Tabletop for iPad Impressions

A mere thirty minutes after my review of Rhythm Studio went up I got an email from Dan, Co-Founder of Retronyms, regarding my comments on their pricing model for Tabletop. He wanted me to try it out, so he gave me a promo-code with a request for feedback.

This article features all of my impressions; the $5 content is unlocked with the retail price of the promo-code. I have included optional In-Article Purchases offering further consultation, which are not included in the original price, for users who feel they need the additional content.

Tabletop is a sexy App. The navigation is smooth and the interface is well thought out. You can tell they got a real artist in on the project and not the accountant who "knows some Photoshop." Unfortunately the artist missed a trick, which is [Good Idea, In-Article Purchase - $9.99 Consulting Fee]. This is an important facet to any music App, as it should be instantly inspiring.

The included instruments in Tabletop's modular environment offer a fairly good mix. The ability to route audio with a visual wire connection is both intuitive and powerful. There is little that could be asked for here, though I did think the GridLok Pad Sampler would benefit from a [Another Good Idea, In-Article Purchase - $9.99 Consulting Fee], which would greatly extend its capability and fit well in the modular design.

Since I started off on hardware I was immediately comfortable with Tabletop's modus operandi. All of the instruments behave as expected. However, users more familiar with software environments may have a problem with this. I have received a lot of viewer criticism of [Trade Secret, In-Article Purchase - $99.99 Consulting Fee] in technoBox2 and Rhythm Studio, both also slavishly beholden to the hardware they emulate.

Fortunately Tabletop looks like it has the underlying architecture to over-come this present shortfall. With existing assets they could tweak some back-end to add [Great Idea, In-Article Purchase - $99.99 Consulting Fee]!

This core technology could add additional functionality in other areas as well:

As you can see, Tabletop's appeal is obvious with a lot going for it, but to get into the useful stuff you should be prepared to make additional purchases beyond the initial $5 investment.

Retronyms has a lot of passion for the project and are unquestionably dedicated to extending it as a platform. With their commitment to further development it is easy to imagine them patching in [Great Idea, In-Article Purchase - $99.99 Consulting Fee] as a future In-App Purchase. With that achieved, musicians comfortable with both software and hardware will want to make sure that Tabletop is a part of their music making!

NI Maschine playing Rockband 3

Meh... the video is kind of jumpy as the TV is doing 60fps, but my shitty Lifecam only does 15fps. Details below the video, with links.

Hardware used:
Native Instruments Maschine
M-Audio UNO USB-MIDI Adapter (any one will do)
Madcatz MIDI Pro-Adapter (set velocity to max)

Software:
MIDI-OX - http://www.midiox.com/

Maschine Config - http://www.mediafire.com/?9kdf3dhpw3ryr3c
(Mirror) -http://fileape.com/dl/MXfTqpDG6pAVbMZQ

Instructions: 
First connect your PC's USB-MIDI interface and the Maschine. Launch Native Instruments' Controller Editor and load up the Config file. Download and install MIDI-OX, it's free for non-commercial use. Launch MIDI-OX.

Go to Options - MIDI Devices... 
From the MIDI Inputs menu select the Maschine
From the MIDI Outputs menu select your USB-MIDI interface.
Up at the top type something like RB3 into the Preset name and then hit the disk icon to save. Now all you'll ever have to do is launch MIDI-OX when your interface and Maschine are plugged in and it'll do its thing.

With MIDI-OX set, plug your "To In" MIDI Cable into the Madcatz MIDI In. That's it, you're ready to rock. After your initial setup it only takes about 20 seconds to get going. It's much faster than dragging the old drum kit out!

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