Recording

Master FX – Review

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Master FX App is made by iMusicAlbum
Available in iTunes App Store

iMusicAlbum has recently been offering quality audio processing options for iOS music production that are highly convenient for many uses.
Their latest is this live audio multi-effects app for external sources such as vocals, instruments etc. Additionally it can be used in the Audiobus effect and output slots, making this a very versatile app.
Primarily Master FX is intended for use with guitars, vocals, or any other instruments that can be adapted to your device where the app will process desired effects. Recording can be done within the app itself as well as your favorite iDAW.
Sadly, at least at the moment I am writing this, Master FX does not support inter-app audio. This means if you use Audiobus to facilitate recordings of external instrumentation that you are only able to record 16 bit audio. Otherwise apart from that this can record at 24 bits. For electronic music 16 bits is just fine, but for live vocals or guitars it is less desirable.

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Master FX comes with 7 effects modules and limiter at the main output. 6 effects can be run simultaneously.
The built in effects are: Chorus, Reverb, Delay, Compressor, Flanger, Pitch, and a 3 band Parametric EQ.
The order of each module can be customized to fit whatever preferences you may have for the signal order. Furthermore, two assignable pad banks (6 each, A&B) can accommodate your presets for quick FX switching via the “Live” tab.
Add to that independent “left/right” channel recording to capture a guitar and vocals at the same time.

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The effects are not simply just wet/dry sliders, but actual independent modules. This means by selecting the module tab the corresponding effect unit opens up full screen to present you with all of its adjustable parameters.
They are still not exactly “specialized” effects such as what you would find in a stand alone effects app (like Audio Reverb, EchoPad etc) but they are each quite good in their own right. For live situations they are especially handy being all in one app, on one screen.

Several carefully crafted presets are included for certain and specific scenarios or instruments in mind. You can also create and save your own preset banks.

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Recording can be done directly to Master FX, and files are easily managed. If you’ve used any of iMusicAlbum’s other apps like the excellent “AudioMastering” app, you will feel right at home with the same style of file manager. Not to mention the whole design of Master FX is also designed with the same uniform interface as this developer’s other audio apps.

For a full list of specs, video tutorials, and app details please visit iMusicAlbum

Managing files in the app is one thing but moving files around needs to be easy too. Anybody familiar with iOS Music production knows that moving files around between our various other apps or cloud services is a must. No problem. Master FX has the bases covered with Dropbox, AudioCopy/Paste, iTunes Playlist & File Share, “Open In” and WiFi tools for importing and exporting with ease.

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I’ve been testing Master FX mostly as it’s intended, by recording and processing audio captured with my iRigMic. I found no issues or problems at all. Even though iRigMic is mono, Master FX, with the right selection of modules and signal path set, did a great job of giving my recordings body and fullness that resembled a stereo recording with no discernible difference.
I am impressed.
I also tried it as an “Effect” slot in Audiobus and had just as good of an experience.

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For an all in one multi FX app, Master FX does a fine job in each of its possible situational applications.
Stable, easy to use and understand it should make for a top choice.
My only gripe is that it doesn’t currently support inter-app audio, and the Reverb and Chorus could be a little bit better. Nothing bad, they are decent, I just feel they are not this app’s strong point.
This is more of a “student of many” rather than a master of anything in particular. If you’re looking for a particular, highly specialized effect type this probably shouldn’t be the first choice. However if you want a collection of good effects to use simultaneously and packaged neatly in one app for live uses with real world instruments or vocals, then this is a list topper. Check out the tutorial on iMusicAlbum’s website (linked midway and top) for the two channel recording. Many of you should find it particularly interesting.

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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.

The Music App Gamble

Something has been bothering me for a while. I have this folder on my iPad (both actually) I call “Music Apps With Potential”. It is full of incomplete music apps that are missing vital, basic functions. I can’t use them in their current builds because each is missing what I (most people I think would agree) consider very basic functions, and supports.
Those which I consider to be very basic are AudioCopy/Paste, midi, Audiobus, and or a built in recording feature. Basically the things that all iOS music apps should never be without. I’m not talking about expansions, or additional features that will increase usability. No, I am talking about the stuff that most of us expect and need in order to use the app to begin with. Stuff that if missing inhibit and or impead use.

It makes me a bit sad actually. So many music apps with great design. They’re innovative, unique, and just down right cool! Some are real game changers.
I knew they were half baked when I bought them, but I did check with each developer to confirm their development plans before purchase. Each of these were confirmed that the vital functions I had asked about, will be added in future updates. The time frames for these promised updates vary from app to app, but each had been confirmed.

With each confirmation I happily supported what I thought to be excellent development and I paid for the app.
Most of the time apps of this type don’t remain in the “potential” folder very long. They usually get the update in a timely manner or as promised. Unfortunately some never get out of app purgatory. Too many for me.
It is a little frustrating to see them there as a constant reminder of how many times I’ve been burned.
Worse is that such great innovations are abandoned and left unrealized.

While this sort of thing is a fairly small percentage of the whole, it is common. For me it’s common enough to make me reconsider ever purchasing another music app that cannot be used the day I buy it.
I understand that developers need to make money, and I have felt sympathetic frequently enough to take the gamble with buying their apps before they were really even close to ready. Always gambling on their word being true. Too many times have I been left holding an empty bag several months or even a year later having nothing to show for it.

They may have excellent reasons but I just don’t care. I see it as a breach of confidence. A hollow word, and an empty promise. It says a lot about ones integrity to break a promise or take advantage of people who will trust the giving of a seemingly honorable word. Even though most follow through, enough don’t and leave me feeling like it is now an undesirable gamble. Risky stuff sometimes. You know what they say about one bad apple.

It’s too risky of a gamble for me anymore. Simply put, after these many unfortunate experiences having lost the gamble, I am done. Finish the app, then I will buy it. I don’t believe I am being unreasonable to expect a product I buy should be finished and ready for intended use. How about you?