iPhone App Review: Bebot Robot Synth
In the app world, synth software tends to either mimic a real-life instrument or act as a kind of abstract, rub-your-finger-here noisemaker.
Bebot, for the most part, manages to do both in a fun package.
The interface is beautiful, in a retro-future-ish kind of way, and the Bebot’s “dancing” while you play is kickass without being distracting.
One of the most important parts of playing an iPhone synth is repeatability; it’s easy to make cool sounds, but can you play them again and again? Fortunately, Bebop has an optional “note grid” that shows exactly where to press, and you can zoom in or out to either show more notes or make a smaller group of notes easier to press.
It’s a real instrument, too
Bebot is highly customizable. Double-tapping an icon in the bottom-right corner brings up an options screen that makes adjustments to effects (echo, chorus, and a warm, buzzy overdrive) or the scale itself (see image). Being able to customize the scale makes it easier to play along with other instruments and lets you change the feel of your music without altering your playing style. An adjustable Autotune even snaps your finger presses to specific notes, and multi-touch lets you build chords.
After you’ve built a custom scale, you can save the preset for quick recall, although it doesn’t save your effect settings, which is annoying.
Even better, if you want to just mash your chubby hand down on the screen, turn off the Autotune and enjoy a full chorus of R2D2-style robo-bloops.
Bebot is fun to use, sounds great and makes a great tool for laying down synth tracks. Here’s a quick track I recorded with Bebot: (I ran Bebot through the izotope Trash distortion plugin, so the sounds are slightly different.)