As someone who is not dependant on a large selection of music apps ( despite owning all the noteworthy ones), or feels the need to route apps via IAA or AB ( unless I’m doing an ambient performance recording ), I tend to favour standalone apps.
iOS has many of those. Some deeper and steadier than others.
I recently received a promocode for iMPC pro from Retronyms and am waiting for some details from them before submitting a review for it. However, the amount of comparisons between that app and Intua’s Beatmaker 2 made me want to revisit BM2.
I usually use Nanostudio as my prime compositional tool due to its sheer effective workflow and built in Eden synths. It also allows loops , presets or samples to be imported very easily via ACP, or audio copy and paste.
So I was hesitant with BM2 when it first came out due to no actual synths being included and the app was quite a CPU hog initially.
That was over 3 years ago..
So, my interest in iMPC pro and BM2 was primarily because of the claimed MPC style workflow they offer. I do like abstract Hiphop jamming and my very first interview on this site was with Memorecks, who is one of the worlds best at that technique. And I wanted to be able to do that myself.
iMaschine was a let down, although NI redeemed themselves most grandly with their excellent Traktor Dj, which is the best app in its category by a longshot.
So I reinstalled BM2 and for the past week have been diving deep under its hood. And believe me, there is a LOT under its hood.
You are greeted with a razor sharp retina resonating UI and overall it’s easy to find your way around if you are a seasoned app user. It’s easy to start to get loops and grooves up and running.
New comers or impatient soundcloud track posters are seriously advised to check out the very coherent manual dedicated to the app:)
Personally, I’m not after basic track sequencing here, nor am I in a hurry to show off creations on soundcloud- I want fx automations, fades, multiple instruments and layers made up of different compatible sounds.
The sequencer allows for all this and in a very intuitive way. You can choose from many on board instruments , import stuff via ACP or purchase some of the excellent Intua preset/ soundbanks.
The soundbanks consist of loops, instruments for the keyboard and lots of one shots. All high quality and very reasonably priced- catering for a wide range of electronic genres, especially the bass heavy ones!
These sounds can be edited and tweaked in the keyboard via the on board LFO’s, filters , ASDR and of course the fx. Another eye opener is the ability to load many layers of instruments at once in the keyboard, something that I’ve not seen much of.
This allows for some very interesting sample based preset crafting!
Set the loop market up to 2,4,6 or 8 bars and make interesting loops!
But where BM2 really shines is with its drum pads. Not only can you load your own sounds on them, or seriously tweak the built in ones, you can actually create a serious MPC style situation with the drum pads.
This is done via the chop lab.
BM2 has by far the very best wav editor inside. Set up chop markers and reverse sections, fade them in or out, cross fade and so much more.
You can do that for beat loops especially and if you so desire, export individual chopped sections and load them up into the drum pads and jam away!
This is a very serious feature that makes BM2 stand out and is the prime reason for its success amongst serious beatmakers, and is visually gorgeous to behold! Intua really have designed an attractive and technically able app here.
When you get to sequencing, it is very similar to Nanostudio and you can combine midi and audio tracks. The latter via external mic or one of the iOS routing protocols.
You can really get intricate with manual or “drawn in” automations and piano roll edits perhaps much deeper than Nanostudio allows at present. And when done you can export your track to soundcloud , or via ACP to something like Audioshare.
But this brings me to another excellent feature- the apps Dropbox integration which is excellent!
You can export the whole track or individual stems to Dropbox or even the midi. And you can import into BM2 via Dropbox too!
The way Intua have implemented Dropbox integration is the best I’ve seen so far. Once signed in, you can access and view Dropbox from within BM2 itself. Then you just highlight the file you want to import or export and press the relevant arrow!
So I’d say that BM2 has you covered wether or not you need a standalone or another potent tool to your arsenal..
It runs very smoothly now and the amount of features this app has makes me wonder why it’s so cheap and still can run on a 3Gs..
No matter your particular style or needs, BM2 must not be ignored by anyone who is serious about mobile music production. It can indeed serve you in so many useful and powerful ways.
One could write a whole book about what this app can actually do, but the process of discovering things for oneself is far more rewarding:)
Ill be using BM2 daily in many ways for sure and am grateful to Intua for their constant support of my own activities and for furnishing promocodes over the years to myself and other artists who have reviewed upon my request too.
Ill follow this up with a track made with the app and a few words from the developer who is certainly dedicated to continued development of this and forthcoming apps:)
Intua can be reached here: