We have covered our fair share of interesting music-related iOS apps over the years. While most of our attention is spent on the more professional side of things with products from Moog, Cubasis, Akai and other companies of that nature, every once in a while a new product pops up on the more casual side of things with some interesting tech.
The new HumBeatz for iOS and Android caters to lesser experienced musicians, but its hassle-free design for quickly recording ideas along with the proprietary audio-to-MIDI translations have certainly caught our attention.
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HumBeatz is essentially a basic 4-part looper app where users record parts by humming into the mobile device’s microphone. Those vocal recordings are then automatically translated into MIDI notes that can be played back via the built-in Software Instruments inside of HumBeatz.
The app is split into 4 different sections including the drum kits and instruments area along with the FX page (reverb and delay), the four-track looper with mixer and the teach page.
You can hum, whistle or even beatbox into the app and then choose which of the onboard drum kits or instruments (trumpet, strings etc.) will play your vocal part. Alternatively, you can simply just use the looper to record layers of vocal passes, bypassing the translation technology all together. Or better yet, you can combine both instruments/drum kits with actual vocal recordings.
If you choose to use it, there are a pair of detection modes that will treat your vocal input differently: Hum or Beatz. Hum is essentially designed for melodic parts that can be translated into one of the 30 built-in virtual instruments. And Beatz, as I’m sure you imagined, is for translating your vocal passes into drum kits. Developer Amptrack Technologies said you can even use the app’s machine learning algorithms in order to teach it what type of sounds you like.
Here’s a brief tutorial on recording in HumBeatz:
In fact, just this month the folks at Amptrack dropped an update on the App Store to include an improved Hum detection algorithm and a new export to MIDI feature. That last one is a particularly nice touch and allows the parts recorded into HumBeatz to transfer into pro DAWs down the line.
It might sound like a fun, distraction for casual music makers, and it is, but we can also see some serious songwriters and producers using this technology in the car or when away from the MacBook.
Creativity can spark at anytime and it’s hard to imagine a faster way of laying down bass lines and basic melodies than pulling out your phone and yelling them into it. Sure any basic audio recording app can help with this, but they certainly won’t be automatically translating your parts into instruments, or offer up the ability to then export those MIDI parts to your desktop DAW.