August 2, 2011
One of the more unique music apps for the iPad has now come to the iPhone/iPod touch. The $1.99 VinylLove™ app is now available as a universal app. Created by Color Monkey, the app recalls the days when listening to music meant turning on a record player. The Good When starting the app, you’ll see a beautiful vinyl record player. To select some music, click anywhere on your iDevice screen. This activates the “Record Collection” button at the top right. Everything in your iPod music collection is available in bins and record sleeves. To find a song or album, flick your finger in a vertical direction; move your finger right-to-left to go to different bins. Each song or album is sorted in alphabetical order by artist. To make a selection, tap on it. The record then begins playing on the vinyl player. Like with actual players, as the song advances, so does the needle. Best of all is this hidden feature: Just double-tap on a record while it is play and you will be able zoom in and place the needle wherever you'd like in the song. The Bad VinylLove™ is a nice app. Unfortunately, key limitations keep it from becoming a great app. First, when records are done playing on most actual players, the needle automatically goes into its holder. The app doesn’t do this; instead, the needle sits at the end of the record until you click on it or select something new to play. While we personally don't like this, others may disagree. After all, most analogue players keep the needle bouncing at the end of the record. Second, while you can “scratch” records as you can with real players, here this action is merely a novelty. As our own Christine Chan stated in her thorough review of VinylLove™:
The second gripe is that if you touch the playing record and spin it around, you’ll just get a generic scratching noise that has nothing to do with the song itself. It’s a bit disappointing, and you can’t really tell if you’re rewinding it or not. It would even be nice if you could pick the needle up and select any point in the song to play from, but at this point, you can’t.Finally, where’s the stacking? Real players let you stack records. This is especially annoying if your iPod music collection includes a lot of single songs, meaning you have to change the record after each song. According to Color Monkey's Michael Peterson, excluding this feature was deliberate. He states:
The Ugly We really want to love the VinylLove™ app. Unfortunately, at this time it just leaves us cold. The $1.99 VinylLove™ is universal and will run on any of your iDevices. For $.99 you can select the VinylLove™ Pocket app, exclusively for use on the iPhone/iPod touch. Updated: We heard from Peterson from Color Monkey after this article was original published. Based on this communication, this article has been slightly altered.The stacking of records is a another thing we have deliberately skipped.We do like the fact that when you listen to your real records you have to listen to them one by one. This way you listen to the entire record, and you listen more focused. It's something long playlists have killed, and something we wanted to bring back to life.