best_ipad_music_apps

Samplr App Review

If you are interested in using an intuitive  Sampler for ipad then Samplr is definitely worth a look!

The iPad gesture based interface really lends itself to certain applications whereby tactile editing can bring many advantages in place of physical hardware such as pots / knobs, slider etcetera – if it’s done right.

Samplr is one such app where the designer has really thought about how best to make the hands-on approach to audio really work and the results are impressive – Samplr is a sampler but it actually plays more like an instrument in its own right because of the well thought out gestural interface that makes sound manipulation a breeze!

Importantly the designer Marcos Alonso – part of the REACTABLE team –  has designed an interface which places easy intuitive access to all of the Samplr functions such as samples, effects, modes, etcetera in ONE SCREEN.

Also Samplr has AUDIOBUS support so it can be chained together with other apps – excellent.

 

Six tracks and Seven Modes + 5 Effects

Samplr offers the ability to load six tracks / samples simultaneously and apply each of it’s seven tactile editing modes to independently to each of those tracks. These are easy to load through iTunes – which is great.

the seven modes are as follows:

1. Slicer  – intelligently chops up samples into logical slices for touch triggering

2. Looper – simply drag and pinch anywhere on the waveform to create loops

3. Bow – similar to an ibow for smooth glissando type effects

4. Tape – drag forwards or backwards to control the sample playback speed and create tape like effects

5. Scratch – drag fingers to create scratch effects across the waveform

6. Keyboard – intelligently chops the sample into playable pitched slices

7. Loop player – loops the full sample according to the project tempo

 

 

Once you have loaded your samples into the app it’s as simple as selecting a sample at the bottom of the screen and then choosing a play mode. After that it’s possible to add up to 5 effects to each of your six samples and each effect is editable again through gestures.

Distortion

Filter

Amplitude Modulator

Feedback Delay

Reverb

It’s also possible to reapply these effects to the whole mix as well by hitting the “button” bottom right hand corner.

 

Using Samplr Live

Over the weekend we took Samplr out for a live test with our iPad and Alesis iO Dock, and we’ll be writing up our discoveries and experience here soon!

 

Samplr in Action

Okay so we took Samplr out for a couple of live performance sessions and here’s what we discovered.

1. Upload Audio

Loading audio into Samplr is simple – connect your iPad to your computer and using iTunes navigate to your iPad and select Samplr from the APPS list. Click Add and viola. Your files are now ready to go.

2. File Handling

Unless we’re doing something wrong at present there is no file name visible once you begin to use your samples onside inside the Samplr app itself, just waveforms – this isn’t the end of the world, but sample names on screen would be really advantageous.

Using Samplr live was quick and easy, the ability to save your 6 samples as a “SONG” helps – the “SONG” remembers your parameters – volume, effects, playback mode etc at save also – definitely a plus.

Audio fidelity was true to the original material and the tactile nature of the interface makes manipulating samples a breeze.

 

Downsides to Samplr are:

1. No time-stretching

2. No midi

3. No input through from external sources – e.g. guitar ??

 

If you’re looking for BPM sync’d sample triggering and audio input then check out Protein der Klang which offers 12 loop 16bit sampling

 

In conclusion Samplr is an excellent sampling tool with some very fluid controls; it’s easy to use, sounds great and is incredibly versatile although it is probably best to bear in mind that so far we felt that Samplr functions more like an INSTRUMENT – lack of time-stretch means that loading samples with different tempos seamlessly is  incredibly complex to try to achieve in a live situation without using volume fades – and also means that beat based loops and samples you want to load must be in sync.

So far, as a tool for building complex musical passages Samplr is limited by the tempo / sequencing – it would amazing to be able to time stretch from one sample to another.

But, as an expressive sampler it really is an amazing instrument and we have only scratched the surface – the secret to getting the most out of Samplr is actually how intelligently you compose your samples  and loops and then mix and manipulate them.

Highly recommended, but MIDI would make this app stellar.