Samplr App for iPad Reviewed

May 15, 2013
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There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to live performance-oriented samplers for the iPad. Designed by Marcos Alonso and aptly named “Samplr,” this app cribs the design aesthetic from Teenage Engineering’s oh-so-cultish OP-1, melds it with a broad array of sample manipulation tools, and delivers a user experience that's both quirky and intuitive.

 

Samplr's seven performance modes cover a lotof sonic ground, since each mode is extremely “playable” regardless of your experience level. Here’s an aerial view of the engine:

Slicer works like Propellerhead ReCycle, breaking your sample into rhythmic chunks based on a grid that ranges from quarter-notes to 32nd-notes—or user-editable slices of any size.

Looper lets you adjust multiple audio loops, from the same sample, in real time, All loop points and volume are controlled via multi-touch, so the more fingers, the merrier.

Ebow (my personal favorite) allows you to define a loop length, including very small loops, then scrub that loop in any direction over the sample. The end result is evocative of ’90s-era time-stretching, especially when used with vocals.

Tape mode provides control over the playback speed of the loop via the horizontal axis, both forward and backward.

Scratch mode—another really cool and playable feature—does exactly what its name says, letting you scrub and scratch the sample with your finger. Between Tape and Scratch, your “analog” bases are well covered.

The final two modes—Keyboard and Loop Player—work more traditionally, with their names indicative of their features.

Samplr’s effects include Korg Kaoss-style implementations of essential processing tools like distortion, filter, amplitude modulation, delay and reverb, all of which are nicely implemented and do the trick.

Since its initial version 1.0 release late last year (this review was first based on 1.0, then updated to reflect 1.2), Samplr has grown by leaps and bounds. The most notable addition is Audiobus support, which means that Samplr can be integrated into complex inter-app iOS setups. What’s more, the developers added the ability to record your own audio directly into the app via the iPad mic or resampling its own output. They also assure us that CoreMIDI connectivity for external keyboard controllers and such is “top priority” for the next update, so it's obvious they're paying close attention to their customers’ requests.

All in all, Samplr is shaping up to be an impressive sampling resource for the iPad. While we still love Jordan Rudess’ SampleWiz (reviewed Aug. ’12) for its fun features and CoreMIDI support, Samplr is a very cool companion app that will clearly appeal to audio tweakheads.

PROS

Seven performance-oriented sampling modes. Intuitive interface lets you manipulate audio data by touching it. Interactive effects make great use of multi-touch. Audiobus support.

CONS

No CoreMIDI support at this time—but it’s on the way.

Bottom Line: A unique approach to sampling that makes great use of multi-touch.

$4.99 | samplr.net 

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