There are lots of what you might call ‘conventional’ virtual instruments available on the App Store; virtual pianos, software recreations of hardware synths, strum-able guitars, for example. However, Earhoof – from developer Psicada – and currently priced at UK£3.99/US$4.99, is not one of them.
I reviewed Earhoof when it was first released in March 2014 and, while it looks like some sort of virtual toaster, what you actually get is a rather intriguing – and very playable – rhythm instrument. The interface does take some getting used to but, once you have read the instructions and experimented a little, it really is very simple to use. That said, dig a little deeper, and there is plenty of flexibility on offer. If you like to create something other than drum-orientated rhythms to use in your music, then Earhoof is a brilliant option.
With the version 1.1.0 update released in August 2014, MIDI control of the app was added. In fact, you get the option of three different MIDI control approaches depending upon how specific you want to get about that control. All these different modes can be configured via a MIDI settings screen.
The app had a couple of minor technical updates back in May last year which were good to see as they clearly indicated that Psicada were keeping things ticking over. Thankfully, a further update – the first since iOS10 was released – has appeared on the App Store today. This brings v.1.1.3 and, again, while it is just a maintenance release that deals with bug fixes, it’s good to see all the same. Having given the app a quick spin stand-alone and via Audiobus and IAA this morning, it seems to be working pretty well on my iPad Pro/iOS10 test system.
I’ve no idea just how active the ongoing development of the app might be in terms of new features. It would be great to see landscape support, Ableton Link and AU for example, but I suspect this is a niche app and a bit of a sideline project for the development team. Even so, Earhoof is very useable and being given enough development TLC to keep it functioning under the latest incarnation of iOS itself….
What’s always been interesting about Earhoof, however, is that it is yet another example of the strength of iOS and mobile music technology using a touchscreen; highly creative and, in my experience at least, highly unique. If this is not an app you are familiar with then check out the demo video below. Well worth the entrance fee for those with an experimental streak to their music making and an iPad with iOS9.3 or later installed :-)