Tag Archive: ipad

iKaossilator Review

I spotted this on the app store and as I have been pleased with all of Korg’s music apps I felt duty bound to give it a whirl. First of all, this is not an emulation of the kaossilator, although it shares some of the features and has a few quirks of it’s own. The app works on iPod, iPhone and iPad.
When you load up the app you are confronted with a touch pad, five “slots” and info on bpm, loop length, scale and key. Even on an iPad the touch screen is smaller than on a kaossilator pro, obviously on a pocket device the touchpad is even more restricted, so bad news if you’re a fat fingered fop like me.
On an original kaossilator you had no means to save your patterns, on the kaossilator pro you had four banks to save phrases as well as the ability to save patterns to an sd card. The iVersions take advantage of their larger memory and display screens and so you have much more flexibility and capacity to save, select and recall your efforts.
As well as saving individual patterns you can also save blocks of patterns which can be recalled later of mixed with other existing loops. This is very useful, especially if you want to add variations of bass lines and drum loops to your performance.

Each slot can have a specific sound and pattern assigned to it (much like the KPro’s memory banks). You can mute and solo each slot but unlike the KPro there does not seem to be a way of altering the volume of each part. Also lacking is a means of gating patterns. An interesting difference to the hardware versions is that once you have recorded a pattern, you can change the original voice and the iKaossilator will play the same pattern with a different sound. Another useful feature is that as your patterns play, the touch pad lights up the positions you originally touched which is handy if you want to overlay a pattern to follow an existing one.
The hardware kaossilators were able to respond to the pressure of your touch whereas the iVersions don’t. Similiarly, although apple devices support multitouch, the app follows it’s hardware equivalent in only allowing to only play one note at a time (to program chords you would have to record and play the notes individually).
The iversions come into their own in actually selecting pre recorded loops. You can record your own parts into the slots and then swap these with pre existing loops on the fly. So you could add an existing dubstep drum loop and swap your bass line for a tech house loop to creates more varied performance than would be possible on a hardware version.
The app is WIST compatible which means devices running software such as Electribe, ims-20, reBirth or even another device running iKaossilator; will all sync together via bluetooth.
The app is a lot of fun and very easy to use. It not a complete music package like synth station or FLMobile but it’s more than just a sound toy. The actual sounds themselves are ok , nothing mind-blowing and there is no means of importing or sampling your own sounds. It’s currently on sale for £6.99 which is expensive in app terms but cheap when you consider a hardware kaossilator will cost you at least £100.
Definately recommended as long as you understand that it is not a hardware emulation.



I’ve uploaded a track up onto soundcloud, it was done by me jamming along with a Kaossilator pro and a generative music app for the iPad / iPod called soundzen.
Soundzen is similar to a lot of online flash applications and although very basic you can generate some very pleasing patterns.
It comes with 4 free soundsets and you can purchase extra sounds such as guitar by an in app purchase (69p in the UK)



I was browsing through the Apple app store yesterday and was well chuffed to see Fl Studio HD available as a download for Apple devices. It came in two flavours, for the iPad (currently £11.99) and iPhone / iPod. Thanks to the frickin’ recession I thought it would be extravagant to purchase both versions at this stage. I also suffer from fat finger syndrome so I thought that the iPad might be a better bet. On previous iPod apps like Akai Synthstation or Xewton studio I end up having to resize the keyboard to fit my meaty paws at the expense of range.
So, I opted for the iPad version. First impressions are good.
I’ve been using versions of FLStudio and FruityLoops for more than a decade and was expecting a cut down version along the same lines. In the past you constructed patterns and arranged them in a playlist along with audio clips and automation lanes. You would need to create seperate patterns for each variation of a track and chain them in order. WIth the iPad version you would create a bar or more of music, copy and paste in the track editor and then zoom in and add or subtract notes to create variations.
Obviously they’ve had to simplify the layout to fit the iPad, so there’s less buttons and menus available. This is most noticeable in the mixer workaround – rather than sending audio to different inserts and sends you are given a bank of effect (delay, reverb, EQ, filter and amp/distortion) which you can set individual to select all tracks or just the one’s with the fx button activated. The quality of the effects are good, especially the reverb and fiters which also can be automated, controlled by an xy pad or linked to the accelerometer so that tilting affects the filter settings.
The app also comes with a library of drum loops and a healthy smattering of synth sounds and instruments. The electronic sounds are generally excellent and rich. You can also tinker with the attack, release and volumes. One complaint is that the guitars sound thin and “midi-ish” compared to the guitars on garageband. This is a minor quibble due to the ability to export your projects to the desktop version of FL Studio. You can always use the onboard sounds to sketch out ideas and then tinker and tweak them to your liking on your pc. The iPad also lets you save your own patterns so you can quickly build up your own arsenal of loops.
Recording live is a cinch, with the option of using a keyboard layout or pads. You can also enter notes on a grid of toggles just like its big brother. The app is also compatible with core Midi devices so you could hook up a sythstation to control the app via the camera connection quit. The app also transmits midi out so it could control external kit.
So far, I’ve found the piano roll editor far more fiddly and restricted than it’s desktop counterpart. To enter a note you click on the track editor, pencil tool, place your note, edit it’s duration and then click done. It makes inputting notes a slow process, it would have been nice to have a paint function or the ability to input a run of notes quickly.
The editor also has quantise options and the ability to input triplets and dotted notes.
Again, I’ve found cutting and pasting sction a little awkward and nonintuitive but once you realise what the buttons do (rtfm) it’s fairly straightforward.
The app comes with a strapline along the line of “The Fastest Way From Your Brain to Your Speakers” and its not wrong. Within ten minutes I’d managed to cobble together a decent enough tune, and it sounded pretty good when you consider the limitations of the iPad hardware. This app is a definite must if you already own FLStudio, it allows a quick and easy way of sketching out a tune when your away from your computer. The ability to edit and enhance your exported files on a desktop means that you have far more flexibility in getting the sounds you want and creating more complex arrangements.
Even if you don’t own FLStudio, this app is worth a punt because you are still given enough tools to quickly create interesting sonic doodles as well as complete tracks. I’ve roadtested a fair few music studios on the iPad, Xewton, SynthStation, Garageband, ims-20, but FLStudio has easily the best workflow, flexibility and range of sounds.
It works fine on the original iPad as well, I haven’t experienced any slowdown or stuttering and that’s on low latency settings 🙂

Fruity Apple

Now this is more like it…

I’ve downloaded a fair few music apps on my iPad, some have been good (Bebot, Filtatron, Thumbjam), some not so good (iHolophone, mujik). The idea of having a mini studio in your pocket is really appealing, especially when I’m away from home and feel the urge to make some noise. I’ve tried Xewton studio, akai Synth Station and ims-20. Out of these I would say that ims-20 is the best simply because of the ability to tweak everything and jam but so far all these apps have had one thing in common – it’s a bloody hassle to create a full song from scratch.

I’m excited about the imminent release of a portable imageline app cuz I’ve been using their products for more than a decade now and they encourage a good work flow. I first used fruityloops in 2001, (I think it was version 2). It had been recommended to me on a forum for Whitehouse (the band, not the jazz mag) as it came with an emulation of an edp Wasp. Prior to using fruityloops I had never created my own loops and had had to rely on ejay products which consisted of rearranging prerecorded(and very conservative) loops until you created something vaguely musical. To be able to program my own beats or automate vsts was amazing, it wasn’t long before I purchased a full copy. If I can remember rightly you had to use a seperate program to arrange your loops with audio, but I think with version 3 you were able to arrange patterns and audio on a playlist.

As fruityloops became more feature packed it morphed into FLStudio, and to be honest it is still my favourite DAW by far (Acid Pro comes a close second, Logic waaaaaaaayy  down on my list). It’s built in effects and synths are very tasty, the ability to automate anything and everything and the various beat mangling and riff generating options make it really fun to use (compared to Cubase where I would spend long periods of time staring at a blank arrange page waiting for an idea). I’ve seen some sniffy attitudes in some music forums towards FLStudio, it’s not a real DAW (it is), the sound is inferior compared to logic/reason/cubase (it’s not) or it’s only suitable for dance music (not true by any stretch).

The idea of having a cutdown version of FL on my iPad/iPod gives me nerdwood, I shall let you know whether it lives up to the hype when it is released.

FLStudio is up to version 10 now, if you haven’t tried FLStudio before , download the demo, you wont regret it. If you have a cracked version, then shame on you, the guys at Imageline have worked hard to create this, don’t be a douche and put your hand in your pocket. You get free updates for life for Chrissake!

I shall review FLStudi10 once I update my copy (probably in the next two weeks). In the mean time here’s a little vid to whet your appetite.