Version Reviewed: 2.5
Device Reviewed On: iPad 3
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Integration with iPad Rating:
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The iPad has quickly become a useful musical instrument. It's especially cool for electronic musicians who want to write on the go, or those who want to program simple loops while sitting on the couch to import to a digital audio workstation (DAW) for further composition later.
SoundPrism is one of those unique iPad instruments in that it feels a bit more abstract than a traditional instrument or sequencer. At first, it all feels a bit arbitrary. Even as users become a bit more familiar with the functionality, it feels weird. Maybe I'm just used to how a regular keyboard works. The app is designed to play notes that are in key with each other. Variations of those notes are just octave jumps along the keyboard. It's a bit awkward at first, because it doesn't feel like a piano.
If there is any benefit to the interface, it's that it makes it a bit easier to play notes that sound good together. It can also help folks who are still learning about music how basic theory works. It just doesn't totally work for me or my creative goals when working on music.
Some users may enjoy that it's a bit easier to string together melodies and chords. Others may be put off by that. To me, it feels like GarageBand for iOS's Smart Instruments, which constrains users to notes that are in key or plays simple scales with little to no effort. As neat as it may be for music education or beginner musicians, it feels somewhat limiting for those with a little more experience. Though some musicians may like that it feels a bit less predictable than playing a regular keyboard, and it can lead to interesting results and happy accidents.
It's hard not to recommend an app that's available for the low price of free. Interested musicians can give SoundPrism a shot, but shouldn't be surprised if they're not particularly impressed with it. If anything, it's a good way to pass the time for a few minutes, or entertain a kid or two.