2/25/2010 12:21 PM
I'm a musician and a big fan of technology, but believe it or not, I've never owned an iPod. The number one reason is because I have tinnitus and some hearing loss, and I didn't want to exacerbate it by walking everywhere with headphones blasting. I save the headphones for when I'm making my own music.
I also thought I'd be the last person on the planet to get an iPhone, that is until my dad stepped up to the 3G and gave me his 2G. I'm glad he did. I was quickly addicted. I'd heard a lot about the apps, but I didn't realize I'd be downloading them in such a fury.
One minute I've got about seven Words With Friends games going, then I'm downloading recipe apps, embarrassing new-age apps about positive thinking, and transportation apps to figure out when the next BART train is coming.
Now I'm just getting into the music apps. A couple that I've recently discovered are Audiofile Engineering's FiRE Field Recorder and iZotope's iDrum.
I first saw FiRe at NAMM while at the Blue microphone booth. Their Blue Mikey is a mic companion to FiRe, hooking up to the iPod or iPhone.
I don't have Mikey yet, but I must say that the built-in iPhone mic isn't too bad. I downloaded FiRe (FYI, it requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later) and immediately checked it out in my local grocery store. The interface is simple, and it's super-easy to just start recording. I captured some weird grocery store noises and intercom voices, but I'm about to get more creative and do some longer recordings. I think I'll try it out with band practice tonight.
Check out FiRe here: http://www.audiofile-engineering.com
As for iDrum, it's a super-fun drum machine app that you can use with the iPhone or iPod Touch. I first downloaded the RZA of Wu-Tang app, which features 17 original beats by RZA that you can play with and change up on the fly.
Watch the sequencer run through a pattern, and then click on a box (representing one measure), and it zooms in on that one measure. You'll then see 16 different colored boxes. Each one is a different sound.
Click on one of those boxes (the screenshot below shows "Electro Noise 2"), and you'll zoom in again to the pattern just for that sound and change the pattern simply by clicking on the various boxes within it.
It's a box within a box within a box within a box. And it's actually very intuitive and fun. If anything, you can practice making better beats on the bus. And using the free iDrum Ringtone Sync app for your Mac or PC, you can link up iDrum to your iTunes Ringtones library to download beats.
While I was at it, I also downloaded the Depeche Mode Sounds of the Universe
app, which includes songs from the band's new album of the same name. Other artist/producer versions include ones from Underworld and Major Lazer. And there are also Beatboxing, Rock, Hip Hop, and Club editions.
Check it all out here: http://www.izotope.com