iOS apps have taken over the musical world – here are five that add to the power of your gear
The iOS app has made the iPhone and iPad a powerful tool for the musician, and with developers adding to the software arsenal every day, it is rapidly establishing itself as a serious musical platform.
Yesterday, Apple updated Garageband to include Audiobus support, meaning that audio from other apps can be streamed into Garageband, massively expanding its potential, and cementing its commitment to making the iPad a viable DAW.
Gear manufacturers have embraced the technology in various ways. Some have created apps that demonstrate a ‘scaled down’ version of existing products. Many have used the iPad to provide additional functionality to their products, however.
This is great way of adding more value to gear, as well as more power.
Here, we take a look at five of these iOS apps, each that add immeasurably to the power of your gear.
TC Electronic Toneprint App (also available for Android)
TC Electronic ‘s Toneprint technology was already a bit of a winner. Allowing the user to upload new effects settings (and even new effects types on some bits of gear) to compatible effects units and some amps, it massively expanded the sonic potential of these products.
However, when it unveiled its Toneprint app, jaws hit the floor. Allowing the user to ‘beam’ settings wirelessly to the effects unit via the pickup on the connected guitar, it was an ingenious method of transferring data.
With an expanding library of Toneprints available, including many settings from famous and respected players, the iOS app adds great value to a compatible TC pedals.
Roland Piano Partner
The Roland Piano Partner iOS app is one of an expanding number of free Roland iPad apps. Here, it provides a suite of excellent practise and learning tools for its HP-5 series, DP series and LX-15 pianos.
Based on the Digi-score functionality of the HPi range of pianos, connecting an iPad with this app installed provides digital notation, with automatically turning pages (HP-507 and LX-15 only), Flash Card games for improving reading and listening skills, and a an easy means of browsing the piano’s library of songs to use, too.
Plus, if you have the Roland wireless adaptor, you don’t even have to use a cable.
Novation Launchpad and Launchkey app
The eagerly awaited Novation Launchkey controller is nearly with us. One of the unique aspects of this range of keyboards is the integration with two new iOS apps.
The new Launchpad app is, as it sounds, based on the Novation Launchpad controller. However, here, it offers users the opportunity to play and manipulate a wide range of samples and loops with this powerful user interface.
The Launchkey app is a virtual Novation synthesizer with a unique interface to unlock its creative potential.
Both of these can be used standalone, but when used with the forthcoming Launchkey controller, transform it into a sample-synth workstation.
Roland Friend Jam
Friend Jam is one of Roland’s V-drum oriented iPad apps. It provides a suite of fun practice tools designed to improve timing and technique, whilst actually seeming like a game.
Practice modes provide patterns in various genres to play, and at the end of a performance, you will be scored according to accuracy.
Then, these scores can be entered onto global leader-boards. Not only does it encourage the player to compete against their own scores, but those of drummers around the world.
Like Piano Partner, this can be used via a connection cable or Roland’s wireless USB key.
The typical sound module doesn’t have the best reputation for easy editing of sounds (though the Integra-7 does redress this to a great degree). The problem is one of physical size- a rack unit is not big enough to display all of the information you need to see at once, and wouldn’t be, even if the entire front was a screen.
The Integra-7 editor neatly sidesteps this problem. Providing a multi-touch interface that allows the user to get ‘under the hood’ with minimum fuss, and a massive colour display to feedback every parameter clearly, it is a great addition to Roland’s powerhouse sound module.
It even allows easy placement of sounds within a 3D space using its ‘Motional Surround’ feature. It can also be used wirelessly, thanks to the Roland Wireless USB key, meaning that the Integra can be in a rack out of view, but still edited in detail, remotely. Nice.
There are far more iOS apps available for music gear, and there will no doubt be more to come. The potential to expand upon the capabilities of equipment in this way is both vast, and very welcome, however…
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.