Getting to grips with the coolest synthesiser on iPad
Best described as a futuristic synthesiser, the Reactable is a circular table, backlit with a deep blue light, to be used in a darkened room. The table itself is a touch-sensitive computer display that reacts to objects, called tangibles, that are placed on the screen, moved around and rotated. This creates different sorts of music depending on the type of tangibles that are placed on the table, their spatial relationship to one another and the way in which they are manipulated.
It’s a very cool, almost sci-fi idea, and one that has been used by a number of high-profile performers including Björk. Sadly, at a price of around £8,500, the Reactable is far out of the reach of your average bedroom DJ, which is where Reactable Mobile comes in…
At a mere £5.99, Reactable Mobile is much more affordable than its tabletop counterpart and does a pretty good impression of it too. Just like the original, it allows you to place various synthesiser functions onto the surface and play around with them to create your own music in real time.
On the iPhone, it’s a rather cramped affair, but on the larger iPad screen, laid down flat on a table or other surface, we felt like we were getting a fair approximation of the original technology, especially with the room to use both hands freely.
There’s a mind boggling array of options at your fingertips – loop players, oscillators, wave shapers, sequencers and all number of other things we don’t really understand but are sure will be most welcome with the musically inclined, especially as the software allows you to incorporate your own samples into the mix.
As amateurs, we had a lot of fun simply experimenting with the ‘tangibles’ and were surprised by the music we were able to create, suggesting that those who know what they’re doing will be able to produce exceptional results. Just about the only fault we encountered was that the software struggled to keep up when we overloaded it with too many tangibles at once but that may not be such big a deal. After all, how many bands do you see use more than a handful of instruments at once?
An overwhelmingly complex music app that’s sure to strike the right note with those who ‘get it’.
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