by FRANCIS PREVE
WE’RE BIG FANS OF JORDAN RUDESS’ iOS PRODUCTS. We tested MorphWizback in November 2011 and found it to be one of the coolest, most playable iPad synths available. SampleWiz—Jordan’s entry into the iOS sampler melee—is equally engaging, not just for its ease of use, but for its inclusion of some pretty sophisticated sampling tech.
SampleWiz delivers immediate gratification. Hit the microphone icon and boom, you’re recording. Tap it again to stop sampling and you’re ready to rock.
From there, you’ve got three sampling modes: Classic, Granular, and Modern. Classic mode operates like pretty much every standard sampler: Play your sound up and down the keyboard and it’s transposed, as well as sped up or slowed down for munchkin or Vader effects. Granular mode lets you choose the playback speed and grain size for time-stretching effects. Modern mode separates time and pitch, allowing you to play with each independently.
Other processing includes an ADSR envelope for the amplifier, cropping/looping for the samples, and a basic delay effect. Personally, I would love to have seen some sort of filtering as well, but it’s still a cool app without it.
As with so many iPad music apps, you can select specific keys and modes for the keyboardplaying surface, so bum notes are impossible, unless you’re feeling extremely confident in your touchscreen playing skills. You can also trigger sound by playing the waveform display itself, and since every note is an independent voice, you can swipe left/right and up/down and have your sample moving forwards and backwards from different pitches and starting points!
When it comes to CoreMIDI implementation, SampleWiz is packed with features. Pretty much every synth parameter—including waveform position, playback direction, delay, and envelopes— can be assigned its own MIDI CC number. So if you’re using a CoreMIDI interface like Line 6’s MIDI Mobilizer, you can do all kinds of magic tricks with a bit of advance planning.
SampleWiz is an Internet socialite as well, thanks to its built-in ability to share your custom creations via email. All of the preset parameters, along with the sample data, are contained in the attachment. This is also a really nifty feature for archiving patches: Just email your faves to yourself and keep them organized in your email app.
The online buzz about SampleWiz often compares it to the Casio SK-1 keyboard, which also delivered on-the-go sampling for the masses, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s deep enough to be used as a “real” instrument, but the fun factor of this app is off the charts. At $9.99, we highly recommend it for kids of all ages.
PROS X/Y axis playability makes for enhanced expressiveness. Preset key, scale, and mode make it easy to stay in tune. Extensive MIDI implementation. Ability to email presets to other SampleWiz users.
CONS Lack of fi ltering is a minor disappointment.
BOTTOM LINE Fantastic blend of sampling with intuitive, realtime granular processing.
$9.99 | wizdommusic.com