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SpaceVibe review – An interstellar sci-fi instrument for iPad

SpaceVibe, from developer Yannick Roy, is a new app that definitely fits into that "unique" instrument category that I so love. Described as a "multi-oscillator phase distortion module with delay and rotary effects", SpaceVibe is part theremin, part noise maker, and part echo machine. Within minutes I was feeling like Syd Barrett at the UFO Club, minus the Mandrax.

As seen in the developer video above, the app features just the single interface screen. Most of the iPad screen is dominated by the two X/Y pads on the lower half of the screen. Above these pads are the control knobs for the various effects and parameters. Along the top of the screen are the slots for the 8 programmable presets, along with the waveform visualizer.

The left X/Y pad controls the frequency of your sounds. Simple one finger movements here will raise or lower your pitch, but can also control several more dynamics. Directly above the X/Y pad you will find the options to turn on the "Vibe" and "Space" controls, which can be adjusted on the X-axis.

The right X/Y pad has a main function of controlling the noise, but can also serve to control the "Vibe & Speed Intensity", similar to the left pad. You can also choose to turn the Noise off, if you are looking for more of a pure waveform tone.

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The range of both the Frequency and Noise can be adjusted by using a two-finger "pinch" motion, so you can dramatically increase the top end of each of these parameters. Double-tapping the Hz display will reset these to their defaults.

Above the X/Y pad are the control knobs, and this is where the fun really starts. Controls for Echo (number of delay repeats), Space (delay time, from zero to four seconds), Vibe (vibe amount), Speed (speed of rotary effect), and Intensity (intensity of rotary effect) can all be adjusted with these knobs. Tapping on the names of the knobs can also change the values of these knobs, either by turning them on/off, or by doubling the range or the parameter. With all of these controls, and the extreme range of parameter values, this thing get crazy in a hurry. For example, with a four second delay, you can be hearing notes repeat that you already forgot that you had played!

As mentioned before, there are eight (8) preset slots available. SpaceVibe ships with a nice variety of presets, showcasing many different effects combinations. While playing live, and switching between these presets, you can get some interesting transitions, with some sound artifacts echoing into the new preset. You can, of course, save your own presets by tapping and holding any of the slots.

Currently SpaceVibe does not have Audiobus or IAA compatibility. Yannick has advised that Audiobus is on its way, and will likely be implemented "within a month, along with some other goodies". Considering what SpaceVibe already has to offer, I'm definitely intrigued by what he's got in store. As it stands today, you can record your performance in-app, and e-mail yourself the recording in a .wav format, so it's definitely "usable" right now. I am eager for the Audiobus update, as I can already envision SpaceVibe going through AUFX: Space or AltiSpace, to add some sweet reverb.

This is definitely one of those "not for everyone" apps, which is not a knock on SpaceVibe at all. You won't be performing Rondo Alla Turca with this app. But for some fantastic sci-fi sounds, dark noises, and crazy echo sounds, SpaceVibe is a solid recommendation. If you are a fan of apps like Strange Attractor, or Giant Isopod, you might find SpaceVibe to be "out of this world" (you didn't really expect me to get through this whole review without one bad outer-space reference, did you?).

If you're thinking about buying SpaceVibe, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!

SpaceVibe (AppStore Link) SpaceVibe
Developer: Yannick Roy
Rated: 4+
Price: $5.49 Download

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