On computers and most hardware, waveforms have been a “look, but don’t touch” affair. Now, that view is coupled with multi-touch capabilities. Samplr is, as the name implies, an app that focuses on working with sound. With rhythmic slicing modes and multi-touch manipulation of samples, it’s a lovely-looking way to surf sounds from your fingertips. Some of the sonic modes, and certainly the visual appearance, take more than a passing inspiration from Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 hardware. That said, the actual modes are a bit different, though they draw on some of the “tape” concepts, and the actual workflow with touch goes a completely different direction from the OP-1. (In fact, it’s different enough that I would rather do without the OP-1-style skin, which for me doesn’t seem to quite fit the iPad in the same way it does hardware. The actual functionality of the app looks great.)

Sample modes:

Loop Player

As Borderlands demonstrated what could happen with granular samples, so this packs in – well, basically everything else. It may come closest to transforming your iPad into a touchable sonic slate. I hope to do a full review of this tool soon.

Another video looks at play modes:

Reader Alex Theakston writes in with some hands-on impressions and video (which, while blurry, demonstrates that the included sounds can sound really good, indeed):

It’s what I wanted borderlands to be, but wasn’t quite. Really great work by the guy, and best of all it’s software that could only exist because of multitouch, it’s not just software that happens to be on the iPad but really could have been done equally well on any other hardware device.

See here for rubbish shaky example I did after experimenting for a bit, but at least you can see I’m using multitouch:

US$4.99, for iPad “and iPad mini” (though, technically, anything that supports iPad 2 is effectively going to be the same on the mini – interesting to see this annotation, though).


Thanks to everyone who sent this in – looking like a big hit.

  • Mark Kunoff

    Big hit indeed. Contender for best of 2012. TOTAL interface win, even if inspired by OP-1. I could not stop playing with this last night!

  • http://twitter.com/ricardopeixoto ricardopeixoto

    Bought it yesterday and it really is as good as it looks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edisonbuttons Edison D

    super dope…. my question… how hard is it to get samples in that shit? a lot of what ive seen from ios is crippled by sample imports…. but then again.. i dont have an ipad or phone so thats why im asking yo…

    • http://dinside.no Øivind Idsø

      It’s pretty easy – it’s done through the “applications” pane in iTunes. Simply find “Simplr” in the apps list, then drop your samples on the file square. NOTE: They *have* to be wav files, which is kind of a bummer, since 98% of my sample files are aiff. Hopefully that will be fixed in an update.

    • http://www.facebook.com/edisonbuttons Edison D

      oh nice!… the app looks great!… between this and beatsurfing, i got some ipad lust….

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679068625 Chris Hahn

      Just don’t give up your grids, Ed. :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001138444109 Mutis Mayfield

      Grid support will be a must… I will love to attach this beauty (Samplr not Edison or Chris :P) to my Sp555!

    • http://www.facebook.com/sadfactory Aaron Levitz

      Good call on beatsurfing. I love Herrmutt Lobby’s beatfader work, but had somehow missed this entirely until your comment. Checked it out yesterday — I’ve been having a blast designing interfaces with it.

      That said, until you throw down for an overpriced MIDI interface, there’s some serious latency issues over wi-fi. (less so with a dedicated ad-hoc network, but it’s still there) So I’m not sure the iPad’s your answer on that one. In fact, I think you’d be happier with physical controls and Herrmutt’s original Beatfader.

      (Beatfader is currently distributed as a max for live device, but if you’re upgrading to Ableton Suite for the Live 9 release, you’ll have m4l soon. Otherwise, if you think you’d actually use it, I don’t see why this shouldn’t export cleanly to the Max runtime…)

      None of what I’ve said here applies to Samplr, though. That works beautifully, and there is no equivalent I can suggest for it.

      Side note: I jailbroke my iPad, and am able to run OSC through the USB cable (thanks to “MyWi”). This makes TouchOSC and the Lemur app very responsive, and those are worth owning an iPad over. But for whatever reason, the same trick doesn’t help with straight MIDI.

      Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure it’s not physically possible to use a MIDI dock for the iPad and still network over USB for that OSC speed boost. So my fix for BeatSurfer will be incompatible with my fix for TouchOSC and the Lemur app. Awesome…

    • http://www.facebook.com/glectez Guillaume Lectez

      BeatSurfing + Camera Connexion Kit -> OP1 = DOPE (no latency and not a lot of $$$) … Samplr + Jack 3.5mm -> OP1 = DOPE (BIS) .

    • http://www.facebook.com/sadfactory Aaron Levitz

      I could never figure out how to output MIDI with the CCK. Input, no problem, but output? Physically connecting a USB cable between it and my computer was strangely impossible.

      I gave up and ordered the Alesis IO dock. That’ll improve my audio quality on top of the latency fix, so it seemed a good investment. But this does sort of commit me to not upgrading the iPad.

  • http://dinside.no Øivind Idsø

    Fantastic app! Hopefully support for aiff files will be added in the next update.

  • hypnosapien

    I saw a post by the developer on another blog stating that audio copy/paste is coming…

  • Robin Koek

    The granular algorithm sounds pretty impressive. Great interfacing to work playful with the zero-crossing of the playback marker. Looks like a beatiful app to build drones with in the fashion of Robert Henkes ‘Layering Buddha’ (http://www.monolake.de/releases/icm-06.html).

    I must add that your lo-fi demo is much more musical than the official product demos, Peter!

  • subtext

    Love It!

  • Dan

    thats funny you would think that if its based on OP-1 then it would be over priced like the OP-1

  • http://twitter.com/ek_music E K

    looks great. maybe I missed it, but can you export or record audio?

    I couldn’t find these details on their website

    • http://about.me/mccarthy.johnpaul John-Paul McCarthy

      The only current method to export audio is into your audio interface / DAW via the iPad’s headphone jack.

      Slightly inconvenient but that may also be part of what makes the application so charming. I’m ok with this method of export but the app definitely needs some form of sample import via dropbox (which gets my vote). As long as it’s a method alternative to itunes syncing.

  • http://rekkerd.org Ronnie

    Gorgeous app indeed!

  • jo

    Definetly one of the best and most beautiful Music app for along time. Disagree about the interface…it’s perfect.

  • Martin

    Nice App., like it a lot but why ist is Called samplr without the ability to sample is beyond me …

  • SunRa0

    I’ve sent a question to creator of this if he’s planning to add recording function…..no answer yet…..does anybody know whether the recording(audio) will be supported? Very Nice App indeed….I’ll get this