Have you ever wanted to create some gnarly 16-bit beats on your iPad? If so, you’ve been missing out if you haven’t yet tried Alexander Zolotov’s PixiTracker. This app requires literally no musical knowledge, but brings extremely easy-to-use robust functionality that will let you create any beat imaginable – all in retro 16-bit fashion.
Upon opening up the app you’ll first notice 16 small 8-bit characters, each with their own unique sound. But you’re not restricted to just 16 different sounds. After you tap one of the little characters you can adjust the pitch it plays and the sound’s “velocity” (in PixiTracker, Velocity is Volume). Essentially, the controls above the characters are all for fine-tuning their sounds.
After you’ve fine-tuned your sound using the sliders and keyboard, you can just tap anywhere within the soundboard to place that sound within your track. From there, just tap the play button and watch as the app loops through the characters you’ve placed on the board. If you want to remove a sound, just tap it again. It’s fun to experiment with adding and removing sounds as the track is looping.
See the PixiTracker in action:
In top of the simplistic functionality I just outlined, there are a few advanced tools that make the app a little easier to use for those who know what they’re doing. Don’t worry, though, these tools were made with the average user in mind. You can cut, copy, and paste parts of your track, create many instances of the board to make longer tracks, and visualize your sounds in a cool animation. You can also change the BPM (beats per minute, speed) of the track if you wish from the settings menu.
After you’re done making your sick new beat, there are many ways of saving and loading tracks from the settings menu as well. You can export your track to WAV right within the app, use that WAV file in other apps, and even put your track on a local server to download from any internet browser connected to the same network.
Overall, PixiTracker is exactly what you’re looking for if you just want to have a good time making beats – the app requires no musical capability. But if you do have some kind of musical talent, you might find the app even more intriguing. It brings some very robust functionality that comes in a high quality and retro 8-bit package.
Give the app a try – It’ll run you $1.99 on the App Store. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad running iOS 4.3 or later.