For the musicians out there, or just for those who like music but maybe don’t actually play an instrument, there is iShred. This app was used as the electric guitar on a viral YouTube video by Atomic Tom. You can see that video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19KBAcJ53akAs with most of these types of music apps, this one is pretty inexpensive at just $4.99. there are two versions of this, the iShred and the iShred Live. Let’s just focus on the iShred for right now as the Live version is mainly for the iPad and mainly for folks who play “actual” guitar, turning it into a collection of effects that can be used on stage in live performances. The iShred is a “playing surface,” which basically means that once it’s loaded onto your device’s screen, you can play the instrument just by touching/strumming the face of your iPhone. If you look at the picture above, take a look at the image on the left. You’ll see 6 strings just like on a real guitar. You play the instrument by strumming these virtual strings. Above the strings is a set of buttons that represent chords. Just tell iShred what chords you want to play. Then all you have to do is play and iShred does the chord fingering for you! You can also determine which fret to play on the neck and then pick individual notes instead of strumming. iShred also comes with built-in stomp-box effects as well as the ability to change pickup selection like a real electric guitar. This thing is really a lot of fun. Plus you can record your performances and maybe even use them in a song, bringing the app out of just the realm of fun and into being a real honest-to-goodness tool.
This thing is really a lot of fun. Plus you can record your performances and maybe even use them in a song, bringing the app out of just the realm of fun and into being a real honest-to-goodness tool.
The Korg iELECTRIBE
Korg used to make some very cool beat boxes. Now you can one that looks like their ELECTRIBE SXSD hardware sample playback beatbox on your iPad. The app is $19.99. You can get started making awesome beats right away just by playing around with the interface (see the picture on the left). Just select a sound, tap the steps to create a pattern (those of you who ever worked with any kind of drum machine back in the 80s will know how to do this already) and you’re off to the races. There is a manual available that is excellent also, which is web-based and requires an internet connection. So if you’re not connected via WiFi, you won’t have access to it. But as with most of these iOS music apps, they are both fun AND useful for creating real music.
I’ve written several times about equalization, usually just shortened to EQ. The problem with understanding EQ for most folks is not having enough of a frame of reference for what certain frequencies sound like. Most folks can tell the difference between bass and treble (low and high) frequencies and that’s just about the extent of it. To get better at shaping sounds in our recordings, we need to have the ability to discriminate between progressively smaller slices of the sound spectrum, perhaps starting with low, mids and highs, then getting into the actual frequency numbers themselves. Quiztones will quickly allow you to train your ear to recognize these frequencies. Plug in your earbuds or headphones, and the app will play you a series of tones (sine wave tones), and after each one you pick from four possible choices (e.g. 800 Hz, 200 Hz, 1 KHz and 8 KHz). And you’ll be told whether you were correct or not. You can also choose music clips instead of sine waves. Do this often enough and you’ll get much better at wielding EQ in your recordings.
These are just a few of the many incredible iOS apps out there to help you in your audio recording endeavors. Watch this space for more apps.