For someone like me who has been a gamer right back when the height of gaming sophistication meant you owned a virtual ping pong machine, game cartridges, a selection of terribly slow-loading cassette tapes and joysticks featuring just a single button – retro music from the early 8-bit days are a required nostalgic trip.
8Bitone+ delves right into this history by giving us access to an 8bit style synthesizer and a 4 channel sequencer.
The 8bit sound isn’t to everyone’s taste, maybe just for those who experienced the basic yet captivating bleeps and blops that represented music during the 2D gaming success story. 8Bitone+ delivers a set of sounds that can be further tweaked and tuned to create a tone that is completely different from the original with wobbles, rapid speed and fading elements.
This is all controlled by a synthesizer with a multitude of various options. Scrolling left and right reveals settings for oscillation, noise, release, sustain, attack, speed and more besides. The lower third of the screen lets you play with a virtual keyboard, testing out all the many combinations of adjustments until you hit something that strikes the right note with your personal musicality.
Once you are happy with your custom created sound, it is then time to move over to the actual music score section.
With both the sequencer and the piano roll screens, you are determining which sounds are played and more importantly which notes.
With a lot of patience, accompanied by trial and error – the opportunity to create your own 8bit masterpiece is within your grasp.
Although a retro synthesizer isn’t the most complicated music form in the world, there are still challenges when attempting to offer ease of use and powerful tools. 8bitone+ concentrates on three key sections – synthesizer, sequencer and piano roll. Using blocks rather than a true musical score makes it far easier to adjust and place musical values with a touch screen.
Pinch to zoom allows the aspiring composer to adjust the finest detail, while the button to toggle the menu area offers playback selections, saving and loading of your creations and a method of sharing online.
iTunes Store Link: 8Bitone+ Micro Composer
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James Woodcock is a Freelance Journalist specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.Experience in classic game music MIDI enhancement. DVD and HD Video capture, editing, scripting and creation. Podcasting, Internet Radio DJ and Musician. Website | Portfolio | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube