ReBirth updated – Propellerhead give their classic EDM production tool some love

Download from iTunes App StoreIf you know anything about electronic music production software, Propellerhead’s ReBirth will be a familiar name. Indeed, ReBirth was a precursor to Reason and, while it doesn’t offer the power and versatility of something like Reason, it is still considered something of a classic.

ReBirth was introduced for the desktop back in 1997. It was, itself, an ‘emulation’ of something else…  the software attempted to reproduce the sounds and features of the Roland TB-303 Bass Line synth and both TR-808 and TR-909 Rhythm Composer drum machines. In their original hardware format, these are the musical tools that became the default options for many pop, Hip Hop, R&B and electronic music producers.

As the hardware versions became more expensive and more difficult to find, ReBirth provided those same sounds in a convenient – and relatively inexpensive – format. It was a hit in it’s own right. However, as the world of music software moved rapidly forwards, in 2005 Propellerhead discontinued work on ReBirth to focus on their other major platform; Reason. Roll forward to 2010, however, and ReBirth was reborn under iOS in the shape of an iOS app and it is currently priced at UK£14.99/US$14.99. In this format it offers 2 TB-303s and one each of the TR-808 and TR-909. Two bass synths and two drum machines doesn’t sound like much but, in the right hands, there is a lot of noise to be made here.

ReBirth’s main screen – it certainly packs a lot in :-)

Propellerhead initially moved the app forward on a regular basis but, from 2013, things have been a bit quiet and the most recent update was back in March 2016. Thankfully, however, a further update – taking the app to v.1.4.5 – has appeared on the App Store today. This is very much of the maintenance variety in that it updates the Audiobus and AudioCopy SDKs to their latest respective versions…  but it is good to see the Props giving the app some TLC regardless of that.

It has to be said that the iOS version of ReBirth has not been without its critics. One of the key complaints has been the design of the interface; describing it as ‘busy’ is perhaps being polite. This is not an app you would want to try and use on a screen smaller than a full-size iPad and, even then, you might find yourself reaching for a magnifying glass. Indeed, some of the controls are so compact that those with fingers of a stubby character might find that a suitable iPad stylus pen is required….   Not quite so much of a challenge on the larger format iPad Pro though :-)

All that said, there is a lot packed into the app with pretty much the full feature set of the desktop software is reproduced in a mobile format. And, whatever complaints some might have about the busy interface, there is little to complain about in terms of the sound; providing your eyesight and fingers are up to it, this is classic electronic music production tool in the form of an app.

ReBirth for iPad

Download from iTunes App Store

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    Comments

    1. ConfusedKitten says:

      Wow that’s a really nice surprise and (as Eustressor pointed out recently in another post here) it is also another App that has been updated to be ready for iOS 11 seemingly (64-bit ready) which is wonderful to see! It’s actually surprising I don’t own this yet as I’ve been a huge fan of the original since it came out (around the same time as Wip3out/2097)! The interface compactness reminds me a lot of the style of SugarBytes apps which is likely because like Propellorheads have done here: it’s a direct port from the desktop (rather than a redesign for iOS) so it’s err… very compact (which I don’t mind at all being an Apple Pencil user)! :p SugarBytes solution however was to provide an iOS friendly zoom feature in their software (most of them at least it seems) so you can easily see better if you need to (although it takes a bit of getting used to)! Perhaps ‘Propellorheads’ will follow suite in a future update? Regardless, this is great to see and went straight on my App Store Wishlist as a consequence of knowing it’s longevity is secured (for a while at least) as this is what put me off buying it in the past! Thanks for the heads up John :)

    2. ConfusedKitten says:

      Incidentally, out of curiosity – does anyone know if Propellorheads updated the drums to Stereo in the iOS version (the drums were Mono as far as I know in the original ReBirth desktop release)? It made sense as the original hardware is Mono (as far as I know) but its certainly a welcome enhancement as we don’t have much in the way of Mono to Stereo conversion on iOS (like the PS22 Waves plugin etc).

      http://www.waves.com/plugins/ps22-stereo-maker

    3. This is interesting news, I grabbed Rebirth a long time ago but never got into it. Also the news gives me hope that Thor will get the update treatment real soon. Even though Thor was updated last summer, I’ve experinced a few issues with it under iOS10.

      • Hi Toz… yep, it would be great to see Thor get some further TLC; it’s a fabulous synth engine…. :-) Very best wishes, John

    4. Ahhh…this software changed my life forever back in 1997. Many late nights spent around the old 286 desktop Windows box jamming out and recording to cassette tapes LOL!! ;-)

      Good to see it is still supported on iOS even if I don’t use it much these days.

      • Yep, it is a bit ‘retro’ when compared to some more modern music software… but still a lot of fun to be had…. :-) very best wishes, John

    5. “Retro ” in this case is GOOD :)
      How “retro” is tb303, tr808 and tr909…?

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