ThumbJam update – Sonosaurus refine their classic iOS music app

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. On that front, Thumbjam’s most recent update (back in May) was good to see and, in adding support for Ableton Link (amongst other things) also bought the app right up-to-date in iOS music tech terms (well, OK, AU support would still be great to see).

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.2.5.1 arrived on the App Store today. Is is, apparently, mostly about bug-fixes (although welcome none-the-less) with tweaks to the Audiobus support, some UI tweaks/fixes and some refinements of the motion control response. However, there are some useful new features also. For example, the app now offers pitch-bend control via the x-axis, the Continuum play mode has been improved and there is a ‘Reset Settings’ option available in the Options menu.

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.


Download from iTunes App Store

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