ThumbJam update – Sonosaurus add Ableton Link support to their classic iOS music

Download from iTunes App Storethumbjam logoThere are a few iOS music apps that have a sort of ‘classic’ status and ThumbJam – by developer Sonosaurus – is most definitely one of them.

Perhaps the thing that makes the app stand out from the iOS music app crowd is the rather wonderful way in which the playing interface has been implemented and, while the app is still a little quirky in some respects,the playing experience makes brilliant use of the touchscreen and allows you to squeeze maximum expression out of the sample-based sounds. The app also makes for a pretty good MIDI controller for other iOS synths and, if you dig in, also includes monophonic audio-to-MIDI conversion. Not bad in an app that only costs UK£6.99/US$8.99.

While there is plenty to be said for ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it….’, when it comes to a medium as volatile as mobile music apps, most users do like the reassurance of a regular update or three, even if it is just of the maintenance variety. Until this week-end, ThumbJam’s more recent update was back in October 2014…..   eeeekkkk!

Thumbjam provides an unconventional way to 'play' a musical instrument - but it is both intuitive and expressive.

Thumbjam provides an unconventional way to ‘play’ a musical instrument – but it is both intuitive and expressive.

However, v.2.5 did duly arrive over the week-end and, as well as a fairly lengthly list of minor bug fixes and tweaks, it also brings some of the underlying code up to the latest iOS specs and some new features. So, for example, the Audiobus support has been updated along with support for Audiobus Remote (although existing users should also note that this means that ThumbJam can only be used with Audiobus if you are running iOS8 or later).

However, perhaps the highlight new feature is the addition of Ableton Link. Any tempo-based data within ThumbJam can now be sync’ed to any other Ableton Link enabled apps…  and I had no problems getting ThumbJam to recognise a number of my other iOS music apps such as Patterning or DM2 via Ableton Link all working via IAA within AUM.

ThumbJam now offers support for Ableton Link.....

ThumbJam now offers support for Ableton Link…..

On suitable hardware, ThumbJam now also supports slide-over and split screen and 3D Touch is also added for those using an iPhone 6/6+ with options for velocity and filter cutoff controls. There are also a number of tweaks to the UI to reorganise access to some features and improve the workflow.

ThumbJam happily sync'ed to tempo data from Patterning and DM2 (for example) to control the tempo of the arpreggiator function....

ThumbJam happily sync’ed to tempo data from Patterning and DM2 (for example) to control the tempo of the arpreggiator function while working within AUM….

Anyway, if you are a relatively recent arrival in the world of iOS music apps, while you might well have heard of ThumbJam, you might not have experienced it….   And if you haven’t…  well, then it is well worth checking out. You can read the original Music App Blog review here and I’ve also covered previous updates. It offers some great sounds but the real highlight is that touchscreen performance interface that, set up correctly, almost makes it impossible to play a duff note. It’s great to see a classic of the iOS music app world staying technically current…  long may it continue.

ThumbJam

Download from iTunes App Store
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