iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
DreamsCloud, the interactive service that looks to help people analyze and reflect on their dreams, has announced its new iOS app DreamSphere.
The app has a host of features, including a Dream Journal which can be recorded via text or voice, a Dreams Map, which allows users to check their dream patterns against that of other users around the globe, a Smart Alarm, and more. There are also premium features that can be unlocked.
DreamsCloud co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer Jean Marc Emden talks about empowering users. “Dreams have such a significant impact on our overall health and wellness, and are the voice of our subconscious mind,” he says. “With the launch of DreamSphere, we wanted to create an app that provides users with a companion for daily wellness and self-reflection. By empowering our users to remember, process, decode and discuss their dreams on-the-go, DreamSphere will help individuals tap into critical insights and a better understanding of their waking lives.”
The app is now available for free (with aforementioned optional premium content) on the App Store.
Ever since Apple first included a microphone recording application in iOS, people have been stretching the limits of what iOS devices are capable of. Do they work reasonably as personal recording devices? Absolutely! But as with any technology, there is a small minority that demands more of the hardware.
This is where the new iRig MIC Cast comes into play. Gone are the days of sounding like you are sitting in a bathtub, because this handy little peripheral promises to make you sound as clear as day. The secret is a "unidirectional condenser capsule that isolates the intended audio source, yielding dramatically better results than an integrated microphone." We couldn't have said it any better ourselves!
Aspiring podcasters on the move will find that this coin sized device could be the answer to all of their prayers, not to mention a mobile studio to boot! At only $39.99, the iRig MIC Cast is also a bargain, so give it a spin an let us know what you think. This could be just the evolution you've been waiting for!
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.
Graphics / Sound Rating: User Interface Rating: Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Ever since the iPad's introduction people have wondered why GarageBand (or any of the other iLife software for that matter) wasn't available. Rumors of its development came and went, and budding musicians across the nation grinded their teeth in anticipation. After a while other app developers began filling the void with various instrument apps, recording apps, and even sequencers, and while some of them were quite impressive, non of them offered the ease and versatility that Apple's flagship music creation software is known for. There wasn't anything quite like Apple's GarageBand available anywhere except on Apple's own line of computers and laptops, until now. When Apple introduced their latest generation iPad they released a whole set of iLife apps, and now GarageBand is more portable than ever before. The question is, was it worth the wait?
GarageBand is a full featured app with recording options, built in instruments, a multi-track mixer, and a host of audio effects. The sheer amount of versatility offered by this app is impressive because if has a level of features that could have easily been broken down into several smaller apps. I am glad Apple decided to keep it all rolled up into one though. You can do live performances or practice with the built in multi-touch instruments, or you can record full featured songs with the 8-track mixer. There's a built in amp kit with various pedals and effects for all the guitar players out their too. Don't worry, if you aren't an extremely talented musician you can still throw together some good sounding jams with the built in loops and the nifty "smart" instruments (more on this later).
On the surface, the GarageBand app looks like a simple virtual instrument program with a selection screen for guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and some live recording options. You can select any of these options to reveal a realistic instrument layout. Then you can start toying around with all the effects or just simply begin playing. The guitar and bass both have several variations (acoustic, clean, muted, classical, etc.), and the keyboard affords you a whole range of organs, synths, and mallets. Even the drums go above and beyond expectation with realistic virtual drum sets, a beat sequencer (with an awesome randomizer for creating drum beats on the fly), and a classic looking electronic drum pad. Overall, the instruments sound believable and the interface remained glitch free and intuitive even when I attempted to play at a frantic pace.
As you dig deeper into the app's feature set you will discover a well crafted mixer. Simply select your instrument of choice, decide on a tempo and number of measures to play, and then hit record. There is a metronome feature to aid in keeping time, and the app allows you to split your song into sections so it is easy to finalize different aspects of a song in progress without destroying it. The mixer allows you to use GarageBand's built in instruments, record your own live instruments, and even sing on up to 8 tracks. You can even add a selection of built in music loops to spice up your song. The loops included are a nice touch, but there weren't near enough for my tastes. I hope Apple provides more with future in app purchases. After recording you can add effects to the song as a whole (reverb, echo), and save it to the device. Apple allows you to export your saved songs to iTunes or share them via email.
The one major feature that sets GarageBand apart from the competition is its use of "smart" instruments. If you select a smart instrument you can sound like a pro with little to no musical knowledge. Basically you choose which instrument you want then twist an onscreen nob to decide on a preset pattern. Tap on a note and viola; the iPad will spit out a smooth sequence of sound. You can mash record and jump from note to note and make some pretty snazzy tunes. Some people might consider it cheating, but I found the option pretty useful. If you are a beginner it's an obvious boon, but even more seasoned musicians can use it to easily add subtle layers to their own songs. I think it was a smart move on Apple's part to include the "smart" instrument feature because it opens the doors for newcomers, and it makes some of the harder-to-play-on-a-touchscreen instruments (I'm looking at you, Mr. Guitar) sound more convincing.
I didn't get to fully test the amp features because I don't have an electric guitar (I know, I'm lame), but I did pop on a pair of headphones and use the iPad's built in mic to test some of the effects on my concert ukulele. It turns out, heavy distortion on a ukulele is pretty metal. Needless to say, the amp possibilities look well rounded. There are several amps to choose from by simply swiping the screen, and you can use up to three of the ten pedals at a time for seemingly endless combinations of effects (it would take you more than one rainy day to figure them all out).
Performance wasn't an issue during my GarageBand sessions, and this surprised me because I am still rocking the original iPad. I did notice that the app had to optimize my song before recording when I was in the six to eight track range, but I didn't experience any crashes or major hang-ups. The app simply shows a loading bar when it needs to optimize and ten seconds later you are ready to jam again. I am sure the iPad 2 doesn't have to optimize as often with its beastly dual core processor, but rest assured you can still fully enjoy GarageBand with an old school (read, one year old) iPad. I've really only scratched the surface of what this musician's dream of an app can do, so if you have any musical inclination whatsoever, I implore you to give it a try. Apple did a great job making their portable version of GarageBand accessible for beginners, but feature rich enough for real musicians. It isn't going to replace a real studio set-up, but it's definitely more than a novelty. Their price point is really competitive too. As I said before there are options within GarageBand that could've been separate apps altogether.
Check out Apple's demo video for an in depth preview of each instrument:
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Recording audio is great, except when you play it back and realize, with some frustration, that you can't see what's being talked about—whether it's a reference to diagrams on a blackboard, a lecture slide, or even a person. As for video, well, it requires a lot more storage space, as well as a steady hand.
Eidetiq aims to combine the best of both worlds with their new iPhone app. The name "Eidetiq" is a play on the real term, "eidetic memory," or what pop culture calls a photographic memory. Loosely termed a "note-taking" application, Eidetiq allows you to record audio as well as snapping pictures. Turn the app on, and then take pictures when necessary. The app then plays back the recording with the pictures synchronized in time to the audio. A free piece of desktop software allows you to sync those recordings to your Windows or Mac machine as well.
The developers have plenty of suggestions for how to use Eidetiq. These range from the standard lecture recording—record audio, plus pictures of relevant diagrams or problems—to medical applications, such as a doctor recording a patient's description of their symptoms along with photos of the injury. Despite its "note-taker" moniker, the developers intend for Eidetiq to be much more.
"Never ask again - what did the teacher just say?" said Jason Novak, CEO, Chubby Weasel Technologies..."The app allows you to focus on what you're listening to in the moment, and then go back and document the highlights."
Eidetiq is now available on the App Store for $4.99.