In the past few years, we’ve seen tablets graduate from simple content-consumption devices to becoming all-in-one production studios. With the right apps, your tablet can offer almost all of musicians resources of a full-sized workstation, for a fraction of the price.
Samplr for iPad is a great example of this. For only $9.99, it offers a powerful multitouch sampling and live performance tool that’s also just plain fun to use.
Like the best tablet music apps, Samplr makes robust use of multitouch to make for an easy and intuitive experience. A grid-like interface allows you to quickly define segments of each sample, down to a resolution of 32nd notes.
When combined with a large variety of modes for manipulating samples, it’s ridiculously easy to start slicing up and recombining samples in ways both goofy and musical. E-bow mode may be the most immediately entertaining, using granular synthesis to let you bow any sample like it’s a violin.
Samplr has enough power to be a live performance tool. You can have six samples loaded at once, each multiplexed up to six times as well. Even better, with Audiobus support added in version 1.3, it can be integrated into suites of iPad audio apps.
If there’s a weak point to Samplr, it has to do with the built-in hardware. While the iPad Air is an improvement, iPads have never been known for the quality of their internal microphones. As a sampler, Samplr is somewhat restricted. It’s great for grabbing audio live and manipulating it, but it’s not going to be producing crystal-clear recordings.
Also, unlike Jordan Rudess’s similar SampleWiz, Samplr currently lacks CoreMIDI support. The developers have been promising to add this in a future upgrade, but there’s no date set yet.
All told, Samplr is a highly impressive and entertaining app, especially giving its budget price. It’s simple enough to be a fun toy for dilettantes, while still powerful enough to be a great addition to a live Producer or DJ’s onstage toolbox.