Keyboard reviews for iOS

Several people have mentioned that I end up costing them a lot of money; from showing off apps here. In the spirit of sportsmanship:

Run away! Abandon all hope and wallets, ye who enter this article!

As much as we all love to tweak around with things on our iOS screens, for actually playing a keyboard... you want a keyboard! I can't emphasize enough how much more I play now that I set up the SynthStation 61. It is just so much more fun and natural. I tweak the knobs and sliders on the screen and play the notes with the keyboard. Even if you don't have any experience playing a keyboard, you'll get better just by having fun with one.

A couple of iPad specific, 37-key, keyboard reviews have just come out from Kelly's Music & Computers, an online gear retailer. I usually dislike retailer reviews, but I think Kelly does a good job of getting to the stuff that matters to iOS Musicians. I also like that these are 37-keys he's looking at, as that is my personal minimum zone.

First up is the sleek and cheap GarageKey Mini 37. I checked and Kelly actually has the best price on this one, beating Amazon by $10, at just $59 on his company site. If you have small fingers, or a small area you're playing in, then these mini-keys will suit you.

That seems like a nice entry-level option, but I dislike the location of the octave switches. If you want some bigger keys and a bunch of knobs he's got a nice battery-powered solution with the Miditech i2 Control 37. This is $148 on Kelly's site and I can't find it available anywhere else in the US. $250 in New Zealand!

Science: Powering Keyboards for iOS

With iOS's limited USB power, it can be a struggle to get your keyboard powered. Some arm-chair theorists speculate that one of the USB-Power-dongle-deals, the kind used for charging your phone in an emergency, would probably work. I've never heard of anyone actually trying it though.

Until now! Reader Maria D put theory into practice in a desperate attempt to lounge around with just her Oxygen 8 and an iPhone connected via iRig MIDI. As with any serious scientific en devour, she wisely documented her experiments.

I love her enthusiasm! I'm so glad someone finally tested this; it is great to see something like this works for iPhones or connecting bigger keyboards to the iPad! You should check out the rest of her videos. My favorite is Inside My Head; she's got huge stage pressence for such a tiny little thing!

Shapesynth update

I don't really review iPhone apps, because I don't have an iPhone and I think it is important to test an app on its target device, but Shapesynth is deserving of an honorary "Awesome!" rating. It sounds like a Nintendo, while looking like an Atari, but it has so many features! Today's update improves upon the "Slave algorithm", which allows for wirelessly networked MIDI control from its Brother app.

Buy Shapesynth on iTunes: $1.99

Shapesynth is also the first music app to support the Sphero, a ball-shaped accelerometer controller. This works like a cheaper ($129) version of Percussa's Audiocubes, which are so expensive they won't even tell you the price.... I seem to remember them being around $700 for 4 (only available in sets).

Here is a cool demo of Sphero controlling the FM in Shapesynth:

Mobile Mood Machine on sale!

It's a slow Thursday. Quick, everyone put their apps on sale!

Julien Bayle has done just that, with Mobile Mood Machine on sale June 22nd through the 24th.

Buy Mobile Mood Machine on iTunes: $0.99 (On Sale, from $2.99)

This app is pretty cool for ambient stuff, harmonizing scales to moods. Here's a demo:

GlitchBreaks update submitted and on sale!

The latest version of GlitchBreaks has been submitted to iTunes for approval. To celebrate, it is now on sale for a limited time!

20% off submission sale - 1.03 has been submitted and is waiting for review from Apple, while it is waiting Glitchbreaks will be on sale, once 1.03 goes live, the price goes back to normal.

Buy GlitchBreaks on iTunes: $3.99 (On Sale, from $4.99)

Nice! Here's a track I made during the beta testing process on 1.02. I just finished a new track this morning, that I'll post with 1.03's release. Both tracks explore Easy Glitchening; a gentle sort of glitch-based music.

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