I was lucky enough to review the very interesting AC Sabre back in August. The iTunes tag line describes the app as a ‘professional MIDI instrument and motion controller’. The emphasis is most certainly on the word ‘controller’ here; AC Sabre allows the user to use the touch screen and the motion sensitivity of an iOS device to generate all sorts of MIDI data. This data can be sent to an app (for example, a synth app or DAW/sequencer) running on the same device or, via Bluetooth or WiFi, that data can be sent to a second iOS device or to a suitable desktop computer.
In terms of general details, AC Sabre is a universal app, it now requires iOS9.0 or later and is a 28MB download. Given how it is used – more of which is described below – it makes most sense to use it on a suitable iPhone or iPod Touch, but it does also work fine on an iPad. The app is currently priced at UK£9.99/US$9.99.
Anyway, check out the full AC Sabre review for all the operational details but this is an app doesn’t really require any traditional musical instrument skills yet it is a powerful and flexible MIDI controller for whatever synth you might like to point it at. While you don’t need to know one end of a guitar or piano or violin or trumpet from the other in order to use it, you will still need to put in a little practice (to mater the gestures and interface) and techie time (to configure the app to work with a suitable synth patch or three); don’t expect to instantly ‘get it’ and be able to make music like a seasoned musical pro…. but its fun even in the learning phase.
The app was updated a couple of days ago and now stands at v.1.1.0. The update includes a number of useful tweaks. For example, establishing a Bluetooth connection is now easier as automatic advertising has been added. The app is also now ready for Audiobus 3. In addition, the hands-free mode now also works when AC sabre is in the background. Interestingly, it now also looks like there is a now, partner, app in development called AC Central that will improve connectivity options further and allow more options for saving a configuration via Audiobus state saving. Anyway, it’s a very cool app and it is good to see continued development taking place.
However, it is perhaps no surprise that AC Sabre is perhaps a bit of a niche app. More conventional musicians might be interested in the technology but, if your musical output tends towards more song-based tunes, then perhaps AC Sabre is not really for you. However, those with a more experimental bent will, I think, find it very appealing. Check out the original review, watch the demo videos below… and then hit the download button to find out more via the App Store.