For anyone interested in creating music or just generally fiddling around with different sounds to create remixes, you’d normally have to use some pretty expensive and professional equipment such as Logic, Garageband or Reason. Well, now you can create some pretty cool and simple tunes with just an iPhone application and a small portable keyboard, thanks to the Gear4 PocketLoops. Let’s take a closer look….
The Gear4 Pocket Loops accessory for iPhone and iPod Touch currently retails for around £49.99 and you can purchase it direct from Gear4 by clicking here.
The Gear4 Pocket Loops accessory comes with four different adapters for various iPhones and iPods, which are:
- iPhone 3G / 3GS adapter
- iPhone 4 / 4S adapter
- iPod Touch 3G
- iPod Touch 4G
The setting up part of the PocketLoops accessory is actually very simple. All you need to do is slide your iPhone or iPod Touch in to the dock on the left of the keyboard and download the free Pocket Loops application from the App Store. Once you’ve done that you’re ready to start creating music!
The first time you start using the application, it seems quite complex, despite the very well developed Pocket Loops application. However, once you’ve had a quick look around and a little play with all of the features, it gets very easy and you can create some pretty decent tunes.
The start screen features the list of songs you’ve previous worked on as well as some demo songs to help get you started. By clicking on “New Song”, you’ll be presented with a blank canvas to create your masterpiece.
The main screen you’ll be working on is the 4 x 4 grid that has 16 spaces to record different sections of a song (four for each instrument). The four instruments listed at the top can be changed by tapping on them and then changing them to the instrument of your choice. There’s a whole range of different instruments including various drum kits, pianos, synthesisers and some bass / dubstep sounds to give your song some backbone.
On this screen, you can also change whether the loop has 1 bar or 4 bars in it, I chose 4 as it allows you to include much more in the loop.
The built-in effects tab is also very useful with it giving you the ability to add echo, chorus or distortion via the XY Filter Pad.
The four buttons, located at the bottom, are Remix, Speed, Stop All and Volume. Volume controls the overall volume because you can’t get to the volume buttons on the iPhone once it is docked. Stop All will stop all sounds and recording immediately, which is very useful for when you make a mistake (which came in quite handy whilst I was making my masterpiece). Speed controls the BPM, with the default being 120bpm.
And finally, Remix is where the magic happens. Once you’ve clicked remix, the recording begins and you can turn each of your loops on or off to include them in the song.
To record a loop, you just need to hit the keys on the keyboard. The symbols, located above the keys, are there to help you you’re recording the drums, and for all other instruments, the notes will just get higher as you go further along the keyboard.
Once you’re done, you can just click “Remix” again to stop recording. Your song will be saved and you can email it to yourself by selecting it when on the “Details” tab (top right corner).
You can take a listen to the song I created by clicking the play button below.
Obviously, you’re not going to be creating chart songs with the Gear4 Pocket Loops accessory, but it’s some serious fun and could be very useful for live performances thanks to the ability to turn loops on and off with the touch of a button.
With an RRP of £50, we think the Gear4 Pocket Loops accessory is well worth the money.
- Ability to record up to 16 different loops, for inclusion in the end result.
- Great fun.
- Fairly easy to use.
- Well-designed keyboard and iOS application.
- Ability to create a full, fairly high-quality song.
- A variety of different instrument choices, however some more standard instruments would be nice to see in a future app update.