Are you a person with an Android device who loved to play with Fruity Loops in your free time? Then come, I have something that will make you happy; Pocketband is a music composing app which you can find on Google Play. You just create your loops and combine them and let the app do its work to make you a happy music composer.
PocketBand has a nice icon which pretty much explains what it does. You create your loops on your Android device and it sends the information to the server and retrieves the loops you wanted to create. As the developer told in the Google Play description, this is why it needs a solid internet connection. Or else, you would not get the best from the app. The term “solid connection” made me think that the app will run very laggy or bad on my device, especially considering my slow WiFi connection and data connection but that turned out to be false, in a good way.
I have a 1 Mbit internet connection which increases to 2 Mbit time to time. I can download at 120 kbps with that connection. Uploading rate is approximately 25 kbps. This proves to me that, your connection doesn’t need to be ‘that’ solid. But it won’t hurt, of course. I haven’t tried with my data connection because it barely connects to google.com.
I don’t really have to go into details on how to work this app because when you run the app and sign up for the site (or skip that part for now), PocketBand welcomes you with a short tutorial. I admit that I was not that happy with the tutorial because the app looks very detailed and the tutorial was too short even for a less detailed app. Besides, I couldn’t figure out the way to restart the app in the first moment. I saw that it was just in the menu. But then I wanted to listen to the “Demo Song” they made.
If you couldn’t wait the end of this article and just installed it, you will know that the song was created using only the lite version features. Of course, with the help of a guitar and the built-in microphone of the device. Demo song is more than just a demo song, it is also a more detailed tour of the app and a more detailed tutorial. This kind of tutorials always make it fun to learn. I bet everyone would prefer it to reading a guide which includes lots of definitions and theory.
Like I said before, the app doesn’t lag even if you don’t have a very good connection. But it definitely needs one. I tried to open the app in the airplane mode, but since you have to be logged in to use the app, it doesn’t do anything. This means “no internet no fun”, but it looks like this is the price we pay in order to get good service.
After you complete the tutorial and compose your first couple of loops and combine them then listen to your first song which was created using your Android device and PocketBand, you will notice a gap between your loops and between the repetitions of the same loops. Normally, this issue would render the app completely useless. There is a calibration option in the settings under the Engine tab and that may help in some cases. If that doesn’t help, do not worry about your ‘gapped’ song because the final version of the song. I asked to developer about this problem. Let’s hear them:
“Yes, we noticed the gaps between loops in edit mode, varying with the model of phone and Android version. Sadly our execution model is concatenating loops and there’s no way to make them fit well, we’re waiting for some fix from the Android team. We give a way to calibrate the gaps trying to reduce it, but sometimes it just won’t work. The good news is that after you publish the song, the loops will fit perfectly because we render the whole song server-side.”
So, don’t worry and concentrate on composing the parts of your feelings into the loops and then combining them into one cool song.
Speaking of composing, PocketBand offers you an extended set of features and parameters which would normally take another article to talk about. But if I would talk about it briefly, there are four devices and a recording channel, you can choose between 61 synth instruments in total (In full version, this number is 197), 30 drum sets (In full version: 66). There are 5 channels available in loops which would increase up to 16 in full version. You can make up to 6 loops (Full version: 16) and choose from 2 FX effects (3 in full version). You can set different volume levels for each of the instruments in your loops and add FX effects. Of course it is also possible to record using the built-in microphone of your device.
You can mute some of the devices or make one of them play solo. You can clone your loop and edit the clone and/or the original loop later. It is also possible to clone a song by long pressing on the song and choosing remix. If you wonder what other people could add to your piece of music, you can enable the ‘Collaboration feature’ and wait for people to make changes or additions to your music.
PocketBand offers so many parameters to apply on instruments, and needless to say, “The rest is up to your imagination.” Except the composing part which you will figure out easily, there are other features of PocketBand which you might love.
You must have noticed the bar on the top of the app which has four tabs; Workspace on which you concrete your magic; My Profile on which you can edit your styles and description, add a profile photo, see your favorite, published and private songs and your bands; Community on which you can listen to the songs of the other people and look for people and bands; and News on which you can see the activities of the people and bands you are following. You can switch between these four tabs by swiping your fingers right and left.
Also, in the menu, apart from the settings, refresh, exit and tutorial options, you will see the forum. You will be automatically logged in to the forum and you will be able get help if needed or just meet people.
The most unexpected feature of the app, if I may say, is the collaboration feature. It seems the developers hated the idea of multiple people pawing the same device collaborating on a song and thought about this feature. Instead of composing the song in one device with ten hands on the same device, you can compose it with ten devices and ten hands. This looks like a good feature to have for your friends who say “Let’s form a band and play some cool songs, huh?” all the time. Just get them sign up and make their dreams come true.
Now back to Community tab… If you think there are some talented artists out there who haven’t been explored yet, this is the place where you can find them. This is also a good place to find out what the app can achieve and to be amazed about it. Surely, there are users who are more experienced than you and me and they publish their works here and let you listen to, favorite and like the song. You can communicate with the writer of your favorite song in the community and convince them to collaborate with you.
The developer told us that a new update is on the way: “We’re working on a new version including a new Sampler device right now. The users will be able to record their own sounds and make custom synth instruments with this update. We hope to release it in the coming weeks.”
So, PocketBand offers you a band in your pockets and the opportunity of publishing your songs to a growing community. That sounded like Fruity Loops and MySpace in your pocket, right?
If you enjoy making music on your own and sharing with people, you should definitely give PocketBand a try. Currently, there is a 50% discount on the full version of the app which makes it $ 4.99. This is probably a good time to buy the app and get the updated version free if you are into the music composing applications. Here are the Download links for you to try out the Lite version or get the Pro version.