Vulse app brings gestural and touch effects to guitar

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vulse for iPhone
Like an electronic whammy bar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Vulse is a neat app for musicians. More specifically, it’s for guitarists. The app has been around for a while, but got a big old update this week that makes it worth a new look. The idea of the app is that you stick your iPhone onto your guitar, just below where you strum the strings, and then use a combination of wild flailing and screen-stroking to apply crazy effects on the fly.

The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

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apple-pencil-jar
Don't leave your Apple Pencil in the jar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

This box turns your iPad into the ultimate guitar pedalboard

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iRig Stomp I/O Pedalboard
Nothing can bad can happen to your iPad down there on a stage floor. Nothing.
Photo: IK Multimedia

Electric guitar players have effects pedals. It’s an addiction, and a law of nature. We keep buying little stomp boxes in pursuit of the perfect sound, and of course we don’t even call it sound. We call it “tone.” But the sensible players don’t try to beat the addiction. They switch to software. Instead of buying and trading expensive hardware boxes, they move to something like iOS effects apps, which let you experiment at a fraction of the cost.

And that’s where IK Multimedia’s new iRig Stomp I/O Pedalboard comes in. It’s a hardware pedalboard that provides guitar players with a familiar front-end to all those amazing iOS effects.

Cheaper HomePod might be in the works

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HomePod Full Shot
Apple might be planning cheaper HomePod to boost sales
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod sales have fallen well below expectations, according to one of the best Apple analysts in the game.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors today that Apple is considering making a low-cost version of the HomePod in order to give disappointing sales a boost.

These tiny guitar amps can be controlled by your iPhone

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laney iphone amp
So cute.
Photo: Laney

Laney’s new Mini-Laney and Mini-St-Lion are tiny, portable, desktop versions of the U.K. guitar-amp company’s popular full-sized amplifiers. They come in retro and modern styles, and mono or stereo versions. Plus, they can be hooked up to any amp-simulation software on your iPhone using a single cable.

iPhone music app comes up with endless, catchy song ideas

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fortamento iPhone music song ideas
It doesn't look like much, but then, neither did Keith Richards.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Are you a musician struggling to come up with song ideas? Are you a non-musician who just wants to come up with a neat melody for that cat video? Then you should check out Fortamento, a melody generation app for iPhone which is both incredibly easy, and surprisingly deep.

iPad app lets you play a violin with Apple Pencil

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Pen2Bow
Pen2Bow turns the Apple Pencil into a virtual violin bow.
Photo: Pen2Bow

The Apple Pencil, now compatible with pretty much all new iPads, is not just good for drawing and writing. Because if its bevvy of sensors — tilt, pressure, acceleration, and orientation — the Apple Pencil is also a pretty good musical instrument. Pen2Bow is a new iPad app which turns the Pencil into a violin bow, letting you use all of these natural gestures to play a virtual violin.

iPhone app turns your annoying table-drumming into awesome music

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Objeq drums
Nothing is as annoying as really drums. Apart from children, I guess.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Are you a table drummer? Then here’s a fantastic way to annoy your family and friends this weekend. It’s a iPad and iPhone app called AAS Objeq, which uses the iPad’s microphones to listen to your ceaseless, OCD tappety-tapping, and transforms it into more drumlike sounds. That it, the sound of you whacking the table becomes a bass drum, a chopstick on a water glass can become a hi-hat, and so on. The possibilities for irritating those around you are almost endless.