Suffering from a high degree of Buyers Remorse recently – even though my cumulative purchases of the last 6 months probably amount to the price of a decent bottle of whiskey. In fact, come to think of it, most of my purchases have been made after drinking decent whiskey. Hmmm. Anyway, I haven’t been getting Buyers Remorse after buying cars or computers. No, I have bought a few dollars worth of Apps for my iPad. All of them have been music apps, and in the spirit of confession I am going to run through a few here. Not all have been bad purchases mind you – some have been fantastic….
Garageband – eugh – shudder – I hate this app more than I can express, it typifies all that I hate about apple products – at once too easy to use, doing everything for you, while simultaneously being very restrictive in what you can actually do. This is the app equivalent of being in a care home – they feed you, bathe you, dress you and wipe your bum, but they won’t let you nip out to the shops or choose what you want for dinner. Grrr
Phaedra. Like a letter to points of view: “Why oh why oh why oh why oh why…” why did I buy this?? I have LittleMIDIMachine, which is excellent, and free, why buy Phaedra, which does nothing more. The screen shots looked nice and I was drunk. That’s it. I am a sucker for good screen shots.
Arctic Keys. Another screen shot wonder here – I thought it looked exciting, and their demo video is fucking awesome, and it comes from a good developer, but every time I open it up I find myself thinking “Why did I buy this crap”, most of the preset sounds are awful, there are free synths out there with way better sounds, and they inexplicably vary in volume from a whisper to a blare which makes browsing the preset catalog a miserable experience. I keep going back and trying again because I am sure I am missing something.
NLogSynthPro. I paid full price for this 2 day before it was on sale at half price, but that is my only regret – what an amazing piece of software. Beautiful. Half the preset sounds suck but I don’t care because almost everything that comes out of this synth sounds rich and beautiful and interesting. I get a thrill of excitement every time I see it in my Music App page. Wonderful. Really.
Korg iMS20 – what the fuck did I buy this for?? I paid full price a month before the half price sale (I am shit at this) and I have barely used it except to go through Discchord’s brilliant Everyone Can Play Music tutorials (thanks Tim!) which, to be fair, about justifies the price tag. However like other “recreate the retro user experience” apps what they recreate is the “hard to understand and hard to use” experience. There is a reason that synths are no longer built this way – because nobody wants them to be built this way. Get a clue Dumbass (that’s me by the way). I occasionally crank it up so I can play with the Kaoss pads but invariably close it down thinking “meh”…
[addendum: I remember why I bought this now – I had the Nintendo Korg DS-10 which I had tinkered with in the past, and also screenshots with lots of knobs on. I love screensots of knobs (ooh-er missus!) they make me excited and want to part with money. On the plus side I would never have found out about the ECPM tutorials if I hadn’t bought the iMS-20 and then googled for some clue about how to use it..]
Rebirth: See above comments regarding retro interface. Also everything (EVERYTHING) anyone ever does using 303 emulators sounds the same (ooh – get me slagging off about 5 whole genres of music) and, as someone wise who wasn’t me pointed out, a 303 line doesn’t go with anything else – you try it, you can audiocopy/audiopaste from Rebirth all day, into any of your other apps, nothing fits right with a 303 line, well, almost nothing….
Technobox: I bought because it looked cool in the ECPM tutorials, but really – just more 303s
Rhythm Studio: I already had rebirth, stop it with the 303s already!!
Caustic (android): You buy one more 303 emulator and I will cram it up your ass!! (I say to myself sometimes) when did you ever complete a track using a 303?? Never, that’s when! One bassline, in one track, ever, and that was just to prove it could be done. Jesus!
Tabletop: OK, I didn’t pay for this one. It just makes me unreasonably angry and I don’t know why. Something to do with the in app purchases. Even at the new sale price you could have bought Nanostudio TWICE.
Nanostudio: is truly fantastic. Really. best $15 I spent, probably. Actually $20 as I immediately bought the extra tracks – see, not ALL in app purchases annoy me, only shit ones. Nanostudio does everything I want it to do, comes with a really great synth, good drum machines, fantastic sample support, great sample editor. Easy and intuitive to use. NO REGRETS HERE!!
Animoog: I got this on sale (YAY! For once!) and I love it, I can play with it for hours, however I do find everything sounds very erm…. animoogy, which is fine, a synth should have a ‘sound’, also it is often hard to find a practical use for any of it’s sounds. Just saying. Still love it though.
Grain Science: I have real problems using this thing – I am vaguely aware that there is a massive and largely incomprehensible (to me) world of possibilities lying just under the surface of this beautiful app. It looks great. It makes wonderful noises. It sometimes goes a bit funny on its timings when running an arp. But under it all is a world of sonic possibilities I could access if only I was able to understand them. Woojijuice should have a dimwits version where you press a button and up comes screen after screen of big buttons labelled “Make sound go eeeaaaww” and “Make it sound all techno-ey”. I love Grain Science, but it is an unrequited love. Grain Science sneers at me like an inept bungling lover. Which I am.
Addictive Synth: words cannot express how much I love Addictive Synth. I am thinking of buying iSyn Poly (also from VirSyn) because it must be a bit like Addictive Synth and that would be like having a threesome with twins… or at least very similar sisters. Everything that comes out of Addictive Synth sounds awesome. Everything works exactly like it should. Every time I use it I think to myself “God this thing is fantastic”. And it is BEAUTIFUL too. As with Grain Science I am aware that Addictive Synth has mysterious depths that I am not really accessing, but where Grain Science scoffs at me and tells her friends how crap I am, Addictive Synth tells me “No really, it was wonderful” and happily produces awesome noises over and over again
Ooh er – I think my metaphors have got away from me…