ACP

iPulsaret – Review

 
 
By: apeSoft
Visit the website for iPulsaret and more HERE

iPulsaret

Designed for iPad 2&3

apeSoft is well-known for its Density/Pulsaret Granular Synthesis programs for Mac/Windows. Having happily experienced their first entry into iOS with iDensity, it took little for my ears to perk up at the mention of iPulsaret joining the club.

iPulsaret is an audio sandbox where you can manipulate all the time-domain varieties of granular synthesis in real-time. Huh? Basically, you can take your music, audio files, and  audio recordings and create some great detailed textures from subtle to wildly dramatic effects.

 
All on one responsive screen

“microsound granular synthesis for iPad”

The interface is very familiar to those who have had the pleasure of using iDensity. Everything is right there on the screen. I found it to be similar in appearance, and extremely user-friendly. No confusing menus, or hidden functions that can’t be found intuitively. You can see from the screenshots various icons representing the many effects & tools, as well as the slider controls for the primary grain manipulations.

The many effects icons are not obvious at first glance as they are not labeled, but after a brief period of getting familiar with them, the waveform illustrations for each will make sense fast. Learning as you explore is always fun, especially here.

Take a snapshot of your sound “A snapshot is a photo of all parameters Granulator and FX values.”

As you go try taking “snapshots” ( just tap the camera icon ) as you progress with tweaking. They can be assigned manually but the first 4 snapshots are assigned by default to the snapshot pad. Bring up the snapshot pad (even to full screen) and a grid containing the 4 snapshots can be controlled by touch. Theres lots of math and complicated terms, but essentially moving from the center of each to and fro will control hundreds of parameters impacting what you play out on the keyboard. This is very cool!

iPulsaret is clearly made to be easy to use and understand. It’s perfect for spontaneous use. Since it allows you to record using your iPads built-in mic, you’ll rarely miss a opportunity to capture some interesting audio anywhere you and your iPad happen to be. Of course you can use a separate mic like the iRig Mic, and that would be recommended over the built-in mic. Ive been experimenting a lot with iPulsaret to see what new things it will allow me to do. I’ve found it to be very stable, for one thing. It also is amazing for taking a simple, mundane sound and turning it into a new playable synth sound. It appears what really separates iPulsaret from iDensity is its more synth-ish where iDensity is more drone-like. They are different nonetheless in that iPulsaret can generate thousands of grains dynamically. This is quite different from traditional synths with fixed voices or oscillators. I suggest for a more comprehensive explanation of granular synthesis to click HERE for the full skinny.

“Control and shape grains, anytime, anywhere with iPulsaret for iPad.”

Complex, and beyond my technical understanding as granular synthesis may be, as an artist using the software myself I can say that iPulsaret is extremely well made. It fits in perfectly to my workflow offering a great many options to create unique sounds you wont hear anywhere. I’m sure anyone would agree iPulsaret is a highly capable, useful program. I havent had it crash, or fail at all. Getting started with the included library of samples leads the way to inspiring user creativity. As I mentioned you can record directly with your iPad or other compatible microphone. Additionally you can easily add your own WAV, AIFF, files via iTunes File Share, Sonoma AudioCopy/Paste and Dropbox are also supported.  iPulsaret plays well with others and can be run in the background.

Saying “I dig iPulsaret”  might be an understatement. So far as granular synths go it has the greatest capabilities, and is very playable. They really put a lot into this making it very strong. The last update (1.0.3) increased its iOS compatibility back to iOS 5.1. Also added in that update was MIDI in keyboard support with pitch bend. There weren’t many to begin with but the bugs were fixed, and some more improvements were made improving the UI and routing. I certainly recommend iPulsaret highly, a truly 5 star app.

Buy iPulsaret in iTunes HERE and get grainy!

Why Audio Copy? Because The Trees Don’t Have Outlets.

I hear from people all around the world fascinated with the iOS way of making music anywhere they like. Being able to make music anywhere is a big and appealing factor.
Not having to pack any computers, keyboards, or the wires to connect them is a compelling experience.
The devices are only part of the experience, it’s the music apps that make it or break it. Thankfully most developers understand how important it is to function without the need of any other gear or cables. Anywhere.
One thing I’ve seen in common with iOS music enthusiasts is they love to be able to make music where ever they want to. Perform a gig, record in a studio, or my favorite, go to a secluded park. It’s all under the mobility umbrella.
Being mobile and able to complete a project where ever you want is not without it’s basic requirements. One critical requirement is being able to record a melody or whatever, and easily move it from one application to another. At home or on stage this is very easy thanks to access to our daily technological connections. Just plug in, turn on MIDI, swap files over WiFi, or File Share. No problem.
When away from all the comforts of home or stage this is a different story. Without any of those other aids, wires, and connectivity how does one record and swap files all on a single device?
The band aid to the dilemma has been Audio Copy Paste. It’s far from perfect, is not the best solution, but it is the only option when in a secluded park, forest or on a mountain trail. Audio Copy allows the user to fully experience being mobile, and not needing any other devices, Internet connections, or wires. I’m not talking about 10 minute recordings, that’s nuts. I’m talking about brief recordings mostly under one minute, often much less.
In these scenarios audio copy becomes more important, and in my opinion a requirement.
Let me be clear, I do not love audio copy, I accept it. When I am away making music I don’t have any other technology access at all beyond my iPad and apps. It all must work wherever I go. Audio Copy as flawed as it may be, serves a purpose and up to now has been the only truly mobile file sharing option. As I am writing this I’m checking Twitter, and saw a comment about how well apps without audio copy are mobile and work very well on stage. That’s partially true, but a painfully narrow view of mobility. It neglects the point of choice and freedom. I suppose if going to another place with all the abundance of technological comforts was all one ever does, than sure. No problem, you’re mobile-ish.
Is that really mobile though? What if you have a broader definition of mobile freedom? Then what? Well, your only choice is Audio Copy if you want to swap files. Not the end all be all of solutions forever, but it works well enough when other options are just not options.
The future is likely to be very different as AudioBus appears to be on the visible horizon. A far better way to get things done while still not needing any other gear or connectivity. Of course that depends heavily on developer cooperation. All your apps need to be compatible using AudioBus without problems. I am very optimistic about that not being a problem. While I’m not a techy guy fully understanding it’s technical specifications, I do understand its importance. Frankly I don’t care about the tech aspects, I just care that it works well preserving audio quality. I’m just an artist using the tech, not a developer making it. I trust the developers to get it right and cooperate. Failing to do so would be tragic.
So that’s why, Audio Copy, at least for now. It’s flawed, but does the job when there are no other options. It fills a void that until AudioBus arrives fills it alone.
Music applications that neglect to offer Audio Copy are just not getting this point of view that defines true mobility. They are still good apps, but when I’m on a trail, in the forest, in the middle of nowhere, how am I supposed to use them? I cant. I dont. The trees don’t have outlets or Internet routers. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just about seeing things without placing obstacles in the way of the users.
I honestly do not understand why any music app developer would purposely ignore the fact that their definition of mobility is not universal. It’s not just about a few places the developer thinks you can go, it’s about all the places anyone would like to go. It’s about offering people the option to enjoy their music apps fully wherever they go. Its like an MP3 player without a headphone jack. Sure you can plug it in to a stereo or something, but you can’t use it on a hike, or visit to a park because the developer doesn’t like headphones and thinks you should only use it plugged in with speakers. Yes, speakers are better, but that’s not a realistic option if you want to enjoy it anywhere.
Well, that’s my point of view on the topic. Audio Copy has its uses, and works when no other options are available to do the job. Mobility, Freedom, Choice. That’s what makes iOS music great.

All users have a different idea of what mobility means to them. None right, none wrong, all equally important. I would never say that a person who doesn’t use these things as I do are not mobile. Not at all. I’m only suggesting that for my uses in some circumstances it’s nice to have the option to perform a task.

I can’t wait for AudioBus. Fingers crossed. I’ll be happy to never mention Audio Copy again.