If there’s one thing that all musicians tend to fret over, it’s pitch. That's a little easier to hear than to try to describe, but when you’re listening to your favorite song being tortured at a local karaoke spot, you’ll know when it’s not being kept in tune by some buzzed bar patron. There are more than a couple of competent iOS apps that use the built-in microphone and/or incoming audio signal, sample it, and check to see if it is indeed in tune, but Tunable puts a truly new, innovative spin on the overall concept. In the process, it delivers on the promise of being a one-stop tuning shop.
If you've ever dreamed of talking like a robot while warping at high speeds through hyperspace, then look no further: Vio lets you simultaneously fulfill both of those wishes. Part toy and part tool, this bizarre musical app takes a little tinkering to get a feel for, but it's a blast to play around with for a while once you figure it out. Using your iOS device's microphone, Vio transforms your voice and other sounds it picks up into a musical mish-mash of sci-fi robotic craziness.
Recording and synthesizer apps aren’t the only options in the musical arena. Tablets have inspired an entirely new type of musical app, and Chordion is an excellent, visually sophisticated example of this app genre. It's a creative tool that makes it easy to try out different musical shades and chord structures with maximum ease.
There's no shortage of iPhone and iPod touch music players in the App Store. They all basically do the same thing, but each one presents your tunes in a unique way, using clever interfaces and bold fonts to make your music look as good as it sounds. Many of them subscribe to Dieter Rams' principles of good design, but as far as we can tell, only one pays direct homage to his timeless vision. To say T3 Player is inspired by Rams' Braun radio is like saying the iPhone 4S is inspired by the iPhone 4.
The way we listen to music has changed dramatically over the last decade. The rise of the MP3 and shrinking costs of storage mean that for the vast majority of us, our music collections live on a hard drive somewhere, rather than in crates or on shelves.
If Jony Ive designed a Bluetooth speaker, it might look like this. Then again, if Jony Ive designed a soup can, it might look like this. The HiddenRadio blends into its surroundings, with no visible buttons or controls. You twist it on its sturdy base to reveal the speaker, and control the volume the same way: more speaker showing means louder music, and you just twist it all the way closed to turn it off. It connects via Bluetooth 2.1 or a hidden aux-in jack, and we got the best results leaving the audio device at around 80 percent volume, and then fine-adjusting by twisting the HiddenRadio.
As anyone who works with audio for a living can attest to, the human ear frequently plays tricks on the mind. For example, is it really possible to hide secret messages inside music recordings? If all things audible fascinate you, then you’ll love a new iPad app dedicated to demystifying this and other “auditory illusions.” The San Francisco-based Exploratorium recently followed up their debut Color Uncovered app with a new offering called Sound Uncovered. The free iPad-only app is billed as an “interactive book,” which allows the user to participate and learn from all kinds of acoustic phenomena around us that’s equal parts fun and educational.
Although Apple continues to tout the number of iPad native apps available, there are always one or two that never seem to come. This week, you can scratch another of those off the list, because Audible is finally here for iPad.
Every Monday, we'll show you how to do something new and simple with Apple's built-in command line application. You don't need any fancy software, or a knowledge of coding to do any of these. All you need is a keyboard to type 'em out!
Whether you’re pulling a prank, or just want to have an easy text-to-speech solution for your Mac, OS X’s “say” command is definitely for you. With just one command, you can have your Mac speak any text you type, and then save that audio out as a file that can be played back at your will. Continue reading and we’ll show you how it’s done.