Samplr, a groundbreaking iPad music app, gets first update in 5 years

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samplr
Samplr -- almost too good.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Samplr is one of the best-loved iPad music apps. You load up a sample, and then you can play it and manipulate it with your fingers. It’s simple to learn, but capable of incredibly complex and beautiful results. Unfortunately, the developer landed a job at Apple, and Samplr development ceased.

Until now. The groundbreaking iPad music app just received its first update in five (5!) years.

Why Samplr?

Samplr music app offers eight play modes, and all of them good.
Eight play modes, and all of them good.
Photo: Samplr

Samplr isn’t just another sampler jammed into an iPad app. It is a performance app, imagined and designed from scratch for the iPad’s touchscreen. Once you have recored (or loaded) a sound, you can play it with any of six different tools.

There’s a basic tape-type player, that can play parts of the sample backward and forward, at speeds determined by your fingers. “One of the goals of the app was to make a live instrument, like a guitar or keyboard,” developer Marcos Alonso told BeeBox Designs in an interview. That makes the app ideal for playing live, instead of having to hide behind a laptop screen.

You can also chop up a sound into slices, and then manipulate them individually, like keys on a piano or strings on a guitar. A virtual bow lets you stroke the samples into life. And an arpeggiator creates various patterns, depending on how many fingers you place on the sound, and which parts of the sound you touch.

Samplr has an amazing, touch-first UI.
The amazing, touch-first UI.
Photo: Samplr

Also, you can set effects for any of the six tracks, plus master FX. And there’s even more — and it’s all dead easy to control. In fact, once you learn what Samplr’s on-screen controls do, and the differences/similarities between the six playback tools, the app is incredibly intuitive. To see it in action, you should watch the short 2017 video below. (The video is from Cuckoo, who is a master of succinct explanations.) But really, you just have to try it.

What’s new in Samplr?

The list of new Samplr features is short. However, it seems that much work has gone on under the hood, fixing things up, hopefully for the future. Here’s the full list of release notes:

  • Ableton Link support
  • Fixed audio recording and file import issues
  • Enhanced UI for new iPads
  • Improved MIDI Sync

Ableton Link is the big one here, because it lets you jam live, in time, with other apps and even other people. It also lets you record in time. The new iPad UI is also a bonus for anyone not still using an iPad 2 or similar.

But this is really just the old Samplr, fixed up to work properly on modern hardware and run nicely on the latest version of iOS. Welcome back!

Samplr

Price: $29.99

Download: Samplr from the App Store (iOS)