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SessionBand - Piano Edition Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on July 25th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PIANO FUN
Create professional studio quality music with real piano backing tracks and over 7,000 chord-based piano loops.
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How To: Listen to Lossless Music

Posted by Carter Dotson on June 17th, 2013

Most digital music nowadays sounds slightly worse than it does on CD, thanks to audio compression. This is great for quickly downloading music, but not best for audio quality. If you want to listen to music on your iOS device without that pesky compression, and are willing to give up some additional storage space to do so, we have just the guide to do so.

The easiest way to listen to lossless audio on your iOS device is to use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec. ALAC files can be played by the built-in Music app, providing the best support, and the format can be handled by iTunes.

Now, FLAC exists as another alternative. It’s the most popular lossless music distribution format on the internet largely thanks to its open source nature, though ALAC is now open source as well. Bandcamp artists frequently offer music in FLAC format, though ALAC is also an option.

Converters exist for going from FLAC to ALAC - as both codecs are lossless, there’s no degradation in quality in converting, but for using FLAC, a third-party app with iTunes file transfer must be used. The only real difference between the two is at a technical level. I’ll let the audiophile super-nerds fight this one out, but for iOS users’ convenience, ALAC is the better choice here.

Now, you’re going to want to start with your music in a lossless format. This means ripping from a CD, or finding FLAC/ALAC files. Converting from a compressed format to lossless is just pointless.

If you already have ALAC files, then just drop them in iTunes, and put them on your device. ALAC is natively supported.

If you have a CD (they still make those) that you want to make into ALAC files, just load the CD onto your computer and open it up in iTunes. Go to Preferences, and Import Settings on that first page. Set the Import Using dropdown to Apple Lossless Encoder. Now import the CD. It will be added to your library, which you can then add to your iOS device the same way that any other lossless audio file can be added.

If you have FLAC files that you want converted to ALAC, there are plenty of conversion software titles out there. Consider XLD for Mac, which has a drag-and-drop interface, and the cross-platform fre:ac.

If you just want to play the FLAC files on your device directly (such as if you have a large collection you don’t want to convert), then there are plenty of apps that will play FLAC files. Some free options: FLAC Player+, TuneShell, and MoliPlayer.

You should now be on your way to enjoying your music exactly how the creators intended it to be heard!

Blindscape Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on June 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LIGHTS OUT
It may only last 15 minutes, but Blindscape is a unique and moving audio experience.
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Yellofier Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on April 17th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FUNKY BEATS
Words cannot express the awesomeness of this completely free music sampler app that lets users turn any sounds into a song in just a few minutes.
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Capture Audio Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 29th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FIND YOUR VOICE
Capture Audio may not have the most elegant interface in the App world, but it makes up for that with some very useful functions.
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Dubbler Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 13th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: VOICE SHARING
Don't bother typing your thoughts, speak them instead, for this new social networking app.
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Do Attempt To Adjust The Picture With THX Tune Up

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on January 30th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: EASY TV DISPLAY ADJUSTMENT :: Read Review »

THX tune-up is a new app from the folks behind modern-day cinematic sound, THX, which hopes to help you calibrate your HDTV to its best visual and aural settings. Connect your iPhone 4 or iPad 2 and up to your TV with an HDMI cable or AppleTV/AirPlay and point the camera at your screen to have THX tune-up help you get the best of each.


THX tune-up features custom video test patterns, carefully selected photos and tutorials to help you adjust and confirm the best picture settings on your display based on your room lighting. Using special test sounds, THX tune-up also lets you check your external speakers to make sure they are working in phase and are connected properly for 2-channel stereo or 5.1 surround sound systems.

THX tune-up is completely interactive and you will be able to go through it at your own pace and in any order. Use your iPad 2 (or later) or iPhone 4 (or later) to connect to your display or sound system with an AppleTM Digital AV Adapter and HDMI cable or through a wireless Apple TV.

Audiobooks HQ Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on December 10th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LITERATURE RICH
Audiobooks HQ gives users access to over 5300 audiobooks, comprising of many of the great classics over the years.
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8tracks Radio Review

+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
By Jennifer Allen on November 6th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: MUSICAL VARIETY
8tracks Radio is a free to use radio app that allows users to listen to a wide selection of playlists, covering every musical interest imaginable.
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Podcasts Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Kevin Stout on July 2nd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar ::
Apple has finally released a dedicated app for podcasts.
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BlindSide Updates with Support for More Devices

Posted by Kevin Stout on June 27th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FUMBLES IN THE DARK :: Read Review »

It's quite frustrating to be the owner of older generations of iOS devices. iPhone 3G and 3GS (and sometimes even 4!) owners or original iPad or iPad 2 owners are often kept from using certain apps (mainly games) that require more powerful devices. But now, for some users that were upset that they couldn't play the 3D audio adventure, BlindSide, that's no longer a problem. BlindSide now supports older devices for their game.

The game used to only be playable on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the third-gen iPad (this left quite a few iPhone users out). The game has now added the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch (fourth generation) to its list of supported devices. Though, epicycle still highly suggests using one of the original three supported devices for the game as the two new devices are supported using a lower quality mode. So for optimal performance, use a new device.

BlindSide is a 3D audio adventure from epicycle. Players never actually see the world that they explore. The game requires uses to put headphones on and navigate around in the darkness based on what they hear. BlindSide detects where players are in the world based on their movements using the device's gyroscope.

BlindSide is available for $2.99. Check out the new trailer for the game below.

playGO AP1 is the Next Generation of Audio Streaming

Posted by Jordan Minor on May 23rd, 2012

With all of Apple’s relatively recent success in the smartphone and tablet market, we can forget sometimes that what kicked off their modern dominance was a device that simply played music. BICOM, Inc. has been recognizing how important music is to the company with their playGo series of iOS receiver systems. The newest model, the playGo AP1, is their biggest leap forward yet.

Previous playGo models used USB interfaces but the playGo AP1 instead streams audio wirelessly using Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Apple’s own AirPlay functionality. Music from iOS devices, iTunes and other services like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify are wirelessly pushed to speakers with their high-fidelity audio intact. The playGO AP1 also retains built in USB for compatibility with older devices.

Unfortunately, the project is still in need of funding. However, interested buyers can check out the playGo AP1 Kickstarter page and purchase one early for $199. The funding deadline in July 5th and if it’s a success, expect to see the playGo AP1 released shortly thereafter.

iTranslate Voice Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BILINGUAL BENEFITS
Simple to use yet with some impressive results.
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Asian Audio-based Micro-blogging Service, Bubbly, Goes Global

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 18th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Bubbly, a popular micro-blogging service in Asia, is now a global service and was released in the U.S. App Store on April 11th. Unlike Twitter and its 140 character limit, Bubbly users have the option of posting audio or text updates. The service includes “like” and commenting features similar to Facebook.

Voice posts are the driving feature of Bubbly. Users are encouraged to use the audio option when posting to convey the emotion and feeling behind what they’d like to say. I’ve grown particularly accustomed to the fact that sarcasm and irony aren’t always apparent in a text-only platform. Something like Bubbly remedies that confusion.

The service has a strange in-app purchase option. To unlock access to celebrity Bubbly-ers (Bubblers?...Bubbly users), users must pay $2.99 as an in-app purchase. I’m not sure any other service has ever done something like this. I’m trying to imagine Twitter being free, but needing to pay for popular users.

Bubbly has reached 16 million users (1 million just in the last month). On average, users post three times per day and 75% of that content are audio posts. Bubbly is a free service (except for the in-app purchase for premium user access) and the app is available to download for free.

Alesis iO Mix Allows Musicians to Keep a Portable Studio

Posted by Kevin Stout on March 26th, 2012

A new tool for musicians is slated to be released by Alesis. The Alesis iO Mix is a mixer/recorder accessory for the iPad.

The Alesis iO Mix lets musicians mix and record four channels of audio into GarageBand (all Core Audio apps are compatible). Alesis previously released the iO Dock, which made the iPad compatible with studio equipment. But with the iO Mix, the iPad basically becomes the studio.

The iO Mix has four input channels (combo XLR-1/4”) and stereo outputs (1/4”). It even has video output for live show videos. It has a guitar-direct (DI) switch for recording a guitar without an amp. And an Alesis Module Mount (sold separately) can mount the iOS Mix to a mic stand.

The iPad is enclosed securely and the power supply keeps the iPad charged during recording.

The Alesis iO Mix currently has no release date or pricing available.