ElectroBeats by David Guetta [rating: 3.5/5]
ElectroBeats is billed as an “intuitive beat making application conceived in collaboration with worldwide renowned and most demanded producer David Guetta.” And further described as an “electronic instrument for the masses”.
So it has a lot to live up to… Does the app measure up to the hype? A unique selling point of Electrobeats (“EB”) is also that it features sounds from Guetta’s new single “Who’s that Chick” featuring Rihanna. So if you are into that kind of thing then that may well additionally attract you.
Plus, ElectroBeats doesn’t just use samples, it also has synthesised voices, which can allow far more effect manipulation, and control over the way they play.
If you’ve ever used any kind of traditional electronic drum machine then you should feel fairly at home with “EB”. It fires up with the main interface you use throughout your time with the app, which is a 4×4 grid of 16 drum pads.
Tapping or holding the pads will get the sample or instrument currently associated with it to play in various ways. Each pad can have one sound associated with it. But you are able to choose from a very large selection of samples in the apps own repository, and mix and match your pad’s available sounds any way you wish.
When you are choosing a new sound associated with a pad you can preview it, and also affect settings which will alter the characteristics of how that sound is played. More echo, more vibrato, pitch shift etc.
Choosing sounds, and loading tracks is not done very intuitively. The app makes a strange sound when you select something and then either appears to do nothing, or flicks back to a previous page. The sound it makes bears no resemblance to what you have chosen. So it is not clear initially what is going on. But you will figure it out. At the end of the day its just a quirkily implemented set of iOS menus. But I am not sure what the developer was thinking of.
ElectroBeat also features a sequencer, which is configurable up to 8 bars in length, and various selectable playback speeds calibrated in beats per minute (BPM). This is all controlled with a few buttons on the app’s main screen, which are by and large self explanatory. Big red dot for record. Green triangle to play. You get the drift. But even with a maximum of 8 bars to record a track in you are not going to be able to record anything much longer than about 20 seconds at a time.
Recording is fun and intuitive to some degree. You simply start the sequencer recording and then tap a base beat in, perhaps with a snare drum or some clapping, and then as the track loops you add in another instrument, and so on until you have a complete track.
Once you’ve recorded the beginning of a track, you can then play it back and try new sounds over the playback, before committing to recording more sounds. So the process is iterative, and allows easy experimentation.
The core drum machine app is simple deliberately in that there is no fancy fast forward or rewind, as the tracks are too short to warrant it. So you simply work in a loop, and can stop and start, and tweak as you go over and over the same track. And this is exactly how a drum machine should work. It’s great for twiddling within idle moments, and easy to put away when you have finished, with the option to save or resume later when inspiration strikes again.
If anything is unclear in the app there is a helpful “Help” section with instructions on what each part of the app does.
It is also possible to save your masterpieces to .wav files, and even export to sequencers like Logic™, Live™, ProTools™, Cubase™ and many more. I would expect a MIDI option to be in there somewhere, with Apple’s new MIDI stuff in iOS, but it does not appear to be in the app yet. Perhaps in an update. Or perhaps the “masses” don’t really need MIDI. But at $10s for the app I’d like it.
A nice feature is that the developers, and presumably David Guetta, have provided us with some drum construction kits, and patterns and also some sample tracks to get us going. When you play those, or the demos on their web site you see what you might be able to knock up quite easily with this app.
Uvi are confident of their app, and so provide a free version to try with a much reduced feature set and sound library. I certainly had fun with ElectroBeats, and was impressed with the sound library. And also with the amount of control I had over sounds; from simple things like being able to tap, or hold a pad to make a sound play differently, to the copious options for affecting the way instruments and samples play, so that you can fundamentally change the way they are generated or filtered to get very different sounds.
The interface is bright and fun, and there are plenty of export and save options so that you can make and save work, and come back to ideas you were working on a few days ago.
But I can’t help feeling that some of the samples are a bit untidy, and that the app in some ways is trading too heavily on its pop culture links to a “famous” producer and a current pop star. For that reason I would recommend you try the free version first. If you like it then consider spending the $9.99 for the full app.
For the samples and the drum kit implementation itself $10 is reasonable. But there are other apps out there for less that do offer more flexibility, whilst perhaps not boasting the same funky sound set.
At half the price this app would be a must have iPhone or iPad app. At $9.99 I’d recommend you check out the free version before buying.
- Simple to pick up.
- Great sound library.
- Limited Functionality.
- The price compared to other offerings.
- Quirky menus when not in the main drum machine.
$9.99 (View in iTunes)
Released: Nov 26, 2010
Seller: Univers Sons
© 2011 UVI.net
Requirements:Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later