No matter if you’re a professional DJ, or just a beat-lover with a casual interest in creating your own samples, Sample Lab iPad app, by fotoh LLC, has everything you need to start slicing, cutting, and dropping jams.
Design and Interface
If you have any experience with samplers, you’ll feel immediately at home with Sample Lab’s intuitive design. The app features a full eight track sequencer cut into four beats with sixteenth note subdivision. Above the sequencer is a fully functional loop editor for editing music to be sampled (more on that in a bit).
Fantastically, all of the things you need to start a live beat are located right near the sequencer: BPM slider, shuffle slider, track options, and even mixing effects. On top of the actual design of the app, the developer has done a truly bang-up job creating a professional, solid-feeling sampler for the iPad. Sliders, sequencer buttons, and track options feel very responsive, and the uncluttered nature of the Sample Lab iPad app makes creating beats a breeze.
I’m hesitant to rate this any lower than a five, as Sampler Lab offers more than enough features to fit your needs. The loop editor makes cutting samples out of your music incredibly simple, and the drag-and-drop addition of those cuts to the tracks below is insanely useful. Likewise, programming beats could not be easier, as a simple push of a button sets a sample to playing on the specified beat. To activate pitch control, simply pull the beat downward to reveal a pop-up menu. The BPM slider was responsive enough to enable serious beat mixing, and all of the four included effects sounded solid to my ears. Beyond a doubt, Sample Lab can easily meet a serious club-musicians needs.
However, one of the greatest things about the app is also its biggest drawback: Its ability to import songs from iTunes. The app allows you to load, through iTunes file sharing, tracks for use in live mixing. However, needing to go to the computer to load new songs is a giant pain, and doesn’t allow for mid-set improvisation. This may not be fotoh LLC’s fault, as Apple is notriously picky about these things, but having the ability to add tracks on the fly would be a tremendous boon. Likewise, I found myself really wishing I had a fader to use between sequencer panels, as in Looptastic HD. This would allow for even more serious beat mixing, and would add a whole new level to the app.
For $9.99, Sample Lab is easily the best sampling app on the market. Using the app’s excellent loop editor and sequencer, creating live beats has never been more intuitive. The app is easily added to any existing set, and will be even more useful after full iTunes compatibility has been added.
Sample Lab iPad app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 4.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app reviews rating:
Sample Lab iPad App Video Demo