Master Record – App Review

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Master Record
Developed By: Igor Vasiliev iMusicAlbum

Available in iTunes App Store HERE

Remember when you had to put an audio cassette tape in your old Tascam PortaStudio to record music? Remember the warm hiss that analogue tape added? You don’t? Really? Yikes, I’m really showing my age I guess.

Well anyway, before technological advances that brought us luxuries like gravity, oxygen, and iPads, we had to record our music up hill! Both ways, when I was young! Dag nabbit!
Now we have insanely easy ways to record. No more tapes, reels, or whatever. No more unwanted noise.

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So now we have “Master Record” available for us to enjoy recreating the noisy analogue tape recordings from yesteryear. But, why?
Turns out there are plenty of folks who appreciated the warm hiss that tape forced upon us. With this app though, that noise is completely under the users control. You can crank it up and have your recordings sound like they were done behind a waterfall, or remove it completely. Whatever you want.

Master Record is a convenient way to record just about anything, from any audio source. Wherever you choose. It works with the iRig Mic (among many other mics) and is Audiobus compatible with the Effect and Output slots. Import or export using AudioCopy/Paste, Open In, Internal web service via WiFi and of course iTunes File Share. Moving recordings to and from Master Record is covered well. It needs Dropbox support though.

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More than anything this app is best suited for adding analogue tape sound effects, rather than a go to recorder. It can warm up recordings with its 4 unique analogue tape noise emulations, and its “Tape Saturator” with 3 variants. There are also the “Flutter” effects with 3 frequency types and a basic 2 band shelf EQ for input corrections. So there’s plenty of options to manage and create the desired effects.
The “Flutter” however really doesn’t seem to do anything at all. I’ve tried maxing it in several experiments with various audio, but it has no noticeable effect on anything.
I suppose the effects this app generates are meant to be subtle, and very specific. In regards to that, it does a great job. So don’t go in expecting to get anything but analogue tape effects out of Master Record.

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Master Record has a nice waveform view screen which also provides an environment to adjust fades. 3 envelope fade types ( just like in the Audio Mastering App which looks nearly identical to this app) to choose from and detailed positioning with pin point accuracy.
This is simply a recording app, but it would benefit from some editing tools. That would boost its appeal, making it much more useful and practical. As a stand alone recorder with no wave editing, that for the most part doesn’t do much except produce a niche sound type, Master Record has me on the fence whether or not to recommend it widely.

Yes! This does do a very good job with emulating analogue tape noise, has dubbing, a good array of tweakable parameters for warming recordings and adding body. But that’s about it. This is one of those very specific “job-type” apps. If you really want to have an excellent way to reproduce certain tape sound types, and make perfect digital recordings sound more natural, then look no further. If you don’t have a strong desire for this specific sound, then you probably won’t have much need for this particular app.

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9 comments

  1. Nice review. I don’t have a strong desire for that. None at all. I remember when CD’s first came out. I thought it was fantastic to have that great clean sound. I worked in a band where the keyboard player really missed the snaps and pops etc. of records. I never understood why.

    1. Me too. Everybody has a different opinion on what they like. I can see how an app like this would appeal to those who are big fans of old tape sounds. I don’t understand, but I respect that. This app does do a good job of it.

  2. LOL! I may be older than you, or simply less nostalgic, but I remember when tape hiss was regarded as one of the necessary evils of magnetic recording. That’s why Dolby B and C and dbx encoding and decoding were invented and hugely popular – to push the level of noise down below audibility. Don’t get me wrong; I love Igor’s program, and his other one, Audio Mastering (also well-reviewed here). But one thing I do not miss is the noise floor of magnetic tape. I will never forget the first time I heard the soundtrack of “ET, the Extraterrestrial” on a CD. At one point, I heard what sounded like a musician’s foot accidentally touching a music stand. I was suddenly propelled into the room with mind-blowing presence and realism. I’d heard the score countless times on vinyl and cassette, but this made a believer of me. Thanks, but I’m perfectly happy without tape noise, so that slider probably won’t see a lot of use, unless it has some really neat side-effects. Thanks for a cool review.

  3. Another well done review. I do have Audio Mastering as a counterpoint to Auria’s many IAPs (Fabfilter’s), but this one is like you said, a niche product. You know, on new music, I like the sound to be clean. But the moment I’m trying to make a song that reminds me of my dad’s old LP collection, I would find this very useful to recreate those noises.

  4. It could be way more interesting, and useful to most of us if the developer included a few more simple editing tools (yes this one has a trim/fade, but it really should be trivial in the Mastering App…sorry, that just seems a bit cheapish…and the whole disclaimer thing…”should not be confused with an editing app” stuff…I don’t buy it.

    I agree, some of the effects are too subtle even for audio purists, but if I want an app for tape wow/flutter, this sure is not it. Nothing doing. I like a minimalist concept with this sort of app, but a few more bells and whistles in future updates, or very likely no more for me from iMusicAlbum…

    1. Just to qualify…I think the Audio Mastering app is great, and the way the developers approach app building from a higher end perspective is commendable…He has been excellent with updates, so maybe if we are all nice he will throw in a few more treats with each update. So please, keep the subtle, but add a little more Mojo, and I will keep buying down the road.

      In art they say a detail that is so subtle that nobody notices its effect should probably be a a little less subtle, lol…

    2. As to the disclaimer, Igor is far better in English than I am in Russian, so I accept the disclaimer as clarification of what he intends the app to do and not do. In the case of this one, it imparts a lovely depth to the sound. Doesn’t seem so much a wide-ranging effect as a subtle enhancement of warmth and midrange detail.

  5. Ha, true. I think we are getting spoiled by the plethora of great stuff filtering out into this virtual garden of audio treats we now have at our disposal. I need to step back, take a deep breath of appreciation for it all and try not to get too excited about the future of iOS. Surely, it is a great one for recording musicians at this rate of development.

    But, hey, Igor, if you are reading this, throw in the tape mangler in the next update!

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