Monthly archives: December, 2012

December AppRegret

Regret, regret, regret … Appregret… sigh… if only I hadn’t wasted all that money on bad apps I could probably afford an overpriced CD from Amazon by now… or some cheap shoes, I really need new shoes.

So, dear readers, when we last played the AppRegret game I had just bought Drumjam (mmm, love DrumJam!) and Cassini had debugged itself and become usable. What has happened since then?

One big thing is I have almost stopped buying Apps full price. This is partly because I have bought all the apps I wanted already, but mostly because I now loiter around appshopper and the iOS Music blogs like a polar bear at a seal hole waiting for pricedrops to happen. This is a good thing because I don’t mind getting a bad app if I didn’t pay much for it, but is a bad thing because I am now likely to buy an app I don’t even want because it is on sale and I might want it someday when an update makes it cool. I missed Genome when it was last on sale because I didn’t need it, and as soon as it went back to full price I needed it.
I have also written a few reviews and picked up some cool stuff doing that (this is an indicator of my general desperation, most reviews take me a couple of hours, if I was offered $10 for two hours work I would politely decline the offer, but offer me a $10 app and I am there with laptop ready!)

Well, I have bought and deleted a number of Apps since then. So many I can’t remember which. Luckily iTunes, for all it’s dreadfulness, allows me to view apps by purchase date, so lets look through the list and see which are CrApps and which made me Appy (er – that’s enough puns for now).

Cassini update – yes, the developers fixed some bugs and Cassini became usable to me… have I used it? Er, no. There is nothing wrong with Cassini now it just sounds so amazingly boring… just thinking about it…. making me nod …off…
Cassini is a proper grown up synth and is probably capable of making some exciting sounds if programmed right – but who would ever guess, the presets…. so ….. dull… zzzz… hnng wha? where am i?

Beatpad
So I finally had a play about with this and it is SO disappointing, from an interface point of view anyway, it actually sounds pretty cool and I have gone back to it half a dozen times because of this. Unfortunately to do anything means flicking from screen to screen on the overgrown iphone interface and it is surprisingly hard to do that, consequently the workflow doesn’t really flow at all. If all I had to make music on was Beatpad I would no doubt become fluent and get some decent tunes out of it, but I have better apps installed. Also no ACP and we all know how I feel about that. Ho hum, I got it for free, so I can’t really complain… too much.!

SampleLab:
Just an update – I have used this in a couple of tracks now, and while mixing a loop down and Audiocopying it feels more like a workaround hack than a feature, I really like it. If only for the pitch shifting. I should use it as my sample chop shop really…

Bassline:
I had just bought this last time I did a big Appregret post, have used it since – I LOVE Bassline – I use it way too much nowdays. If I am stuck for inspiration, or I want to add a little craziness to a track, I turn to Bassline and start hitting random gate/slide/pitch buttons until it makes me something I can work with, then edit, tweak, copy and paste. Brilliant.

Filtatron (sale)
I bought this because it was $0.99, and it is usually much more. Originally I had no idea what it did, now I have a fair idea what it does but can find no use for it. I am sure it is very good, but I doubt I will ever use it. I do a lot of this at the moment, if something is on sale for a buck I buy it on the offchance it is good (I got Animoog for $2.99 after all!). Maybe I will come back to this one.

Idle Drum Sequencer Pro (sale)
I spent $2 on this one I think. It is really quite good. I bought it because I liked the sounds I was getting out of the free version and wanted to export my sounds, can only do that by email/itunes sharing which is why I don’t use this more, good quality sounds and excellent for putting together a fast beat, if only it had ACP (“oi Grandad, it’s all AudioBus now you know? ACP? Is that a feature on your Gramophone?” I hear you cry)

Impaktor – review copy
Love Impaktor, a truly excellent app, I got it free, but would pay $10+ for it happily.
Reviewed it here:http://www.idesignsound.com/review-impakton-drum-synthesizer-ipad-iphone-ipod-touch/

WaveGenerator (PPG)
I really swallowed the hype over this one, and it was very seriously hyped. The whole iOS music community was buzzing with PPG fever, so when it came out I snapped it up.There are people who like PPG WaveGenerator. There are people who love it. They must have very different ears from me.
There is a certain “emperors new clothes” syndrome surrounding this app. Essentially any criticism of wavegenerator is countered with the response that it is an experts synth and if you don’t like it that just means you are dim, or a heathen, or a pleb who only appreciates analog emulation, or a synthesis dunce. In my case any of these things may be true. However we swim in a sea of user interfaces, from our phones, to our computers, our DVD players (“that’s BlueRay now Grandad!”), our cars, the ATM machine, and so on. Any and every one of us is qualified to say if a UI is bad, we know it is bad because we are the user and we are not interfacing well. I have complained before that retro-synth emulations also tend to recreate the shitty retro interface along with the lovely retro sounds, but I don’t even think that is the issue here, this is not a recreation of the original interface, it is just a sea of poorly labelled pokey buttons and sub menus. The sound.. well even the presets sound nasty and harsh to my ears. It may be that I am addicted to warm analog sounds but if I want something harsh screechy and earsplitting I can crank up the excellent $2 DXi and do it there.
So sad I bought this one.

Shredder
Love Yonac, really, Minisynth is good, Magellan is awesome. Shredder didn’t like my guitar or something because I couldn’t get a decent note out of it. Only $1 in the sale. Deleted. Did I mention I love Yonac? Sorry Yonac…

miniDrum Pro
I waited for AGES to get this one, the video looked good and I am always looking for drums apps. bought it in the sale for 99c. I had forgotten all about this because this is one of the only drum apps I have ever deleted. I just remembered I had bought it and re-installed it so I could have another listen, mainly so I would have something to say here. Firstly it is not as bad as I first thought, actually there is some quite interesting stuff going on here, there are a lot of features and a load of sounds. To my ears it does have a strange ‘potted’ quality to the sounds like they have been recorded in a box. However I will keep it installed and give it another go because I don’t think I have given it a proper chance and going through just now I think this might have great potential. When I bought it at 99c I didn’t really experience AppRegret because of the price. I was very disappointed though because I had been toying with buying this one for a long long time. If I had bought it at full price probably would have been a full on Appregret experience but now I am revisiting it I am not so sure. This is the problem with buying a bunch of stuff in sales, sometimes things get overlooked.

Borderlands
Paid full price for this one, it is fun to play with for a while, and OK for making sound effect/drone type noises, but getting samples in via itunes library is a pain, and getting stuff out via SoundCloud is a bigger pain. Not quite AppRegret… but very near it

iPulsaret
I am sure it is very good, certainly it seems to be highly thought of, but everything I do with this app sounds like a cow farting in a cave. tweak what you like: bigger cow, more flatulence, different sized cave. Load in your own samples: different breed of cow, different brand of beans. Full On AppRegret.

KORG iKaossilator
You know how I keep on promising never to buy any more Korg apps ever? Remember I said that? I meant it, I really did, but… well … half price sale, I am only human. Amazingly I don’t hate iKaossilator, I don’t even dislike it! I am (dare I say) fond of iKaossilator. So much so that I started a side project so that I could use it because while I find it immensely fun I don’t think it fits in with my usual sound. That is why SokPupit was born, so I could use iKaossilator (and Figure) to make tunes. Yes, it does need more sounds, but it is really fun and you can put together a great groove in no time. All is forgiven Korg… In fact I liked this so much I revisited iMS-20 and while I still find it a nightmare to use I have got some decent loops out of that and have used them in tracks.

Beat Machine
I used to own a TR-505, this sounds just like it., it cost me a dollar. Load times are slow and Iit currently has no ACP so right now it is waiting in my drum folder for updates to make it useful. IF they sort out lag, load times and ACP it might be a decent 505…. if…

Audulus
I got a review copy of this one and you can read my review on idesignsound. A (very) beautiful and well designed app for modular synthesis fans, or anyone else who wants to hand roll a synth from scratch. Lovely, but for my work flow not much use.

Synth Arp and Drum Pad
Bought this on a whim, I used to have a load of yamaha equipment and always liked it. I was expecting a full on AppRegret frenzy but I actually love this app and have used it a number of times. Like Bassline I turn to this when I am stuck for ideas and I mess about with it till something inspires me. It does drums, basslines and Arp lines. The presets are pretty good and the preset sequences are pretty good too. I would like an Arp Editor and more preset sounds please… apart from that – nice!

Eurypharynx – a synth from S4, the guys who brought us the excellent and free S4 rhythm composers. This one costs a couple of dollars, its allows morphing between waveforms in an interesting ways and for a cheap end synth makes some great noises. Also has ACP. I really like it and was going to do a track using it but haven’t yet. To my ear the sounds do not have the richness or depth that the bigger better synths on iOS have. There is probably some technical explanation for this featuring the word Hertz a lot, suffice to say it does sound a little thin next to ‘professional’ synths. That said I believe this is a really useable synth, I got very excited about it the first weekend I played about with it and it has since been updated with a load of presets… support the S4 guys and buy this one!

textsound – what? Why? WTF?? This is an editor, and presumably a player, for some obscure text based synthesis language that I guess can make sound happen, I bought it because I was drunk and it was on sale, and (truth be told) thought “I can make sounds and it will look like I am doing work”. Then I sobered up and deleted it. Who knows what it can do… maybe great things… not for me though. Note to self, just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you should buy it.

WOPR
Hey – guess why I bought THIS one… yes 1. it cost a dollar, 2. I was drunk and 3. how was I ever going to resist this description “stereo virtual analog synthesizer with totally unique evolving modulation driven by vintage 1970s cellular automata” – how cool does that sound? For a dollar, to a drunk me, very cool indeed!! I have not given this thing the attention it deserves, I am waiting for ACP to appear and then I will look again.

BM2
I am very unfair to BeatMaker2. Probably. I was certainly very rude about it in my recent interview. I have referred to it elsewhere as BowelMovement2. I am a bad person. Fact is I waited for 2 months to buy this because I was hoping for a black Friday price drop, which didn’t happen, so I bought it anyway. A lot of people whose work I love use BM2, so it must be capable of things I like, in fact I have heard some great tracks made in BeatMaker2. It has a lot of drum samples (that I have now ripped out and put into my NanoStudio sample bank). It has awful keyboard sounds that they should really be ashamed of. I don’t like the interface, find sample use awkward, and will probably never use it. This is mostly my fault and not BM2s fault. Still – major AppRegret !

Gestrument
Absolutely love Gestrument. This one took me by surprise, I was given a promo code for this one so I can’t technically feel AppRegret even if I didn’t like it, but I really do like it. Great sounds, really clever intuitive interface, excellent results. I dun a review but it hasn’t been published yet.

Gyrosynth
It was free. That’s it. You hold your phone/ipad, wiggle it about and the app makes noises. Fun for 30 seconds, as near to completely useless as a synth could be.

iMaschine
I think it was a buck in the sale. You hear a lot about maschine (the hardware). This isn’t like having one of those. Usually costs $5 and I would have been annoyed about that, as it is I might get round to exploring it further as I have read good reviews.

KORG iPolySix
I was gifted this one, and knowing what I know now I would happily have paid money for it. too… see, I am almost a KORG Konvert. Lovely rich sounds, exactly the sequencer I wish the iMS-20 had. Really good to play. if the iMS-20 had been like this I would have liked Korg a lot earlier. Planning a full review of this one.

MoDrum
$2 in the sales. I bought it because I liked Bassline, I like Modrum too. Not the best interface I have ever used but nice sound quality and a different vibe to my other favorite machines. I might have paid full price, and I would probably be the good side of AppRegret, but at sale price I am very happy indeed.

DrumStudio
Very limited on sounds and I really don’t like the whole drumkit layout to play with, it makes it look like a toy and doesn’t add functionality for me. That said the step sequencer is very good, it can do Flams and Rolls and Drags (I dunno, ask a drummer, they add some cool bits to your beats though) that no other machine can really pull off, and the sounds are quite good, so long as you want a fairly organic rock/jazz kit. Given that I use that kind of kit with Stochastik regularly I may use this one more…

LoopyHD
A nice easy to use looper, so long as your samples are pre-trimmed to the right length. Where it really excels is changing tempo of a loop to match the app’s tempo without mashing up the sound of the sample. This is very cool and very clever – I used it this morning to slow a guitar loop down from 130bpm to 110bpm and it worked brilliantly. Also very good for trying stuff out – so if I make a loop in iKaossilator and another one in Figure I can mash them together in Loopy and hear the results almost instantly. That rocks. Paid half price. No regrets there!

bs-16i
You know this app SOUNDS great – really, some of those soundfonts are amazing, and soundfonts are all over the net for free… but it is still virtually unusable, the only way to get sounds out of it and into your other Apps is to import a .mid file from some other App/Desktop application, via iTunes or dropbox or something. and then get Bismark to render that midi file into a wav that can then (apparently) be copied to pasteboard. As far as I am concerned that makes it completely useless. Oh well. Paid about $7 for this too. Deeply Sorry.

Mixtikl
I will get back to you on this one, I have a feeling it will be great is I can only get past the dreadful interface. It does a lot of cool stuff, it just tries very hard to stop you doing any of it. I’ll see if I can figure it out before I comment. The interface really is crappy though, I imagine it puts a lot of people off… bleh!

Samplr
I bought this because I wanted to do the kind of thing I do in SampleWiz, and i got fed up with Samplewiz crashing every 20 minutes. So far it seems very cool but I have been waiting till it got ACP to use it, and now I am waiting till I get time to use it, so another “report back” coming.

Hmm, reading back through that lot, not so much regret as usual here, but the big offenders were also the most costly…

Other Apps I have just got but need to try before I complain about them:

Bass Drop HD
Seline Ultimate
Songineer
Mint.io


Interview!!

Did an interview – http://www.iosmusician.com/2012/12/ios-musician-interview-pants-death.html

Thanks for the positive response everyone, and the full months worth of traffic I got through soundcloud in 48 hours! Also thanks to everyone for not pointing out how much I repeated myself.