Triqtraq update – Zaplin bring iOS8 support and a universal version

Download from iTunes App Storetriqtraq logo 2One of the first apps I reviewed here on the Music App Blog back in mid-2012 was the rather wonderful triqtraq by Zaplin Music. Not long before looking at triqtraq, I’d also reviewed Propellerhead’s Figure. I suspect Figure is an app the almost every long-standing iOS musician has experienced and, what it lacks in sophisticated features, it more than makes up for in the fun it provides.

However, Figure’s real stand-out feature is the brilliant user interface. It was designed from the ground up as a music creation ‘instrument’ that was built around, and for, the touchscreen. Yes, some traditional musical skills were an advantage when using it but you didn’t really need to know one end of a piano or a guitar to coax a decent bit of electronic dance music out of Figure.

On the iPhone, triqtraq splits its controls between this main screen....

On the iPhone, triqtraq splits its controls between this main screen….

Alongside the likes of Garageband (with its brilliant smart instruments) and ThumbJam, if there was an early indicator that touchscreen mobile devices might have potential to open up music creation to the masses, Figure was it. None of these apps might satisfy the more demanding of musician (at least, not used on their own) but as a means of demonstrating what was possible and drawing new users to the platform, all of them make a convincing case.

... and the Pattern screen.

… and the Pattern screen.

A neat triq

If you are a fan of Figure, then I suspect you would also like triqtraq. While the two apps approach their task in very different ways, they share a ’this is not a conventional musical instrument interface’ attitude which, for me, is one of Figure’s most appealing features. And, if you are not familiar with triqtraq, as it has been updated within the last couple of days ago to v.1.5.0 and, amongst other things, the update brings compatibility with iOS8, given the coffee-shop pricing of UK£1.99 (20% off for the next few days), now might not be a bad time to give it a try.

If I had to sum triqtraq up, it is sort of a ‘Figure taken further’. It is definitely an app for those that like electronic music styles and, in many respects, it is very accessible for the non-musician (or, at least, the musician who doesn’t have conventional musical instrument skills). Like Figure, you use patterns to create compositions and you get four banks of samples around which to built your tunes. You also get all sorts of interesting ways to manipulate the sounds – pan, pitch, filter, etc.

The iPad display combines both of these functions into a single screen....  and it works very well.

The iPad display combines both of these functions into a single screen…. and it works very well.

However, there is also more depth to explore with triqtraq. This means a slightly longer learning curve (although still not to long!) but also perhaps a wider range of creative options, particularly as you can create up to 16 patterns within a project and easily flip between them – or create a play queue – to create a complete musical performance.

A new triq?

Aside from iOS8 compatibility, v.1.5.0 brings a universal version of the app; triqtraq now has an proper iPad-based screen layout and it translates very well to the larger screen. The key difference is that, on the iPad version, you don’t have to flip between the main screen and the pattern screen as you do on the iPhone; a strip of pattern buttons are displayed towards the bottom of the iPad layout. There is still no landscape view available, but the control set on the iPad is very well laid out.

Part of the iOS8 compatibility is, of course, bringing triqtraq up-to-date with the Audiobus 2.1 SDK and, in turn, that brings IAA support. If you want to use triqtraq as an audio generator within an IAA host such as Cubasis, then that’s now possible. Having given this a quick spin this morning, rather wonderfully, triqtraq responds to the Cubasis transport controls and follows the Cubasis tempo; getting your triqtraq compositions into Cubasis to use in a larger project is, therefore, a very straightforward task.

triqtraq now includes IAA support and, rather impressively, in Cubasis, it also responds to the transport controls and tempo.

triqtraq now includes IAA support and, rather impressively, in Cubasis, it also responds to the transport controls and tempo.

A few bug fixes and other tweaks aside, the other new feature in a ‘Open in…’ export option so you can, for example, send your audio mixes from triqtraq straight out to apps such as Dropbox.

In summary

I like triqtraq a lot and I suspect, for lots of iOS musicians, it might have passed them by. This is a shame as the apps is great fun to use and strikes a really nice balance between ease of use and having enough depth to both keep you interested and allow you to create some really cool sounding tunes. It’s not up there with a Gadget or a Caustic in terms of features but then neither is it in the same price bracket or does it require as much time to learn.

If you like Figure then I think you would also like triqtraq. However, while triqtraq brings the same ‘fun’ ethos to music creation, the app has enough depth to make it a very useful tool. The basics are still as described in my original review but, with the various updates since then – including v.1.5.0 – Zaplin have gradually moved the app forward even further and ensured it stays up-to-date. Well worth the UK£1.99 asking price (a 20% off limited -time sale price so grab it soon) if you like the way touchscreens allow you to create electronic music.

Triqtraq

Download from iTunes App Store
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    Comments

    1. Triqtraq is one of my favorite apps and the fact that they made this universal is so useful. I might gift it to someone just to support the dev because who says they had to update anything for the users. When I think about all those well made abandoned apps that people constantly ask for updates to much dismay I laugh. Simply because the apps getting updates are the powerhouse underdogs that only some know of. I bet more people could name drop Figure than Triqtraq, Protein DK, Caustic, bip etc… But even so these devs are always thinking about improvement and that’s what I appreciate.

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