Apr 21 AT 11:22 PM Guest Blogger 18 Comments

Ethereal Dialpad: A music app where you make the music


The majority of music creation apps for Android are digital reproductions of real instruments. However, they can’t seem to capture the real feel of the object they mimic. Ethereal Dialpad, on the other hand, takes a radically different approach by emulating a synthesizer.

When you first start the app, you get a choice of 4 “dialpads” and their description. You can enter any of these and start playing, the only difference being the onscreen graphics. While the first 3 are just pretty colours and cool animations, the last dialpad actually has the notes overlaid and color coded so you know what you’re playing. Once you choose a dialpad, the fun really starts and you get to control the pitch of two synthesized voices/instruments by moving a finger on the screen from left to right or up and down. The sound quality is above average and really soothing.

The fact that the graphics change and react to your touch takes the app to the next level. You can exit a dialpad at any point by pressing the Back key. By pressing the Menu key from the main screen you get the option to go into the Synth preferences or get more dialpads. While dialpads change the graphics, in Synth preferences you will get the chance to modify the sound by changing the pitch quantizer (basically what kind of scale to use if any), how many octaves are on the screen at one point, echoes, sustain and timbre options. This is also where you select whether you want to control one voice and it’s volume, or two.

The good:

  • Beautiful graphics and sound
  • Makes it very easy to get something that sounds decent
  • Uses a simple interface to control two instruments at the same time
  • Promises to be extensible by adding new dialpads
  • Extremely lightweight (a 35kb download)
  • Free in the Android Marketplace

Improvements I would like to see:

  • At the time of writing there is only one other dialpad available for download and it isn’t free
  • Too many octaves on the screen at the same time are difficult to control
  • When controlling a single voice you can’t choose to do it left to right, only up and down

The Bottom Line

Ethereal Dialpad is a nifty little app that knows better than to try to rip off a real instrument. It’s it’s own unique thing, and you have to download it for that alone.

Note: This review was submitted by Alexandru-Ioan Dobrinescu as part of our app review contest.

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