I posted a full review of UVI’s BeatHawk iOS music app here on the blog when it was first released. I was hugely impressed with BeatHawk. There are drum/groove box apps that perhaps pack in more features than BeatHawk does but I actually think UVI have struck a brilliant balanced between functionality and ease-of-use with the approach they have adopted in the initial release.
Anyway, UVI seem keen to keep things going forwards with BeatHawk and the first updates for the app arrived on the App Store not long after the initial release. These included changes to the audio and MIDI preferences, a significant memory optimisation for improved performance and the option to use the app as an IAA instrument to complement that of IAA audio. Using Cubasis , for example, as an IAA host, you can add BeatHawk to a Cubasis MIDI track and sequence a performance from within Cubasis; if you want the sample playback tools of BeatHawk but the option to sequence from your favourite iOS DAW/sequencer app, then this is a useful addition.
A further update – taking the app to v.1.1.1 – arrived on the App Store yesterday. This brings a whole raft of detailed changes as well as a further round of routine bug fixes. For example, touching the timeline now allows you to move the playhead. In addition, within the Browser, you can now audition user samples (very useful) while in Song mode there have been a couple of changes to tidy up the export behaviour. In terms of the Audio/MIDI settings, these are now to be found in the Preferences section of the main menu and (helpfully), the audio/MIDI settings now restore on startup.
Having given the update a run through with a couple of projects this afternoon, it all seems to be working well and I particularly like the the options for tapping on the timeline both from the main Pad screen and when in the Song screen; this is great if you need to move around your project quickly. The only issue I had with the new version was on first startup when I had to visit the newly relocated Audio/MIDI settings section of the menu to adjust the audio device in use…. Otherwise, everything was plain sailing.
While I have a number of other drum machines apps that I use regularly, for something that offers more of a complete composition environment but in a pad-based beat/groove construction format, BeatHawk is hard to beat. Once you have spent just a short time with it, you realise just how intuitive and streamlined the user interface is. As a stand-alone tool for electronic music production based around the well-established ‘sample pad’ concept, this is a lot of fun but, with the solid IAA implementation, this is easily an app that you can integrate into a wider music production workflow.
Here’s hoping UVI can keep the updates coming and they can make an already great app even better. However, if you have not yet taken a punt, but want to give the app a try for yourself, then you can grab your own copy for just UK£7.99. Top-notch stuff and highly recommended.