Rhythm Studio ($0.99) by Pulse Code, Inc. is an all-in-one music production suite for the iPad, featuring a touch-based interface and excellent sound quality.
The app’s virtual replication of classic analog gear makes the suite simple to navigate, while the quick exporting to iTunes means your projects will never be far away.
In essence, Rhythm Studio is a collection of analog synthesizers and drum pads converted to the iPad’s digital screen. The suite includes a Roland TR-808 drum machine, a TB-303 synthesizer, a sample-based synthesizer, an XY style control pad, and a mixer with dual FX pads.
All in all, it’s an excellent assortment of synths, and the app’s layout makes it easy to navigate them. Each instrument is laid out on a virtual pad, and can be accessed via pinch-to-zoom and double tap functionality. The controls are laid directly on each pad’s face, making it a cinch to twist, tweak, and tap music into being.
The sounds themselves are fantastic, and editing the created beats is equally as pleasant. Users can tap the included pad to mix new drum sounds, or edit creations manually by using the on-face controls.
There’s no live recording of your songs, but this is offset by the ability to quickly export creations to iTunes, or load them in reverse. This makes preserving your masterpieces simple, though having the option to load samples to SoundCloud or DropBox would have been appreciated.
There are numerous editable commands, as these are direct digital representations of professional gear, which means the app is quite the pill to swallow for new musicians.
The app does come with a 14-page tutorial, but an in-app help program would have been greatly appreciated. However, Rhythm Studio does come with several preprogrammed tunes, allowing users to poke and prod their way to comprehension.
As mentioned, integration with a cloud-based music or file storage service would have been a tremendous advantage as well. Even adding Sonoma Audio/Copy Paste would have improved the recording process. I’d love to take my Rhythm Studio beats into other applications, like studio.HD for further editing.
The sounds themselves were top-notch, and studio grade to the highest degree. I particularly enjoyed the dr-8 drum machine, which functioned as a perfect replica of the original. Likewise, I also liked the dual effects pads, which came with a handful of beautifully expressive tone sets.
I found navigating the app to be simple, but sometimes imprecise. Users are free to pinch and spread the layout how they wish, meaning it’s entirely possible to end up wedged between one instrument and another. Quick snapping would have been appreciated, as well as the ability to move instruments around the pad.
At the end of the day, though, Rhythm Studio is an absolute steal for the $0.99 it costs. The virtual models of analog components replicate the originals to an impressive degree, while the touch-based interface works great on the iPad.
If you’re into synth apps for iOS, or are an analog musician looking to move into the modern age, Rhythm Studio is your new best friend.