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.
The iOS App Store may be coming up on its fifth anniversary, but it shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to the discovery of new, unique apps -- such as a nifty OCR app for the iPhone and an iPad app that becomes a vault of old concerts.
We have to confess, we don't really get the attraction to vinyl records in the year 2013. Beyond supposedly sounding "warmer" than digital music, they're just a pain to maintain and use -- a problem that Amazon's AutoRip service hopes to make easier.
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.
Arturia was the very first company to get Moog’s permission to recreate the classic analog synthesizers for the desktop almost a decade ago, and its first iPad app is a slick, thick-sounding marvel that's true to the original hardware, including being easily programmable, very playable, and sonically lush. One of the coolest things about the original MiniMoog synthesizer was that it combined extreme ease-of-use with a uniquely rich, signature tone that persists as magic aural mojo to this very day, and the iMini does a stellar job of bringing that goodness to the iPad for a reasonable price.
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.