Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
iPad Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
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A few weeks ago, I wrote a review extolling the virtues of iSequence, a sophisticated new iPad app that allows musicians to construct full-scale songs from their touch screens. That app could be overwhelming to a first time user or a novice musician, but now soundTable fills that void by providing a simplified interface and learning curve for beginners wanting to create interesting electronic sequences.
As its name implies, all controls in soundTable are manipulated from one master screen. You can easily search sound banks to find the beats, synths and other sounds you want, then drag them to the middle of the screen - the "table" - where their volume, speed and direction can be manipulated using circular turntables that surround each individual sound. As you drag sounds to the main table, they "attach" themselves visually to a master control at the bottom of the screen. These attachment lines are actually representations of sound waves and they can be manipulated by attaching additional effects to them. Ultimately, you'll likely have a half dozen or more mini turntables on screen at once, so it can get a little confusing and often difficult to fully control.
To be fair, though, the interface in soundTable is interesting and unique and easy enough to begin with. It would help if the developers included a comprehensive help file with the app, but you will have to settle for the info button, which merely describes what each set of buttons represents. That's certainly enough to get you going, but as users continue playing with the app they are probably going to want more and better explanations.
The sounds available in soundTable are pretty standard, but fortunately the developers have included many, many more available for download free. You can sample each sound and decide if you want it, so you don't have to litter your iPad's precious drive space with unwanted sounds. Hopefully there will be additional sound packs released as the app reaches maturity. At only $0.99 for the app, I wouldn't mind paying extra for more sounds.
Graphically, soundTable really impresses. With a variety of virtual turntables and sound waves going at one time, the interface of the app looks something like an art piece. It remains to be seen (and heard) what the most ambitious of users will be able to sonically do within the confines of the iPad's screen.
At this point, soundTable is more of a toy than apps such as iSequence, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It represents a good first step for those just now venturing into the ambient unknown.