Agile Partners Updates Star 6 For iPhone: Get To Mixing!

Agile Partners, creators of some wonderful music apps, have just significantly updated their beat mixing application Star6.  I recently reviewed two of their apps for guitarists that have become some of my most use apps.  Check out the reviews for Guitar ToolKit and Tab ToolKit.

Star6 is a music mixer that utilizes the accelerometer and touch interface to create a truly unique musical experience.  I am a musician, but have never done hip hop style beat mixes, so I was unsure if the app would even work in my hands.  As you will see, it is quite easy to use!

Here is what,s new in Star6 version 1.1:

  • Quantization, which keeps you on-beat when jumping between samples. You control when the jump occurs, anything from 1/16th of a beat to 4 full beats. Given that Star6 is all about jumping around among a set of samples, this makes a huge difference.
  • The BPM control is right out front now, and includes a scrubbing interface a bit like the iTunes app for rapid BPM up/down changes.
  • You now have the option for BPM changes to either vary or maintain pitch.  So if you want James Brown to sound like a fast chipmunk, it’s very easy now 😉
  • Reset / un-reset toggling, which allows you to jump back and forth between the original sample and your all-munged-up version
  • Major UI & usability improvements everywhere
  • Many smaller tweaks like tap-to-BPM, the ability to download and automatically install sample packs, and better sounding distortion effects.

When I first started up the app, I was actually intimidated with the buttons and not understanding what to do.  With a simple tap on the top set of triangles, a sample started playing.  Mine is set to sync so when I click on another sample, it stays on beat and seamlessly changes.  All we needed was foam from the ceiling and we could have had an instant rave.

The app includes five sets of samples with the ability to upload more.  If the app is in the correct hands of someone experienced in mixing samples, this could be used like a pro tool.  In just a few short minutes I was able to create some pretty cool beats and changes, but with some practice and expertise, record worthy mixes are possible.

A really cool feature is the ability to change some of the parameters using the accelerometer.  Change the Pitch, Gate, Speed, Jitteer, Size, and Random by tapping and holding the button and tilting the phone.  It works surprisingly well and is easy to get the gang of.  Anytime the levels are changed tap the blue button with the star and they will be reset to the standard settings.

Beyond the twelve buttons at the top, several effects are available.  Tap the reverse button to reverse the sample.  If timed on and off correctly, a really great sounding effect can be created.  To really define the sound, open and set the effects.  The best way to understand how they work is to just open them up and play with them.

I let one of my Junior football players spend an hour with my phone and the app.  After a few minutes, he was mixing some really sweet jams.  According to Luke, “It was really cool being able to mix up all the beats and then customizing them to create my own sounds!  Now I have to have an iPhone or Touch.”  Since Luke is more into this type of music I am, he was able to create some awesome mixes.  He quickly mastered the changes and effects.  He truly does want an iPhone or Touch so he can start with this app!

A great part of Star6 is that the app is usable for a casual user to pick up and quickly make create a mix.  It is also very deep and can be greatly expanded on with an expert.  All in all, this is a quality app from quality developers.  Check out Star6 from the Agile site or pick it up here in the app store for $6.99 for a limited time.

What I like: Easy to use app with great results.  Even better with some knowledge and practice.

What could be improved: Easily utilize different groups of samples.

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.