iSmashPhone Review: iLectric Piano for iPad

iLectricPiano

The piano. It’s an instrument with a sound that encompasses many genres. Whether it’s a classic grand, or a Wurlitzer, the piano spans a variety of musical styles. iLectric Piano for iPad is a sample-based piano player.

The collection includes the Rhodes piano (Suitcase) which is very popular for those Doors-type sounds. (By the way, after playing The Doors in Rock Band 3 on Pro, which literally means you are playing the keyboard parts on a midi controller, I have a newfound respect for those guys.) Also included are a variety of stage pianos and Wurly samples, as well as one of my personal favorites, the FM samples, which are taken from the Yamaha DX7.

All the instruments are multisampled. This means that keys are sampled at several velocities, giving it a more realistic feel when you play on a velocity sensitive midi controller. In English, this means that each note was recorded with the key hit at varying speeds: soft, harder, hardest. I’m not sure how many velocity levels they used, but it definitely helps add a more live feel and dynamics to the keyboard parts.

The app also has some basic effects, such as reverb, overdrive, chorus, phaser, tremolo, autopan and  flanger. My favorite is the chorus with a high depth and a speed set just over 3 o’clock. You can also adjust the release, tuning and note transpose. These can also be assigned to a midi controller, making it easier to adjust them in real time.

While it’s entirely possible to play on the iPad’s touchscreen, it’s not ideal unless you’re just playing around with it. It’s best to use a midi controller. This allows for control of velocity, and it just feels much better than a flat slab of glass. It’s also a good solution if you want to use this as a live instrument, which is also entirely possible.

IK Multimedia offers additional sample packs. It adds more Rhodes sounds, more Wurlitzer samples and several other samples. That’s definitely cool, but one thing I’d like to see is instrument-specific packs. For instance, a sample pack made entirely of DX7 sounds, or one made from other popular synths or keyboards would be sweet. This would also make it easy to categorize for later. (i.e. you’re working in the studio and say, “I need a grand piano.”) We also need a sample of the classic 80s bass that the DX7 was so popular for. I want to get my Depeche Mode and Pretty Hate Machine on.

The app also includes a metronome and some songs that you can learn and play along to. I don’t tend to use the metronome for recording, but it’s something you may want to play along to if you’re just trying to practice.

Link – $19.99

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