Samplr, one of the best music-making apps on iOS, is getting its first update since 2014.

And how about that timing. If you asked someone to say “what’s the best live sound manipulation tool” for iOS, the two answers you’d like get first would be Borderlands Granular (for granular sounds) and Samplr (for loop manipulation). They’re both deeply intuitive, immediate apps ideal for live performance. But there was a long, bleak period where neither got updates – before this week, Borderlands Granular hadn’t seen an update since March 2015, and Samplr since December 2014.

Apparently Chris and Marcos ate at the same Waffle House and talked about the iOS SDK or something, because now we get a new Samplr release, too.

Samplr is just wonderful – a one-screen interface that lets you capture sounds, then freely loop, slice, and navigate them. It’s not a hardware looper stuck on a touchscreen, either – it’s rather really freshly designed around the touch paradigm.

Here’s me playing live with it in 2017. A kalimba and the internal mic (and my voice) were enough to make a whole set. (I also used the WretchUp app I helped develop with Mouse on Mars.) And that’s really what you hope technology would do for you – give you a chance to just explore your ideas with some freedom, to really improvise.

New in this version:

Ableton Link support. This is probably the best and most awaited feature, because it means easily syncing and jamming with other apps, with other iPads and mobile devices, or with desktop software – not use Live, but tools like Reason or even Pure Data, too. (Oh yeah, wait, SuperCollider? Let’s check. Yes, of course.)

Higher resolution interface – ready for the latest iPads. The whole UI is now redrawn at higher res.

New MIDI sync. Marcos says he’s done a ground-up rewrite of the MIDI sync support, so it now works much more effectively.

Fixed audio recording under iOS 12.

File import improvements. Full updated support for Dropbox and Audioshare, so you can load your own samples from elsewhere.

New, updated, high-res UI.

Marcos says he’s already started work on the next update. No word yet on AUv3 – it’s support for this on both Samplr and Borderlands that will make them more future proof. Heck, both these developers should set up a tip jar; some of us are happy, loyal users.

The price is now higher – US$29.99. I hope that renewed interest though at that price might fund development time on new features, and I know the income/time equation as an independent worker all too well.

Is it worth 30 bucks? Given you could spend 10 times that on hardware that does less and works in a less intuitive way, no question – particularly with iPads capable of running this available every inexpensively.

So if you haven’t purchased Samplr yet and you own an iPad, go do it. Skip Disney+ or whatever. Samplr is all the entertainment you need.

Still relevant: