as a MIDI and Audio file for sharing via iTunes, so you have a good range of options for capturing your sonic creations.
We have to say that Addictive Synth has now become our go-to synth app for it's versatility of sound and relatively easy accessibility. If you want to, you can geek out in the Control Screen and get specific with the detailed shaping of your sound based on an existing preset.
If you have even a vague interest in creating digital music we think you will really like Addictive Synth, it truly lives up to its name - we can't put it down!
If you've already tried Addictive Synth we would love to hear what you think, or even hear what you have created with the app, comments and links are welcome below.
Addictive Synth is available on the App Store for $9.99 (£6.99)
We liked the video stabilisation app SteadyLens a lot when it was released, if you haven't heard of it check out our review and the video demo we made below (comparing it to iMovie 11's stabilisation feature).
Updated Features & Pricing
SteadyLens developers midnox have just released a new, updated, version of the app and changed its name to Luma.
The name change reflects the new features which go beyond just (very good) video stabilisation. The big feature is the price - Luma is now free (dropping the $2.99 / £1.99 in-app upgrade), but we also like the live filters and manual controls.
The price drop alone means we recommend you grab the app now and try it out, but here are the rest of the new features that make it one of our highly recommended iPad (and iPhone/iPod Touch) video apps:
- Real time filters
- Pinch to zoom
- Portrait recording
- Stabilized viewfinder
- Lock exposure, focus and white balance
iPhone and iPod touch features:
- Medium quality recording mode
- Full 720p recording