SquashIt review – Klevgränd Produktion bring the dirt to iOS

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SquashIt logoSoftware doesn’t always have to sing, dance, make the coffee and do your washing; sometimes it is good enough to just to do one simple task and – hopefully – do it rather well. And so it is with SquashIt, the iOS music app from developer Klevgränd Produktion. The app is an audio effect app that provides a three-band distortion effect. There are no fancy bells and whistles; it just does the one job in as straightforward a fashion as possible.

SquashIt works under IAA (not Audiobus at present), has a single screen containing seven parameters that you can adjust and…  well…  that’s actually about it…. except to say that the app only costs UK£0.69 on launch and that, if you like it under iOS then there is an AU version of the effect that will also work with OSX (no Windows version at present) and that is available as a free download from the developer’s website.

A bit of a squeeze

The SquashIt interface it a pretty straightforward affair. You get a pair of circular dials where you can set the input and output levels (left edge and right edge respectively and each with a virtual meter so you can check the signal is not clipping).

SquashIt's main interface - simple but effective.

SquashIt’s main interface – simple but effective.

The centre of the display is filled with three vertical faders coloured red, yellow and green (low, mid and high frequencies respectively). Slide any of these upwards and you increase the amount of the distortion effect applied to that frequency band, while set the fader to the bottom of its range and the band is effectively bypassed and passed through the app unprocessed.

Finally, you can grab the boundary between two bands and drag horizontally. This adjusts the width of each frequency band and allows you to focus in on a particular section of the frequency range to apply the processing more precisely.

Located bottom-left is a button that gives you access to a preset system. There are no presets supplied but you can, of course, add your own. Tapping the ‘Klevgr’ button bottom-right takes you to the developer’s website and, finally, located top-right is a compact IAA transport panel so you can start/stop playback in your IAA host or flip back to said host.

See…  I told you it was simple….

Getting dirty

As ever, I did my IAA testing using Cubasis as host. SquashIt appeared quite happily in the IAA app list and I was able to use it either as an insert or a send effect within my Cubasis project.

SquashIt worked very nicely within Cubasis as either an insert or send effect.

SquashIt worked very nicely within Cubasis as either an insert or send effect.

While you don’t get any control over the type of distortion (as you do with some distortion, overdrive or ’analog warmth’ effects that are available on the desktop), the three-band configuration does mean that you can dial in anything from just a subtle hint through to overdriven fuzz-fest. The former is great for just adding a bit of character to a sound while the latter is more of an in-your-face effect. Both have their uses obviously….

Having the three bands also means that it is easy to add distortion in an instrument-specific way. For example, on vocals, I found adding a little to the high-frequency band, a little less to the mid-frequency band and leaving the low-frequency band at zero gave me just a nice edge to help the vocal cut through. Used in this way as a send effect, I was actually surprised at just how much distortion I could add to a vocal while I was listening to it within the full mix and it still sounded fairly natural. Soloing the vocal made it much more obvious (obviously)….

Equally, it was easy to hype a bass line by applying just a little low/mid-frequency boost. Shifting the balance between these two bands allowed you to either ‘warm’ things up (the low-frequency band) or get the bass to ‘cut through’ a little more (the mid-frequency band). Both approaches were, however, very effective.

As seen by comparing the two main screenshots shown in the review, you can adjust the frequency ranges for each frequency band to suit your needs.

As seen by comparing the two main screenshots shown in the review, you can adjust the frequency ranges for each frequency band to suit your needs.

And if you really want to go for it, pick a frequency band and push the level as far as you like. Whether for a special vocal effect or to get an instrument to stand out from the crowd, SquashIt will add a huge dollop of fuzzy character.

In summary

Providing you can live without the Audiobus support (and, yes, it would be very nice to see at some stage), SquashIt is pretty much a no-brainer purchase for any app-loving iOS musician, especially if you like your sounds a little on the grungy side at times. At UK£0.69, it is an absolute steal and, at less than 2MB in size, it ought to squeeze onto even the most tightly packed iPad running iOS7 or later. Oh, and the Mac version works in exactly the same way and sounds great also – and that’s free.

Go on, if your mix needs a little dirt, you need to try and SquashIt….

SquashIt


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    Comments

    1. Are people actually getting this to work? I don’t have Auria or Cubasis so you need some type of recording solution that actually works with IAA (AudioShare maybe?) Only 99 cents U.S. and I’m a fan of good distortion effects (I think we could use some more options), but hard to pull the trigger not knowing how I would use it.

      • Hi Jeff, yes, as stated in the review, it is IAA only at present. I did my testing within Cubasis and it worked fine (as it would in Auria I expect) but, unless you work with an IAA host then it would not be possible to use the app. Hopefully, the developer will think about Audiobus support because this is a nice little effect…. best wishes, John

    2. Bob Del Ciello says:

      I tried using it with AudioShare and GarageBand as the host. The app won’t launch in the effects slot. The icon shows up then disappears. Tried manually launching the app…same result. Tried allowing access to the mike or no access, performed hard reboot of my ipad2. All to no avail.

      Emailed the dev Saturday. No response yet. Poste a nasty review on the App Store.

      • Hi Bob, all I can say is that it worked absolutely fine via IAA within Cubasis. I’ll give it a try with Auria when I get a chance and report back. Having now traded email with the developer, Audiobus support is obviously in the pipeline and, presumably, that would be via the new Audiobus SDK so would give both Audiobus and IAA support with future-proof for iOS8 when that arrives… best wishes, John

        • and just to follow up…. Seems to work fine as an IAA effect within Auria (not tested it to death but certainly didn’t get any immediate issues) and also as an IAA input effect app (so I could record through it) within Garageband…. For information, I’m running the most up-to-date version of iOS on an iPad Air….. Best wishes, John

    3. Just upgraded to the latest rev. Of iOS 7. No improvement. This should work on an ipad2. If I understand correctly you were able to do the following in GarageBand:

      Select it as an effect.
      GarageBand IAA launches the app.
      The app performs as designed in the effects position.

      If that’s correct I don’t understand why an AIR should make a difference.

    4. Hi,

      I developed SquashIt, and now there is a fix for the iPad 2-bug that crashes SquashIt when running it in IAA mode. Really sorry about the bug, we missed testing it properly on non-retina devices.

      // Johan Sundhage, developer at Klevgränd Produktion

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