Sampler

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!

csGrain – Review

Grains Of Change

Review based on use with iPad 2&3

csGrain using the CSOUND software synthesizer and signal processor gives us a great set of tools to record and process audio in real-time.

Take a live or imported recording and dramatically morph them into whatever your imagination inspires. So much can be done using the powerful stereo granular sound processor and 10 professional audio FX simultaneously. Its cool!

A clean interface lets you get things done without any hassle or confusion. Everything is laid out nice and tidy right in front of you. Maybe a bit drab in appearance, but pretty slick nonetheless. No worries about trying to find anything here.

I’ve spent many hours enjoying the range of options tweaking various recordings I made resulting in some rather wild samples. I love that you can set each of the parameters to move within a predetermined minimum to maximum range or totally at random. A long touch on any of the knobs leads to the Random Settings where you can choose to have that particular function move within the selected range. If you can’t decide on what to set things at, just hit “randomize”.  The knob will darken so you don’t lose track of it.

 Overall the audio quality is really very good. I didn’t experience any unwanted noises. It all came out sounding clean, and just as intended. The 10 FX are well made. The Reverb is pretty thin, and leaves much to be desired though. Applying all 10 FX at once didn’t even cause me any grief, and csGrain just kept working away twisting up the samples for as long as I recorded them.

The included preset samples are nice, but of course its  more about playing with your own. Managing your audio files and recording is easy within the app. You can save your things in the “My Audio Files” section found at the bottom of the screen. From there you can also select and do a simple edit of the file. csGrain also is great for field recordings using (careful of feedback) the device mic, or better an iRig Mic.

Import supports AudioPaste, Dropbox, and iTunes. Export via Email, Dropbox, AudioCopy, and “Open In…” Sharing made easy, just how we like it.

Also included is a handy, detailed user manual complete with well written instructions, and sample photos. If that still doesn’t answer your question, you can Email Customer Support from the manual.

If you want something for manipulating recordings in subtle to crazy ways that sounds great, csGrain will do the job. This is a wonderful app loaded with tools, features, and functionality. This is where you go for special audio effects for your music or audio projects. If you want to have some fun, you can also mess up tunes from your iPod library. Why not? Pitch Shift, & speed up the latest viral hit from that obscure hippity hop artist that just wont go away. Whatever you want to do, in this app you can certainly do it with Grain Style!

 

  5 Stars – Recommended Highly!  Visit iTunes to purchase csGrain

NoisePAD Review

Developed By MediaGROE

Its Noisy

NoisePAD is straight forward “drum computer”, sequencer and beat maker designed for live performance.
NoisePAD has a very nice look. It’s elegant in appearance and quick to navigate. The design is streamlined, making it very easy to use and understand fast. A quick, to the point INFO page will easily answer any “how to” questions within the app.

Delivered with 5 preloaded sound-banks, each containing 12 samples, NoisePAD comes ready to get started.

The built-in sequencer is programmable up to 12 patterns each with its own length of bars from 1 to 99. Patterns flow seamlessly; one right into the next.

With some nice effects controlled via sliders, there’s some great sample tweakability at your finger tips. The included effects are: Pitch, Delay, Cut-off, Phase, Reverb, and Bit-Crush. They sound alright, and suit a party atmosphere very well, but have no real controllable parameters to fine tune the FX. Recording and performing on the fly are just a tap away. Mute, Solo, adjust BPM, and Swing without interrupting the flow. Same goes for selecting samples, loading new ones won’t disrupt the performance. Paste in your samples from the paste board and custom organize sample banks however you like. If you want more samples there is an option to purchase them via IAP additional sample banks. I have noticed some slight latency from the pads here and there, but really not very much or often.

The preloaded samples in NoisePAD range from good to outright absurd. I honestly cannot imagine anyone buying another sample bank that really anyone could make. I mean, some of the samples are just terrible vocals of some kid swearing, dropping F bombs, or no brainer one liners we have all heard a bazillion times, and whatnot. “Damn Girl” “Drop It” “Hands up,” “Party people” are some of the overdone hype samples you’ll hear. I get that it’s intended to be for fun, but they just aren’t inspiring to me at all. The drum samples are pretty good; but with only 12-36 samples per IAP they leave a lot to be desired with some wasted on vapid vocals. Seriously, these are popular “artists”? Can’t you just sample yourself shouting “Put your hands up”? There, you’re a popular artist.

Most of the drum or instrument samples are not really worth the expense as they are all easy to make yourself with the right apps.

To be fair I supposed plenty of people think these kinds of tired samples are great fun. I get that, and NoisePAD is fun, especially after you load it up with your own creative samples. It does make things convenient. That said, it falls a little short of professional.  It’s not something I would suggest using for a pro live set if you want to impress anyone.

It seems to me that NoisePAD is really a party DJ performance app intended to make adding samples to live sets fun and easy. It does that very well. If the FX, sample packs, and general quality  matures and improves, NoisePAD could contend for the attention of a more serious, artistic crowd. The future of NoisePAD could develop into something very special. Keep an eye on it.

                    3 out of 5 Stars

                            Available in iTunes.

SampleWiz App Review: The Wonderful Wiz Of Ahhs

UPDATED 7-19-2013

Wizdom Music has finally taken this (Including GeoSynth, and MorphWiz) fantastic app to the next level. Audiobus support is here! No more fussing with the time limited recording function. Sorry if you liked that. It’s definitely a very welcome update to a great app that has suffered in many iOS users dust folders of non-Audiobus supported apps. So get to it! Sampling and re-sampling is easier than ever.

Update!!! 9-7-2011
SampleWiz has just seen a nice update that brings us MIDI support, 12 new cool presets. Also added to Sample Wiz in this update is support for AirTurn Pedal to change presets, and function to disable animation, and finger vibrato.
Review prior to this update follows.

OK, corny title, I couldn’t resist.
Jordan Rudess of Wizdom Music brings us a new, fascinating and fun sampler in SampleWiz.
This review is based on use with iPad 1. But it is also compatible with 3rd generation iPod and up.

Right away you’ll notice a colorful and simple interface that is very strait forward and easy to understand.
The design looks cool with some unique visualizations, depending on what you are doing. It lights up under your fingers both literally and figuratively providing a very smooth work flow not to mention looking great.
If you are familiar with Wizdoms MorphWiz you will see right away that this was designed with ease of use in mind. Customers asked for less complexity, and they got it. SampleWiz looks easy but is also quite elegant.

The preset samples are a nice variety of sounds from leads to a friendly thank you from it’s creators. While there is no way to record a performance, there is however a resample feature which allows you to create all new samples created from the presets. Recording is limited though to 10 seconds. When I asked Wizdom Music about this, I received a very logical and satisfying explanation from one of it’s creators named Kevin. He said: “Jordan and I considered adding a recorder for longer performances, but we felt that it compromised the feel of the app and would lead to the unintuitive juxtaposition of the resampling option and another record option.”
Makes sense. It works fine as is. Sounds great to me. I would however like a little more than 10 seconds. Still, this is nothing to be overly concerned with.                            

The playing surface isn’t limited to just a keyboard. There’s 3 playing surfaces in all. In addition to the keyboard (which is adjustable) you can further express you creative juices using the Wave Edit screen, and or the ADSR window.

The sampler has three modes. Classic sampling which is the common method where samples speed up or slow down as you play over or under the samples original pitch.
Granular mode is fun, with adjustable grain size and speed. You can twist up and granulate your samples to your hearts content.  The notes retain the speed they were recorded in.
Last is Modern Mode. A new way to explore sampling  using “Dirac” technology, this automatically adjusts time and formant over a selected range.

For a full list of specs check out SampleWiz in the iTunes app store.

 You will find lots of control over your samples from playing to editing. All the features you expect like trimming, cropping, standard looping, forward or reverse, ping pong (plays forward and reverse in loop). Adjusting and selecting a wide range of scales, BPM selection and lots more. You can have one or two keyboards, and if you choose two both can be set to have it’s own different scale and range of your choosing.

Hold, is a neat feature that allows you to select and hold notes just as it says, and the held notes can have a different synthesis mode. This is very nice allowing even more expression and avenues to explore samples and new possibilities.

SampleWiz sounds very nice. I didn’t notice any compromise is audio quality during hours of use with all the various settings.
As far as FX go there is a solid delay. Really SampleWiz is a big FX unit in a way.
I would like to see some more FX. Adding Reverb, would be great.

Some users were experiencing low memory problems causing their first generation iPads to crash. I didnt experience any crashes myself but they already updated that with a fix. Nice to see such speedy action with a solution.

All in all if you’re looking for a nice, highly capable sampler with lots of possibilities to create unique sounds, instruments, or just have a grand time. SampleWiz delivers. It has appeal to pros and newbies as well. The ever important sharing capabilities are here with MAPI copy paste,(with compatible apps) and iTunes file share, both allow you to bring in (or out) new samples of your own and use them just as well as the presets. SampleWiz looks great, sounds great, and is loads of fun. At $9.99 US, it’s a good buy for all.

PS Occasionally I get various promo codes, so stay tuned. I’m all out of SampleWiz codes for now.

5 stars. Get it.