Soundboard for iPad ($19.99) by Ambrosia Software, Inc. is, as it currently exists in the App Store, somewhere between a loop-based music creation tool and a live performance enhancer. The app is a strikingly useful utility for the tech-savvy music producer, but it’s hamstrung by a lack of any out of the box content, as well as integration with other music applications.
Soundboard offers the user an 8×4 grid of music pads, each of which can be customized with a sound from either the iPad’s music library, or pre-made sets available for the Mac edition of Soundboard. In this sense, the app is most similar to the classic cart machines found in the early days of radio, the sort that were used to add special sound effects or cues to live shows.
Not only is each sound pad fully customizable with selected music tracks, but users can also adjust the color and placement of each to better suit their needs. Each pad’s volume can also be edited manually, though there is a master sound slider along the bottom for overall control.
Likewise, there are a couple of different methods for touch input that each pad will default to. This includes a stop/play function that is engaged with each tap, as well as a loop mode that simply rolls until the application is out of use.
Best of all, users can manage several different soundboards at once, opening up doors as far as specialized live performances go. Soundboards can be played simultaneously, as well, ensuring that no one part of the app is left separate from the other.
Soundboard’s biggest bonus, however, is its design. The app looks absolutely fantastic on the iPad, with pulsing volume sliders, a cool matte finish, and easy loading of tracks onto the touch pads. That being said, a pretty interface alone is not quite enough to keep the jam rolling.
For instance, though Soundboard is backgrounding enabled (meaning it continues to roll no matter where you are on the iPad) there’s no audio copy/paste integration with other popular music studios, like studio.HD or even GarageBand.
There’s also a stark lack of content: There are no included templates, as users must provide all of the sounds themselves. This is a pain in the derriere, especially when the user might just want to play around a bit before creating their own systems. It’s also a bit of a drag, considering Soundboard costs a whopping $19.99.
If you have the need for a soundboard to use alongside your radio show or live performance, Soundboard will easily fit the bill, and in a graceful way, to boot. However, for the twenty bucks it costs, Soundboard is not yet a Looptastic HD replacement.