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Oscilab review – A new sequencer/groovebox from 2beat

There have been some great all-in-one sequencers to hit the App Store in recent months. Cotracks, Caustic and KORG Gadget instantly come to mind. These apps provide you with the tools to create an entire track (or album) all within one app. While there are some obvious differences with regards to depth, usability, and sounds, these are all great tools to get sounds out of your head and into others' ears quickly.

With that comes the new app from 2beat called Oscilab. A demo video (seen below) was released by the developers months ago...and then we waited. And waited. But it has finally been released for the iPad, and it is a load of fun.

Oscilab is a "wave oriented sequencer" that allows you to create tracks by either using waves (choose from sine, square, triangle, saw up/down among others), or create sequences by choosing among 36 preset sample sounds. You can adjust the rate and amplitude of the waves, and adjust filters and amplitude separately. At any time you can choose up to 4 "toned" instruments (synths, guitar, bass, etc.), and 2 percussive instruments.

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Main interface screen

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Ability to choose between different waves, oscillators, and remove steps from the sequence

The percussion instruments work off a standard step sequencer, with a selection of 15 different instrument sounds to choose from. Similar to the "musical" instruments, you can also adjust the filters and amplitude for these instruments, to dial in the sound you are looking for.

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Drum sequencer screen

An additional option for tweaking your sounds in Oscilab is the X/Y pads screen. In this screen you can manipulate the parameters by dragging your finger across the X/Y pads (one for each instrument). These can be locked in place as well. This screen will be nice if you are using Oscilab for live performances.

You can create up to 14 "scenes", which can be switched on-the-fly, or you can select the "wait to end" option, which will switch to the selected scene as soon as the current scene reaches its end. Again, nice if you are performing live.

I've had the chance to beta test Oscilab over the last few weeks, and I was instantly struck by how intuitive it was to use. Very user-friendly interface, with a very small learning curve. I would expect most users to be able to create a song right away.

2beat has created a few demos of Oscilab, which can be heard below. The app does lean heavily towards and electronic sound, although there are some "acoustic" sounds included in the instrument selections.

In summary, if you are into groovebox-type apps, Oscilab will most likely be of interest. While it may not have the depth of a KORG Gadget or Caustic, I don't believe that is what 2beat is aiming for here. Oscilab is a very user-friendly, crank-it-up-and-go type of app that will have you creating tracks in no time. I really liked my time playing with this app, and I suspect that I will find myself coming back to this one in the future.

Oscilab (AppStore Link) Oscilab
Developer: POCKETBAND LLC
Rated: 4+5
Price: $13.99 Download

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