AudioStretch: A Look at the Slow Downer App for iOS
Another slow downer app? Yes. Why? Because AudioStretch does something that no other app has, at least the ones I’ve tried.
What could that be? Speed = 0%!
I can’t believe that no one thought of this before (and I apologize if someone has and I haven’t seen it yet). This feature is simply a fantastic way to figure out those hard to discern notes and phrases.
AudioStretch actually goes beyond zero and will accommodate +/- 250% speed and +/- 12 semitones pitch adjustment.
While the ability to play in reverse is more of a novelty, the zero percentage speed is a fantastic idea. This allows the user to ‘scrub’ along the time line and zero in on any given moment in the piece (yes, it continues playing that moment which, while annoying for cymbal crashes, is fantastic for hard to discern tonalities).
I tested the tech with a blazing African-style bass line from one of my new favorite records by Munir Hossn, and it made an otherwise tricky line to hear a breeze to pick out, note by note.
Beyond that, the app is pretty bare bones, which many may find appealing as many app developers are trying to cram a bit too much into some of the apps these days, resulting in a bit of a learning curve and making them tricky to navigate on an iPhone.
With AudioStretch, you simply pick a tune from your library, set the speed and pitch, and navigate through the play, fast forward and rewind buttons. The app allows you to also set loop points for playback.
In a slow downer app, what more do you really need?
I’ve also spoken with the developer, who was incredibly nice and generous with his time. He seemed eager for feedback and impressed me as the kind of developer who is eager to improve upon the app and will release updates regularly.
The newest update adds a spectrum analyzer to aid in pitch detection. This is especially useful with the speed set to zero. You can really hone in on the note and the spectral analyzer will do its best to display the teens it’s reading above a virtual keyboard. This feature is activated by clicking on the settings button and simply turning it on. A nice addition!
If you’re looking for a simple, reliable slow downer that also allows you to scrub the timeline, this is the way to go!
AudioStretch is a universal app, designed for iPhone and iPad and compatible with iPhone 3G and up, iPod Touch (3rd, 4th and 5th generations) and iPad. The app requires iOS version 5.1 or greater. The app is $8.99 and available on the App Store.