Introducing Nanoloop for the iPhone

February 17, 2010 · Posted in Electronic Music 

Hi sending this off from a busy tradeshow in Barcelona (Mobile World Congress)

Had a chance to play around with this little beauty yesterday evening :-)

nanoloop-iphone

Nanoloop for iPhone (App Store link) combines sequencer, synthesizer and sampler in one package to bring vintage 8-bit Gameboy music goodnesss to the iPhone and iPod touch.

The app builds on Nanoloop for the Gameboy, but features a new software synth and features not possible on the Gameboy.

Features:

  • Six channels, each can be synth or sampler
  • Fast and easy to use stepsequencer
  • Synthesizer with envelope, filter, LFO and other parameters
  • Sample external audio or nanoloop’s own sound output
  • Song editor with loop function
  • Save function
  • Works on 1st gen iPod touch and 2.2 software
  • Send and receive projects via e-mail, using the iPhone’s / iPod’s e-mail program

Details below.

Sequencer

The sequencer displays the pattern as a grid of 4 x 4 rectangles. Notes can be set, removed and edited just by tapping and swiping. This editing without mode-changes and the straight, generous layout ensure a smooth workflow.

Unlike the Game Boy versions, nanoloop for iPhone only allows to set pitch and one additional value step-wise in the sequencer. All other sound parameters are controlled channel-wide through the synth panel.

Synthesizer

The simple but powerful synthesizer allows to create a great bandwidth of sounds, including beats, noises, basses and pads. Available synthesis types are:

  • rectangular wave with filter
  • FM
  • LFSR noise generator

Rectangular wave and LFSR sound similar to the Game Boy’s and other console’s soundchips but offer more fine control and additional effects (lfo / envelope for pulse width or filter, simple phaser for noise).

The FM synth is the simple type with two sine wave oscillators, with fixed base frequency and variable modulator frequency. An envelope / LFO can be applied to modulation amplitude or frequency. For a sweeping spatial effect, the modulator can be slightly detuned, with inverted phase for left/right.

Each synth channel is two-voice polyphonic and a stereo effect can be applied.

Sampler

Samples of one second length @ 44 kHz, mono (or about 5.5 sec @ 8 kHz mono or 0.5 sec @ 44 kHz stereo) can not just be used in a drum-machine style, but also be pitched and played as notes.

Recording sources for samples are the built-in microphone (iPhone only), a headset microphone (iPhone, iPod touch 2nd gen only) and nanoloop’s own sound output. The latter allows to create new samples from scratch, using up to five channels to create one single sound. Typical applications would be percussion (claps, snares etc), chords, arpeggio and microrhythmic / microtonal elements.

Share

With nanoloop for iPhone, you can send your saved projects to other nanoloop users via e-mail. If nanoloop is installed on the recipient’s iPhone / iPod, she/he can simply tap on the file name in the received e-mail to start nanoloop and import the attached file so that it is available for editing. This makes collaboration very easy, multiple users around the world can work on the same project by simply e-mailing the file back and forth. This function may also be used to backup projects on a PC.

This does not mean that files are sent as audio, data are in the native nanoloop format which can be read only by nanoloop. An export function to wav or mp3 is planned for future versions.

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