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Robick: A Look at the iOS App for Transcribing Music

Robick interfaceIf you’re looking for an “slow-downer” app for aiding in transcribing tunes, you might want to give Robick a shot.

While this app is not entirely intuitive, once you get the hang of the interface, it’s actually a pretty powerful music slowing/altering app for transcription.

When you launch the app, you’ll land in the one and only screen for the app itself, which looks like a vinyl record (there are screens for playlists and settings as well). Once a track is loaded, the area is filled with the waveform, which auto-fits and fills the circular area).

The track information is listed at the top of the screen and the bottom of the screen contains the functions available in it’s current mode and four icons for setting the repeat mode: whole track once, whole track repeating or a sectional repeat.

There’s a circular icon which gives us more variables to adjust: key, pitch and tempo in one set, a 3-band EQ on the 2nd set and setting A and B style report points if we want to repeat a section, a musical note which provides access to the playlist used to load tracks from your iTunes catalog, and the settings icon.

Robick playlist screenWhen the key, pitch and tempo icons are illuminated, we also have three different colored bars that surround the circle, each representing key, pitch or tempo. A tap outside of the circle will swap out the order of the bars to give us control of one or the other. You simply slide the bar back and forth to adjust the key, pitch or tempo. The same goes for the 3-band EQ (after changing to EQ mode by clicking on the record icon, of course). There’s a similar process for the repeat functions. A double tab anywhere on the screen will zoom in on the waveform, as well.

All in all, it’s a very creative way to fit a lot of functionality on one screen, although it takes a bit of trial and error to get fluid with it – or more than a few clicks on the information tab which gives us a HUD style display of functions.

Thankfully, the folks behind the app, birnimal APP, have prepared a helpful video tutorial:

Additional features include reverse playback and a playlist function, which is very nice. You can also swipe between tunes in your playlist from the main screen without having to re-navigate to your iTunes library every time! Very cool).

All things considered, this app is visually appealing and functions perfectly without fail. I’ve come to really like playing with this app, and while some may prefer Capo’s standard layout style, Robick is an equally powerful slow-downer app that costs far less (comparing the $2.99 price with Capo’s $19.99 will be a no-brainer for many).

I highly recommend this app for people who are willing to spend an extra few minutes with it. A $17 savings seems well worth a few fumbling moments while trying to figure out how to adjust this or that. It only takes a few minutes to grasp and you can quickly be on your way to doing the real work of transcription and not fiddling with the app.

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