8BIT Studio ($0.99) by Alkex Instruments is the only circuit-bent, 8-bit, SID synth for iPhone. For anyone who isn’t already a retro-hacking music hardware enthusiast, that just means that all of the app’s sounds are sampled from an old Atari Commodore SID Chip.
Created by the same developer who dreamed-up Destrorgan, 8BIT Studio differs from other 8-bit synthesizers available for iPhone, such as 8Bitone because the circuits can be bent. Bending circuits allows for experimentation since it introduces randomness and unpredictability into the sound system.
It is fitting then, that 8BIT Studio doesn’t come with instructions. Users must channel their own inner Aphex Twin, and see what happens.
The 8BIT studio app includes 128 steps of memory, eight keyboard patches, and 13 drum sounds. The app comes with a built-in step sequencer, which creates a variety of sounds to manipulate.
Want to play live? Just open up the retractable keyboard. The app toggles between synth and drum sounds. You can change the tempo by adjusting the BPM on the upper right.
Ready for a little circuit bending? Find the touch contacts (near the I heart ’80s sticker). Use them to bend and distort sounds through the keyboard or the sequencer.
There isn’t a way to record what you play, so just have fun and remember to stay in the moment.
GIVEAWAY: We have three copies of 8BIT Studio to giveaway to readers! Entering to win is easy. Simply leave a comment on this post (with a valid email address so we can contact you if you’re a winner) for a chance to win. Contest ends Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.