Soon all Android users will be able to use Samsung's cool Soundcamp app to write and record music. The announcement was made at the Samsung Developer Conference 2016, stating that the app, which was released last year for Samsung devices only, will become available to all phones and tablets running Android 5.0 or higher very soon.
Soundcamp lets you choose from six base instruments—piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, a sampler, and a looper—which come loaded with various presets such as electric and acoustic guitars. Soundcamp also has an audio recorder so you can add your own sounds.
You can mix up to eight audio/MIDI tracks per project, and the app supports external USB and analog devices, too.
Like I said above, Soundcamp comes with both electric and acoustic guitar presets.
You can set the guitar to play chords or individual notes. Setting it to chords lets you choose a certain chord with one hand and strum the strings with the other, kind of like an autoharp.
The feature is pretty lacking right now, as you're only able to play the chords in C major, not including the diminished seventh chord which sucks, because diminished chords are awesome.
Setting it to individual notes has problems as well. While you can do things like hammer-ons, pull-offs, and vibrato on this setting, you can no longer strum. So you're pretty much stuck between strumming chords in C major or unleashing the widdly wahs.
Some amp presets would also be nice so you could play with something other than a clean tone.
The bass works the same way as the guitar on the individual notes setting. You've got the choice between 5-string fingered bass and 4-string picked bass presets.
You actually get a lot of control on the drum set. You get different tones depending on where you tap on each individual piece. For instance, tapping closer to the center of the hi-hat produces an "open" sound, whereas tapping closer to the edge "closes" it.
The kit is very responsive, so you can easily pull off drum rolls if your fingers are fast enough.
The piano and organ work like most other keyboard apps out there. You can toggle sustain on or off, and scroll to different parts of the keyboard using the guide at the top of the screen.
Unfortunately, there are only two keyboard sizes available, so you can only display 10 or 15 white keys at a time. That's a little limiting unless you're good enough to use one hand to play and one hand to scroll along the keyboard. Why not just make it 16 white keys so there's two full octaves to work with? There's also an electric piano preset.
The looper comes loaded with a lot of presets that let you create an electronic song in no time. You just set the tempo, then tap on one of the samples to start the loop. You can have up to eight playing at once.
The sampler lets you set soundbites to different pitches. There are four stock presets, but you can record and save your own. There are also three settings for playing them back—single, mix, and cycle.
If you get tired of the presets, you can can record your own using Soundcamp. You can use effects like reverb, delay, and harmonizer to get the sound you're after. There's also a VU meter to help you get the levels just right.
Hopefully Samsung keeps up with development of Soundcamp now that it's about to be available for all Android devices. There are a lot of cool features, but there are plenty more that could be added. And when you do try it out, make sure to have your charger handy, as Soundcamp uses up a lot of battery.
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