iPad as Effects Processor

Bell Sound Waves 1

So far we’ve looked at iOS devices as digital audio workstations, notation readers and scorers, and as musical synthesizers. This time we’re going to take a look at the devices as effects processors.

The phrase “effects processor” is a catch-all term that refers to just about any way that sound is manipulated before its amplified, recorded, etc.  This could be as basic as adding reverberation to make it sound like your in a large auditorium instead of a small recording studio, or as complex as auto-tuning, looping, or otherwise radically altering the sound.

Effects devices typically took two forms.  There were rack-mounted devices that controlled EQ, compression, reverb, delay, etc.  Then there were performance devices.  These were usually geared toward guitarists, and included the Fuzz, WahWah, Flanger, and distortion peddles.  Now a whole range of effects peddles can be found.  Rack-mounted effects are still important in studio work, but most of those effects can now be found on performance devices themselves, such as keyboards, etc.

Effects apps for iOS seem to look more like performance level devices, and this makes sense.  The portability of the device makes it a great alternative if you needs some quick effects and don’t want to lug all your gear with you.  If you’re doing a jam session or just practicing, these are great.  I’m not sure how it would work in a studio setting, though. Continue reading “iPad as Effects Processor”

In-App Agony

Most apps for smart phones, whether iOS or Android, are relatively inexpensive.  They are certainly cheaper than the programs for PCs and Macs over the past decade or so.  As computing power increases and memory gets cheaper, software seems to pick up added bloatation, so it’s also nice to see powerful applications in a streamlined package.

Even though streamlined, powerful apps are fairly cost effective, there is on trend that bothers me – the “In-App Purchase.”  You purchase a cheap application, or perhaps find a free one, only to find that inside the app you have to purchase additional components to get it to do what you want.  I’ve found this to be the case with photography and music-related apps quite frequently.

For example, TC-Helicon’s VocalJam app is $6.99 in the app store.


By itself it’s a pretty good program. However, if you try to click on the effects buttons on the left side, you get the following message: Continue reading “In-App Agony”