Created by Retronyms,Â DopplerPad is an iPhone sound application that allows you to quickly create and perform musical hooks, phrases and loops with a variety of custom synth and sample-based instruments.
DopplerPad offers a unique take on mobile music production. It’s clear that it was designed solely with iPhone in mind, and doesn’t attempt to follow desktop music apps too closely. The first thing you’ll notice about Dopplerpad is it’s beautiful presentation. It’s a minimal, high tech look but very colorful and inviting. Buttons are just the right size and the interactions feel great. The screens are laid out very logically and slide smoothly between each other. You will never feel lost in this app. DopplerPad centers mostly around live recording rather than sequencing. Just pick an instrument, press record and start tapping. Each time you tap, DopplerPad produces animated squares to show your notes and these get played back with the recording as well. The result is both nice to look at and listen to. One of the cool things about DopplerPad is that it can figure out how hard you are tapping the screen and adjusts the velocity of the note accordingly. The ‘Y’ position on the screen also controls a modulation parameter for each instrument, such as the filter. All the sounds seem like pretty basic synthy sounds and you can’t tweak them, which may be a bit limiting for some people. However, they give you more than enough sounds to have fun with. There are also a couple drum kits. Hopefully the devs will be adding more sounds as time goes on (some realistic instrument samples might be cool).Â DopplerPad also has an intuitive arpeggiator/gate to help you stay on time. I have a couple criticisms with the note input model – one is that it can be hard to hit exactly the right note. It’s tempting to just click and drag around, but that will just produce atonal experimental sounding music. It would be cool if you could set up a musical scale and have the pitches snap to that, like you can do in Bebot. My other criticism – no multitouch? DopplerPad is capable of playing back many sounds at once, but you have to input them seperately. I’d love to be able to input chords.
DopplerPad also sports the ability to sample sounds using the microphone and to replay them starting at any point in the sample. This feature is a lot of fun to experiment with and opens up a lot of possibilities.
The other main screen in DopplerPad is the ‘Mixer’ page and it’s very reminiscient of a DJ mixing console. Here you can mix between two DopplerPad loops. You can also copy loops and pick which ones are playing. It’s very intuitive and DJ’s will be right at home here.
To conclude – DopplerPad is a very enjoyable app. It’s intuitive and easy to pick up, it’s nice to look at, and you can do some interesting stuff with it. $10 may sound like a lot, but when you compare that to what you would pay for a desktop version of the same app, it’s a steal. For iPhone musicians, DopplerPad is a must have.