iSpark update – Arturia’s super-slick take on the virtual drum machine gets some tweaks

Download from iTunes App Storeispark logo 1If you are an iPad- or iPhone-owning musician, and you have been hanging around the App Store for any length of time, then I suspect you will be well aware of just how many excellent virtual drum, groove and rhythm instruments there now are available in a very modestly priced app format.

These do, of course, come in a range of flavours, whether that’s virtual acoustic drummers (for example DrumPerfect Pro or Luis Martinez’s various ‘drummer’ apps), recreations of classic drum machine hardware (for example, DM1, Funkbox, iMPC Pro), drum synths (for example, Elastic Drums or Attack Drums), groove stations (yep, iMPC Pro again but also BeatHawk and iMaschine 2) and things that defy categorisation just because they are so brilliant (that would be Patterning and Sector then). And that’s just a start… there are plenty of excellent apps I’ve not mentioned here.

iSpark - slick in looks and sounds, an iOS drum machine app from Arturia.

iSpark – slick in looks and sounds, an iOS drum machine app from Arturia.

There is also a further category that takes the concept of the hardware drum machine but perhaps doesn’t try quite so hard to do it in a ‘classic’ way; you get a modern spin on the concept. Diode-108 is one example of that but, as I mentioned when doing a full review of the app soon after release, Arturia have just provided us with a further contender that perhaps fits best into this category; iSpark.

I was hugely impressed with iSpark. It is, of course, based around Aurturia’s hardware drum machine Spark. This unit has been around for a few years and received some excellent press when released. It also came with a UK£449 price tag (that’s an ‘ouch’ compared to App Store pricing I guess) and was actually a hybrid of hardware and software. More recently, Arturia have delivered the SparkLE (€199 I think) based on the same underlying technology but the Spark concept has also been fully ported to a software-only environment with Spark 2 – priced at €169 – available in a range of plugin formats, plus a standalone version, for both OSX and Windows.

The Expansion Store has been refined in this update.

The Expansion Store has been refined in this update.

With a current price of just UK£14.99/US$19.99, iSpark brings much of that same design, sound and workflow to the iPad. And, if you trawl through the specification of the desktop version and the iOS version…. well, let’s just say this is yet another example of just how much value iOS music apps can provide even at UK£14.99. Check out the original review for the full details…..

And, while I’m a few days late in reporting on it (I had a nice holiday though!), last week saw Arturia release the v.1.0.2 update to iSpark. While I suspect there may well be tweaks under the hood, this update brings two noticeable changes. First, the ‘Store’ has had a bit of a visual makeover; if you want to indulge in some IAP shopping to expand your iSpark sounds, this is now a smoother experience.

making your effects selection is now easier in iSpark.

Making your effects selections is now easier in iSpark.

Second, it is now easier to select and change effects. If you tap on the effects buttons located top-right of the Main screen then a drop-down list of effects appears allowing you to change the selection.

Anyway, as a regular iSpark user, it’s great to see that development work is still in progress at Arturia.  At UK£14.99/US$19.99 price, iSpark is perhaps not quite in the ‘casual purchase’ price bracket but this is a seriously good app. Whether you have more drum apps than you can shake a (drum) stick at, Arturia’s offering is most certainly well worth exploring.

iSpark




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    Comments

    1. Yes, I took a while to decide about this app, already having many drum/rhythm apps. But, once I’d taken the plunge, iSpark soon went into my top 3 apps in its category. The others being DrumJam and Patterning.

      • Hi Nathan,… yes, in this category it really is up there with the best…. and the interface is very slick. Best wishes, John

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