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Classic App Review – KORG’s iElectribe

Anyone who's read some of my previous reviews knows that I'm a pretty big fan of the iOS apps that KORG has developed. My "desert island/can only have one app" choice would easily be KORG Gadget. I've recently been exploring the depths of the KORG iMS-20, all the while dreaming of owning a physical MS-20 someday. And the KORG iKaossilator has proven to be instant fun.

And up until KORG recently sent me a promo code for iElectribe, I hadn't given that app much thought. I'm not a "dance music" guy at my core, so I had always moved past this app in the App Store. But since I've been playing with it, I've really started to realize how much fun this app can be.

As you can easily see from the screenshots and the video above, the iElectribe is the iOS version of the very popular Electribe-R hardware. Visually the iOS app is a near clone of the hardware. KORG has designed this app to both emulate the original, and also to use the full real estate of the iPad screen (the app is iPad only). I've professed a great love of "one screen" apps for ease of programming, and iElectribe delivers here.

But first, let's get into some basics. The iElectribe is a four part PCM synth, and four part percussion synth. Using a 16-step sequencer across four different patterns gets you 64 steps total to work with. There are also eight effects to choose from: Short Delay, BPM Sync Delay, Grain Shifter, Reverb, Chorus/Flanger, Filter, Talking Modulator, and a Decimator.

Getting started with iElectribe is very intuitive if you've used step-sequencers before. The numbered steps along the bottom of the screen is where you will place your hits (orange is on). So, for each part (i.e. Synth 1, cymbal), simply select that part in the boxes above, and starting placing your steps. You can solo each part if you'd like. Once you've got your groove set and hit play, a green light will move across your sequenced pattern as a playhead. The app ships with 64 presets, so listening (and watching) some of these might be a good place to start.

The oscillators of the PCM synth parts can be controlled by the knobs and buttons in the Oscillator section. Again, anyone familiar with basic sound synthesis here can deduce the different waveforms available (sine, triangle, square and sawtooth). Here is where you'll adjust the pitch, as well as modulation depth, type and speed. More on this in a moment.

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Custom "Dark Side of the Moon" skin

Where the iOS version sets itself apart from it's hardware brother is the motion sequence control. The ability to record automation of the parameters provides options that would be very difficult to perform manually. Thankfully, this is very easy to use on the iElectribe. Simply tap the Motion button, hit Rec, and start twiddling some knobs. As mentioned in the last paragraph, here's where you can automate your synth pitch, for example, or create some wobble. You can automate nearly every parameter here, including the pan and the effects levels (FX Edit 1 and FX Edit 2). Things can get crazy quick once you start automating.

The eight effects can either be applied globally or you can also choose to use the effects send option to apply the effects to particular patterns or steps. Additionally, the same can be done with accents per step to help bring a little life to your beats. You can adjust the tempo from anywhere between 20 BPM to 300 BPM, and even add some swing in the Setting section of the app.

Another minor but very neat feature is that you can upload your own photo to the background of the iElectribe. In the grand scheme of things, this is pretty insignificant, but who doesn't love creating a custom skin for your app?

There's a very good chance that most of you reading this review are already familiar with what sounds can be made with the iElectribe. It's a groovebox, and that's exactly what it does - creates pulsating dance tracks. But, if you're wondering, here are some demos straight from KORG.

The bottom line is that KORG makes great iOS apps. I can fire up Gadget, and lose days. The recent introduction of the KORG Module app, and its integration into Gadget, satisfied my piano/keys needs in full (and also gives encouragement for future KORG app integration into Gadget). KORG has done a great job in recreating their classic hardware instruments for the iOS platform. With iElectribe, they've managed to bring everything you'd expect from the physical unit, and bring it to the next level by using the capabilities of the iPad. And at a price point currently at $19.99 USD, the iElectribe is a very affordable way to get into creating some beats. It's hard not to recommend iElectribe.

If you're thinking about buying KORG iElectribe, please consider clicking through our App Store like below. Thanks!

[app 363714043]

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