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£2.99, is not one of them.
I reviewed Earhoof back in June 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.
Until now, Earhoof was exclusively controlled via the touchscreen. The interface is actually rather good but, with the version 1.1.0 update release on the iTunes App Store a couple of days ago, if you do want to have the option of control via MIDI, you can now have it. 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 configures via a MIDI settings screen.
Psicada have added a few other new features in this release. Earhoof now has MIDI Clock sync so, if your recording host has support for that, you can sync to other elements in your project. In addition, the app now has Audiobus 2 support so it will work quite happily in a wider music production workflow.
Earhoof 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. Well worth the entrance fee for those with an experimental streak to their music making and, for those wanting control via a MIDI keyboard or MIDI sequencer, that option is now also available.