Upon opening the Bebot iPhone app, you’re greeted by a smiling, cute-as-can-be cartoon robot in a snazzy tux and red bowtie. He looks somewhat like the spawn of Rosie the Jetsons’ maid and the Pillsbury Doughboy, but instead of that trademark “Doughboy” chuckle, Normalware’s Bebot Robot Synth ($2) serves up electronic bleeps and bloops based on your finger movements.
Drag your finger across your iPad or iPhone screen to hear Bebot sing. Add more fingers and he’ll harmonize with himself. Move those fingers to the right and left to hear the pitches go up and down, or vertically to hear the timbre of Bebot’s voice gradually change.
(Check out more ways to make music without really trying.)
Amusingly, all this is accompanied by appropriate visuals: Bebot rocking back and forth in time with the music, opening his mouth to make the sounds, and generally giving a pretty convincing performance of “singing” the music you make with what is one of the more curious music creation apps we’ve come across.
The out-of-the-box fun factor of this thing (we’re not kidding; it kept distracting us as we wrote this article) belies the fact that it’s really a full-on polyphonic synthesizer.
Double-tapping the icon at the bottom right brings up a control panel where you can customize everything from the waveform type to the amount of echo.
We especially appreciated the scale and auto-tune features, which make it a lot easier to play discernable melodies. There are also a few preset voices — including a killer theremin emulator — for those who just want a variety of cool sounds without having to mess with the synth’s back end or try to, you know, play actual music.
If you’re looking for an iPhone or iPad music toy/synthesizer with unique, intuitive controls, an amusing interface, and a wide sonic palette — or just for a cheap way to amuse yourself, then we recommend picking Bebot up. Just don’t expect to be able to put him down any time soon.
Part robot, Part synth - Bebot is a musical synthesizer with a unique multitouch control method and a versatile sound engine. Check out the demo videos at Normalware.com to see and hear Bebot in action, including a walkthrough demo by keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess. Featuring four different synthesis modes, juicy analog-sounding filters, effects and overdrive distortion, Bebot is a feature-packed polyphonic synthesizer, offering a wide range of sounds and a high degree of control via the multitouch screen. Musicians and non-musicians alike will find that the autotune system and user-programmable scales help you to play in tune with ease. Don't just listen to your iPod music - play along. Or simply have fun making noises with your fingers, and watch the animated robot sing along. Bebot has been used both on-stage and in the studio by major recording artists, including Dream Theater and How To Destroy Angels. Not bad for a little cartoon robot.
|iPhone & iPad||$1.99||None|