The folks at IK Multimedia have done it again. Another brilliant app for the iOSsphere. Following on from iGrand Piano for the iPad we now have iLectric Piano for the iPad ($20.99 from the App Store). This is a collection of 19 electric pianos based on industry classics from Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Yamaha, Hohner and Kawai. You get all the great electric piano sounds and textures that you have heard in jazz pop and rock since the 1970s. A further 22 instruments are available as an in-app purchase.
New sampling technology, where each note is sampled at a number of different velocitie, gives a real live feel when playing from a velocity-sensitive keyboard. There are in fact three ways to “play” iLectric Piano.
Firstly there is an on-screen keyboard which you can swipe to get access to the octaves from C0 in the basement all the way up to C7. It’s not that great for playing but okay to access the sounds. If you’re a real keyboard player you’ll probably have a MIDI keyboard which you can connect to the iPad with IK Multimedia’s iRIG MIDI interface. For you professionals there is a full range of MIDI functions available.
In between these two methods I’m using IK Multimedia’s iRig KEYS which is a neat velocity-sensitive mini keyboard which I reviewed recently. It works very nicely.
Each instrument is widely customisable. There is a three-band EQ, reverb and overdrive. There is also a pane with modulation controls where you can choose between Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Tremolo and AutoPan. Each effect has a Speed and Depth control. All these controls allow you to make interesting variations on the basic piano sound.
When you’ve got the sound you want, you can use the built-in recorder to strut your stuff. When you’ve finished you can export your recording as a .WAV or .m4a file.
There are four sample tunes included in different styles which you can use to showcase the rich range of sounds at your fingertips. Tap the piano icon on the onscreen keyboard and it shrinks to reveal the full seven octaves, highlighting each note as it plays.
As I have said previously many times in this blog, I’m not a keyboard player. I can play little arpeggios and form chords with my AFL fingers, but that’s about all. I’ve been using the iRig KEYS to create small pieces of incidental music for my videos using the sounds in GarageBand. iLectric Piano now gives me the opportunity to create short atmospheric fills with classic electric piano sounds.
I’ve always been a great fan of the warm Fender Rhodes sound and the bell-like clarity of the Yamaha DX7. Now I’ve got them on my iPad. To my ears they sound pretty much like the real thing. And hearing is believing.