Fact: Grooveboxes are fun. All those knobs, faders and flashing lights can amuse most of us for hours but recently there seem to be less and less of them about. The clever people at Korg have managed to inject new life into their good old Electribe by releasing an iPad version, meaning you can get your sticky fingers all over it.
Groove Is in the Heart
I always loved the Electribe. Perhaps it wasn't the most fully-featured Beatbox out there but it certainly was one of the most fun to use. There was something very immediate about its interface and programming system.
The iPad version (1.5.1 at the time of this writing) is somehow even easier to get your head around. Even an absolute beginner can start to construct some kind of beat using it and experienced Electribe users are simply going to love it.
The Korg iElectribe.
A lot of the iElectribe's success comes from the iPad's multi-touch interface. Scrolling through presets has now become a dream and recording knob movement with two or three fingers at a time is not just challenging but also really enjoyable.
Make Some Noise
The first thing you should do when this is installed onto your iPad is head straight for the play button! You'll get sound either through the built-in speakers or attached headphones and the output is very respectable. Although I don't have a hardware unit handy, if my memory serves me correctly this is a picture-perfect emulation.
Tap on the 'Browser' button (upper left) and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of patterns that drop down. These are all named by genre and it may have been a little more interesting to have individual names in the genre category but I guess you can't have everything and this is in line with the original Electribe OS.
Scrolling through presets is really easy, thanks to multi-touch on the iPad.
When flicking through the various patterns you should be pretty happy with the load times. I am testing on a 64 GB Wi-Fi iPad 2, so I am not sure about performance on the first generation iPad.
A few example patterns from the iElectribe:
The vast majority of iElectribe's controls and settings are available on the main page. This means you can start to make beats and patterns without delving into complex menus and tables.
The controls are nicely grouped into logical sections as well, so we see transport and patch access in the top left, sequencer and pattern controls in the lower section, synthesis at top right and finally, effect processing right in the centre.
The transport area is very straight-forward with nice oversized controls and once started, the step sequencer is a joy to program. With an obvious tip of the hat to retro drum machines, the Electribe system has always been very intuitive.
Programming a step for any of the 8 built-in sounds is simply a case of selecting it and inputting in on the 32-part illuminated grid in the lower section of the interface. If you are making a new pattern I would opt for one of the '