Hot on the heels of bringing Soviet wire recording to plug-ins, artist and video personality Hainbach has another collaboration – this time, turning your iPhone and iPad into a tape-style field recorder.

It’s definitely a dream team. Bram Bos is a legend in software instruments, from the early days of computer drum machines to recent iOS joints. But Gauss is special, in that it does what a lot of music makers want out of their mobile device – it makes it into a creative looping recorder you can use out in the field.

The key here is, you get some of the unique features of tape in that mobile app package. So there’s a speed control, which behaves with pitch and degradation the way you’d expect tape to behave – which is a side effect of the physical medium, but is of course naturally musical. And you can overdub. And you can loop and set length.

It’s all fairly obvious stuff on the surface, but it is uniquely balanced here between modeling the hardware and providing every possible convenience of iOS. That means this works as a standalone app and as an Audio Unit effect plug-in, so you can use it on its own or integrate it in whatever mobile workflow you prefer.

It’s also got the signature, clean Bram Bos-styled UI.

All of this looping and overdubbing could quickly get blurred and ambient and put you to sleep or amplify our planetary depression, but fortunately, there’s also a rhythm-synced step sequencer, so you can also make those ambient bits groove if you need a little musical jolt of energy.

Check the full specs (it’s Friday, let me copy-paste this time):

  • designed as a standalone field recorder and an Audio Unit effect plugin (AUv3) in one package
  • universal app: plugin and standalone work on all iDevices, iOS11 and higher
  • variable tape speed; seamlessly change direction and speed during playback or recording
  • 4-step sequencer lets you trigger (polyrhythmic) tape-speed changes in sync with your host tempo
  • variable inertia for the tape drive motors (from instant to very slow speed changes)
  • built-in multi-mode filter with LFO modulation
  • delay effect with optional host-sync mode
  • “1989” mode uses a special 8 bit/11KHz tape head for a last-century vintage digital sound
  • 45 seconds maximum loop size at 1x speed, proportionally longer at lower speeds (.e.g 90 seconds at half speed, etc.)
  • overdub at any speed or tape direction
  • plugin supports global cross-host preset handling (requires iOS13+, compatible AUv3 host)

This is actually not even the only YouTube-app collaboration out today, but I think it is a real high point in terms of Hainbach’s work – combining his approach to technology and sound. And while it’s a bit ironic that there’s a field recording app arriving in the middle of global virus lockdowns, maybe it’s the best time for that.

It’s a chance to rediscover the world around you. That video definitely features some spots within Hainbach’s neighborhood. It might be your home or flat. It’s a chance to get away from a screen – yes, even this screen, dear readers:

Bram also nailed a lot of the tape behaviors. Without being overly slavish about tape modeling or running too wild with the tape destruction, you can play around with pitch and position in intuitive ways.

There is a piece of hardware that inspired this, too – in addition to tape, the Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus.

It has a completely, totally different workflow, but if you just can’t get excited about the iPad, it’s worth revisiting Hainbach’s video of that from 2018. Oh, 2018…