Now thats more like it.
Today, I’m going to review an iPhone app that I’ve really been interested in. I’m really big into music (I play piano and cell0) and therefore have been looking for a good music-making app for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Sadly, everything I’ve came across up and until now has been a jumble of step sequencers and fake guitar apps.
Recently, a friend of mine tweeted about trying out DopplerPad. After watching its teaser video, I was hooked. It seems to be an actual instrument, but with some of the beat-mapping features that you’d find on a step sequencer. This means that its incredibly easy to not only create flowing, elaborated melodies, but also to design in-time drum beats to keep the rythm.
So, how is it?
When I first opened the app, there was a discreet little bubble with a link to the app’s video tutorials and text documentation. The videos, for me, were the fastest way to start using the app, and its simple interface made learning its features very simple.
The app works like a cross between a DJ deck and a synthesizer. On the main screen is a sound bank, where you can save up to 14 different loops. When you want to play or edit one, you can drag it to one of two pads, both of which can play a loop at the same time. You can control the volume of each pad with a volume slider, or crossfader.
The app has 37 different sounds, from basses, to drum kits and percussion, to sound effects, and finally synth leads. You can record you’re own samples if you have an iPhone or second generation iPod Touch. One thing I thought was neat that I hadn’t seen before was pressure feedback; the harder you tap the screen, the louder the note. I have NO idea how that works… frankly, I didn’t even know you could do it. Very impressive, DopplerPad.
Well, is there anything wrong with it?
Nothing is perfect, but believe me, DopplerPad comes pretty close.
There are only a few issues I have with the program. For one, multitouch isnt used at all. Although itd be hard anyways, I cant play a chord; I’m limited to playing one note at a time. Granted, being able to record over yourself solves the problem, but theres no way to make chords on the fly. Oh well. One other thing that bugged me was the lack of an undo feature. If I mess up, I have to start over because the programs clear feature simply clears any notes played while you hold it down. Theres an easy way to get around it, though; just record one layer, and save the whole track before you record another one on top of it. This way, if you make a mistake, you can just revert to the saved track. Problem solved. Because Im a cellist, and a picky one at that, I kind wish there would have been a string synth or two thrown in, but with 37 different sounds, I really cant complain.
So, whats the verdict?
The verdict is this; if you’re into making music, and want a compact, portable way to do it, DopplerPad is the best $10 you will ever spend. I had a lot of fun with it, and it really simplifies making music on-the-fly. If you’re still skeptical, check out their homepage and browse through all the features so you can really see what you’re missing out on.