FunkBox updated – Synthetic Bits add iOS9 support and other tweaks

Download from iTunes App StoreFunkbox logoI must admit to a bit of a soft spot for FunkBox. It was one of the first drum machine apps I explored on my iPhone (and then iPad) and I rather like the disco-friendly, retro styling; this definitely has a classic drum machine vibe.

It also sounds the part with a solid selection of classic drum sounds available in a good number of preset kits. The pattern-based editing is simple yet flexible and there are some nice performance options that make pattern creation a pretty painless affair. It perhaps lacks the more cutting edge creativeness of something like Patterning but, at just UK£3.99 for a universal app, it’s difficult to argue that you don’t get a heck of a lot of traditional drum machine in a virtual format from FunkBox.

Funkbox; now optimised for use under iOS9.

Funkbox; now optimised for use under iOS9.

Updates to FunkBox have been pretty thin on the ground over the last 12 months or so. That’s not to say the app hasn’t been capable of doing good service however but it is nice to see v.3.6 arrive on the App Store today.

As you might expect, the update is focused on optimisations for use under iOS9 (and I suspect that also means updates to the Audiobus SDK and IAA support) but there are other tweaks as well. For example, more MIDI control options are now available including the option to trigger all 12 sounds within a kit via MIDI from another app if you want to bypass FunkBox’s own pattern-based sequencing.

The app worked well within Audiobus under iOS9.

The app worked well within Audiobus under iOS9.

Having given the update a run through this morning, it seemed to be working very smoothly on my iOS9.1 equipped iPad Air 1 test system as a standalone app. Once up and running within Audiobus, I was also able to get FunkBox to happily send audio to Cubasis. The app also behaved nicely with used as an IAA plugin within Cubasis, although do note the app appears under ‘S’ in the IAA app list rather than ‘F’.

To recieve MIDI Clock syn from Cubasis, the settings shown here would seem to be the obvious choice... but in fact I had to use the Virtual MIDI in for the sync to be received.

To receive MIDI Clock syn from Cubasis, the settings shown here would seem to be the obvious choice… but in fact I had to use the Virtual MIDI in for the sync to be received.

Obviously, with a drum machine app, the ability to sync the drum parts/patterns to other music apps is an important feature. After a couple of flash starts, I got FunkBox to trigger quite happily from the Cubasis transport controls and respond to different tempos set by Cubasis. Note that I had to use the Virtual MIDI port ‘in’ within Funkbox to receive the MIDI Clock data rather than the (more obvious) Cubase MIDI in…  still, it seemed to work well and, while I have not yet stress-tested it, the timing lock seemed solid.

Funkbox seemed to lock well to Cubasis once the MIDI routing was configured correctly.

Funkbox seemed to lock well to Cubasis once the MIDI routing was configured correctly.

FunkBox was always a very cool, fun, and easy-to-use virtual drum machine. It has a very useable collection of classic drum machine kits and good pattern editing and performance features (the ‘roll’ button, for example). With this update, Synthetic Bits have bought FunkBox right up-to-date in terms of iOS music production technology.

If you haven’t checked out the original FunkBox review, then give it a read. Things have oviously moved on since then from a technical perspective and, as noted above, Audiobus, IAA and MIDI Clock Sync all seem well supported in the current version. However, if you are simply looking for a very useful and very useable virtual drum machine – now with optimised iOS9 support – then grab yourself a download and check FunkBox out. At the current UK£3.99 price point, FunkBox Drum Machine represents excellent value for money.

Funkbox

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    Comments

    1. FunkBox is one of my “desert island apps”, at least for my iDevice music production activities. I’m a songwriting musician who likes to blend guitars and other “analogue” instruments with beats, synths and electronica (often with a “vintage” slant), so FB’s sound is very much up my street.

      I often use FB to lay down a continuous loop, so it chugs away and provides a “scaffold” for a chord track (guitar, synth (often via SoundPrism Pro), etc.), which I then use as a foundation for the rest of the arrangement. I find FunkBox easy to use, reliable and no-nonsense – it doesn’t “trip me up”, and overall I sometimes wonder how I’d manage without it!

      Kudos to Synthetic Bits for a great app, and long may it develop :-)

      • Hi Tim… thanks for sharing… It might not have some of the more advanced options that some newer drum apps offer but, as you describe, it is a reliable workhorse and very easy to use…. and the sounds themselves are very solid. best wishes, John

    2. I like funk box because of its unadulterated cheesiness :-) Who doesn’t want to cheer up a rainy autumnal afternoon by putting Funkbox through a slew of virtual guitar pedals and shout down a toilet roll and pretend to be Cabaret Voltaire?
      Blimey ….nurse alert! ….I’m off….

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