Cadeli Drum Machine
Jan 25, 2011 9:26 AM –
Cadeli Drum Machine is possibly the most ambitious audio sequencer for Android. It’s ambitious because, unlike many of the other sequencers on the market, it offers a lot more than a drum pad or 8-step sequencer.
Price: Free Trial, $1.36
Pros & Cons:
- Configurable pattern length and time signature
- Sample patterns and drumkits are good enough to start with
- Import and export WAV mixdowns
- Hard to use on small screens
- Timing can be unreliable on slower devices
- Not very intuitive pattern sequencer
What Caledi Drum Machine lacks in interface wizardry it makes up for in features. It incorporates a pan and level mixer, pattern-based step sequencer, pattern play-list, randomizer, humanizer and both WAV and MIDI export. Development is active with about 15 updates in the last six months and, hopefully, emerging Android hardware will finally be able to provide this powerful app with the juice it needs to live up to its full potential.
The pattern sequencer is intuitive, with a familiar grid as found on old-school drum machines. Each step has three possible states – on, off or accent, a bit like the old Roland X0X series. On a standard phone screen, however, the step sequencer is very hard to program – and even though there is a zoom function, it’s easy to get lost in the grid so lots of scrolling is required, making it almost unusable.
There’s no reason why you couldn’t compose entire tracks with this app – although realistically, it’s only suitable for drums as there is no way of assigning a note or pitch to any individual step in the seuqencer (ie: there is no piano roll). Subsequently, you’d probably find yourself using it to get ideas down before they were lost more often than composing entire percussion tracks.
Ease of Use:
There’s a bit of a learning curve and not much documentation, so getting to know how the thing works takes a bit of time investment. Because the usability of this app seems so tightly coupled with the hardware you use it on, you should try out the free version to see where your limitations are. If you’ve got a quick tablet then you’ll probably find this app to be pretty usable.
As a percussionists notebook – but you could also use it as a backing track for busking or live performance if you were brave enough. This app is not really a jamming tool, either, having more of a non-real time sequencing focus.
For the most part the app is unusable on a small screen device. Even with the step-sequencer zoom function aside, almost all the on-screen controls are too small for most hands. However, on a tablet with a stylus Cadeli Drum Machine could be superb – so long as you have the CPU power required. On an HTC Magic, the audio playback was fine – but the interface was too small. On a Millennius SmartQ the interface was fine, but the playback was out of sync and crashed the OS after a few minutes.