Portable speakers are known for being portable first, and sounding great...well, almost never. Bose is aiming to change that perception with the SoundLink Mini, a diminutive 1.5-pound speaker that connects to any device via Bluetooth. With seven hours of playback on a single charge, and surprisingly good bass, the SoundLink Mini is an itty-bitty powerhouse, whether it’s on your desk or hanging out in the backyard.
It sure is something to realize how much power is in your iPad, especially if you’re a musician pining for classic analog synthesizers — heavy, expensive, temperamental instruments that are increasingly hard to find, and even harder to maintain. Arturia, creator of the Minimoog simulation app, iMini, has done it again, delivering an exquisite simulation of the venerable Oberheim SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module), that company’s very first synth. In many ways, iSEM is an improvement upon the hardware it models, starting with the fact that it’s polyphonic.
Virtual ANS is a happy aural mutation unlike anything else on your iPhone or iPad. While it bears a resemblance to the longtime Mac-only wonder MetaSynth, it’s a lot easier to fall into from left field, not to mention much less expensive. The app is a software recreation of an extremely rare Russian synthesizer (of which only one remains in existence) that used light and optics as the foundation of its synthesis engine. Time is plotted from left to right, pitch is mapped vertically, and onto this grid you'll use a variety of basic drawing tools to "paint sound," essentially.
There are few instruments as versatile and adaptable as the piano. From the classic compositions of hundreds of years ago to contemporary hits, the piano is capable of contributing to nearly any piece of music. However, the instrument can be a bit intimidating to approach, thanks to the eighty-eight unique keys spread across it. Luckily, it doesn't have to feel that way. With the help of the eight apps we've rounded up, those interested in learning piano can feel right at home running their fingers up and down the ivories. Maybe one day you'll be the one composing music that encourages people to take up the instrument.
Most guitar slingers tend to pick up the instrument and start emulating their favorite musicians, learning how to play by example and sheer brute effort. While this approach is valid, it tends to lead axe-wielders towards certain chord shapes, and limit the kind of music that emerges from the fingers doing the comfortable trip up and down the neck. Jamn is an innovative app that brings some much-needed musical theory to the fretboard, helping to figure out how chords connect with each other and thus lead the way to a more substantial range of musical possibilities.
Remember on Mad Men when Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce opened up shop, and Roger Sterling's office got the mod makeover? If AirPlay and iPhones were around in the 1960s, Wren's V5AP would have no doubt scored a spot right next to the vodka. But this speaker dock isn't just pretty; it's got the goods, whether you're listening to Sinatra or Daft Punk.
Over the last week, my work experience has been a much happier place. I’ve listened to my favorite artists and discovered new favorites. The secret to this happiness is Muse, a fantastic little $5 app that does one job—stream Pandora radio stations—extremely well.
Using your device’s front-facing camera, Go Dance turns your iPhone or iPad into a motion-capturing sensor, providing you with a dance game experience like you’d normally find on home consoles. While the game looks and plays like the popular Just Dance titles, it only comes with two songs and lacks distinct features to choose from. Go Dance may not be very robust, but its simple controls and cheap price tag make it easy for any iOS device owner to get up and groove.
When Apple introduced the Lightning connector to late-model iOS devices, it left a lot of orphans. For years, accessory makers have been building speaker docks using the 30-pin Dock Connector. With WaveJamr, you can convert your old dock to Bluetooth, and get some more life out of your gadgets.
Tablature is a method of notating music for guitars. Rather than a traditional score, tabs note the string and fret number of each note or chord. Tabular is an affordable Mac application that lets you create tabs by hand. Unfortunately, it does some simple tasks poorly, although some more-advanced tasks are handled well.