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App Sales: Bring Out Your Freebies

Arturia remembered that they made an Arturia iSpark app today, and made it free to everyone! It seems like they had forgotten about it entirely since 2017. Alto Sax Prompter is a study aid for learning to play the Alto Sax, which has seen regular updates over the years, and is now free today! They're joined by some decent sales on Keystage, the FAC effects (mostly the macOS versions), and Fader Command!

Since iSpark hasn't changed at all in the intervening years, here's a 36 year old Jakob Haq showing off the app. This is from when he had joined forces with The Sound Test Room, and before his first grey hairs.

Reader Comments 9

For any Gen Z's that happen to be reading this site, the title is a Monty Python reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcbR1J_4ICg

On behalf of Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and quite a few Millennials; we'd all appreciate it if you would at least watch the movies so you get most of our references.
Timmy, it looks like you linked the FAC apps to the macOS versions. Was that intentional? I was like, “what! I never paid that much for those!” 🤪
March 27, 2020  | person DrüMünkey
On March 27, 2020 - @DrüMünkey said:
Timmy, it looks like you linked the FAC apps to the macOS versions. Was that intentional?

Yes, I just double-checked and it is only the macOS versions on sale. Except for Envolver. I think they might have screwed up something when setting up the sale with Apple.
I just recently had my just-barely-millennial girlfriend watch “The Life Of Brian”. It was the second time trying it. We didn’t get through it the first time. She was amused some but really struggled with several of the accents and didn’t laugh as much as she expected she ought to with the silliness, and didn’t get much the surreal humor or most of the historical/biblical references. She’s game to try Holy Grail... but she knows nothing about Arthurian legend, the grail, etc... so...

Your “bring out your dead” reference is apt, seeing as the Arturia app seems like abandonware... Arturia are a weird company. They started as a software company, then started making hardware, but also don’t seem to grasp that hardware should be fully functional upon release (acting like every software company that thinks they can sell early and patch it later, only to abandon the product and try to sell another one mostly just like it).

Since they contracted with another company to make iSEM, its actually quite good, but hasn’t been touched in ages. Since iSpark is free, I’ll download it and check it out, but I have watched Arturia for years and not been impressed at their habits.
March 27, 2020  | person dysamoria
iSpark as a freebie was a very pleasant surprise. I've had quite a bit of fun messing around with it.

I've long been a fan of the immediacy of DM1-- which is why it is very easy to recommend to students of MOST ages. But I've also been bothered by it's unfriendliness to triplet-based rhythms.

I wanted to see how iSpark compared to DM1. In a quick messin' around session, I was impressed. It does have a 3 step per beat rate (1/12 resolution). The grid still highlights the first of every 4 steps, but that's a minor gripe. The only other problem is that while it is in 1/12 resolution, the "roller" functions don't make ANY sense. One very cool surprise is that the swing function while in 1/12 mode resets every beat, so you are swinging the 2nd note of every triplet. This is perfect for the kind of galloped triplet that is popular in some parts of the world.

Here's the overall hierarchy:
a Pattern can have up to 64 steps
rates (steps:beats)-- 4:1, 3:1, 2:1, 3:2, 1:1, 1:2
there are 4 banks (A-D) of 16 patterns each
a Song has 16 pattern-chains of up to 8 patterns each
in Song-Play mode, you can select one of the 16 pattern chains in realtime
or link any chains (in fixed order)

The FX and signal routing seem pretty complex/powerful (can't quite grasp it in one sitting)

In the pattern editor, though it lacks accents, there is a pretty easy "automation" section that lets you fully adjust velocity and other parameters.

Overall, I'm super impressed. I suppose most drum machines have overlapping features, it is nice to see one that is pretty strong in most respects: flexible step editing, powerful song-editing, and very nice mix features.

The store has about 18 different "packs" with 80 samples & 160 patterns per pack, and a price of $4 (USD) each. There's one freebie in there (the first one).

@dysamoria

I suspect this IS abandon-ware. So it will work until it doesn't. Hopefully they'll maintain it through a couple OS updates, but I suppose Arturia has kind of a reputation for expansive product development and minimal maintenance. I'm less inclined to go buy a bunch of packs, knowing they'll potentially be lost when the software goes south.
I spent a few minutes trying to use the sample editor. In my first attempt, trimming seemed to have no effect, and enabling REVERSE didn't do anything either. But I'm not sure if there was some synthesis thing turned on somewhere.
Ok, in another test, I was able to get the sample editor to work as expected. There must have been some synth or FX stuff going on in that particular example that negated the need for the original sample.
Kind of cool that you can put 2 FX on each track/pad/instrument, and have two send FX as well. There's a pretty nice selection of effects, all with automation.

The iSpark reverb is an unpolishable turd. All you can do with it is play "hide the dooky" -- i.e., keep it low enough that people won't notice it.

Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, it's a fun thingy, for sure.
Back to freebie listing - Roland ZenBeats iOS unlock is now free.

"We are the knights who say FREE."
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